#Mediawatch honest broker for silent, censored Piers’ ABC

The art of deflecting blame

David Koch: And is Tim Gay?

Howard Sattler: He must be gay, he’s a hair dresser…

David Koch: Julia Gillard quizzed about her partner’s sexuality…

— Channel Seven, Sunrise, 14th June, 2013

That’s how Kochie promo’d it on Seven’s Sunrise: “Is Tim Gay?” Not, “Shock jock madness.”

Welcome to Media Watch, I’m Jonathan Holmes, and I can’t remember a nastier, grubbier week in the nation’s politics. Howard Sattler, the star of the West, has now been sacked by Fairfax Media’s 6PR in Perth.

Howard Sattler: But you hear it, he must be gay, he’s a hairdresser.

Julia Gillard: Oh, isn’t that..

Howard Sattler: But you heard it. It’s not me saying it, it’s what people…

— Channel Seven, Sunrise, 14th June, 2013

But of course it was Howard Sattler saying it. David Koch couldn’t see what the fuss was about…

David Koch: Let me play devil’s advocate here…
What’s the difference between asking the Prime Minister that, and say Thorpie?

— Channel Seven, Sunrise, 14th June, 2013

Remind me, if I want an advocate, not to hire Kochie. In the dark of the night, over on Sydney’s 2GB, the extraordinary Brian Wilshire groped his way through his normal conspiratorial fog to shine a light for us:

Brian Wilshire: Ask embarrassing questions of the Prime Minister, the questions that aren’t really relevant, except for something that the media won’t tell you. If you’re a butterfly collector…
whatever it might be that you might want to keep secret from the public, if you’re in the public eye, that’s something the public should know, because once they know about it, nobody can blackmail you about it.

— 2GB, Overnights with Brian Wilshire, 14th June, 2013

Butterfly collecting? Blackmail? Completely batty.

Meanwhile, Alan Jones keeps ranting…

Alan Jones: This is a misanthrope, this woman. This is a woman who plainly hates Rudd, hates Abbott, and hates men…
(Anyone visiting the country would believe this was a person who is seriously in need of emotional and psychological help.)

— 2GB, The Alan Jones Breakfast Show, 13th June, 2013

One thing you can be sure of: nobody will get the sack from Macquarie Radio for being rude to the Prime Minister – this Prime Minister, anyway.

And some curious decisions were taken at ABC News yesterday.

The Howard Sattler episode was discussed on Sunday morning’s Insiders program. News Ltd columnist Piers Akerman condemned Sattler’s behaviour as…

Piers Akerman: …probably the most stupid thing that I’ve ever heard on public broadcast…public broadcasting…

— ABC1, The Insiders, 16th June, 2013

But he then told the Guardian Australia’s Lenore Taylor:

Piers Akerman: A lot of people in the Canberra gallery have been saying the same thing, Lenore.

Lenore Taylor: I’m, no.

Piers Akerman: You’ve never heard that?

Lenore Taylor: No.

Piers Akerman: Oh, OK

— ABC1, The Insiders, 16th June, 2013

News Ltd’s Malcolm Farr had never heard anyone saying such things either. And Barrie Cassidy was scathing…

Barrie Cassidy: You’ve just done precisely what Howard Sattler did and just passed on rumours and that’s just as pathetic, quite frankly.

Piers Akerman: I don’t think it is.

Barrie Cassidy: I think it is. All right, let’s talk about the leadership now.

Piers Akerman: I don’t think I did pass on rumours.

Barrie Cassidy: Yes you did, you just did!

— ABC1, The Insiders, 16th June, 2013

And they went on arguing for another 15 seconds or so.

Soon after the program ended, the entire exchange was posted by the ABC’s online news team on its You Tube account. After all, it was the most controversial thing on the program that day.

But then, within ten minutes, the clip was taken down again. Twitter wondered why…

Jacktheinsider: Suspect it’s a copyright issue, posting before iView

Julie Posetti: Maybe, but my money’s on legal concerns

— Twitter, 16th June, 2013

Well, it wasn’t a copyright issue – the ABC can’t breach its own copyright. And it wasn’t a legal issue, because in due course the entire program was relayed on News Radio and iView.

It looks to us like a censorship issue.

After all, while the Sydney Morning Herald ran a news story about the incident on its website…

News Ltd columnist ignites sexuality outrage…

— Sydney Morning Herald Online, 16th June, 2013

…there was no mention of it that we could find on ABC online. ABC News tells Media Watch

that was a matter for the editorial team on the day as is always the case. They were free to report it at all times.

— Alan Sunderland, Head of Policy and Staff Development, ABC News and Current Affairs, 17th June, 2013

But it says that You Tube is another matter. The clips posted there are promotions

…to draw attention to program contents

— Alan Sunderland, Head of Policy and Staff Development, ABC News and Current Affairs, 17th June, 2013

The Insiders team asked for the clip to be taken down.

…because they didn’t feel it was appropriate… to be promoting that content.

— Alan Sunderland, Head of Policy and Staff Development, ABC News and Current Affairs, 17th June, 2013

Well we’ve looked at the ABC’s You Tube channel. It doesn’t look like a promo site to us. It looks like news.

As for Piers Akerman, he came up with a sort of apology at the end of Insiders…

Piers Akerman: if the Prime Minister is watching, as she usually does, I hope she hasn’t taken any offence at anything I’ve said this morning.

— ABC1, The Insiders, 16th June, 2013

But in this morning’s column in the Tele Akerman is back to his normal aggressive self …

The chattering classes whipped themselves into a lather yesterday afternoon claiming I raised questions about First Bloke Tim Mathieson’s sexuality on the ABC Insiders program in the morning.

— Daily Telegraph, 17th June, 2013

Piers, this notion that you’re not a member of the chattering classes is weird. That’s how you make your living. Chattering. Chattering. Chattering. And then, in this case, denying what you’ve said…

I have never questioned Mathieson’s sexuality. I don’t deal in tawdry topics.

— Daily Telegraph, 17th June, 2013

That sounds to me just like Howard Sattler:

Howard Sattler: No, that’s not me saying it. It’s a myth.

Julia Gillard: Well that’s absurd.

— 6PR, Drive with Howard Sattler, 13th June, 2013




Read More:

Don’t walk past, @abcmarkscott and @dailytelegraph

ABC Piers silence is consent: @CatherineDeveny on why she’s no Akerman

* Cover image courtesy of DestroyTheJoint

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  1. Akerman will be back because, as we all know, it’s Their ABC.