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Media Watch -

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(generated from captions) CC THEME MUSIC or a very small baby. It's either a very big sandwich

I'm Jonathan Holmes. Welcome to Media Watch. News Ltd put that headline All over the nation, on its papers' websites. discover that the missing baby... You had to click on the story to once you come to read it. Not really that riveting a story, But by then, you've registered a hit the advertisers. and helped News pull in

headline in the Mackay Daily Mercury: Here's a pretty standard online were Chinese. The proprietors of the take away went for a headline So the newspaper itself with a more ethnic flavour... Giggle giggle. who last January brought us That's from the same people this front page headline: they get up to in Mackay! Really, the things things in their news. In Sydney, they aspire to higher in the Harbour City. Or what passes for news release arrived in e-mail in-boxes Last Monday evening this press in every Sydney newsroom:

Ah, Max Markson.

real life orb-weaver. Celebrity agent and Sydney's his client's name right - He can't spell it's Robert, without an S - a web for the media. but he knows how to spin and that evening And they all duly buzzed into it obligingly ran the yarn... his sights on Sydney's RBS Tower. Today, Frenchman Alain Robert set arrived, more and more police... Up and up he went. More onlookers for more spectacular shots. Seven News sent its helicopter it was an awe-inspiring sight. From any angle, important enough And Nine News thought the story reader, Peter Overton, to send its much-promoted news with the Spiderman. who scored a vacuous interview And what does one slip mean? Ah, it means that...the...coffin. Coffin. Yeah. for Seven's Today Tonight, But then Bryan Seymour, secured an exclusive interview: Do you get scared? it depends, you know, Well sometimes, on how difficult is the ascent. was a doddle. And this one, said Robert, So what was the news story? before the climb, At his press conference global warming. Robert said his stunts were all about of no return in 100 months. We are going to reach a point a mention on the news. But climate change barely got out, Robert was plastered. Besides, as Today Tonight pointed this sticky-fingered human fly ..with logos of sponsors paying to defy death one more time.

graceful companions, Robert's T-shirt and his two advertised a lad's mag. by an American R&B star His pants promoted a coming tour thought he was doing, and whatever Mr Robert about his priorities: Max Markson was in no doubt anyone's wallet. global warming doesn't fill dressing - come and step this way... Thank you to Zoo for Oh, OK. for dressing Alain today... Thank you to Zoo

to earth and was arrested, But when Alain Robert came back about the stunt at all. Max Markson told Ten he knew nothing to go climb a building. I'm surprised he wanted this morning You held a press conference climb a building. to tell us he was going to go that he decided to climb. Yeah, but I was shocked I thought it's just a joke.

Yeah, right, Max. South Wales police told Media Watch: Superintendent Ken Finch of the New $1,500 in police time, The stunt cost the taxpayer about the superintendent reckons. pointing the finger Five out of ten to TEN, for at least at Max, the orb-weaving spider. And 10 out of 10 to SBS, ludicrous story. for completely ignoring the whole But the real media circus this week who stopped being funny. has revolved around the clowns

she dies is to visit Disneyland. Tabitha says her one wish before

of the question, We said that was out but we did get her this pencil case. My eyes welled with tears. I was just horrified. I was just absolutely fuming. I went hot. My mouth fell open and

at kids with a terminal illness But having a go absolutely beyond the pale. is really beyond the pale, Realistic Wish Foundation' sketch The outrage at The Chaser's 'Make a passionate, genuine and overwhelming. wasn't universal, but it was said it was appalling, The next morning the ABC's Chairman spine-chilling an ABC Board member said she found it Managing Director was apologising and by that afternoon, the ABC's to anyone who'd listen.

naughty boys, From everyone's favourite was transformed overnight the Chaser team

and media fury. into the target of popular

shock jock shouldn't distract us But the excesses of the occasional

from the main point: The Chaser's joke fell horribly flat. and deeply distressed some. It offended a huge number of people this: And a lot of them wanted to know that let this rubbish go to air? What about the people code? And wasn't it on ABC? How did that get through the Well, yes it was. And you might think, making jokes about terminally well, blind freddy could see that sick kids is a total no-no. that The Chaser wasn't the first But we're not the first to point out target for humour. to choose that particular Reasonable Request Foundation, Hello Jasmine, it's Susan from the

how are you love? on Foxtel's Comedy Channel, The Mansion, the same subject last year. made essentially the same joke about No trip to Disneyland for you, kid, of prints from Photo plus. but 50% off your next set

between a wish and a request, I guess that's the difference 'no' to a request. you know you can say do you have Jasmine? A cure? No. What other, what other requests

was funny, but the fact is Well, you may or may not think that a single complaint. the Comedy Channel got barely comment on ABC Online's Unleashed: Why? I'm inclined to agree with this

lot less brutal than The Chaser's: And the Mansion's punch-line was a are only going to die anyway? Why go to any trouble when they humour is a tricky business. The point is, has been hugely popular, The Chaser's War on Everything disastrous misjudgment every week. but it teeters on the edge of This skit, Managing Director Mark Scott kept saying last week,

went right over the edge. But he wouldn't say who let it go there. So what are 'the usual processes'? Well, the ABC's bible, its Editorial Policies, have a special section specifically dealing with satire. It was revised as recently as 2006: Doesn't say you can't satirise charities for sick kids, but it doesn't sound encouraging.

And Editorial Policy 4.1.4 reads: What that's basically saying is, if what you're putting to air is going to cause a ruckus,

don't let your bosses be taken by surprise. But should what you're doing go to air at all? If an ABC staff member has a doubt about that,

he's supposed to consult his boss. And if the boss isn't sure, she consults her boss. And so on. It's all in Editorial Policy 4.1.2:

Ah, 'responsible'. Lots of people have been accepting responsibility this week. Mark Scott for one:

But Mr Scott didn't see the skit in advance. In a video statement on their website, The Chaser Team, who wrote and performed it, finally apologised late on Friday and they took responsibility. It was meant to be so over the top, that people wouldn't take it seriously, but we got it wrong and we didn't convey that properly and we take full responsibility for that. But should they take 'full responsibility'?

The Chaser team is supposed to push the boundaries. It's what they do. Aren't they entitled to assume that if they go too far, the layers of ABC management above them will pull them back? Nobody did. But somebody approved the skit. Who? Well, this person. Amanda Duthie,

head of Arts, Entertainment and Comedy at ABC Television.

She's told Media Watch that she did view the "Make a Realistic Wish" skit before it aired. So we asked her:

So that's where the buck stopped.

Ms Duthie didn't consult and she didn't warn her bosses. She probably wishes she had. Tonight, she's stuck her hand up.

But up to now the ABC has steadfastly refused to name her and instead has banged on about its processes. The Chaser's been put in the sinbin for two weeks, while in Mark Scott's words...

Well, how should the processes be changed? Will the ABC try to lay down what should be the subject of satire and what shouldn't? Will all satire have to be referred up to Managing Director? The danger is that by changing the processes, we'll end up with comedy that's less edgy and less satirical. It seems to me that the problem isn't the ABC's processes, but a single manager who made a bad decision. And that will always be a risk, whatever the system. That's it for tonight. Join me again next week. Closed Captions by CSI

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This Program is Captioned Live. Live.

Good evening, a swine flu scare has thrown scare has thrown the National

Rugby League season into

turmoil. Queensland State of

Origin Ben Hannant tested

positive to the virus last

night. All members of the

Maroons team has been isolated

as a precaution, including

players of tonight's clash

between the Titans and

Dragons. Australians have once

again been honoured for again been honoured for their

achievements. More than 550 made made the Queen's Birthday

Honour's List, including fashion designer Carla

Zampatti, and the late cancer

specialist Chris O'Brien. The British Prime Minister Gordon

Brown is clinging to power

after European elections saw

his party suffer its worst

defeat on record. Support for

the ruling Labour Party plunged

to its lowest level in a century, in

century, in another blow to

Labour the far right Labour the far right British

National Party has won seats in

the European Parliament for the

first time. Geoffrey Rush first time. Geoffrey Rush has

won the coveted triple crown of

acting, last night ticking up acting, last night ticking up a

Tony Award to go with his Oscar

and Emmy, winning it for his

performance in EXIT performance in EXIT on

Broadway. . More news on

Lateline, at Lateline, at 10:30.

This program is not subtitled


Up to 66 people, predominantly girls under the age of ten,

have been killed in an air strike by Israeli fighter jets on the Gaza Strip this morning. Israel expressed regret for civilian casualties, but emphasised the targets of its raid were planning attacks on settlements in Israel. The Iranian government, claimed to be sponsors of Hamas, have already condemned the attack targeting the group. We heard from the Iranian Special Consul, Dariush Bakhshi earlier today.

Look who has crawled out of the woodwork. This is an unprecedented atrocity. A violation of human values, an assault on the most sacred of principles. Values and principles your regime upholds. A crime against humanity which does nothing to improve prospects for peace across the region, and which will only strengthen the hand of the very people Israel claims to be fighting. Among the responses to the attack, the Pentagon stated that the loss of life in Gaza was tragic, but that Israel reserves the right to defend herself against any terrorist attack. The Israelis didn't intentionally target the school. But they were sending a message to Hamas and its sponsors. There's going to be consequences. Don't you wish these people would stop sending messages? PHONE RINGS Yes. 'How are you?' I saw you on television.

'How did I look?' Like any diplomat practised in the art of double standards. Don't mistake the depth of my outrage. This attack will make hardliners of us all. Sadly, I think that may be the intention. As this is a goodbye more than an au revoir, I thought I should warn you that it may not be Israel who pays the price for the attack.

Whoever does pay will reap a bitter harvest. Noted. I hope so. I have happy memories of London. TRANSLATION:

Meeting room. ..Not you. Yeah, yeah, course. It was definitely a warning. I'm sure he's doing his best to let us know we're about to be attacked. Where? By whom? Excellent questions. Luckily, he provided us with the date of the attack and the address of every member... I meant - Hamas never operate outside the occupied territories, and we've done a deal with Iran. With the Iranian government. "Happy memories of London". I'm sure he's trying to tell me something. He's right that the attack has cemented unlikely alliances. Hardliners in Iran working with Al Qaeda would have been unthinkable. So right now, we're the fall guys. Plenty of enemies and precious few friends. Something the matter, Malcolm? No. That CD case you've been holding and tapping rather irritatingly... This? Yes, that. It's Beethoven's Seventh, Venezuelan Revolutionary Youth Orchestra.

Splendid energy, actually. Put the CD away. No, but... Just put it away for now. Fine.