Ita Buttrose puts Chris Kenny in his place as Sky News’ ABC doco draws blanks | Amanda Meade

Ita Buttrose singled out Sky News presenter Chris Kenny during her speech to Andrew Olle last week, chastising him for saying she was too old when she was named 77-year-old ABC president years, in 2019.

“I know a bit about career hurdles,” Buttrose said of looking at Kenny, who was on the Sky News table on the ABC feature. “There was always a reason for someone to say no. I was either too young or too old. When I was made president of the ABC, too old. Thank you Chris Kenny.

Kenny, associate editor of The Australian and avowed ABC critic, showed up at the black tie event at Sydney’s Ivy and told anyone who would listen that he was desperate for someone an ABC to talk to him for his Sky News ‘documentary’ about the ABC to mark his 90th birthday. As he said on his show this week, it’s easy to get criticism from the ‘ABC on his show, but he can’t find any Aunt supporters willing to talk to him.

Everyone from Buttrose and managing director David Anderson to former ABC staffers Jonathan Holmes (Media Watch) and Jon Faine (ABC Melbourne Radio) said “thanks, but no thanks” to Kenny’s producer approaches. As Faine wrote in the Sunday Age: “I don’t think it’s possible for Chris Kenny to present a balanced assessment of the ABC.”

Undeterred by the rejection, Kenny approached the 80-year-old at his table after her lengthy speech and engaged her in conversation. Failing to win over anyone inside, Kenny had a Sky News film crew waiting for him outside the venue and he attempted to cuddle the guests as they left. Broadcasters Patricia Karvelas and Annabel Crabb waved him off, but Anderson and Insiders host David Speers briefly stopped to answer predictable questions about alleged ABC bias.

It’s good to know that Kenny hasn’t lost any of his door-to-door style from his days as a reporter at Nine’s A Current Affair.

Meanwhile, a group of staff members themselves caused a stir, taking the opportunity to express their dismay at plans to restructure the Archives Division, holding up protest signs just yards from Anderson and its management team.

All sizzle, no sausage

On Wednesday, the Media Entertainment and Arts Alliance hosted a barbecue at the ABC of Ultimo to encourage union members and non-members to come talk about salary negotiations. To encourage turnout, union organizers announced that a sizzling “democratic sausage” would be provided on the Dot Strong terrace. Only the barbecue didn’t light up, despite repeated attempts, and ABC staff ended up with a sad piece of bread and no sausage.

Flame out: the sizzle of sausage that wasn’t. Photography: Amanda Meade

wishful thinking

Australian Financial Review Senior Correspondent Aaron Patrick launched his new book on Thursday evening, at Bar Lume under Nine Entertainment’s North Sydney headquarters. Patrick’s invitations read “Please join Malcolm Turnbull at the official launch of Aaron Patrick’s new book, Ego: Malcolm Turnbull and the Liberal Party’s Civil War.” At least one journalist, Nick Tabakoff of The Australian, took the invitation at face value writing, “And let’s just say the person Patrick recruited to launch the book is a surprise, to say the least.”

For the weekly beast.  Invitation to Aaron Patrick's book launch.  Sidney.  Australia.
The invitation to Aaron Patrick’s book launch. Photography: Amanda Meade

“Who would have thought that Turnbull himself would want to launch a book whose central thesis is that the ex-Prime Minister played a central role in the destruction of the Morrison government? Either Patrick is an irrational optimist or he pulled off the book launch stunt of the year.

Well, neither. If you look closely at the invite, you can see an asterisk next to Turnbull* and small print *TBC. Patrick, who is well-connected to the right of the Liberal Party, considers Turnbull a ‘centre-left impostor and opportunist’ and was fired when he asked the former Wentworth MP to check his book.

We can confirm that Turnbull was not present, as he was giving a speech in Paris, but he was annoyed by the publicity stunt and complained to the editor. His son, Alex Turnbull, who had a run-in with Patrick over the book itself, said: “The only people who will buy this book are people who intend to sue for defamation.

false flag

One would think that a publication entitled TheDailyAus might recognize the Aboriginal flag, but the ‘social media first’ website mistakenly Photoshopped a German flag into a photo of the Sydney Harbor Bridge to illustrate the New South Wales government’s plans for the aboriginal flag will have a permanent place by the end of the year.

It was almost certainly a coincidence that editor-in-chief Billi FitzSimons made an announcement for a fact-checker the very next day, posting on LinkedIn that she wanted “someone with meticulous attention to detail who can vet sources critically”. The German flag, which also has the colors yellow, red and black, was quickly replaced by the correct one.

Youth site TheDailyAus mixes up its flags, with a model of the German flag.
Youth site TheDailyAus mixes up its flags, with a model of the German flag. Photography: TheDailyAus

Climate of change

Sophie McNeill and Mark Davis rose to the top of their profession as journalists, winning numerous awards for the ABC and SBS, before stepping away to pursue different careers.

Davis, a former Gold Walkley winner and SBS Dateline host, now works as a lawyer, defending climate activists, among others.

McNeill, who left Four Corners to join Human Rights Watch as an Australian researcher, recently teamed up with Davis to help protesters, who have faced stiff penalties.

McNeill: “Climate protesters are increasingly and disproportionately subject to vindictive legal action by Australian authorities who restrict the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and expression.” Davis, who also successfully represented Friendlyjordies producer Kristo Langker when he was accused of harassing John Barilaro, is representing climate activists for reduced fees.

Channel 10 defends Lisa Wilkinson

Channel 10 has defended its star host Lisa Wilkinson after widespread criticism over her Logies acceptance speech.

On Thursday, the ACT Supreme Court delayed the trial of Bruce Lehrmann for the alleged sexual assault of Brittany Higgins due to public comments about the case.

But Ten says the reporting of Wilkinson’s comments was inaccurate and unfair: “This reporting is now causing significant harm, and we are calling on these organizations to stop this harassment to give Lisa the best opportunity to testify in court and allow to the trial to move forward in a fair and timely manner.

“We are closely monitoring all coverage of this issue and Lisa and Network 10 reserve their rights in respect of any future defamation claims.

“Network 10 continues to fully support Lisa in her continued and total commitment to doing the right thing as a witness at trial.”

The case will now be heard from October 4, for a trial of four to six weeks. Lehrmann denies any form of sexual activity in early 2019 and pleads not guilty.

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