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Blood runs free at WIN as Stanhope cronies take their pound of flesh

By johnboy - 6 September 2008 80

The Canberra Times brings astonishing news of sackings and suspensions at WIN for saying unkind things about the Rhodium disaster specifically and the Stanhope Government in general.

    “The chief of staff of WIN TV news has been sacked and a political reporter stood down after a senior member of Chief Minister Jon Stanhope’s staff complained to the station about a story on government-owned fleet management company Rhodium.

    John Roe was sacked from his position at the Canberra news station at 11am on Thursday after just three months in the position.

    Long-time Legislative Assembly reporter Geraldine Nordfeldt has been suspended from covering local politics just six weeks out from the ACT election.

And this is why Governments like to be major advertisers. They get what they want on the editorial side too.

In my opinion if there weren’t huge ad contracts in the offing station management would have put up a bigger fight.

UPDATE: It’s become a bit of a tradition for aggrieved media personalities to get blind drunk and then instant message or email me late at night (demanding the conversation be off the record while, one suspects, secretly hoping I’ll blab anyway). So to John Roe I’d just like to say I’m busy tonight but will be in on Sunday night, preferably after Doctor Who has finished.

What’s Your opinion?

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80 Responses to
Blood runs free at WIN as Stanhope cronies take their pound of flesh
teepee 1:04 pm 06 Sep 08

The problem for WIN is that they depend on the advertising dollar for their profits and it looks like ACT govt ads comprise a huge % of the market this (election) year.

They are a big player that needs big bucks to keep the doors open.

I wonder if the journos will take the matter to court and whether Lasek (or his boss Stanhope) could be liable for any civil action?

Pandy 12:52 pm 06 Sep 08

Lassick is married to a heavyweight in ACTPLA. ACTPLA rides roughshod over development guidelines. See a pattern here folks?

miz 11:54 am 06 Sep 08

And, what Jorge said.

miz 11:54 am 06 Sep 08

Wow. Now I am sure this govt stinks, and bad.

johnboy 11:41 am 06 Sep 08

As for our own advertising relationships… the current deal is with the ALP, not the ACT Government.

We’d certainly welcome a slice of the Government advertising pie as it seems to sustain many other media organisations in this town.

But you generally only get this kind of heavying if the other side is sure it will be responded to. And that’s where Jeremy Lasek’s experience probably came into its own.

johnboy 11:38 am 06 Sep 08

Anyone can, and frequently will allege that reporting they don’t like is defamatory.

“But news is mainly what someone somewhere doesn’t want you to put in the paper” -Paul E. Schindler, Jr.

An allegation is not, of itself, reason to sack someone and strong news organisations will stand by their people, perhaps after counseling, even when they’re found to have got something wrong.

The only way to never get anything wrong is to never try at all.

And are they saying WIN doesn’t carry defo insurance?

Personally I don’t believe this has anything to do with any defamation action.

Jorge 11:18 am 06 Sep 08

Having read the report, it seems the COS was sacked for allowing a story with “alleged” defamatory imputations to go to air.
Again, assuming it was accurate, WIN should back its reporter and call Stanhope’s bluff.

teepee 11:12 am 06 Sep 08

A bit more of a skim through that report and it’s clear there were funny uses of public money around Rhodium. If it was treated like a kind of Pleasure Island by one of the bosses then Stanhope should be leading the charge against the wrongdoer, not calling for journalists to be sacked when they report on the story.

This is tiny town politics at its worst.

teepee 11:08 am 06 Sep 08

I just googled the Auditor General’s report, see link

I can’t see how Stanhope can evade a share in the blame when the report pings him as a Shareholder Minister on the first page of discussion: “In Rhodium’s case, it seems evident that the lack of clear strategic direction from the Shareholders created uncertainty and made it difficult for Rhodium to provide and commit to appropriate long-term strategic planning to achieve its business objectives.”(p3)

And this is interesting: Stanhope only asked the Auditor-General to investigate AFTER the Legislative Assembly found out about the stink, not after he first found out:

1.3 The Rhodium Board advised the key stakeholders, including the Chief Minister and Treasurer, Department of Treasury and the Auditor-General about the conduct and the outcomes of the reviews by KPMG. The Board also provided advice to the various stakeholders concerning actions taken to address the outcomes of the reviews.
1.4 Management practices at Rhodium came to the attention of the ACT Legislative Assembly in June 2006. Consequently, on 13 June 2006, the Chief Minister and Treasurer requested the Auditor-General to review various matters related to Rhodium’s operations. The Auditor-General decided to conduct a performance audit of the governance, administration and financial management of Rhodium to promote public accountability in the administration of Territory-owned corporations.

Whatsup 11:02 am 06 Sep 08

ACT Labor have been advertising on RA. Look out JB, they will be asking you to moderate anyone who isn’t a fan of Labor next.

Maybe the ACT Gov spent some time with the Chinese Gov during the torch relay and picked up some tips on controlling the media.

Maybe its all a load of crap… the frightening bit is given Stanhopes track record of arrogance and over use of his angry voice it could just be true.

Thumper 10:59 am 06 Sep 08

Are we seeing the real Stanhope now that the pressure is on?

teepee 10:56 am 06 Sep 08

What a mini-Mugabe. Looks like Stanhope’s belief in workers’ rights and human rights is a cheap veneer that flakes off quickly.

johnboy 10:55 am 06 Sep 08

It’s certainly unusual to pre-judge the proceeding by sacking staff.

I can’t say I noticed anything particularly out-there in the reporting, but I might have missed it.

I’m just seeing power and money here and the public interest be damned.

planeguy 10:47 am 06 Sep 08

So let me get this straight;
– If the Coroner makes findings against you, then she is obviously biased.
– If the Legislature makes findings against you, then they are obviously only taking cheap policyical shots (despite having a Labor member on the committee)
– If the media makes reports about you, it is obviously defamation, and you get them sacked.


Jorge 10:41 am 06 Sep 08

What was the problem with the report?

Was it accurate? If so, WIN should have told Stanhope to shove it.

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