Dr Mumbo

The Chaser’s war on Yahoo7, Bill Leak, Mamamia, Buzz Rothfield and 60 Minutes

To The Ivy, home of Sydney’s beautiful people, and (for one night only), newspaper executives, for the PANPA Awards.

Hosts Craig Reucassel and Chris Taylor from The Chaser, started early, with a subtle sledge at the newspaper industry, pointing out it was the only journalism awards that wouldn’t see everyone beaten by the ABC’s Four Corners.

Also absent was the Nine Network, which was a plus, suggested Reucassel. “You didn’t try to kidnap anyone.”

The duo also poked fun at News Corp’s love of patting itself on the back with Taylor pointing out: “Did you see at the recent News Corp Awards, News Corp took home every single award?”

Reucassel, meanwhile, took a swipe at Yahoo7’s disastrous derailing of a trial in Victoria last month when a junior journo lifted Herald Sun copy and embellished the story with non-trial content. He told the audience: “We may have already defamed people tonight, but we’re not too worried about that. We’re hoping that when it goes to trial, Yahoo7 covers the trial.”

Taylor added: ‘That story was a real revelation – I wasn’t even aware Yahoo7 had journalists. It was like finding out Sonia Kruger had opinions.”

Reucassel chimed in: “The ‘seven’ in Yahoo7 is how many minutes you get to research the story.”

The duo also had a namecheck for The Telegraph’s dodgy sports hack Phil “Buzz” Rothfield, whose curious financial relationship with gambling figure Edie Hayson emerged in recent weeks.

Taylor told the audience: “Phil Rothfield can’t be here tonight because Eddie Hayson wouldn’t pay for his ticket.”

And, in a reference to Bill Leak’s controversial take on aboriginal affairs, the pair announced a new category: “Best non-racist cartoon in a News Corp newspaper”. “It’s a pretty fucking small field,” said Taylor.

And in another new specialist category, they also had a special namecheck for Mia Freedman’s intern army: “most unpaid hours by a journalist at Mamamia”.

In acknowledgment of former Sydney Morning Herald columnist Paul Sheehan’s column about a fictional muslim gangrape, they announced “The Paul Sheehan memorial award for truth in journalism”.

But the most terrifying moment of the night though came when Reucassel revealed that in a break from tradition the winners would be allowed to speak.

To groans in the room, Taylor suggested this was a “fucking bad idea”.

As the ceremony continued several hours later, Dr Mumbo suspects that most of the audience agreed.


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