3AW host Neil Mitchell hits out at Fairfax’s Michael Leunig Anzac Day cartoon

3AW radio host Neil Mitchell has criticised an Anzac Day cartoon, created by cartoonist and cultural commentator Michael Leunig, which appeared in The Age today, and suggested the “spectacular” misjudgement is why the paper “continues to struggle for relevance and audience”.

The image depicts war medals – which would usually be distributed to veterans for service, gallantry and bravery – which are instead decorated with words including ‘Guilt’, ‘Anger’, ‘Grief’ and ‘Homicide’.

Referencing the controversy surrounding writer Catherine Deveny – who has also attracted criticism for referring to Anzac Day as ‘Bogan Halloween’ – Mitchell said it was “a shame” Fairfax had also gone down this path.

“But sadly The Age has embraced this sort of nonsense [too]. They’ve got a huge cartoon by Michael Leunig today that gets the mood so wrong. It’s got representation drawings of eight war medals under the headline of ‘War Decorations’ and one word – this is the cartoon by Leunig – one word is written on each medal. The words ‘Fear’, ‘Hate’, ‘Anger’, ‘Violence, ‘Homicide’, ‘Grief’, ‘Guilt’, ‘Depression’,” he said on his 3AW radio program this morning.

“Okay, war’s not nice, and many of those emotions do spring from armed conflict. Nobody supports war – but Michael Leunig and The Age has again in spectacular fashion totally misjudged the mood of the people. It is why this newspaper continues to struggle for relevance and audience.”

Mitchell’s program runs 8:30am to 12:00pm Monday to Friday on 3AW 693 in Melbourne.

In the latest radio ratings survey, released on Tuesday, 3AW had a market-leading position in Melbourne with a 10.7% overall audience share.

During Mitchell’s time slots, the station was also ahead of its rivals on both the AM and FM dials. For breakfast, measured by GfK as 5:30am to 9:00am, the station had a 19.0% audience share. For 9:00am to 12:00pm it had 13.9%. Both its breakfast and morning ratings were consistent with survey one’s figures.

3AW is operated by Macquarie Media, which is majority owned by Fairfax.

Fairfax has been approached for comment.


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