Dr Mumbo

Nine’s bizarre choice for a plum radio role

Dr Mumbo misses the good old days when a journalist caught repeatedly stealing their colleagues’ work was dragged out of a newsroom and never seen again.

It seems that standards have dramatically slipped and even a noted plagiarist can still find an opportunity with Nine.

4BC will hire just about anyone, it seems.

Just seven short months ago, Peter Gleeson exited News Corp Australia in disgrace after multiple instances of plagiarism were revealed, destroying a near 34-year career, which ended with senior roles at The Courier-Mail and Sky News.

Despite that, Nine’s Brisbane radio station 4BC still somehow views the story-stealer as worthy of employment.

It announced to staff on Thursday that Gleeson will fill-in as host of the coveted Drive program, replacing Neil Breen when he steps away from the microphone in two weeks.

Breen, who has been commuting from his family home in Sydney to Brisbane to host the show for years, told listeners on Friday that it has “taken a toll”.

“It’s very sad for me and I think it’s going to be quite upsetting for a lot of the listeners,” a classically modest Breen said.

Also likely to be upset are those who value the code of ethics that journalists are bound by and one which Gleeson repeatedly breached – in addition to News Corp’s own code, which he admitted to failing to uphold.

In November last year, The Courier-Mail issued a furious statement that read: “In a personal note to The Courier-Mail editor Chris Jones today Mr Gleeson said: ‘I apologise for breaching News Corp’s Code of Conduct and instances where I have not met the standards required’.”

As the News Corp code plainly puts it: “Plagiarism is theft.”

Gleeson was a veteran News Corp reporter and a host on Sky News.

The Courier-Mail’s statement continued: “This follows recent examples of material first written by others appearing in articles published under Mr Gleeson’s byline. In his note Mr Gleeson said he had had extraordinary career opportunities during a 34-year career with News Corp and added that ‘it is a fantastic company for which I have the greatest respect’.”

The instances of plagiarism were almost too many count.

An email sent to 4BC staff on Thursday by Max Dudley, content manager, revealed: “From Monday June 26th, seasoned journalist Peter Gleeson will fill in on 4BC Drive.

“Please join me in welcoming Peter to Cannon Hill when you see him over the coming weeks.”

A more useful request from Dudley might have been for producers and hosts not to leave their show notes or scripts unattended.

In response to a WTF from Dr Mumbo, a Nine spokesperson said: “Yes, it is the same Peter Gleeson who worked at News Corp; however, he joins Nine Radio in a fill-in capacity with the understanding and acknowledgement of Nine’s values, broadcasting expectations and standards that all staff are expected to meet.”

So, serious and once-unforgivable professional flaws only matter at Nine if you’re on a permanent contract? Noted.

A final word. On Friday afternoon, Nine sent Dr Mumbo this note from Gleeson: “I made a mistake at News Corp and I deeply regret what happened. I have since apologised to my former employer and the journalist involved. I have had a lot of time to think about my actions and I have promised to many people not to let them down again. I am very grateful for this opportunity at 4BC and I hope to prove I’m worthy of a second chance.”


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