SBS ‘acutely aware of the sensitivities’ around parody mocking redundant News Corp journos

SBS parod news corp pieceSBS has defended the decision to publish a parody article taking aim at News Corp journalists set to lose their jobs in a fresh round of cuts saying it is “acutely aware of the sensitivities” surrounding it.

This afternoon the public broadcaster posted a piece on its Comedy site titled ‘Fired News Corp journalists now free to pursue jobs as actual journalists‘, hours after News Corp announced it was cutting 55 editorial jobs.

The piece published on The Backburner section of the SBS site describes News Corp’s output as “sensationalist garbage” and “xenophobic shock journalism”.

It has drawn ire on social media, including from several News Corp journalists, who described it variously as “disgusting” and “not fair and not funny”.

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Herald Sun reporter Tom Minear tweeting: “What kind of media company things hardworking people losing their jobs is funny?”

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However some have defended the piece citing the hard line News Corp took over cuts to SBS and ABC budgets last year which saw hundreds of journalists lose their jobs.

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ABC sports reporter Debbie Spillane tweeted in response to one critical post by former News journo Anthony Sharwood: “Hard to expect sympathy when you’ve been trading in the opposite. NewsLtd wasn’t too shattered about ABC/SBS job losses.”

Asked about the decision to publish SBS pointed to a disclaimer on The Backburner site which reads “it is quite obviously satire and shouldn’t be taken seriously or before operating heavy machinery”.

A spokesperson told Mumbrella: “The Backburner is a satirical site which publishes articles across a breadth of topics, including local current affairs, which are clearly labeled as comedy/ satire.

“Like all of our industry, SBS is not immune to budget reductions, has had to manage job losses over the years, and we are acutely aware of the sensitivities.”

The piece quotes a fictitious sacked employee who asked to stay anonymous so as not to be “associated with News Corp” as saying: “No one wants to lose their job, even if it is essentially being a pawn to a megalomaniacal near-corpse looming over the Australian media landscape like a decrepit octogenarian Galactus.

“But with some time to sink in it’s really freeing, just like thinking about the possibilities. I could write about things that happen without trying to shoehorn them into a fear-mongering, nightmarish, right wing agenda! I may never have to type the words ‘death cult’ again!”

It adds: “A representative from News Corp told The Backburner that although the staff will be missed, new innovations in technology mean they can churn out more xenophobic shock journalism than ever before with only a fraction of the manpower.”

News Corp Australia has declined to respond to the article.

Alex Hayes


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