Alan Jones laments Daily Telegraph column dropped but remains in News Corp stable

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<span>Photograph: Brendon Thorne/AAP</span>
Photograph: Brendon Thorne/AAP

Alan Jones has denied being an anti-vaxxer and encouraging the anti-lockdown protesters in an emotional broadcast after his regular column was dumped by the Daily Telegraph.

“I now face a headline that says ‘Alan Jones no longer resonates, hack him up and put him in the broadcasting dustbin’,” the Sky News After Dark presenter said on Thursday night.

Telegraph editor Ben English told Jones he was dropping his column, which also appeared in the Courier-Mail and the Gold Coast Bulletin, because it didn’t “resonate” with readers.

The 80-year-old revealed he’s had the first dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine despite having seven blood clots on his lungs and several co-morbidities. “But that doesn’t mean that the call to ‘vax vax vax’ will get us out of lockdown,” Jones said.

After being criticised by everyone from ABC’s Media Watch to former 2GB colleague Ray Hadley and NSW health minister Brad Hazzard for anti-lockdown rants, Jones claimed he’d been misinterpreted.

It’s the second time he’s been forced to respond to criticism after his strong editorial on Monday in which he defended the so-called freedom protesters, called the chief health officer Kerry Chant a village idiot and raised doubt about the death of a young woman from Covid-19 on Sunday.

“We’re seeing the eradication and extinction of conservative values and voices”, Jones said.

The former 2GB broadcaster repeated his criticism of Gladys Berejiklian and accused her government of “embracing martial law”, entering “Stalinist territory” and “crushing business” with an extended lockdown and mandatory masks outdoors.

But it’s not all cancel culture for Jones who appears to have retained at least one bit of real estate in the News Corp stable. His regular sport column appeared in the Australian on Friday.

Sky’s apology to Hanson-Young, again

Sarah Hanson-Young has settled another defamation claim brought against Sky News Australia and will donate the $40,000 payout to the Australian Youth Climate Coalition.

Related: David Leyonhjelm to pay Sarah Hanson-Young $120,000 after losing defamation appeal bid

“An interview with Senator Duniam broadcast on 20 April 2021 concerned anti-logging protests in Gippsland, Victoria and in Tasmania,” the Sky apology said. “During the interview, Senator Duniam made claims about Senator Hanson-Young which he now accepts were false and defamatory. Senator Duniam has withdrawn those claims unconditionally and apologised to Senator Hanson-Young for making them. Sky News also apologises to Senator Hanson-Young and her family for broadcasting the claims and unreservedly withdraws those claims.”

Hanson-Young said it was “gutter journalism” to use her seven-year old niece to attack her. “These claims were utterly false, and have caused ongoing harm and stress to my family,” the Greens senator said.

“It was a brazen, lazy attempt at a political hit job. It was a lie and it should never have gone to air.

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“I was never given an opportunity by Sky News to comment on the entirely false allegations before they were published.

“Senator Duniam has since apologised and I am pleased that Sky News has now too.”

‘Have a girl in a bikini’

Political staffers were hoping to pick up some useful skills from the all-star journalism panel lined up by NSW parliament for some media training this week.

Nine’s Jayne Azzopardi, former ABC journalist Philippa McDonald and Daily Telegraph editor-at-large Matthew Benns were recruited to teach media advisers about dealing with the media.

What they got from Benns was an insight into the values of Murdoch’s Sydney tabloid.

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According to staffers who attended the online event, Benns flippantly said words to the effect of always aim for page one of the Tele but if they “have a girl in a bikini” they’ll get on page 3 and if they have a “cute animal pic” they’ll get on page 7. We asked Benns what he was thinking but he didn’t reply.

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Former News Corp photographer Anna Rogers told a parliamentary inquiry earlier this year she was directed to take pictures only of conventionally attractive young women when she worked at a different Murdoch publication.

Rogers told the media diversity inquiry earlier this year she worked in a sexist and toxic culture where photographers were directed not to take pictures of “pigs in lipstick” while the appearance of male subjects was never raised.

“While working on the Courier-Mail, I was encouraged to seek out attractive women to photograph to ‘get a better run’ in the Courier-Mail,” Rogers said. “This meant the photo would run in the earlier pages of the paper if the subject was attractive.”

As if to underline Benns’ point the page three picture in Thursday’s Tele was of young women in their underwear.

Leckie’s ‘flamboyance’ v ‘woke’

At David Leckie’s funeral last week, which was live-streamed due to Covid restrictions, a video was played which included accolades from industry leaders. Leckie’s former boss at Seven West Media, Kerry Stokes, praised the TV titan for taking Seven from the number two network behind Channel Nine to the number one network.

Leckie died aged 70 after a long illness.

However, Stokes acknowledged that the likes of Leckie with his blunt assessments and colourful language would not fly in today’s corporate culture.

“He was a rock star,” Stokes told Seven News. “No, we won’t see anything like him again. We are too woke today. No company would have the sort of flamboyance that David brought.”

ABC series cleared

The ABC’s 2020 documentary series Fight For Planet A has been cleared by the broadcasting watchdog of unfairly and inaccurately depicting Australian cattle producers and the beef industry.

Nationals Senator Bridget McKenzie has grilled the ABC about the Craig Reucassel-hosted program at Senate estimates, claiming it “denigrates our industries, misinforms children, and impacts our rural economies and towns – without factchecking thoroughly”.

“Beef producers were offended by the program,” McKenzie said. “While the ABC executive may not have thought the program was misleading, the conversation was biased and skewed towards climate.”

But the Australian Communications and Media Authority investigated episode three of the series, which explored how individual and collective carbon emissions can be reduced, and found the ABC did not breach its own code about impartiality and diversity of perspectives.

Brisso to lead Walkeys’ judging board

Weeks after leaving the ABC after a 35-year career journalist Michael Brissenden has been appointed chair of the Walkley judging board.

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In the space of a month Brisso has gone from fronting a powerful Four Corners investigation into what really happened at Australia Post to a leading gig at the Walkleys foundation. The former foreign correspondent and broadcaster replaces Lenore Taylor.

Louisa Graham is also stepping down after 10 years of service, including four as chief executive.

The chair of the Walkley foundation, Marina Go: “Louisa has displayed tremendous leadership throughout her tenure and the board thanks her for her service to the media industry.”

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“The Walkley foundation is now in the strongest position it has ever been,” Go said. “Louisa has worked closely with our partners to ensure we remain at the heart of the Australian media industry. Thanks to her and her team, we are an independent and financially stable not-for-profit. We wish her well on her next journey.”

Daily Tele’s farce offence

The Daily Telegraph has been found in breach of publishing standards for an article published last year which emphasised a person’s desire for gender reassignment surgery with the headlines FIEND’S SEX OP ON YOU” on page one, “Killer’s sex change farce” on page 6 and “Serial killer Reginald Arthurell planning sex change after jail release” online.

The Australian Press Council said the prominent and repeated references to “sex change” and the description of it as a farce was likely to cause offence, distress and prejudice to those in the community having either undergone or seeking such surgery.

“The council considered that the prominent emphasis on the gender-affirming surgery diminishes the importance of such surgery by both implying that it is not warranted and questioning whether it should be covered by Medicare,” the adjudication published in the paper this week said.

The article quoted the brother of one of the murder victims saying: “It’s disgusting to think this man will be out and trying to use taxpayers’ money to have a sex change.”

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