The Wonderful World Of Walkley Winners


1. The Media Alliance code of ethics requires that “personal interest, or any belief or commitment” does not “undermine your accuracy, fairness or independence”.

After the last election former Greens leader Bob Brown criticised the Murdoch daily The Australian. An editorial then responded with which of these statements:

(a) We do not always agree with the Greens. But we are committed to maintaining accuracy, fairness and independence.
(b) From time to time we disagree with Bob Brown and the Greens, but we recognise that their contribution has been overwhelmingly positive for the nation.
(c) We believe he and his Green colleagues are hypocrites; that they are bad for the nation; and that they should be destroyed at the ballot box.
(d) The Greens are, we believe, going too far on this occasion. But we accept their right in a liberal democracy to defend robustly the interests of their constituents.

2. The last three years in Canberra have been incredible times for political journalism: deals forged and broken in a hung Parliament, new parties launched, bizarre leadership challenges, one party leader setting a world record for deliberate untruthful statements, and an unprecedented rate of legislative achievement.

So what has the quality been like? One measure is the Walkley awards, of which 34 are given each year.

Question: In the current parliamentary term, how many of the 100 or so Walkleys have gone to Canberra Press Gallery members covering events in the nation’s capital?

(a) Only half: about 50.
(b) Only a quarter: 25.
(c) 10.
(d) Two.
(e) None.

3. In one of Australia’s most celebrated media trials, Judge Mordecai Bromberg found Andrew Bolt guilty of deliberately lying about Aboriginal people in two racially-motivated attacks in the Herald Sun.

“Untruths are at the heart of racial prejudice and intolerance,” he observed in the matter of Eatock v Bolt.

How many fabricated allegations did the judge identify in the two offending Herald Sun articles penned by Andrew Bolt?

(a) Four
(b) Seven
(c) Between 10 and 13
(d) More than 19

4. Australia’s declaration of the world’s greatest marine national park last November was hailed around the world.

Greenpeace: “The Australian government should be applauded for showing real leadership in ocean conservation, and emerging as a world champion on marine reserves both within and beyond national waters.”

Which of the following (all genuine) headlines appeared in a Murdoch publication in Australia?

(a) Progress! Australia creates the world’s largest network of marine reserves.
(b) It's official: world's biggest marine park.
(c) Australia creates world's largest system of marine parks.
(d) Historic marine park decision supported by overwhelming majority of Australians.
(e) Marine park lock-up is a national folly.
(f) WWF praises people power in spurring national marine parks decision.

5. The Australian in June 2012 headed a news story "Europe won't be 'lectured' by Julia Gillard, EC chief Jose Manuel Barroso has said".

This was found by the Australian Press Council in April to have been fabricated because:

(a) The comments by the European Commission President were directed at Canada and the USA.
(b) No mention was made of Julia Gillard or Australia at all.
(c) The word "lectured" in inverted commas which the newspaper claimed was "said" was not said at all.
(d) All of the above.

6. The most thorough investigation of any media corporation in history recently concluded in Britain.

Which of these assertions did the Leveson Parliamentary inquiry find true of Rupert Murdoch:

(a) His newspapers deliberately invent stories with no factual basis.
(b) His editors are reckless in running sensational stories, with no consideration for the harm they cause those affected.
(c) His employees deploy covert surveillance, blagging and deception with no public interest justification.
(d) His newspapers vigorously resist complaints as a matter of course. When an apology is required, his papers get their own back by high-volume, extremely personal attacks on those who challenge them.
(e) Discriminatory, sensational or unbalanced reporting in relation to ethnic minorities, immigrants and asylum seekers is routine in his company, not just an aberration.
(f) Rupert Murdoch is not a fit person to run a major international company.
(g) All of the above.

7. The extent of criminal activity in the global Murdoch empire is seldom reported in Australia. Rarely do the mainstream media – Murdoch, Fairfax or the ABC – touch the subject.

So take a guess at the number of people, including senior Murdoch executives and police officers, arrested and formally charged as a result of the illegal phone-hacking scandal in Britain. (Just the phone-hacking, not other criminal activities. Just in Britain, not elsewhere.)

(a) 14 arrested, four charged.
(b) 34 arrested, eight charged.
(c) 64 arrested, 18 charged.
(d) 104 arrested, 28 charged.
(e) One too few.

8. In January, Australia’s Opposition leader Tony Abbott told the National Press Club that “the rest of the world was not going anywhere near carbon taxes or emission trading schemes …” That was breathtakingly false and a crude insult to scores of presidents and prime ministers who have succeeded with hard-won carbon taxes or emission trading schemes.

In the days and weeks following, the number of mentions of this bizarre lie in Australia's mainstream media – Murdoch, Fairfax and the ABC –  has been:

(a) Only about 20 across all media.
(b) Only about 10 across all media.
(c) Just the one.
(d) None.

9. In which city did it actually happen that a popular daily newspaper wrote a series of articles over several months insulting, vilifying, humiliating and lying about an elected member of the federal Parliament, then asked a "jury" of 12 of their readers if they trusted that MP, then ran a front page banner in large type “WE DON’T BELIEVE YOU”?

The front page had no written story, just a full-page heading and a doctored photo of the MP with a Pinocchio nose. The MP had not been charged with any offence.

(a) Bulaweyo, Zimbabwe.
(b) Suva, Fiji.
(c) Melbourne, Australia.
(d) Bogota, Colombia.

10. An article in the Herald Sun and Daily Telegraph in March was headed “Julia Gillard's gift to Australia is massive and growing debt”.

Why should we be suspicious of this article?

(a) The figures of both GDP and workforce were inaccurate.
(b) The comments from economist Saul Eslake regarding Australia were actually made about Canada.
(c) The analysis ignores the global financial crisis.
(d) One author is Gemma Jones, who was found by the Press Council to have falsified figures in two articles on the NBN.
(e) Both the Herald Sun and the Daily Telegraph have been proven to fabricate facts and figures routinely to deceive their readers.
(f) All of the above.

11. Over the last several years News Limited’s Hedley Thomas, Glenn Milne and Ean Higgins, Fairfax’s Mark Baker and others along with their editors have written more than 100 articles, opinion pieces and editorials attacking Julia Gillard’s character and fitness to lead in the so-called AWU scandal.

Those allegations – which related to a period before Gillard was in Parliament – were found to be baseless. No summons has been served. A summons was served on Tony Abbott earlier this year in a matter arising from activities when the now Opposition Leader was in the Parliament.

In the lead-up to this actual Supreme Court case – first heard on 9 May and now adjourned until late June – how many articles analysing the character and fitness for office of Tony Abbott were written by these journalists and editors?

(a) None.
(b) Zilch.
(c) Zero.
(d) Nought.
(e) All of the above.

12. News journals around the world this month praised Australia’s remarkable economy again. Growth in gross domestic product (GDP) for the first quarter of 2013 has come in at above 0.5 per cent for the eighth consecutive quarter. Associated good news is that the Aussie dollar is falling back to more comfortable levels for Australian exporters. At last!

Here are six actual news headlines. Which one appeared in an Australian newspaper?

(a) Australia Impact: Q1 GDP rises 0.6 per cent, in line with RBA's forecast.
(b) Australia GDP growth surges in Q1.
(c) Exports Drive Australian Economy.
(d) March numbers reveal strong GDP growth in Australia.
(e) Dollar hit hard again as GDP growth disappoints.
(f) Australia's GDP Grows 0.6 per cent in First Quarter.


1. (c) The newspaper wants the party destroyed.
2. (e) None.
3. (d) More than 19. I count 22. Details here. In two articles. A world record?
4. (e) In the Daily Telegraph. The other reports are easily googled.
5. (d) all of the above.
6. (g) all of the above.
7. (d) 104 arrested, 28 charged. So far. More will follow in due course.
8. (d) None. But was reported in the alternative media.
9. (c) Melbourne, in the Herald Sun.
10. (f) All of the above.
11. (e) All of the above.
12. (e) Dollar hit hard again as GDP growth disappoints.

Disputes welcome and correspondence will be entered into.

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