NNot even a close relationship with News Corp co-chairman Lachlan Murdoch and his wife Sarah could save Christopher Dore’s career at the company after he allegedly acted drunk in California last month.
Sources say senior News Corp officials observed highly inappropriate drunken behavior from Dore well before he attended a party in Laguna Beach that the Guardian knows caused him to lose his job.
The alleged drunken behavior at the WSJ Tech Live event hosted by Robert Thomson, global head of News Corp, and executives from Murdoch’s Wall Street Journal was the final straw, sources told Weekly Beast.
When Dore was editor of the Daily Telegraph in 2016, he attended a New Year’s Eve party described by former Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull in his autobiography, A Bigger Picture.
“We threw a New Year’s Eve party at Kirribilli House (at my expense) and watched the fireworks from the Governor-General’s lawn – apart from a tirade of drunken abuse from one of Murdoch’s editors, it was a likable evening,” Turnbull wrote.
Multiple sources said Dore was the editor in question and that he was “incoherently drunk” at the party, which was also attended by then-Australian editor Paul Whittaker and his wife, as well as the chairman of News Corp’s Herald and Weekly Times group (and Rupert Murdoch’s ) participated niece) Penny Fowler.
It is understood that at least some of the “drunken insults” Dore dished out were aimed at the Prime Minister himself at the gathering, which was attended by friends, media executives, several members of Turnbull’s ministry and staff.
Although this allegedly inappropriate drunken behavior was apparently well known at the Governor-General’s official residence in Sydney on Holt Street, Dore was promoted to Editor-in-Chief of the National Broadsheet in 2018, the fourth Murdoch imprint he edited in his 31-year career.
The company says Dore has resigned for health reasons. Two days after the shock announcement, editor Michelle Gunn told staff she understood they were feeling “heavy hearts” after Dore left because of “personal health issues.”
“Chris wants you all to know that he’s going to be okay,” Gunn said. “And he knows you’ll join me in sending him all the best.”
Weekly Beast reached out to Dore and News Corp separately for comment, but received no response.
However, well wishes may not have been so accommodating at The Walkleys last week. Michelle Gunn was scheduled to present the Walkley Award for Outstanding Contribution to Journalism at the gala event as the category was sponsored by News Corp Australia.
But at the last minute, well before the awards ceremony, Gunn pulled out, and News Corp executive Nicholas Gray was a late draftee.
Gunn did not respond to a request for comment on the reason for the sudden change. The category winner was Sally Neighbor, the former executive producer of Four Corners, who isn’t exactly a favorite of the Murdoch masthead.
Neighbor – along with reporter Louise Milligan – has been the subject of relentless criticism in The Australian, including the butt of a vicious editorial last year.
“Many Australian executives are well acquainted with the work, habits and hubris of Sally Neighbor and Louise Milligan,” the editorial said of the journalists, both of whom worked for the newspaper.
The Walkleys’ managing director, Shona Martyn, told Beast: “Certainly Michelle was ready to present it and it became Nicholas Gray. But I couldn’t say she backed out because she didn’t want to give it to her.”
Nine News and Today sports presenter Tony Jones was interrupted by his own Apple Watch while covering the World Cup this week. He paused the live broadcast to tap his watch and say “stupid watch.”
Jones later told Neil Mitchell on 3AW that he hadn’t figured out how to turn it off before going on air.
“It was someone who is … heavily involved in the state election who called me to give me some information about a particular story,” Jones said.
Grimshaw says goodbye
After 40 years on television, Tracy Grimshaw bid farewell on Thursday with an episode celebrating the fighters she helped on A Current Affair, complete with a final novelty check from Coles for a flood-hit community.
Grimshaw bade farewell with a scathing defense of the shameless tabloid TV show she has hosted for 17 years. She said critics of the show fondly recall the “good old days, when Mike Willesee shredded an unlucky politician and the programming we were told was supposedly top-flight.”
“You forget this is the same Mike Willesee who caught Hoges [Paul Hogan] once a week in his stubbies to sample meat pies or interview a beauty queen.
“Well, we haven’t always gotten it right over the years. A few years ago we fell in love with bra stories. Yeah, let that sink in for a second. i hated her And now we don’t do bra stories anymore. It was a struggle to stop the power going to my head.”
Anthony Albanese, John Howard, Ita Buttrose, Steve Liebmann, Jeff Kennett, Eddie McGuire, Andy Lee, Josh Frydenberg, Sooshi Mango, Sam Newman and Nick Giannopoulos all paid tribute.
“We are your show and the millions of you who watch every night know that,” she said. Many Thanks.”
When the popular star left the studio, Nine Entertainment hosts and executives lined up to praise her, including Nine CEO Mike Sneesby, news anchor Peter Overton, Today show hosts Karl Stefanovic and Ally Langdon, and the programmer Michael Healey.
ABC misstep on Rinehart
In the 1980s, Gina Rinehart’s father, the late mining tycoon Lang Hancock, put forward the infamous proposal that Indigenous Australians should be sterilized to solve “the problem”.
Last month, ABC Hobart Breakfast host Ryk Goddard, referring to the backlash over Hancock Prospecting’s sponsorship of Netball Australia, wrongly said that Hancock “wanted to euthanize the entire Aboriginal community”.
After complaints, ABC found that Goddard had violated ABC’s editorial standards, because what Lang Hancock actually said was, “Those who are of no use to themselves cannot accept things, the half-breeds, and this is where most are.” If there were problems, I would spike the water so that they would be sterile and they would breed in the future and that would solve the problem.”
Goddard was also found in violation for saying Rinehart “still defends that comment” because she never defended her father’s comment, the ABC noted.
Friendlyjordies fire horrors
Friendlyjordies, the YouTuber best known for his political commentary, is taking an “indefinite hiatus” from producing videos after his Bondi home was hit by an alleged arson attack.
“I think we’re just going to turn the videos down a bit, and by sound back I mean it was for a while for obvious reasons. [I’ll] Come back to that at some point, but right now Friendlyjordies is on an indefinite hiatus,” he said.
NSW Police said officers are investigating links to another fire at the same house on November 17.
ABC TV’s announcement that a reboot of the great Australian sitcom Mother and Son is coming to the screens next year reminded a former ABC journalist of a relic from the show that had been neglected for years at ABC TV’s old Gore Hill studios in northern Sydney stood .
The 1955 Morris Minor convertible driven by actor Garry McDonald as Arthur Beare was dumped in a dusty open garage in the late 1990s after the show ended in 1994. The ABC eventually auctioned it off to an anonymous fan for $18,000.
ABC believes in diversity
A media diversity report released this week found that journalists with Anglo-Celtic backgrounds were still “far over-represented” on television and that their representation had even risen from 75.8% in 2020 to 78% in 2022.
Green Party Senator Mehreen Faruqi told parliament the defensive remarks by some media executives about the results were “disappointing, to say the least. There is clearly resistance to acknowledging the depth of this problem, let alone addressing it seriously.”
The report had drawn criticism, most notably from ABC, whose news anchor Gavin Fang questioned the methodology.
Among the free-to-air channels, ABC and SBS have done far more than commercial channels to address the lack of diversity on the air, behind the scenes, and in the disability space.
On Friday, Wiradjuri woman Suzanne Dredge was appointed to the new ABC role of head of Indigenous News, where she will partner with ABC Indigenous Affairs Editor Bridget Brennan to establish and lead a standalone Indigenous reporting team.
Dredge, a three-time Walkley winner, said there has never been a First Nations staffer on the News Executive team in ABC’s 90-year history.
“The media plays an important role in commissioning and reporting stories that contribute to how we see the world, which is why First Nations people need to be part of the storytelling and decision-making at the highest levels,” said Dredge.