ABC defends 7:30 “shirtfront” parody

2014-11-13_0842It was only the first contribution by Kirsten Drysdale (The Checkout, Hungry Beast, The Hamster Wheel) to 7:30, but her “shirt-fronting” prize-fight parody between Tony Abbott and Vladimir Putin has already raised eyebrows.

The ABC has defended the brief report, introduced by Leigh Sales as a “lighthearted look at APEC,” following criticism by Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull and some viewer complaints.

Sales even offered an introductory “warning”: “I think her tongue’s firmly in cheek”.

In the segment Drysdale joked that a looming battle could see “Our very own cyclist taking on a bear-riding, sports-fishing, gun-toting, judo-wrestling, tiger-slaying, dolphin-wrangling former KGB spy.”

Footage of the two leaders was accompanied by sports-like commentary, teasing a wrestling brawl was about to break out.

ABC defended the segment, mindful that Bryan Dawe and John Clarke’s satire had been absent from the show for some years. Drysdale was recruited for two months.

“We have been exploring new ways of including satire in the program,” a spokesperson said.

But Malcolm Turnbull said, “It would have been a pretty path­etic segment on The Chaser.

“To include it in the national broadcaster’s leading current-affair­s program is a baffling and disappointing error of judgment … The ABC is independent of government and its board of direct­ors is ultimately responsible for its editorial decis­ions.”

ABC has indicated the piece was followed by a back-announc­e outlining the serious side to the story and the nature of the meeting.

“It was conveyed very clearly to viewers that it was a humorous take on APEC.”

“I’m absolutely thrilled to be working at 7.30,” Drysdale said earlier this week.

“It’s my dream job, I hope I can meet the program’s high journalistic standards and only resort to silly costumes in extreme circumstances.”

Source: Fairfax, The Australian

17 Comments:

  1. Clearly not too many complainers recall This Day Tonight, Bill Peach, Mike Carlton etc.
    When you have a government that promised time and again before the last election “There will be no cuts to the ABC, no cuts to SBS…”, they deserve to be ridiculed.
    Perhaps Malcolm can be made wait in the props bay on Monday as “the Boardroom drinks and canapes are no longer, due to budget cuts”.

  2. I would much rather have had ‘C & D’ back-that would be a good fit, as it was previously-an end of the week commentary on the serious/ludicrous stuff that fills the show as buffoons huff and puff in public at the public’s expense.

  3. It was fun its called satire it was hilarious bloody brilliant and anyone who didn’t find it funny which is every one from the right wing as they have no sense of humor including Malcolm Turnball should just suck it up..there should be more satire on tv .bring back full frontal style satire instead of all this reality tv rubbish.

  4. It was a pathetic attempt at satire. Fail!

    7.30 has become light weight since the departure of Sarah Ferguson , so these days it is on in the background and no longer ‘must watch’ TV.Thank goodness for Lateline, at least it has extended interviews that cover all facets of the topic.

  5. I didn’t see a problem with the segment. What’s wrong with providing a bit of satire on 7.30 to lighten up the program and not make so serious and depressing.

  6. “We have been exploring new ways of including satire in the program,” a spokesperson said.

    Why? It took years of lobbying to get 7:30 to drop Clarke and Dawe and the program was slowly getting its credibility back and now this.

    Could you please do an expose about this problem? There seems to be someone high up at the ABC who is hell bent on replacing serious current affairs programming with comedy. Witness the continuing speculation that Stateline will be replaced by a program similar to The Panel.

  7. The ABC wants 7:30 to be a serious current affairs show which people will appear on. It is not the place for this, even though Abbott was an idiot for using a stupid metaphor, trivialising the issue and doing a lot of damage.

    Sales isn’t defending it, she tweeted, “I can robustly make my case in editorial meetings but ultimately, I have to present what’s commissioned.” [SMH]

  8. Well, it was no worse than the “re-enactments” and “dramatisations*” purporting to be current affairs on the other channels.

    And have we forgotten the ABC’s long history of slightly (or very!) tongue-in-cheek CA segments, dating back at least as far as TDT? They’re rightly considered ‘classics’ when they turn up on TV retrospectives.

    (In a nod to The Simpsons, I’m forced to add “* may not have happened”…)

  9. Leigh Sales has now firmly indicated that she argued against the skit in production meetings but was over-ruled.

    The dumbing down of the program is a real concern. That the ABC management appears to believe The Chaser (which is unfunny uni humour at best) and 7:30 are interchangeable is a real concern.

    I’ll have my 8 cents back please!!!

  10. 7:30 had satire for years towards the end on Thursday when they used to have Clarke And Dawe on before they were moved to before the 7pm news on Thursdays. Though I tend to agree with what followed 7:30 it was maybe the wrong day to have it on, however I think satire is fine on 7:30.

  11. I can’t see any problem with it and found it quite humorous. It was a comical take on the shirtfronting issue which has now “entered the diplomatic lexicon”. We had Dawe and Clarke a few years back.

  12. Secret Squirrel

    Have to agree. The segment was fine but I don’t think it belonged on 7:30. It wasn’t really necessary to “lighten the mood” toward the end since Mad as Hell was going to be starting at 8pm, followed by Media Circus (either of which would be perfect vehicles for her).

  13. I agree with Andrew, 7:30 is not the place for this. If they want to add some lighter variety to their schedule (and they really need to), run a few “cerebral celebrity” interviews or quirky stories as the final package. This segment really jarred, didn’t match the tone and fell flat, I thought.
    I watch 7:30 lately and feel heavy and overloaded by 8pm, but finishing with a lighter, but still interesting, piece would help (not attempted comedy).

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