The Seven Network nightly current affairs program Today Tonight has broadcast a story from Spain about disgraced businessman Christopher Skase, who fled Australia to live in Majorca. Media Watch accuses reporter David Richardson and producer Chris Adams of flaunting the journalistic code of ethics by setting up sequences purporting to show that Skase has paid off the Majorca police to prevent journalists asking him difficult questions. In fact, the Channel 7 crew is nowhere near the island, but instead filming in Barcelona.
The Today Tonight team are neatly and effectively skewered for their pretence. Stuart Littlemore takes us through their filmed set-ups, explaining how reporter David Richardson and his producer Chris Adams deliberately set out to deceive the viewers with their story.
The key to this exposé is the neat construction of the story. For the Media Watch audience, who may not have seen the original item on Today Tonight, it is repeated. The viewer is utterly convinced by the story the journalist is telling. Then the Today Tonight story is taken apart by Stuart Littlemore. Using the words of the Channel 7 presenter, who describes Skase as ‘a liar, a cheat and a thug’, a bit of cheeky editing allows Littlemore to leave no doubt in our minds about who he thinks those words best describe.
The executive producer for this very fine program was the broadcaster and writer David Salter, who worked with Stuart Littlemore for most of his years at Media Watch.