TV Networks : Hello Ratings Bonanza And Major CatFight
By Darryl Mason
A massive public brawl has broken out between the two highest rating 'current affairs' programs in Australia over which one would, or would not, help rescue a six year old boy allegedly under threat of being "consumed by cannibals."
Yeah, that's right. A six year old boy, Wa-Wa, living in a remote region of Papua has been determined by his tribe - one of the last in the world to supposedly still practice cannibalism - to be full of evil spirits and therefore he must be eaten in some kind of tribal feast.
What better story to enjoy on the tele at dinner time?
'A Current Affair' claims they were never interested in doing the story of Wa-Wa's rescue. 'Today Tonight' claims they had the means and the contacts to rescue the kid. Presumably they would have had permission from little Wa-Wa's parents or guardian to feature him so prominently in such a controversial story. They must have. Otherwise it would be...exploitation or something.
And 'Today Tonight' would never stoop so low.
And just how did Today Tonight find room in its packed schedule of quality stories detailing 'society falls apart', 'dodgy councils' and 'bogan mum with ten kids to ten different dads' to fit in this heartwarming tale?
Child in danger. Lost tribe. Cannibalism. Heroic rescue by glamour gal talking head.
How could they possibly resist?
But the 'Today Tonight' team didn't get "We Saved Wa-Wa From Becoming Dinner" story.
They got another story instead. About their craptacular adventure.
A better story?
Maybe not. But it's far more entertaining.
'Today Tonight' host Naomi Robson was busted by Indonesian authorities trying to enter Papua on a tourist visa and was briefly jailed, then tossed out of the country.
Now Robson's team now claims that their rival, 'A Current Affair', dobbed them in to the Indonesian authorities to screw up their story and embarrass the star host.
From the Sydney Morning Herald :
The head of Seven's news and public affairs, Peter Meakin, said his crew had secured a team of locals to help Wa-Wa "or whatever his name is".
"I can't think of too many people who had a motive to shop us into the authorities for trying to save a child from being eaten other than ('A Current Affair')," Meakin said.
Here's Channel Nine's head of news and current affairs in reply to Meakin's allegations :
"They get off a plane and they have at least a dozen camera cases … If you try to do that in Jayapura with your hair extensions hanging off you and you say, 'We are here to write a story on cannibals', what do you really expect them to say?"
But what about Wa-Wa, Mr Meaking? You remember, "Whatever His Name Is"?
There you go. Australian journalism at its finest.
"What's going to happen to the little boy is now in the lap of the gods," Meakin said.