Australian TV network sprung fabricating live crosses by rival

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Australia’s Nine Network has issued an apology after the rival Seven Network caught Nine News fabricating live crosses to the search site for murdered schoolboy Daniel Morcombe. The network issued a statement after Saturday and Sunday’s Nine News bulletins in Brisbane, which featured presenter Eva Milic crossing “live” to the site with the caption: “Near Beerwah”.

The rival Seven Network, based nearby, lifted the lid on the scam after filming the Nine News chopper almost 100 kilometres south of Beerwah – on the helipad outside the studio, with lights on and blades in motion while Cameron Price reported from inside. Nine admitted to faking Sunday’s cross; issuing a statement on Monday blaming bad weather.

“Our chopper was forced to divert from Beerwah due to bad weather, and air control instructed them to touch down,” it read.

The network also told media industry website mUmBRELLA that “the producer was unaware until it was too late to abort or delay the cross”.

Doubts have been cast over the truth of this statement, however, as it has since emerged that the chopper was also absent from Beerwah on Saturday, and was in fact circling Brisbane’s western suburbs during Melissa Mallet’s report. Director of Queensland Seven News, Rob Raschke, questioned the merit of Nine’s claims, telling Brisbane’s Courier-Mail, “the idea of not knowing where a $3 million helicopter is defies belief”.

A revised statement yesterday announced a Nine investigation into why the location of the helicopter was misreported on both nights, describing the situation as “unacceptable”.