Roundup: Ben Roberts-Smith case starts, ABC senate hearing, Foxtel + more

ABC david anderson and ita buttrose

• Plus AMC stock saw and Kyle Sandilands coronary

Business of Media

Roberts-Smith allegations driven by jealousy: barrister

Ben Roberts-Smith’s barrister says the former soldiers who have spoken against his client are jealous of the Victoria Cross recipient’s accolades or traumatised by the violence of war in Afghanistan, reports AFR‘s Max Mason.

In the opening day of Roberts-Smith’s defamation action against Nine, Bruce McClintock, SC, said there had been a “poisonous campaign” against his client, driven by soldiers who were either jealous of his military achievements, and post-armed forces life, or were traumatised and had “false memories” that were “aided by credulous journalists”.

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SAS Ben Roberts-Smith seeks largest damages ever for war crime allegations

Elite soldier Ben Roberts-Smith has killed in the heat of battle but is not an “ostentatious psychopath” from the likes of Apocalypse Now who carried out war crimes in Afghanistan, his lawyers say, reports News Corp’s Perry Duffin.

The first day of the defamation case has heard it is a story of courage and devotion to duty against “corrosive” attacks by those who forget soldiers must kill in battle.

Roberts-Smith arrived alone at Sydney’s Federal Court on Monday morning and faced a barrage of news cameras.

His only response was to thank a lone, elderly supporter who wished the Victoria Cross recipient “good luck” in the upcoming two-month trial.

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Foxtel’s Patrick Delany says regulation needed to ensure domestic TV market is competitive

The nation’s television streaming market has been “significantly impacted” by the dominance of unregulated global giants, Foxtel Group chief executive officer Patrick Delany said, reports News Corp’s Sophie Elsworth.

Speaking at Senate estimates in Canberra on Monday, Delany said regulation was needed to ensure the domestic TV market could remain competitive.

“Our industry in Australia has been significantly impacted by competition from unregulated global streaming services such as Netflix, Amazon Prime and Disney+,” he said.

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AMC Stock Surge Continues Amid Reddit-Fueled Meme Mania

AMC Theatres warnings to investors that they could lose their shirts in the giant theatre chain’s latest stock sale, or CEO Adam Aron appearing to have gone without pants during a recent webcast has failed to halt a steep rise in the company’s stock price, reports The Hollywood Reporter’s Etan Vlessing.

On Monday, shares in parent AMC Entertainment Holdings were trading up $6.04, or just over 12 percent, to $53.93 — after opening the day up 20 percent in value. The cinema chain has seen its share price dramatically rise and fall due to casual traders encouraged by the online WallStreetBets group on Reddit to buy up and meme AMC’s stock.

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Scrutiny on ABC staff over social media posts

ABC managing director David Anderson says he will look into potential breaches of the broadcaster’s social media guidelines by one of its senior journalists, Four Corners executive producer Sally Neighbour, after intense criticism from Liberal MPs at a Senate hearing on Monday, reports News Corp’s Sophie Elsworth and James Madden.

Anderson was caught off-guard on Monday when Liberal senator James Paterson asked the ABC boss if he was aware Neighbour had “liked” a number of posts on Twitter that appeared to mock Christian Porter in the hours after the former attorney-general settled his defamation matter with the broadcaster.

Anderson said he was not aware of the activity, but told the hearing he would to “look into it”.

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ABC: $780,000 in costs after defamation case

A defamation case launched by former attorney-general Christian Porter has cost ABC about $780,000, reports TV Tonight.

No damages were paid following the settlement, but ABC managing director David Anderson said the public broadcaster had agreed to cover mediation costs.

“The total so far, both paid as well as accrued, is approximately $680,000, and that’s before the payment of $100,000,” he told a Senate Estimates committee this morning.

“So costs incurred would be about $780,000 to the ABC.”

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News Brands

ABC: Unfortunate it’s reported we’re working on Four Corners story

ABC managing director David Anderson has denied ‘pulling’ an episode of Four Corners and backed the current affairs team, reports TV Tonight.

Last week media reports suggested Anderson had pulled an episode alleging links between PM Scott Morrison and a QAnon member. The episode was due to air last night, but yesterday the ABC boss expanded on the editorial outcome to a Senate Estimates committee.

He confirmed the episode had been upwardly referred to him by News boss Gaven Morris.

“As editor in chief I independently reviewed that story and wrote a note back suggesting that I felt there were concerns about a couple of areas, and was looking for other things to be strengthened within the story. But otherwise to proceed on. So it would be incorrect to say that I pulled the story. I didn’t pull the story. The story is still underway and look it very well may go to air,” he said.

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Kyle Sandilands slams Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s baby name

KIIS radio host Kyle Sandilands has accused Prince Harry and Meghan Markle of hypocrisy after they named their newborn daughter after the Queen and Harry’s late mother, Princess Diana, reports News Corp’s Mibengé Nsenduluka.

The shock jock criticised the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s baby name Lilibet “Lili” Diana Mountbatten-Windsor after it was revealed they welcomed the birth of their second child on Friday.

“I heard Brooklyn [Ross] mention it this morning at 5.30am on my way in and I nearly had a coronary, I was not happy,” Sandilands said on the Kyle and Jackie O show on Monday.

“They want to distance themselves from the royal family but every name is… they hate the royal family, I don’t know what’s going on with them. I get Diana, Harry’s mother… I like [Lilibet] but I don’t want them using it. Instantly I didn’t like it.”

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