After a six week campaign it is finally time to award the "Hack of 2004" trophy to the journalist who has done the least for fair and balanced coverage.
Firstly to a couple of preliminary awards.
Worst story of the campaign goes to Steven Wardell for his hack job on Labor candidate Ivan Molloy. Wardell was up against some stiff competition but his ability to add a totally inacurate context to a photo to back up his story, was the decisive factor. Congratulations Steven.
Most disgraceful editor of the campaign goes to Peter Blunden in a landslide. Not only did he allow reporters in his paper to shamelessly misrepresent the Greens policies, he defended the stories on ABC radio, and backed them up with a series of editorials. I haven't seen a greater series of political lies since the children overboard affair.
Worst opinion piece of the campaign. I could have given this to a hard news story in the Herald Sun or Daily Telegraph because the lines are now so blurred it is hard to tell where news starts and comment ends. But the winner is Andrew Bolt for shamelessly misrepresenting scientific data in this article. Bolt claims, "much recent warming may have been caused by a brighter sun, Germany's Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research says", but have a look at the Institute's press release.
Worst editorial goes to the Herald Sunday Sun for insulting the intelligence of their readers beyond what is humanly possible.
The "God is a conservative award" is a dead heat with Andrew Bolt and Janet Albrechtsen leading the way.
The Dutch Reform Church award for divisive journalism goes to Andrew Bolt and he wonders why people think he is a racist.
Worst headline. It was "Greens Grab for Widow's Millions" in the Herald Sun's paper edition, but for legal reasons it has been changed on their web site to Anger over grab for widow's millions. I seriously hope the Herald Sun gets sued.
Second prize for "The Hack of 2004" goes to Glenn Milne for repeated pro-Liberal beatups. No doubt Milne is in line for a promotion at News Ltd.
And now the big one. Drum roll please. The winner of the "Hack of 2004" award for doing the least for fair and balanced journalism goes to Gerard McManus.
McManus got off to a strong start misrepresenting the Greens drug policy and just would not give up.
Perhaps it was the public humiliation McManus recieved at the hands of Bob Brown in front of the entire press gallery that made the "Hack of 2004" award winner so determined to destroy the Greens. McManus just didn't care how low his credibility sunk.
McManus attacked the Greens economic credentials with a pathetic analysis of business investment during the "recession we had to have".
He then gave the Molloy beatup a kick along, before sealing "The Hack" with another pathetically partisan attack on the Greens tax policy.
Congratulations Gerard, Perhaps a holiday in North Korea may do you some good. You may learn to respect democracy a little more.