So Media Watch has now been back for two weeks, and things are, er, different. The unfairly maligned Liz Jackson is gone (back to Four Corners after only one year at the post), and the newly appointed Monica Attard is now staring down viewers.
Last week they led with a fairly weak story investigating the validity of those "message in a bottle" stories that seem to turn up far more often than is likely. Turns out, surprise, they're mostly fakes. A CSIRO oceanographer was brought in to decredit claims of enormous distances travelled, which bodes well for the programme's closer focus on research, but a slight feeling of dismay remains - bottles in the ocean? Is this really the kind of stuff Media Watch is here to look into?
The final story was, of course, those cartoons. Unfortunately, it amounted to little - a quick mention of Tim Blair, a deflection from ABC Managing Director Russell Balding, and an underhanded jab at "Western ideologues who insist we must see the cartoons" (I guess that's me).
Attard herself was serviceable, but one must wonder where the show is going when the leading story amounts to little more than page three trash (that's Herald Sun-style, not English tabloid), and the biggest story is tucked up the back with barely anything to add to the debate.
Week two, and things didn't improve much. Again the leading story was little more than news fodder - this time a story about how Launceston's Kim and Dave SEA FM radio show had one over, it seems, the rest of the nation (well, those who cared, anyway), when they made a prank call about the possibility of a Ricky Ponting statue being erected in the local area.
Well, sorry Monica, but this is about the time that we needed a nice, icy stare from ol' Liz, and a frank "who cares?"
Because I certainly didn't.
Things improved from there, with a small expose on a Channel 9 cricket interview with Betfair founder Edward Wray - a conflict of interest, when one consider that Betfair is fifty percent owned by Packer's PBL.
All in all though, Media Watch seems to have lost a little of its shine. Hopefully it will get better, but if not, perhaps Attard should just go back to watching her hair.