Mike Carlton has launched a stinging attack on the ABC's Australian Story, claiming his comments were "selectively edited" by the show's producers to give a glowing account of his former radio rival Ray Hadley.
Carlton launched his tirade via his Twitter account, describing the program, which aired on Monday night, as a "travesty", "disgrace" and "garbage".
ABC betrayed its audience: Carlton
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ABC betrayed its audience: Carlton
Fairfax columnist Mike Carlton says the ABC's Australian Story program 'sugar-coated' their segment about Ray Hadley and left out criticisms about the radio broadcaster.
On Tuesday, Carlton tweeted: "Bizarre that last night's Australian Story on Ray Hadley should be a 30 minute commercial for a rival broadcaster. The show was a disgrace.
"I was selectively edited to make it look just that. I'm angry at this travesty, lodging a formal protest with the ABC ... It was unethical and irresponsible. A disgraceful pierce (sic) of television."
Carlton said it was "infuriating" that "my views were totally distorted by selective, unethical editing. In short: garbage".
Carlton told PS he had already informed Australian Story's executive producers he intended to lodge an official complaint and had requested his original, uncut interview be maintained.
Australian Story's producers are currently preparing a response to Carlton's claims.
A spokeswoman for the show made it clear no one, besides the producers, had "editorial control" over what made it to air on the program, which is known for presenting mostly favourable portraits about its subjects.
Carlton said: "They absolutely have editorial control over the program but they also have a responsibility to present what I said in its entirety and not distort and misrepresent my comments to present a false impression of my views.
"Australian Story has betrayed their audience, they didn't tell the truth, just the sweet bits."
Carlton said he told Australian Story ''a lot of strong things about Hadley's behaviour, especially with some of his colleagues, mentioned names and repeated the answers to them", yet it had not been broadcast.
Carlton, who writes a weekly column for Fairfax Media, the publisher of this website, fumed: "I described his program as a temple of hatred ... By selectively and deceptively editing me, they recruited me into his fan club."
An Australian Story spokeswoman said Carlton's comments, were "weighed up very carefully" but referred to the ABC's editorial policies.
"We evaluate accuracy, fairness, balance and right of reply issues in deciding what to include and what to exclude. As well as editorial issues, there may be legal issues such as defamation risk."
The spokeswoman has defended the program, maintaining that the episode on Ray Hadley "fulfilled the brief of putting new material into the arena about a significant and controversial public figure."
"Ray Hadley's anger issues were the prism through which the program was tackled and indeed were mentioned multiple times from the introduction onwards .... We included more than one example of actual audio tape of Ray Hadley losing his temper. We included acknowledgements from Ray Hadley himself and his employers and his family regarding his 'scary' disposition and intolerant nature. His wife also spoke candidly about Ray Hadley losing his temper at home and the personal consequences for their relationship," she said.
"We dispute Mike Carlton's claim that he was unethically and deceptively edited and 'recruited into his fan club'. We sought Mike Carlton out as a critic and in the program all his key criticisms of Ray Hadley were covered within the bounds of normal editorial practices regarding accuracy, fairness, civility and balance," the ABC spokeswoman continued.
"Mike Carlton says the program should have sought out more critics. The program did detail specific instances of bullying behaviour along with Ray Hadley's own concessions about being a 'dinosaur' and needing to reform his workplace conduct. In the course of research we spoke at length to several alleged victims, all of whom declined to appear. (The only exception was an individual, previously on the record in relation to an alleged incident some 15 years ago.)"