Transcript: Part of 'Media
Watch' - ABC TV - 9.15 pm, 3 March 1997
Media Watch is headed by
the prominent Sydney barrister, Stuart Littlemore QC. The researchers for the
programme investigated the claims in the 'Please
Explain' media release of 19 February 1997. The following transcript was taken
from the video tape recording of the programme.
Media Watch Transcript
Stuart Littlemore (SL)......but wait there's more. On ABC radio, to which the
same anti-commercial policies apply, or do they? For instance Radio National's
"Science Show", presided over by Robyn Williams, a man close to canonisation.
He's just completed a presentation of a four part series on why people should
keep dogs and cats. Oh! they didn't admit that was the subject, but it was. Written
and narrated by a publicist for something called 'the Pet Care Information and
Advisory Service', which it seems fair to say, is nothing more than a front for
the multi-national pet food manufacturer Mars, through its Australian subsidiary
Voice Over (VO)..."Funding is provided by Uncle Bens of Australia".
SL...Uncle Bens makes Pal, Meaty Bites, Whiskas, Dine, My Dog, Goodo, Kitty
Kat and Chum amongst others. They've cornered 65% of the prepared pet food
market in this country and through their Petcare Information and Advisory Service
front, they pay the wages of a vet called Jonica Newby. Here she is doing a 'sub-rosa'
TV commercial for Uncle Bens.
Jonica Newby (JN)..."No matter what type of person you are or what type of
lifestyle you have, there's a dog that's perfect for you. And remember a dog is
a friend for life."
SL...And here she is in Women's Weekly writing about pet care. On the page opposite
an advert for an Uncle Bens product. And again, and again. And here's her intro
from Robyn Williams.
Robyn Williams (RW)..."Today is the start of a four part 'Science Show' series,
written and presented by Dr Jonica Newby, who's a vet from Melbourne".
SL...What he should have said is that she works in the pet food promotion business.
No I'm wrong. She shouldn't have been on the ABC at all. It's a crudely subtle
pitch. Jonica Newby didn't tell us to buy Pal in so many words, but to keep pets.
Well we have to buy food for them don't we?
JN... "Being a multi-cultural society means being multi-species as well"
SL...Oh, and more such arrant tosh, highly insulting to her audience's intelligence.
Urban planners feel Uncle Bens lash for not encouraging greater consumption of
Meaty Bites. Again the whistle was blown by listeners, vets who don't share Jonica
VO.. "Why were the listeners not told that the author and presenter of the
programmes works for the Pet Care Information and Advisory Service, a division
of the Mars group of companies?"
SL...The science show's executive producer, Amanda Armstrong, replied that they
knew all along.
VO..."Dr Newby is..... a consultant to the Petcare Information and Advisory
VO..."the series has nothing to do with Dr Newby's consultancy to Petcare"
VO..."listeners are told in programme 4 that Dr Newby works as a consultant
SL... but not told until the whistle was blown, not told the correct name, not
told what PIAS is, and not told who funds it.
RW..." 'Animal friends' was written and presented by Dr Jonica Newby who's
a vet, consultant to Petcare Advisory Services..."
SL...So... and I'm sorry to say there are further problems with commerce and ABC
radio but I've run out of time. That perhaps and false by lines will have to wait
until next week, good night to you.