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Photograph: Joel Carrett/AAP

Sections of the media have not taken news of the Victorian lockdown well.

The Sky News host Peta Credlin said on Thursday night: “Today should have been that day when this Victorian government finally died of shame.”

On Friday the Herald Sun’s front page – headlined “Lockdown 4.0: 160 Days and Counting” – painted a bleak picture of the state where everything is “banned”, even school and footy crowds.

But it was Credlin whose rhetoric may have stepped over a line, invoking the idea that Labor leaders could be “whacked” with baseball bats for the “epic incompetence and ineptitude” of the Dan Andrews government.

Credlin claimed that the federal Labor leader, Anthony Albanese, was trying to shift blame to Scott Morrison for the lockdown because he was “fearing that Victorians would come at him with their baseball bats” at the next election.

“Trust me, there is more than enough baseball bats in Victoria for both Albo and Andrews to cop a whack,” Credlin said on her Sky After Dark show.

Red faces at home affairs after media pass debacle

The Morrison government’s decision to issue a far-right activist with a criminal record a media pass for state visits has sparked a review of the whole accreditation system.

This month Weekly Beast revealed that Rebel News’ Australian correspondent Avi Yemini had been issued a National Visits Media Card on the basis he had “100 points of identification” and was a member of a “registered media organisation”.

This week a Department of Home Affairs official told Senate estimates “the incident”, which saw the serial pest given the pass, had “certainly given rise to us to review the arrangements” – while stopping short of admitting it had been a grave mistake.

The Greens senator Mehreen Faruqi, who questioned the department about the debacle, welcomed the review but said it was “frankly bizarre” he’d been granted a card in the first place.

“Surely his application should have rung some alarm bells,” Faruqi told Weekly Beast after estimates.

“You really have to question whether home affairs is taking the far-right threat seriously when they’re dishing out government media passes to a far-right agitator who has called himself ‘the world’s proudest Jewish Nazi’.”

“The department is currently reviewing the National Visits Media Card,” a spokesman told Weekly Beast. “As this review is ongoing it would not be appropriate to comment further.”

Maiden v Wilkinson

It’s not often that the same story is nominated twice in the same award category. But the Our Watch award for the mid-year Walkleys is to be contested by two stories detailing Brittany Higgins’ allegations of sexual assault: Samantha Maiden’s print version for and Lisa Wilkinson’s TV interview for Ten’s The Sunday Project. Wilkinson, who shares the nomination with colleagues Angus Llewellyn and Georgia Done, delivered a powerful interview but Maiden went first and spent weeks talking to the young staffer.

Kenny on Media no more

The Australian’s associate editor Chris Kenny, who loves nothing more than mouthing off about the media, has lost his gig as the poor man’s Paul Barry, hosting Kenny on Media on Sky News.

The move was announced in a friendly piece in the Australian as one made to “free up time for other pursuits, including making more political specials for Sky and writing more columns”.

Interestingly, Kenny is being replaced by Sky’s young digital editor, Jack Houghton, who has been auditioning for the role as a rightwing commentator by popping up on other shows on Sky After Dark, as well as standing in for Kenny.

For those of you who will miss Kenny, he has promised to be back with more specials like his Turnbull and Rudd documentary.

“It’s a bit like letting your children leave home,” Kenny told the Oz about losing his show. “But I’ll still be having a focus on media in my 5pm show.”

ABC signs deals with Google and Facebook

David Anderson used Senate estimates to announce that the ABC has signed letters of intent with Google and Facebook for payments under the news media bargaining code.

“When these commercial deals are concluded, they will enable the ABC to make new and significant investments in regional services,” Anderson told a Senate estimates hearing on Wednesday.

“These investments will provide a huge boost to the regions at a time when many areas of regional and rural Australia have experienced a withdrawal of media services.”

Earlier the communications department gave an update on which 12 organisations have signed with Google and the seven that have signed with Facebook. They are:

Google: News Corp, Seven West Media, Junkee Media, Nine Entertainment, Schwarz Media, Industry Super, ACM, the Conversation, Solstice Media, Private Media, Guardian Australia and Times News Group.

Facebook: News Corp, Seven West Media, Nine Entertainment, Schwarz Media, ACM, Solstice Media, Private Media.

Win wins grant scrutiny

Last August the Morrison government granted $4.5m to the regional television operator Win to “support regional broadcasters and publishers to maintain or increase their production and distribution of public interest journalism in regional Australia during the Covid-19 pandemic phase”.

This week Win announced it was axing local bulletins in Queensland, Victoria and southern New South Wales, and replacing them with state-wide bulletins from 1 July. Mackay, Bundaberg, Hervey Bay, Orange, Dubbo, Wagga Wagga, Griffith and Albury-Wodonga will now only have state-wide bulletins – a huge blow to regional journalism.

Given that applicants for the grants were “required to maintain existing levels of journalism production and distribution during the grant period”, we thought this was pretty odd timing. The grant period, according to the Grant Connect website, ends on 27 August 2021.

We asked the communications minister, Paul Fletcher, if Win stood to lose any of its millions as a result of this cut, and a spokesperson said the department had met with Win this week to discuss the issue.

“The department receives periodic reports from all PING grantees and can assess whether any of the terms of the grant have been breached,” the spokesperson said. “In that case there are provisions for part or all of a grant to be returned. The department also looks at other information.”

Antic’s antics

The Liberal South Australian senator Alex Antic is rapidly taking over from his Tasmanian colleague Eric Abetz as the chief antagonist of the ABC at estimates. Antic baldly declared that the ABC “swings to the favour” of the “terrorist organisation” Hamas and is “institutionally antisemitic” in its coverage of the conflict in Gaza.

The ABC’s unflappable managing director, David Anderson, and editorial director, Craig McMurtrie, disagreed with this characterisation. But Antic persisted, saying the ABC had a clear bias towards Hamas and Palestine and “continually misled the viewers”, especially in terms of the “Jewish people’s ancient connections” to Israel.

“The claim is unjustifiable,” an ABC spokesperson said when asked about the senator’s assertions. “No other Australian media organisation has done more on the ground reporting in the region with a commitment to informing Australian audiences of all perspectives of a highly complex and contested situation.

“ABC journalists frequently find themselves in dangerous situations while gathering news yet consistently apply the highest editorial and ethical standards while they do so.”

As for the audience, they appear fairly split on which side the ABC is biased towards. As of Sunday 23 May there have been 57 editorial complaints referred to ABC audience and consumer affairs. Of these, 29 (51%) allege particular coverage was pro-Palestinian and/or anti-Israeli; 24 (42%) allege a pro-Israeli and/or anti-Palestinian bias.

“The remainder raise other matters, including accuracy issues,” the spokesperson said. “There was an increase in complaints received overall, which is not unusual when covering a story of this nature. Since the ceasefire was announced complaints have abated.”

ABC lawyer resigns after Twitter posts

David Anderson also revealed at estimates that a lawyer, Sebastien Maury, who worked on the Four Corners episode about Christian Porter, had resigned in the wake of some Twitter posts, including one that called the Morrison government “fascist”.

“We did an investigation on that, we followed the process, we got to the end of that process and Mr Maury resigned – he no longer works at the ABC,” Anderson told the Senate hearing.