Labor lapped up supposed revelations former prime minister Kevin Rudd secured more Pfizer vaccines until the story fell apart, according to Sky News Australia Digital Editor Jack Houghton.
“This week the ABC taught us a valuable lesson in how misinformation and activist journalism can spread like wildfire through society,” he said.
“Laura Tingle – the ABC’s chief political correspondent – sent Twitter and morning television into a spin after publishing her exclusive report suggesting former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd played a role in Australia’s new Pfizer vaccine supply arrangement.
“The headline: Senior business figures turned to former PM Kevin Rudd to intervene in bringing forward Australia’s Pfizer vaccine supply, was tweeted by Tingle and subsequently re-tweeted more than 3000 times.
“Labor and the Twitter elite lapped up the revelations because as senior MPs interpreted the report, it was evidence the mighty Kevin Rudd had stepped in to secure more Pfizer vaccines in the absences of Prime Minister Scott Morrison.”
Pfizer released a statement describing the media reports by the ABC as “inaccurate”.
“Recent media reports suggesting that any third party or individual has had any role in contractual agreements reached between Pfizer and the Australian Government are inaccurate.
“The only two parties involved in these agreements are Pfizer and the Australian Government.”
Mr Houghton said journalists particularly should be careful to check facts before believing headlines.
“Well this should serve as a lesson for Tanya Plibersek, Turnbull and an even more brutal lesson for Natalie Barr, who is supposed to be the journalist in this instance, not to simply swallow talking points you haven’t personally vetted,” he said.