It wasn’t exactly a grovelling apology, but broadcaster Waleed Aly has been forced to make an embarrassing clarification over a segment poking fun at Scott Morrison last night. The Project on Monday ran a brief clip of an interaction between the prime minister and a Rural Fire Service volunteer named Jacqui.
In it, it appeared the woman was having a pointed dig at Mr Morrison as he toured the Mudgee evacuation centre in regional New South Wales.
But it was the exact opposite.
“Jacqui, this is the prime minister,” MP Andrew Gee said as he introduced Jacqui to Mr Morrison.
“He’s not my prime minister,” she replied.
The brief exchange was caught on cameras by Channel 10 and The Project ran only a small section of the footage, showing Mr Morrison giving Jacqui a wry smile while Mr Gee laughs awkwardly.
The panel had a good laugh and ignited a social media firestorm, but by this morning it was clear that some pretty questioning editing had taken place.
Jacqui and Mr Morrison’s conversation continued long after the clip was cut off.
And had it been played in full, viewers would’ve seen Jacqui’s explanation to Mr Morrison that she’s British and therefore he wasn’t her Prime Minister.
At the start of tonight’s episode of The Project’s, Aly blamed part of the footage being “inaudible” as he issued a correction.
“We couldn’t deduce what was in that exchange,” he said.
“We spoke to the Rural Fire Service today. Jacqui wants to be crystal clear, the comment is lighthearted, she has no issue with the PM.
“This was not a deliberate mistake on our part but was a mistake nonetheless. We think it is
important to come clean. So we take full responsibility for it. We hope that clears it up.”
The program was slammed throughout today for being “misleading” and “utterly dishonest”.
“There’s plenty to discuss about the PM without making stuff up,” Sky News political reporter Annelise Nielsen tweeted.