‘The Project’ Says Airing Edited ‘Not My PM’ Footage Was ‘A Mistake’
‘The Project’ has addressed criticism the program edited footage of Scott Morrison’s meeting with a firefighter, after Monday night’s segment sparked accusations it ‘mislead’ the public.
The footage of the Prime Minister's visit to an evacuation centre in Mudgee, NSW, was aired as part of the show's bushfire coverage.
During the segment, a brief exchange between Morrison, federal MP Andrew Gee and a Rural Fire Service volunteer named Jacqui was aired.
"Jacqui, this is the Prime Minister," Gee said, as Jacqui and Morrison were shown shaking hands.
"He's not my Prime Minister," Jacqui responded.
The footage quickly went viral on Twitter under the hashtags #JacquiForPM and #NotMyPrimeMinister.
But it later emerged the footage was not shown in full, prompting 'The Project' to to address the criticism on Tuesday night.
"Last night, we brought you a clip from an RFS volunteer called Jacqui. We need to make a correction," host Waleed Aly said.
"It turns out there was a longer exchange between Jacqui and the PM that followed that where she explained she was in fact a UK citizen and that's why ScoMo was not her PM."
Aly said significant parts of the clip were "inaudible ... so we couldn't actually deduce what was in that exchange."
But he acknowledged the mistake.
"This was clearly not a deliberate mistake on our part, it was however a mistake nonetheless," he said.
"We take full responsibility for it."
In the full version of the footage, Jacqui clarifies to Morrison that he is not her Prime Minister because she "is not a resident" of Australia.
"We need to sign you up as an Aussie," Gee went on to say, before Morrison added, "Yeah ... and you can be."
The footage prompted Morrison to also share his version of events.
"Indeed, as Jacqui joked with me yesterday, I'm not her PM, because she's British, Boris Johnson is," Morrison wrote on Twitter.
"But with local MP Andrew Gee, we made a decent pitch for her to become an Aussie yesterday. She & the other RFS volunteers have been doing an incredible job battling these blazes."
Gee offered a similar explanation on Facebook.
"Some people have asked what we were laughing about with Jacqui," he wrote on Monday night.
“Jacqui is a British, citizen, not Australian, with quite a clear British accent. We were jokingly trying to get her to sign up for Aussie citizenship after Jacqui lightheartedly (but correctly) pointed out that ScoMo wasn’t her PM for that reason. Boris is Jacqui’s PM!”
The viral footage also saw some media outlets incorrectly attribute Network 10 Political Editor Peter van Onselen as the segment presenter. Van Onselen was not involved in 'The Project's' coverage of the story.