‘Offensive’: Dan’s fans attack Leigh Sales
Supporters of Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews have accused ABC broadcaster Leigh Sales of "cheap jibes" in a viral war of words on social media.
The attack came in response to Wednesday's 7.30 report, which covered the state's handling of the coronavirus pandemic.
Victoria's hotel quarantine saga and the inquiry that followed after COVID-19 outbreaks at two hotels were linked to infection control breaches by private security guards was a particular focus of the program. So too was the mystery surrounding who was actually in charge of the ill-fated scheme, with 7.30 claiming "problems inside hotel quarantine were evident from the beginning".
But the controversy kicked off even before the episode went to air, after Sales shared a teaser on Twitter questioning what changes had been made to the systems that led to the hotel "quarantine fiasco" and the contact tracing failures, so that "Victorians can trust another outbreak won't occur".
But supporters of the Premier didn't take kindly to the message, with one Twitter user labelling it "offensive".
"Why do you do this, Leigh, don't you realise this confrontational manner is uncalled for and offensive to us Victorians," one Victorian wrote to Sales on Twitter.
"Cut out the loaded questions and cheap jibes."
Sales hit back in response, arguing it was her job to ask the tough questions.
"I view my job as asking questions that help Victorians learn about the decisions made about their lives and livelihoods, by people in power, whom Victorians elect and pay for with their tax dollars," Sales tweeted.
The exchange sparked a pile-on, attracting more than a thousands likes, shares and comments and with many Twitter users suggesting Sales should focus her questions on the Ruby Princess disaster or federal government failings in private aged care.
"NSW did use private security for quarantine as well. What you should be concentrating on for Victoria is how remarkable Premier & his team have been in dealing with massive number of infections," one Twitter user wrote, while another posted: "Why is fiasco only used in relation to Victoria and not Ruby princess and the problems with NSW hotel quarantine. Words matter".
Nothing confrontational about it - I view my job as asking questions that help Victorians learn about the decisions made about their lives and livelihoods, by people in power, whom Victorians elect and pay for with their tax dollars. https://t.co/8ay7wc1DiK— Leigh Sales (@leighsales) September 23, 2020
"What changes have been made to the systems that saw the Ruby Princess fiasco? The Ruby Princess not only spread COVID-19 around Australia but to other countries as well. Bit tired of your Andrews bashing Leigh when Gladys seems to be let off the hook," another shared.
Mr Andrews is facing mounting pressure over his hard line lockdown and road map to "COVID normal", with many Victorians growing increasingly frustrated by the restrictions as case numbers continue to fall.
The dissatisfaction culminated in the viral "Give Dan the Boot" campaign designed to push him out of office - but at the same time, the "I Stand With Dan" movement has also emerged, with supporters of the leader publicly singing his praises.
In August, more than 130,000 people registered for a public Facebook event called "Give Dan Andrews a Virtual Hug".
This week's Newspoll also revealed two-thirds of Victorian voters continued to back Mr Andrews.
Originally published as 'Offensive': Dan's fans attack Leigh Sales