Journo responds after fiery exchange
Daniel Andrews fans say it wasn't journalism. Denham Hitchcock says he was just doing his job.
The Channel 7 reporter has fired back after being slammed following a press conference with the Victorian Premier yesterday.
Hitchcock's hard line of questions invoked a furious response online after the Sydney-based journalist, who has not been a regular attendee of Mr Andrews' daily briefings, engaged in a tense back-and-forth with the Premier.
Hitchcock was blasted on social media, causing the hashtag #ThisisNotJournalism to trend on Twitter.
Hitchcock this morning took to Instagram to share his response to the criticism and was met with an outpouring of support.
"Journalist asks tough questions to a politician at a press conference?," he wrote alongside a photo of a news.com.au headline.
"Reasonably certain that's part of my job description."
The press conference turned sour when the reporter asked the Premier whether he would wreck his state's economy to save lives.
He began by not answering the question directly, leading to a tense exchange with the reporter.
"Well, that's a choice that we have made as a National Cabinet from day one," he said.
The reporter responded, "That doesn't answer the question."
Mr Andrews reacted by saying the same answer again before he was interrupted.
The reporter asked him to answer the question with a yes or no.
Mr Andrews hit back saying; "How I choose to answer your questions is, with respect, a matter for me.
"And the National Cabinet has made a decision that instead of allowing this virus to spread throughout the entire Australian community, much like it is in Europe, killing many tens of thousands of people, we would fix the health problem first and then we would all, in a unified way, set about repairing the economic damage this pandemic has done," he said.
"No-one is denying that."
Critics told Hitchcock to go back to Sydney, calling him rude and accused him of making false, sweeping statements.
Dan Andrews remains calm and unfettered during a super aggressive press conference today.— I am AntiFa (@RichardTuffin) September 22, 2020
Journos being combative for no real reason and pushing obvious lines on behalf of big business and larger media interests.
It's pathetic. #ThisIsNotJournalism
While people on Hitchcock's accounts have been flooding him with support, the response is still torn.
"Keep at it, the Victorian people just want answers and (an) apology for all the stuff ups dumbo has created. Never mentions all the suicides, elderly people suffering and all the mental health issues way greater," one woman said.
Another person wrote: "Finally somebody with the guts to ask the questions we all want answers to. Thank you, thank you, thank you. Please keep at it."
One man said Andrews' supporters were always going to be haters and thanked Hitchcock for his courage and ability to ask his questions.
But many were still not convinced.
"What was the tough question? I heard a stupid one about putting lives before the economy. If you think putting the economy before lives is the way forward then sacrifice your own loved ones. Don't come here suggesting Dan sacrifices ours," said one woman.
It comes as Mr Andrews this morning confirmed for the first time that Victoria's next easing of restrictions on Sunday will go further than the original road map.
With case numbers dropping, Mr Andrews promised a "significant announcement" on Sunday and he was asked this morning whether he was considering going further than originally planned with lifting restrictions.
Melbourne's city's 14-day average was 29.4 today, well within the 30-50 case range required to move to the second step on September 28. Today the state continued its downward trend, recording just 15 new cases.
The next step on the state's road map will allow childcare and schools to reopen and gatherings of up to five people from two households.
Originally published as Journo responds after fiery exchange