Media Watch: Paul Barry apologises after false claim about Sky News host who broke down when she realised she knew Bondi stabbing victim

The host of ABC’s Media Watch, Paul Barry, has issued a stunning apology for falsely suggesting a Sky News presenter ‘set reporters on the trail’ of Bondi stabbing victim Dr Ashlee Good.

Dr Good was one of the six victims killed by knifeman Joel Cauchi in the bloody rampage at the Westfield Bondi Junction shopping centre on Saturday afternoon.

Her nine-month-old baby Harriet was also stabbed but survived. On Tuesday, the infant’s condition was downgraded from critical to serious and she was moved out of the ICU.

On Saturday evening, shortly before Dr Good was identified as the first fatality, Sky News host Laura Jayes revealed during a tearful live cross from outside Westfield that she knew the 38-year-old osteopath personally.

She did not name Dr Good or offer any identifying information, only saying she was an ‘incredible athlete’ and ‘so excited to be a new mother’.

However, Barry falsely suggested her report was the spark that set off a firestorm of media coverage which Dr Good’s family would later complain violated their privacy.

A day after Media Watch went to air on Monday, Barry issued a mea culpa on X.

He acknowledged Jayes,¬†40, was not responsible for subsequent media coverage and had in fact taken care to protect her family’s privacy while disclosing her personal connection to the victim.

‘Just wanted to say [regarding] last night’s [Media Watch] that [Jayes] was very careful to protect her friend Ashlee Good’s privacy in that emotional live cross from #BondiWestfield’ he said.

‘She didn’t “kick it off”. My mistake. Sorry. PB.’

Dr Ashlee Good, 38, was one of six people killed in the mass stabbing at Bondi Junction

Paul Barry on Monday's episode of Media Watch

Laura Jayes during the live cross on Saturday

Barry, 72, (left) accused Jayes, 40, (right) of ‘setting reporters on the trail’ after she revealed she personally knew osteopath Dr Ashlee Good, 38, during an emotional live cross

A day after Media Watch went to air on Monday, Barry issued a mea culpa on X (pictured). He acknowledged Jayes was not responsible for subsequent media coverage and had in fact taken care to protect her family's privacy while disclosing her personal connection to the victim

A day after Media Watch went to air on Monday, Barry issued a mea culpa on X (pictured). He acknowledged Jayes was not responsible for subsequent media coverage and had in fact taken care to protect her family’s privacy while disclosing her personal connection to the victim

Barry’s apology came after he smugly accused Jayes on Media Watch of ‘setting reporters on the trail’ after she shared details about the life of Dr Good.

He then excoriated the media for using photos from Dr Good’s Instagram account.

Jayes had taken great care in her live cross not to identify the first-time mum, even though she likely knew her name would soon become public knowledge.

‘There’s one victim I do know about and it’s just so cruel…’ Jayes said.

‘She has a beautiful circle of friends, she was an incredible athlete and she had the world at her feet.

‘Her family are on their way rushing here now, so many family and friends wanted to be at the hospital this afternoon, they had to take turns going in and out of the waiting room.

‘They both [Dr Good and her child] went into surgery, her husband not knowing if either had survived and now the worst possible news.

‘I just can’t really get my head around it. It’s just so cruel.’

Crucially, Jayes ended by saying she didn’t want to ‘betray the trust and the privacy of the family right now’ and that she ‘couldn’t imagine’ how they were feeling.

After Barry’s apology, many viewers praised Jayes for protecting Dr Good’s privacy while also struggling with a ‘deep personal loss’.

‘I thought LJ’s interview at the time was very good, also responsible in protecting AG’s identity,’ one person said.

‘As a Sky subscriber, Laura Jayes did a brilliant job for her viewers in the most distressing of conditions on Saturday,’ another said.

‘I have not seen anyone else do other than praise Laura’s reporting and composure under what must have been the most intensely distressing of circumstances.’

Dr Good was one of six people who were killed after Joel Cauchi, 40, entered the busy shopping centre armed with a 30cm knife on Saturday afternoon.

Five women were killed – Dr Good, Dawn Singleton, Jade Young, Pikria Darchia and Yixuan Cheng – as well as one man, security guard and refugee Faraz Tahir.

Dr Good’s nine-month-old baby, who was injured in her pram, was moved from ICU into a ward after undergoing surgery for her injuries.

The mass stabbing marked Sydney’s worst massacre in over 20 years with dozens leaving floral tributes outside Westfield Bondi Junction this week.

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