The media spent eight months vilifying Peter Slipper over Ashby, but when the Federal Court ruled it was a political set-up — suddenly they weren't interested. Margo Kingston comments on the scandal behind the conspiracy.
ON THE 12th of December 2012, the Federal Court handed down its judgement in James Ashby’s sexual harassment case against the Speaker Peter Slipper. It was sensational — a political conspiracy to abuse the court system with vexatious litigation to destroy a political opponent.
The mind boggled.
I’d just joined Twitter, and was surprised to get a tweet predicting there would be little coverage.
Nonsense, I replied. There’ll be intensive investigation by journos — ‘they will go for it after being conned by Libs twice’. The first time, of course, was the just completed torrent of publicity on the Prime Minister’s pre-politics role in setting up a fund later used for fraud, which ended with nothing of substance proved.
I was wrong.
No page one splashes. No page ones at all in the Murdoch tabloids, which had broken Ashby’s allegations to the Court with a splash and then kept splashing. In the Daily Telegraph, a small news story on, wait for it, page 17, with the misleading headline ‘Court rejects SLIPPER case’.
Me, I’ve made a complaint about the Daily Telegraph’s coverage to the Press Council, signed the inquiry petition, and broken the story that the recent court summons against Slipper for old travel claims defies normal practice. I got that scoop because my sources didn’t think the MSM was interested.
When it sticks in twitter’s craw, Twitter makes the running.
[This is the transcript of a ‘What’s stuck in my craw’ monologue podcast by Something Wonky on 18 January 2012. You can read Independent Australia's full investigation into Ashbygate by clicking here, or on the image to the right.]
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