tip off

Gina Rinehart definitely doesn’t like the internet

Australia’s newest media mogul might need a crash course on new media. It appears her grasp of it is, shall we say, about as poor as some of the intra-family relationships she’s trying to keep from scrutiny.

Attached to the affidavit from Gina Rinehart’s lawyer outlining why she fears the lifting of the suppression order could jeopardise the safety of her family are a number of examples from … the internet. Including, ahem, us.

We in the media collectively hand-wring over how horrible comments can be under online stories. But there is a significant difference between nasty, crude and at times not particularly witty, and a genuine threat to someone’s life or property.

Exhibit A: yes, that’d be Crikey commenters. As usual everyone cops a serve, including the Labor government for watering down the mining tax. But no one’s threatening anyone’s safety here:

Then there’s someone’s Tumblr with a rather colourful word starting with “c”. Not very nice, no. But a rather amusing sub-heading: ”And Solomon Lew is stealing your dreams, one swimming-pool sized piece of land at a time.”

Someone’s also been trawling Twitter and then, in a fine tribute to the analog era, photocopying it. (A big hello to everyone out there on the #auspol hashtag.):

Then there’s more from our faithful comment crew:

Oh, and something from the guys at BigFooty:

On it goes. OK, so you’d expect Rinehart’s lawyers to go looking for every possible skerrick of evidence that someone, somewhere might not like their client. Imagine all the billable hours racked up by Corrs’ lawyers surfing social media looking for people calling their client nasty things. Must’ve made a welcome change from their usual jobs.

But then there’s the separate matter of the security report that Rinehart commissioned, by former Army officer and security professional Michael Humphreys, which purports to detail the nature of the threats to Rinehart that make it necessary that no one know stuff about her. This is where the internet really comes in for a shellacking.

For example, did you know that “a feature of media reporting that has rapidly emerged in past few years is ‘crowd sourcing’ by ‘citizen journalists’”? Yes. According to Humphreys’s report: “‘Crowd sourcing’ is where individuals using mobile phones pursue reports on incidents and the activities of other individuals by feeding real time information to social media sites such as Facebook, YouTube and MySpace. People with high media profiles are particularly vulnerable to this type of reporting and for them it has security implications because their movements and activities can be tracked by members of the public and criminals.”

Not merely are those pyjama-clad “citizen journalists” putting real journalists out of work (via, presumably, their “weblogs”), they’re putting Rinehart in danger! “Crowdsourcing provides the media with powerful information collection capabilities that may raise profiles to the detriment of victims,” the lawyers complain.

What were we saying about élite victimhood a few weeks back?

The security report concludes that if the Rinehart suppression order was lifted, “it is also likely to be widely discussed in social media and on blog sites. Social media is likely to rapidly amplify and sensationalise issues.” And there you were thinking amplifying and sensationalising issues was the job of the mainstream media. Like any good beat-up job on the internet, the report also mentions the threat of cyber-attacks on Rinehart from “issue-motivated groups”.

Don’t let anyone suggest, however, that Humphreys didn’t do a comprehensive report. In trying to establish the media profile of John Hancock — born John Rinehart — Humphreys professed difficulties, because “John Hancock was one of the founding fathers of the United States of America, and is therefore extensively mentioned in articles and web news discussing American history” and “‘John Hancock’ is a colloquial expression for the signature of a person” (indeed, Humphreys might have worked out those two things are related due to Hancock’s rather large signature on the Declaration of Independence …).

Joking aside, bear in mind the logic of Rinehart’s suppression order: that no one should know anything about her because if they do, they might discuss her online, and therefore the risk that “organised criminals”, “petty” criminals, “deranged persons”, “issue-motivated groups”, “foreign governments” and “terrorists” might harm her or her family is increased.

On that basis, no wealthy individual or company should be discussed anywhere, ever. And this woman fancies herself as a media mogul?

8
  • 1
    puddleduck
    Posted Friday, 3 February 2012 at 1:39 pm | Permalink

    A bit of a hoot, indeed. So Mrs Rinehart would like mouthpieces to spout her views, but no one is allowed to talk about her interests with her name in the sentence?

    And does this mean her people read Crikey? Or were these bits taken from eithe rpublic pieces on Crikey, or were you the subject of a subpoena?

    I’ve been wondering why she doesn’t start her own newspaper? Why buy and dominate another paper? Build in one’s own image, dear. Or at least, Daddy’s. The Hancock Tribune? The Pilbara Bugle?

  • 2
    drovers cat
    Posted Friday, 3 February 2012 at 1:48 pm | Permalink

    Well, if she reads crikey she can’t be all that stupid. Is she a squatter?

    btw I am only responding here in order to appear in a future crikey story … can’t stand the woman, really

  • 3
    Coaltopia
    Posted Friday, 3 February 2012 at 2:07 pm | Permalink

    From the now infamous Age bio:

    What made headlines were courtroom revelations that Rinehart had paid potential witnesses (more than $200,000 in one instance). Coroner Alastair Hope spoke of gross irregularities in Rinehart’s private investigation, and of the “potential corrupting effect on the evidence of witnesses”, but did not recommend action. Jim McGinty, then attorney-general in the Labor state government, described the payments as “one of the most unsavoury and improper episodes ever seen in a Western Australian court”

    So, now is Fairfax the personification of a witness which can be paid into silence? (While maintaining a stasi-like minions to trawl comments and suppress dissent).

  • 4
    Steven Warren
    Posted Friday, 3 February 2012 at 2:37 pm | Permalink

    Wait so Rina can pay a witness $200,000 but one of her kids only has $60,000 to their name…..

    That’s what the kids are doing wrong. They should selling their services as character witness in her favour, in the same court case they are prosecuting against her trying to wrest the family trust off her.

    Guaranteed pay-out for the kids.

    I hope these comments make it into her next court submission.

  • 5
    Holden Back
    Posted Friday, 3 February 2012 at 2:40 pm | Permalink

    Someone said something rude about ME on teh interwebz!?

    Off with their head!

  • 6
    Edward James
    Posted Friday, 3 February 2012 at 2:51 pm | Permalink

    I had trouble seeing the bits enough to read but she and her influence is BIG enough to notice. I hope she buys all of fairfax and uses it to her advantage! Edward James

  • 7
    Posted Friday, 3 February 2012 at 3:07 pm | Permalink

    I’m not sure that Rinehart - or probably more likely, her advisers - believe all that stuff about the interweb. I suggest her advisers thought of all the arguments that might support a permanent injunction, including the ridiculous.

  • 8
    skink
    Posted Friday, 3 February 2012 at 3:09 pm | Permalink

    I’ve looked at the list and as I’m not a terrorist, a foreign government or a criminal I must be a deranged person.

    PS: I am down to my last $60k and need a butler urgently

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