Packer and Gyngell looked like they were going to get away with it, until Twitter called it in. And other media tidbits of the day…
How Twitter called it in. Another day, and there’s still reams of pages about the Packer/Gyngell brawl in The Daily Telegraph. Even though many reporters clearly weren’t too horrified at the events, plenty of people were, and they wondered why the duo hadn’t been charged by police. On May 5th, New South Wales Police were asked why they hadn’t pressed charges, and responded that they hadn’t received any specific reports. In response, twits began calling in reports of the bout, sharing the phone number of the Bondi police station around to encourage more people to do so. And then, lo and behold, there was an investigation. Freelance writer Darryl Mason wrote about the events on The Orstrahyun, noting:
“If the same media personalities who shed tears on TV over coward punches and ugly street violence earlier this year weren’t shocked and disgusted by these two men punching each other out in broad daylight, then, seriously, what the hell was the whole anti-street violence campaign about?
“But be sure of this one thing — if people on Twitter hadn’t rallied and taken action to make sure even James Packer and David Gyngell are dealt with by police the same as the rest of us, and have to live by the same laws, their media pals, and employees, who were talking down this brutal act of street violence and pretending it was meaningless and ‘no big deal’ would have won, and no police investigation would have begun today. Or at least, it would have been far less likely to have begun.”
A charge could prove damaging, especially for Gyngell. As head of Nine, he runs a publicly listed company, and corporate Australia is unlikely to look kindly upon a conviction, should it come. Packer’s got plenty to worry about, too — if our video of the day shows anything, it’s how widely news of his punch-up has spread around the world, including into countries where he’s hoping to open casinos. Watch this space … — Myriam Robin
In a flap over Nando’s. Meanwhile, Nando’s was more than happy to take the whole thing lightly, but the chicken giant’s response has ruffled a few feathers. Nando’s put a picture on social media early yesterday, featuring a picture of Gyngell v Packer with the gag line, ‘There was only one piece of Nando’s chicken left & both were quite hungry at the time.” The picture illustrating the blue came from a set that cost News Corp over $200,000. Rival outlets had been very careful in steering clear of any copyright infringement, but Nando’s dived right in. Mumbrella reports that Media Mode, which sold the pics to News Corp, demanded Nando’s take the picture down, which it did by the afternoon.
ABC’s allies come to its defence. The campaign to save the ABC from budget cuts has geared up, with ABC staff and supporters preparing for the worst. Days after the Commission of Audit recommended axing the Australian Network, staff-elected ABC board director Matt Peacock has written to all staff warning of the “major effects” any cuts would have. “There is no real flexibility within current services to trim ‘fat’,” he wrote.
Meanwhile, over 60 MPs will be getting a visit from local GetUp members today, there to deliver a petition of 245,000 signatures calling on the government to not cut the public broadcaster’s funding. It’s not the only community campaign — the Media Entertainment and Arts Alliance and Community and Public Sector Union-backed “Cakes for the ABC” initiative yesterday took ABC-inspired cakes to a rally outside Malcolm Turnbull’s office. On the weekend, 3000 people rallied in Melbourne and Sydney at a GetUp-organised protest on the same issue. — Myriam Robin
Do police media units stymie journalism? In South Australia, police are barred from speaking to the media, and it’s making crime reporting and true crime writing harder than ever, said The Advertiser’s news editor Derek Pedley in a speech last week. He fears that there will never be another century like the one we’ve just had in true crime writing:
“As every journalist in Adelaide knows, it has now become virtually impossible to extricate information from the SA police media section, unless they decide they have a good reason to do so. And this has happened because somewhere along the way, they have quietly declared themselves to be the gatekeepers and disseminators of news and information, instead of performing their traditional role as a primary source of news and information. Adelaide journalists are seriously concerned that this has set a dangerous precedent.”
Lewinsky speaks in Vanity Fair. After holding her silence for almost 20 years, Monica Lewinsky has spoken up about her relationship with Bill Clinton while she was a White House intern. Vanity Fair has the piece, and it’ll hit newstands on May 8. For now, the magazine has published some extracts on its website:
“Sure, my boss took advantage of me, but I will always remain firm on this point: it was a consensual relationship. Any ‘abuse’ came in the aftermath, when I was made a scapegoat in order to protect his powerful position … The Clinton administration, the special prosecutor’s minions, the political operatives on both sides of the aisle, and the media were able to brand me. And that brand stuck, in part because it was imbued with power.”
Video of the day. The Taiwanese animators barely had to change anything with this one…