Rupert Murdoch’s
Australian empire is certainly standing by its woman as Rebecca Wilson
takes on the world. This is hardly surprising given that the Wilson
family is close to journalistic royalty inside News Ltd and Rebecca
herself has forged a close and long-standing relationship with News Ltd
CEO John Hartigan. Rebecca’s father Bruce Wilson has been a roving
foreign correspondent for News Ltd out of London for years, and when
Seven fired Rebecca’s brother Jim Wilson last year the Herald Sun and Foxtel were very quick to snap up his services.

Given
the close friendship between Rebecca and Hartigan and the culture of
News Ltd to support its own and brook no criticism, it wasn’t
surprising to read this relatively uncritical profile of the controversial columnist by Sally Jackson in last week’s Media section of The Australian. Criticising a close mate of the boss would not be a good career move.

News Ltd milked the controversy as her Saturday column signed off with: “Don’t miss tomorrow’s Sunday Telegraph: Why I quit The Footy Show.” Rebecca gave her side of the story on page eight of the Sunday Tele in which she was pictured with her two sons, Tom and Will.

There was no explanation of why she decided to join the show in the
first place, except that she was asked by Nine. But there she was
ringing Nine supremo Sam Chisholm and talking to Nine Rugby League
boss, Stave Crawley (an old News Ltd sports journo mate) about her
decision to leave.

Then she sprayed the usual Fairfax suspects such as Roy Masters (but didn’t mention Sun-Herald
gossip columnist Annette Sharp, who wrote a story about Wilson’s
romantic appearance in a Clovelly Hotel recently with a high profile TV
star) and The Bulletin’s Jennifer Byrne – people and media outlets who “wanted to join in and act as a pack.”

Oddest
of all was the way News Ltd’s senior media commentator, Mark Day – who
shares ownership of a farm with John Hartigan – was wheeled out in the
same paper to defend Wilson.