Michael Pascoe writes:
What’s the difference between a Murdoch executive “lying” and “misleading”? The ownership of the newspaper that reports it, perhaps.
The Channel 7 team had one of its better days in the mammoth Kerry Stokes v The World court case yesterday as News Ltd’s chief general counsel Ian Philip admitted to lying and “possibly” defrauding Telstra. There was also a little matter of destroying documents that Philip feared could be used against him, plus some insight into how News was prepared to control the NRL to News’ advantage, along with an amended witness statement by Philip.
In all, it was pretty meaty stuff that gave rise to the SMH report headlined “I lied – top News lawyer tells court.”
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Over in News Ltd’s Australian though, the same evidence is headlined “News witness admits misleading Telstra on NRL” and the first paragraph also runs softly, using “mislead” rather than the L word for what Ian Philip had been doing.
Is this nitpicking – or an example of how News Corp publications can’t be trusted to run straight when things get close to home? Murdoch’s various organs have long since failed any integrity test when it comes to reporting their master’s commercial interests or political beliefs, but given the interest Justice Ronald Sackville has already taken in The Australian’s coverage of the case, one might have thought the paper’s editors would attempt to deal with it as evenly as it would any other story.
But then again, probably not.
Meanwhile the court is left with the inevitable problem when dealing with someone who admits telling lies: how can you ever know when he or she might be telling the truth?