Crikey editor Misha Ketchell writes:


Steve Vizard got a lucky break yesterday in his efforts to rehabilitate himself in the eyes of the public when he discovered an intruder in his sixteen-year-old daughter’s bedroom and chased him out of his Toorak home.

No one would wish on Vizard the harrowing experience of finding an intruder in his home, where seven children were sleeping, but from a PR perspective the story has been manna from heaven for the self-confessed inside trader. It came just days after a carefully spun profile in The Weekend Oz that portrayed Vizard as the innocent victim of over-zealous corporate regulators.

Vizard exploited the intruder story shamelessly. He wheeled out his wife and 16-year-old daughter Stephanie to spin a perfect Tom Clancy yarn starring the former Australian Father of the Year revealing his true character and fearlessly protecting his family.

And the media played along, with both the Herald Sun and the Oz splashing the story across page three. (The Age was a little more circumspect). Here’s how James Madden and Richard Gluyas in the Oz spun the yarn:

Steve Vizard might be disgraced in the eyes of the business world, and no longer welcome at Melbourne’s A-list parties, but after a break-in at his exclusive Toorak home yesterday, his daughter gave the former television comedian a new label – “action hero.”

Stephanie Vizard loves her dad, and she did what any 16-year-old would do when she told the Herald Sun that “kids are going to be lined up for the Steve Vizard action doll.” But that doesn’t mean newspapers need to buy it.

And does it make it right for a disgraced insider trader to use a young girl as a character witness in this way?

Peter Fray

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Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey

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