Life is sweet when you own your town’s newspaper. South Australian trucking magnate Allan Scott AO is certainly having a post-modern field day rewriting history in Mount Gambier.

First, he ousted the editor of the Scott family-owned Border Watch for dissing the region’s Liberal candidate, as revealed ABC TV’s Media Watch in May. Then, as Crikey reported last week, The Border Watch failed to report that a Scott tanker had overturned just outside Mt Gambier causing $150,000 damage and blocking the main road for hours.

There was, however, no mention of these two incidents in the paper yesterday when Scott was basking in the glow of a Queen’s Birthday honour. In the two-page spread that started on the front cover, the proprietor was humble: “I’m still me and I’ll keep on doing what I do without worrying about those sort of things”, said Scott.

As for editorial independence Mount Gambier-style, there’s the Border Watch article on 18 May that began: “The Scott Group of Companies [sic] Mount Gambier Gold Cup Carnival is expected to inject up to $10m into the city’s economy.”

$10 million? Well, last year’s much larger V8 Clipsal 500 event in Adelaide had an estimated economic benefit of $26 million on the back of the creation of the equivalent of 360 full-time jobs and 15,600 interstate/international visitors. This year, the Mount Gambier Gold Cup was expected to attract crowds of 6,000 (according to that reliable source, The Border Watch).

So did it really bring in $10 million? Seems improbable, unless it’s measured in Mount Gambian currency.

Peter Fray

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Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey