Spectator Australia mangles history. The Spectator Australia is out in cracking form, with a robust defence of the record of one George W Bush — or a defence at least of the possibility that someone someday might think he dun good, with contributors including one J Howard. But the piece de resistance is the editorial which suggests that of Bush’s regime, as Chairman Mao said of the influence of 1789, ‘it is too early to tell’. Very erudite, except for the fact that it was Zhou En-Lai who made the celebrated remark. Did no-one at the entire magazine have the basic nous to spot this? Ah well, everyone gets their fifteen minutes, as Mike and Mal Leyland once remarked. — Guy Rundle

Matthew Newton’s PR rehabilitation: Channel 9’s heavily spruiked TV drama series Underbelly: A Tale Of Two Cities has been slammed for glamourising s-x, violence and crime before it even airs tonight. An explicit “leaked” viral online trailer featuring bums, boobs and bloodshed has the usual wowsers led by the always outraged Reverend Fred Nile frothing that the series is “p-rnographic“. Of course, Nine deny any involvement in the distribution of the ‘shocking and disgusting’ clip. Nevertheless, the controversy has certainly boosted public awareness of the show’s more salacious aspects. There’s no such thing as bad publicity. Especially for Underbelly star Matthew Newton, it would seem.

Much of the show’s promotion has focused on Newton’s “impressive mix of chilling menace and charm” as Kiwi drug dealer Terry “Mr Asia” Clark. Bert Newton’s son — “born into Australian TV royalty” according to A Current Affair — has been receiving glowing tributes to his acting talent with little mention or criticism of his own past. Lest we forget, Newton pled guilty to assaulting then girlfriend Brooke Satchwell in 2006, before avoiding a recorded conviction by appealing his sentence.

Judge Joseph Moore claimed media attention had “acted as a considerable measure of punishment, which (Newton) has endured in a way that shows him great credit”. Now, all is forgiven by a media happy to forget or at least forgive. It’s the culmination of an apparent long-term strategy to rehabilitate Newton’s damaged reputation since Nine have so much invested in Underbelly‘s ratings success. It’s been quite a turnaround in fortunes for Newton. When the assault allegations first surfaced, commercial radio station Nova dropped Newton from a mooted presenting gig. Public opinion against Newton forced station management to cancel his contract. Now, the press is happy to report “Matthew Newton is a reformed man” who has “put the incident behind him“.

The whole event has been glossed over by focusing on Newton’s “emotional problem” and the “severe shame and remorse for the attention he has brought on his family and friends”, if “the incident” is even mentioned at all. Finally, cue promotional pics of Newton in character, wielding an axe:– Neil Walker

Channel Seven frays viewers nerves: As if viewers’ emotions weren’t already more than a little frayed as they watched the Victorian bushfire coverage, Channel Seven got creative with a telephone call from one of their correspondents, Norm Beaman. Beaman told anchor Jennifer Keyte a nightmarish story of talking on the phone to his wife who was defending their property. He had lost contact with her just after she had been screaming and saying she was going to jump in the dam with a blanket over her. Beaman was in tears over the phone as Keyte questioned him, he told Keyte he didn’t know if his wife was still alive. Channel Seven then cut back to the newsdesk where Jennifer Keyte told viewers that, fortunately, they’d spoken to Beaman earlier that day and that he now knew his wife was OK. Could they not have disclosed that before airing the phone call? Watch here.

Newsreader Naylor dies with wife. Esteemed former Channel Nine newsreader Brian Naylor and his wife, Moiree, have been killed in bushfires at their Kinglake West property. In a break from normal programming, Channel Nine last night confirmed that the network’s one-time star had died after fires ripped through the Kinglake district. Channel Nine news director Michael Venus last night described Mr Naylor as the “best there has ever been in Australian television newsreading. You can’t top that.” — The Age

Revealed: media defying the global crisis. The revenues of the world’s media companies are sagging like an old tent, buffeted on all sides by the winds of changing consumer habits and financial conservatism from customers, advertisers and financiers alike. But while traditional media — particularly newspapers and free-to-air television — duck for cover in the hope of riding out the recession, tent poles of resistance are already emerging from the ranks of the cheapest, the closest to home and the most accountable. — The Australian

Shepard Fairey’s WWF poster not ripped off. Talk about great timing! The World Wildlife Fund unveiled a new Earth Hour 2009 poster yesterday. Created by “Obama Hope” artist Shepard Fairey, the ad would have gotten about zero publicity under normal circumstances. Except, of course, Fairey’s in hot water with the Associated Press, which claims the artist infringed its copyright by using one of its photographs as the basis of the famous Obama image. So, Shep’s Google hits are through the roof, and the WWF goes along for the ride. — AdFreak

Despite the apocalypse, newspapers will refuse to die. It is said that that cockroaches can survive a nuclear holocaust. While newspapers are facing the worst financial crisis in living memory, they too, are survivors and I wouldn’t be surprised if many find ways to survive this trial. Yes, their circulation revenues are under the cosh from declining sales and now advertising is suffering too. As profits plummet, the outlook is not good. Logic suggests we will soon be seeing multiple closures. But the key to newspapers’ survival is their unusual makeup. — Guardian

The day gay media died (That would be today). Avalon Equity Fund, the investment group that owns The Washington Blade, The Southern Voice, Genre magazine, Express Gay News, Houston Voice, The New York Blade, The 411 Magazine and has a non-majority stake in HX Media has been placed into federal receivership by the Small Business Association, which will liquidate the companies and distribute the proceeds to investors. The Avalon Fund has been in receivership since last August, a fact that its media properties have been either unaware of, or unwilling to admit, which is a strange position for a media organization to be in, to say the least. — Queerty

Peter Fray

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