The events of Friday evening caught The Telegraph badly on the hop when the Prime Minister ruined Steve Lewis’s yarn about the Charlton-Grech email. The press conference was held at 7.30pm and Rudd declared there was no email and he was calling on the Auditor-General to investigate.

This was too late for the Tele which had already run Lewis’s yarn under the headline “Revealed: the email that could topple a Government”, which referred to an “explosive email” from Charlton to Grech as fact. The Tele even ran a graphic with the story showing the email at the top of a group of entirely separate emails, complete with Grech’s name being misspelt as Grant.

Later editions dropped the “Charlton-Grant” email from the graphic. Lewis’s heavily-revised version in later editions, emphasizing the inquiry launched by Rudd and referring to an “alleged” email.

Too late, though: this morning, Kevin Rudd was hammering the Telegraph for its lack of journalistic standards. Conspiracy or cock-up? The latter looks to be case here.

Peter Fray

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Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey