Who cares whether a moderately talented actor, who plays Martha MacKenzie on Home and Away, allegedly drank too much one night, had a fling with a bikie, snorted some coke and paid to watch a few strippers?

The answer, unfortunately, is plenty, judging by the spread the Jodi Gordon story was given in this week’s edition of Woman’s Day under the banner “Jodi’s Secret Strip Club Life.”

Woman’s Day cover story on Monday was tagged a “News Exclusive” and reporter Frank Thorne was using the sort of language you’d expect to see in a story that, well, mattered.

When he wrote: “These fresh allegations come as colleagues confirm…” You’d be forgiven for thinking it was gutsy reporting until you read the rest of the sentence; “…Jodi’s plan to leave Home and Away and move to Los Angeles.”

Despite the Seven Network’s belief that “a lot of what has been reported is total rubbish,” Woman’s Day remains unabashed, claiming the allegations against the actor are the result of “a lengthy and wide-ranging investigation into Gordon’s recent behaviour.”

Now add to this ikky story the intrigue of Ryan Stokes — the boyfriend, or ex boyfriend, of Jodi Gordon, as well as the son of Kerry Stokes, the proprietor of the Seven Network, Seven Magazines and the Western Australian Newspaper Group.

According to Woman’s Day, Ryan was “devastated” by Gordon’s behaviour after being “head over heels” in love with her.

The Woman’s Day reporter wrote: “It can now be revealed for the first time…” What could it be? New revelations about Watergate, the Iran Contra Affair or the Bay of Pigs fiasco? No, it was news that Ryan Stokes was “…so embarrassed by Jodi’s behaviour that he felt compelled to apologise to the board of West Australian Newspapers.”

It’s perhaps stretching things a little too far to suggest that Woman’s Day publisher, ACP, has been attacking Jodi Gordon because she is the partner or ex-partner of the heir of a rival magazine stable.

Although the idea of rival moguls smiting each other is kind of compelling, it’s all a bit too Dynasty-like to be credible because as Women’s Day was busy character assassinating Jodi Gordon, its sister magazine Women’s Weekly, was deifying her as one of the new “it” girls on the Australian scene.

As flawed as they were, at least Australia’s old defamation laws had the media occasionally asking themselves whether there was any public interest in dragging someone through the kind of humiliation Jodi Gordon has had to endure of late. Nowadays, with the public interest provisions removed, the media is even freer to expose all manner of irrelevancies.

Meanwhile, Sophie Black writes:

And an honourary shout out goes to Today’s Tonight‘s David Richardson and his “million dollar dementia patient rip-off.”

Today Tonight went large with the story of a mortgage broker who was deliberately fleecing money from a dementia patient: “She kept forgetting, so this mortgage broker took everything she had,” thundered reporter David Richardson.

Trouble is, the old biddy was lying. Her memory, and her knack for scams, was a sharp as a tack. This week the Seven Network has been ordered to pay $240,000 in defamation damages to mortgage broker Peter Mahommed.

According to news.com.au, Mr Mahommed, 53, sued Channel Seven in the NSW Supreme Court over the June 2004 Today Tonight program and two earlier promotional broadcasts screened throughout most of Australia. In awarding the damages, Justice David Kirby said the elderly woman had not suffered from dementia and was a “practised fraudster”.

He had worked in the Newcastle area but since the show could not continue in the job. He moved house, grew a beard and wore a baseball cap so people would not recognise him.

“In the five years that have elapsed since the program, Mr Mahommed has certainly aged and presented as a person much less confident than he appeared on the screen,” the judge said.

76-year-old Doreen Sylvia Smith of Caves Beach and her son Trevor Stelle, spun a very tall story, and Today Tonight swallowed it whole. That’s another notch on the belt, and a first time Wankley, for David “Sluggo” Richardson — the man who infamously (thanks to MediaWatch) brought us “Baghdad Tonight“.

Meanwhile, in Adelaide, The Advertiser orders its citizens to PRAY FOR A SAINT:

Sure Mary MacKillop did most of her good work in Sydney, but, just like Alexander Downer, Don Bradman and the pie floater, she hails from the City of Churches. And the Advertiser won’t let you forget it.

View our complete Wankley winners’ archive