Reading between the lines on NRL Howard coverage Once again Piers Akerman has written a story about a News Ltd investment without once mentioning that his employer has a deep involvement in the issue. He joined other News Ltd hacks, led by Sports scribbler Phil Rothfield, in pushing a News Ltd line, and then being disingenuous about it. Rothfield tried to tell his readers on Wednesday that Nws Ltd knew nothing of his yarn that John Howard had been approached to chair an independent commission to oversee Rugby League. The unwritten subtext was ‘once News Ltd departs the scene’.

Now Piers Akerman has weighed in with some uninformed comments of his own.

“Gold Coast Titans boss Michael Searle, who reportedly sounded out Howard about his possible involvement, should row back a few lengths and ensure that all else is in place and tightly locked in. Then, once certain vital elements are nailed down, it might be time to permit speculation about possible chairmen. As my friend Phil Rothfield noted in his commentary in The Daily Telegraph yesterday, an independent commission is the way forward for the game but the NRL has problems almost impossible to resolve under the current structure.

“Rothfield also mentioned “junket-loving dinosaurs”, which besides being an arresting visual image also happens to be the tragic truth. Too many of those in senior positions in the current structure are more enamoured of the free tickets, trips and other perks of the job than about the great game they are meant to be serving.”

So is Piers saying that the News Ltd folk involved with the NRL are “more enamoured of the free tickets, trips and other perks of the job than about the great game they are meant to be serving”? Surely not.  Or is he only talking about those folk from the Australian Rugby League?

If you want to understand this story and fill in the gaps that Messrs Rothfield and Akerman have lefty unexplained (because they involve commercial interests of News Ltd at Foxtel, Premier Media Group and the Melbourne Storm), read this good story by Roy Masters. Masters is a former Rugby league coach at Wests and St George and remains the best writer on the code. He also understands the real story here, which is News Ltd’s attempts to sort out its continuing conflict of interest, without damaging its investments in Foxtel and Premier Media Group (which owns Fox Sports). — Glenn Dyer

Imre’s wry side. Arggghhh someone accidentally let Imre Salusinszky near the Wry Side (a column known by The Oz’s subdued subs as the ‘why write’). They kept him away from this for years, on the grounds that he is by a long chalk the unfunniest writer to ever attempt a light touch. Today’s effort is a satire on Oz press attempts to claim as Australian, the recent co-winner of the Nobel Prize for Medicine, who didn’t spend a whole lotta time of here. The magyar’s method? To repeat and exaggerate this process in other fields. How does someone who specialised in the Romantic poets have so little understanding of wit? Those who can’t do, teach, and those who can’t teach, teach PE — or become NSW roundsman for the Oz. — Kim Serca

The Onion goes Hallmark. There is a new frontier for newspapers after all — in the novelty aisle. As newspapers nationwide struggle to find their place in the digital world, the parody newspaper The Onion has found a way to get some mileage out of its old work. The Onion has teamed up with Chicago-based Recycled Paper Greetings Inc. to create a line of 12 greeting cards. — The Chicago Tribune

Has Rupert Murdoch lost his magic touch? As absurd as it may to suggest that one of the world’s most successful media moguls may be in any kind of danger I argue in my London Evening Standard column today that his News Corporation business is facing a genuine crisis. And I am not alone. Murdoch’s latest biographer, Michael Wolff, makes a similar point in a Vanity Fair article, Rupert to internet: it’s war! His piece is studded with gems. — Greenslade blog, The Guardian

Why we shouldn’t reconnect on Facebook. We went years without reconnecting, and everything was fine. But now, thanks to social-networking sites such as Facebook, MySpace and LinkedIn, our old lovers are essentially popping up in our own homes. It’s like having a secret stash of ice cream in the freezer. Even if it’s a little stale, it can be hard to resist. After all, we’re talking about the first person we had a crush on, or kissed, or cried over, or had s-x with, or took home to Mom, or maybe even married. No wonder we’re curious. — Wall Street Journal

White House Health Care event no fraud. The NY Post alleged today that the Health Care event held on the White House lawn Monday was fraudulent and staged, specifically claiming that white lab coats were passed to attending doctors by WH staffers. Earlier today, we tried to answer Ed Morrissey’s question “Why Was NY Post the Only Outlet to Report White Coat-gate?” Initially, we thought the answer was that the story simply wasn’t newsworthy. It turns out it wasn’t even true. — Mediaite

Lohan fashion met with derisive tweets. Lindsay Lohan and Spanish designer Estrella Archs showed off their new hot mess of a Spring 2010 Ungaro collection today in Paris. And the Fashion World’s Mean Girls could simply not stop ragging on how bad it was. One Twitter trendoid was appalled at the lack of gowns. Another from WSJ tweeted that the clothes featured “hearts on butts.” Oh, dear. Always a mistake. And then there were the heart-shaped pasties. … “It’s not good to show your nipples, so they should be covered,” Lohan wisely told Reuters, referring to the omnipresent heart-shaped pasties. This did not explain why some models wore larger versions of the heart-shaped pasties on their foreheads. — The Envelope, LA Times

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