What is the country’s most popular newspaper doing paying for the hotel room in which a minor, who, if she is to be believed, had s-x — and perhaps imbibed alcohol with — a man 30 years her senior?

The Herald Sun captured AFL player manager Ricky Nixon on camera, leaving a city hotel room at 7.15 in the morning after visiting the infamous, and unnamed for legal reasons, “AFL n-de photo scandal girl”. A hotel room they paid for.

The Age today carries the headline: “Not easy to sort fact from fiction in Nixon soap opera”. Happy to try doing it in print anyway, they report:

“The girl went to the Herald Sun. The newspaper did not rush to print but wanted time to substantiate the claims, so they put her up in a nearby motel for two nights. Thus they were on hand at 7.15am to photograph Nixon leaving the motel.”

This is not a classic tabloid sting operation. This involves an under-age girl.

Herald Sun star columnist Mike Sheahan says so himself: “Those inappropriate dealings occurred in a city hotel. It is the same girl Nixon described as vulnerable on radio as recently as December. She is 17, he 47.”

So how does his paper justify facilitating that encounter?

“The latest scandal leaves his reputation in tatters,” thunders Sheahan.

What about the reputation of his own rag?

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
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