On Friday, Crikey documented the media fawning over James Packer of late, with dozens of full-page ads for his gaming business combined with un-probing front-page puff pieces in the national papers. We thought it couldn’t get any worse.

We were wrong.

“I feel great, mate,” Packer told journalist (and training buddy?) Nick Tabakoff in Saturday’s Daily Telegraph. “I’m getting fit as I’m hitting a very busy time for me, in a business sense, in my life … Mate, I am not a zealot. I’m just a bloke doing my best. Like there’s a whole bunch of punters out there doing their best to get fit … I’m the fittest I’ve been for 10 years, and it’s the right time for me to be fit because I’ve got a lot on at work.”

The “exclusive interview” timed nicely with the launch of Crown Casino’s television advertisements over the weekend, spruiking the development of new facilities in Melbourne and Perth and extolling the company’s commitment to staff training and the community.

One leading national PR practitioner told Crikey last week that James can “demand the front page whenever he wants it”.

We wouldn’t believe it if it didn’t keep happening.