Making a non-story a story
. The current whereabouts overseas of former Labor government press officer Tony Hodges, whose brief moment of fame came 12 months ago with claims he helped provoke a demonstration against Prime Minister Julia Gillard, hardly seems news to me. What is news is how a little belligerent swearing has made it into one.
From a piece by Gemma Jones on the news.com.au website
Interest in Mr Hodges' travels and work over the past year appeared to touch a sensitive nerve in the prime minister's office with Ms Gillard's media director John McTernan asking "Why are you trying to contact Tony Hodges?''
"A man nobody has ever heard of, doing a job nobody knows what it is,'' Mr McTernan said.
"It is not a story, that's all I am saying. My staff are not stories. My former staff for f...ing sure aren't stories. I think it is ridiculous. I don't want to keep that to myself.
"Tony Hodges is not a story. Tony Hodges is a private citizen, an Australian working abroad.''
Journalists should report attempts at bullying even when seeking stupid stories but press officers should not give them that opportunity. And you have to wonder about the wisdom of the use by a prime ministerial underling of the "my" word. John McTernan sure looks like adding some lively flavour to this year's election campaigning.
At fault over Fawlty
. The verdict of my readers could not be clearer. Yesterday's poll question:
And this morning's answer: