Is there ever justification for publishing salacious, unsubstantiated gossip about the private lives of public figures?

Almost certainly not. Which makes the recent media invasion of the privacy of ——– ——– (we have withheld his name to protect his privacy) nothing less than an international disgrace.

Here’s one story from The Independent:

“Today, what had been political gossip for some time, was splashed across the front page of The Mail on Sunday under the headline ‘——-‘s feud with Blair over Wendi’. The paper reported that relations between Mr ——– and Tony Blair had ‘collapsed’ because of Mr Blair’s close friendship with the media mogul’s ex-wife, Wendi Deng. It claimed Mr Blair and Ms Deng had stayed overnight at Mr ——‘s mansion in California on two occasions in without his knowledge. And it added that Mr Blair and Ms Deng had ‘multiple encounters’ of which Mr ——— was unaware in both London and New York. While the paper stressed it was making ‘no suggestion’ of any impropriety by the former prime minister or Ms Deng it nevertheless quoted a friend of Mr ——- saying ‘——- ——- will have nothing more to do with Tony Blair. Not ever.'”

Here’s something from the Sydney Morning Herald:

“——-  ——-‘s biographer has published sensational claims the 82-year-old media mogul has embarked on a new romance with a much younger woman, said to be his ‘massage therapist’. American journalist and author Michael Wolff, who gained unprecedented access to the ——— family and its closest allies to write the 2008 biography The Man Who Owns The News, has claimed in his USA Today column published overnight: ‘His own hurt feelings have been soothed by a new romantic interest, a younger woman who has been traveling with him — his massage therapist — who, he has told friends, has made him very happy.'”

And here’s what USA Today had to say:

“With the encouragement of his children, ——- began to plan his exit — his resolve aided by his closer monitoring of her personal life. In June, acting on new reports about her involvement with Google’s executive chairman, Eric Schmidt, ——- summarily ended his marriage — to no one’s greater surprise than his wife’s.”

The final word comes from Gawker:

“Sources tell Gawker that during the discovery process, emails were unearthed suggesting that Brooks had, at various times, had sex with Coulson, her boss —— ——, and ——- ——- , ——–‘s son and the likely successor to his empire. A new twist on honor thy father. In response to questions from Gawker, Steve Rubinstein, a spokesperson for the ——– family, said unequivocally, ‘There is no truth to these rumors’.”

Peter Fray

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Editor-in-chief of Crikey

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