Nov 23, 2017

Defamation payout might sideline The Spectator for good

Media analyst Steve Allen said the payout could be the end of the magazine in Australia.

Emily Watkins and Glenn Dyer

Media reporter / Crikey business and media commentator

The Spectator Australia is facing an uncertain future after an enormous defamation settlement was made yesterday, in favour of Toowoomba's rich-lister Wagner family.

London-based The Spectator, which owns the Australian edition, settled the defamation case for $572,674 -- one of the highest defamation payouts since Australia introduced uniform laws in 2006. Four Wagner brothers (John, Neill, Denis and Joe) sued over an article in the magazine by Nick Cater that they said implied that a quarry they owned was responsible for the deaths of 12 people in Grantham during the 2011 floods. They were cleared of responsibility by a commission of inquiry in 2015.

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10 thoughts on “Defamation payout might sideline The Spectator for good

  1. rhwombat

    Good riddance. Pity they don’t take Rupert with them.

  2. John Newton

    Sad, sad, sad. The English Spectator, under the editorship of Charles Moore between 1984 and 1990 was certainly conservative but also amusing and rambunctious, with wonderful writing. Low Life with Jeffrey Bernard, Matthew Parris squabbling with Paul Johnson, Jennifer Dickson writing magnificent stuff on food. What persuaded them to become a mad dog right wing rag is a mystery. Has the English edition gone down the same path?

    1. Damon

      I don’t subscribe, but I have acquaintances describing themselves as Classical Liberals who say much nicer things about the UK edition than the AU.

  3. brian crooks

    good to see a redneck publication go down the gurgler, hopefully the australian and the telegraph will follow, with a shrinking redneck population buying less and less of these type off exremely biased publications, even giving them away free at railway stations and fast food outlets cant keep their circulation and profitability levels up, the demise of rupert murdoch and the break up of news limited is not too far away so perhaps a total rebalancing of the media is now a strong possibilty.

  4. lloydois

    Quite wonderful news. Couldn’t happen to a more deserving bunch of cretins.

  5. klewso

    Master baiters so one eyed, they shambled around in circles – it was only a matter of time before they disapppeared up their own fundament.

  6. colebrook martin

    Do they not have defamation cover under their liability insurance programme?

  7. PeteH

    A ghastly rag that makes The Australian read like the Green Left Weekly. It deserves to die, and hopefully the Barclays will kill it off. Now if we could just do the same with Quadrant…

  8. AR

    As loathsome as the Wagners are, this is a good result if it rids Oz of this excrescence – 3 or 4 pages of “local” ratbags too extreme even for mudorc’s toxic rags – tacked onto the UK product.
    It could only be improved if Jones, the instigator of this calumny, goes down big time.

  9. heavylambs

    This is a good result. And if Barclay Bros folds their Oz clownshow, even better.
    Cater had persuaded himself that he had a clue about hydrology, and pressed his absurd claims without a care. Classic Dunning-Kruger at work in that fellah.
    Perhaps he will learn to consult and respect domain experts, rather than keep smearing them when ideologically convenient. But then, he wouldn’t have much to say if he changed tack, I guess…

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