Newspapers horse around with the racing lobby, The Chaser pranksters make a grand return and our ambassador to Israel’s notable silence. From the Crikey grapevine, the latest tips and rumours…

A horse in the race. Ms Tips was ambling through downtown Surry Hills one afternoon when she happened to pass by Holt St and stumble across a remarkable sight. Standing in the foyer of Newscorp HQ was a life-size statue of a horse. The majestic steed appears to be on loan from Racing NSW to advertise the now controversial Everest horse race.

One could be forgiven for thinking there might be a bit of horse trading going on between Newscorp and Racing NSW. While the decision of the Jones-Berejiklian government to project the race’s barrier draw onto the sails of the Sydney Opera House attracted the ire of Sydneysiders, The Daily Telegraph has been steadfast in its support for the race, slamming the army of boomers who turned up to protest the projection as “light-phobic loonies” and “wowsers”.

But it wasn’t just the Holt St journos horsin’ around with the racing lobby. A tipster recently informed us that a similar statue was on proud display in the lobby of Sydney’s Fairfax offices. What’s more, twice this week, the Sydney Morning Herald’s front page featured ads for the race, jostling for space with articles critical of the Premier’s decision to project the barrier draw. Say what you will about the Opera House debacle, but the last week has been a publicity coup for race organisers who are desperate to overtake the Melbourne Cup as the race that stops more of the nation.

Call Alan. The fall-out from the Everest race advertising fiasco has spawned a most Sydney of scandals. In a bizarre throwback to the glory days of 2007, the ABC’s Chaser team took to the streets in the small hours of Tuesday morning to cast their own projections over iconic Sydney buildings. The projections bore the words ‘Advertise here: Call Alan’, followed by what we believe is the shock jock’s real number.

A disgruntled Jones later said he’d been inundated with calls on his mobile following the stunt. Luckily, Alan Jones had Kerri-Anne Kennerley to get retribution. After roasting Chaser member Charles Firth on Studio 10 on Tuesday morning, Kennerley return-doxxed Firth, by broadcasting his mobile number to her audience. Firth was unfazed by Kennerley’s intervention, telling Twitter he’d received “thousands” of “messages of support”.

Do as I say, not as our friends do. Good to see Australia’s ambassador to Israel, Chris Cannan, tweeting against the death penalty. “The death penalty has no place in the modern world,” Cannan said. Indeed. Wouldn’t it be great, then, to see Cannan actually voicing Australia’s concerns about the death penalty in his day job? Back in March and April, Israeli Defence Forces killed scores of unarmed Palestinian protesters in Gaza, and Cannan said precisely nothing about it, preferring to tweet about Israeli beaches.

The IDF itself acknowledged at the time: “Nothing was carried out uncontrolled. Everything was accurate and measured, and we know where every bullet landed.” Sounds like the death penalty for the crime of protesting, eh Chris?

Keep your friends close and your domain names closer. Before entering the political spotlight, it’s a good idea to buy up all possible web domains associated with your own name, lest your opponents get there first. After a bruising battle, Judge Brett Kavanaugh was confirmed as a US Supreme Court Justice, despite facing a barrage of historic allegations of sexual misconduct.

But US liberals did get one, comparatively minor, victory. After discovering that the domain “brettkavanaugh.com” wasn’t registered, activist group Fix the Court bought it. Displaying the banner “We believe survivors”, the website features a collection of links to sexual assault support services.

Domain buying seems to be a common form of trolling in American politics. The website “tedcruz.com” provides an endorsement for Beto O’Rourke, the Democrat giving Ted Cruz a stiff test for his Texas Senate seat. Similarly, long before Jeb Bush’s quest to become the third Bush in the White House ended with a whimper, the website “jebbush.com” was providing pro-Trump material.

Having the internet used against you so mercilessly can really be a bummer. Just ask former Republican Senator Rick Santorum.

Spotted: minister meets potential candidate. A tipster spotted Victorian Minister for Trade and Investment Philip Dalidakis meeting with Ari Suss, a potential federal Labor candidate, over coffee at The European Cafe in Melbourne this week. Suss, an executive at logistics company Linfox, has been rumoured as a potential successor to Michael Danby as the member for Melbourne Ports, an inner city seat vulnerable to a challenge from the Greens. In light of the slender margin by which Labor holds the seats, Suss is believed to be reconsidering running for the seat. Josh Burns, a senior adviser to Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews has also expressed interest in the seat.

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
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