Clive Palmer preference deal
(Image: AAP/Glenn Hunt)

Hold the front page When was the last time a tabloid went this hard on one individual? Amid his constitutional challenge to the Western Australian government’s border closure, and his follow-up “Well how about you give me 30 billion and we call it quits?” gambit, The West Australian has run six distinctly unflattering front pages on Clive Palmer, five since last Monday:

The most recent, which depicted the mining magnate as a “chicken Palmer” (good one), noted that the photoshopping had continued owing to “popular demand”.

Anatomy of a beat-up Back when Pauline Hanson used the vaguely sourced “rumours” that cancel culture was coming for “Smarter White Milk” as a fundraising push, we were sceptical that it would take off (given no one had suggested any such thing). But as with Lidia Thorpe previously, we underestimated the hunger with which our media will pursue a “political correctness gone mad” angle, particularly when there’s a racial element.

The rumour was spread to Facebook by One Nation Senator Mark Latham, where it was picked up The Daily Mail. They called academic Dr Stephen Hagan, who says he told them he had no particular view. The Mail ran the story that “Indigenous rights activist Dr Stephen Hagan wants Pauls to rename milk brand”, which in turn was picked up by Today and shared by One Nation. And now, because these completely illusory outrages have very real consequences, Hagan tells NITV he’s receiving death threats.

Battle of the fact checks On Monday an article in the Nine papers quoted communications minister Paul Fletcher as describing RMIT ABC’s fact check as “riddled with errors”. Fletcher was mad that the fact-checkers had deemed his claim — that ABC funding was rising — to be misleading. He also claimed Four Corners sending too many people to film an interview with him was evidence of Aunty’s fiscal profligacy.

Yesterday RMIT ABC Fact Check director Russell Skelton hit back, defending the original article and accusing the Nine journalists of failing to challenge Fletcher’s “unfair and unbalanced” portrayal.

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
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