Donald and Melania Trump at the GOP conference
Donald and Melania Trump at the GOP conference

Fox in whose hen house? Yesterday we noted the presumed and actual differences between quarantine rules for the rich, and those for the rest of us. On board one of the SUPERYACHTs (we have to specify, owners get touchy if you just call it a yacht) found to be ignoring virus risks was Hannah Fox, whose father, Peter, executive chairman of Linfox Logistics, had escaped to the Gold Coast days earlier.

Peter is heir to his dad Lindsay’s multibillion-dollar trucking fortune. It reminded us that Lindsay is on the excruciatingly named “Bringing Melbourne Back Better” advisory board for the City of Melbourne. Apart from the irony that he couldn’t even bring his kids back, it’s not the first time he’s caused some bad PR — there were understandable questions about his involvement with the board, as Lindsay Fox is a donor to Lord Mayor Sally Capp. We sure hope his advice is worth the trouble.

The Grauniad fails to see the funny side We knew they had no sense of humour. The UK publisher of The Guardian has taken legal action to shut down a parody headline generator, citing copyright infringement, because the parody website uses photographs of the paper’s journalists and contributors.

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We really feel The Guardian is overreacting here. It’s just parody, and not particularly subtle parody at that. I mean, who could possibly mistake any of the following for real headlines?

Oh, wait…

Trump watch Speaking of media that defies parody, at the Republican national convention yesterday, first lady Melania Trump gave a speech clearly intended to launder the otherwise creepy and aggressive tone of the convention, by addressing racism and the hardship of the COVID-19 crisis in the US. Of course, no thinking skeptical journalist would fall for such a transparent ploy, right?

Except Bloomberg (“Melania Trump Ends Night of Rancor With Note of Empathy on Virus“) or the BBC (“Melania Trump makes plea for racial harmony“) or our own Greg Sheridan, who described Melania’s fairly mild repudiation of racism as the speech’s “killer line”.

Worst of all was MaryAlice Parks, deputy political director at America’s ABC news, who tweeted: “The First Lady talking about the horrors of slavery from the White House was remarkable and so rare.”

Apart from being suckered into classic false balance, all seemed unaware that Melania has been not just complicit, but active in advancing her husband’s racism.

The Kelly gang grows Most politicians wouldn’t be seeking out the audience of a wacky conspiracy theory spouting celebrity chef, but most politicians aren’t gaffe-a-tron 3000 Craig Kelly, who gave a speech in Parliament yesterday about hydroxychloroquine — the anti-malarial drug, quite coincidentally Donald Trump’s drug of choice for treating COVID-19, which has been linked to “serious heart rhythm problems” and even deaths.

Kelly has long been beating the drum for the magic pill. He’s stuck the latest screed on it on his worryingly popular Facebook page, where it was snapped up by Pete Evans who shared it with his 1.5 million followers with an assurance Kelly was “dropping truth bombs”.

Is Scott Morrison going to censure Kelly or at least publicly repudiate his claims, which go against Australian government advice? Or is he going to equivocate as he did last time?

Back in August, the PM apparently wasn’t concerned “with what people put on Facebook”. Chief medical officer Paul Kelly was far more direct: “[hydroxychloroquine] doesn’t work”.

Expect more from your journalism.

Crikey is an independent Australian-owned and run outfit. It doesn’t enjoy the vast resources of the country’s main media organisations. We take seriously our responsibility to bear witness.

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
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