Johnny Depp (Image: EPA/NEIL HALL)

Plumbing the depths Johnny Depp has emerged the obvious villain in the horrifying and sordid revelations coming out of his libel case against The Sun. The News Corp tabloid had labelled him a “wife beater”, which trial Judge Andrew Nicol concluded he had substantially earned. However, we’d like to ensure another name doesn’t escape your attention: Chad Oman.

Oman was an executive producer on the fifth Pirates of the Caribbean movie, shooting on the Gold Coast during what Nicol described as the “Australian incident”. During a fierce argument with then-wife Amber Heard, Depp badly injured his hand (accounts differ on exactly how). Depp eventually left the country for surgery. This is where Oman comes in. During the trial it was revealed that Oman sent around a press release which brightly said: “Johnny Depp injured his hand GO-KARTING with Mick Doohan at Australian motorbike champion’s luxury estate — forcing the star to fly home.’’

It’s a version of events that is so fantastically at odds with the facts that only the Daily Mail ran with itUS outlets reported Depp’s departure far more cautiously. So either the producers where so indifferent to the behaviour of their star that they were happy to make up a mishap rather than find out, or they knew very well what was happening and actively covered it up.

Fine people on both sides What has been going on with the ABC’s US coverage this year? We have had the gobsmackingly sympathetic coverage of the brothers who planned to kidnap the Michigan’s Democratic governor, the gobsmackingly sympathetic coverage of the woman in New York who told a black man that she was going to “call the police and tell them there’s an African-American man threatening my life” after he asked her to leash her dog, and now a bizarrely uncritical interview with a far-right Trump supporter on last night’s 7:30.

Phil Williams interviewed Dan Wilson, a member of an “informal group of like-minded former military buddies ready to defend their country from enemies” (Williams’ words). As Wilson talked darkly of the “deep state”, hinted at stockpiles of weapons and generally gave the impression of someone ready to participate in a coming civil war, Williams stood and nodded blankly. We’re not sure what the ABC’s angle is, but management should know by now that no amount of unquestioning airtime for Trump’s extreme followers is going to stop attacks on the broadcaster’s supposed left bias

Good fued guide In a real “no winners here” exchange, Alex Turnbull and News Corp’s Sharri Markson have gotten into a spat about News Corp’s ethics, with Turnbull referencing the time Markson tried to “connect a small fire near a wind farm caused by a cockatoo being electrocuted on power lines … to a company whose shares I once held but not at the time”.

Markson shot back: “Your name was mentioned once in the middle of the article but you couldn’t even handle that level of scrutiny. You got your dad to pull strings and have your name removed from the story.”

We’re not sure that saying “We responded to pressure by removing your name from a story that could survive without it” is quite the slam dunk Markson seems to think it is…

It’s a gas gas gas A tipster got in contact to remind us there’s a European Parliament vote coming up soon on gas infrastructure-led COVID-19 recovery.

It will be well worth watching — the EU disappointed many back in February by endorsing 32 new gas projects, and one assumes a canny marketer like Scott Morrison will love any international precedent for his own gas led recovery plan.

Peter Fray

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Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey

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