The spin doctors are in overdrive this morning, from the Hollywood Hugh saga at Nine, to the Alan Tudge mea culpa, to the attempts to pardon Crown Casinos even before the verdict is handed down.
Pity most of it is so ludicrous. Not to mention obscene.
Let’s start with the Hugh Marks scandal, despite the fact that many readers have noted that most of the public had never heard of him before he was forced out of Nine for inappropriate relationships with staff.
Sure, being CEO of a major media company inevitably invites attention from the media itself, but this story has also muddied the waters on the whole issue of bonking bans, consensual relations between employees and management, politicians’ double standards, women’s rights, you name it.
So after a weekend of dramatic developments with Marks dumped by the Nine board and then giving numerous personal and emotional interviews to his own reporters, it was time for the other side of the story.
His new love interest, former Nine executive Alexi Baker, decided she would speak to The Australian. You know, The Australian, part of News Corp, which has been hounding Marks for months over his messy private life.
No hard feelings then.
In the gushing profile under the headline “the truth about Hollywood Hugh and me”, Baker goes to extraordinary efforts to portray a rosy picture of life with her and Hugh (no babies yet) while providing a very detailed timeline on their affair and disclosures to the board — perhaps to protect Marks’ reported $2 million bonus.
It’s not clear whether Baker’s interview with the enemy is payback for the Nine board’s lack of support for her boyfriend, or just what happens when you follow the lead of Barnaby Joyce’s partner Vikki Campion, who ended up actually working for the same Daily Tele who so outraged the pair by breaking news of their affair and her pregnancy.
If you can’t beat ’em, help ’em sell more papers.
Meanwhile Gladys Berejiklian continues her nauseating PR offensive after her affair with dodgy Daryl Maguire was exposed at the NSW Independent Commission Against Corruption.
This week the very private premier is plastered over the cover of local suburban rag The Wentworth Courier, continuing her poor Gladys narrative which doesn’t quite fit with the new zero-tolerance attitude to secret affairs with co-workers.
Pollie waffle and spin was on full display too in the case of Alan Tudge, who just sent his voters a Facebook apology for his illicit affair and then vowed to recontest the next election.
The effort at damage control was somewhat muted by the news yesterday that his former lover Rachelle Miller had turned up for a new job only to find the defence contractor was having second thoughts because of all the negative media attention she had garnered by going public with her affair on Four Corners.
Cue outrage over double standards for women, not to mention for staffers, given that even the most incompetent, useless, imbecilic ex-politician can walk straight into a job with any defence contractor.
The final spin award is for a rare public scandal that didn’t involve illicit affairs of a sexual nature — although there are still plenty of people getting screwed.
For sheer chutzpah, the winner yesterday is barrister Neil Young QC, for his closing arguments to the NSW inquiry into Crown’s fitness to hold a casino licence.
In comments that seemed to bear no resemblance to the damning and disgraceful evidence presented over the past months, he claimed that the litany of criminal allegations and corporate malfeasance were just “honest mistakes”; that the company had recognised the error of its ways and that it was time to move on.
This led to one incredible headline: “Crown has learned its lesson”.
Can you keep up with the spin? Who do you think wins the award for spinning a scandal this year? Let us know your thoughts by writing to [email protected]. Please include your full name to be considered for publication in Crikey’s Your Say column.