No winners in Geoffrey Rush defamation saga
JULY 4, 2020
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Why do journalists get such a bad rap?

Maybe it’s because the best journalism is quietly admired, while the worst of it creates such an obnoxious stench and wrecks so many lives that it can’t (and shouldn’t) be ignored.

Sydney’s Daily Telegraph is in the stench-making, life-wrecking business. Its “world exclusive” front pages about allegations against Geoffrey Rush were sui generis: a beat-up of monumental proportions that will earn it a scurrilous place in journalism textbooks and cost it $2.9 million in damages and much more in legal costs.

You don’t often get to read how tabloid sausages are made (it’s not a pretty sight), but the Telegraph’s coverage of Rush motivated our Inq reporting team to reconstruct that ignominious story. Today’s Weekender is dedicated to their groundbreaking, ten-act series (alongside a pick of our best stories of the week), and you can listen to the four-part companion podcast series “Geoffrey Rush: Trial by Media” here, or on all good podcast platforms.

The Rush defamation saga created no winners and many losers, tarnished reputations and needlessly damaged lives. The reckless behaviour of a sleazy tabloid newspaper made sure of that.

It was indefensible journalism, legally and ethically.

On a lighter note, this week we wrapped up our first ever choose-what-you-pay campaign. We had set ourselves the lofty goal of finding 2000 new members and, thanks to the support of our readers, we welcomed nearly 2500 new members into the Crikey bunker.

Thank you to everyone who subscribed for the first time, signed up their friends and got the word out there. We couldn’t have done it without you

Have a great weekend,

Eric Beecher
Chairman of Private Media

 

Geoffrey Rush: Trial by Media

Sniffing for a scoop

GEORGIA WILKINS and AMBER SCHULTZ 5 minute read

ACT 1: As the Me Too movement sweeps across the globe, a reporter from The Daily Telegraph starts hunting for a story...

Publish and be damned

GEORGIA WILKINS and AMBER SCHULTZ 6 minute read

ACT 2: With Geoffrey Rush's lawyer threatening legal action, the team at The Daily Telegraph make the fateful decision about whether to publish...

The double down

GEORGIA WILKINS and AMBER SCHULTZ 5 minute read

ACT 3: The Daily Telegraph's "world exclusive" about Rush landed with a splash. But doubt emerged from the very start...

Enter the lawyers

AMBER SCHULTZ and GEORGIA WILKINS 3 minute read

ACT 4: Geoffrey Rush announces his intention to sue, leaving The Daily Telegraph scrambling to prepare its defence...

The trial begins

AMBER SCHULTZ and GEORGIA WILKINS 5 minute read

ACT 5: 'I went to jelly ... I felt as though someone had poured lead into my head.' Geoffrey Rush takes the stand as the trial gets underway...

 
Rush of blood set back Me Too, tarnished a superstar and star in the making

MARGOT SAVILLE 4 minute read

In its rush to snag a Me Too story, The Daily Telegraph set back the movement in Australia.

Geoffrey Rush: Trial by Media

A star is torn

AMBER SCHULTZ and GEORGIA WILKINS 5 minute read

ACT 6: 'You had been thinking of her more than is socially appropriate for some time?' News Corp's lawyer questions Geoffrey Rush as the trial continues...

Witnesses for the plaintiff

AMBER SCHULTZ and GEORGIA WILKINS 6 minute read

ACT 7: High-profile witnesses take the stand, before the defence makes a shock submission...

Cordelia

AMBER SCHULTZ and GEORGIA WILKINS 7 minute read

ACT 8: Eryn Jean Norvill takes the stand as the case reaches its climax...

The judgment

AMBER SCHULTZ and GEORGIA WILKINS 4 minute read

ACT 9: Justice Wigney leaves no doubt as to his assessment of The Daily Telegraph's reporting or the credibility of the witnesses...

The appeal

GEORGIA WILKINS and AMBER SCHULTZ 6 minute read

ACT 10: The Daily Telegraph's legal team delivers one final twist as the story comes to a close...

 
After the Rush decision, one truth remains: the Tele deserved to lose

MICHAEL BRADLEY 4 minute read

The Daily Telegraph's recklessness in reporting on Geoffrey Rush has caused incalculable harm.

Tabloid journalism may be cheeky and brash, but it must also be fair

MADONNA KING 4 minute read

The Geoffrey Rush case has shown us once again that all forms of media — from tabloid to broadsheet — must be rigorous, careful and committed to the truth.

Go inside the media trial of Geoffrey Rush in Inq’s companion podcast
As the Me Too movement sweeps across the globe, a reporter from The Daily Telegraph starts hunting for a story…

What they find, or think they have found, will set the scene for the biggest defamation payout in Australian legal history and bring a chill to the Me Too movement in Australia. — Inq

Introducing the companion podcast to Inq’s groundbreaking investigation, Geoffrey Rush: Trial by Media.

Conflict of Interest: Big tobacco still in politics as Hunt caves on vaping rules

GEORGIA WILKINS 3 minute read

Why are the Nationals leading the charge on protecting the interests of the vaping industry?

Welcoming Hongkongers a no-brainer for a country in desperate need of migrants

BERNARD KEANE 3 minute read

There could be no better time than now to open our doors to Hong Kong people eager to flee the monstrous Beijing regime.

Colour only screen deep: is SBS failing its own diversity test?

KISHOR NAPIER-RAMAN 3 minute read

Is SBS' staff diversity being reflected at the most senior levels of the broadcaster?

Twenty years on, GST’s lies hide a more banal truth — and reveal the impact of vested interests

BERNARD KEANE 4 minute read

While neoliberals are celebrating 20 years of the GST, there's no evidence it delivered the kind of benefits promised at the time. And, as always, it reflects the power of vested interests.

 
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