Daily Telegraph’s ‘inaccurate’ reporting taken into account by judge when sentencing paedophile | The Weekly Beast

‘Sensational’ reporting by News Corp and 2GB should be considered as additional punishment when deciding sentence, judge says. Plus: the AFR’s kiss of death

The “sensational” and “inaccurate” reporting of a trial by the Daily Telegraph and a Nine broadcaster’s wish that the offender be “riddled with cancer” were taken into account when sentencing a convicted paedophile, a Sydney district court judge has said.

Sydney’s Downing Centre district court judge Robyn Tupman was critical of News Corp’s framing of the offender as the “pony club prowler” and remarks by 2GB broadcaster Ray Hadley who said “I hope his life is short and I hope it is spent in jail as well.”

In sentencing 67-year-old man Neil Duncan to five years’ jail for multiple child sexual assault offences, Tupman said some of the coverage “went far beyond appropriate and expected denunciation of those who commit offences of child sexual assault”.

“The sensationalism, inaccuracies and frequency of these and other publications is relevant in determining whether or not in this case public opprobrium has occurred and ought be regarded as extra-curial punishment,” Tupman said last week.

“He is identified in pictures and referred to as a ‘paedo’. There is one newspaper report in particular which in my view takes matters beyond appropriate denunciation.

“In a front-page article on June 15, 2022, labelled ‘exclusive’ he is referred to as a ‘pony club prowler’ with an assertion that he had breached the bail conditions imposed by this court following his convictions by attending a gymkhana in a way that was described in the article as being ‘in blatant breach of his bail conditions’.”

But that was inaccurate because he was not prevented from attending pony club events at large and the Tamworth court found that no breach had been established, Tupman said.

She also raised comments by Hadley who said the offender was being treated for cancer and he hoped “he’s riddled with it … and I hope his life is short and I hope it is spent in jail as well.”

Tupman referred to an earlier trial in which the media played a major role, that of former NSW Labor premier Neville Wran’s daughter Harriet Wran who was subjected to “ill-informed” reporting by the Telegraph in 2016.

Harriet Wran’s treatment by the tabloid was so bad she was forced into protective custody for 12 months and it was a mitigating factor in her sentencing.

AFR’s kiss of death

The Australian Financial Review magazine front page curse appears to have struck again. Last year’s cover of Gladys Berejiklian as the epitome of power did not stand up well when the then New South Wales premier resigned shortly afterwards when it was revealed she was under investigation by the state’s anti-corruption watchdog.

Today’s @afrmag cover (if you live in NSW/use the QR code to view it on your phone). pic.twitter.com/LED9yufR9I

— Jason Whittaker (@thetowncrier) October 1, 2021

Now, less than two weeks after being crowned “the world’s richest young person” by the paper as part of its Young Rich List issue, FTX co-founder Sam Bankman-Fried this week might be declaring bankruptcy on the cryptocurrency trading platform.

As @swan_legend notes, the AFR cover curse strikes again. pic.twitter.com/DnczFpadPM

— Josh Taylor (@joshgnosis) November 9, 2022

Bankman-Fried adorned the glossy cover of the magazine in which he spoke about “a new modern philosophy called effective altruism.”

But it all fell apart this week when it was reported FTX is now under investigation by US authorities over how it handled customers’ deposits.

Bachman-Fried has apologised for his company’s near-collapse, saying he “fucked up” in his calculations and in his communications during the crisis.

Gleeson’s one-way ticket

The Courier Mail had a Christmas party on Thursday night, but columnist and former Sunday Mail editor Peter Gleeson was not among those celebrating the festive season. No sooner had “Gleeso” apologised for “unintentional” plagiarism last week than another couple of examples of his habit of cutting and pasting were revealed and he took personal leave. Weekly Beast revealed the Sky News commentator had filled 62% of an article with copy from a Queensland parliament factsheet and Media Watch followed up by revealing Gleeson’s had lifted chunks of a 2015 story by former Courier Mail journalist Jason Tin.

While News Corp refuses to confirm Gleeso won’t return to the Queensland tabloid, his weekend column never appeared and sources say he won’t be back. But his mate, Sky News Australia boss, Paul Whittaker, is not as judgmental and will welcome him back into the After Dark fold.

Seeing red

Spare a thought for the Murdoch stable of Australian commentators who were so looking forward to the red wave of Republican votes in the US midterms.

Joe Hildebrand predicted the Democrats were “heading for a result that will make the Texas Chainsaw Massacre look like Peppa Pig” in an article headlined “US midterms offer stark lessons for Australian Labor”.

“It would be easy to say that this is because Biden has spent much of his presidency mumbling incoherently and attempting to shake hands with pot plants, but the seeds of this disaster lie right at the heart of the Democratic party itself – and offer stark lessons for Australian Labor,” Hildebrand said.

He said the Democrats would be “trounced” and would “suffer the impact of such activism under somnambulant leadership”.

Stablemate James Morrow agreed Albanese should take heed of Joe Biden’s mistakes, namely focusing “on niche left interests while ordinary voters scream for relief”.

“Since taking power last May, Mr Albanese has, like Biden, seemed more interested in placating the progressive left than helping families at the kitchen table,” Morrow said.

In case anyone needed reminding what we’d lost when Miranda moved to New York. pic.twitter.com/5CaUZ0grRT

— Martin Pakula (@MartinPakulaMP) November 9, 2022

Has anyone checked how Hildebrand and Morrow are now?

Miranda Devine, who relocated to the US to work at the New York Post, was not taking the Republican disappointment at all well, blaming “exaggerated predictions of a red wave whipped up by wily Democrats”.

“But Republicans still can count the blessings entrusted to them by the American people for them to use wisely,” Devine wrote in the Post.

“They won back the house, for starters, and that stops Biden’s agenda dead in its tracks.”


Nine’s ace serve

It was a week of annual general meetings (Nine and Seven) and financial results for media companies. Both News Corp Australia and Nine Entertainment revealed the number of digital subscribers to their newspapers, and it appears the biggest Australian-owned media company has some catching up to do. While Murdoch was celebrating hitting 1 million paid subscribers to its mastheads, Nine’s publishing division said it had 450,000 active subscribers to the Sydney Morning Herald, the Age and the AFR.

According to an announcement in New York on Wednesday, the US-based News Corp had 1,012,000 digital subscribers in Australia at the end of September, an increase of 13% year-on-year.

But Nine had something else to celebrate, announcing on Friday it had secured rights to the Australian Open and Tennis Australia matches for a record $425m for the 2025 to 2029 seasons.

The 9 News desk at the Denison building
The Nine Newspapers are trailing behind News Corp with 450,000 active subscribers. Photograph: Edwina Pickles/NINE

SBS dudded

Last month Weekly Beast revealed the ABC was getting $12m a year under the news media bargaining code. This week SBS managing director, James Taylor, reminded parliament Facebook’s parent company, Meta, was not paying the other public broadcaster a cent.

Taylor said Meta won’t negotiate with the public broadcaster about paying for its content and a conciliatory offer to access a grants program, administered by the Walkleys, was useless.

“This is contrary to the intention of the code and SBS is also now at a competitive disadvantage compared to media companies that have deals with both Google and Meta,” Taylor told Senate estimates.

“We understand Meta has been directing some news organisations to its grants program. However, conditional access to very small amounts of non-ongoing funds is a poor substitute for negotiated deals.”

Prime mover

In a crowded streaming market of Foxtel, Amazon Prime, Binge, Disney+, Netflix, Paramount+ and Stan, the providers want to stand out – and some are resorting to gimmicks.

Prime Video is offering a viewer $40,000 for three months work over summer blogging about their favourite shows.

All the “Prime Video buff” has to do is watch and recommend the best content to Australia. “With tens of thousands of titles to choose from on Prime Video, this new role has been created to further help customers discover something new to watch, as choosing what to watch can be hard,” the pitch said.


Amanda Meade

The GuardianTramp

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