Channel 7 as bad as Akermanis

I agree wholeheartedly with the first part of Imre Salusinzky’s commentary on the David Campbell matter in The Australian:

…this is not a good moment for the media coverage of Macquarie Street either.

What was the public interest in putting to air last night the story of Campbell’s visit to a gay sex club?

It did not involve his ministerial responsibilities and no misbehaviour is alleged to have occurred in parliament or in any government office.

The Seven Network report made much of Campbell’s use of his official car, but ministers have full private use of their cars.

If Campbell’s use of his car was a grounds for resignation, every NSW minister, along with Opposition Leader Barry O’Farrell, should be called upon to quit.

Damn right. That this has been turned into a major story and Campbell has been forced to resign for this (rather than any incompetence in running the NSW transport system, which I’d have thought was his main offence against the public) is indeed an utter disgrace. One day after Jason Akermanis revealed how far the football world was from growing up over people being gay, the national media show they’ve got a long way to go, too.

Including Imre, who completely undermines his excellent points above by concluding:

None of that should diminish either the scale of this disaster for NSW Premier Kristina Keneally, or the degree of Campbell’s misjudgment and stupidity…

What on earth was Campbell thinking when he placed himself in a position where he could be compromised and bring the government into further disrepute? Labor’s attempt to use Keneally’s freshness and appeal to draw a line between its present and its past has just collapsed.

If it has “collapsed”, it’s because they’ve caved like the wusses they are. They should’ve said “so what?” about this thing for all the reasons Imre cited at first. A modern, progressive, fresh NSW government wouldn’t have been phased by a minister coming out of the closet. It’s not like divorces automatically destroy ministers; why should “leading a gay double life”?

The real issues for voters are: how badly has Labor run the state, how badly has Campbell run the transport portfolio? Not “what have its ministers been doing privately in their own time?” (And, if they’re going to abandon Labor – as they probably should – are they sure they want to traipse over to the Liberals?)

UPDATE: Bernard Keane makes a good point in Crikey as to how revelations like this actually harm “the public interest”:

But making politicians and their families fair game will further drain the gene pool of state politics. Now it’s clear to anyone interested in public office that once they pursue it, anything other heterosexual monogamy (and no photos, either, please) could end up leading the evening news bulletins or dominating a front page. Reckon that will encourage more people to run for office?

Then again, the media benefits both ways. The worse the politicians, the more they can whinge about their incompetence.

It’s not merely unrelated to the public interest, it’s directly contrary to it.

Well said.

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129 responses to “Channel 7 as bad as Akermanis

  1. The thing that occurs to me is that those who express disgust at the comments of Akers should thing about how they would feel about being in a mixed gender change room. I don’t think that you will find that many men or women who would not feel uncomfortable in that situation. Why would they feel discomfort you might ask? well I think that being judged on your attractiveness would be one issue along with the possibility of being hit on is another. So it stands to reason that if you are in a single sex change room that you would feel discomfort for the same reasons if there was an openly gay team mate.

  2. The guy obviously has some painful things to come in his personal life, and it is reasonable for him to have some time off to deal with them.

    HOWEVER it’s not apparent to me that Channel 7 was doing this out of compassion or for that matter, public interest.

    “Ooooh teh minizter is teh ghey! He visitz teh pr0n club! ”

    And the sacking of the minister for this reason is hopeless homophobia and wowserism. If it was a “straight” sex club, then I’m sure there’d be nudge-nudge wink-wink between the NSW Parliamentary Press gallery and little else.

    Mind you, as John Della Bosca’s fall shows, the NSW government seems quite sensitive to this kind of thing, regardless of orientation.

    And Adam Walters should get ready for his first Johnathan Holmesing…

  3. confessions

    Watching Sky News this morning their NSW reporter trying her best to link Campbell’s MIA on the day of the F3 disaster with these new revelations. He has consistently refused to say where he was, which in the eyes of SKy News means he must have been off engaging in a gay sex romp. No evidence to support that mind you. Very tacky.

    The man was a hopeless minister which *should* be the focus of media scrutiny, not his private life.

  4. Splatterbottom

    What is wrong with the public knowing that this servant of the people was more interested in tending to his anal cravings than to his sick wife or even to his ministerial duties?

    This has nothing to do with the gay aspect. Any sex club would have produced the same outcome. The reason he didn’t tough it out was that he was ashamed of his betrayal of his family, and rightly so.

    Ain’t human nature grand!

  5. confessions

    What is wrong with the public knowing that this servant of the people was more interested in tending to his anal cravings than to his sick wife or even to his ministerial duties?

    Because it’s a matter for him and his wife. And there’s no evidence his extra-marital sex was keeping him from tending to his ministerial duties.

  6. Splatterbottom

    If the guy uses his family in marketing himself to the electorate, what is wrong with the voters knowing that this is a lie?

  7. “If the guy uses his family in marketing himself to the electorate, what is wrong with the voters knowing that this is a lie?”

    Are you suggestion he doesn’t have a family, SB? Or that gay people can’t have a family life or family values? How do you know his wife wasn’t aware and condoned it?

    I think the “used a ministerial car” is the most disturbing lie of all, given there’s nothing untoward in it.

  8. Sb how do you know what sort of private life Campbell had?

    For all we know him and his wife could have had an open marriage arrangement between them. On that level honestly its none of our business. (If they didn’t its still none of our business.)

    “If the guy uses his family in marketing himself to the electorate, what is wrong with the voters knowing that this is a lie?”

    WTF How many instances of Campbell’s family being used to market him do you know of, and really bfd if he does. Are you assuming he doesn’t love his family and is just a cynical POS (NSW Lbour – it maybe a fair assumption, but not about his family.)

    Honestly if our culture wasn’t so up itself about what other people do in bed as if its any of our business.

    So long as he’s not raping people I don’t give a flying firetruck.

    “The man was a hopeless minister which *should* be the focus of media scrutiny, not his private life.”

    Right on confessions. This should be the issue.

    Although

    “And there’s no evidence his extra-marital sex was keeping him from tending to his ministerial duties.”

    That could be a matter for debate, cos public transport in Sydney is up shit creek.

  9. Splatterbottom

    Keri, I’m suggesting that if he lies to his constituents, they have a right to know that.

  10. Splatterbottom

    Jules, of course he is a cynical POS. He is a politician.

    He’s represented himself to the people of Kiera as a family man, even going to the extent of sending Christmas cards to his constituents highlighting the fact that he is a man of family values

  11. Yeah but yo are assuming that just cos he’s into guys he doesn’t love his family.

    He might be bi, he might be conflicted about his position because people expect him to be a monogamous straight guy.

    He’s got kids right?

    Do you assume he wouldn’t die to protect them cos he likes a bit of gay sex?

    Cos thats a bit foolish.

    Seriously. There is so much that this prick could be criticised for that has nothing to do with his sexuality.

  12. “Keri, I’m suggesting that if he lies to his constituents, they have a right to know that”

    Let’s be clear: Are you suggesting that because he has sex with men, his family ceases to exist, and he is therefore lying? Or that because he has sex with men he doesn’t have “family values”? Are you suggesting he stood up in front of his constituents and said “I have sex with women and never with men and that’s why you should vote for me”?

    Can you point out where getting off with someone who isn’t female is somehow “lying”? Has he made any statements saying he didn’t?

    No? Then it’s none of our bloody business, is it?

  13. Splatterbottom

    I am not suggesting that he doesn’t love his family. He may just have a funny way of showing it.

    I am suggesting that if he uses his family to get votes, voters have a right to know of his hypocrisy on this issue.

  14. Splatterbottom

    I should add that the hypocrisy consists in his betraying his family.

  15. confessions

    If the guy uses his family in marketing himself to the electorate, what is wrong with the voters knowing that this is a lie?

    If he has a history of making public judgements about how others live their lives then it’s fair enough to out him. But simply being photographed with his family in electorate material is not evidence of hypocracy or double standards.

    Jules: the state of Sydney’s public transport is if anything, evidence that he was a crap minister. Not that his extra-marital sex life was interfering with ministerial duties.

  16. And honestly, so long as it doesn’t involve rape or kids (ewhich is rape anyway) what a politicians sex life is none of my business.

    Clinton’s wasn’t. Campbell’s isn’t.

    The plethora of gay US republicans isn’t.

    If Tony “threatening speedo’s” Abbott or more likely members of the opposition found themselves in the same position I’d say exactly the same thing.

    (And any gay pollie, closeted or not who is against gay marriage probably needs to explain themselves.)

    Although the plethora of child abusing US republicans (On the record mind you) should be.

    (The same applies to anyone on any side of politics anywhere.)

  17. “Jules: the state of Sydney’s public transport is if anything, evidence that he was a crap minister. Not that his extra-marital sex life was interfering with ministerial duties.”

    Something was interfering with his ability to do his job.

    And yeah I doubt it was his sexuality.

  18. Splatterbottom

    I hate the way politicians use their families as props in their marketing. Once they do that, their hypocrisy in that regard becomes relevant.

    Campbell chose to resign, most likely because he was ashamed of his shameful actions. That is why he apologised to his wife and family. I agree with him.

  19. Splatterbottom “Keri, I’m suggesting that if he lies to his constituents, they have a right to know that.”

    It’s because of homophobes like you that gay people have to hide by ‘lying’ especially older ones.

    And if this is true, then there’s more to this story:

    http://guttertrash.wordpress.com/2010/05/21/campbell-sex-scandal/#comment-26798

    And as for the car, politicians and senior public servants, both federal and state, have cars supplied for 24/7 personal use. It’s not a chauffered official car under discussion.

  20. Splatterbottom

    Daphon, I ma not a homophobe, but you are certainly a self-righteous prat.

    Daphon, it is not because of me that Campbell was hiding his activities. It was because he was betraying his wife. That is why he apologised to her.

    Personally I think that if you are running around at sex clubs when your wife is sick with cancer you are betraying your promise to love and honour her, and you deserve all you get.

  21. How do you know what his family situation is? I have married gay friends whose wives know about and support them. His apology to his wife could be no more than an apology for the situation now be public.

    The whole point of my anger is that it’s nobody’s f…ing business except Campbell’s and his families’. And I think the premier should have shown some guts and supported him and not accepted his resignation.

  22. Splatterbottom

    Daphon, get over your anger. It is half of your problem. The other half is your stupidity. If the apology was not really meant for his wife but for the public, that only emphasises his hypocrisy.

  23. confessions

    I hate the way politicians use their families as props in their marketing. Once they do that, their hypocrisy in that regard becomes relevant.

    Well, that’s your opinion. Plenty of people, including me would disagree with you.

    Many pollies promote their families as a way of acnowledgement of support they give them, especially as the life of an MP is public and demanding. But simply using family snaps in electorate material is not evidence that said family is perfect or the relationship with their partner is without its troubles. I think you are over-reaching here SB.

  24. “I am suggesting that if he uses his family to get votes, voters have a right to know of his hypocrisy on this issue.”

    So we’ve gone from “if he lied we have a right to know” to “if he uses his family to get votes and has sex with men we have a right to know”?

    Why do we have a right to know? Does a straight politician who campaigns with his family by his side and then goes on to cheat on his wife, or get divorced deserve to be dragged through the mud like this?

    Hell no. If I play up on being a family person at a job interview and then cheat on my partner, should I lose my job?

  25. confessions

    KK in her recent press release said she was angered and disappointed as a Premier. What weazle words!

  26. Splatterbottom

    Keri:

    Does a straight politician who campaigns with his family by his side and then goes on to cheat on his wife, or get divorced deserve to be dragged through the mud like this?

    Absolutely. It is up to the voters how seriously they regard the conduct, but they have are entitled to know the facts. Hypocrisy is the greatest luxury of the rich and powerful. It doesn’t hurt to have it exposed.

  27. Splatterbottom

    Keneally has done as good a job as possible of deodourising the stinking turd that is the NSW ALP. She has a right to be disappointed.

  28. Doesn’t hurt? You don’t think his wife and family are hurt? You don’t think seeing this played out in public hurts? It’d be devestating.

    Good lord, you’re a heartless bastard, SB.

  29. Andrew Bolt on Campbell:

    “I’m wrong about the misuse of property: ”

    “Walters, it is alleged, believes he was dobbed in at the time by Campbell and staked out gay clubs for this evidence against him.

    This seems very, very grubby.

    It seems to me, in fact, that Campbell did nothing to merit his resignation, and this intrusion in his private life crosses way, way over a line. ”

    Wow it says alot of my opinion of Bolt that I’m surprised when he does the obviously decent thing.

  30. confessions

    KK also said that she uses her taxpayer funded vehicle to go shopping and go to church. She then disses ‘her friend’ for using his to go to a gay nightclub. Presumably she’s trying to walk both sides of the street by keeping the wowsers onside while trying not to go too hard on her friend. The only one guilty of hypocrisy in this is Keneally.

    And now that she’s said Campbell was (wtte) in a meeting with her on the night of the F3 jam, there is no public interest to this story. The only angle left is if Campbell has made public judgements about the personal relationships of others. Does anybody know if he has?

  31. its pure fantasy to think voters will ever disregard a politicians personal life

  32. Karl, they shouldn’t know about it in the first place! The only justification for the ‘public right to know’ in a circumstance like this is if the politician concerned was a morals campaigner.

  33. i’m not arguing they have the “right to know”…

    but the public is much more interested in gossip than dry political matters, lets face it

    unless someone passes a law forbidding the media from talking about anyone’s private life…

    it’s going to be something politicians need to take into consideration when they’re romping around gay saunas (with akermanis?)

  34. confessions

    Karl: Ch7 hired a private investigator to follow Campbell around. There is no public interest to this story that we have been informed of, so I can’t see how you can defend the actions of the media outlet as simply providing gossip fodder for its viewers.

  35. Splatterbottom

    Keri, I am not heartless. The pain and suffering in this case has been caused by Campbell’s behaviour, and his lack of candour. The fact that it has been made public causes embarrassment, but the pain comes from the underlying actions.

    Voters can make decisions about who they vote for based on any criteria they choose. The argument that they mustn’t consider certain matters is as appalling as it is pompous. In fact it is none of your business how someone chooses to exercise their right to vote.

  36. attacking the media is just shooting the messenger.

    if theres no public interest to the story, why is the public so interested?

  37. confessions

    Oh SB, stop dissembling! What a person does in the privacy of their own marriage is their own business. Not yours, not mine. Wrt public figures, it only becomes our business where there is a public interest in knowing, ie the pursuit of illegal activity, abuse of public office and so on. None of those things apply here.

    I reject this voyeuristic celebrity culture that dictates we have the right to pry into the private lives of public figures. Given your past rants against the excesses of modern society, I’m surprised to see you on the side of voyeurism in this instance.

  38. confessions

    ‘Public interest’ and an ‘interested public’ are not the same thing karl.

  39. Splatterbottom

    I am on the side of truth, confessions. I don’t like censorship. People in high office should not be surprised if they are subject to scrutiny. They are the ones thrusting themselves into public life.

    Campbell may well be re-elected to his seat. That is a matter for the voters.

  40. “Hell no. If I play up on being a family person at a job interview and then cheat on my partner, should I lose my job?”

    Yes, but that’s only because your partner is me and I’m spiteful and vindictive.

  41. Splatterbottom

    Confessions:

    ‘Public interest’ and an ‘interested public’ are not the same thing

    This is another way of saying that the public do not know what is in their best interests. It is an obscene form of paternalism that has no place in a free society.

  42. confessions

    Respecting the boundary between public office and private life is not censorship SB.

  43. @Iain Hall at the top – to be honest, I don’t feel comfortable showering naked with anyone with whom I’m not in a sexual relationship. I assume people of either gender won’t be able to resist me.

  44. confessions

    Paternalism SB? Upholding a person’s right to privacy is not paternalistic.

  45. “So it stands to reason that if you are in a single sex change room that you would feel discomfort for the same reasons if there was an openly gay team mate.”

    Iain, that only “stands to reason” if you assume that every gay man will want – in a predatory fashion – to take advantage of your nakedness.

    I challenge you to find one who would, Iain. I think you’ll find gay men just as discerning as women.

    “I am on the side of truth, confessions”

    Funny that you haven’t said a word about the deceptive reporting of him somehow rorting the system by using his “taxpayer funded car”, SB.

    “Yes, but that’s only because your partner is me and I’m spiteful and vindictive.”

    You have to sleep sometime, boyo. Watch it.

  46. Splatterbottom

    Confessions, “boundary” is the wrong term. The real question is what facts are more relevant or less relevant. That is something you can decide for yourself, but not for other people.

    Keri, I have been focusing on the astounding temerity of those who would rather us not know certain facts about our pollies (and I don’t mean Jeremey’s cat).

  47. confessions

    No SB, boundary is very much the right term. Ch7 crossed it in the Campbell matter.

    As for deciding what is in the public interest, the boundaries are clear: private lives where they hold no bearing on the function of public office are off limits.

  48. Splatterbottom

    Confessions, your boundaries may be clear, but why do you think others should be constrained by them?

  49. confessions

    Because being a government minister has nothing to do with their private relationships unless they are illegal.

    There is no logical argument in favour of our MPs being trailed by private investigators just on the off chance something ‘unsavoury’ might be found which the public will find interesting – regardless of whether it is in the public interest or not.

  50. Splatterbottom

    It is not for you to dictate to members of the public either what is in their interest or what they ought be interested in. That is for them to decide.

  51. SB, courts have long distinguished between “public interest” and “interested public”. I appreciate, however, that you have contempt for the courts and probably don’t care about this.

    “Keri, I have been focusing on the astounding temerity of those who would rather us not know certain facts about our pollies”

    Sounds as though you are saying there is nothing a politician is entitled to keep private. Is that really your position?

  52. Splatterbottom

    Buns, your first point is irrelevant. Voters exercise a completely different function than do the courts. Legal formulations are irrelevant to a voter’s decision as to what their interests are or as to what interests them. That is a matter for each voter to consider. What I am saying is that no one, not even censorious tools such as your good self, should dictate to voters which matters they should have regard to.

    In this case if a pollie wants to go out in public to a sex club then I don’t see why people can’t know. What they make of it is up to them.

  53. I’m not trying to dictate to voters what they can have regard to. I’m not talking about that at all, in fact. I’m simply making the point that confessions’ statement that “public interest” and “interested public” are not the same thing is not exactly contentious.

    It’s an important distinction to make, as it affects the question whether or not channel 7 was justified in publishing this information about David Campbell. No doubt there is a section of the public that would be curious about and interested in this information, but that does not of itself justify publication of it in the “public interest”.

    And just because I think politicians have some right to privacy and that that there ought to be some limits on what we are entitled to know about them – unlike you, apparently – does not make me a “censorious tool”. (For someone who called me “thin-skinned”, you’re quick to resort to personal abuse when I disagree with you, aren’t you?)

  54. Iain Hall says “it stands to reason”

    Oh, the irony…

    Rarely have I encountered such a severly fucked up and warped individual…

  55. Splatterbottom

    Buns, it doesn’t matter how often you change your name, you and I will almost always disagree. But this time I am not even disagreeing about the different uses of the word interest. I don’t know why you keep going on about it.

    And politicians do have a right to privacy – you can’t bug their houses or look at their tax returns, just like the rest of us. However, the fact that they hold elected office means that they will be scrutinised a bit more than most people, and that is a good thing. Entering and leaving a sex club is a public act, and there is no ‘right’ to have that information suppressed.

  56. “SB, courts have long distinguished between “public interest” and “interested public”. I appreciate, however, that you have contempt for the courts and probably don’t care about this.”

    no they havent. its a vague and ill-defined term.. the only occasions ive seen it …when its wheeled out by defence lawyers to stop sensitive info getting out to the public.

    there is no “public interest” in common law, i challenge you to prove otherwise

  57. zaratoothbrush

    Given the way that people like Campbell have been forced for eons to deny the reality of their existence, I would much rather feel sympathy for his conflicted humanity than cast the first stone at his “hypocrisy”. But sympathy’s not your thing, is it SB.

  58. confessions

    It is not for you to dictate to members of the public either what is in their interest or what they ought be interested in. That is for them to decide.

    No, it’s up to the individual concerned what aspects of their private lives (wholly unrelated to their public job) are disclosed to the public, if at all.

    It isn’t up to me. It isn’t up to you. And it certainly isn’t up to a muck-raking media hell bent on salacious voyeurism where the public interest test hasn’t been met.

  59. zaratoothbrush

    Iain, that only “stands to reason” if you assume that every gay man will want – in a predatory fashion – to take advantage of your nakedness.

    I think you’ll find that if you have one gay man in a room of twenty straight men – all of whom are impressively strong, and all of whom have been trained since high school to respond with fear, and even violence, to the evil gayness if it gets at all close – that said homosexual would not, in a million years, approach any of them, because there’s a little thing called..um, .. oh yeah, breathing, that they’d like to keep doing for as long as possible.

    It’s because homophobia is so stupid and so pernicious that so many straight men just don’t get that gay men have much, much more to fear from them than vice versa.

  60. Pernicious minds, indeed.

  61. confessions

    Jonathon Green on the Campbell matter. Given SB’s ‘right to know’ platform, this quote is relevent:

    This is one of those moments when it seems the media mistakes public interest for public amusement. They are not the same.

    The risk is that politicians, fearful and badgered, might legislate to protect one and diminish our democratic right to the effective, responsible reporting of the other. That would be a true scandal.

    It’s worth restating that, given Campbell has not broken any laws, or breached any parliamentary rules, he has quit his job (possibly not entirely all his choice btw) simply because he was outed as a closet gay man.

    Frankly I think it’s time for this country to grow up.

  62. Splatterbottom

    Zara, you are deliriously funny. His hypocrisy consists in Campbell’s decision to live a dual life; to suck the marrow out of other peoples’ lives by pretending to be one thing while being another. Society didn’t force that on him. He could have been ‘straight’ with everyone, but he chose not to live a deceitful life. His decision to live a duplicitous life is the root cause of his problem, and the very great pain he has inflicted on those close to him.

    Confessions: “No, it’s up to the individual concerned what aspects of their private lives (wholly unrelated to their public job) are disclosed to the public, if at all.

    Are you serious??? If people do stuff in public it is public – end of story.

    Only a fuckwit leftist could utter the words attributed to Jonathon Green. No one else could even imagine the idea that politicians would legislate to prevent people reporting their on doings. Here’s a clue Jonathon, any government that tried that on would be shown the door quick smart. I have no doubt that that thought has crossed the mind of certain leftists, but this is evidence only of the fact that leftists should never, ever be allowed to govern.

  63. confessions

    Are you serious???

    Of course I’m serious. What goes on in the privacy of an individual’s marriage is of no relevence to their work responsibilities, and is therefore not in the public interest for disclosure. I note you still can’t posit a cogent argument as to why it should be, other than some airy-fairy naive notion about the public right to know what people do with their sex life. How very Family First.

    Oh, and it’s always a giveaway that someone has no argument when they have to resort to name-calling by way of response.

  64. We’re having GFC Mk II and Channel 7 run with outing a closet gay pollie with all the fervour of it being Watergate.

    Whoever said “grow up”, +1

  65. Re. SB’s “Society didn’t force that on him…[Campbell's] decision to live a duplicitous life is the root cause of his problem, and the very great pain he has inflicted on those close to him”.

    Firstly, we need to assume that Campbell is actually gay – there are plenty of men who have sex with other men but they aren’t gay. I can hear some of you laughing already, but it’s a well known fact that there are men who do have sex with men, but have functional, loving, and indeed sexual relationships with women, often their wives. These men aren’t gay or bisexual, they just like to get it off with a bloke every now and again.

    Secondly, you have to be gay and try having a serious gay relationship to realise that it can be very, very hard to be open about your minority sexuality.

    When I came out (albeit 15 years ago) I had (a) ‘thank your lucky stars you aren’t Aboriginal’ (meaning I would have been clubbed to death), (b) ‘what you want to do with your body is an abomination’ and (c) ‘well, I guess a three-legged dog is still a dog’. And those comments were from people I considered my closest friends.

    If there’s one thing I agree with Kenneally it was that she (apparently) felt angry that people still feel the need to hide their minority sexuality. But until politicians of all flavours make a great big social statement (it won’t come from the Mad Monk) and formalise proper gay marriages, then we’ll continue to see stories like the Campbell story, and some sections of the media will continue to run their witch-hunts.

  66. confessions

    Just wait until MPs like Eric Abetz, Stephen Conroy and Kevin Andrews are being stalked after hours, and THEN we’ll see how far politicians are willing to go in order to protect their own. It is incredibly naive to assume that our parliaments are incapable of passing laws limiting the freedom of the media.

  67. What we need now is to send a team of PI’s trawling through the life of Peter Meakin to see if he’s ever had an affair or keep secrets of any sort from his family. Afte all, if he’s making decisions about such things for others, we can’t have any hypocrisy on this matter, Peter being quite concerned on this.

    And of course any such discoveries must be the lead story on the 6pm news.

  68. PLEASE don’t tell Mum I work for Channel Seven, she thinks I work at Kings X as a male prositute.

  69. Splatterbottom

    The argument seems to be that private lives should be left alone. What happens in them doesn’t have any bearing on performance of public duty. This should be considered in the context of the emotional suffering of the individual and his family when such matters are discussed in public.

    The argument is the harm done and the prejudice generated by the disclosure is much greater than the value of the information as a means of assessing a politician’s performance. This is an argument that is relevant to how voters might view such information, but is not an argument that justifies censorship.

    The gay tinge to the story is not the real reason that the current revelations may be damaging. Openly gay politicians are elected to office. The problem is that the circumstances point to personal betrayal as a factor in this case. John Della Bosca resigned his ministry in such circumstances.

    The role of the media is to inform, to shine a light in dark places. Politicians are a species of cockroach placed in positions of public trust. The disinfectant of bright sunlight is necessary to ensure public confidence in them.

    Voters are capable f reaching their own conclusions on such matters. Democrat congressman Gary Studds was elected to six terms following the disclosure that he had an affair with a 17 year old page who worked in his office.

    Any rule or practice which deprives voters of information is essentially based on the notion that someone else decides what facts voters have access to. This very idea is far more depraved than the conduct of particular politicians. It is arrogant and totalitarian.

  70. confessions

    SB: you have completely missed the point, and have failed to address any of the relevent points in this story that have been used to discredit your position throughout this thread. Simply declaring those criticising Ch7’s actions as censorship, paternalism, arrogance and now totalitarian (!!) isn’t helpful, and actually casts you as the extremist in this debate.

    The facts are a politician was stalked without his knowledge going about his business after hours. He was secretly filmed without his knowledge or consent. Ch7 used various elements in the story to justify their actions – those elements have since proven to be false and irrelevent. To defend the media’s actions in this case begs the question of why stop at MPs? Using your logic *all* people in public employ should be subject to such voyeuristic scrutiny in order that the taxpaying public can decide whether they are getting value for the services provided.

    I’m sorry, but your position on this is wrong. And sick.

  71. Splatterbottom

    Sick?? That is a bit strong. And your criticism was that my comments were ‘unhelpful’?

    My view is anti-censorship more than anything else. The voters can decide whether the information is relevant.

    What I really object to is the hysteria generated by a bunch of do-gooders. The only reason this hysteria exists is the deep-rooted (and deeply rooted) belief of the chattering classes that the average voter is intellectually and morally inferior to them and will not be able to evaluate the information in a balanced way.

  72. returnedman

    Cue another “leftist” rant from SB …

  73. confessions

    What’s sick about your position SB is that you are arguing on the side of a voyeuristic intrusion into the private sex lives of our public figures. An issue which doesn’t impact upon their public duties.

    And I’m absolutely incredulous that you see this issue as an attempt to infringe the rights of ordinary voters, rather than see this as an inherent entitlement to a private life of all public figures. If anyone’s trying to play class warfare with this SB, it’s you.

  74. Splatterbottom

    Confessions, I am arguing against censorship and for the free flow of information. If voters are disgusted at the intrusion, this will be evidenced in the polls. I wouldn’t underestimate the voters.

    Politicians will learn that being honest and straight-forward is the best policy. Voters will forgive many things, particularly if the candidates are up-front about them.

    Censorship, whether formal or informal is truly sick. That is a fairly straight-forward proposition, and I can’t see why you don’t support it.

  75. returnedman

    I’m interested in the real question that no one seems to have asked yet, and that is: when do we get to see the “Chk Chk Boom!” Girl version of the sauna affair?!?

  76. confessions

    An individual refusing to make details of their sex life public is not censorship.

  77. Splatterbottom

    The censorship is the rule which says that certain categories of information should not be reported.

  78. confessions

    If somebody refuses to disclose their private sex life, then what entitles anyone to make it public without that person’s consent? Esp if there is no public interest test met.

    FAct is Ch7 knows this, which is why they confected a public interest issue of the ministerial car.

  79. Splatterbottom

    Channel 7 reported a fact about a public act – a person leaving a club. Why is it that this should be banned from public discussion?

    Channel 7 will also be judged by its audience. If they find its actions repugnant, it will suffer as a result.

  80. confessions

    Ch7 stalked Campbell without his knowledge and secretly filmed him without his consent going about his private business. If it was the club owner or another client who outed him, then the whole ‘he was in a public place’ rhetoric would have greater weight.

  81. SB: “Any rule or practice which deprives voters of information is essentially based on the notion that someone else decides what facts voters have access to. ”

    So you don’t want “someone else” to decide. But you’re happy to let channel 7 decide.

    I am also having difficulty reconciling your statement in this thread from Friday that politicians do have a right to some privacy with your statement today that “the censorship is the rule which says that certain categories of information should not be reported”. This isn’t an attempted “gotcha”, but those two statements are inconsistent.

  82. “Channel 7 reported a fact about a public act – a person leaving a club. Why is it that this should be banned from public discussion?”

    You’ve got the cart before the horse here. Why should it be published, given it has nothing to do with the performance of his job?

  83. Splatterbottom

    Confessions, I presume that by ‘stalked’ you mean that Channel 7 went where they thought Campbell would be. It is a daily occurrence for journalists to stalk politicians. Is your suggestion that media need an invite to cover the activities of politicians?

    Buns the right to privacy is the same right that all of us have. For example, our tax returns are kept confidential by the government, and we do not have to invite reporters into our houses.

    This is a completely different thing to positing a rule that says the press cannot report particular matters. I don’t see any inconsistency here.

    While it is true that the media makes decisions every day about what they choose to report, this is not as serious as if there is a code of conduct which says that the media is unable to report such matters.

  84. Splatterbottom

    Buns: “Why should it be published”.

    Wrong question. The idea of free speech is that people don’t have to justify their right to say stuff. It is the forces of darkness that have rules requiring people to justify why they choose to exercise their rights.

  85. confessions

    The only one stating that the press cannot report certain matters is you, SB. The rest of us are saying the press can report what they like, but when it comes to the private lives of public figures, they must first satisfy a public interest test for doing so.

  86. Splatterbottom

    So what you are saying, confessions, is that you have invented a new “public interest” test for what gets reported, and if certain information fails your test, the media can’t report that information.

    That attitude reeks of censorship and is repugnant to all who care about free speech.

  87. confessions

    No SB. I’m saying, as I’ve said all along, that where the private going ons of public figures impacts upon their public duties, then it is in the public interest to be disclosed. If not, then they, like you and I, have a right to keep our private lives out of the media.

    The media itself acknowledges this SB, which is why Ch7 has come in for such heavy criticism from most sections of the MSM. I don’t know why you think the press should act according to your own flawed reasoning.

  88. Splatterbottom

    Confessions, I think that the press should have a choice about what they publish. You are the one who would censor them for not conforming to your arbitrary rules.

  89. confessions

    No, what you want is the media dictating to citizens what it thinks it can and will declare in the public interest – regardless of who gets hurt, and what damage is done to individuals and families.

    I actually think the concept of public interest works well, has done for eons, and should be the basis for decision-making on what in a person’s private life (ie away from their public role) is disclosed to the public. That isn’t censorhip SB, no matter how many ways you try to spin it.

  90. Channel 7 should be getting some well deserved attention from Media Watch tonight.

  91. “The idea of free speech is that people don’t have to justify their right to say stuff. It is the forces of darkness that have rules requiring people to justify why they choose to exercise their rights.”

    Don’t be so melodramatic. We’re talking about publication by a news outlet. “People” don’t have to justify their right to “say stuff”. Nobody is suggesting that. But there are rules that apply to publication of private information by news media – rules to which channel 7 has agreed to be subject – and a gross breach of privacy like this is only justified by reference to the “public interest”.

    In my view, there is no public interest angle in this “story” and I’ve yet to hear a sensible argument to the contrary.

  92. Splatterbottom

    Nawagadj;“Channel 7 should be getting some well deserved attention from Media Watch tonight.”

    If you watch Media Watch, and you don’t understand that Media Watch is merely the relentless prosecution of leftist stupidity, please kill yourself now. You are not a sentient human being.

    When the fools who produce this show are laying dead in the street, remember that sooner or later the truth will always win out. It is completely beyond me why people think there will not be a consequence to their stupidity.

    Confessions:That isn’t censorhip SB, no matter how many ways you try to spin it.

    It is nothing but censorship. You want to shut people up. Please go fuck yourself, and just admit you are a fascist at heart.

    Buns“But there are rules that apply” Please shove your rules up your gaping anus. They have no place in a civilised society, you protofascist arsewipe.

  93. If you watch Media Watch, and you don’t understand that Media Watch is merely the relentless prosecution of leftist stupidity, please kill yourself now. You are not a sentient human being.

    When the fools who produce this show are laying dead in the street, remember that sooner or later the truth will always win out. It is completely beyond me why people think there will not be a consequence to their stupidity. ” – SB

    I pray that this is self-parody.

  94. Wow, SB, your meds aren’t working anymore (or did you forget to take them?).

  95. Splatterbottom

    A bit of hyperbole spices things up
    don’t you think?

  96. confessions

    It is nothing but censorship. You want to shut people up.

    Oh please, stop being hysterical. Responsibility for dislosing the private sex lives of individuals lies with the individual/s concerned. Unless there is a public interest justification for doing so.

    Removing this entitlement from people and placing it with an unrelated entity is in fact the facist thing to do SB.

  97. Splatterbottom

    I do think this is a fundamentally serious issue. There is far too much censorship around politics as it is. It is bad enough when individual media organs self-censor, but to have a blanket rule applicable to all of them is disgraceful, and an attack on free speech. It should not be countenanced.

  98. confessions

    There is far too much censorship around politics as it is.

    That may be so. But the private sex lives of MPs has nothing to do with politics, except in cases of illegality, corruption, abuse of parliamentary privilege , which are not the case in Campbell’s circumstances.

    Your argument is therefore irrelevent.

  99. Splatterbottom

    Confessions, think of it like the internet filter. You don’t have to be for child pornography to oppose the filter.

  100. confessions

    The issue of reporting the private lives of public figures where there is no public interest imperative for doing so is nothing at all like an internet filter which will not meet its stated objectives.

    There is no connection between the 2 whatsoever.

  101. Splatterbottom

    They are actually similar issues – there is a prima facie case in favour of censorship, but it is not worth the cost to free speech.

    I don’t know why you think the media ban will be effective – there will be confected public interest aspects to the stories; and on the other hand, some stories which ought to be reported will be suppressed. There are always cases at the margin of any boundary, and this is a very fuzzy boundary.

  102. confessions

    SB: the prima facie case for the filter is about preventing the downloading of illegal material – and even that’s a debatable justification for internet censorship.

    I don’t see how this is any way similar to applying a public interest test to the reporting of MPs private lives.

  103. Splatterbottom

    They are both forms of censorship, they both have a plausible rationale, and they are both offensive to free speech.

  104. I agree with SB on this:

    ‘”I don’t know why you think the media ban will be effective – there will be confected public interest aspects to the stories; and on the other hand, some stories which ought to be reported will be suppressed. There are always cases at the margin of any boundary, and this is a very fuzzy boundary.”

    Although I also get confessions point.

    The reporting in this case was vindictive and appears to be a case of someone at 7 using their “media powers” to pursue a personal agenda and in this case it led to a erroneous call for the ministers resignation. And in turn to his actual resignation.

    Maybe if NSW Labour weren’t so fucked they might have been able to make an immediate defense.

    But the end result is a shithouse minister resigns for the wrong reasons.

    So although reporters should be able to report what they like, in cases like this where they have acted questionably they should get into shit for it.

    Cos there is no public interest served by this story.

    But if some people’s suspicions are true there is a private interest being served and it appears vindictive.

    And its led to the inappropriate resignation of a politician.

    That is appalling.

  105. Splatterbottom

    Jules, I agree with this point: “So although reporters should be able to report what they like, in cases like this where they have acted questionably they should get into shit for it.”

    Reacting against bad judgment by the media in running stories like this is also freedom of speech. In the end the public will work these things out.

  106. Wow whats going on? Too much agreement.

    I think you’re right – the public will eventually work this stuff out (I hope). Ultimately thats the only way it can work in a democracy. With an informed intelligent and committed public, acting in good faith. That usually happens in my part of the world when stuff needs to be sorted out.

    Tho here’s where we may disagree.

    I think Campbell needs some come back for this.

    I know you have your whole free speech thing, and I do agree with it. But I also reckon if I say the wrong thing to someone in public the should have some comeback.

    People should have the right to defend their territory, and that includes the idea of walking down the street without someone questioning your right to exist. Physically if need be.

    Thats my personal thing other people can view that how they like. I am as handy with my mouth anyway so usually I rely on that.

    (IE These days, cos I look like I’m in the Taliban, when people say the wrong thing to me in the street I tell them I know where they live and they better hope that ticking they her in bed tonight is a clock or yeah too right and my kids hate racists. If you see them at your gate with a backpack – Run!! or something like that.)

    I dunno maybe Campbell should hire someone to follow some Ch7 people around (and maybe their partners) and take every opportunity to video him.

    I’d be tempted to follow the people responsible round 24/7 videoing their every move and putting it on youtube till they lose the plot in his position.

    If I lived in Sydney and was gay I’d probably be organising a roster of people to do it right now.

    But that would be fair imo.

    Its not just people who live their lives in public that should be subject to exposure, people who make a living exposing people to public scrutiny deserve the same sword hanging over their heads.

    It might help them to judge whats fair exposure and what isn’t.

  107. confessions

    I don’t know why you think the media ban will be effective

    Because it’s been effective in the past, and has continued to work effectively. Campbell’s sexuality has been reported as an open secret amongst colleagues and some Sydney journos for years – but hasn’t been reported. As Jules says, the Campbell issue came to light through the malevalence of one journo, ostensibly for his own reasons. That Ch7 had to invent a public interest angle to out Campbell says it all. They knew they were in the wrong.

  108. Splatterbottom

    Jules, one of the benefits of free speech is that you do not need to resort to violence to get your point across. Campbell had a chance to put his point of view, but he decided to keep it brief. His choice.

    At uni the lefties were always threatening that “come the revolution you will be first against the wall”. No one took them seriously – you just goad them and try to get an assault charge against them.

    So confessions, should the ‘other journo’ have had his privacy respected in previous occasions?

  109. confessions

    What “other journo” do you mean?

  110. “At uni the lefties were always threatening that “come the revolution you will be first against the wall”

    What uni did you go to and when? I reckon you’re bullshitting.

    “you just goad them and try to get an assault charge against them. ”

    Yeah, sounds like you….Prick! :)

  111. Splatterbottom

    Sorry confessions: I meant the <a href="http://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/national/its-over–reba-meagher-to-be-a-single-mum-20090905-fc2s.html"one that broke the story.

    UNSW – started 1974 we had all manner of lefties – SLL SWL SWP CPA CPA(ML) SPA Maoists – a veritable cavalcade of communists, but now all of their ideas are dead and discredited. The Maoists were the best drinkers.

  112. “If you watch Media Watch, and you don’t understand that Media Watch is merely the relentless prosecution of leftist stupidity, please kill yourself now. You are not a sentient human being.

    When the fools who produce this show are laying dead in the street, remember that sooner or later the truth will always win out. It is completely beyond me why people think there will not be a consequence to their stupidity. ”

    Now I understand. You are an insane person. I don’t mean that perjoratively. You really are not in control of your mental faculties.

    “Buns“But there are rules that apply” Please shove your rules up your gaping anus. They have no place in a civilised society, you protofascist arsewipe.”

    You mean the civilised society where you get to abuse people who dare to disagree with you? Funny idea of “civilised” you’ve got there. I am done trying to have a civil discussion with you on any topic. It is clearly beyond you.

    “No one took them seriously – you just goad them and try to get an assault charge against them.”

    Just as immature now as you were then.

    Ironically, if this was a right wing blog, you would’ve been banned long ago for your inability to contain the personal abuse.

  113. Splatterbottom

    Buns I was merely trying to show, by hyperbole, how seriously offensive your pro-censorship views are. People have fought for centuries to establish the right to free speech and now that right is being attacked on many fronts, mostly by the left.

    It is utterly putrid that a pro-censorship advocate like yourself should be calling me insane, even as you try to dilute our democratic principles.

    I also question your sense of humour. The ‘please kill yourself now’ line is straight out of Bill Hicks, although he applied it to the marketing profession.

  114. confessions

    SB: I’m not familiar with the Reba Meagher story, so feel it would be imprudent to comment. Btw your link is borked.

  115. I’ll tell you what, SB: why don’t you go and fuck yourself?

  116. Splatterbottom

    The point is that when you start looking at other cases, interesting questions arise about the privacy boundary. In Meagher’s case, a government driver waited all night in a carpark while she was trysting the night away.

    Or you could as whether there was enough interest in the Kernot/Evans affair, or whether the fact that a party to the affair chooses to go public with it. If Gillard raised the issue of Emerson drinking her contact lenses while they were having an affair at an ALP conference, should that be reported? Or should that bit have been deleted from the ABC transcript of the interview? Maybe we should have a law that when ex’s go public, the media is obliged to ignore it.

    My view is that any such rules will be too complicated and arbitrary. Better just to trust the public to evaluate the merits of the story.

  117. confessions

    In Meagher’s case, a government driver waited all night in a carpark while she was trysting the night away.

    If that’s true, then as I understand it it’s a clear breach of ministerial code of conduct, because they are only allowed to use their drivers for ministerial business. Clearly in the public interest.

    The Kernot/Evans story was justified publishable by Oakes on the grounds that Kernot was defecting to Labor, and perhaps their affair was a reason. It’s shaky IMO, but far more justifiable than the Campbell treatment. If an MP raises the issue of their own sex life in an interview then it’s fair enough to be broadcast I think you are being a bit obsessive about this SB which is why you perceive it as complicated and arbitrary. It really isn’t.

    And I repeat: there is an unspoken code of conduct that has existed between the media and our MPs for decades which effectively rules families and private lives off limits unless in cases where an issue falls within the public interest. I see no reason to change this.

  118. Splatterbottom

    Confessions, I can understand that each media organisation makes judgments every day about whether to run particular stories, and they well may decide not to run particular stories. I don’t think self-censorship should go any further than that.

  119. confessions

    So you actually agree with current practice, and see no case for change?

    Honestly! WTF have you spent this entire thread hand-wringing over then?

  120. Splatterbottom

    Confessions, my concern was to limit attacks on free speech as much as possible. Having each individual media organ make their own decisions is very different to a situation where there is one strict rule, enforcement of which is delegated to thought police.

  121. confessions

    Having each individual media organ make their own decisions is very different to a situation where there is one strict rule, enforcement of which is delegated to thought police.

    Which has not been suggested by anyone.

  122. As well knew, it was a strawman all along.

  123. well = we all

  124. Splatterbottom

    Most of the comments here have been about the necessity for there to be a general rule, not about individual choices of media companies.

  125. confessions

    No, SB. Most of the comments here have taken Ch7 to task for choosing to broadcast information not in the public interest. That Ch7 had to invent a public interest angle in order to justify broadcasting tells any reasonable person they knew what they were doing was wrong.

  126. Splatterbottom

    Confessions the difference between us is that you think that “the press can report what they like, when it comes to the private lives of public figures, they must first satisfy a public interest test for doing so.”, whereas I think there is no such test, merely the discretion of each editor. Imposing a ‘test’ is censorship.

  127. A sight for sore eyes! Andrew Bolt dressed in his flak-jacket in the safety of the Green Zone, in Iraq, telling the world and his blogger goons, the war in Iraq, was won and over. This is the super-troll, who has the poo-poo’s over that Mossad agent getting kicked out of Australia. Salom, Richard Ryan

  128. confessions

    I think you’ll find SB, that it really is at the discretion of editors now. The media itself applies a public interest test to such issues, and in the case of Ch7, had to invent a public interest reason for broadcasting about Campbell’s sexuality.

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