Tuesday 25 May 2010

Cairns Post' sister rag embroiled in gutter tablewd entrapment

Rupert Murdoch, who owns the Cairns Post and also the trashy News of the World in the UK, has overnight "exposed" the Duchess of York as plotting to sell access to her ex-hubby Prince Andrew for £500,000.

However in a typical fashion, the reporter who wrote the story, Mazher Mahmood, is not the reporter who set the entrapment sting up, and now wants to remain anonymous, probably claiming he's not part of the "story."

50 year old Sarah Ferguson was covertly filmed on Tuesday night taking $47,000 (£27,000) in cash as a down-payment from an undercover News of the World reporter.

Whilst CairnsBlog has used similar hidden recording tactics, most famously to expose the unscrupulous and closed door goings-on at Cairns Community Radio with a secret video, it wasn't entrapment, nor illegal. When a community or a public organisation that receives substantial funds from the public purse, we have a duty to dig and expose the dirt. It's pertinent to note that that particular video, that serial cereal eater Bryan Law filmed, was the trigger for an ACMA to launch their third investigation into Cairns community radio - a finding on this is due next month.

However it's questionably what the obviously silly Duchess has done anything wrong. She hasn't secured a deal at present for this stooge to have access to her ex royal hubby, she was merely made to look foolish. Mighty foolish. If someone approached you with a tonne of cash, would you accept it? Probably not, but some would.

"Look after me and he'll look after you. . . you'll get it back tenfold. I can open any door you want," Sarah Ferguson says in the covert video.

James Whitaker says in the Guardian that he is not surprised that Ferguson would take the cash...
  • "The woman is skint. And, like any desperate person, she will do almost anything to get her hands on some cash. Fergie has made it abundantly clear that if this means 'using' Andrew she will not think twice. It isn't attractive - it's not so different from selling your mother. But the question has to be asked: how has the Queen allowed the situation to deteriorate to this level? The duchess was always a loose cannon and needed looking after."

However Phillip Knightley in the Independent questions the dodgy reporting and the motivation for News of the World...

  • "Going undercover is considered glamorous. Acting a role that exposes wrongdoing or greedy and bad behaviour attracts some journalists, particularly those seeking to become the heroes of their own stories. But above all, at a time of falling circulations and editorial financial restrictions it is a comparatively cheap form of journalism with a quick result. Standard investigative journalism is expensive, often open-ended and uncertain. Many stories simply fail to stand up."
Such reporting raises a number of ethical questions, least of all that this is hardly a story. Sure it's sensational and dramatic and all that, but it's hardly a story.

In comparison, local Cairns writer and former London journalist Tony Hiller criticises today's front cover "story" in the Cairns Post about a 'Car collector driven to sell his dream machines.'

"It's a non-story — it's a classic example of the Compost's embarrassing rev-head mentality," Hillier says. "To compound the travesty, it's also the subject of the day's editorial. 'Car-tastrophe for Far North'. Really? I'd be interested to know what the incoming new editor made of Nick Dalton's cockeyed news sense. Even the "Tizer" would think twice about running a piece that is at best trivia; at worst a full page ad."

Fergie has since apologised for what she called her "serious lapse of judgement". Today she flew to Los Angeles to accept an award for her work with underprivileged children, where she said "I hate grown ups and I love children."

You can read the full script here, or watch the rather entertaining and probably tiddly Duchess here...

1 comment:

Syd Walker said...

The only thing Fergie did wrong was not to have her own camera on hand, so SHE could sting the lying 'journalist' as soon as the money changed hands - explaining (as she bagged the cash) that she was working freelance to gather evidence of News Corp entrapment practices.