13 Nov. 2007

Media Slut: A New Definition


It was bad enough being disowned by Rupert Murdoch:
Asked about the story at a shareholders' meeting in Adelaide today, Mr Murdoch said he was unaware of the reported incident.

He says the company cannot restrict the private actions of individuals.

"If they're doing it in the name of the paper ... we would more than discourage it, we would take disciplinary action," Mr Murdoch said.

"It's a free world and a reporter is entitled to his opinions as much as anybody else. I'm sorry about that."
But Fairfax today shows the real Caroline Overington in all her glory:
Overington wrote at 11.08am: "Let's chat today, shall we? I could come out to Bondi, since I live there. And now you are single, I might even make a pass at you."

Newhouse, 11.11am: "You describe me (previously in an article) as short, dark and Jewish, so why would you do that? And I know you are married (and I know who to) so why would I reciprocate? George."

Overington, 11.14am: "Not married, me. Separated five months ago. I might like short, dark and Jewish, you never know. My grandfather is Jewish. But he married a Polish blonde. Perhaps we are related."

Overington, 11.35am: "Either you say yes to a photograph smiling and happy and out campaigning, or we stake you out at ... Bondi Junction, and get you looking like a cat caught in a trap, in your PJs. Your choice."

Newhouse, 11.40am: "Now that doesn't sound like burying the hatchet … What is the story? George."

Overington, 11.43am: "Because we ran a piece today saying you're a scaredy cat that needs ALP minders and can't run your own campaign. You're saying it ain't so. So why are you still hiding from us? Let's be pals."

Overington, 12.51 pm: "OK, we are sending a bloke out at 1pm. We do not have all day, George."

Overington, 2.48 pm: "We're out the front of your house, and your office, just so you know."
What bizarre form of journalism is this? From Crikey today:
But imagine if Overington was male, and Newhouse female. We would, I think, be readier to use words like harassment.

Chris Mitchell says: "I don't think men would do that these days. They are too aware of the implications."
So does that make it right for Overington?

"No, I wouldn't sent e-mails like that and I am sure Caroline regrets it, but you know her well enough to know that is what she is like."

He still describes the exchanges as "no more than colourful", and will not be disciplining Overington.
What does he mean about "what she is like?" Certainly Overington is a big personality, or as some of her colleagues say a "look at me" personality. According to Mitchell she would have "made similar suggestions to half the people in the office".

Overington has dismissed the previous exchange with Ecuyer as a joke. This morning Overington did not return calls asking for comment. But surely it is well beyond a joke.