It’s always good value when Media Watch criticizes The Australian because journalists there react with foaming-at-the-mouth outrage. For example, when Media Watch nailed them for misrepresenting Rajenda Pachauri they reacted with 4672 words blasting Media Watch, including the entire editorial, stories from Caroline Overington and Matthew Warren and an opinion piece from David Salter.

So I looked forward with anticipation to Caroline Overington’s response to this story on Media Watch:


Wentworth is held by Environment Minister, Malcolm Turnbull.

But it’s tight, as a News Limited commissioned poll showed at the weekend: two party preferred, Turnbull and [Labor candidate] Newhouse are each on fifty per cent. …

It’s looking likely that preferences from the Independent Danielle Ecuyer [ex-girlfriend of Newhouse] could decide which way Wentworth falls. …

Replying to the independent’s email that it was too early to decide preferences, Overington wrote back.

Too early! My girl, you’ve got four weeks!!
Please preference Malcolm.
It would be such a good front page story. Also, he’d be a loss to the parliament and George – forgive me – would be no gain. ;)

Danielle Ecuyer was stunned by the email.

I’m disgusted to have been lobbied by a journalist from The Australian for my preferences.

And The Australian doesn’t disappoint with a news story defending Overington, and another news story as well as a column by Overington:

Here at The Australian, we look forward to Monday nights. We just know that Media Watch will have a swipe at one of us.

Well, you do provide them with plenty of ammunition…

On Tuesday mornings, it’s not uncommon to find us standing in line, waiting to offer high-fives to the grinning journalist lucky enough to have been tackled by executive producer Tim Palmer.

It’s a moment of great joy.

Gee, you don’t get that sense from the 4672 words they had blasting Media Watch last time. They seemed, well, angry.

Anyway, what about that email?

In the email, I give her a wink, to show her I am joking when I say she should give her preferences to Turnbull.

Perhaps, but Ecuyer didn’t think it was a joke:

Yesterday, the independent candidate, Danielle Ecuyer, lodged a formal complaint with the Australian Electoral Commission, alleging Overington’s emails to her on October 26 had been intended to affect the outcome of the race for Wentworth.

Also, if Overington was just joking that it would make a good story if Ecuyer preferenced Turnbull, why also argue that Turnbull was a better candidate?

And look at how unsympathetic Overington was to the “only joking” defence the week before:

The Coalition can win this election. It can eke out a five seat majority. It can hold Wentworth, and Bennelong.

Chances are you have never heard of Steve Price. He presents a radio program in Sydney and, it is safe to say, he is not of the Left. He is, however, a witness of truth.

Price says he saw the former rock star Peter Garrett in the Qantas lounge last week (getting down and dirty, among the ordinary folk, they were) and Garrett told him that he didn’t need to worry about Labor’s election promises, because Labor was basically saying anything it needed to say to get elected.

The ALP would “change it all” once they got over the line. …

Garrett says he was only joking. He wasn’t joking. He was getting cocky, which is different.

Oddly enough, Overington doesn’t mention that there was a witness to this exchange who said that Garrett was, in fact, joking.

Meanwhile emails from Overington to Newhouse (the candidate Overington said would be no gain to parliament) have been published by rival paper the Sydney Morning Herald:

Overington 11.08am “Hey there … 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 too] so why would I reciprocate?”

Overington, 11.14 am “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 [street name and number deleted] and get you looking like a cat caught in a trap, in your PJs. Your choice.” …

Overington, 12.51pm “Okay, we are sending a bloke out at 1pm. We do not have all day, George.”

Overington, 2.48pm “We’re out the front of your house, and your office, just so you know.”

That Overington, such a kidder.

Comments

  1. #1 Coturnix
    November 13, 2007

    Dave and his commenters have some good stuff on the Just A Joke response.

  2. #2 Bill O'Slatter
    November 13, 2007

    The most incriminating statement is “The Coalition can win this election. It can eke out a five seat majority. It can hold Wentworth, and Bennelong” . It goes to her understanding of what she was doing and what the stakes are.

  3. #3 Grendel
    November 13, 2007

    Yup – defintely stepped from reporting to making the news with that one.

    My question is; why bother? Surely there is enough for her to comment on in this election and provide ‘colour’ without being the ‘colour’ herself.

  4. #4 frankis
    November 13, 2007

    Ecuyer addressed Overington in an earlier email as “sweetie”, opening the door to a less than journalist-talent correspondence.

    Ecuyer must be one of the most nauseatingly self-promoting candidates we’ve ever seen. She’s also hit the jackpot by winning the number one place on the ballot paper. Thanks to her ability to get herself media exposure she’ll draw a donkey and “name recognition” vote of more than 5% despite talking like a donkey herself each time I’ve heard her.

    How about a blonde on blonde – all the Australian’s “colour” writers are blonde vixens aren’t they? – cagefight at Bondi Beach? They’d both be in it for the publicity and while they were doing their thing on the beach, distracting the donkeys of Wentworth, the rest of us locals – including Janet Albrechtsen who behaves much better – might enjoy a reprieve from them both, somewhere else.

  5. #5 Bill O'Slatter
    November 13, 2007

    I hate to tell you this Frankis but publicity seeking is what politicians do : they need the oxygen of publicity to quote an esteemed philosopher. In order to be a politician she needs to be publicity seeking (der) so let’s keep it on topic.

  6. #6 frankis
    November 13, 2007

    On topic Bill, I believe my point was that I’d be hoping for a higher class of complainant in order to sustain a charge of unprofessional behaviour against Overington. I believe Tim has pointed us to that with the sickmaking quality of her emails to George Newhouse. Perhaps I might have mentioned that.

  7. #7 Jc
    November 13, 2007

    Well color me purple;

    A right wing columist supporting a right wing candidate.

    The horror. The sheer total horror.

    Of course right wing columnists should only be there to whack right wing governments.

    Anyone care to distinguish editorials supporting political parties at election times with this?

  8. #8 Bill O'Slatter
    November 14, 2007

    Jc you can’t bash every narrative into a left or right wing box. Turnbull is not your standard right wing politician, so the story is a tad more complex than the one you are reading. The discussion is about the inducements a journalist has offered a political candidate.

  9. #9 Jc
    November 14, 2007

    Jc you can’t bash every narrative into a left or right wing box.

    I protest at own narrative, bill.

    ——————–
    Turnbull is not your standard right wing politician, so the story is a tad more complex than the one you are reading.

    Oh he’s not standard? Perhaps he’s high octane? Last time I looked Turnbull was member of the liberal party so pardon me if I can’t do complex nuance, bill, as that’s a spanish dance I haven’t mastered like you.

    ——————–

    The discussion is about the inducements a journalist has offered a political candidate.

    Oh, what inducements did Overington offer this great looking but jilted ex-lover and future poltical loser?

  10. #10 Bill O'Slatter
    November 14, 2007

    Jc to requote the email “Too early! My girl, you’ve got four weeks!! Please preference Malcolm. It would be such a good front page story. Also, he’d be a loss to the parliament and George – forgive me – would be no gain. ;)”
    I think Overington underestimated Ecuyer badly , and you don’t know enough about her to say that she is a loser. The inducemnet is front page coverage and that has considerable value.

  11. #11 Jc
    November 14, 2007

    Bill

    She’s a loser for the simple reasons that she’s running in the same electorate as her ex-boyfriend who dumped earlier this year and she’s got next to no chance in winning the election. Maybe I’m taking too much of stab in the dark here:-) Maybe I’m simply being superficial but it looks awfully like a stalking/payback to me. Certainly creepy.

    Getting back to Overington.

    The only fualt I have with Overington is that she seemed reliant on someone who seems mentally unstable with paranoia thrown in.

    Was Overinton trying to talk into throwing perferences Turnbulls way? Sure. Was it it any way some mortal sin? Naaa.

    Overington is a “slightish” right of centre columnist so I am not suprised she would be going for Turnbull and trying to talk other people into doing the same.

    The oversized Adams has openly admitted to worse. Hell, the oaf boasts about attending ALP conferences and talking policy with that rabble. Is that different?

    Stop overdramatizing something about absolutely nothing.

    She is an opinion writer, Bill. Now say that three time, breathe deeply and push down, s it is a story about nothing.

  12. #12 Bill O'Slatter
    November 14, 2007

    Quote form her website “Danielle is an ex Investment Banker who had a very successful career in investment banking from 1985-2000 in Sydney and overseas. She worked in London from 1990 until 2000 as a director of ING Barings, Societe Generale and UBS, specialising in institutional sales of global emerging markets.” Doesn’t sound like a loser to me. She is not going to win the seat of Wentworth in this election ( $2.65 on Newhouse at the moment). Bribing potential elected officials and attempting to subvert elections is a serious offence to me , but if those things are O.K. with you I suppose we can all rest easy.

  13. #13 Jc
    November 14, 2007

    Bill

    She was a saleswoman, selling EM products which isn’t rocket science, ok. INGI is not much of a player, Soc gen is 3rd tier and UBS is not a big player in EM either. Trust me, if you are a gal, look good, can 1/2 talk to clients and close a deal you’ll do fine. We had numerous gals fit that mold on every trading/sales desk. And she isn’t an investment banker by the way as that title is far too high level for the work she did. An investment banker does real analysis on mergers and acquistions meaning there is a lot of high level thinking and hard yakka.

    Whereas with her role it’s starts of with a morning meeting with the sales manager telling the kids on the desk what it is the firm wants to tout that day. The kids take notes and then start making the calls to clients almost by rote reciting what they heard. They get paid good money if they are able to latch on to decent clients.

    Stop getting yourself all fired up. A lot of horse trading goes on in the media world we are never are privy to. All we see is a front cover of say Julia Chavez-Gillard with a sop story in the weekend section. There’s horse trading.

  14. #14 Bill O'Slatter
    November 14, 2007

    Jc You are having more than a little bit of trouble with idea of democracy and its implicit one vote per person, and also of being caught doing something wrong. It seems to be quite alright in your world that those in a position to tamper with democratic processes should do so. Unfortunately this has been shown to be both unfair ( most importantly) and to result in poor political decision making.
    You also assert that Ms Ecuyer has lied on her website and is not a ex-merchant banker. We’ll see how that one plays.

  15. #15 Jc
    November 14, 2007

    First things first:

    Bills says:

    (” You also assert that Ms Ecuyer has lied on her website and is not a ex-merchant banker.”

    Bill gives the quote:

    (She worked in London from 1990 until 2000 as a director of ING Barings, Societe Generale and UBS, specialising in institutional sales of global emerging markets.”

    She wasn’t an investment banker. She sold Em securities as saleswoman.

    I explained to you what the difference is but it seems to go right over your head. Give it a little more hard thinking.

    Columnists are entitled to be involved in the democratic process. If she did anything wrong the relavant authorities such as the electoral commission or federal prosecuters can go after her under the law. Otherwise stop making a mountain out of a mole hill.

  16. #16 Bill O'Slatter
    November 14, 2007

    1.Change merchant to investment. You claim she lied on her website about being an ex investment banker. A reference on terms in the banking industry you are not.
    2.http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2007/11/13/2089191.htm
    “Ms Ecuyer does not think it is a joke and says she will make a formal complaint with the Australian Electoral Commission (AEC).”
    Whether it is provable in a court of law is another question from whether Overington’s behaviour was unethical. THis point seems to have escaped you : journalists and a lot of other professionals are bound by codes of ethics. ( Don’t laugh).
    3. You haven’t addressed your own lack of knowledge of democracy or of ethics.

  17. #17 Jc
    November 14, 2007

    Do I claim she lied about her profession? Don’t think she lied but she doesn’t seem to know the difference which in itself indicates that I am right that she simply is a sales airhead.

    Her first two jobs weren’t exactly with bulge bracket firms and I would be interested to see how long she lasted at UBS as UBS is a decent firm.

    Bill:
    Let her take it up with the authorities and let’s see where it takes us.

  18. #18 Bill O'Slatter
    November 20, 2007

    Jc I informed Ms Ecuyer of your posts and her bio http://votedani.com/about/ has not changed.

  19. #19 frankis
    November 20, 2007

    Oh happy day that one becomes aware of jc’s opinions on stuff! Anyway this is my opportunity to note that subsequent to my earlier uncomplimentary remarks on Ms Ecuyer’s publicity campaigning I heard her speak at another “Meet the Candidates” gig where she impressed more than any other attendee. Acute, well manneredl, with a meaningful message. Maybe she’s a fast learner, maybe it was a good day, perhaps I was in a generous mood. I was pleased for her.

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