Sunday, April 23, 2017


North  Queensland  media   continue  to  miss  obvious  major  follow ups , ask obvious questions .

In  his  latest  weekly serving   in  the  spirited Townsville   website , The   Magpie's Nest   ,  journalist  Malcolm  Weatherup  revealed  the  latest   development in  the  court action  in  which  he was   awarded   more  than  $100,000    for   defamation  by  the Murdoch newspaper ,  The Australian .

 The  Magpie , like any good  local journo  should  ,  reported  that the Appeals Court in Brisbane  had  basically dismissed  an attempt by News Ltd to  "  overturn a jury verdict that The Australian  had defamed a fine, upstanding, sober gentleman of the press … err, ahem, cough, cough … that would be  moi. "

The   judges, he  continued,  had  done  a little legal tinkering around the edges of the outcome, changing a word or so in the complicated jury verdict while otherwise leaving  it  untouched.

Bottom line – Rupert was told to  pay up, and now it remained to see if  News Ltd  wanted  to  take the case  to the High Court. As the company had already spent close to a  million dollars in legal costs, The Pie wondered how much more flattery they  would  afford   him.  If  you  could  be   bothered, he said the  Appeal Court judgement was included  in  The Magpie's  post .

"One of the claims which News could not prove in its defence against my action was that I was forced to leave the  Townsville Bulletin   (I wasn’t, I resigned in disgust at the paper’s tabloid direction) because of the ‘wrath’ of several judges.

"This was also found to be fanciful codswallop, and the only irritation the local judges showed me was that they were grumpy because they weren’t called as witnesses to  confirm what utter tosh the claim was.
"It was the subject of a jolly lunch  they shouted  me  after the Supreme Court case. 

"But one of their number, the now retired John Baulch SC, just couldn’t control his ‘anger’, and called around to The Nest to give me a piece of  his mind … and to give me this." 
Screen shot 2017-04-22 at 11.32.20 PM
In an unsolicited  testimonial , Weatherup  said  Baulch  always has had a good taste in wine … and in  his avian friends. "Thanks, John, get angry as often as you like."

Wow !!! What a  great  story to follow  up   by  the  dynamic  local media  outside of  the Townsville Bulletin : local  journalist  tosses  Murdoch  again  in court ,   judges  angry that they were not called in his defence in the defamation case ...  Weatherup   presented  with  an aptly  named   bottle  of  vino , The Laughing Magpie . 

So  far , not a full  throated  peep  out of  the scribes , which speaks  volumes.Who  said  Queensland  needs a major media shakeup , especially  a  new  voice in  the North ,  apart  from the   vast  network of  Murdoch  papers and websites , commercial TV and  radio  interests  which  leave  a lot to be desired  and  the  ABC , which   performs  the  best, especially  with  rural news,  but   nevertheless  lacks  oomph  in   other  areas?
Ask Murdoch  HQ in Sydney if it intends   to  take the case to the High Court . If  so , why ? If not , when  will payment be made ?  Is  News Limited  aware Mr  Weatherup  had  his voice  box removed  and  is  not  in the best of health , a  situation which some  people might  think  is  aggravated  by  the drawn  out  court  battle  with a  media  giant ?Is News Limited  procrastinating in the hope that  Mr Weatherup will   fall  from  his  perch, uttering  a Graham Kennedy imitation   cry  of   a mournful  Crow , faark! ,  in  the process   ?  This is a nasty  suggestion, but  legitimate  in  the circumstances.      Incidentally,  quite regularly on TV  you see an army of reporters  outside   courts   asking  key  players  in  cases   what  they think of  the  result   and  other   related  questions .