The Pauline Hanson photos row is a deliciously intriguing one with the Sunday Telegraph involved in a high stakes game of chicken with Australia’s most odious political figure, Pauline Hanson.
On Sunday, they published pics of the chillingly unattractive shrew exploring her inner S&M persona allegedly on her back in a Coffs Harbour resort . Or at least we think they were of her.
And she’s done a good job at punching holes through the story of the man who has sold the pics to the newspaper and to Channel Nine.
He has bone cancer, a condition some think might suggest he has nothing to lose by fabricating photos or faking a story about the photos. It might also have had an effect on his memory too, which might makes parts of the story questionable while not undermining the authenticity of the pics.
Many would say they ought not have been published anyway. We don’t agree. If we had obtained them, we would have published them too, she’s a public figure who draws on support of many older conservative types who would not be impressed by this kind of conduct.
They might be even less impressed if it turns out she’s been caught out lying about it.
Meanwhile, the Sunday Tele’s rising star Sharri Markson is left in awkward position as a result. Her father is Pauline Hanson’s agent Max Markson and he has come out swinging about the Sunday Tele’s story saying his client is the victim of persecution and all-round meanness.
Markson isn’t believed to be involved in the story and has been telling friends she’s leaving the Canberra Press Gallery shortly to be promoted as Chief of Staff of the newspaper, where she is thought to be on the fast-track to editor.
If the Sunday Tele’s highly regarded editor Neil Breen has got it wrong, she could well be in a position of great power if her optimistic projections prove correct. Editors publishing hoax photographs tend to be expected to tap the mat reasonably quickly. We tend to agree with his view that they very clearly appear to be her. But if we’re all wrong, he’s a goner.
This could create a potential courtroom dramatic situation of the kind usually supplied by Hollywood. Newspaper sued by faux celebrity politician. On one side of the courtroom, Sharri Markson, chief of staff, destined perhaps to be editor of the Sunday Tele, on the other her estranged papa Max standing by his favourite race-baiting client.
Hilarity could ensue.