Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Synchronised beating

I am beginning to ask myself whether I was unduly harsh on Tony Veitch. After all, the Sunday papers had some pretty conclusive evidence in his defence: his wife didn't like his ex-girlfriend. And that's not all: the Sunday Star-Times has been told that "medical reports suggest two vertebrae [of Kristin Dunne-Powell's spine] were damaged in the attack but the crack to a third vertebra was an old injury."

You will understand my doubts, I am sure. Clearly, this Dunne-Powell woman is exaggerating the whole matter. Obviously, there is a huge difference between Mr Veitch cracking three of Ms Dunne-Powell's vertebrae while kicking her down the stairs and his cracking only two - a difference of a third. This should give us cause to ponder.

Curiously enough, it is not just medical reports that are suggesting that Ms Dunne-Powell is a bit of a cry-baby. No less an authority than Glenda Hughes, the "powerful media fixer who also has a soft spot for oddballs and outsiders," has doubts.

Ms Hughes is profiled on the first two pages of the Focus section of the very same Sunday Star-Times. Her profiler is Anthony Hubbard. He reveals that Ms Hughes knows from "sources" that Ms Dunne-Powell was "walking and visiting people" not long after leaving hospital. You will see that there is cause for concern here: only two vertebrae cracked and she was up and about in no time.

Ms Hughes knows about this sort of thing, as it turns out: "now I am not saying she may not have some fractures in her back or whatever. She might have some. I certainly know I have. I have mistreated my back horribly and I do know."

Of course, Ms Hughes would never sanction a man hitting a woman but "I do accept, having dealt with lots of domestics in my time, that you can be driven to actions, that violence is not always about physicality."

You see, the Dunne-Powell woman drove him to kick her down the stairs, with her non-physical violence. She mistreated her back horribly.

It comes as no surprise that Ms Hughes, the media fixer with a heart of gold, is representing Mr Veitch; but she is only doing so because she personally believes he has been wronged.

Mr Hubbard explains, on her behalf, that PR people like her are not paid liars, as many journalists think. In fact, as Mr Hubbard admits, there are many bad journalists. Fortunately for Ms Hughes there are enough good journalists for her to rely on. And she has an ideal "media encounter" in mind, one that runs like this:
the honest PR agent, helping their client towards clarity, and their intelligent conversation with a well-meaning reporter who in turn conveys a complex truth to the world.
As Mr Hubbard concludes, "it's certainly a great picture. And one rarely seen."

Well, Mr Hubbard, there is a reason for that. This great picture is a fake. Ms Hughes is a liar for hire. Her job is to make her client, the violent assailant, look like the injured party and to make his victim look like the villain of the piece. Mr Hubbard's job, as a journalist, is to see through the hall of mirrors put up by Ms Hughes and every other PR agent, but obviously he cannot or will not do that. So he writes two pages of flannel, an advertorial for Ms Hughes and her current campaign to denigrate Ms Dunne-Powell.

It is not as if the Veitch camp needed any further help. By bringing in the long-suffering wife, they managed to get their story in both that day's Sunday Star-Times and the Herald on Sunday. Mrs Veitch's role was to portray Dunne-Powell as a bit of a flake, as did the previous witness – the flatmate who recalled Dunne-Powell turning up at all hours asking for Tony. Zoe Veitch also clutches for our sympathy by telling us that John Campbell turned up unexpectedly; yes, a real journalist – it must have been difficult for her. And of course there is the suggestion that the police have got it in for her, not only tipping off Campbell and rummaging through her drawers but revealing their obvious bias against the accused (Jafapete comments further on this).

As predicted by the SST, Veitch was charged the next day, putting all this media work into context. It is crucial for Veitch that his victim be kicked again and again, to move public and jury opinion against her. Both the HoS and the SST seem willing to do their bit to help.

I met Glenda Hughes once, at one of Russell's Media7 gigs. I thought she was alright. She was representing the woman who had been raped anally by Tea Ropati, a woman who was denigrated in the media by the rapist's wife. I guess this case is different.

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