I was right. Last night's 3 News dedicated the first ten minutes of the programme - a programme that, once you take out ads, weather, sport and witty banter, lasts about 18 minutes - to the Veitch case. Scout's honour, that's the truth. I sat in my chair, gripping the armrests, the other people in the room shrinking in horror as the air turned increasingly blue. But I knew what I would have to do. So as I picked up my copy of the Herald this morning, a smile of grim satisfaction spread across my face. Veitchgate dominated the front page. Veitchgate was page A2. I cackled to myself, wiping the drool from my maddened lips with an increasingly sodden handkerchief...
Anyway, I trust we're all on the same page with this. In case you have spent the last wee while being waterboarded in a secret CIA detention camp in Uzbekistan, Tony Veitch is a former sports presenter most famous (to me) for comparing tennis's Williams sisters to apes.* Yesterday, he pleaded guilty to injuring his former partner with reckless disregard; to the laypeople among us, he kicked his girlfriend in the back. So yes, not a very nice guy; but if everyone who got convicted of some kind of serious assault got on the news... well, people might have to look out the window to find out what the weather was like. Meanwhile, the Herald used no fewer than five journalists on the various Veitch stories yesterday. So what's the big deal?
One doesn't have to be a genius to work it out - although it helps. Celebrity is news. Even better, a bunch of celebrities wrote to support this celebrity, which means that reporter Jared Savage (and/or a subeditor, of course) gets to write about celebrities, add in a little list of celebrities in a box for those too busy or starstruck to read his article, and put in photos of his two favourite celebrities. Apparently he is a lovely guy, who would never kick a woman in the back. Mr Savage also unironically reports on the "media frenzy" around the news:
Bridget Saunders! It looks like she's really stolen a march on Herald gossip queen Rachel Glucina. The reporting on reporting amuses me; I sometimes wonder if you could maintain a bunch of reporters who only reported on what the other reporters were reporting on, or whether that would collapse the space-time continuum.
Nearly 30 reporters and photographers swarmed to a car that pulled up outside the Auckland District Court in the mistaken belief that Veitch had arrived.
The door opened to reveal Mark Sainsbury, from TVNZ's Close Up. He was later joined by TV3 rival John Campbell in a sign this was big news.
It was standing room only inside the courtroom as journalists jockeyed for position and lawyers from unrelated cases poked their noses through the court door.
Veitch's media minder Glenda Hughes sat at the back, with gossip columnist Bridget Saunders nearby and detectives guarding the empty seat where Kristin Dunne-Powell would sit in the front row.
In conclusion, no one should be surprised that a (minor) celebrity court case makes the news. What appals me is the sheer scale of the coverage, as if John Key had burned down an orphanage. In my heart of hearts, I pray that it is just a slow news day. To finish, I turn to the "Your Views" question on 'Veitchy': should he get another chance in the media?
50nine (Kaikoura) The past is over and his former gilrfriend is still alive. Of course Tony should work for TV One again. We all like him - he's a nice guy like Paul.She's still alive, after all; it's so easy to get carried away with this sort of thing.
* Or something along those lines - please don't sue me.