In Lara Bingle vs the MSM, I am on Team Lara

The 697 people (so far) who’ve found my blog in the last 24 hours searching for “Lara Bingle nude on balcony” alerted me to the fact that someone has taken a photo of Lara Bingle nude on a balcony and told the MSM in order to drum up interest in the photo. I’m quick like that. It’s a shame the MSM isn’t so quick to realise how they’re being used, but why should entertainment reporters be any different to political reporters?

I’m going to pick on News.com.au because their story is the most ridiculous: Lara Bingle feels ‘violated’ by nude photos, by Chris Paine and Owen Vaughan. And no, I have no idea how it took two journalists to write 505 words about their Google searches, with just a single interview that resulted in one sentence making it into the story. Two journalists!

First, let me show you the bullet points at the start of the story. This will be important later:

News.com.au bullet points

The bullet points on the News.com.au Lara Bingle story.

And now the story:

LARA Bingle says she feels “violated” and “emabarrassed” by paparazzi photos of her naked on her balcony.

I’m embarrassed that neither journalist can spell “embarrassed”. But picking on typos is unfair, when there’s so much more to pick on about this story. Did I mention it took two journalists to write it?

I’d also like to point out that the photos aren’t of Lara Bingle on the balcony. She was inside her home and closing the balcony door. INSIDE HER HOME. The photos were first aired on A Current Affair (Channel 9) last night. Which means that no one in charge at ACA and no one in charge at News.com.au is bothered by the fact that it is a massive invasion of your privacy to have someone take photos of you inside your own home. Is that the kind of “journalism” they support? How many steps do you reckon it is from publishing photos of someone inside their home to hacking someone’s phone?

It is the fourth nude photo scandal to beset Bingle, and it has left her clearly upset.

Despite reporting that Bingle is “clearly upset” about these photos being plastered across news sites – as anyone would be – News.com.au is still running the photos and the story nice and large on the website. News Ltd sites love nothing more than sticking the boot into Lara Bingle while simultaneously using her as clickbait.

But what are these four nude photo scandals?

Photos of her topless in a field, taken seven years ago, appeared on websites in 2007.

You mean photos that were taken when she was possibly underaged and then sold overseas by the photographer and published in German GQ magazine and it would have gone unnoticed if it wasn’t for the MSM yelling “CLICK HERE TO SEE NUDE BINGLE BOOBIES!”. It says a lot about the MSM’s attitude towards Lara Bingle that the person who made money from selling the photographs is believed, but the person in the photos is not.

A mobile-phone snap of her in a shower, allegedly taken by her then lover, former AFL player Brendan Fevola, when they had a brief fling in 2006, was first published in 2010. Those pics contributed to the breakdown of her relationship with cricketer Michael Clarke, to whom she was engaged.

A photo that News.com.au gleefully ran across their homepage ALL DAY. A photo that any idiot could see Bingle had not consented to. A photo that Fevola reportedly showed to all his mates and a bunch of sports journos, and despite him being married, the journos portrayed it as her scandal, not his. You tell me, what’s more scandalous: a young woman in a nude photo she doesn’t want taken, or a married man taking a nude photo of a woman without her consent and then showing it to his workmates and the media. It’s pretty embarrassing for journalists that they can’t even get the scandal right.

Sources said a different set of photos showing the bikini model sunbathing topless on Bondi Beach were offered to magazines several weeks ago, though apparently there were no takers.

“Sources said”? I call bullshit. That just sounds like someone wanting to have a go at her.

And now, wait for it… the single quote that it took two journalists to get:

“She’s really upset and embarrased about this invasion of privacy,” she told news.com.au.

That was really worth the wait, wasn’t it? Two journalists! And they still can’t spell “embarrassed”. (I really hope there are no typos in this post…)

While Bingle is believed to be upset about the most recent shots, the drama surrounding their taking and attempted sale will only focus more attention on her reality show, which is being made for Channel 10.

Remember those bullet points?

But some claim the whole thing is a stunt

With no reference to ANYONE who may be making that claim, we can only assume that it’s Paine or Vaughan making that claim. It’s not really journalism is it, to report your opinion as though it’s someone else’s?

Sure, it could be a stunt. But without a single piece of evidence in this story indicating that it could be a stunt, I’m inclined to believe that it’s just the journos making it up.

Whatever you do, don’t read the comments. Remember, these are the ones that a journalist read and thought “yes, that’s fine to publish”.

Like this one:
Brett of Perth Posted at 2:13 PM Today
Who hasn’t seen it all before anyway and if Fevola didnt want it, how hot can it be?

Clearly hot enough for Brett of Perth to click on the story in order to see naked photos of her. How stupid can Brett of Perth be?

Update May 14: Still don’t think News Ltd websites use the words “Lara Bingle nude” to increase traffic? Check out the links at the bottom of yesterday’s story. These links were manually added by a journalist:

Links in Daily Telegraph's Lara Bingle story

Dailytelegraph.com.au demonstrates just how much they rely on Lara Bingle for traffic

42 responses to “In Lara Bingle vs the MSM, I am on Team Lara

  1. That story is nauseating, and unfortunately due to sheer perversity I did go on to read the comments and now feel depressed by the human race. I’m not a huge Bingle fan, but there isn’t the slightest trace of integrity connected to that stinking pile of beat-up crap. How shameful. I feel very sorry for her.

  2. She’s been branded a tart so is clearly now fair game by the smut peddlers.

    • I honestly have no idea why journos hate her. It can’t be because she went out with a cricketer because they hated her before that. It can’t be because Fevola cheated on his wife with her, because they hated her before that. Is it simply because her surname means they can write oh-so-witty “Bingle bungle” headlines? Surely journos aren’t that pathetic…

  3. I wonder if it was because she was quite overtly sexy in the “bloody” ads (wearing a bikini in the middle of a cricket pitch! gasp!), and the ads themselves were annoying – not that it was any fault of hers – so she became “that annoying slapper on the television”. Then it came out that she had an affair with a married man and everyone knows who gets the blame and condemnation for that! It’s all down here from there.

  4. How can I follow you on twitter?

  5. “How many steps do you reckon it is from publishing photos of someone inside their home to hacking someone’s phone?”

    “You tell me, what’s more scandalous: a young woman in a nude photo she doesn’t want taken, or a married man taking a nude photo of a woman without her consent and then showing it to his workmates and the media.”

    …and the media milking it for all it is worth while attempting to claim some sort of moral high ground.

    I do not think I have anything to add to this. I do not even understand why people are interested in this kind of thing. No doubt it will get a million hits and the figures will be analysed and it will be decide that we need more stories just like it. And other types of news stories will get a similar element of scandal injected into them.

    “why should entertainment reporters to be any different to political reporters?”

    Precisely. But in the other direction.

    • “No doubt it will get a million hits and the figures will be analysed and it will be decide that we need more stories just like it.” This is exactly what happens. In his 2009 piece for ProspectClickstream journalism – Andrew Currah writes that selecting the types of stories that appear in the “most popular list” over hard news turns newsrooms into “digital windsocks”. Although reflecting the interests of the crowd brings a bigger crowd, which then brings more advertising dollars, the process narrows news around a handful of stories. And in Cyburbia, James Harkin writes:

      “Collective judgements about quality tend to get snagged in a self-reinforcing feedback loop whereby things become more and more successful simply because they were favoured by those who happened to arrive earlier. If data on the popularity of news stories were to further feed back into judgements about which kinds of stories should be covered, newsrooms would end up chasing their own tails – and abandoning their judgement to the random whims and enthusiasms of Cyburbia,” (2009, p. 205).

      If the morning news editor is making news decisions based on the types of stories that were on the “most popular” list when they arrived, it means the news agenda is being set by a reasonably small group of night-owls whose interest in stories is likely to be different to those who check a news site when they arrive at work.

  6. Pingback: Elsewhere – In Lara Bingle vs the MSM, I am on Team Lara | Pure Poison

  7. It’s a disgrace. Isn’t there anything bettah those too can do with their time?

  8. I worked for Jane Nicholls for more than 10 years. Great editor/manager and a shrewd media mind. My thoughts? Under Monica Attard they didn’t break ANY big stories or set the agenda on anything, and were thus irrelevant. Plus the sideways scrolling is idiotic, plus there’s no reader interactivity, plus they’re ALL from the left (unbalanced), plus precious few readers have the time or inclination to wade through 10,000 word pieces online. Just 46,000 UBs a month! One wonders if they can even turn it around.

    • I am SO glad you said that about the website and the content! I thought it was just me who was underwhelmed by it.

      • Oi! Picking on my favourite news website!
        I have been really enjoying reading TGM. The sideways scrolling hasn’t bothered me. The absence of any right wing authors has been a plus. Comments: erm, yes it feels a bit odd- but helps contribute to said absence of right wingers. The 10 000 word pieces (I think you are exaggerating there, naughty) feel in-depth, not too long. The words “didn’t break any big stories” sum up the problem with the media we currently have: the focus on New news, and Being First leads to journalists with no time to discuss issues or analyse. The whole point of TGM was to be different: to focus on issues and stories.
        I’m hoping it won’t suddenly be filled with stories about Michael Kroger breaking up with Peter Costello on radio, or Lara Bingle on a balcony.

        • Fair enough … each to their own.
          But what did you think of this Mike Bowers “photo essay” from inside the Budget lock-up?
          http://www.theglobalmail.org/feature/budget-2012-locked-and-loaded/231/
          It put me in a coma. I found the photo of Stephen Spencer and Michelle Ainsworth standing in a hallway particularly narcotic.

          • I wonder if it’s just boring to us because of our MSM background?

            • That’s possible I guess, but is it also possible that photos of journalists and politicians wearing suits and working in a building at night are catatonically boring? I nearly passed out then and there as I was digesting the photo of Craig Emerson sitting on a sofa. But THEN I read the caption and it was lights out for poor ol’ Hendo:
              “Minister for Trade Craig Emerson spends a quiet moment in the lock-up under a painting of Queen Elizabeth opening New Parliament House in 1988.”

              • It’s the captions rather than the subject matter that I find dull dull dull. A photo essay is supposed to tell a story, not simply tell you who’s in each photo.

                • C’mon, you LOVE this one:
                  “Journalists Stephen Spencer from Network Ten and the ABC’s Michelle Ainsworth talk in one of the many corridors of the lock-up.”
                  A wordsmith Bowers ain’t …

                  • Did you read Jason Wilson’s excellent piece on TGM:

                    “too many stories were worthy-but-dull, with news and editorial values seemingly informed by a pretty wooly set of ideas about “quality journalism”… Too often they were at the weekend supplement level rather than approaching the gold standards of online longform journalism”.

                    • Jason’s right. I agree with Jason.

                    • Wilson’s piece further explains the kinds of things professional journalists consider when judging content and presentation: you consider many more complex factors than I do.
                      (I have to say the “it’s not the New Yorker” criticism is somewhat harsh: was the New Yorker gold standard from the get-go?)
                      From where I sit, finding quality journalism- even in the form of a weekend supplement informed by woolly ideas- is a source of great satisfaction. I’m all “Bingo!” when I find a site like TGM.
                      It’s kind of sad that you can’t have news and discussion that informs and exercises the reader’s intellectual capacities AND money.

                    • I think TGM was always going to struggle to reach a large Australian audience because of the focus on world stories.

                      Mumbrella’s criticism about the turnover of stories is fair because TGM presented itself as a daily news site. But it’s actually a magazine site.

                      Some more longform journalism about Australia would be great – not at TGM, just anywhere, because the SMH’s News Review section has become rubbish. I used to read it cover to cover, now I just flick through and say ‘nup, nup, nup’ at all the horserace political journalism.

          • Anything about the Budget puts me in a coma. On one hand; such articles inform me, the responsible citizen, of the workings of my government and society: on the other hand, I would rather be chained to the wall of the local pub’s playroom than have to read them.
            The article about the effect of piracy on the west coast of Africa: that’s what I read TGM for.

            • I agree with you about Budget reporting. It’s either dry and dull, or it’s appalling “what’s in it for me” reporting – neither of which is useful. It’s a national Budget, so I’d like to read about what it means for the country, not just for my selfish arse. I don’t care to read about a reasonably well-off family complaining about how it makes their three-car lifestyle a real strain. I’d prefer that space to be used for interviews with experts – people who can actually contribute something useful to the discussion. And I don’t want to read about it that evening. I’d like the journalists to read it carefully and write something intelligent about it, not just skim it in order to file by the evening deadline so they can get to the pub with the other journos.

  9. your blog isn’t a breath of fresh air, its a bloody force ten gale!
    thank you, blog will be shared.
    because i live in a cave i didn’t know of the latest binglefest – small mercies and all that. lol
    thank you for doing your bit to lift the lid on the rampant sexism and misogyny that, like Racism, apparently doesn’t exist in this country or it’s media, it’s just all just been a figment of my feminazi imagination, apparently…

    hope the media report has you back. often

  10. To comment on the subject of why the media hates Lara: I think it’s because she is a celebrity because of her looks. If she had gotten there through a talent, or association with a famous/rich/powerful person she would not get as much flak. She doesn’t have a following of fans who will fire up in her defence, as would happen if she was a sportsperson or designer or chef; and she doesn’t have a Kerry Packer style backer. Hence she gets the full force of criticism for women who step into the spotlight.

    • I think it’s also because she doesn’t play the Female Celebrity Public Redemption game. Jodi Gordon played it very well. Candice Falzon played it. But Bingle doesn’t. She doesn’t engage with journalists and just gets on with her life.

      • and good on her for that!
        I am heartily sick of the ‘oh dear i was naughty but look, now, i’m just so full of Redemption’, speil. (& then just go about business as usual)
        yeah, they’re full o summin -mostly it’s found in great steaming piles on the ground of cattle or horse paddocks.
        the majority of these sellebrities only learned the word whilst at the movies, they have no clue to its meaning.

        i probably wouldn’t know ms bingle if i tripped over her in the street, although the media laying into her with their batons while she was down might give me a clue to her identity – unless of course i couldn’t see the hair colour in which case its likely to be our Prime MInister – so please don’t think that i am just ”some fan sticking up for her”.

        • I don’t think it’s about being a fan or not being a fan, it’s about objecting to the way the media – made up of individual journalists who don’t tend to think too much about what they do as a group – treats female celebrities. Particularly how they treat you if you don’t play the redemption game.

          • oh well, being new to your blog, only ‘knowing you’/nwn since friday, and all that i just thought i’d make it clear.
            i also think eilish1 makes some salient points above & below.

            weird isn’t it, how pop culture seeps into ones head?
            i haven’t brought a so called womans magazine for probably 20years, don’t visit ‘entertainment’ websites, or spend more that 2hrs (maybe, if Survivor is on) a week watching commercial telly, and yet it’s incredible the sort of trivia that i don’t even KNOW that i know until a trivia night rolls around!
            That’s Spooky!

            • I think it’s because it’s all around us – on magazine covers at the checkout, on billboards, on tv ads – that a lot of it just seeps in.

              Eilish1 always makes great points.

      • I had to google those women: I see my refusal to read The Age is paying off. I see the pattern there: and if Bingle has refused to bare her soul for the Women’s Weekly etc, yep, she would be punished for that.
        It’s a shame she can’t bring charges of stalking against the photographer.

        Oh, not only did WordPress make an account for me, it subscribed you to my email inbox. Spooky.

        • WordPress is doing all sorts of weird stuff lately. I have no idea what’s going on.

          My knowledge of these celebrities is particularly high from the years I worked at News. My knowledge of female actors/singers/reality tv contestants ends at about March or April 2011 when I resigned and no longer had to know who they were. Handy for trivia nights though…

  11. David Livingstone

    You are spot on! How about we let this poor girl get on with her life and stop using her as media fodder. The media was quite happy to use her image to promote tourism and was proud to call her their own Aussie poster girl. It seems that the media no longer needs our Aussie sweetheart poster girl so they have decided the best way to treat her is to throw rocks at her and drag her name through the mud. I feel sick that these media pigs actually have readers that are prepared to swallow their bullshit! Lara has worked hard for Australia’s international image and this is how we thank her. I have a message for these media outlets in question, EAT SHIT!!!

  12. It makes me so mad that people blame Lara for this scandal. I mean like you said she was in her own home, those damn vultures with cameras took the photo from the other side of Bondi. Don’t get me started on her mother and grandmother, that phone call was a complete load of COCK! How can a grandmother say that to her grandchild? Of course Lara is embarrassed by all this but it’s not like she’s letting it ruins her life and everyone says things like she doesn’t care or she has no morals. Honestly we were all born naked it’s not that big of a deal. GO LARA I’M ON YOUR SIDE!

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