Scandal

Photo of the Day

Aimee Semple McPherson busy preaching to the King of the Jungle, King-Kong …

Fervour, Scandal, Altered States …

Aimee Semple McPherson

Aimee Semple McPherson was one of the most glamorous women in the US in the 1920s. The evangelical preacher put on theatrical church services and used ground-breaking radio broadcasts to teach the gospel – but one mysterious episode in her life has never been fully explained.

On May 18, 1926, Aimee went for a swim in the Pacific Ocean and did not make it home.

The female assistant who’d gone with her had to leave to make a short phone call from a nearby hotel. When she returned she couldn’t see the evangelist anywhere.

As evening fell, McPherson was still missing and her followers rushed to the beach to join the search.

Her mother tactfully made the announcement at the end of a sermon by declaring “Sister is with Jesus.” Aimee’s flock freaked out. One would-be rescuer drowned, and another died of exposure. For a solid month, the country played detective, looking for her body. Until the day when — praise Jesus! — she stumbled out of the desert with a story of kidnapping, drugging and torture. But at least she was home. Hallelujah!

For all her savvy business sense, Aimee didn’t quite think her story through. For one thing, she claimed she escaped her kidnappers and managed a 13-hour trek through the desert. Yet she looked as fresh as a daisy – she wasn’t dehydrated or sunburned, her clothes didn’t have that I-just- traversed-a-desert look. So that didn’t quite sit right with investigators.

Then there was the matter of Aimee’s so called kidnappers, “Steve” and “Mexicali Rose,” who she said chloroformed her before stealing her away in their car.

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Photo of the Day

Lewinsky and then-President Clinton's liaison was big news in 1998.

Lewinsky and then-President Clinton’s liaison was big news in 1998.

Linda Tripp

A Presidential Affair

Linda Rose Tripp is a former U.S. civil servant who figured in the Monica Lewinsky scandal of 1998–99. The former White House employee found herself at the center of a media firestorm after it was discovered that she had secretly recorded conversations with President Bill Clinton’s alleged mistress, White House intern Monica Lewinsky, and handed them over to the man investigating the Clintons’ Whitewater scandal, Kenneth Starr. The tapes played a key role in Clinton’s eventual impeachment by Congress, and Tripp endured intense media scrutiny.

Tripp’s action in secretly recording Lewinsky’s confidential phone calls about her relationship with the President caused a sensation with their links to the earlier Jones v. Clinton lawsuit and with the disclosing of notably intimate details. Tripp claimed that her motives were purely patriotic, and she was able to avoid a wiretap charge in exchange for handing in the tapes. She then claimed that her firing from the Pentagon at the end of the Clinton administration was vindictive, while the administration claimed it to be a standard routine.

Tripp was a White House employee in the George H. W. Bush administration, and kept her job when Bill Clinton took over in 1993. During the summer of 1994, senior White House aides wanted Tripp out, so they arranged a job for her in the public affairs office in the Pentagon which gave her a raise of $20,000 per year.

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Photo of the Day

Seymour, Bisset is looking at you ... Worsley, his wife and Bisset had once attended a bath-house in the town and, while Lady Worsley was getting dressed, her husband had allowed Bisset to climb on his shoulders to ogle her half-naked form through a window.

Seymour, Bisset is looking at you … Worsley, his wife and Bisset had once attended a bath-house in the town and, while Lady Worsley was getting dressed, her husband had allowed Bisset to climb on his shoulders to ogle her half-naked form through a window.

Sex, Scandal and Divorce

 Lady Worsley had 27 lovers and Sir Richard was a Voyeur, a Pervert, a Deviant

The Battle between Sir Richard Worsley and George Bisset

In 1782, the chattering classes of Britain and the United States were held transfixed by the trial of George Bisset for criminal conversation. The transcript had seven printings in the first year–even George Washington requested one.

Lady Worsley ran off with her husband’s best friend, Captain George Bisset and by March 1782, their names and cartoon images were plastered all over London. Sir Richard was a voyeur who used to pimp Lady Worsley out to his friends, and then tried to unsuccessfully sue Bisset for 20,000 pounds in a Criminal Conversation, or adultery trial. The couple took great pains to completely ruin each other – and the public loved it. They queued outside booksellers shops for copies of the trial transcripts and the newspapers covered the farce for months. Poems and pamphlets of purported exploits were printed and hungrily consumed all that year and in the years to follow.

What legal options were available to the cuckolded husbands of 18th-century England? Divorce was a fantastically costly, excruciatingly public business, and only really viable for those blessed with deep pockets and lofty social rank.

The so-called parliamentary divorce was one possibility, which obliterated the marital union and left the parties free to re-marry.

However, there was also the solution dispensed by the ecclesiastical court of Doctors’ Commons: a legal separation of “bed and board” might be pronounced, but the former husband and wife were not then entitled to find new spouses. This was the vengeful cuckold’s first port of call: a wife who was unable to remarry stood an excellent chance of falling into penury.

What, though, of the scoundrel who had ravished her? Here the concept of “criminal conversation” – a euphemistic way of saying “having adulterous sex” – came to the fore.

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David Carter is telling porkies

david-carter-speaker1

Speaker David Carter has slapped down speculation he wants a top diplomatic posting – after New Zealand First leader Winston Peters intimated he would block such an appointment if in power.

After Mr Peters’ comments yesterday, Mr Carter has taken the unusual step of delivering a press statement to press gallery reporters, denying he wanted a change of job. Read more »

If it’s Craig or Brown flush it down

Personally I think both Craig and Brown are finished politically but only Len Brown seems to have accepted that fact as he has stated that he will not be standing again. The two men are an interesting study in how to handle a scandal. Len Brown didn’t even try to deny his affair. He immediately fronted up to Campbell Live and apologised for letting everyone down. In contrast Colin Craig went down the denial route. That is not my poem he claimed. It was inappropriate behaviour not sexual harassment he retorted.

Just one of the bad eggs that need to be exited

While their approach to being caught out was totally different what they have in common is that they both failed to react in the way one would expect.

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Kim Dotcom is all excited about last night’s poll

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One more scandal it is then.    But do I have to wait until Sep 15, or can I do it sooner?   Read more »

When does a political scandal take its toll?

There is a great deal of talk about political scandals at the moment. Most of it is beltway and of no consequence, with the scandal largely manufactured by an opposition out of real ideas.

The polls should give them a clue as to what the public believes.

THere is some evidence though, actually quite a lot of evidence, to suggest what it is precisely that finally bites when a scandal runs.

Your allies may be quick to abandon you during a scandal if you’re expendable (think John Edwards), but if you’re, say, the president, they may be more likely to rally to your side. Scandals may also be more damaging for black candidates (PDF) than for white ones. Additionally, scandals may be more likely to emerge when the opposition party has a lower opinion of the incumbent and when it’s a slow news week (PDF). Voters think worse of scandals involving financial problems than they do of sex scandals, especially when abuse of power is involved. They are also quicker to forgive (or forget) sex scandals than financial ones (PDF). Read more »

No one cares about Christie’s Bridgegate

The leftwing and the media are all trying desperately to hurt Chris Christie over his so-called bridgegate but it appears no one give a toss.

Pew poll from this week found the public paid little attention to Christie’s Bridgegate—less than the polar vortex (which was, after all, truly nation-wide) or even the Washington debate over unemployment benefits and the jobless rate. Meanwhile, national opinion of the governor has barely budged.

Screen Shot 2014-01-14 at 5.49.36 PM Read more »

Gordon Campbell on the Dotcom/Scoop fiasco

Gordon Campbell’s politics are not my politics, but as happens once in a while there is something sensible that comes from his keyboard.

He comments on the scandal enveloping Scoop as a result of Kim Dotcoms willing compromising of New Zealand’s media.

Just before Christmas, Al informed me of his intention to get involved with Dotcom, and added that – understandably – strong misgivings were being voiced within his family about the wisdom of him doing so. At his request, I wrote an outline of the pros and cons for Scoop of his decision, which I did knowing that his decision was a fait accompli, and that the rationale would be used only to try and ease family tension. Ironically, many of the family’s initial misgivings have proven to be well founded.

For those of us connected with Scoop who watched the debacle unfold yesterday – and like everyone else, we did so by reading about it online – the details were alarming. It is painful to draw attention to them because Al’s entrepreneurial drive has been essential to sustaining Scoop as a forum of ideas ; but equally, it is impossible to condone a media outlet signing up the domain name of a political party, while reporting on political events. Al was an associate member of the press gallery. He also had an administrative role with Scoop that required him to generate new business for the site. Some hats that would be shared around in a traditional news organisation were worn by Al alone: such are the economic realities of Web publishing. These multiple roles always had the potential for conflicts of interest in both the political and business coverage.

For a news outlet however, a political client is not just another business client. Especially in an election year, any potential conflicts had to be identified and dealt with beforehand in a way that maintained the necessary distance. Instead, the boundaries in this case were actively blurred.

The domain name registration was indefensible. Left unaddressed, it would have been the sort of thing Scoop would normally seek to investigate and critically expose, if it were being done by anyone else. When that same political party also took out substantial advertising on the news site that has just registered its domain name – preparatory to launch – then the proximity became intolerable. One of the worst things about the situation is that Al’s resignation – assuming that it stands – was almost redundant. It was agreed that he would have been stepping aside anyway, if (a) he went through with his plans to become involved with Dotcom’s party and (b) if Dotcom’s own plans to launch a political party hadn’t fallen apart before then. As things stand though, it is now a moot point whether the unacceptable blurring of boundaries could have been addressed by bringing forward (by a few days or weeks) Al’s stand-down from his role as Scoop editor. The belated emergence of the news about the domain name registration made yesterday’s instant action necessary, and inevitable.  Read more »

A reader emails about the attention span of the media

A reader emails me about the state of the media and their attention span of a gnat.

I’ve noticed today that yet again the media has managed to get itself off-topic and be distracted by a side show event that is secondary to the main news event.

Back last month we had the Len Brown dodgy sex-gate and within a week the mainstream media had been distracted off topic by a PR spun side show conspiracy that Whale Oil and John Palino had orchestrated a hit job on Len. Sniff. Poor Len.

The real story was Len’s very dodgy behaviour in office. Like references for the girl he was nobbing, using his Council paid PR guys to work him out of trouble and rooting in the office and hallowed rooms of town hall.

Now we have these complete idiots calling themselves Roast Busters (what does that mean anyway?) who have essentially raped a pile of girls under age and bragged about it online. That and the lack of police action is the news.   Read more »