Seven story under fire over privacy issues

Seven News Director Peter Meakin has retreated from key arguments in a story which outed NSW parliamentarian David Campbell.

The Seven Network has retreated from key arguments in a Seven News story which outed NSW parliamentarian David Campbell and resulted in his resignation as transport minister.

Amid furore over revealing details of Campbell’s personal life, Seven News Director Peter Meakin, told the Sydney Morning Herald, ‘I accept the fact that it [use of the car] doesn’t breach the ministerial guidelines, whether it should or not is another issue.”

Seven News revealed footage of Campbell exiting a sex on premises venue on Thursday night. Campbell resigned before it went to air.

Meakin said, ”If the guy is a minister for police and is frequenting brothels and sex clubs, heterosexual or homosexual, I think that’s a matter of some interest because he is exposed and he is potentially compromised.”

But Campbell yesterday said he said he had never been threatened over his gay life adding that his family needed privacy to “try and resolve this, put this behind us and try and get on with our life”.

NSW Premier Kristina Keneally said, “I do think it’s a matter for debate whether or not a person’s sexuality is of relevance to their role as a minister or their role as a member of Parliament.”

Crikey reports that Seven state political reporter Adam Walters, who broke the story, previously worked as a spin doctor in former premier Morris Iemma’s ‘strategy unit’, and alludes to personal ties.

Meanwhile Australian Marriage Equality national convenor Alex Greenwich described the story as a ‘gay witch hunt.’

“Whether he is gay, bi, curious or confused we need to appreciate that anyone of his generation grew up in a very homophobic Australia, both in terms of social attitudes and laws,” he told gay newspaper SX.

“This man has dedicated much of his life to public service, and without any understanding of the psychological issues associated with someone of his generation being able to be comfortable with his sexuality, he is being condemned by the media for walking down the stairs of a gay establishment.”

Gay and Married Men’s Association spokesman Greg Smith says the story is a sad reflection of the media at its worst and it will be a worry to people who are coming to terms with being gay.

“Many people come to organisations like GAMMA because it is discreet and private and the matters that are discussed in the organisation stay there,” he said.

But Peter Meakin told ABC Online,” When it comes to handing out Walkley Awards, we probably won’t get one for this.

“Am I proud that we have done the story? Yes, I am.”

Source: smh.com.au, Crikey, SX, ABC

41 Responses

  1. I hope David Campbell knows that there are people who support him. People who don’t believe his sexual preferences are their business. As for the ‘journalist’ he better check his closet for any skeletons, check his family have nothing to hide, because imagine Adam Walters, just imagine, a gutter reporter with a huge ego and something to prove attempted to defame and embarrass someone you cared about..

  2. Seven needs to be careful about setting up cameras outside the doors of this gay club in Sydney. I know of one top executive who has been seen there.

    Ah Seven, the pigsty of television. Another name to add to the list – Kyle Sandilands, Brain McFadden and Adam Walters.

  3. @Paull: Please tell me that you’re using absurdity as humour. How on earth can you seriously think that the current state of Sydney’s public transport services is caused by the minister attending a sex club in his own time? Things were in a sorry state long before he took over the portfolio. And it wasn’t “the people” that put him in charge of transport – it was the Premier.

  4. This is a perfect fit story for 7 to run with, i’m slowly but surely moving on from commercial news. Can’t wait for ABC News 24 to arrive. This story has a ‘Hard Copy’ feel to it and I don’t like it.

  5. okay, I can see the irony in this….these google ads were present on the right as I was reading this story:

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    It did make me laugh. I would of laughed more if it wasnt for the fact that this is such a serious story

  6. There was a family involved….. who are Seven becoming…. TMZ? Cheap, useless journalism (if i can call it that). This issue was private and completely legal…… this was a vendetta by the reporter involved and all should be put under the microscope….. im sure the reporters have things in their lives they wouldnt want to go public

  7. You only have to look at sydney’s failing bus and train network to realise how relevent David campbells secret double life is to the people who put him in the public job of being in charge of roads and transport.

  8. When you accept wages from the public, an outrageously generous pension then everything you do is in the public eye…. I have been in the same job for 20 years, but if I resigned or was stood down I certainly would not be getting $120K+ (tax free) and cpi indexed for life…..

    Not to mention $7K per month living away from home expenses (when living in his own unit…. What a joke…No wonder every road, bus and train in Sydney is jam packed and crap…

    Abd there is another connection with the reporter you are all missing.. It will come out soon…

  9. It seems like dirty journalism to me – to out someone, which my understanding is that they did, is completely unacceptable. What about his family, his kids, his wife – no consideration at all for their wellbeing, not to mention Campbell’s.

    The guy had done nothing wrong, from a legal POV, and yes it’s questionable morals taking a government car to a nightclub, but he wouldn’t be the first or last.

    And what’s with Meakin’s line about “if he was Police minister” – he was transport minister, right? So the line about “brothels and sex clubs” is further misleading.

    I just hope 7 learn from this, and don;t go for the low-blow in the future.

  10. It is no different then the Tiger Woods story. Both of them are public figures who have been caught cheating on thier families..I’m sure all of the other networks would have shown the story if they had found it first.

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