Quick quiz: What do Derryn Hinch, Sarah Hanson-Young, Murray Watt and a string of journalists, actors, bloggers, academics have in common?
They have all issued grovelling apologies to Andrew Laming, the federal member for the bayside electorate of Bowman that straddles Brisbane and Redlands.
The tone was set by a national political reporter who said: “In March 2021 I published tweets about Andrew Laming MP that referenced him taking a photo up a woman’s skirt.
“This was factually incorrect; the woman was not wearing a skirt.
“I regret this error and unreservedly apologise to Andrew Laming for the hurt and distress I have caused him. I corrected it as soon as it was brought to my attention and have deleted the tweets.” …
The affair began innocently enough when Laming went to the bayside landscape supplier Nuway at Thornlands on December 18, 2019, to buy some river stones …
In what appears to me to be an unremarkable act, Laming, took a photograph of a young woman on bended knee putting cans of soft drink in a small bar fridge on the floor.
She was “crouching” not bending over, and she was not showing underwear or revealing a G-string, as some reported. … The woman was wearing work shorts and a work shirt with long socks and work boots. Wickson described the shorts as “ruggers”. He said she wore her polo shirt out, over her work shorts. So, any suggestion her underwear was visible was incorrect.
The copper’s notes also confirm that Laming’s picture was a general one of the workplace taken at normal zoom. …
I do know it is not unusual for politicians of all persuasions to photograph people they meet and post them on Facebook.
On that fateful day he went to buy the stones, Laming even had a conversation with the woman about her future, and she later befriended him on Facebook.
The leftist pile-on via the media and Twitter — they lied:
Laming was officially cleared by police in less than a day. Yet the media tsunami was unstoppable.
I’ve been pounding the keyboard for more than 50 years and can honestly say I cannot remember a case where the commentators got it so wrong.
The cold hard truth for all of us in the media is that Laming was bullied out of office by fake news.
Journalism is in a bad place when it stoops to reporting allegations aired on social media.
Radio, TV and print media were in a frenzy and there was even a rally outside Laming’s Cleveland office with Labor’s rent-a-crowd holding up insulting signs.
Example of the media’s reporting, by the AAP:
A woman who accused embattled MP Andrew Laming of taking an ‘up skirt’ photo of her as she bended over at a fridge has made a formal statement to police. …
MP Andrew Laming (pictured) has been accused of taking a photo up her skirt …
Taking a photo up a person’s skirt is a criminal offence punishable by up to three years in prison. …
Liberal senator Sarah Henderson broke ranks to call for Mr Laming to be booted from the coalition, which would plunge the government into minority.
Back to the Courier News, with what actually happened. Foolish conservatives appeased the left:
Laming was even criticised by his own side, with Prime Minister Scott Morrison also weighing in to condemn him before he was fully apprised of the facts. … From that time on Laming’s political future was untenable.
Then Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese called him a creep. …
Successful defamation case, but his career is gone:
Laming has already had a significant victory in the battle to clear his name after Twitter attacks by high-profile ABC journalist Louise Milligan.
Milligan posted multiple tweets which Laming alleged “irrevocably damaged his personal and professional reputation”.
ABC managing director David Anderson said at parliamentary Estimates hearings that ABC paid $79,000 in damages to Dr Laming plus $45,000 for his legal costs.
Funny how these “unfortunate mistakes” only happen to conservatives.