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No gag on deep throat

SOMEWHERE near the bowels of WA’s Liberal Party there’s a Deep Throat (DT), like the one who had Richard Nixon’s White House reeling 25 years ago.

Not only does DT have an excellent under-standing of MPs travel perks, but also a good grasp of the modus operandi of the Australian Federal Police (AFP), and the marketing arrangements adopted by some WA air charter companies.

It’s a formidable dilly bag of insider information.

Moreover, DT is fairly handy with the pen.

Because of this, DT has begun filing stories to one of Australia’s most influential media outlets, which isn’t a radio or TV station, nor a newspaper, or journal, but rather a website – www.crikey.com.au

Log on, it’s worth it.

Affectionately known among journalists as, Crikey dot com, or simply Crikey, the site belongs to a partnership including award winning Melbourne journalist Stephen Mayne, once a staffer for Victorian Liberal Premier Jeff Kennett.

Mr Mayne has been running Crikey for 26 months and already it has emerged as a national media institution.

The Crikey site specialises in exposing big company boardroom and executive shenanigans, ongoing turmoil in media bureaus (news-papers, radio and TV), and bitter political imbroglios – a trinity most journalists simply cannot resist.

Understandably, in-creasing numbers of CEOs, newspaper and newsroom editorial chiefs, and politicians, dislike Crikey.

But despite that, most log on to Crikey, when no one’s looking, of course.

Crikey’s logo is a side-on view of a roughly caricatured face with mouth wide open. Alongside are the words: “Making a Difference”.

Flashing near the logo are the words – “Bringing down governments since September 1999” and “Bringing down chairmen since March 2000”.

Fighting words, not empty bravado.

Most journalists regularly log on in search of ideas and inspiration.

Crikey carries stories other media outlets don’t or won’t.

That means journalists who have put much work into investigating issues their editors refuse, or fear, to run can turn to Crikey.

Another advantage is that Crikey offers anonymity.

But there’s more. You don’t need to be a working journalist to file stories to see the fruits of your work in readership land.

This means stories can be filed and posted by those without newsroom experience. There’s nothing stopping a disaffected executive penning a yarn.

Nor is there anything barring an MP from launching a secret new career as an anonymous freelancer.

And nor are retired MPs – those with ongoing political interests or gripes – disqualified.

As long as you’ve got the inside stuff, you can be a DT or freelance contributor.

Crikey dot.com is a truly democratic institution – all are welcome, as long as they’ve got the goodies.

Which brings us back to the WA Liberals.

Stories on them were posted late last month with the main one focusing on long-time frontbencher, Wilson Tuckey, who is being investigated by the AFP over air chartering.

The introductory para-graph read: “The fact-ional warfare raging in the WA Liberal Party is largely being ignored in the national media but our Perth experts in the Liberal Federal Secretariat have pulled together this fascinating wrap of the various battles.”

Interestingly, a Perth and a national newspaper carried follow-up stories on the issue immediately after Crikey had posted it, showing again that journalists avidly log on to Crikey.

Crikey’s new mystery WA contributor had clearly been a busy beaver because two other stories were carried on the inner machinations within WA Liberals ranks.

The first focused on Senator Winston Crane’s demise because he was placed in the fourth spot on the Liberals’ Senate ticket, and the other went all the way with the headline, “Open Warfare Amongst WA Libs”.

State Scene learned of the three gossip pieces from an ally of one of the named MPs, who telephoned to inquire if State Scene had perhaps written them, which, of course, I hadn’t.

The caller, a gentleman if ever there was one, theorised on which local journalist was per-haps the author.

We exchanged names, with neither of us satisfied with our guesses.

Soon after I called a Liberal MP to inquire if he knew who Crikey’s new WA mystery correspondent may be.

Not only did the MP claim to know, but added that each of the pieces had been analysed and there was unanimous agreement on the author’s identity.

The MP claimed it was the same person who wrote a report on this year’s Liberal State election defeat.

Another phone call supported this claim.

Unfortunately DT’s identity is best left un-printed because there were threats of legal action over allegations made in that report, so there’s no need for us to become involved in such messy machinations.

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