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June 17th 2013 print

Why spoil a good story?

Days after the charge that Mal Brough and Joe Hockey laughed themselves silly at a sexist menu item was refuted, that unseen bill of fare remains an article of faith at the Sydney Morning Herald and The Age


When the subject is KFC quail, Australians split into two camps.

The first consists of those who know for a dead-to-rights certainty that all Liberals, and  Joe Hockey and Mal Brough in particular, are testosterone-poisoned misogynists who enjoy nothing more than smutty and sexist schoolboy jokes with their haute cuisine.


The second are those who take the word of the Richards & Richards restaurant’s proprietor, who confessed not long after the "scandal" broke that the purported gag on the menu was his work, his work alone, and that it never left the kitchen.

Strangely, a disproportionate number of subscribers to the first view seem to work for Fairfax Media, where the second perspective goes unmentioned. Days after the restaurateur stepped forward with his mea culpa, this is how the Fairfax press continues describe the infamous bill of fare:

…when the crassly worded menu for a dinner organised by Howard government minister and Queensland Liberal National Party candidate Mal Brough surfaced… Damian Murphy, “Men Behaving Badly”

…the restaurateur in Brisbane who designed the Liberal fund-raiser menu … Annabel Crabb, “A Little More Respect a-Little Less Latin”

…Abbott has condemned the menu but accepts that it didn’t leave the kitchen. Brough and Joe Hockey, who were both at the event, have also criticised it but say they never saw it. It’s just not plausible.– Chris "Can’t Fool Me" Johnson, "Sexist abuse served up to the Prime Minister finally reaches its nadir”

That menu at Mal Brough’s fund-raiser, serving ”small-breasted” Julia Gillard Fried Quail, is the latest, shockingly blatant example… – Suzy Freeman-Greene, “Danes tuned in to idea of female PM”

“the slimy slander on a conservative fund-raiser menu” – Anne Summers, “It’s Gillard’s Right to Fight Back”


What is they say about some stories being too good not to be true?