Dear Media, let’s get the facts straight

So Peter Roebuck is dead.

Great shame – the bloke could write.

But what now? At present much mystery surrounds his death. No doubt soon the dirty details will all stream out like the legendary hot Indian curry the following morning, some of it will be true, some of it will be not so true (although an Indian curry never lies to you), most of it will probably never really be confirmed or denied.

But that is not the point of this article.

Already as the dust settles, journalists and bloggers alike are now turning against the late Mr. Roebuck. They are also seizing on other news sources for apparently “protecting” a renowned “sexual predator”.

One blog, which I refuse to name lest someone Google it and give them the satisfaction of another hit, lambasts both Mr. Roebuck and his employers at Fairfax, citing “widespread gossip in media circles” as one of its sources. Widespread media gossip? Since when has “gossip” been enough for an employer to take action against an employee? “Oh I’m sorry Marie, we heard from Ronnie who heard from Jan that you and Justin were shagging on my desk while Daisy filmed. We haven’t seen the tape, and Ronnie’s renowned for exaggeration, but… you’re fired… just in case it’s true.”

Rampant gossip, now grounds for dismissal

It is simply unreasonable to suggest that Fairfax could have taken any action. And if somebody is good at their job, but has a questionable private life that in no way affects their performance or credibility within that line of work, should an employer really act at all? In short, no – and especially not when a lot of it is mere hearsay. I am no workplace lawyer but one would think that is grounds for unfair dismissal. Whack jobs need jobs as well. Are you going to put anybody with an antisocial quirk out of work and on to the dole? Or are you against them getting any government handout as well? So they’ll have to turn tricks in a back alley to make ends meet, but then anybody who turns to these people for sexual gratification is also unworthy of employment! So these people have no paying clients and no way of making an income and are forced to turn to crime, or simply just eating other degenerates in order to survive. Is that what you want? Quirky people cannibalising, fucking and stealing all through our streets? Think about what you’re suggesting!

Cannibalism, discussed on day two of the federal government's media inquiry

The blog in question then had the gall to use the term “pedophile” in relation to Roebuck, though it did in fairness clarify that this may not be “the right word for him technically” given none of his alleged victims were under the age of eighteen. Not the right word “technically”? Why say it then? I’m not technically a clay-animation character of Postman Pat. There, I said it. Glad that’s off my chest! I would say this is pretty much tantamount to David Gallop comparing Melbourne Storm fans to terrorists. Something which, if I could be bothered trawling through the archives to find, this blog would no doubt have crucified him for. To use the term pedophile in reference to anybody in a public forum without a shred of evidence should almost be a gaolable offence. That is slander in its highest form. Nothing quite wrecks a bloke’s reputation like telling the world he fucks kids. It’s a hard one to come back from. People guilty of genocide seem to get a better run in the media than pedophiles.

Faceless bloggers are becoming increasingly influential

Finally, this pithy, pathetic cretin of a writer uses the following “truth” to further smear the deceased journalist: “The Times of South Africa reports that Roebuck made the young men in his care call him ‘Dad’.”  This is pure fiction. Do you know how I know this? I certainly don’t spend my afternoons catching up with the local happenings in old J-Burg or C-Town! The article in question is scanned directly beneath this line and merely quotes a young man – that Roebuck is said to have helped – referring to him as “Dad”. Nowhere does anyone say that Roebuck made anyone call him that. If you’re going to make shit up, probably best not to include contradictory evidence directly after your claims, dipshit.

So for now, let’s just stick to the facts, hey? Peter Roebuck was found guilty of three counts of causing actual bodily harm to three young men (yes, he spanked them). Peter Roebuck was a handy cricketer and exceptional cricket journalist. Peter Roebuck was accused of sexually assaulting a 26 year old Zimbabwean man. Peter Roebuck fell to his death.

Sure we all hate powerful men who use their position to exploit the weak for their own pleasure – whether said pleasure is depraved, however, can be subjective. Oscar Wilde was marginalised in his time and is now celebrated. He openly chased young men. It is thankfully no longer a crime, when they are of age and willing. The talented amongst us are always given more leeway and whether this is right or not is not the issue – the issue here is the bottom feeders, who wait for the mighty to fall so they can they can fatten themselves off their still warm corpse without even bothering with such petty things as facts or proof.

Peter Roebuck may have had questionable dealings with young men. He could have been a kitten murdering ice-addict with baby skulls in his kitchen for all we know. But the point is, don’t start reporting these things as truth until you got the video – or the dead kitten – in front of you.

By Al McClintock

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