The Herald Sun‘s Robyn Riley has come out in furious defence of her newspaper’s decision to publish photographs of a teenaged Pauline Hanson posing explicitly. Riley’s weak argument is that the photographs are in the public interest and that public figures are public property — even their actions as teenagers over thirty years ago.

Public people are public property whether they like it or not.


People have a right to know the type of person they are being asked to endorse.

Firstly, the argument that these pictures have anything at all to do with Pauline Hanson’s current campaign for office in Queensland is tenuous in the extreme. Pauline Hanson, like any other candidate, should be judged on her policies with contextual information taken from her public actions during her adult life. Private actions during her teenage years have nothing to do with her ability to represent the people of Beaudesert.

Secondly, Riley builds some strawmen arguments of mammoth proportions in her pre-emptive defence of her paper’s actions. Check these out:

Pauline Hanson may argue… The independent candidate for Beaudesert may say… Expect Ms Hanson to complain… Expect her to whine…

The Herald Sun‘s decision to publish explicit teenage photographs of Pauline Hanson was nothing more than sensationalism, and there was not a jot of genuine political analysis in its actions. Robyn Riley’s defence of her newspaper attempts to justify those actions but fails.

UPDATE: Credit where it’s due — Andrew Bolt thinks that the publication of the photos was a breach of Hanson’s privacy.

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