SST – dancing to Zoe’s beat?

I wrote last week that I’d probably have little to say about the Tony Veitch case now that it’s before the court. I also wondered if the news media would do the same.

No chance actually. Now I find myself back in it too; trying to make sense of the spinning. I read this stuff and feel like it’s a public rehearsal of Tony Veitch’s defence arguments. It is trial by media. Only in this case it’s the complainant who seems to be in the dock.

The Sunday papers are all over the story again this week with revelations about the incidents covered in the charges laid against Veitch a week ago.  The Veitch saga: What Kristin told police (SST) Water assault charge for Veitch (HoS)

But what really caught my eye was another interview with Zoe Veitch in the Sunday Star Times.

Veitch’s wife: ‘We shouldn’t have given in to her demands

The interview quotes read like well-rehearsed lines, delivered from a closely dressed set and designed for maximum emotional impact.  There’s plenty of  little hints that perhaps Ms Dunne-Powell is not to be trusted on the details of any alleged assault, or in indeed on anything else. Then there’s the downplaying of the most high profile alleged attack angle by further clouding the picture:

Zoe Veitch would not comment on what Veitch had told her of the incident in which it has been reported that he kicked Dunne-Powell in the back. The Sunday Star-Times has been told medical reports suggest two vertebrae were damaged in the attack but that the crack to a third vertebra was an old injury.

Who told the Sunday Star Times?

There’s been far too much of that type of reporting around this story. Right from the beginning anonymous sources have been used to plant material in the media and most of it has gone on the public record without verification and without readers being told where the information has come from.

I am not against the use of anonymous sources in general; though I think the public interest threshold for using them is pretty high. I am not sure that this is a story where that threshold has been met. Also reporters and editors have to believe that the source is reliable, trustworthy and honest. Perhaps in this case they do; but the type of information that is being released seems to me to be very controlled and to have been polished to reflect a particular viewpoint.

The killer application in this interview comes in this neat little reverse spinning backflip, double-entendre’d pirouette:

Tony Veitch had made two payments totalling $12,000 to Dunne-Powell in the first eight months to cover her medical expenses and then she wanted compensation for loss of income and bonuses. A final payment of $155,000 was made last December.

“It was not hush money,” said Zoe Veitch. “It was so we could all move on, so we could secure our future – we didn’t want it to jeopardise our wedding. We were very uncomfortable with it at the time. We all had doubts. In hindsight we should not have given in to her demands.”

If it was not hush money, what was it? The deliberate PR-ized doublespeak implication here of course is that it was hush money paid because Ms Dunne-Powell was making unreasonable demands (we’re meant to read that as “threats”). The tell-tale PR scripting is there too: “secure our future”, “jeopardise our wedding”, “uncomfortable with it at the time”. Little juicy info-bombs in carefully constructed language that explode deliciously in the brain.

If you close your eyes and imagine you’re in the District court, where the smell of justice is overpowering, you can almost hear a well-paid barrister, drawn up to full height in cuban heels and a bouffant wig, bellowing at a young woman on the stand and it’s not Zoe Veitch… [Dear reader, fill in the blanks here, imagination is above the law]

The coup d’etat is always a sting in the tail:

Tony Veitch had been hurt by the reaction of some colleagues, but he was heartened by the reaction he received when he went to a league match last week, she said. “Guys were giving him the thumbs up and women were blowing him kisses.

“We are not trying to win the public over, but it is nice to know that people who have a brain know there is a lot more to this than what they have heard.

“The one thing that has been good out of all [of] this is that Tony and I have never been stronger. We are so strong and even more in love. I just need to remind him sometimes that he is a good person.”

Actually darling, your job is to remind us (again and again) that your husband’s a good person, right up to the end of the trial. And the PR people must be so proud of you. You are doing a sterling job, keep it up and Tony will be home for Christmas.

“We’re not trying to win the public over,” has to be the most crass line ever written by a PR flack to put into the mouth of a client. Don’t be so coy, if there was an Academy Award for best flacking under fire, your campaign for Mr Veitch would be a contender.

Only one little problem, the footy crowd giving Tony the thumbs up and blowing kisses is not the same as “people who have a brain”. Small mistake, so no golden statue on this one. Come back next week and try again, we know you want to.

Postscript: The original entry has been edited. If you link to this post, please make sure it is to this version, not any cached earlier copy.

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5 Responses to SST – dancing to Zoe’s beat?

  1. kiwi_girl says:

    I’m a 21 year old psychology student and for some reason the whole Tony Veitch case really captured my interest. At first I was disgusted with him… but I do totally agree that there are two sides to every story.

    I know very well what many New Zealand woman can be like… especially the type of ex-private school girls who latch onto high profile men like Tony Veitch. That being said, I have no idea whether or not Dunne-Powell has come from a wealthy background or not. Zoe certainly has, yet that is irrelevant.

    What I’m trying to say here is that given my background I SHOULD be completely opposed to Tony Veitch. My mums real dad was physically abusive to the point that grandma actually had to run away from him and move countries to escape…

    I don’t excuse physical violence. BUT – I DO know what some women can be like. Young attractive women can be cunning, some are manipulative, some use sex for power and some are very crafty and use a lot of emotional blackmail. These women were usually very spoilt (or on the other side of the fence totally neglected) from their parents…. (not blaming parents here either tho).

    And what I say is that I understand how a woman like this could infuriate a man. They use their sexuality to keep a guy hooked and yet they would frustrate a guy like anything using mind games and manipulation at the same time. You mix this…. with a breakup….work stress…and never having a day off – and it is NOT THAT surprising that physical violence was involved.

    Although I weigh only 50 kg and I don’t have a muscle in my body…lol… I also have been unfortunate enough to be born with a short fuse. I lose my temper easily… and have thrown glasses full of water at my brothers…I’ve kicked my mum once and threw a book at her… these are things I’m certainly not proud of. Infact I am ashamed of!

    I think what Tony did was very wrong….he lost his temper and did something that was so terrible…that he could have taken away Dunne-Powels ability to ever walk again. He nearly took away her quality of life and this is something to be taken very seriously.

    I think it was shocking and inexcusable. HOWEVER – I am almost 100% certain that she is not completely “sweet and innocent” either. I have read many cases of her appearing at his place in the early hours of the morning…she must have been antagonising him and not a very emotionally stable person at all. Women like that can screw with men’s brains….. so two unemotionally stable people = DISASTER.

    He would not have thought through his violent outburst and it was definitely a case of not thinking and just losing his cool. He has been punished enough now – media should back off and he should get his job back. Things have been equalised now…and you can’t punish a man for his mistakes forever. He will already be punishing himself for the rest of his life – enough is enough. And it is time to forgive and forget and move on – after all, it did happen over 2 years ago now.

    “Let He Who Is Without Sin Cast The First Stone”

  2. Medusa says:

    Yes, women can be manipulative, so can men! We all have stresses in our lives but most normal people don’t go bashing someone after a bad day at the office.

    Am I missing something, wasn’t Veitch charged for more than one alleged assault incident, doesn’t that indicate a leaning towards consistent violent behaviour?

    I agree, always two sides however if Dunne-Powell was such a nuisance, stalker, antagonising as is suggested, Veitch & the new, very protective Mrs Veitch could have taken out an AVO to keep her away; the same as any other reasonably thinking person!

    Who says he has been “punished enough, already punishing himself for the rest of his life”…so he should, same as any other person suffers the consequences of their bad behaviour or poor choices we make in life.

    Let the courts decide his fate, fairly and openly.

  3. [...] You can read another take on this issue  at SST – dancing to Zoe’s beat? « Ethical Martini. [...]

  4. Belle says:

    I would suggest kiwi girl keeps studying as clearly the topic of physical abuse has yet to be covered in her psych studies.

    It is intriquing that the public are keen to pass the blame for a cycle of abuse onto the victim prior to trial. I just wonder that women who have actually had the misfortune to experience abuse such as this would agree.

    The only people winning out of this are the PR team – they are getting paid to paint a picture of the girl that ended up in a wheelchair ” was perhaps asking for it” and the public are lapping it up and supporting the good guy – it is like a bad 50’s flash back.

  5. [...] You can read another take on this issue  at SST – dancing to Zoe’s beat? « Ethical Martini. [...]

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