Wednesday, November 07, 2007

What Does The Daily Telegraph Have In Its Friday 'Scoop' Bucket For Rudd?

'HouseGate' - Rudd May Have Scored Big Discount When He Purchased Family Home

When I first heard that the Daily Telegraph is preparing a huge front page 'scoop' for its Friday paper that is expected to do some damage to Kevin Rudd's credibility, I thought it might be photos of Rudd with his face buried in a stripper's breasts at that infamous New York City strip club.

But the scoop, if the e-mails flowing in can be relied on, won't be anywhere near as dramatic, or damaging, as that kind of imagery might have proven to be.

The story goes that the Liberal Party's dirt units have dug up records relating to a house purchase Rudd and his wife made in 1994. The house the Rudd family now lives in.

The big 'scoop' then, supposedly, is that Rudd, or his wife, managed to pick up the house at a substantially discounted price. Someone did them a big favour.

Pretty Kruddy, but how damaging? It depends on how cheap they got the house, or probably more importantly, who they got the house from, or who negotiated the deal.

It may be a one day wonder, and it will probably stretch through the weekend, if the public interest level is high enough and if another bigger story doesn't break the same day.

The Liberals may be able to get some mileage out of claiming that Rudd knew the 'HouseGate' story was coming, and this is why he announced policy earlier this week on helping young families to buy their first homes.

Then again, if Rudd's people know this story is coming, and it certainly appears that they do, then they've had days to prepare something big themselves for Friday to try and steal away the media's attention.

And, of course, when it comes to discounted housing, it's hard to go past a big photo of John Howard living the high life in Kirribilli House, where he lives for free, billing the taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars a year for the extensive wine cellar, renovations and general upkeep he and his wife demand so the house remains spiffy for the many grand parties they throw for their wealthy friends.

Glasshouse. Stones. Throwing.

It should be easy for Ruddites to counter the 'HouseGate' scandal, if it even proves to have some momentum, by blasting away at Howard for seizing and occupying Kirribilli House and denying its use to a long list of charities who had previously made great use of its beautiful location and expansive lawns for fund-raising activities.

And 1994 is a long time ago. If the dirt units want to rip Rudd apart, they clearly need something far more recent. 'HouseGate' won't be the last of the dirt unit leaks to the Murdoch media and you can presume they have something far worse for the last week of the election campaign.

The media will have to be on their toes, however, to make sure they don't fall for the ridiculous 'bachelor party tape' bullshit they were so easily suckered into during Mark Latham's run at the Lodge.

It'll be very interesting to see how accurate the e-mailers are to the truth about the Friday Telegraph's Bucket On Rudd story, how much impact the story will turn out to have, and how effectively Rudd's team will be able to counter its appearance.

If the 'HouseGate' scenario mentioned above turns out to be close to the 'scoop', we will also know that Rudd has friends inside the Daily Telegraph who are leaking pre-publication news of damaging stories in the hope that the full impact of a surprise front page story will be weakened by 'rumours' floated on blogs, like this one, in the days before the big story 'breaks'.