He’s gone. Tony Veitch has pulled the plug on his media career - before his two employers, TVNZ and The Radio Network, did it for him.
Now he faces a police investigation after the woman he allegedly assaulted filed an official complaint with the police.
Veitch might be gone but the Auckland media mafia is continuing to campaign on his behalf.
At Radio Sport, 9-12 host Brendan Telfer has claimed that Veitch has been persecuted on the basis of nothing more than rumour, gossip and speculation. This is the same Brendan Telfer who went after Olympic horseman Mark Todd, who was allegedly caught using cocaine and hiring a rent boy. The basis of this story was rumour, gossip and speculation generated by a British tabloid newspaper – but Telfer said he was not a suitable person to represent New Zealand.
Telfer, who commentates women’s netball for TVNZ, has even gone as far to claim that certain media have been waging a war against poor old Veitch. He has even cast doubt on the victim’s claim that she was violently assaulted, preferring to accept Veitch’s bland comment that he ‘lashed out’. 'That could mean anything', argued Telfer on Radio New Zealand’s Morning Report, ignoring the ugly fact that the victim of Vietch’s ‘lashing out’ had her back broken in four places and was confined to a wheelchair for several weeks. She is apparently dealing with continuing health problems.
But Telfer isn’t the only TRN broadcaster defending Veitch.
Mike Hosking, who occasionally pops up on TVNZ, has joined his colleagues Leighton Smith and Paul Holmes, in defending ‘Veitchy’. Laughably, Hosking commented on Newstalk ZB that Veitch would left financially impoverished. Hosking chose to ignore that Veitch has recently married into a very wealthy Auckland family. Oh, and not to mention that he has Veitch has been on a combined salary closing in on $400,000. He's hardly down to his last two dollars.
TRN General Manager Bill Francis told the media that he considered Veitch to be ‘a friend’ and left the door open for his friend to return to Radio Sport in the future.
The attitude of Bill Francis goes some way to explain why TRN suppressed the Veitch story for two days, even going as far as preventing talkback callers going to air if they wanted to talk about Tony Veitch.
Apparently Messrs Francis, Telfer, Holmes and Smith have no problems with manipulating the news to look after a ‘mate’.
Perhaps the only TRN staffer to come out of Veitch affair with her credibility intact has been 8-12pm host Kerre Woodham. Although guarded in her comments about Vietch, she has - unlike her male colleagues - not defended him.
Meanwhile over at TVNZ we are no closer to finding out who knew what and when.
TVNZ chief Rick Elllis says that Veitch told management that there had been a domestic dispute but didn’t provide any details. It seems no one in TVNZ deemed to ask Veitch any hard questions - which suggests they were operating on the principle that ‘no news is good news’. It’s hardly a good look for a broadcaster that has been telling us that ‘violence is not ok’.
However Ellis’s comment that Veitch had been less than candid about the domestic incident contradicted Veitch’s statement that he had, ‘at all times’ been ‘open and honest’ about what had happened.
In wider media terms, this whole affair has confirmed for many that there is a self-satisfied Auckland media and celebrity cabal who really do think they are different from the rest of us. And, boy, don’t they just hate one of their own coming under the same media spotlight they regularly shine on the rest of us..