Minister involved in sordid incident! Maybe! Minister made improper suggestions! Apparently! Minister resigns! Police investigate! Prime Minister says he would have sacked him if he hadn't resigned! Golly! It's a scandal!
The corporate media are all over the Richard Worth saga, even though no-one really knows what the former Minister of Internal Affairs has or has not done.
On breakfast television this morning, TV1 and TV3 hauled their 'Top Guns' - Guyon Espiner and Duncan Garner - into the studio to gave their solemn takes on the affair. For Espiner and Garner, a salacious politics plus sex scandal is manna from heaven. It beats having to do any serious investigative journalism into trivial matters like, oh, the meltdown of the New Zealand economy.
It's tabloid stuff. It'll be in The Truth soon and its all over talkback radio, the home of red baiting and beneficiary bashing.
With barely anything to differentiate the parliamentary parties from each other, the corporate media - which has been complicit in defending the neoliberal 'consensus' - is reduced to projecting personal scandals into the larger political sphere. As if it matters. At the conclusion of it all, some other career politician will simply replace Worth. The sideshow will be over - but we ordinary plebs will still be paying the price for an economic meltdown not of our making. Many of us will still be losing our jobs and struggling to pay the electricity bill.
The corporate media shows no enthusiasm to explode the discredited ideology that is neoliberalism but, boy, when a minister allegedly gets caught doing something unpleasant - although we don't know Worth actually broke the law yet - its all hands to the pumps.
Not surprisingly the pro-Labour bloggers, who like to think they have more intellectual weight that the corporate hacks, are going ga-ga over the Worth affair - because its a stick to beat over the head of a Prime Minister who has yet to take any major hits.
Unable to outflank the Government on economic policy - since they supported exactly the same kind of economic policies when Labour was in power - this kind of sleaze is grist to the mill for the likes of The Standard and Tumeke! If only they'd show the same enthusiasm and commitment to exposing the inadequacies of Labour. But they don't and won't.
Of course their leader has not wasted time to extract what mileage he can from Richard Worth's downfall.
Goff has revealed that Worth sent some inappropriate communications to a female Labour Party member, allegedly offering some cushy board appointments in return for sexual favours.
For Goff, the Worth affair is a godsend. Even more right wing than Helen Clark, he has kept Labour stuck in the neoliberal quagmire, a party going nowhere and increasingly irrelevant.
The Worth affair allows Goff to get some point of difference with National, albeit briefly, but its largely empty posturing on an issue that will eventually become tomorrow's fish and chip paper.