EXCLUSIVE: She’s the News Corp scribe who likes to pretend she broke news of the Barnaby Joyce scandal four months after True Crime News Weekly did so, but Daily Telegraph journalist Sharri Markson is now at the centre of her own sleazy sex scandal after calling in defamation lawyers against a prison-hardened, maverick online journalist who has only just been released from the slammer. Our publisher, Serkan Ozturk, reports.
The tabloid trawler Sharri Markson from Sydney’s esteemed Daily Telegraph may be familiar to many readers of this highly valued publication. Ms Markson, is, of course the loyal Murdoch foot soldier who has unashamedly and embarrassingly taken the plaudits for “breaking” the Barnaby Joyce scandal story that has seen the former Deputy PM lose his family, his job, his dignity, and pretty much everything else except his cheapskate ways to scrounge an extra dollar.
Ms Markson’s widely repeated claim to fame in regards to her journalistic abilities in getting a scoop do not stack up though against chronology, history and reality. Quite simply put, True Crime News Weekly reported many of the torrid and tawdry details surrounding the hypocritical politician’s life starting from October of last year. A full four months before Ms Markson was allowed by her News Corp honchos to splash her so-called February 2018 exclusive about Barnaby’s affair with his pregnant media adviser, Vikki Campion.
That ‘exclusive’ for the Daily Telegraph actually followed on from Ms Markson’s initial attempts to falsely downplay the truth of the matter late last year as just all “vicious innuendo” spread by rivals of Mr Joyce. As previously reported by True Crime News Weekly, Ms Markson’s and other journalists’ attempts to play cover for Mr Joyce and smother the truth was all part of a wider deal between the Federal Government and News Corp’s media magnate owner Rupert Murdoch. Both parties were invested in the LNP Coalition government hanging onto power. And, so, an agreement was borne at high levels to only reveal the truth about Barnaby’s many “headaches” after two key by-elections which could have toppled PM Malcolm Turnbull’s government were successfully negotiated.
Knowledge at the time among the wider public and electorate of how far-ranging the scandals surrounding Mr Joyce actually were would have possibly resulted in Barnaby losing his seat of New England at the by-election he faced thanks to his Kiwi links. Or, as is more likely, Liberal MP John Alexander would have lost his much-more marginal seat of Bennelong in Sydney, which was also up for by-election thanks to the former tennis champ’s own citizenship issues.
But, both the bumbling, drunk fool and the racist, drunk joke teller snuck back into Parliament and shored up the Government’s slim majority. Largely thanks to a hoodwinked and unawares public kept dumb by a media that thought ordinary people didn’t deserve to know. No longer of much use to anybody (at least to News Corp, or, his former pals in government) good old Barnaby was eventually tossed to the wolves; which in this instance happened to take the shape of Ms Markson.
Now, though, the shoe is on the other foot somewhat with Ms Markson’s own turn to be at the centre of a possible sleazy sex scandal. And, unlike Barnaby’s sexcapades, it’s one she doesn’t want the public knowing about.
Last week, the popular anti-corruption website Kangaroo Court of Australia published an interesting article with the headline: “Sharri Markson Denies Sexual Relationship With 7 CEO Tim Worner But Admits Relationship With Her Boss At News Corp”.
The article involves both Ms Markson and Mr Worner (through his lawyer) denying that they ever had any sexual relations following questions sent in late April about a possible sexual affair, cocaine use and expenditure of company funds. Mr Worner was the boss of Ms Markson when she was employed by Network Seven between 2011-13. On April 27, Ms Markson responded to the requests for comment by email – “My response is: These allegations are entirely false and defamatory.”
The publisher of Kangaroo Court of Australia, Shane Dowling, has only recently been released from prison after he was found to be in contempt of court for ignoring legal orders not to name on his website a number of female celebrities who are alleged to have had sexual relations with their married boss, Seven West Media CEO, Tim Worner. For his tenacious defence of the freedom of the press to report the truth, Mr Dowling was turfed into a prison cell and ended up serving a four month stint in the big house.
At the time, Mr Dowling chose to ignore the court’s orders in the belief that many of the judges involved in the legal action taken out against him by Network Seven are corrupt, and are out to only serve and further the interests of the rich and powerful. Mr Dowling and his Kangaroo Court website have long been a thorn in Mr Worner’s eye, particularly ever since former Channel Seven employee Amber Harrison went public with her claims about a boozy, cocaine-ridden, misogynistic culture prevalent amongst the executives at Network Seven. In the latest article, Mr Worner is described on the Kangaroo Court of Australia website as “a known adulterer, fraudster and cokehead”.
Mr Dowling decided to eventually publish last week’s article only after an audio recording of a recent interview with Ms Markson came to light; during which she admitted to having a past sexual relationship with her current boss, Daily Telegraph editor, Chris Dore.
However, a week after Mr Dowling published the article, he received a defamation concerns notice from lawyers acting on behalf of Ms Markson. In a letter sent on June 5, Mr Dowling was ordered by Ms Markson’s lawyers to remove the article by 4pm on June 7.
“For the sake of clarity, our client has never had any sexual relationship with Mr Worner whatsoever and has never been engaged in any affair,” Macpherson Kelley principal lawyer, Justin Quill, states in the letter.
“Our client was briefly in a relationship with Mr Dore. This was not an affair. There is simply no comparison to be drawn between this scenario and the story our client broke regarding the affair between Barnaby Joyce and Vikki Campion which plainly raised questions of the use of taxpayer funds.
“Your suggestions to the contrary are grossly defamatory. The Article was published maliciously given that our client informed you, prior to publication of the Article, that the allegations you intended to publish were false. Accordingly, a significant damages award would be made against you should proceedings be issued in relation to the Article. Nevertheless, we are instructed that our client will not take further action in relation to the Article if you agree to retract it immediately but in any case before 4pm on Thursday 7 June 2018 and agree in writing not to republish any similar material in future.
“In light of the seriousness of the Article, our client’s position is very reasonable and we urge you to resolve the matter at this stage. We look forward to receiving confirmation that the Article has been removed and that you will not publish similar material in future.”
True Crime News Weekly makes no comment on whether any of the claims about a possible sexual affair between Mr Worner and Ms Markson are true. We simply do not care. We do care however about why a journalist employed by a mainstream publication – a member of the so-called free press, the fourth estate – is sending out defamation threats from high-priced lawyers to scare off other independent journalists, simply for asking questions.
Strangely enough, for some reason Ms Markson has elected not to use News Corp’s own hefty and mighty in-house legal counsel and has instead chosen to use a Melbourne-based law firm despite residing in Sydney.
But it looks like the legal threats are for nought. Speaking with True Crime News Weekly, Mr Dowling says the article will remain online despite the threats.
“I won’t be taking it down because it’s not defamatory,” Mr Dowling said.
“The article was up for a week before they said anything which says they know they have no case.”
Mr Dowling continued:
“I have to wonder what their game is. I published last Wednesday night so they have waited a week and have used a Melbourne lawyer. I live in Sydney and so does Sharri Markson.”
True Crime News Weekly contacted Ms Markson with a series of questions this week. We queried her as to what she would do if Mr Dowling did not succumb to her legal threats and whether she thought it was appropriate for a mainstream journalist to be sending out defamation threats to independent journalists.
We also asked Ms Markson for her highly valued opinion about True Crime News Weekly’s reporting of the Barnaby Joyce affair, which came about many months before her own ‘exclusive’. For the time being, on that question as well as the others, Ms Markson has chosen to stay silent. Long may it continue.