Back on 7 February, the day Sydney's Daily Telegraph made Barnaby Joyce's infidelity a mainstream media story, Bernard Keane, political editor, Crikey, had this to tell his readers:
I’m Barnaby Joyce’s harshest critic in the press gallery. But this story about him is shameful non-journalism and debases public life. There is zero public interest in Joyce’s personal life, despite the efforts of News Corp columnists like Caroline Overington, and left-wingers on social media, to confect one.Because a politician has mentioned their family at some point in their career — which they all do — does not magically create a “family values hypocrite” justification for revealing their personal lives. Because some other public figure on your preferred side of politics has suffered the same fate does not justify it happening to a figure you dislike. Joyce has not used taxpayer resources inappropriately; he has not behaved in a way that opened him to the risk of security breaches, there is no allegation of misconduct.What he does personally with a consenting adult is no concern of ours, let alone a matter for our judgement. Who among us has behaved perfectly in our personal lives? There certainly aren’t many journalists — a profession notoriously antithetical to domestic bliss — who are in a position to pass judgement about anyone, but this is what such a story amounts to.