This morning, in a move guaranteed to reshape Australia’s media landscape, Ms Pristina Tryinhard, the wealthiest woman in Goondiwindi Shire, bought the Esk Global Mail.
In an interview, I asked why she would buy a newspaper that hadn’t made any money since Phar Lap carked it.
She told me that it wasn’t about money. And, she added, no worries, one of her first priorities would be to get to the bottom of who poisoned that wonderful ambassador for Australia.
When I asked if she meant Phar Lap, she said, no, she was referring to Jo Bjelke Peterson.
“But he wasn’t poisoned,” I said.
Pristina just tapped the side of her nose. “Don’t you worry about that,” she replied.
She bought the paper, she went on to tell me, because she was sick and tired of its Lefty journos’ continuing support of the Round Earth theory. “And it is just a theory,” she added, forcefully.
She sat up a little straighter. “My uncle, Percy Climber, has clear evidence that the earth is flat.”
Ms Tryinhard pointed out the window of her palatial Queenslander at a tree right on the horizon. “See that tree?”
“I do,” I replied.
“Well,” she said. “Percy, put one of those shiny thingies you point at overheads with-”
“Yes, that’s the one. and I do wish you wouldn’t interrupt. Anyway, he put it on the window sill and shone it on that tree. Then he went and measured how high up the trunk it hit. And you know what?”
“What?” I asked, fearing the worst.
“It was the same height as our windowsill.”
“Get away,” I said. “NASA are going to be amazed.”
“They’re part of the conspiracy to keep Percy’s discovery a secret,” She leaned close. “I’m thinking about buying NASA too. That’ll teach them.”
It occurred to me that, with the state of the US economy, she just might be able to. “Back to your purchase of Esk’s only paper.”
“They’re in it up to their armpits,” Ms Tryinhard said. “Just look at the name, ‘Global’ Mail. Coincidence? I don’t think so. And they wouldn’t print Percy’s article.”
“So you’ll be making some staff changes then?”
“No need to. I invited the editor out for a spot of Bol and – just making conversation you understand – reminded him that I own all the stores in the shire, the post office, the airport and the grid across the only road in or out of town.”
“And that made him change his mind?”
“Ms Tryinhard laughed. “Oh, he didn’t have to. Turned out he’d always believed the earth was flat. He’d just gotten confused when he’d bought a Round the World plane ticket. Once I explained to him that you can run around the local footy pitch but it’s still flat, he was as good as gold.”
I asked her why she’d bought the Esk Global Mail when Esk isn’t even in Goondiwindi Shire.
She just laughed again and tapped the side of her nose.
“It will be,” she said, “When I’m finished.”
And remember, you read it here first.