There is a massive story going on in Australia at the moment. By massive, I mean massive in terms of the amount of space thrown at it. Massive in the level of journalistic indulgence it displays. Massively packed with distortions and sleights of hand. A massive pile of rubbish.
You would have missed the story, as it first appeared in an obscure trade journal read by rich people who collect cufflinks, and was rehashed in a marginally more digestible form by a couple of newspapers which have decided to put media game-playing ahead of their core business of providing readers with facts.
Reluctant as I am to attack a fellow Cornishman it was written by a man called Neil Chenoweth and would have made more sense if Neil had written it in his native Cornish. Chenoweth’s editor, Michael Stutchbury, relatively new to the job of running The Australian Financial Review, can use his newness to explain the fact that while the AFR ran two pages on the September 11 attacks, it ran seven pages on this story on day one and a more restrained six pages yesterday.
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You know that shirt really makes your eyes look amazing. I bet you know lots of really important stuff. Would you like to go back to your place and show me all your confidential files?
A report has been handed down in the UK by Dame Elizabeth Filkin, “The ethical issues arising from the relationship between police and media”, prompted by allegations the News of the World phone hacking scandal was not properly investigated by Scotland Yard.
It’s a fascinating document, surprisingly free of the usual bureaucratic mangling of the English language, although it does contain case studies with a traffic light system of assessing risk - red for high, yellow for medium, green for low. But the most up-front part carries the title: “Ten tactics used by some in the media. Watch out.”
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