Public hubris….. I love it.
There’s nothing better than a bit of humiliation of proud and boastful folk in the public arena after their claims are tested by the harsh acid of reality.
Gordon Brown’s “no more boom and bust”, for example, or “Britain is best-placed to weather the current global economic crisis”. Crash Gordon was good value for hubris.
Australian politicians have their share too, denying a carbon tax 18 months before legislating for one, perhaps.
But today’s Sydney Morning Herald has an absolute stonker that is simply asking to be shown for the guff that it is. The editor, Peter Fray, has written an open “letter to the reader” (who else is a letter to, if not “the reader”?), claiming the journalistic moral high ground.
“The Herald’s commitment to journalism with integrity and independence has never been so important as it is today.” for example. Or, “The Sydney Morning Herald is neither a recipient of government funding nor a mouthpiece for a media magnate.”.
Great and heady stuff this, and no doubt meant with only the most noble of intentions. I’m sure it’s certainly not just an unsubtle dig at the Murdoch-owned competition currently languishing in the UK parliamentary investigation into sharp and illegal practice.
The letter is crying out for someone to knock it to the floor with some simple examples of shoddy journalistic ethics. Perhaps an investigation into the biased reporting of financial news in the paper’s Property Section relative to the advertising revenue from property spruikers (an Aussie word, look it up) might be a good starting point.
What’s really needed though, is an Australian version of www.churnalism.com. This is a UK website where one can cut and paste text from a newspaper article, hit search and discover how much of it was lifted word-for-word from a standard government or corporate press release. It’s a cracking tool and one that’s exposed a lot of journalists for what they are; paid mouthpieces or “presstitutes”.
It won’t be long before someone gets round to setting the website up in Australia and then we can see quite how independent the Sydney Morning Herald really is. Or isn’t.