I don’t even watch the ABC any more – it’s too aggrivating, but old habits die hard, and I still can’t resist the odd quick glance at the Herald’s front page. Online, that is, since the local News Keeper no longer keeps copies of the actual rag. Well, aside from the one down the back labelled ‘nostalgia’.
So it was with some surprise, but no lack of surprise, that I came across today’s gaff – journalistically speaking. Or editorial at least. One of the two.
Consider my horror when I witnessed first an article by writer Neil McMahon, framed as a shallow undermining of Greer’s methodology, developed over at least 50 years on the box: “Bishop Shuts Down Greer”, it reads; “It was the question on Q&A that prompted a short, horrified gasp and groan from the audience.”
Give me a break. That sounds like the beginning of a Mills and Boone novel. Of which I have read none.
Only a paper as divided in direction as SMH could possibly come up with such a strange concoction; to mix an article of merit with a headline borne of some strange, tabloid infection. Using dramatic phrases to lure potential, Y-gen readers, only to sod them in the face with some good old fashioned observational journalism.
Why, SMH? Why do you treat us like fools?
Because it looks to me like someone at SMH hasn’t quite decided whether to go below the belt, or above.
Ah, screw it – we’ll just go for both!
Which leads me to exhibit B, the good cop, bad routine, as played by one –
That SMH thought it proper to have a go at Greer for doing none other than her job is low enough, but to then slip further to grabbing for readers on the other side of the argument, by slapping up a further headline, somehow contradictory to the first (on the left), is strange in the extreme. It’s as if two editors have both worked on the page, and arrived at different ideas. Or not? I’m not sure.
But in my opinion, it’s weird. And a sign, among many, that SMH is lost. It might be stabilising, in the way that one stabilises in a coma, perhaps, but where’s the dignity in reducing one’s, or all’s, tactics to those of the other paper we all know for being just that – undignified.
I mean, we expect photo-shopping and cruel headlines and the like from the other paper, but that’s exactly why many of us chose THIS paper to read in the first place. Which is why so many of us feel ignored, offended even, when our preference for ACTUAL headlines and UN-emotive lead-ins is ignored; when things like the above happen.
We don’t want emotive garbage thrown in our faces. We don’t want headlines which amp up some imagined event, such as Greer losing to Julie Bishop. That didn’t happen, SMH. You made that up, and it hurts.
We want proper, un-emotive, sober reporting of actual events. And objective commentary on all of that.
Just not this emotive garbage you’ve badly borrowed from the other side of Parramatta Rd. Leave that for the waste basket, please!