A fine-looking mea culpa from the Sunday Herald-Sun this morning (as in, one day after the Queensland election) in which it both apologises for (a) being conned, and so easily, into publishing something completely wrong; and (b) for “not treating [its] readers with respect”.

There’s a sort-of reference to the privacy issue, but there’s little in the Hun’s response to give us confidence that they’d refuse to publish private teenaged photographs of a politician next time, if they were really, really sure they were real:

Paul from Hoppers Crossing has this to say on page 67: “Can the Sunday Herald Sun and other media justify this invasion of privacy?”

The answer is no. The trust you place in us to deliver the news fairly and accurately has been seriously breached.

We’ll see if the Hun starts delivering the news “fairly” – although I’m sure they’ll be trying harder to do it more “accurately”. Maybe they’ll start asking questions that test their own assumptions before publishing! I can’t wait to see it. It’ll be like a whole new paper.

Meanwhile, there are a couple of questions left unanswered by this (unattributed) editorial, the first being: were there extra profits they garnered as a result of their misconduct last weekend, in terms of extra sales of the paper and extra hits on their website – and if so, once the Hanson lawsuits are settled with an appropriately generous offer, what are they going to do with those extra profits? I’d suggest they should be donated to charity – isn’t it a bad look for News Ltd to profit from such a self-admittedly shamefully wrong breach? You’d think they’d have come up with that themselves, really – they could’ve made the offer and prevented cynical criticisms like this one, without actually being financially any worse off than if they hadn’t let their greed and malice get the better of them last weekend.

Also – “army of readers”? God help us all.

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