Daily Telegraph

Jan 5, 2012

Informing your readers

In late December the Australian Press Council

Pure Poison IconIn late December the Australian Press Council found that a series of articles in The Daily Telegraph about the National Broadband Network “contained inaccurate or misleading assertions” describing one of the statements published in the Tele as “clearly and seriously inaccurate”. The Daily Telegraph was therefore obliged to publish the finding in full, which they did….. On page 104…… On Boxing Day……

I’m sure that the fine folk at the Tele felt that somewhere in the middle of the World News section would be the place that their readers were most likely to find the APC ruling, rather than in the national news section where the NBN articles would have originally run. And you can’t argue with the Tele’s punctuality, the APC ruling was given on the 22nd and they rushed to have it published promptly, on the 26th, which we all know is a hard news day.

Also worth noting is that although there is a clarification on one of the three stories listed in the complaint, at this point there is no reference to the APC finding on the online versions of the stories, which would seem to be a fairly significant deficiency in the current arrangements, along with the fact that the APC finding isn’t given similar prominence to the original articles. With the arrangements as they stand at the moment there doesn’t seem to be a great incentive to strive for accuracy as the penalty for getting things wrong is so laughable.

H/T @coldsnacks

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15 thoughts on “Informing your readers

  1. SHV

    No ex-Murdoch staffer has ever written about what an excellent bloke he is or how great it is to work for him. Like Hugh Lunn, Bruce Guthrie, John D’Arcy and others, Harold Evans (sacked from the previously great ‘Times’ by Murdoch) has decided that we now should know something about Rupert Murdoch that we apparently shouldn’t have been told when they were all in his employ. Wankers!


    [He calls Murdoch the “Houdini of agreements.”

    Evans observes: “He makes solemn promises, then breaks them when it suits him. He pledges loyalty to people, then double-crosses them. He commits a wrong, but then disguises his motives in a smoke trail of disinformation.”

    Summing up his experiences with Murdoch, Evans concludes: “He lies with consummate ease and conviction, but he is also remarkably prescient about how politicians will swallow the most gigantic fiction with barely a gulp.”]

    Who cares? They love that they are the centre of attention. We must reclaim our democracy from Murdoch.

  2. Russ44

    The very few people I know who buy the Tele actually buy it for the form guide. They throw the rest away. Well is it referred to as “the form guide with pictures”. As for facts in their stories, forget it.

  3. SHV

    And, in news just in…

    We are now up to arrest number 17 in the Murdoch hacking scandal:


    Rupert Murdoch is not a ‘Fit and Proper’ person to be allowed to control Australia’s news media.

  4. SHV

    JJ and MrD,


    I’d advocate a full-on no-holds-barred campaign to make foreign ownership of our news media ILLEGAL.

    OR, just as we assess immigrants, make foreign media ownership subject (retrospectively, Mr Murdoch) to a “Fit and Proper Person” test. So, if your organisation has a history of dishonest criminal activity – you’re OUT! It applies to most people’s professions, so why not media businesses – given their importance to a functioning democracy?

    Bingo! No more News Corp lies, dog-whistling, anti-democratic, anti-competitive, racist hollering.

    Then we can all concentrate on trying to get Fairfax and the ABC to do real journalism.

  5. Aliar Jones

    If only ignoring it would make it go away..I’m afraid that won’t be swaying the dimwits who buy into it.

  6. Mr Denmore

    The Daily Telegraph is shameless. Its apologists will argue, though, that these are all the bleatings of inner city elites out of touch with the opinions of honest working folk who read the paper on the train in from the western suburbs.

    And if you argue for tougher sanctions, you will be depicted as trying to shut down a free media.

    So that leaves you with two choices. The first is to seriously organise and start pressuring the advertisers through a letter writing and shaming campaign, telling them they are trashing their own brands by associating themselves with a publication that tells outright lies in the guise of news.

    The second is to just switch off. Stop reading the Tele. Stop linking to it. Ignore its existence. It won’t change. Making a big fuss over the crap which that hack Whittaker publishes every day just plays into his hands. He loves the hate.

    See The Failed Estate this week and my 12-Step Program for weaning yourself off junk media.


    But if you’re really angry and really want to change the media, you need to organise properly.

  7. Aliar Jones

    [It’s actually very powerful when readers speak up and argue the facts on particular issues, and shame papers for being sloppy.]

    Huh? like where? in the same media? Ain’t happenin’

  8. Indiana Jones

    JJ @6

    I tend to agree that the power should lie with, and be exercised by, the readers. But how? Many times I have spoken up and argued facts and attempted to shame media outlets about inaccurate journalism and/or inflammatory reporting. The comments simply don’t get printed.

  9. Aliar Jones

    The end results is the lies are given front page and the retractions don’t get read.

    the lies win..we all lose

  10. james jenkin

    We shouldn’t forget the answer to inaccurate journalism and inflammatory commentary isn’t just to hope ‘someone (the Press Council/the Government …) does something’.

    It’s actually very powerful when readers speak up and argue the facts on particular issues, and shame papers for being sloppy.

    But our energy seems to be directed at trying to have media outlets we don’t like sanctioned. It’s a bit sooky.

  11. Geoff1

    The actions of the Daily Telegraph simply demonstrate that self regulation of the media as undertaken by the Australian Press Council is a farce. The APC isn’t even a ‘paper tiger’, it’s a toothless pussycat and the print media prefer it that way.

  12. shepherdmarilyn

    And Greg Sheridan is on about the “illegal immigrants” again after three findings against him and the paper in the last few years.

  13. AR

    The Terror’s freedom of speech is being infringed!

  14. Matthew of Canberra

    Poor Daily Telegraph, being silenced like that.

    Clearly, the NBN is just too dangerous to discuss.

  15. Cuppa

    The Australian Press Council penalty is laughable because it amounts to nothing more than being slapped with a boiled lettuce leaf. It seems that ACMA ‘penalties’ are the same. Radio 2GB, one of at least three Liberal-biased talkback radio stations in Sydney, was recently found guilty of breaching the commercial radio code over its broadcast of an asylum seeker funeral pop quiz. However because the right wing jock, one Chris Smith, had made a couple of on-air apologies, and it had been 2GB’s first breach of the ‘decency’ area of the Code, ACMA decided there should be no punishment.


    Correct me if I’m wrong, but is that not a green light to any other media outfit to concoct and run with some appalling offensive right-wing filth, hastily and oh-so sincerely apologise afterwards, then sit back and laugh at their “you can’t touch me!” notoriety?

    2GB’s Alan Jones (he of the repeated “put Gillard in a chaff bag and dump her in the ocean” comments) had been earlier found guilty of breaching the commercial radio codes. He had broadcast factual inaccuracies and failed to give more than one viewpoint when railing against the (then) Labor state government’s operation of native vegetation laws and their administration. The repercussions for this very experienced ‘broadcaster’? The ACMA was reported to have been “in discussion with 2GB about its response to the breaches”.


    In Adelaide ACMA found two ABC radio talkers guilty of bias after an attack on the Labor politician, Kevin Foley. ACMA found “the presenters displayed fixed prejudgment on the topics discussed, asked loaded questions and used disparaging language.” http://www.acma.gov.au/WEB/STANDARD/pc=PC_410263

    And the ‘penalty’ for the public broadcaster breaching its own Code of Practice:

    [“The ACMA is liaising with the ABC about appropriate remedial measures.”]


    Liaison? Remedial measures? What about some “disciplinary measures”? I don’t imagine there are too many institutions where employees can publicly and loudly breach its own core regulations, be thoroughly investigated and found guilty by an impartial third party… and not be subject to serious sanction.

    The APC, the ACMA, the ABC Code of Practice and the ABC Act (the ABC “charter”) all need to be given punitive teeth. It’s pointless having “codes of practice” if breaching them carries no consequences.

    The media have a very special responsibility (and privilege) as their product touches and influences literally masses of the public. They should be subject to the highest standards, vigilant policing, and commensurate penalties for breaches. The wishy-washy current state of affairs practically lets them off the hook.

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