Last month the Australian mounted an over-the-top defence of one of their pundits after blogs criticised him for spinning as favourable to the government an opinion poll that showed the opposition way ahead and no change in its lead. So how do you think they reacted to Media Watch’s criticism?
Check out the unbelievable arrogance of their editorial:
When Media Watch demanded we jump to an apology and correction, The Australian was still in communication with Dr Pachauri telling him in writing there had been no misrepresentation.
Pachauri had told the Australian in writing that they had misrepresented his position:
I did not even by remote implication endorse the policies of the Australian Government on climate change.
But who is Pachauri to dare to contradict the Australian about what his own position is?
The editorial also states:
As a newspaper, we welcome critical evaluation of our work
Only if by “welcome” you mean “respond with outraged denunciations of your critics”.
Caroline Overington goes on and on about the stories Media Watch should have done instead of the one about Pachauri, eventually coming to this:
I suggest to Palmer that if The Australian – a News Limited publication – had splashed the HMAS Sydney story all over its front page, Media Watch would have swung the baseball bat with all the ferocity it could muster.
Moreover, The Australian would have expected it and deserved it.
This appears right beside the Australian‘s refusal to concede that they misrepresented Pachauri’s position.
Then we have a lengthy piece by Matthew Warren defending his misrepresentation of Pachauri’s position. To recap, Warren asked:
As you would be aware, the Australian Government is proposing to set its emission target after it has conducted rigorous economic analysis. Do you support that?”
And Pachauri responded:
“I think so, otherwise one might come up with an emotional and political response which might not be the best, and I think in a democracy it’s important to see there is an informed debate in officialdom as well as within the public if one adopts a particular…
Pachauri was saying that he supported rigorous economic analysis, not that he supported the government’s policy of delay. Now maybe Warren misunderstood him, but in that case, since this was going to be his headline, a good reporter would have asked a follow up question to make sure that he had understood Pachauri correctly. And there is no excuse for the Australian‘s ongoing misrepresentation of Pachauri’s position.
The Australian‘s blast at Media Watch finishes with:
If standards do not improve, the program should be scrapped.
Well I think that if standards at the Australian don’t improve, they should sack the editorial staff and hire some grown-ups.