Thursday, August 17, 2006

Mainstream media disgraces

A breakfast TV (7.30 am) news report (Nine or Seven) this morning reported that the woman who caused a recent terrorist-scare kerfuffle on a trans-Atlantic flight had in her possession banned items, including "Arabic literature".

It is one thing to get facts wrong (the more widely reported “al-Qaida note” also turns out to have been a fabrication), but quite another to make a silent, authoritarian leap of faith in the course of getting facts wrong. If the presence of "Arabic literature" on a plane (when carried in one’s hand luggage, at least) is indeed banned, then surely that fact is a huge, breaking-news story?

A similar media disgrace, albeit one with less serious societal consequences, is the “Dirty Harry” tabloid story and pic. Blind Freddy could see that the pic was old, just by looking at the youthfulness of Prince Harry in it. Unbelievably, it took the intervention of the Royal Family to produce a correction of this elementary fact.

The mainstream media are out of control, yet unable to see their own skid marks.

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