The Pencil Guy: Hourann's illogical blog

They call this rag a newspaper?

Thursday 25 January 2007 at 9:46 pm

The front cover of yesterday’s West Australian wasn’t all that unusual by tabloid standards — an emotive and sensationalist caption that calls out a prominent State politician, a nondescript photo that could really have been anything, and a reiteration of past problems.

Not unusual, that is, until the revelation by TV journalists yesterday that in fact, the entire thing was false. The person in the picture was neither frail nor a grandmother, she had asked to rest on some hospital chairs rather than being forced, and it wasn’t for “several hours”. The Health Minister wasn’t at fault at all. So I was expecting some form of apology today — because that’s what tabloids do to retain reader trust.

But the only indication they gave that they were wrong was half a dozen words in the fifth paragraph of an article. They didn’t even print the letter from the person in the photo that had been quoted on TV. Maybe Paul Armstrong, the editor, thinks he’s on some kind of moral high-horse, crusading against a corrupt State … nevermind those pesky facts that suggest otherwise.

I’m no big supporter of the State health system — there are clearly capacity problems and management issues, and the Reid report doesn’t strike me as a particularly comprehensive fix — but this is beyond irresponsible. The Health Minister was understandably annoyed yesterday … if I was one of the parties involved in this, I’d totally be calling lawyers.

And while I’m ranting about our local daily, did I mention it’s a dinosaur that simply doesn’t get the Internet, and is therefore likely to be trounced by it in the coming years? Tuesday’s edition included an article about the Web 2.0 education software Moodle, which has a connection to Perth. All good and well … except that I remember reading about this on TechCrunch months ago. “WE get it first”, indeed.

That same edition had an article about a City of Perth committee and Perth Arena, which mentions how the West supposedly broke the news last Saturday of a plan to build apartments over the arena carpark. Which is kinda true … except that I mentioned it on this blog a fortnight before they did, my source being a picture from the masterplan that I included in that post. And better yet, I first saw that picture on the SkyscraperCity forums in December.

(Unrelated postscript #1: there’s a new compromise proposal for the commercial precinct at Fremantle Harbour, where the Rottnest ferries currently dock, which has come out of a community forum process. This one cuts back on office space a bit and offers Maritime Museum-style architecture in two buildings of six stories. While I can already hear the cries of the local “nothing over two stories!” crowd, I think this proposal is largely a good one, since it clearly has strong community support and also gives Fremantle some much-needed density.)

(Unrelated postscript #2: This is pretty cool — a searchable recording of Bush’s State of the Union speech.)