Let’s play a little game I like to call “Fun with the Snipping Tool”.
At 9.20am, this how the main news websites in Australia are covering last night’s opportunity for the public to ask questions of the second-longest serving prime minister – one who took Australia into two wars – which was televised on the national public broadcaster.
At smh.com.au, it’s in the top spot, so it’s considered the most important story on the website:
At brisbanetimes.com.au, it’s also the most important story on the website:
At theage.com.au, it’s in the top spot:
At heraldsun.com.au, it’s in the top spot:
At news.com.au, it gets the main pic treatment:
At theaustralian.com.au, it’s the main pic:
At watoday.com.au, it’s also the main pic:
At perthnow.com.au, it’s in the spot for the second most important story of the day:
At dailytelegraph.com.au, it’s in the second spot:
At couriermail.com.au, it’s in the second spot:
AdelaideNow is the only major news website in Australia NOT giving this story top billing:
Now, if you think the purpose of the news media is to entertain, then you probably don’t give a shit about this. But there are plenty of other things that are genuinely entertaining, so why would you bother watching the news to get a giggle?
But if – like me – you think the purpose of the news media is to inform their audience about what’s going on in their world, and give them the information they need to make decisions about their world, then this is a colossal failure.
This post is not about Fairfax or News Ltd. It’s about the Australian news media, because the shoe thrower has been all over ABC Radio this morning as well. I note that his question about Australia’s involvement in the war in Iraq was never really answered:
And still hasn’t been answered.
Update: A story needs to “move on” and so news organisations are falling over themselves to get comment from the shoe thrower. Why? Watch the footage from QandA – it’s pretty clear why he threw his shoes at John Howard. So why not chase Howard for an answer to his question about Australia’s involvement in the war in Iraq? Or for answers to any questions, since he’s clearly in media whore mode to plug his book.
Update 2: I care about this because I am a journalist and I think we’re doing a completely shit job at being relevant. Once those paywalls go up, we’ve got nothing to offer our readers.