June 02, 2003


The gap between the Sydney Morning Herald and reality continues to expand. Check this quote from defence minister Robert Hill in todayís SMH:

"On the basis of what we understood, the action was the right action to take," he said in Singapore. "If it turns out there were flaws in what we understood, then I think we ought to say there were flaws. But it's too early to say that.Ē

Itís not too early for the SMH, however, which ran this headline and lead paragraph:

Iraq's arms: Hill raises new doubts

The Defence Minister, Robert Hill, has conceded that flawed intelligence about Saddam Hussein's weapons capability may have influenced Australia's decision to join the war against Iraq.

Big letters, so people at the SMH can understand: HE DIDNíT SAY THAT.

Posted by Tim Blair at June 2, 2003 04:48 PM

Another example of what Uechritz asserted: situation fluid, journos cqanget it wrong?

Posted by: d at June 2, 2003 at 05:05 PM

I can hardly wait until the ever-vigilant Media Watch goes to town on the SMH for fabricating such a misleading headline.

Posted by: Indole Ring at June 2, 2003 at 06:52 PM

Should be great Media Watch tonight: Phillip Adams lifting from the New York Review of Books, shared lines in pieces by ABC bosses and Queensland academics, misleading SMH headlines ... maybe they need a longer program.

Posted by: tim at June 2, 2003 at 07:48 PM

Always read the story - which is here: http://www.smh.com.au/articles/2003/06/01/1054406081539.html rather than at the end of the link Tim gives.

Anyway, Tim elides this Hill quote at the end of the story:

"I actually think that it's important for public confidence that the full story is told, even if it leads to a debate as to whether the intelligence was good enough or not. In terms of public confidence it needs to be open and frank."

...which rather tends to support the head and opening par's assertion.

Posted by: Bon Scott at June 2, 2003 at 08:38 PM

How does Hill's comment about the value of public disclosure and debate "raise new doubts"?

Posted by: Indole Ring at June 2, 2003 at 09:45 PM

Yeah. How? And where does he "concede"?

Posted by: tim at June 2, 2003 at 11:51 PM

That's easy, Tim, you just have to translate the libspeak. In that language, 'doesn't absolutely deny the possibility of' means 'concedes that'.

Posted by: Kathy K at June 3, 2003 at 05:58 AM

Media Watch/ 2/6 was silent. Instead, it was devoted to mounting a line on Alston, Murdoch, Packer, media ownership.Marr, once again demonstrated a talent for spinning a convoluted story.

Oh, it delivered a 2 second spray against one item from Alston's list of examples of ABC bias.

Media Watch should be renamed: ABC medja party political time.

Posted by: d at June 3, 2003 at 10:02 AM

The parallel story suffers from the same 'Headlies' problem.


Posted by: Paul Johnson at June 3, 2003 at 04:01 PM

This willful misrepresentation of people's statements seems to be pretty widespread, enough so that it deserves its own noun and /or adjective. In "honor" of that now justly infamous NYT columnist I recommend "Dowd-ism" or perhaps "Dowd-istic"

Posted by: Rifle308 at June 4, 2003 at 05:32 AM

The stem is usefully plastic by metonymic extension: dowdy, for example, someone who wears well used and/or not stlyish clothes -bad taste, which of psuedo-middle class pratts like ratbag greenies deploys into at least a double play - dowdists on science, economics and so truth and they are dowdy.
One could say, the dowdy predilections of such prats is a type of inverse snobbery.Hypocrites just can't help themselves, can they Peter Garrett.

Posted by: d at June 4, 2003 at 09:28 AM

Of course, Dowdisms can be a two edged sword:

"Hill... doubts...that flawed intelligence about Saddam Hussein's weapons capability... influenced Australia's decision to join the war against Iraq."

Posted by: BushisworsethanHitlerSatanandKennyG at June 5, 2003 at 10:54 AM

Quite right, good dowdism ,Bushisworsethan...., it wasn't due to flawed intelligence, full marks. It was first rate intelliegence and a sober assessment of the regime and its actions which decided the 3 anglos.
Ah, so your example backfires, it is inadvertently true. MoDo must be in shock at having inadvertently admitted, the 3 anglos are right and the action against Saddam just.

Posted by: d at June 5, 2003 at 12:33 PM