Daily Telegraph
editor Campbell Reid has been having a tough time of late. Last week he found himself in hot water over his front page splash, Rude Sydney, which claimed Sydney commuters refused to stand up for pregnant women. The story came under attack in Crikey when Josh Raymond, one of the commuters photographed in the paper’s sting operation, claimed there had been empty seats on the bus and the pictures of pregnant women standing in the aisles were a sham. Now Reid has more egg on his face over this front page splash from yesterday (pictured right).

Tabloids like The Tele like to be first with the story and fly pretty close to the wind when it comes to getting their facts straight. But it’s rare for the central claim of a story to be as fundamentally wrong as this: police yesterday revealed it was the mother not the father who had killed the family. Embarassing for TheTele and traumatic for the grieving relatives – so you’d expect a public apology? You’ve got to be joking.

The Tele “corrected” the story with today’s front page yarn (pictured below), but the only concession that it’s original story was wrong was this grudging admission:

Initial theories that it was Stephen who was responsible for the murders were dismissed by police yesterday. They came to the conclusion it was Sally that had killed her family.

A quick chat with Reid’s spokeswoman yesterday revealed there would be no public apology and no comment. It seems that as far as Reid is concerned, today’s story corrects the record and there’s no need to draw reader’s attention to his misake.

The Australian also got the story wrong, and also chose to correct the initial mistake with a follow-up story. But although they refused to admit their initial error in running with unconfirmed conjecture, at least they had the decency to put in this telling quote from Chief Detective Inspector Wayne Humphrey:

Inspector Humphrey was incensed by early media reports that assumed Mr Winter fired the gun. “At no stage did anyone suggest, ever, ever, that he was resonsible,” he said.

It seems that for all his moral outrage over Rude Sydney commuters, Campbell Reid is himself incapable of the basic courtesy of publicly admitting his mistake and apolosing to the family for the hurt he has caused.

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
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