Titian, retouched. Paul Keating had his Placido Domingo speech, but poor old Gordon Brown hasn’t got the touch. Recently he compared himself to Titian, the long-lived master-painter who said at the age of ninety, that he was only just beginning to learn his trade. An obvious and rather desperate move to make a claim to be the only one to lead us through the crisis — and shot down by Opposition leader David Cameron, who observed that the PM had his facts wrong — when he was ninety, Titian had been dead for four years. Or was it?

The dating of Titian’s life varies, but it is usually accepted that he lived into his 90s. Whoever did Cameron’s research checked a minority source. By the afternoon however, Titian’s lifespan in Wikipedia had been changed from 90 to 86, and a trackback of the edit revealed that it had come from a computer in Conservative Central Office — who put out a release saying that it had been the autonomous work of a young and overenthusiastic staffer.

Maybe, but it was still a hell of an own goal. The big loser may be Wikipedia, which is suddenly revealed to be unreliable even on minor matters — by shamefaced journalists who had used it as their first port of call to check the facts. — Guy Rundle

Seek and you will find. Despite the GFC Australia’s alchololic PR hacks still have a change to further their careers:

News… Queensland style. Floods? Bushfires? Global financial crisis? Billion dollar economic stimulus package? Boobs? The Courier Mail know what their readers like and they lead with it.

We report, you decide. Good old Fox News. There’s not too much we can add to this:

“Australian Wildfires Could Fuel ‘Forest Jihad’ Terrorists, Experts Say”

Firefighters and homeowners aren’t the only ones keenly watching Australia’s massive wildfires, responsible for killing at least 173 people in the southern part of the continent.

Terrorism experts suspect Muslim extremists are watching closely, too — and taking note of the devastation.

Fox News

Songs about “fire” and “burning” banned from Australian radio. Australian radio stations are purging their playlists of any songs that might remind listeners of the bushfires in Victoria. Gone from radio playlists already are the following songs: Talking Heads — Burning Down The House, Bruce Springsteen — (I’m On) Fire, Midnight Oil — Beds Are Burning, INXS — Burn For You, Jessica Mauboy Burn, U2 — Fire. — The Ostrahyun

WA Today‘s syndicated bloopers. Fairfax’s WA Today website have done it again, this time publishing a story on Jonathan Coleman and Ian “Dano” Rogerson’s syndicated radio show — that is, syndicated almost everywhere except Western Australia. And the final line of the article: “Jono & Dano airs 4pm weekdays on Gold”. Meaning Gold 104.7, a Melbourne station. Not Perth, as there is no station with that name there. Is there no-one at WA Today in Western Australia looking at this? — An anonymous Sandgroper

Wall Street Journal librarian laments shutdown. The librarian who operates The Wall Street Journal’s news research library — which is set to close with the elimination of her job and another staffer’s — said in a memo to other librarians that the shutdown is both a personal difficulty and a hit to news coverage. — Editor & Publisher

iPhone got game. NBA fans will soon be able to stream live footage of this weekend’s All-Star game on their iPhones. The league’s longtime broadcast partner Turner has launched a new iPhone app which will enable viewers for the first time to access four different live camera angles during NBA All-Star Saturday Night and the 2009 NBA All-Star Game via their phones. — Mediaweek

Michelle Obama extends Vogue tradition. Michelle Obama, who has juggled news conferences and parent-teacher conferences, will appear on the March cover of Vogue, a spokesman for the magazine said Tuesday.New York Times

Q and A: Paul McGeough. Few stories are as complex and cumbersome as the continuing friction in the Middle East. Modern history mixes with ancient history; boundaries are drawn and redrawn. There is no shortage of opinion or misinformation. Accusations of media bias abound. Yesterday’s elections in Israel promise yet another dose of upheaval in the region, and additional uncertainty for Israel’s neighbors. For a dose of clarity, CJR spoke with Sydney Morning Herald foreign correspondent Paul McGeough, who has covered the region for twenty years, last reporting from Gaza in early 2007. — Columbia Journalism Review

Peter Fray

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