The Australian today tried to claim that its version of the collapse of the Chinalco-Rio Tinto deal was an exclusive. The story had a red-lettered “Exclusive” tag:

The biggest deal in Australian corporate history, the $US19.5 billion ($24.4 billion) alliance between Rio Tinto and Chinese resources giant Chinalco, was heading for collapse last night, sparing the Rudd Government from one of its toughest foreign policy decisions.

There was speculation that Rio Tinto would walk away from Chinalco overnight and instead seal a joint venture with its bitter rival, BHP Billiton, involving their iron ore operations in the Pilbara region of Western Australia.

That’s a bit rich, when it was on the Financial Times website before 10.30pm Thursday and the version on the FT website now was updated at 2.06am Friday, Sydney time. By then the other papers had matching reports, so there was nothing “Exclusive” about The Australian‘s report, except in the mind of its award winning editor in chief.