I never went to journalism school, but it strikes me that one of the first things they should teach you there is to shy away from words attributing mental states. Take this example from the front page of yesterday's Age: "Labor believes that, in return, the Greens will distribute 'open' how-to-vote cards in key ALP-held marginal seats ..."

Is there any evidence for this? That's what Labor sources have told the reporter that they believe, but why should we think they really do? Yet journalists do this all the time, taking at face value politicians' assertions as to their beliefs, fears and intentions -- even when the circumstances would seem to demand a measure of scepticism.