An interesting headline popped up on the front page of News.com.au over the weekend:

Bob Brown: 'Coal miners caused floods'

That’s a pretty explosive quote, even for Bob Brown, so I quickly read the story to get some context. Strangely, the quote was nowhere to be found.

Why wasn’t this quote, which was good enough to make the front page of News’ online presence, not in the linked story? Because Bob Brown never actually said it. He did talk about the coal industry, mining taxes, global warming and natural disasters, but paraphrasing a few things that he did say doesn’t give you the right to put quotation marks around it. This is pretty elementary stuff that any high school student would know.

It’s a bad look for a news organisation to be passing off their own interpretations as direct quotes, the type of little mistake that undermines their credibility.

(Thanks to reader Tobby)

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
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