Interesting contrast between print versions of The Age and The Australian today.

The Age has a picture of Tony Abbott fronting that rally, framed by the offensive posters. The commentary is all about how extreme the crowd was, and how awkward it was for him to front it.

The Australian? The headline is “Key Adviser sees risk in carbon tax” . No photos of rallies on the front page. Turn to page four, and you find a photo of Abbott in front of the rally, but not an offensive poster in sight! Did the photographer miss the shot? I don’t think so. This is a culling decision made by editors.

So which outlet is biased? The photo of the offending posters was surely the most striking from the rally, and deserved a prominent run. Meanwhile, read into the text of the Oz’s carbon tax story, and you find that in fact the adviser – the head of the Productivity Commission – is not attacking carbon reduction targets, but querying the levels and warning of the need to compete with other countries. It is an equivocal and complex contribution, which is not reflected in the headline.

It’s newsworthy, for sure. But not the page one lead. And those posters were newsworthy too.

As for The Age? I think they go too far in the other direction. It would have been nice to have something about the actual issue on page one and elsewhere in the paper, rather than turning the whole issue into a game of “gotcha” Tony Abbott. Though to be fair, the rally was “new” and therefore news.

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
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