A Press Council ruling, published in The Daily Telegraph today, on a 2011 story warning thousands of boat people would “invade” NSW:

“The Press Council has concluded that use of the word ‘invade’ was gravely inaccurate, unfair and offensive because of its clear connotations of forceful occupation. Accordingly the complaint is upheld on this ground for what the council regards as an especially serious breach of its principles.”

The statement was published in a sidebar — under the headline “Press Council makes ruling on headlines” — on page six.

An Australian Communications and Media Authority ruling on Channel Nine’s broadcast earlier this year of pro-pokies propaganda:

“There is no prohibition on a licensee running its own political campaign, but the licensee did not make clear, in the broadcast impugned, that the script had been prepared by Nine management and was broadcast at the initiative of Nine management. Nor did the licensee make clear that the website to which it directed viewers for ‘more information’ was a website of a campaign funded by Clubs Australia and other industry associations which considered that their revenue would be negatively affected by the introduction of MPC [mandatory pre-commitment].”

The result? “The ACMA proposes to raise this matter with Free TV Australia in anticipation of the next code review.”

What exactly is the point of media regulation that can’t find fault in a network that disguised advertising of its owners’ interests, or a newspaper that offers no correction or apology to a report deemed gravely wrong?

Thankfully, Tracy Grimshaw is on hand to call out the mainstream press for its ethics and story agenda. In offering comment on the bullies who picked on radio personality Chrissie Swan and her plump kids, she raved on A Current Affair last night:

“… It was also about the often white noise between social media and traditional media. And how a bunch of anonymous bullies took to websites to vent their prejudice and inexplicably made the jump to mainstream news outlets. Remember when to express your opinion you had to write a letter to the editor? The paper would only run the best letters with a view to balance and content. Now there’s no such filter and the online tyrants are running amok. Let them have a Twitter page, that’s democracy. But why translate their jaundiced opinion and intemperate language into news copy that’s supposed to actually carry some authority?”

It all leaves us a little speechless.

Peter Fray

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