Dear Mark, lay off Andy, from Jeff. “Jeff Kennett from Cremorne” — that is, the former Liberal Victorian premier and beyondblue chairman — wrote to The Australian Financial Review to tackle Mark Latham and his recent comments over Andrew Robb …

There’s no doubt Latham has used his columns in The Fin (and here at Crikey) to draw attention to Robb’s illness — justified, he claims, because Robb has spoken so publicly about it. But does the call to gag Latham amount to censorship?

Fairfax distracted by driving story. According to a report on the weekend in the Fairfax press, new research shows in-vehicle technology can be very bad for your health. The Sydney Morning Herald headed the story “Driver distraction responsible for more car crashes than alcohol“; The Age splashed the story over five columns on the front page under the heading “Motorists driven to distraction by their own devices“. So it looks like using smartphones and electronic devices is a serious problem for safe driving. But there’s more to the story.

If you read further into the article you find out mobile phones are the cause of just 1% of serious casualty crashes. In fact, device-related causes (the last four categories) collectively only account for 3.6% of these crashes. In contrast, intoxication and tiredness collectively account for 36.2% of them.

It’s true The Age provides enough information to get a handle on what’s really going on here if the reader continues with the rest of the article. Nevertheless I’m disappointed the paper would run with that headline and those opening paras given that “device-related” crashes appear to be a relatively small cause of serious casualties. — Alan Davies (read the full story at The Urbanist)

Video of the day. The Sydney Morning Herald star investigative reporter Kate McClymont delivered a stirring defence of the media’s right to operate at the Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance’s Press Freedom Dinner on Saturday …

Front page of the day. The Examiner runs big with an horrific car fire that killed five people — a bride and her four bridesmaids — in the middle of a major San Francisco bridge …

Peter Fray

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