US Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao (Image: Sipa USA/Al Drago)

News Corp v reality Back on August 6, The Australian plonked “secret Victorian government modelling” on its front page, suggesting that daily new case numbers would exceed 1000 by mid-August. It’s still up there on its website, brightly informing us that its source is the “Victorian government”.

Except it apparently wasn’t, with every Victorian government official quizzed on the matter claiming this was the first they’d seen or heard of any such modelling (The Australian had not approached the government for comment prior to publishing the figures).

Eventually the figures were traced back to a Twitter user and data blogger Paul Sougleris who didn’t appear to have any official connection to government. Dennis Shanahan, the journalist credited with the original story, has only cryptically insisted that the graph was “not a reproduction”.

So how do the figures which graced our only national broadsheet in a time of crisis match up with reality? By now, according to that report, we should be seeing over a 1000 cases a day in Victoria. The reality:

Trump watch Following on from our observation on Thursday that Rupert Murdoch appears to be ditching US President Donald Trump in favour of Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell, a tipster got in contact to add another element to the mix.

As the tipster reminded us, McConnell is married to Elaine Chao, who, apart from being Trump’s transport secretary (who has faced serious allegations she used her role for private gain — hey, when in Rome, right?) was a long time director at News Corp.

Pandemic? What pandemic? While the pandemic has ravaged pretty much every facet of the economy, there can be no industry more desperate to wish it out of existence than the tourism sector. Still, this eight-page insert, paid for by Tourism Australia — sent to us by a tipster in England — in Saturday’s edition of the UK Daily Telegraph seems extremely premature:

We understand the desire to bring back British tourist dollars (less so the desire for actual Brits), but with Australia’s borders closed, they must be counting on some very long memories from Telegraph readers.

Keeping them honest Come September 7, The Sydney Morning Herald sustainability summit will be pleasing fans of both corporate responsibility and alliteration. The line up is not all that surprising — an array of business CEOs and think tank representatives to chat about various sustainability issues with the paper’s business editor John McDuling, editor Lisa Davies and one another.

But one attendee that really stood out for us was Sandra Martinez, the
chief executive officer of Nestlé Oceania. She’ll be called upon to discuss the issue of “solving the massive plastics, packaging, and waste problem” on a panel of four, for half an hour before morning tea. Will that be enough time for anyone to raise some of the many other sustainability issues Nestle has been on the wrong side of — deforestation, child labour and privatising water, to pick a handful of examples.

Nestle has frequently been criticised for “greenwashing” — see, for example, its ad marking World Youth Day last week. Is there a danger the summit might help with that project?

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
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