Age editorial correct !

The Age reflects agendas of journalists

In a previous post I quoted an Age editorial where they boasted that “quality newspapers offer their readers an implicit assurance with every story they publish: that their selection and presentation of news does not reflect the personal or corporate agendas of journalists, editors or proprietors.”

We knew that it was their idea of a joke, but the very next day we had the proof. Yesterday they ran a news report, not opinion, on a debate that took place in Melbourne on racism, between Professor Robert Manne and Hanifa Deen for the affirmative, and Professor Bob Birrell and Dr Tanveer Ahmed for the negative.

The article, written by Paul Millar, was headed Country ‘drifting back to racism’. A strange heading for a debate with two sides whose subject was to determine whether or not Australian had escaped its racist past. However, The Age never lets facts get in the way of story. Looking closely at the article, almost all of it was taken up with Hanifa Deen’s presentation for the affirmative. In a total of 470 words, Professor Birrell was given only 42 words, or barely nine percent of the report. Not another word from the negative.

In a follow-up editorial today, we learn that the debate was an IQ2 event, sponsored by The Age. We also learn that the audience voted in favour of the proposition, 71 per cent to 20 per cent. The editorial suggested that maybe it was because of the difficulty of  “satisfying the opposite contention”. But is it not as feasible that the vast majority of the audience were Age readers and thus ill-informed because The Age coverage of issues never satisfies the opposite contention.

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