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sydney alternative media - non-profit community independent trustworthy
Friday, 13 July 2007
Howard plane crash in the polls front page of the Sydney Daily Telegraph
Mood:  a-ok
Topic: election Oz 2007

High circulation Sydney Daily Telegraph this last 2 days, which has also been running a determined attack over lack of airport security with two of their journalists facing criminal charges, as here page 3 7th July 2007: Howard 'all talk' on air safety | The Daily Telegraph

Notice in the right hand front page the departure from house style guidelines of inclusion of a question mark. We can't remember the last time we saw the SDT include a question mark in one of their stripped back headlines.

As an example if they had a headline 'Is it a hot day' they would leave off the '?'. We find this annoying enough changing an innocent or neutral query to an rhetorical implied conclusion, in this example 'we at the newspaper think its damn hot today, so should you .....if you have any brains'. There is no reasonable doubt either way allowed in such a house style.

This sounds a trivial matter of style, but what about this hypothetical headline about war not weather: 'Should we go to war in Iraq' with no '?'. We submit removal of the question mark implies the position of the newspaper and the politically acceptable answer of the 70% press controlled News Ltd across the land: "Yes of course we should go to war to stop[choose] WMD/Saddam tyranny/Al Qaeda links". No reasonable doubt about it is the politics in the omitted '?'.

We say the lost '?' at the SDT is another subtle mind fuck of the public.

But what about the Telegraph inclusion of the '?' above? It's probably seeking to capture the context of Howard's radio interview and reinforcing his painful state of confusion on air noticed by all the commentators. The ALP wisely are adding nothing, letting the slip up do its viral marketing impact all on its own. No need to over egg this pudding. In this way the question mark compounds criticism of Howard for losing the polls. Ouch.

On another aspect of Big Media, the sister paper The Australian, often seen as rusted on to Howard's Coalition in its polling coverage, has an unflattering picture today of the said name forgotten candidate presenting her a bit like a village idiot. As if to say she is intrinscially forgettable. Talk about cruel visual spin. It's on page 4 top right if you want to check the image out.

As regards positive visual spin how's this collage comparing Julia Gillard as Deputy ALP leader in the middle looking very Deputy Prime Ministerial, compared to Hilary Clinton left or actress Geena Davis in US drama Commander in Chief as first female Pres:

Call us sexist but like crikey.com's Christian Kerr we have noticed for quite a while now her hair care salesman partner is a one great presentation asset for the highly intelligent Ms Gillard. She just seems happier in life too. She might have been her working class dad's favourite, who maybe missed out some of the girlie conditioning, but Gillard seems to be doing a hell of alot of successful catchup in the visual grooming stakes now as expected of high power.

In her case one presumes it's a tool of trade not a value in its own right. Dignified threads woman, you've earned it surely. Tools of trade.

Posted by editor at 10:53 AM NZT
Updated: Friday, 13 July 2007 11:19 AM NZT

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