IS IT dishonesty or just plain stupidity? You be the judge.
In Thursday’s Age, the homepage headline on a story about Tony Abbott’s hastily re-located photo op states, My mis-steak: Abbott's butcher blunder. The opposition leader screws up, right, does something dim and stupid? That is certainly what the headline proclaims.
Now read the story and find out what actually happened. Be warned, you will need to dive deep into reporter Richard Willingham’s pun-infested prose to learn why Abbott’s handlers were forced to find him another location at the last minute.
''… the business in question received an aggressive phone call … I thought under all the circumstances it was best to change the venue because the last thing I would want to do is to cause needless grief to small business people,'' Mr Abbott said.The call was later revealed to be a threat of a boycott of the business if Mr Abbott visited.
If you think a warmist bully’s semi-successful bid to silence a political opponent by threatening an innocent an business is the real lesson of this incident, you are definitely not a Fairfax journalist.
But let us be charitable and give whoever wrote the headline the benefit of the doubt. Let us assume that having seized upon the “mis-steak” gag, the writer was so taken with his or her little joke that the alliterative “butcher blunder” could not be resisted, despite the overall message being grossly inaccurate. It may have happened that way – but even so, that possibility raises the question of basic literacy. If the writer’s heart was set on meaty mirth, there are several ways the gist of the incident might have been expressed with both wit and accuracy.
What about, “Phone Threat Bones Abbott’s Photo Op”. Or “Threat to Abbott Was Lard and Clear”. Perhaps “Abbott Won’t Risk It With The Brisket” might have sufficed, while “Abbott’s Beef With Photo-Op Saboteur” would certainly have done the trick. Instead, we got a headline that made Abbott out to be both culprit and dill.
Hey, it’s Fairfax, so what else can you expect?.