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Name: Antony Loewenstein
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Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Blocking out reality

What is this story doing on the leading world news page of today's Sydney Morning Herald?

"As he ponders the future of the free world, the fate of social security or the state of his Texas ranch, President George Bush can turn to one source for solace: his iPod."

The article explains how Bush likes country tunes, Joni Mitchell, "does not do anything so vulgar as download the songs himself" and cycles with the device before and after important engagements.

This is not news. The musical tastes of the US President could be conceivably buried as an "Odd Spot" somewhere in the newspaper, but knowing that Bush likes Van Morrison does nothing to humanise a man loathed the world over. More importantly, editors would never place the leisure activities of France's Jacques Chirac, New Zealand's Helen Clarke or Iran's President Khatami with such prominence. It continues a trend towards promoting the trivial as relevant and important, when in fact these details take valuable editorial space away from reporting issues in other corners of the world. Did the editors miss a US State Department report which found "serious cost overruns and a 'poor performance' have plagued Halliburton's continuing $1.2 billion contract to repair Iraq's vital southern oil fields?"

Today's Sydney Morning Herald has only one page of world news. A once great paper continues its slide towards irrelevance.

8 Comments:

Anonymous Guy said...

Fairly disappointing, but unsurprising and also what we have come to expect of mainstream media these days.

Wednesday, April 13, 2005 1:04:00 pm  
Blogger Binnsy said...

George: "Ah, Condoleeza, can you come over here for a sec?"
Condensed Rice: "What is it, Mr President?"
George: "You must understand, this is a matter of extreme international and national security importance. Is that clear?"
Cauliflower Rice: "Yes, Mr President, I understand."
George (handing over small piece of white electronic equipment: "Umm... can you get the new Britney Spears single off Limewire for us? Cheers." [runs off quickly]
Coconut Rice: "Eh...?"

Wednesday, April 13, 2005 2:41:00 pm  
Blogger Comrade JR said...

The Herald's world news coverage seems to be permanently shrinking. I thought it was outrageous that the Herald didn't carry a report on last Saturday's protest in Baghdad (the Sun-Herald did the day before, but that's a Sunday paper). This was according to some accounts the biggest protest in the country since 1958.

Thursday, April 14, 2005 4:53:00 pm  
Blogger Antony Loewenstein said...

I agree. The protests were huge news, and yet the paper buried the story somewhere. Over 300,000 people, Sunnis and Shiites protesting the occupation. Wonder how this fits into the US plans for permanent bases in the country?

Thursday, April 14, 2005 5:21:00 pm  
Blogger Social Democracy Now said...

For me, the SMH became history the day it hired Miranda Devine. I haven't bought a single copy since. I really wonder how any of you can justify reading it at all.

Thursday, April 14, 2005 8:18:00 pm  
Blogger Antony Loewenstein said...

Call it a perverse pleasure. A combination of mainstream and indy media give a moderately full picture of what's going on.

Thursday, April 14, 2005 10:33:00 pm  
Blogger Gregory said...

Does it help that some of the music may be illegally downloaded?

Friday, April 15, 2005 11:34:00 am  
Blogger Antony Loewenstein said...

I'd be amused if one of Bush's minions raided Kazaa and downloaded the best of Billy Ray.

Friday, April 15, 2005 2:23:00 pm  

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