Darwin daily shows how it’s done
In the current federal election campaign Rupert Murdoch’s major metro morning tabloids in Brisbane, Sydney, and Melbourne have been regularly running pro-Liberal Party stories on their front pages.
Dressed up as editorial content, or perhaps closer to advertorial if not outright advertising, their front page stories have cast PM Scott Morrison and the Libs in a halo of not just light but also sweetness, strength, and stability.
On the other hand, would-be PM Bill Shorten and Labor are presented as Satan’s spawn come to destroy Australia and all who live in it. Perhaps that’s a simplification, but not by much.
For that reason we at The Bug salute Darwin’s NT News for its unique attitude to election coverage since the poll was announced.
A scan of the dozen or so NT News editions since the PM called the election shows almost no federal campaign stories on page one.
Of course the NT News has been covering the election each day on its inside pages, but its splashes have remained firmly local.
Only a few federal election stories have even made it to the front page. One appeared on the day after the PM visited the G-G to put the election wheels in motion. Yet that was a pretty straight up and down story about federal Labor’s promise to “bail out” a supposedly financially stricken NT Government.
Then on Wednesday the NT News displayed remarkable balance, literally, by running on its front page two small pointer items on election stories appearing inside – one on the left for Labor and one on the right for the Coalition with both bookending a big local story (pictured).
Once inside readers found the equivalent of a page of coverage for Labor spread over two pages and the same for the Coalition. Even the pictures used for each side were roughly the exact same size.
Election politicking has made an appearance on the front page in the form of occasional paid quarter-page strip ads on the front page inserted by the NT’s Country-Liberal Party attacking Labor and Bill Shorten. They must be envious of their big city colleagues who receive what are in effect free full-page ads from their local News Corp papers.
Because of its failure to join in the front-page Labor-bashing tactics of its sister papers, the NT News has been free to run a couple of its seemingly mandatory crocodile-related yarns on its front page, including one about the “Russell Crowe of crocodiles” — a beast called Smaug (pictured) who apparently is regularly shot (on film) by movie or documentary makers at a local wildlife park.
But it is the front page yarn on 16 April that we at The Bug found especially refreshing.
There for all the world to see was a half-page photo supplied by a loyal reader of a lonesome dildo abandoned on a Darwin street (main picture). It was repeated almost just as big inside (pictured).
Not only that, but the “rogue dildo” was – as the NT News informed us – spotted on “Dick Ward Drive en route to Fanny Bay”.
The helpful reader who saw, photographed, and reported it to the paper was quoted as saying “the schlong was about 8 inches and dark brown in colour”.
He added: “Someone may have dropped it crossing the road. I wasn’t going to touch it, I don’t think that anyone would be brave enough to.”
Some may say the same about the story itself.
Dildo versus tax and attacks
Just out of interest and by contrast, on the same day the abandoned dildo appeared in the NT News, Brisbane’s Courier-Mail and the Herald-Sun in Melbourne ran “exclusive” front-page stories attacking Labor’s tax plans as screwing average workers.
As The Bug has noted previously, each of the “exclusive” stories was essentially the same and was based on figures “compiled by the Coalition”. Goodness, the Liberal-National Coalition does a study that finds something amiss with a policy of its political opponents! It would be front-page news if they didn’t.
The Daily Telegraph went one better. It ran on its inside pages the same “exclusive” story about Labor’s tax plans set to make life a misery for its own voters.
But it reserved in front page for a grubby item quoting the ex-hubby of Zali Steggall bagging her character mercilessly. His vicious verbal attack on his ex was joined by his current missus.
Like one party criticising another’s tax plan, you might think an ex-spouse not liking their former spouse is hardly news. But it is in Daily Tele land when Steggall is the Independent candidate running against former PM Tony Abbott in his seat of Warringah.
Give us lost dildos loose on our streets any day over that shit.
It’s not black and white
The regular reader of this website would by now have concluded that we here at The Bug are hardly what you might describe as “politically correct”.
To reference the currently fashionable descriptor, we are not exactly “woke”.
In fact, given the age of Bug staff it is an achievement when others in the office acknowledge that you woke that morning and didn’t die in your sleep.
But even we paused for thought after spying the headline on a Daily Telegraph story on Tuesday (pictured) suggesting the Duke and Duchess of Sussex may spend a few months based in Africa pursuing and promoting some conservation and education projects.
Does it reflect outright and outdated racist stereotypes or does it fall into a grey area?