It’s been sad enough over recent years to see struggling mastheads prostituting themselves and spoiling their look by allowing four-page advertising wraparounds.
Metropolitan daily owners have kept some pride by keeping the top half (okay, sometimes less) of the front-page of the wraparound for a rehashed, shrunken version of what constitutes the real front page inside (images at top).
They even had the courage back then to demand at the very least that the advertiser take up all remaining spaces on the wraparound. Some once may also have been brave enough to make the advertiser pay the entire four pages to compensate them for the loss of the paper’s look – its vibe, the feel of the thing – as well as the cost of producing that fake half-front-page of the real newspaper front-page overleaf.
But not any more. It now seems the likes of Harvey Norman can tell the likes of the Sydney Morning Herald exactly how much of the wraparound it wants. The MGH reckons you can do that when you’ve got a product by the balls and could basically closed it down overnight if you withdrew your advertising support.
And so we come to Friday’s edition of the SMH. Hardly Norman clearly didn’t want to pay for the inside back page of their wraparound so the paper had to fill it with sport.
And that’s where the whole exercise turns to shit. Sports fans in particular were in for disappointment if they discarded the Hardly Normal wraparound and used it to line their cocky cage or put under Fido’s food and water bowls.
For although the back page had a flash (at right) pointing to a sports liftout inside, there was no such thing and the second half of a two-page spread by chief sports reporter Andrew Webster on poofter basher Is-he-real Folau is, you guessed it, now lying on that cocky cage floor.
You couldn’t have lifted out the sports content of this particular SMH to save your life.
The eight pages of sport started on Page 44 and ended splattered by some parrot poo.