You have to hand it to the Murdoch media. Someone in a couple of their Australian metropolitan Sunday turdbloids has better contacts in the British royal family than The Bug’s own royal correspondent, the well-connected Tristan Coyte-Rimmer who always manages to file his share of exclusives based on whispers from palace insiders and others in the know behind the throne.
What else could explain some of the front pages dished up to readers yesterday for their editions covering the Duke of Edinburgh’s funeral that started at Windsor Castle in the UK before midnight our time.
Take for example the Sunday Mail in Brisbane that ran with a page-one headline: Your duty is done, my love. (at left in picture)
We don’t think we’re being pedantic. We simply believe that the headline gave the clear impression it was a quote from Her Majesty herself about her just-departed hubbie.
That type of first-person sentiment was also apparent on the front page of the Sunday Telegraph in Sydney that presented readers with a front-page headline: Rest well, my Prince. (at right in picture)
We reckon your average reader might think the Queen herself uttered the words, even though both papers didn’t stick them inside quotation marks.
Those same readers would have noticed that Her Majesty has, since the death of her consort, maintained a dignified silence.
So we can only conclude that both papers based their front-page leads on some pretty good inside info from the most senior royal source one can imagine, or – and we tend to think this is the more likely explanation – both turdbloids just made that shit up.
There was a somewhat mixed approach to coverage of Prince Philip’s final farewell by the Murdoch turdbloids around the nation.
While its Brisbane and Sydney papers ran with the faux quote from her Majesty, the Herald Sun in Melbourne ran with a headline more inclusive of readers. (at left in picture)
The Sunday Mail in Adelaide was more straightforward. (at right in picture)
In Hobart, the Sunday Tasmanian “covered” the funeral with a two-page spread that we suspect was written well in advance of the start of the event.
Given that the full details of the proceedings, including the text of the message read from the pulpit, were available online long before the doors of St George’s Chapel opened, we at the MGH suspect the Tassie turdbloid cheated.
In fact we’d bet cold hard cash on the fact that its story was written and set on the page long before any of the royals set foot out of Windsor Castle.
A photo of Prince Chares and his sister, Anne the Princess Royal, used in the story gives it away. (at left in picture)
Strictly speaking the caption doesn’t claim it as a photo taken at the funeral, but the suggestion is clear.
Trouble is, the clothes Charles and Anne wore at the actual funeral (at right in picture) as seen on the BBC News website differed markedly from the ones shown in the Sunday Tasmania’s snap.
We tend to think that if it was all too much trouble for the Sunday Tasmanian to hold back its print run to enable it to cover the actual funeral, perhaps it should have done what the Sunday Territorian did.
The Darwin paper ran a story well inside the paper on page 11 telling readers that the paper was going to press at the time of the funeral so a story wouldn’t be included in their Sunday edition. (pictured)
Instead they ran a story about how Territorians were sending their thoughts to the royals via a public condolence book. Nothing that can’t wait until Monday.
Of course the time difference between the UK and Oz didn’t matter for TV, radio, or online media outlets.
On that note we must give the ABC a bit of stick for the confusing wording it used in an online story on Saturday many hours before the start of the funeral.
Its story carried the question: How can I watch Prince Philip’s funeral in Australia?
In the following paragraphs it gave the answer. Well, sort of.
Readers were told: “The Duke’s funeral will take place at 3.00 pm on Saturday local time – that’s midnight Sunday AEST.” (pictured)
Now, pardon a short trip down memory lane, but when members of the MGH team worked in various newsroom we were warned against using the word “local” in such a context because readers or listeners or viewers presumed “local” meant their own local area regardless of where they were.
In the case of the ABC story “local” actually mean UK time, and even the attempt to clarify timing for Australian readers may have created more confusion.
To say 3.00 pm UK time is “midnight Sunday AEST” is just not correct.
Well, it is correct that for most of the year 3.00 pm UK time is midnight Australian eastern standard time.
But for a funeral in the UK starting on a Saturday at 3.00 pm we reckon the equivalent time Down Under would be midnight Saturday. Midnight Sunday is a whole 24 hours later.
Just who was writing and checking that ABC story?
Not only did they bugger up the time difference, but further down the story they also misled readers and any ABC viewers keen to watch the live TV coverage of the funeral about the source of the broadcast.
“The ABC will have coverage of proceedings….” the story said. Well that’s somewhat true, because it was the BBC coverage not any original coverage by the ABC that viewers would have seen if they tuned in at 11.00 pm “tonight” – Saturday – as suggested (they finally got that bit right).
We’re not sure why, but the ABC story ended by letting readers know that Australia’s Seven Network and the Nine Network were also showing the funeral on Saturday night.
We’re not sure why that line was thrown in. We certainly can’t imagine Seven or Nine alerting their potential audience to the existence of other coverage, especially the ABC’s. Or BBC’s that is.