A simple error for the ages

Was there anyone in Australia with the slightest interest in current headline news who didn’t know that the youngest of the Biloela Family of four turned four herself last Saturday?

You’d like to think none, given the wide coverage Tharnicaa Murugappan’s birthday in Perth Children’s Hospital received, especially on social media platforms.

But, sadly, The Bug’s Media Glass House knows of two people who apparently were totally unaware of the event and they are Sun-Herald columnist Peter FitzSimons (pictured below) and whoever subbed his column copy for last Sunday’s paper.

“How has it come to this,” FitzSimons raged in his intro (shown at top). “Tharnicaa Murugappan, 3, who has spent most of her life in detention, was airlifted from Christmas Island to Perth, where she remains gravely ill.”

Well, she was three at 11.59pm last Friday. Talk about yesterday’s news tomorrow!

Look, the MGH accepts that since writing that column, FitzSimons’ mind might have been totally distracted in pondering what next month’s historical novel will be and missed all the coverage of the poor girl’s plight, and birthday milestone.

But there is no excuse for the paper’s sub (using the singular here is not a mistake by the way) not to have known about Saturday’s events and corrected the yarn.

The error was in the intro, for fuck’s sake, and it would be nice to think someone’s trying to protect the paper’s image as a professionally run, high-quality, modern print-media outlet.

Or has that ship already sailed?


The Media Glass House regards Amy Remeikis as one of the few true gems in a very high pile of dross that is the right-leaning mainstream media political commentariat.

But we must have a gentle dig at her tweet from yesterday (above).

She wrote that “there are no guarantees of anything” once the youngest of the Biolela four leaves a Perth hospital and the family goes into community detention in the West Australian capital.

We suspect she’s had a momentary mindslip and she meant to write that “there is a rock solid guarantee of something” down the track if the Morrison government stays in power.

That is, unless, she believes Scott Morrison was telling us porkies just the other day when he reiterated that the Murugappan family WILL never be allowed to stay in Australia and they WILL eventually be deported.

Amy’s wibble-wobbly use of words was matched this morning by the ABC’s News Breakfast program, where the reporter made it clear the family’s long-term prospects were very unclear. A strap across the bottom of the screen repeated that reporter’s comment.

The MGH repeats: if Morrison is true to his word, once all the legal argy-bargy is finished with and regardless of the outcome of that and he is still PM, the family WILL be deported.

To be fair to Amy and other scribes, perhaps they don’t want to provide succour to Morrison’s shameful ongoing dog-whistling to his racist and cruel base while some ministers (no, not his deputy PM!) pretend to show the government has grown a heart.

But professional journalists shouldn’t sugarcoat the facts. And that’s a fact.