Ah, what memories did southern scribe Ashlynne McGhee evoked in this old washed-up ex-hack journo this morning!
She took me back to The Courier-Mail in the 1970s where I’d have to steel myself as a general reporter before reluctantly and nervously phoned Bethany in the South Burnett and talk to Johannas Bjelke-Petersen about the yarn du jour.
After the call, it was my terrible but expected duty to translate his cowcocky codswallop, his gibberish meanderings of “that’s for sures”, “my goodness gracious mes” the “like a flock of, like a flock of flocking pigeons” and “good strong government and the like” into sentences that, as we were taught to do, a seven year old could understand.
Any reporter of a reasonable skillset could then come up with “Premier Johannas Bjelke-Petersen last night issued a strong warning to the state’s recalcitrant trade unions….” even if the original reason for the call was the current drought affecting the state.
I could never understand why there wasn’t a special Walkley for doing that well.
McGhee on ABC News Breakfast’s What the Papers Say segment this morning alluded to that time-honoured practice of, ah, tidying up what someone said for the sake of allowing people to get their basic message across without letting on some of them were borderline morons.
McGhee’s comments had been inspired by today’s Courier and an obvious decision by a reporter to quote Queensland Premier Anna Palaszczuk’s words exactly as she had spoken them at a “combative” media call.
Which means the paper’s remaining reader – if the dreadful old LNP supporter hadn’t died of old age earlier while tackling their morning prunes and cold toast – got this paragraph to mull over.
“Well, where you gonna go,” Mrs Palaszczuk asked. “You gonna go to India?”
This might surprise youse Buggers out there but I sincerely believe what’s left of the craft of journalism is a moving and evolving one, so I have no real objections to The Courier-Mail’s decision to write up the Polish Princess’s comments truthfully and openly, especially in quotes, right? Any journo tyro worth their salt has gotta nail quotes perfectly.
So all I’m asking is this: if the Courier wants to maintain its reputation for balanced, fair and professional journalism (insert prolonged canned laughter here) it should apply the same principle to other politicians. And may I humbly suggest they begin with the Father of Our Nation.
To this end, I give the paper for practice a recent statement from Smoko… his night-time comments from Washington over the Melbourne earthquake. Take it away, Smoko!
“Well good evenening (sic) from Washington…”
Wow, an extra syllable just three words in! The man’s on fire. Or he’s got some fine Tennessee bourbon hooch firing up his belly.
“Geosciences (sic) have provided…” Geoscientists geosmyentists! Close enough is gooden enough.
Get ready now, Buggers, for an absolute doozey …. or as Smoko would probably say ..doozeney that I’m confident The Courier-Mail will want to record absolutely perfectly from now on….
“We have had no reports of any injusties (sic)…”
Can we be frank at The Bug? “Injusties” is the closest we can get from repeated replays of his attempt to say injuries. Think of an industry being injured. Besides, injuries is a terribly hard word to say, as we all know.
Now, how long did it take our fearless Father of the Nation, arguably the greatest marketer/communicator this nation if not the world has ever seen, to come up with “Good evenening”, “geosiences” and “injusties”?
Not too further on, Smoko also called on Phizer to “pro-gross” some vaccines. How gress of him.
So there we have it.
In the interests of The Courier- Mail’s well-earned reputation as mentioned above for balanced, fair and professional journalism (insert prolonged canned laughter once more here!) I call on the Brisbane monopoly daily to start printing Smoko’s statements exactly as misspoken.
But a word of warning: the paper will have more sics in it than a schoolies’ beach party at midnight.