Sub-standard effort from the AFR

The Bug‘s Media Glass House doesn’t have an annual award for Best Disconnect Between Heading and Article Below It but if it did, this example from The Australian Financial Review would be right in the frame for the top award.

As you can see (above) the paper’s politics editor Phillip Coorey is reporting on a new poll taken in the Melbourne federal electorate of Goldstein, currently held by Tim “Sir, Sir! I’m ready to chair another taxpayer-funded road trip to attack an ALP policy!” Wilson.

The heading can’t be clearer: the poll suggests a tight tussle between Wilson and his teal-coloured independent opponent, Zoe Daniel.

But wait! Coorey’s intro says the poll shows us that Daniels is going to cream Wilson on 21 May. That’s right. Even if Morrison somehow scrapes back in with another “miracle” result, on these figures Timmy’s done his last unethical, disgraceful, unprincipled road trip that trashes all traditional standards of parliamentiary practice and decency.

Now, as you can see, we haven’t been able to read all of Coorey’s article. It’s behind a paywall and we have no desire whatsoever to pay for a copy of the AFR. The Bug‘s offices are well stocked with dunny paper, thank you very much!

But we think it’s the same poll we read of somewhere else, and it shows Daniels leading Wilson by 59 per cent to 41 per cent two-party preferred. And that’s just about where things would end up if both candidates have 33 per cent of the primary vote each. Wilson would be lucky to get to 41 2PP from such a low primary base. That’s a shellacking in anyone’s terms if those figures are replicated on polling day.

So our sub-editor at the AFR has got it totally, totally, wrong. He or she has made the paper look stupid.

And have you noticed that we’re not blaming Coorey for the error. He is far, far, too professional, far too balanced a journalist, so highly respected after decades of quality, unblemished reporting, to have even thought of suggesting such a stupid heading to the paper’s sub-editors.


The MGH used to love regularly highlighting examples of dangling participles* in modern-day journalism but gave it away when we noticed it was probably a requirement that the pretty young things in newsrooms around the country seem compelled to dangle at least one participle in every story they cover.

It’s probably part of their training.

Oh, and by the way, please don’t take offence with our “pretty young things” description. It’s gender neutral and encompasses both male, female and non-binary reporters who went through their formal education long after dangling participles were a thing to be named and shamed in English classes.

But we did like this effort from 9 News Brisbane reporter Annie Pullar about a youth worker, 26, who spent two nights in the bush after crashing his car near Brisbane.

Take it away, PYT Annie: “Stumbling along side a really narrow stretch of road here at The Gap, Melissa, I’m told …..”

We’ll leave it to you Buggers out there to decide who was doing the stumbling – Melissa Downes or Annie herself. We just hope that whoever it was, they weren’t badly hurt. After all, there’s nightly news to anchor and report on and that’s a busy, busy commitment!

* For our younger readers, Google it!