The Sunday Shame

Here in Perth, we have a daily paper, The West Australian, with a Saturday weekend edition. On Sunday, we have the News Limited-owned Sunday Times. Now, I’m used to seeing newspapers with troublesome news sections, but today’s ST really takes the cake. Here’s the summary:

  1. Picture cover – “I’m not fat” – Exclusive interview with Ian Thorpe. Ad for free Wiggles DVD.
  2. Inside cover with index and the like.
  3. Inside WA’s most bizarre love shack” – a full page article. It names the kid in full and shows him in a tracksuit which indicates his school (this photo also appears on the Net version). “Talk of the city?” They’re the only ones talking about it
  4. Ian Thorpe.
  5. Ian Thorpe.
  6. Full page ad for liquor store.
  7. Mould scare at RPH (giant headline); Birth beats dad’s cancer; (small article) P-plate girl clocked at 190km/h
  8. Perverse, psychotic ramblings of a child predator (the full page JonBenet story)
  9. Taxi drivers boycott Freo; Granny mugged for handbag
  10. Police rookies rorting system; Telethon home attacked
  11. Full page Toyota ad
  12. Full page Toyota ad (continued on 85)
  13. Free Wiggles DVD; Sell-out derby disgrace, Jetstar ad for Melbourne. Also, “scientists” say eating off smaller plates – gasp – makes you eat less!
  14. Furniture ad
  15. Tiny article “Ex-Lib leaders may judge” (first real news!) about reviewing performance of MPs, but sadly wedged off to the left hand side with a small heading. Even the ads are bigger. Main article in inverse giant heading: A son’s last, loving words
  16. Half-page “Jet into Myspace” (the News Ltd owned site) and “Bandit robbed of his book” about Brenden Abbott. Ads are half the page.
  17. “Houses are out of reach” (on the same page as a half-page ad on retiring comfortably on $400,000 or more), smaller articles “Rugby boys die on way to final”, “Women arrested” (feuding Aboriginal families, of course) and “Mum, daughter hurt in crash” (obviously white)
  18. 3/4 of the page is two Federal Government ads (LPG conversion and Minimum Wage Public Consultation) and “Murder theory: Graylands [mental hospital] death re-examined” (a real story at least)
  19. “Skin brain scan” (for Alzheimers) – should that be “scam”? – and “Fashion festival star sees red” Nearly 3/4 of the page is ads.
  20. “Formula for fat babies” (reporting on a Harvard study) suggesting formula-feeding babies more likely to become obese. Half-page colour ad for Foxtel and one, oddly for this page, 1/4 page one for a funeral company. Obviously for all those obese babies.
  21. Full page carpet ad
  22. “Child brain strain” + 3/4 page ads
  23. “Petrol $2 by Xmas” and “Electric car for Perth” + 2/3 page ads
  24. Woolworths colour ad
  25. Woolworths colour ad

That was where I stopped reading. This is a NEWSpaper? I go to the index:

“News Review 42-55”

I have to go 41 pages before seeing the news? In the meantime being exposed to populist, emotive tripe about stories that just do not matter. This is a world and country where so much news is going on right now.

Oh wait, page 42-44 is “We just clicked: The pros and cons of internet romance” and a big lotto ad (perhaps for saving to meet one’s internet lover?) and “Treasures of the Silk Routes” carpets (I suppose you could grab them on the way…) SGIO sell travel insurance and… helpfully … Qantas on page 44: “USA On Sale: $2009”!

Page 45 is “Harry cops dirty image” which is fit for a gossip rag, Page 46 is “Freedom’s to die for” opinion piece by “Phil from the Burbs”, advocating a speaker’s corner, page 47 is a full page Flight Centre ad, page 48-49 is a massive ad for Nine’s “Prehistoric Park”, … ah page 50-51, just over half a page of small articles on news. The rest is home maintenance and car ads. 52 – well, “The $30 a week fishing invaders – These are the villagers bamboozling Australian authorities”, while page 53 is the Wiggles. 54 is “The week in history” with more car and home maintenance ads (2/3 of the page), while “Housing gap widens” is page 55, helpfully comparing the “haves” and the “have nots”.

Right, after that 14-page news review, I feel really informed. I know all about Israel/Lebanon (there was that part-column somewhere back on 51), the oil price situation, the housing crisis, and the Wiggles, and enough home furniture to fill my house to the doorways and enough cars to seriously impress the neighbours, while flying around the world several times over for unbelievably low prices, as long as I’m not a “have-not”.

Argh! I’m going insane! Surely the sports section will provide me relief.

  • Back page – “Ash To Stay” (complete with half-page mug – and another car ad)
  • Eagle is all Glass
  • Is this bloke crazy? (hint: he looks it)
  • Penalties not fine by AFLPA (about our Chad copping a $20,000)
  • Fev, Richo share top billing
  • Hottest ticket in town (ironic given the “derby disgrace” page 13 article)
  • Surf and Turf (another our Chad article – this one a half page!)

Thank God I support the Eagles, because I certainly wouldn’t find out anything about any other team, or code, and if I did, I’d probably be absolutely appalled at the bias.

Oh hold on – in a forgettable corner of the back page: “Bulldogs beat Crows by seven points, Cats defeat Swans by 27 points, Collingwood beats Power by two points, All Blacks beat Wallabies 34-27”. There, I’m informed. I know my stuff. I’m in the know.

But am I a have or a have-not? That’s what I really want to know when I read a newspaper!

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4 Responses to The Sunday Shame

  1. NewCrowsFan says:

    Interesting and insightful rant there. Very good points raised. Maybe you should start up your own newspaper. 😉 If I ever win the Lotto, I’ll give you some funds to help in the start-up. 😉

  2. dave128 says:

    I can certainly appreciate your frustration. I find it terribly hard to look at Melbourne’s News Limited tabloid, The Herald Sun, without a rising anger, or at the very least a roll of my eyes.

    They literally have a picture of an animal and a child every single issue. I’m sure they feel like they’ve hit the jackpot (to continue the lotto references) when they get a photo of a child WITH an animal, especial if child and animal have a fatal disease.

  3. I sincerely hope that if or when News International takes over our papers, they won’t go down this slippery slope. Oh wait – they already have. Damn.

    At least we’ve got the Globe and Mail and CBC – and you guys have ABC NewsRadio. Are they giving up to the minute reports on the boy’s movements? “Today, James had a shower in the lovenest’s filthy, smoke-filled shower while his lover leered at him. We’re sure she was leering, even though we have NO PROOF.”

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