In wake of the recent events in Sydney I found myself feeling that the media was actually doing a half-okay job of reporting the facts and trying to keep a lid on the hysteria that could essentially seen as being almost inevitable in circumstances as tense and terrifying as this.
And then, as they so often do, the infinitely ridiculous and sublimely awful Daily Telegraph, surprised no-one by being a bunch of colossal idiots and published what can only be described as quite possibly the absolute worst response to the situation.
Here is a screenshot from Twitter of the offending ‘Special Rushed Edition” of the Telegraph from today:
And here is the letter which I just sent to them:
To Whom It May Concern,
As a news source, The Daily Telegraph, cops fair a bit of derision and hatred. You’re often the subject of scorn, outrage and the butt of a few jokes. However I’ve never really had a reason to truly question neither your actions as a newspaper nor the journalistic integrities of your staff of writers and editors.
Things have changed.
In fact as the back page of your 2pm Special Rush Edition for 15/12/2014 states: The instant we changed forever. I can only assume the ‘we’ you are referring to is yourselves.
Today has been a tumultuous and terrifying day. A day of unease and of worst nightmare scenarios and, despite the knifepoint situation we find ourselves balancing on, I have been rather impressed with the country and the media’s ability to remain relatively calm in the face of something that could have easily become mass hysteria.
And then for reasons that I cannot possibly comprehend, you – my faithful friends at the Telegraph – decided to forego your ability to use rational thought and instead descended to what might be the lowest form of journalism I have seen in this country.
A front page screaming a message that was literally the opposite of what was required from you as a newspaper and a conduit of information to the masses. A special edition newspaper that barked a headline so vitriolic and idiotic one could be forgiven for thinking that it had been planned, published and printed by anyone with half a brain.
You’ve come under fire for your evocative and outlandish front pages before. There was the time you literally told the voting population of Australian to vote someone out of Government. Or the time you photo-shopped the Russian President onto the front of a Tom Clancy novel, but this is something else entirely because not only is it stupid but it’s also incredibly dangerous.
Here we have a very real, very dangerous situation involving actual human lives unfolding in real-time as I type this, a situation in which every single person in any form of authority was begging for calm. For cool heads.
The Prime Minister. The Opposition Leader. The Treasurer. The NSW Police Commissioner. The Grand Mufti of Australia. I could name literally anyone holding a title in this country and I am 100% certain that they would have said the exact same thing: Please remain calm.
Everyone except the esteemed journalists and editors at The Daily Telegraph of course.
Not only was your ridiculous journalistic effort (although using that word “journalistic” is probably too much of a stretch) sending exactly the wrong kind of message, but it was adding fuel to very large and very precarious fire that has the potential to explode at any moment.
People’s lives are at stake and you decided, for whatever reason, to put sensationalism and sales (as this the only thing I can imagine you would be getting from such idiocy) ahead of them. You willingly made a decision to ignore the warnings and pleas and to actually jeopardize people’s lives.
Second to that, as if you needed another reason to see why this was such a terrible idea (although based on current evidence it’s difficult to gauge whether any of you possess the ability to use something like “reason”), not one single thing you wrote on the front page of that headline was true (except maybe the setting of the CBD, so well done there).
The identity of the man in question remains a mystery, however several credible sources have been reporting all day that he is not a member of the Islamic State. The flag in question has also been confirmed as not being the flag used by members of the Islamic State. Therefore to infer that this was the work of the IS on THE FRONT PAGE OF THE NEWSPAPER is perhaps some of the worst reporting I have ever had the unfortunate privilege of reading.
It’s irresponsible and it’s just flat-out wrong.
To put it simply you have failed in you duty to inform people, you have failed in your duty to report the facts and you have failed to behave in a manner that is in any way, shape or form ethical.
Have a wonderful Christmas.
P.S I feel I should also share with you that as a result of this stupidity I have also written to The Australian Press Council to lodge a formal complaint about your dismal efforts today so that you may finally understand that your actions and have serious consequences.
So. I’ll continue to pester them until something happens. Maybe I’ll just get taken away in a news van and never seen again. But there’s a line, and while the Telegraph repeatedly and wilful piss all over this line on a regular basis, this time they’ve crossed it in a way that is so staggeringly gobsmacking I can only hope it will make you want to do something like this.
Write your own and send to them at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Or you can just forward mine over and over and over.
Stay informed. Stay safe. Stay tolerant.