Saturday, April 20, 2013

It’s been the Week of the Female Politician, be they dead, injured or just dopey. Snatcher Thatcher’s despatchers gave us some great moments of light entertainment, while on the local front, a Labor wannabee has us scratching our heads.


Irony is the theme running through all doin's of the week.

Also, here’s a show stopper for you: believe it or not, the Magpie gives a big heart-felt thank you to the Townsville Bulletin this week – because for so long now, The ‘Pie has longed to find a use for that grand old phrase ‘morally bankrupt’. With it’s Tuesday front page and just plain juvenile editorial, The Magpie can now say that the paper has hit rock bottom and is …. yep, morally bankrupt. The old bird will get ‘reprehensible’ in there somewhere too, but that’s later.

Resident Rembrandt Bentley wonders where the NZ gay reform laws will lead, The 'Pie throws in the odd bit of trivia, all here in the usual trivial nest at www.townsvillemagpie.com.au

First, a few small matters, starting with a postscript on Rolf Harris.


It was no great journalistic feat on the Pie’s behalf to name him some weeks ago as the ’82 year old Australian entertainer who lives in Worcestshire’. It was hardly a ‘Where’s Waldo’ guessing game, more an elephant in the room. And The 'Pie does not make any comment about guilt or otherwise, how would he know? The issue was and always will be why the mainstream media were so universally coy about doing so. There are various theories about that, but The ‘Pie is of the old-fashioned opinion that when journalists censor themselves in this manner, that is the start of the slippery slope and any claim to transparency and fairness is lost. Yes, there are some times when discretion is required and desired like digitally covering the lower area of a Boston bomb victim who had his legs blown off. The Rolf Harris issue is not one of those matters.

There was a moment of unintended gallows humour from a Boston walloper, briefing the media about the lockdown of the city as the hunt for the bombers went on. He said that people should lock themselves inside their houses, and quote ‘if they see anything suspicious other than a police officer coming to their door, they should call 911 immediately’. '... other than'? Damn suspicious at any time, those door-knocking police officers.

But there is precious little to laugh about in the specific and the overall situation in the United States. However, one commentator, the respected New York Times’ Thomas Friedman, has made a memorable clarion call for commonsense and courage in these terrorist times. If you want your spirit uplifted a bit, read his wise and inspiringly defiant words here.

Across the Atlantic in London, the mood was far more lighthearted.

The Iron Lady became the Ironic Lady as Maggie Thatcher was trundled up to St Paul's amid much pomp and ceremony. The 'Pie, watching the whole thing on Sky in case there were some fireworks, was genuinely mystified by the almost universal crowd reaction. To a person, they clapped and many gave a little cheer.

Was this irony or what?

The question for the old bird was: was the reaction applause for a life well lived, good on yer, Maggie - or was it approval that Baroness Thatcher was at last no longer walking amongst us, and good riddance? One could safely assume that as she started the long haul up Ludgate Hill, where she was in the heart of or very close to London's financial district, the applause was more of a 'thank you dear lady' from many an Eton spiv and Essex wide boy - it was her monetary policies that freed up the market enough to allow spectacular profit taking and profit making. (It also those same policies that lay the groundwork for some of the most damaging financial collapses of the past 20 years.)

Didn't notice a single turned back along the route, either, but then decidedly pro-Thatcher coverage was probably at pains not to allow the odd protester their moment of comment..

There were a couple of unscripted moments of whoopsey. 


Queen Liz was greeted at the steps of St Paul's by -was it the Mayor of London? - who was decked out in a long flowing robe that would make Jenny Hill go green with envy. His job was to say ‘g’day Betty’ to the Queen, and then lead her into the cathedral, carrying the ceremonial black-sheathed Sword of Mourning.

However, after greeting the Queen, our man, as required by the script, turned to lead the royals into the cathedral, but, probably playing to the crowd, twirled away from Liz much too enthusiastically, and the lower part of his robe smote queenie hip and thigh. For a moment, Her Maj seemed surprised and not sure what had happened,  and then looked as though she was about to give someone a bunch of fives to whomsoever had the temerity to touch up the royal presence. But when she realised what had happened, she favoured the back of the retreating mayor with a look that would do Julie Bishop proud, and then said something no doubt cutting to the adjacent Berk of Edinburgh. He chortled away merrily with a no doubt cutting quip of his own along the lines of  'what a f..kwitted prole' -chortle wheeze. Indeed, Prince Pip kept up a megawatt smile and cheerful banter all the way up to their dress circle seats.

The main fun then ... since nobody dropped what appeared to be an eminently droppable coffin ... was to watch members of the congregation trying to check if they were on telly with furtive glances up, down and around. For The 'Pie, there was a guessing game of 'now who IS that?, familiar from his time in Blighty in the 70s,  and then a jolt of recognition through the wrinkles (theirs, not The Magpie's).

The murmured commentary, with all its inane detail, did tell us one thing hitherto missed by The 'Pie. We were informed that once the service was over, the family and close friends and dignitaries would head into the town for a private knees-up before moving on to the crematorium.

Ah, so the Lady who was not for turning was now for burning. Life and death can be so poetic sometimes, one wonders what Christopher Fry made of it all. Fry was the English playwright who shot to prominence in 1948 with his verse play The Lady’s Not For Burning, from which is Maggie drew  her witty play on words. But of course, you both knew that, forgive the pedantic ‘Pie.

But  most startlingly comic moments came when the old girl had been suitably smarmed over by the Bishop of London - who chose his words veerrry carefully - and she was carted out to the waiting hearse.

Once aboard, the hearse not so much left as took off!

Fair dinkum, after all the slow drumbeat marching and solemn and measured pace of the service, you'd be excused for thinking that Mark Webber had been brought in as the hearse driver. The small cavalcade of three or four vehicles accompanying the hearse was tracked through the streets by a camera helicopter which seemed to have trouble keeping up.

And if it was Webber behind the wheel, it was a couple of Casey Stoners who were the motorcycle outriders. In their yellow fluro safety jackets, they stole the show. These two had been designated to keep leap-frogging the cortege to ensure intersections ahead were clear. The effect was that once the hearse was through a crossroads, travelling at speed but in a dignified way, these jokers took off at a rate of knots, whizzing past an oblivious Mrs Thatcher in an unseemly drag-racing style and at speeds that would, under other circumstances, attract the unwelcome and expensive attention of Mr Plod.

All that was missing was some Keystone Kops frenzied tinkly music.

All in all, a good night's entertainment was had by all - swapping the Tv over after the hearse had got the chequered flag, Stephen Fry's (no relation) QI seemed plodding by comparison, but the night's irony wasn't over. The QI episode had obviously been recorded quite sometime previously, and suddenly, someone made a jolly and decidedly uncomplimentary quip which referred to a scary 'Margaret Thatcher mask'. One does wonder how many of the behind-the-scenes BBC beavers will be burning the midnight oil expunging such references.

.....

Local matters.

The big ‘will she or won’t she?’ question took an interesting … nay, baffling … turn this week.local Labor insiders are asking if Mike Capt Snooze Reynold’s sister-in-law Cathy O’Toole will keep her candidacy for the federal seat of Herbert.

Toyt Abbott fan Cathy O'Toole.

The ‘Pie constantly hears that although Ms O’Toole has stood in the Labor Party Employment queue the requisite time to get her shot at a taxpayer-funded retirement plan, she isn’t cutting the mustard keenly enough for some of Labor’s backroom bears.

But at the moment, endorsed she is, but the events of this week go to prove that her apparent strategy is, as the kamikaze pilot said at the flight briefing, a bloody funny way to fly an aeroplane.

There must be something in the water up this way that has a strange effect on the DNA of female wannabee politicians.

First we had wannabee state member and current Townsville Mayor Mullet making racially-tinged statements about the Port of Townsville ‘falling into Chinese hands’.

Then we had the Greens Gail Hamilton, having a gallop for Herbert, choosing to make her maiden public policy comment on the evils of chocolate Easter eggs made from the cocoa beans picked by child slave labor (actually, a timely comment on the relevancy of the Greens).

And now, we have Ms O’Toole embarking on the cunning strategy of seeking to boost her electoral chances by praising - wait for it - Tony Abbott!

Although not wishing to fall into the Astonisher’s permanent state of adjectival frenzy, The ‘Pie was astounded to read Ms O’Toole’s pious Letter to the Ed in Tuesday paper. Well, the opening line was a bit of a jaw dropper, which read: ‘Tony Abbott is to be congratulated on his brave and committed vow to place the Department of Indigenous affairs into the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet – in effect creating a Prime Minister for Aboriginal Affairs.’

Kerrr-ikkey!! Whose writing this stuff for her – Peter Lindsay? Ewen Jones? Mary Vernon?

The rest of the letter was a load of the usual empty guff about ‘real transitional change’ , ‘genuine respect’ and ‘cultural competence’ – whatever the hell that is.

This letter prompted The ‘Pie to peek behind the political curtain for some enlightenment. This is what the old bird has learned.

Labor knows winning Herbert is a lost cause, but will throw some money at it in an effort to lift Ms O’Toole’s somewhat bland, foot-soldier profile. They’ll do this with a view to putting her name out there, and after being duly walloped in September, she will then be pre-selected for the state seat of Townsville, where Labor believes – through the Campbell Newman job cuts and the relative invisibility of LNP member John Hathaway – they have a real chance. And good luck with that.

Given the Tuesday letter, a cynic might believe she is getting sage advice from her brother-in-law, Capt Snooze, along the lines, ‘Look, Cathy, start banging the indigenous drum straight away, doesn’t matter what most think, they’ll forget - but Palm Island is crucial for the state election. Let’s face it, all I had to do every campaign was turn up a couple of times on the island before an election, tell ‘em anything, and they’d get me home. That way, you don’t have to actually do anything you said, and you don’t have to worry about for another three years. Worked for me’.

But then, only a cynic would believe that, wouldn’t they?

Staying in cynic’s corner this week, here's a similar question: was she or wasn’t she? Was our Mayor Mullet a somewhat stunned mullet when she took a tumble and injured both her ankles recently in BrisVegas? The story is that our svelte and buff mayor was in Brisbane on business when she managed to go A over T while walking down a ramp at the Sheraton Hotel, consequently breaking or at least badly damaging both her ankles. Somehow. At one stage after her return home, she was doing her Neil Armstrong imitation in a couple of ‘moon boots’.

Some see it was a Emily’s List Labor solidarity thing, and Mayor Mullet was channeling Julia Gillard’s spectacular acrobatic nose dive during the PM’s Indian trip.

Others have a different slant, like Mongrel the Barrister. In his usual boofheaded fashion, Mongrel reckons, ‘Mayor Mullet was in Brisbane seeking some southern comfort when she was accidentally pushed over by a couple of other delegates at the occasion, a Mr Jack Daniels and a Mr Johnny Walker. Perhaps getting in shape for another preshentshun at the VEighths, eh, Jenny? hur hur hur.’ Mongrel remains a worry.

These are of course totally scurrilous rumors which would only appear in a gutter blog like this one, and certainly not in her favorite organ she grasps so eagerly every morning, that of course  being the Daily Astonisher. The Mullet insists to talkative colleagues that she has been ’on the wagon at least for six weeks now’. The ‘Pie has no reason to disbelieve you, m’dear.

And while we’re around council matters, it will be interesting to see if Local Government David The Kid Crisafulli will look south to NSW for inspiration. The ‘Pie wonders if this new planning approval law might be imported north. That’ll give a few fat arses a bit of a much-needed hurry-up.

Bentley this week has been much exercised about those progressive New Zealanders and their same sex marriage laws. He believes their so progressive that many a rural Fred Dagg now lives in hope of a long overdue reform.


Now, before anybody starts getting in a lather of indignation and politically correct apoplexy, Bentley tells The 'Pie he is just reprising a time honoured shot at the Kiwis, and this is not some sort of running commentary a la Corey Bernardi on any issue. As he says 'For Christ sake, it's just another kiwi sheep-shagger JOKE. That's kinda traditional around Anzac Day'. The 'Pie is of the opinion that if you're the political correct and easily offended type, what the hell are you doing reading this load of codswallop, anyway. Go away, the old bird thinks it's funny. Nice lookin' sheep, thet one.

And a must see is this hilarious, witty and right-on-the-money speech in the NZ parliament by Maurice Williamson on the effects of gay marriage on the Shaky Isles, so good it made one wish for the good old days of wit in the Australian Parliament.

Now to a matter which is decidedly NOT funny.

The Townsville Bulletin has given up all pretence of being a serious community citizen, or for that matter, a newspaper of objective reporting and responsibility.

Some background: In January, Karen Marrs was driving near Collinsville with her daughter 18-year-old daughter Kimberley when she momentarily took her attention off the road.  The car crashed and Kimberley was killed. This week, a still grieving Ms Marrs appeared in court, and pleaded guilty to a charge of driving without due care and attention. A thoughtful Magistrate Howard Osborne recognized the sad reality of the situation, fined Ms. Marrs $400, but while recording a conviction because of the gravity of the event, did not disqualify the grieving mother from driving.

Now that is a solid and sad enough story in itself, which allows the reader to take whatever lessons they choose from it. That is if you treat your readers as being of enough intelligence to be allowed to make up their own minds.

That is obviously not the  the Bulletin’s view or policy.

So reporter Samantha 'The Milkmaid' Healey got out the stool and started milking this one for all it was worth, even arranging a weepy posed photograph with the grieving mum and sister holding a pic of the deceased.



And the story, the likes of which The Magpie has not before encountered in the news column of any paper with which he has been associated, featured the loaded and subjective  terms ‘hauled before court’ and ‘dragged through court’, along with the headline ‘ Petty and cruel’.  Insulting stuff for the authorities involved. You couldn’t get further from proper reporting and closer to a outright Alan Jones-type commentary rant if you tried.

Bulletin editor Lachlan Heywood -
yet another patronising editorial.
This continues this week’s thread of irony, in that ‘petty and cruel’ is exactly how the Bulletin’s morally hunchbacked and intellectually shallow treatment of this story can be described.

The paper is now so inexcusably arrogant that it doesn’t even try to hide the spin, and now deigns to hector us about how the paper thinks justice should be administered in this state, which is in some sort of laissez-faire style which has obviously not been thought through.  This front page and the supporting muddled-headed editorial is nothing but emotive commentary fawning to their perceived readership and nothing to do with balanced reporting of facts. And it certainly was cruel and petty all right … particularly to the hapless Ms Marrs.

The Magpie has reason to know of the depths of anguish of a grieving mother – a close friend lost her 33-year-old son in a motorcycle accident recently – and The Pie now well knows the vulnerability and anguish of a person in that situation. But he would never attempt to claim that he understands fully the gut wrenching days and phantom-filled, sleepless nights of despair all that entails.

For Ms Marrs, that is all the more keenly cutting, given that it was she who was responsible for what happened to her daughter. Like the rest of the people who hear of her story, The Magpie is deeply sympathetic and wishes her strength - but because this is about the paper that so cynically used her, sadly the facts had to be repeated.

But her daughter did die, Ms Marrs did admitt culpability, she she did go to court and she accepted what society would see as a just penalty. The authorities, those heartless bastards as painted by the Townsville Bulletin, had already shown what compassion was within their scope. They particularly did not bring a charge of dangerous operation of a motor vehicle causing death, a far more serious matter and well within range. The magistrate worked hard to strike a balance between compassion and civic duty. And even allowed himself the compassion to allow the defendant to keep her licence.

When someone dies in circumstances such as these, someone must face court to get society’s verdict. It is totally irrelevant if the victim is the perpetrator’s daughter, and to suggest that a mother’s grieving is penalty enough is so intellectually and morally wrong in a democratic society, it is astounding that those with pretensions to support police, law and order and the rule of justice can come up with this cruel, self-interested hoax.

And they’ve made this poor woman a victim in a different way which they didn’t have the wit to forsee – or they just didn’t care. While forever grieving and handling her guilt for the rest of her life, Ms Marrs will now have the added burden having been of being manipulated into being convinced that she has been hard done by. So she can add indignation and resentment to all the other emotions she will have to handle. And all just because the Bulletin said so.

Given the issue at hand, the court outcome was about the lightest and fairest that could be considered. The authorities can’t pick and choose and neither should they be able to – a man called Fitzgerald made sure of that. And that is as it should be.

The whole tenor of the Bulletin piece displays all the depths of a drunken discussion late in the afternoon at a BBQ attended by a group of lurching Text The Editor types. And this story shows that it becoming increasingly difficult to distinguish between the minimal values and intellect of texters and the values and intellect of the people supposedly trained and paid to do fair and balanced reporting.

Disgusting.

And reprehensible.

But The ‘Pie believes he should end on a lighter note after all that harrumphing. So he will tell you about a name he came across in a court transcript recently (totally unrelated to the above). Let’s call the surname Smith, and the given names were John Thomas; the court transcript also informed us that he was known as ‘Dick’. Probably since his schooldays, poor mutt.


30 comments:

  1. It,s the week of the female Politicians ? I nominate the 3 Jenny's (Hill, Stirling, & Lane ) as Hooters girls. What a bounce Patrons would come from miles to see..

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  2. The 'Irish milkmaid' (acka handmade) and she has an 'IRA' relative, is fitting in well with the Astonisher's toxic mumbo jumbo culture. It's interesting that 2gb's Ray Hadley finds one Townsville court story each week and reports it nationally. Gosh, if only he knew.

    I'm still gob smacked with Rolf Harris. I'm sure he did it. I can't believe it or get my head around this one. I think Townsville's PR company, Crystal Clear could clean the Rolf mess up and release a few pr faxes for The Astonisher to use.


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  3. New Zealand renames the islands.

    Y M (North) island and C A (south) island.

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    1. It took me about 5 mins with a slight hangover to actually get this joke; but when the penny dropped, I laughed... Hope our Kiwi friends do as well...

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  4. Well written and well said Pie.

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    1. RIP Chrissy Amphlett. You rock!

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  5. I think what's important is to inform the readers that behind the scenes with The Astonisher interesting. There's a lot of collusion with the young ones. There's bullying in the ranks. If you've been there for over 20 years, you have a lot of explaining to do. That means youre protected in there. Apart from the Asbestos. The lies, thick similar to the PR firms that come to greet the journalists for happy positive coverage. I'm sure the Milkmaid and Soldiers wife can't live without the PR faxes that come in.

    We only need to say that News ltd has a branch in England. It's the same.

    News ltd wouldn't create breaking news with Rolf?

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  6. Just a quick note, the current crop of journalists and photographers do not appear to have the same volume of work as compared to a few years ago. eg. no videos etc.

    I miss seeing Darren Hilder's work, Troy Rodgers, Megan B?, Suzanne Lowe and Ando's photographs. The current crop are drab and grey and lack creativity and are not really news worthy. Sport is easy.

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  7. Which Walkley NQ award journalist displays a topless child image as a cover image on their FaceBook? This image would not necessarily be allowed in a newspaper. Tsk.

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  8. Thatcher's funeral: 1. The gun carriage and riders was the King's Troop, Royal Horse Artillery. 2. The troops lining the route and escorting the coffin were the Welsh Guards. 3. The Church of St Clement Danes is the Home Chapel of the Royal Air Force. 4. Pallbearers, on left side, were RN, Royal Artillery, Scots Guards, 2x RAF;right side, Royal Marines, 2x Para Regiment, Royal Ghurkas, Welsh Guards Coffin Escort: Commander of King's Troop, RAF officer, and two Welsh Guards. 5. Procession band was the Royal Marines; at St Paul's, an Honour Guard and Band of the Welsh Guards. For readers if they're interested.

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    1. Field Marshal PieApril 21, 2013 at 9:27 AM

      Names, man, names, gad, sir, their mothers all gave them names! Watch the grammar, too, boyo, or you'll be square bashing in full kit.

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    2. You forgot the names of the people in the crowd.

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  9. I can't believe Rolf would be implicated with Jimmy Savil. Really?

    Sagely Yours,
    Miss Lou

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    1. Dear miss Lou; the reports I have read in The Australian are saying there is NO connection with Rolf Harris and Jimmy Savile, and that only one accusation by a female from an "incident" in the 1980s has been made against 'Our Rolf'. Of course making accusations of this sort, without a shred of proof, are everywhere in the UK at the moment. As JS is deceased, and no hard evidence has been found i.e a love child, I wonder when his estate will be released by the courts to his grieving family? L.B.

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  10. Maybe you can enlighten me on an issue that I have with a recent competition published in the Bulletin?

    All last week they had a variety of loaded Visa cards to give away ranging from 5 - 10 X $500.00 - $1000.00. All you had to do was go online and enter the "magic word" to enter.

    However in the Terms and Conditions they stated that the competition was also in the Cairns Post and the Mackay Mercury. The wording seemed to imply that the total number of cards covered all three regions, changing the odds of winning dramatically from the first impression that the cards were just for the Townsville area.

    Further more the T & C stated that results would be published and winners notified by email and by post. I contacted the Bulletin to enquire where the list of winners was and was curtly advised that the winners had been notified.

    So what about the notice of intent to publish? Either its now policy to not publish (I'm unsure if there is a legal requirement to do so) OR the prizes were all won outside of the Bulletin's circulation.!

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    1. Interesting.

      The Pie has spoken to someone who knows about these things. If any media outlet runs a raffle, you have to get a permit from some shiny bum in Brisbane under the Gaming Act or somesuch.

      However, this probably doesn't come under that stricture BUT if the Astonisher said it was going to publish the winners names, then they should have done so, if for no other reason than to keep their promise in their own T & Cs, and also for other very obvious reasons, not the least of which is that the basic honesty of this paper is under increasing question.

      Otherwise, how would anyone know if there ever even was any prize up for grabs - or whether that the manager wife or the editor's brother weren't slipped the cards, and the whole exercise was simply a rort to boost a mailing list?

      Being told that the winners had been notified is meaningless and fatuous. If they were published and you missed them, TinTin, what's wrong with the hair twirler on the end of the phone at least giving you the publication date? How do all the other contestants know that, something they are entitled to know?

      The 'Pie's expert says it is all about transparency and trust, and if the winners haven't been published, the paper has another black mark against it's growing name for arrogant tomfoolery.

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    2. Even if there were names published it does not mean that the person actually exist. John Smith of Mackay could win but the card could still end up in someone else's wallet.

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  11. Pie, The best post ever (well, of all the ones I've read anyway!). From "so the Lady who was not for turning was now for burning" to your justified criticism of the Townsville Bulletin for its over the top (and all the other adjectives you used) coverage of Ms Marrs, the Magpie was shining. How they talked that poor woman into that front page pix is beyond me, but obviously not beyond them. I also loved the cartoon. Well done, Pie. Cheers, Gonzo

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  12. Pie, Hathaway's not invisible - check out his diary .... My advice to the Colonel would be to change his name to Roy Gatrell then the Bully might publish his activities and letters. Please dont publish.

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    1. Now this is a hoot on all levels. But The 'Pie will allow that John is doing whatever he can, and if the Bulletin chooses to ignore him, it makes the going hard. Cathy O'Toole is getting a good run, though, where she seems to have been granted permanent spot on the letters page (more about that on Saturday).

      Sorry about ignoring the 'Please don't publish' - The Pie must apologise for exposing you to the world ... Anonymous.

      Now he'll just have to cope with all those other Anonymous-s denying any knowledge of this anonymous missive.

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  13. Was The Townsville First Team trying to get rid of Quasi Inderpendant Ernst prior to April 28th.. If they had been successful under the Local Government Act Cr N Marr would have replaced him (Ie 1 year after election and she was the runner up to him)

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  14. Karen Marrs rang the Bulletin and the front page pic was taken after her daughter died in January.

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    1. I guess it's about maximising coverage for the news ltd papers. Why would she seek this kind of attention?

      There's two different outfits. One day she's wearing a white top outside court,News.com.au the other blue (astonisher)

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    2. The 'Pie thanks his former chum or chumette at the paper who supplied the believable bit of information that it was Mrs Marrs who rang the paper seeking a story in January, when the posed picture was taken. But the pic was splashed only after the outcome of the court hearing, that raises some interesting questions.

      It is a standard tactic, and quite legal, for lawyers to advise their clients to get their side of the story and any sympathetic angles out into the media ahead of any hearing. Anyway, as a general rule, accused people can say what they like, the court will always be the final arbiter. The 'Pie was approached on numerous occasions in these circumstances, although he was usually loath to stick his beak into the machinery of justice.

      So we are entitled to wonder if Mrs Marrs contacted the paper on legal advice in the first place. The paper did run a sympathetic yarn about the matter, along with the obligatory editorial which 90% was as usual simply re-stating what was in the news story. (Lazy stuff, me old Iditor).

      And The 'Pie well knows that the upper ranks of newsroom management have their fair share of females who go for the 'girly gush' tut-tutting approach to stories about 'brave' toddlers fighting some exotic disease or 'heroic Griselda courageously faces battle with life-threatening ingrown toenails' right on up to matters of genuine public interest like Mrs Marrs' case.

      So did the paper deliberately bide it's time with the pic, spending midnight hours toiling over the Thesaurus of Adjectival Excess, just waiting for the right moment, planning a heart-tugging, indignant missive about how badly done-by was this grieving mother?

      it would appear The Astonisher's mind was made up long before the woman went to court.The moment came, they pulled the trigger ... and damn, there goes a another foot.

      And to think The Magpie has the temerity to call the paper 'cynical' and 'exploitive' - what misguided cheek by this old blowhard. It still doesn't change the fact that this story was pure commentary which was basically wrong on every level - commentary is what editorials are for, not the news columns, where objectivity was once valued above everything else.

      No longer, it seems.

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  15. ‘Pie and Gonzo: To me, the almost obligatory photograph of a bereaved family holding a picture of the deceased loved one always seemed a little mawkish and morbid. I often wondered why a family would agree to having the photo taken when it was such a contrived intrusion into their private grief simply for the ghoulish interest of strangers.

    However, shortly after my own daughter died in somewhat controversial circumstances, my wife and I were visited by a reporter and a photographer from the Bulletin. They were both sympathetic and respectful. However, towards the end of our conversation, they both asked for the standard photograph of both of us holding a photograph of our daughter. I initially shied away, saying that I did not think it was appropriate or dignified, referring to the previous view I held regarding such matters I was then put under some pressure by the reporter. You would understand that our whole world had been devastated and I was at the lowest and most vulnerable point in my life. I was in no position to stick to my principles and reluctantly agreed.

    I cringed when I saw the photograph in the newspaper and have to this day regretted agreeing to having it taken. It suggested that we were wallowing in self-pity and attention seeking. Nothing was further from the truth. I felt manipulated and used.

    Ms Marrs may well feel the same.

    So far as the charges against Ms Marrs are concerned, I see nothing wrong in the way in which the matter was handled by the police and the justice system. The consequences of her actions were tragic and unbelievably sad. Her feeling of guilt would be overwhelming. However, the circumstances were such that she had to be brought to account for her actions. The fact that it was her daughter who died as a consequence of these actions makes no difference. What if it was someone else’s child? Would that make it different? Indeed, Ms Marrs could well have been charged with dangerous driving causing death – the penalty for which almost always involves gaol time. It is well established law that even a moment’s inattention can constitute dangerous driving.

    Petty and cruel. What pretentious humbug. Where does Lachlan suggest we draw the line? Do we forgive a man his crime because he is a nice bloke and is really, really sorry? Who decides that?

    There is a reason why Themis wears a blindfold.

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    1. Sorry for your loss. Yes, you were very vunerable. Journos are trained for this moment.

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    2. And, the media photographers are told by journalists to keep their mouth shut in situations like this.

      (this applies to TV crews too)

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  16. http://www.townsvillebulletin.com.au/article/2013/04/23/379921_news.html

    Amazing they use ABC video footage. This is taboo media station and 'does not report'

    The Astonisher used to have some of the photographers produce excellent videos to watch but they ditched them.

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  17. http://www.townsvillebulletin.com.au/article/2013/04/24/380017_news.html

    Count how many journalist worked on this story, Including the very bottom of the page. 4 Not one bit of footage and they borrowed the ABC footage for their pages.

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    1. Well hang on a sec. While the ABC deserves great big brownie points for some of the best action vision seen in years, that doesn't mean that other media - including The Astonisher - should be criticised as being slack. All channels around Australia used the generously-supplied ABC footage as well as The Astonisher - and why not?
      It is a bit funny that at the very time the ABC team, who had been out and about doing other things, played a hunch and followed a police car heading towards Pallarenda, all the other reporters were back in town at a police media conference on the very subject of the escapees.
      Cameraman Scott Kyle was in that newsman's dream position of being in the right place at the right time (credit to the journo, Townsville newby Allyson Horn for following the hunch).
      And yes, The 'Pie remembers the advent of video cameras in the Astonisher newsroom - a couple of the journos and snappers turned in some quite good stuff. Wasn't aware they'd stopped it, which is strange in this modern media environment - but then The Astonisher in particular and News Ltd generally have failed to keep up the changing technology and the 24 hour news cycle. Like outdated stuff staying up over the weekend and into Monday morning, even sport sometimes.

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