Thursday, 27 August 2015

Murdoch paper reports police raid on union that never happened

This is massively off topic, but I thought it deserved a blog. I follow a few Aussie unions, union leaders, activists etc on Twitter and this morning I saw people from the CFMEU tweeting about a story in the Murdoch-owned Herald Sun.

The story said that there had been a police raid at the CFMEU's offices in Melborne. What's more the story stated the following:

Rank and file CFMEU members at the office said there were several police there.

It's clearly fair to infer from this that the journalist spoke to more that one CFMEU member (it says "members" after all) at the office who confirmed the presence of police.

I can't link to the actual news story, because it has subsequently been taken down and replaced with this one. The first para is below:

VICTORIA Police have confirmed that there was not a raid at the CFMEU offices in Melbourne this morning.A report on incorrectly reported that the raid had occurred.
The report said Taskforce Heracles, which was set up to investigate claims raised in the Royal Commission, had visited the union’s Swanston Street offices. The error was made by the reporter.    
Now I'm old enough to know that journos sometimes make up quotes, I don't just mean that they make the quotes sound/read better. Some of those "A close friend of Harry Styles said..." are clearly fabricated. But they typically relate to an event/person/object that actually exists.

What we seem to have in the case of the Herald Sun story are made up comments about a fictional event. Non-existent bystanders have confirmed an event that never happened. This is pretty impressive, and to call it an "error" doesn't do it justice, it's more like a thought experiment - can a fictional event have bystanders? In any case career in chidrens' fiction seems to beckon for this journo.

The background to all this is, of course, the ongoing attacks by the Abbott "government" on the labour movement in Australia, which has been roared on by Murdoch and his mouthpieces. The wheels are already coming off though, just Google Dyson Heydon for details, and helpfully now a Murdoch paper has joined the Keystone Cops by running a clearly defamatory story about something that never even happened.

Look out for a one para apology on page 8.

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