I told you ages ago!
This just in, Gerard McManus is officially a fucking disgrace.
Here in all it's glory the Press Council's view of the reporting of the "Hack of 2004".
Does this mean he gets a promotion at the Herald Sun?
THE AUSTRALIAN PRESS COUNCIL
ADJUDICATION No. 1270
The Press Council has upheld a complaint by Senator Bob Brown against The Herald Sun, Melbourne, for an article, headed Greens back illegal drugs, published on 31 August 2004 in the lead-up to the 2004 federal election.
The Council views this article as irresponsible journalism.
In the article a number of false claims were made about Greens Party policies. The article was accompanied by a graphic entitled ‘What they stand for’. The graphic listed 20 broad proposals claimed to be advocated by the Greens.
Sen. Brown said a number of claims made by the paper in the article or graphic were wrong, including:
? an alleged policy of a 33% hike in company tax to at least 49 cents in the dollar (which did not reflect current Greens policy);
? suggestions that people would be forced to ride bicycles more often and eat less meat and business people to use alternatives such as rail, boat and teleconferencing (no coercion is advocated in the policies);
? existence of policies to keep out business immigrants, introduce taxes on family homes, drive farmers from their land and reduce infrastructure to 1995 levels (no such policies exists, Sen. Brown says); and
? a desire to cut the population by 2 million (Sen. Brown says there is no such policy and the claim is based on a Liberal Party paper).
Additionally, regarding the headline on the article, Sen. Brown said that it was ‘manifestly wrong’ and that Greens policy was a call for ‘a study of options’.
Given the sweeping and unqualified nature of the claims, the newspaper ought to have checked the veracity and currency of the policy claims. Prior to the publication of the article, the reporter rang Sen. Brown’s office asking for the Greens’ policies. He was informed ‘that all current policies were available on the website’. There is evidence that, as well as any use made of the Party’s website in writing the article, the reporter preferred other statements of Greens’ policies, some erroneous and hostile to the Greens.
In the context of an approaching election, the potential damage was considerable. The actual electoral impact cannot be known but readers were seriously misled. On the day of publication, Senator Brown addressed his concerns with the article to the bylined journalist during a press conference, but no redress was forthcoming. In fact, a follow-up article, published the next day, was described by Sen. Brown as “derogatory”.
An article by Sen. Brown, which responded to some points in the 31 August article, as well as comments by Treasurer Costello in a subsequent article, was published by the paper a month later.
The claims made in the original article were seriously inaccurate and breached the Council’s guiding principles of checking the accuracy of what is reported, taking prompt measures to counter the effects of harmfully inaccurate reporting, ensuring that the facts are not distorted, and being fair and balanced in reports on matters of public concern.