Maybe this discussion is actually an important part of the legal case, I don't really know. Maybe it's just padding to fill out an article that was otherwise only a headline. Either way, you can't expect people to be able to make these important distinctions when you take such a pathetic, sensationalist approach to your reporting.
Asked if he could identify his own photographs from those compiled into a booklet at the trial, Mr Gardener said he could recognise his own photographs.
"I know my own style of photography. I have been doing it for 30, 40-odd years."
But when questioned about whether he could positively identify one specific photograph as his own, Mr Gardener said he was unsure.
Ms Cull: "You can't really tell, can you?"
Mr Gardener: "It would be a fair comment. I would agree, yes."
Thanks, but no thanks: I always like those news stories where you can legitimately rage at both sides in a dispute. The Herald reports on a Broadcasting Standards Association ruling that "upheld a complaint against 3 News after it aired an item on cannibalism on its 6pm bulletin."
- Culprit one: Joy Knight of Christchurch (!), who complained that her children were "upset and had nightmares" after seeing the piece, which discussed a British case where a man had, yes, eaten his friend. I'm sorry (not really), Joy, but the news is for grown-ups. It happens to be on at 6pm because that is convenient for people, not because it is going to be all sunshine and rainbows. Christ, it's not like there haven't been enough concessions already to people suffering from ADHD in the 13 minutes of the programme not yet dedicated to the weather: snazzy, useless graphics; stories about animals; sound bites; movie reviews; sing-a-longs. Sometimes nasty stuff happens in the world, and it's your job as a parent to convince your children that, just because a German ate someone's penis on the news, it doesn't mean it will happen to them (necessarily).
- Culprit two: TVWorks, the parent company of TV3, also made a rush for the moral high ground. After pointing out that the news was not aimed at children, he went on to say that "the reporting of this particular matter was a matter of legitimate public interest and a recount of salient details of the offending was an inherent part of that report." Well, he's half right - it wouldn't be a story about cannibalism without any mention of cannibalism. I guess the real problem here is that one might doubt that a story of cannibalism in Britain is a matter of "legitimate public interest" in New Zealand. I have a sneaking suspicion that, instead, someone thought that this story would be 'sexy' news (no, not in that way.) It's not a matter of censoring the news; it's just a matter of only putting actual news in the news in the first place. Oh, and weather, because how am I going to engage with the world if I don't know what the weather was like this morning?
Column envy: Some of you are going to think I am just bitter; after all, I didn't get offered the gig (although I would, of course, have turned it down). And yes, I have written about this before in the context of Ms Noelle McCarthy. But why, why, why does the Herald insist on prostituting the Opinion page out to people who do not have opinions? The latest affront to serious journalism comes in the form of Rebecca Barry, whose column will, we are assured, be appearing fortnightly. What's she going to talk about, I wonder? Economic policy? The Corrections Department? Reinstating feudal titles? The weather? No, it turns out she is going to talk about... herself. Let me sum it up for you: Ms Barry went to London. She couldn't get a job. Ms Barry came back. She found a job (on my turf!). On this magical mystery tour, we get to hear about a heartstrings-tugging trip to Southeast Asia and her friends' hair colours. By the end, she's taking the piss: "At least I've come home, sweet home, to an opportunity to tell you about it." Grrr.
Honestly, Herald, give me anyone else, I don't care - more Garth George, Michael Laws, Pope Benedict, murderers, war criminals, hedge fund managers - as long as they actually give me an opinion about something of significance. Or, as an alternative, you could rename the 'Opinion' page the 'Stories' page, and have a whole roster of inoffensively bland writers churning out interesting stories about what they've been doing with their lives. You could even ask for submissions from readers, and pay them up to $600 for every story accepted. And then you could rename the newspaper "That's Life".
Ironic celebration of the day: In a small piece in the world section, the Herald brings up an article in the Vatican newspaper, Osservatore Romano, discussing what 20th century innovation had contributed most to the liberation of women:
What in the 20th century did more to liberate Western women? The debate is heated. Some say the pill, some say abortion rights and some the right to work outside the home. Some, however, dare to go further: the washing machine.And coming in in last place: the Catholic Church.