PM Howard plane crash in the polls
High circulation Sydney Daily Telegraph this last 2 days, which has also been running a determined attack over lack of airport security with two of their journalists facing criminal charges, as here page 3 7th July 2007: Howard 'all talk' on air safety | The Daily Telegraph
Notice in the right hand front page the departure from house style guidelines of inclusion of a question mark. We can't remember the last time we saw the SDT include a question mark in one of their stripped back headlines.
As an example if they had a headline 'Is it a hot day' they would leave off the '?'. We find this annoying enough changing an equivocal to an implied rhetorical, that is, we at the newspaper think its damn hot today, so should you if you have any brains. There is no reasonable doubt so don't be unreasonable or contrary to our implied answer.
This sounds a trivial matter of style, but what about this hypothetical headline: 'Should we go to war in Iraq' with no '?'. We submit removal of the question mark implies the position of the newspaper and the politically acceptable answer of the 70% press controlled News Ltd across the land: "Yes of course we should go to war to stop[choose] WMD/Saddam tyranny/Al Qaeda links". No reasonable doubt about it is the politics in the omitted '?'.
We say the lost '?' at the SDT is another subtle mind fuck of the public.
But what about the Telegraph inclusion of the '?' above? It's probably a matter of context seeking to capture the context of Howard's radio interview and reinforcing his state of confusion on air. In this way the question mark compounds criticism of Howard for losing the polls. Ouch.
On another aspect of Big Media The Australian often seen as rusted on to Howard's Coalition in its polling coverage has an unflattering picture today of the said name forgotten candidate presenting her a bit like a village idiot. As if to say she is intrinscially forgettable. Talk about cruel visual spin.
Posted by editor
at 3:00 AM EADT
Updated: Friday, 13 July 2007 10:51 AM NZT