Tragedy of dead Thais – not!

The New Zealand Herald this (June 12) morning informs us in a headline that Thai protests turn deadly with a story that begins:

Thousands of truckers went on a half-day strike in Thailand yesterday demanding government help against rising fuel prices, the latest in a series oThe Nation photo, striking truckers park at Bang Naf protests that have swept across the globe.

Then it continues 

In Europe, two truck drivers were killed on picket lines in Spain and Portugal.

Are you following? The Thai protests didn’t turn deadly after all. Then this three-paragraph, 90-word, transcontinental news item concludes:

With United States petrol prices setting records, presidential nominee John McCain’s fellow Senate Republicans blocked a move by Democrats to impose a windfall profit tax on American oil giants, a vote likely to play into the hands of Democrat presidential candidate Barack Obama.

The last paragraph is a gratuitous, and almost certainly wrong case of typical media Obama worship. The New Zealand Herald, and I say this respectfully, hasn’t an iota of a clue about what will “play into the hands” of Mr Obama as the US election campaign slowly and ponderously grinds into low gear.

Here is the “deadly” (if you will) problem for this and every newspaper right now.

No one will get fired. There will be no correction. In the event that the second of the three paragraphs is factual, the sad truth is that the newspaper got one of its four key facts (including the headline) right, and the others wrong, muddled or both. And there is no accountability.

So tell me: Why should I trust newspapers which report wrong, do not hold themselves accountable and do not permit others to hold them accountable? Answer: I don’t, and neither do a constantly growing number of others.

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