Sometimes it's just the juvenile belief that 'beating it up' will make a good story better, although it usually only makes a good story hysterical and one does not mean funny.
Other times, however, it's about supporting the journalist's and media outlet's biases, as evidenced last weekend by the astonished reporters of the Sydney Daily Telegraph and again this weekend by another employee of the same journal.
The behaviour of Liberal NSW Senator Bill Heffernan at a courtyard press conference called by Labor Senator Stephen Conroy was reported for what it was in The West Australian newspaper - a politically opportunistic bit of heckling at what was little more than a doorstop conference.
But that wasn't enough for the Daily Telegraph, which, in a poorly written and subbed piece, reports:
PM's right hand man asks: what's email?Let's look at that again:
By Nicolette Burke
PRIME Minister John Howard's right hand man yesterday admitted he was Internet luddite who had never sent an email in his life.
PM's right hand man (He isn't - the story's final paragraph states "...Senator Heffernan... is seen on some matters as an agent for Prime Minister John Howard.)Further, journalist Burke said Heffernan:
asks: what's email? (He didn't - he said: "I've never sent an email in my life.")
...admitted he was Internet luddite...He does no such thing. The definition of 'luddite' is, according to the American Heritage Dictionary at dictionary.com:
1. Any of a group of British workers who between 1811 and 1816 rioted and destroyed laborsaving textile machinery in the belief that such machinery would diminish employment. 2. One who opposes technical or technological change.At no time did Heffernan say he opposes the Internet, much less advocate destroying it. He simply made a juvenile remark which appears to place him among the many people who've never used email - a group that includes many older professionals.
Burke's distortion and ridicule play to the same self-interested audience as Federal Labor with their announcement this week of 'Broadband for everyone!' It's a bread and circuses promise, with the ability to rapidly download the latest movie trailer a trade-off for the economic disaster that will befall Australia within 12 months of the election of a Federal Labor Government.