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The Magpie

Saturday, May 17th, 2014   |   48 comments

Oh, dem numbers: the heart-wrenching split of Emma and Roy – seems their differences are irreconcilable.

But either way you cut it, it’s more bad news for the Astonisher.

Also, Clive Palmer’s bid for the title of Captain Snooze ….

Reporter Harry Potter has been laid to rest.  The Magpie’s mate Tom Krause pens a fond memoir of his old friend, relating the mysterious tale of a missing contact lens that led to a marriage proposal.

Is Mayor Mullet shaping up for a crack at the Senate? That’s the rumour du jour, and under the LGA rules, why not, no job risk.

And too good not to revisit: a Magpie reader’s top-rate investigative journalism about very uninvestigative Astonisher.

But first, the question of the week is: What would we do without CNN TV? They have insights that few others possess, and are always eager to share them.

Like this.

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Sounds like the 777 is a real lemon.

The front page of the week goes to News Ltd’s tabloids, which were inspired by this …

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…. to come up with this little pearler when The Billionaire Blimp fell asleep in parliament.

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The drowsy blow-hard buffoon seems to be vying for Mike Reynolds’ long-held title of Captain Snooze, but our resident ‘toonist Bentley reckons we should let sleeping PUPs lie, he was just having some political doggy dreams.

Rip Van Palmer copy

It might have been a top notch tabloid headline, but it seems fewer and fewer people are appreciating the wit and wisdom from News Corpse, including those here in Townsville. The latest readership numbers from the Roy Morgan survey people for the past year are in, and it’s again a grim read, although the departure of Typo Gleeson from the Gold Coast Bulletin seems to have had a positive effect, with new editor Cath ‘Wobbles’ Webber holding the line surprisingly well.

Screen shot 2014-05-16 at 1.15.28 PM

But wait just one moment … those numbers are at odds with the Townsville Bulletin own webpage come-on to advertisers, which makes this somewhat astounding readership claim. Using the newspaper industry’s own new you-beaut measuring stick EMMA (Enhanced Media Metrics Australia), which was created when the paper’s got sick of getting the bad news from the well-established Roy Morgan survey people, this is what they’ve come up with.

Screen shot 2014-05-17 at 3.52.35 PM

That is astounding when we are asked to believe that, according to those circulation figures (which are legally required to be accurate, although these are clearly a bit behind the times), more than four people read each and every single issue of the 21,400 papers that roll off the press every Monday to Friday. Yeah, right.

C’mon, fellas, pull the other one, it yodels. Even Visually Impaired Freddie could see that this is straight up hogwash.

But EMMA is a godsend to some publications. Shortly after Typo Gleeson took the helm at the Sunday Mail, the paper dropped below a million readers each week for the first time in years. Roy Morgan has the latest readership at 885,000.

… but a couple of weeks ago, Typo made this front page boast. …

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Like they say, there are lies, damn lies, and statistics … and then there’s Typo.

While the veracity and credibility of the news pages in the Astonisher (and the Mail) is under serious question, looks like the numbers game is a pea and thimble trick for advertisers, who will soon be asking some awkward questions about why ad rates haven’t fallen commensurately.

The ‘Pie was amused to recently spot a heady mix of ‘recommended reading’ in The Astonisher.

We recommend

Nothing like a tasty helping of apple crumble while catching up on digging for possible child murder victims, neglected war heroes and runaway teenagers.

On that matter of the runaway, it seems the ‘distraught’ parents in Ayr  actually knew where their teenage kid was (Townsville) because she’d been in touch with texts.  But that wasn’t mentioned until a later story when the kid reluctantly returned home, otherwise would’ve buggered up a good beat-up.

Seems this is a theme of very selective reporting that exists at The Astonisher, and it took an alert Magpie reader during the week to do some fine research, making links that the reporters either missed or ignored in one of their storm-in-a-teacup beat-ups. It’s worth looking at again, since not everybody can follow comments during the week.

It’s the story about a Townsville ute with a tailgate with this image decaled onto it.

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That was a direct pinch by a local signwriting publicity hound from this story from Texas last September, which was widely reported in Australia, including in News Ltd’s Car Guide.

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Now, The ‘Pie was away on a medical trip down south when all this blew up, but a reader who calls himself Fat Tony was onto the aroma of rotten fish straight away – especially about the ‘Bikini Babe’ model for the local ‘artwork’. He sent in this well researched comment, saving the best for the end.

As a non-journalist persons who take an avid interest all things news, I’ve become a bit perplexed as to how the media treat certain people.

I refer to the recent report in the Astonisher regarding a “Bikini Model” Bree Benyon who is the woman depicted in a photo which is displayed on the back of a ute doing the rounds in Townsville. The disturbing photo (in my opinion) shows a woman tied up in the back of the ute complete with shovel.
http://www.townsvillebulletin.com.au/news/townsville-woman-defends-violent-artwork-saying-the-image-of-her-being-kidnapped-was-a-joke/story-fnjfzs4b-1226916913234

Now normally one would read this type of article and dismiss it for what its worth as a sensationalised piece of tripe, but I would like to make a few points here.

The first being it’s claim that “The image sparked controversy across the country after being published by the Bulletin yesterday and went viral on social media”.

A quick search of all the news media show that only outlets where this was reported was through the News Limited website such as Courier Mail and The Mercury. Of course the local WIN News had to report it because it actually appeared in the daily rag on that day. Hardly call that sparking controversy across the country. I can’t comment on social media as fortunately my life is void of Facebook/twitter etc. I can however confirm that this did in fact go viral about 12 months ago when it first appeared in the USA (where else)

http://abcnews.go.com/Business/controversy-erupts-texas-sign-companys-bound-tied-woman/story?id=20205091

So it appears this self-promoting woman is not only void of originality, or at least her signwriting father is, but there is no doubt in the world that both she and father were fully aware of the impact her exposure would have been once our intrepid newshounds got hold of the story.

What really did sparked my attention regarding this article is the Astonishers reference to the term “Bikini Model” when referring to Ms Benyon. Sure that is her job title (if that is at all possible) and a quick Google search will result in numerous articles of her achievements in her chosen career path.

But it failed to display the most recent of articles published in the Astonisher about her other activities.

Even using the search facility within the Astonishers website doesn’t give the result. Fortunately I still had my electronic copy of last Saturdays (10 May) paper on the IPad and a quick flick through it showed an article headlined “Hairdresser’s salon used to buy narcotics – Cutting a Drug Deal”.

The story contained reference to Ms Benyon and even contained a photo of her wearing the same bikini she is wearing in the “Photo-tailgate” story. The Astonisher reported that Ms Benyon had pleaded guilty in April to two counts of supplying dangerous drugs and will be sentenced on 13 June.

So, my question is, why would the Astonisher choose not to make this point in their second story. Sure I know it’s not relevant to the story at hand and they are not in the business of sensationalising for no apparent reason… err, I withdraw that comment.

But given that Ms Benyon is a self-confessed drug trafficker, when will they stop referring her to as a Bikini Model?

Well done and well asked, Mr Fats.

That all speaks for itself, with The ‘Pie simply observing that this is what happens when experienced local sub-editors with good cross referencing memories are shafted, and the kids are left to play without supervision. The old bird also noted in passing that Ms Benyon is or was connected to the V8 Grid Girls, so that could be why they didn’t make the link, since The Astonisher has made that event a protected species from any critical comment.

More probably, they just didn’t know.

Moving on.

The much-lauded television crime reporter Harry Potter was laid to rest on Friday, with a who’s who of media luminaries attending his funeral in Sydney.

Among them was old Magpie mate (and fellow Swans fanatic) Tom Krause, a former senior editor with The Australian, and inter alia, Nine’s much admired Sunday program. Tom was Harry’s friend for more than four decades, and he sent The Magpie this anecdote, which, if made into a movie would be called ‘How Harry Proposed To Katie’, i.e newsreader Katrina Lee.

Harry and Kate on their wedding day.

Harry and Kate on their wedding day.

Tom wrote:

“I first met Harry Potter and Katrina Lee in the 1970s. In 1975 I was the acting foreign editor at The Australian, begging the editor for a pay rise, when he finally said: “I can’t give you a pay rise, but how about a trip around the world.” It was the launch of a PanAm flight from London to Frankfurt. We would fly to the US, stopover in Honolulu, San Francisco and New York before heading to the UK for the flight. Once we got off the plane in Frankfurt, we were on our own to return to Australia, first class, of course, on PanAm flights. The journos on the junket were chief subs and chiefs of staffs and a crime reporter by the name of Harry Potter. We didn’t have to write anything, unless we wanted to.

The first flight to Honolulu took about ten hours, and we journos lived up to our stereotype by drinking most of the way. After checking in at the hotel, we had a night’s sleep, but woke up, hungover and thirsty, and headed for the pool. I noticed Harry chatting to a young lady in a bikini and next thing I knew, he was down on his hands and knees looking for something. “Whatcha looking for, Harry?” I asked. “This young lady’s lost one of her contact lenses. Can you help?” Well, of course, we did, but being journos we couldn’t resist suggesting Harry had an ulterior motive in his search for the lost lens. After a few minutes, Harry excused himself, looking a bit embarrassed by our good-natured heckling, and said he’d see us in the bar before dinner. A few hours later, Harry returned, this time with a big smile on his face, saying: “I have an announcement to make. I called Kate and asked her to marry me. And she said yes.” We all looked at each other, laughing, and congratulated him. So for the next 38 years, until the last time I saw him last year, my first question to Harry after saying hello, was: “Did you ever find that contact lens?” Despite my constant reminders, he took it well. And yes, he did marry Katrina Lee, then a newsreader for the Ten Network. They had a long and happy marriage and four children.”

Tom is aka frequent Magpie commenter Gonzo, and he runs a blog called Gonzo Meets The Press. If your tired of the superficial punditry and lame jokes that is the standard Magpie fare, and crave an informed, beautifully written blog with insights about anything and everything going on around the globe, check it out at http://gonzomeetsthepress.com/

Another matter.

Just putting it out there, the whispers are that Mayor Mullet is eyeing off the possibility of getting on the Labor ticket for the next Senate election. Under the new by-laws on the gravy train ticket, no one has to resign their current elected position, just take leave, if they want a shot at higher office. So if she runs, Mayor Mullet has nothing to lose but her dignity (oh, what, that went west long ago, you say? … Hmmm, didn’t notice, but will be watching closely at the V8 trophy presentation this year).  These rumours come and go, but The ‘Pie thought he’d better get in now just in case … there could be a double dissolution before then end of the year, with Canberra’s version of Circus Oz looking for new clowns to fill the Big Top. And a Mullet move like that could explain why Messagebank Walker has spruced himself up a bit and is playing the knob-polishing media tart of late.

Finally, The ‘Pie leaves you with some of the wisdom engendered by these truly weird political times.
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Quite.

The Magpie's Nest is now more than five years old, and remains an independent alternative voice for Townsville. The weekly warble is a labour of love and takes a lot of time to put together. So if you like your weekly load of old cobblers, you can help keep it aloft with a donation, or even a regular voluntary subscription. Paypal is at the ready, it's as easy as ... well, easy as pie. Limited advertising space is also available.

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