Check out the latest from News Limited. A piece today is headed Labor MP Craig Thomson wanted to resign but party wouldn't allow him.
The first four paragraphs read;
THE Labor MP embroiled in the union credit card scandal told confidants he wanted to quit politics but the party wouldn't let him, sources claimed yesterday.
Close colleagues of former Health Services Union chief turned MP Craig Thomson said the scandal had all become too much for him, a source inside the party said.
"They have expressed the view he'd much prefer to go," the source said. "It would be a lot easier with his family life, but he's not allowed to."
However, Mr Thomson said last night: "That is completely and utterly untrue and I am not resigning."
The only attributed source is the person himself and he says it is not true.
Apart from all the journalistic integrity stuff about unnamed sources not really being sources, let's just remember how newspaper stories are written and read. Peole scan headlines to see stories they want to read. People read the first paragraph if their interest has been grabbed.
"Sources claim" is a weak selling point - it actually won't inspire many readers to follow through to read the rest of the story.
But I'm not going to blame the journalists - they get "measured" by the column inches and where in the paper they get run. It is logical in the culture of News Limited to write and submit this story. But where is the editorial standard that would print it.
I've twice recently blogged about the Mark Antony soliloquy nature of recent reporting.
Media Watch last night got stuck into the Milne story, but didn't really nail the whole trend for "no accusations about X are being made but it does raise the question of judgement". the same crap was used against Mike Quigley!
Novae Meridianae Demetae Dexter delenda est