Saturday, July 16, 2011

An open letter to Australia's newspaper readers

Dear newspaper readers,

Some of you are being cruelly deceived.  And I feel it's my duty to set the record straight - as unpleasant as this duty might be.

There is one fact that has been kept from you; a fact of utmost importance to the daily business of opinion.

Some of you will not like this information; some will feel frustrated or embarrassed at being hoodwinked for so long.  But, in the interests of a healthy civil society, you must recognise this fundamental truth:

OPINION AUTHORS DON'T WRITE THEIR OWN HEADLINES.

I know, I know.  This is a stunning bit of news, which profoundly changes your impression of newspaper columns and columnists.

But it is true.  They are written by subeditors, who try for something catchy - often a pun, or riff on a well-known phrase.  Sometimes they have little to do with the actual content of the column.  Sometimes they are misleading.

Which brings me he next question: What to do?  Dear readers, I can only counsel perseverance, diligence.  Some of you who have not tried this previously will actually have to read the whole column.  Yes, from beginning to end, including some of the more boring passages.  And you might try this before posting comments on the website, or writing letters to the editor.

I realise this might feel foreign to you; that it goes against the spirit of the opinion pages.  But I know how you value the truth.

My very best wishes,

Damon

(Photo: Derek Wernher's 'Len Ganeway', by Pollinator)

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