Thursday, 27 October 2011

Fighting prejudices - like the ones published in The Age

Journalists do not have to know everything, but very often they write their articles as if they are the fount of knowledge. Examples for this theory can easily be traced in our beloved newspaper, The Age.

Michael Shmith loves to hate the Australian Monarchy and must have suffered a lot of pain accompanying Her Majesty and His Royal Highness on their Melbourne tour. He went to federation Square and watched the Royal couple boarding a Melbourne tram. This led Mr Shmith to claim in an article published in today's Age, Not the Rolls or Bentley, but a commoner's conveyance gives Her Majesty a royal ride:
How often does the Queen take public transport? Well, to be honest, only when she doesn't have to share it with the public. There have been the occasional train trips - Eurostar springs to mind - but the royal personage was born to the carriage and the limousine, and to have doors opened for her by people employed for just that task. A tram, therefore, must be a new experience and, for the five minutes or so it took for this specially painted conveyance to hum along St Kilda Road, possibly an enlightening one for a woman who has, after all, seen everything.
Journalists do not have to know everything, however, when it comes to our Royal Family, it is very easy to find out, if an accusation (“to be honest, only when she doesn't have to share it with the public”) can be verified or proven wrong. And in Mr. Shmith’s case he passed on his opinion which is not based on facts.

For example, in December 2009 The Daily Mail published this story: Thrifty Queen catches ordinary passenger train on her journey to Sandring-
ham for Christmas

Fellow passengers on the 10.45 First Capital Connect service to King’s Lynn couldn’t quite believe their eyes as the Queen stepped on board a first class carriage.

The Queen, 83, appeared perfectly relaxed as she chatted with her aides for the first leg of the 100 mile journey to King’s Lynn, the nearest station to Sandringham.

But after the train’s stop at Cambridge a secretary opened a briefcase and the Queen spent most of the rest of the journey opening and reading her Christmas cards.

A Buckingham Palace spokesman added:
"Members of the Royal Family, including the Queen, frequently use scheduled train services.

"We have to look at issues such as cost effectiveness and security but do try to when it is appropriate."

And even if The British newspaper is too farfetched for an Aussie journalist, The Australian ran the story as well: Queen joins commoners on royal express to Sandringham for Christmas

Mr. Shmith could also have read in The Sunday Telegraph, which said on 7th May 2011:
A royal aide said: “There is no question of the Queen or other senior members of the Royal family scaling back their official duties. But in order to be cost effective, it is likely that more scheduled train and plane services will be used.”
These train rides usually go unnoticed, which is fine, but then they escape the attention of Mr Shmith. On the other hand, when they are reported, then he and his like minded republican colleagues would claim a media stunt. Monarchists cannot win against prejudice. That will always be stronger – and gets published in The Age.

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