Sunday, October 30, 2011

The News Is True, From a Certain Point of View

There's an interesting article on the front page of the Toronto Star website as I write this, posted around 10:40 AM Eastern Time this morning. It deals with the troubles that Australia's flag airline Qantas has been experiencing, most notably the grounding of its entire fleet, and says that an "Australian court ends Qantas strike and grounding of fleet that stranded thousands."

And nothing else.

That is the entire article, as of this writing (9:00 AM Pacific Time).

And what an article it is. Especially for a newspaper such as the Star, which has its Atkinson Principles to think of. The implication you get from this unbelievably terse article is that the unions have done it again, that they weren't satisfied with a normal labor disruption but they somehow grounded the entire fleet as well.

Except they didn't. What set off this latest round of stuff wasn't the strike - it was the lockout imposed by Qantas management. There's a very distinct difference; but just so everyone's aware, a strike is when employees refuse to work, and a lockout is when management refuses to allow the employees to work.

There are indications that it may have been premeditated; I've seen reports that Qantas had been booking up hotel rooms around the world, presumably for its bumped passengers, during the lockout despite the CEO's claim that the decision was only made Saturday morning.

Whether or not those are the facts is one thing. But it's irresponsible to go to news with only the barest summary of a situation when you're not even including all of the relevant information that's already out there in the wild. Hell, the Toronto Star reporters may know more than me about this, and yet I've managed to write several paragraphs about this.

They managed one sentence.

Which makes it look a lot more like anti-labor propaganda than honest reporting - or, at least, just another data point to make readers grumble about the "damn unions."

Really, a Qantas strike is effectively irrelevant for Canadians. Once upon a time those planes with the kangaroo tails landed in Toronto and Vancouver, sure, but not anymore. Today it only flies to four cities in all of North America, and one of them is Honolulu. Given that, I'd imagine that the Star should have the flexibility to not go live with a story such as this until it has more information than one damn sentence.

It's just sloppy, and not befitting a newspaper.

No comments:

Post a Comment