It's tempting to propose that the Daily/Sunday Terror is the home of fuckwits, deviants and perverts.
Except the pond has a soft spot for fuckwits - it takes one to know one, as the pond's Tamworth daddy used to say - and an even softer spot for deviants and perverts.
No, it's a little more basic than that. The rag is the home of dishonest, devious scandalmongers, idle propagandists who care little for the facts or for policy.
Oh sure, this is no insight, just a banal observation of the bleeding obvious, and it was true years ago, and not just in this election campaign.
Truth to tell, you shouldn't even use the rag to wipe your dog's backside as you stroll in the local park in the sunshine (aah, summer in Sydney, sssh, don't mention climate science, it only gets Tim Bleagh and the Bolter terribly upset).
Now the other day, the Terror ran with this front page:
It's only when you get around to reading around a little bit that you realise it's actually just another classic Terror troll, with the clue embedded in the line Minister accused.
See, it's nothing to do with the Terror, they're just reporting the suggestion. Or so they want you to believe.
But was it a genuine front page? Or just a troll?
Here's what you can read if you head off to Albo's doostopper last night:
These assertions, this intervention in such a blatantly political way by Max Moore-Wilton is extraordinary. And the fact that the Daily Telegraph chose to have a front page splash about something that didn’t occur – and they know didn’t occur – but people who read the article on the front page, and a lot of people just read headlines, they will read ‘Minister accused of helping MPs break curfew.’
So you put the headline out there, you have Christopher Pyne and others back it in, and people think somehow that this becomes a fact, when there were no planes, no MPs, no breaking of curfew.
But a front page headline like that can be extraordinarily misleading and I just say to people, during this campaign, question what you read, look at the facts.
I have attempted to ring – I have rung and left a message for the reporter that I spoke to yesterday, this morning. I haven’t had the courtesy of my call being returned. That’s a decision for him.
As to the facts of the matter, this is part of what Albo had to say:
This allegation has occurred in this campaign a few times. You get out there, you make an allegation, it’s reported in the paper and then it’s repeated as if it is fact.
The fact is, the fact is that there were no flights after 11PM on the Tuesday evening in question. Not only that, there were no, obviously, politicians on these non-flights that did not exist after 11PM. Not only that another fact for Mr Moore-Wilton, he has suggested somehow that I personally decide what occurs. The way that the curfew and dispensations work – which Mr Moore-Wilton as the operator of Sydney Airport knows full well – is that the delegate is Mike Mrdak the Secretary of my department. Mr Mrdak has a number of senior people who then make the decision who he has delegated. So it is at two steps away from myself being the decision maker.
Mr Moore-Wilton knows that and he has gone out there and made these assertions.
The dispensations for the curfew of course should occur at times when there is common sense. So for example, on the 28th of February when there were severe weather conditions here in Sydney, there was also a potential dispensation granted to airlines to fly in or out of Sydney Airport between the hours of 11 and 11:30. Similarly to Tuesday night none of these were actually taken up.
There is a second area in which Mr Moore-Wilton’s comments have been reported in the Daily Telegraph today as well; Mr Moore-Wilton has also asserted that I had advised Qatar Airways not to fly to Sydney.
The fact that was provided in writing to the Daily Telegraph yesterday – which they chose to exclude from their story for reasons that are beyond my explanation but perhaps they could explain, that Qatar are indeed entitled to fly to Sydney seven times a week right now and they have chosen not to use Sydney but use Melbourne and Perth.
They are the facts of the matter. Qatar are allowed under the air services agreement between Australia and Qatar to fly 14 times a week – two essentially daily flights – to any of the gateway airports. That’s the way the system works. Max Moore-Wilton knows that level of detail.
Qatar have chosen to fly to Melbourne and to Perth rather than Sydney and they gave their explanation – and the reporter who wrote the story today knows this because he reported it as an exclusive some months ago. Qatar Airways’ comments first notification to me of their view that they didn’t want to fly into Sydney because of the curfew was actually reported in the Daily Telegraph.
Now let's not beat about the bush here. Albo is accusing Moore-Wilton of lying, or if you will, being economical with the truth, and the Daily Terror of wilfully publishing those lies in a way that compounds the impact of the lying. (more here)
Now you can read about this in The Guardian down under, in Anthony Albanese hits back over Sydney airport curfew claims, or in Ben Sandilands' excellent blog, in Round two of Sydney Airport row: Albo takes axe to Max.
But what's the front page in the Sunday Terror today?
Yes the caravan and the barking dogs have moved on, when an honest and self-reflective headline would have been Past reporting errors bite the Terror on the bum.
You see, there's a terrible irony in all this, and the Terror has done a terrible harm to Sydney and to policy in going for the cheap hit.
In recent times, the Terror has been righteously campaigning against Albo and for a second airport in Sydney, most likely at Badgerys Creek, on the basis that it would benefit its heartland reader.
Fair enough. Albo has been devious and wishy washy, and even when he said he wanted to build a second airport in the next three years, he ducked and weaved and dodged, not saying how, or when or where.
Shooting at Albo in terms of policy is like taking a stick to a sitting duck.
All the same, even daring to propose a second airport got up the nose of Max Moore-Wilton, and the next thing you know, he's on the front page of the Terror, front and centre of a beat-up, which involves matters of fact which could have been easily checked and reported, and if found true, reflected in the big print, not just the small, and certainly not omitted.
So in a single front page, the Terror has elevated Max Moore-Wilton, and reduced their own stand on a second airport to rubble.
Shame on you Henry Budd and Jonh Lehmann, shame on you.
Is this the price you pay for your ongoing employment?
Did you fit up and dud Albo?
Are you preparing another front page, this time revealing the truth of the matter? Have you found evidence to suggest Anthony Albanese is lying in relation to his denunciation of Moore-Wilton? Or did you report Moore-Wilton on the front page without finding out the truth of the matter?
And an even bigger question?
Will your editor - your shameless feral editor - feature as prominently a story about the facts, and the truth of the matter, and the implications of why the story ran in relation to policy, western Sydney and the hopes of a second Sydney airport?
For what it's worth, here's what Ben Sandilands, a genuine reporter, albeit a blogger, had to say about it:
Plane Talking doesn’t really want to be the publisher of campaign transcripts, but the implicit allegations, that the chair of Sydney Airport is totally and mischievously wrong in making quite serious allegations against the Minister responsible for airports are political dynamite.
Which means that any retraction, explanation, apology or reaffirmation of the original claims by Moore-Wilton will be also published here, if they are offered.
The political implications of this brawl are complicated. Key people on both sides of the political divide want a 2nd Sydney Airport, an airport for Western Sydney, build as soon as possible, with private money, as always intended, on a site the Commonwealth owns.
So this is not a Labor v Coalition matter at all. Rather it is some Labor for and against, and some Coalition, for and against. (here)
But in this particular case, the Terror - for short term gain - has made itself the friend of Moore-Wilton, doing his dirty work, on the basis that the enemy of your enemy is your friend, and to hell with policy. But do go on Mr Sandilands:
And make no mistake, without a Sydney West airport Sydney will deprive itself of jobs, prosperity, improved surface transport infrastructure, and the inevitable harvest of public taxation revenues that such a project will generate and support.
The notion that the western part of greater Sydney should be deprived of its own international and domestic airport services and struggle to get to eastern Sydney to get a flight is a very self centred and ugly fetish on the part of Sydney Airport.
And Mr Sandilands take on the facts of the matter?
Albo’s version of events after the Virgin Australia’s IT blues on Tuesday night is according to my sources, completely correct. (here)
Remember that recent report?
The journos in Murdoch la la land breathed a sigh of relief because at last they could get back to the business of reporting? Real digital ink dirtying top notch reporter hands ...
They're in the business of conducting a crusade, a simplistic sort of pamphleteering as mindless as anything done in the run-up to the French terror in the eighteenth century.
The result of this little front page routine?
Well Albo is still safe in his seat - recent polling suggests his only real opposition, the Greens, are lagging.
Max Moore-Wilton has scored a palpable hit for Sydney Airport.
The Daily Terror has scored a palpable hit against its own campaign for a second Sydney airport.
And politicians will shrink further, even - should a Liberal government arise after the election - those sensible Liberal politicians who understand that a VFT to Canberra is not going to be a goer, and that Moore-Wilton needs to be prised from his wretched, malformed, badly performing castle, kicking and screaming if necessary.
Western Sydney? Allegedly the Terror's heartland, allegedly in search of jobs and the boost a second airport would give it? Go suck on a front page Terror lemon ...
By golly, the pond regularly and routinely rails against Murdoch's curs and their pathetic barking, but this time, it'd be abusing the notion of curs ...
Shortly after delivering his famous "Kerr's Cur" speech, Whitlam and members of his staff listened to a re-broadcast on radio. Whitlam then rose trance-like and walked towards the door of the prime ministerial office. Gazing back at his colleagues, Whitlam asked, "Comrades, did I go too far?" (Cohen, pp196-7)
No Gough, sometimes a cur is a cur is a cur ... and they'll turn on you in a trice, snapping, and snarling, and foaming, white teeth flashing, when they hear their master's voice ...
(Below: hold on Canberra, second thoughts, we luvs ya and to hell with western Sydney)