The Daily Telegraph has a lot to answer for; as it is the highest circulation newsprint media in the country, it leaves a lot to be desired when it comes to objectivity in its reporting. Lets just look at the last 5 days shall we?
Every day last week, the Telegraph ran photographs of smashed high performance vehicles with the following headlines:
NOT AGAIN, He wasn't allowed to drive it, STOP THIS CARNAGE, P-ATHETIC, BLUE-P-RINT.
Notwithstanding the fact that the Telegraph has actually managed to splash only photos of 4 accidents across 9 days of newspapers, they have conviniently forgotten to mention that in all of these photographs not a single P-Plate is displayed, and not a single Provisional Licence holder was involved. Also interesting is that the speeds in the accidents are as follows:
08:50pm Mon Wyoming - 156km/h
09:00pm Wed Minchinbury - 118km/h
11:30pm Thu Baulkham Hills - 107km/h
04:00pm Fri Bringelly - 124km/h
Three of the vehicles were stolen and all of them were travelling in excess of 60km/h over the speed limit. These photographs are shown in the same articles extolling the virtues of either a curfew or limiting the types of cars that P-Platers can drive. Sure a picture paints a thousand words, but all of these thousand words are the wrong story.
In the same newspaper on Friday (which has also been conviniently forgotten) are the actual road toll stats published by the RTA for year to date to Thursday:
471 deaths occured on NSW roads from 01/01/04 to 24/11/04
129 deaths occured as a result of a stolen vehicle causing accident
99 deaths occured as a result of an unlicenced causing accident
14 deaths occured with a P-Plate driver
14! 14 in 471 equates to less than 3% of all fatalities. Which doesn't quite add up to the opinion they are trumpeting. Now I'm not about to enter a moral argument over whether P-Platers should or should not be given the rights to drive high-powered vehicles or even curfews*, but it seems to me like the Telegraph have taken a sensationalist view with the sole purpose of selling newspapers.
I think it's perhaps fair to say that most people don't read their newspapers that carefully or check them against previous issues.This comes after a wave of nearly 4 weeks of bashing the NSW state government over the issues of railway services and hospital waiting queues. So then, why the sudden change of tune? Two Reasons spring to mind.
1. There is a discussion paper on the subject being tabulated before the house this morning, and Carl Scully has given News Ltd exclusive reportage rights.
2. The NSW Journalism Awards which just happen to be administered by the Premier's Office close at the end of this week. Perhaps a late volley of flattery will sway the judges for the awards?
Whatever the case, I do not trust the Telegraph as far as I can kick it. Not when in reality their only motives are selling advert space and newspapers - and doing that by any means necessary. It's all just a case of "spin" and media manipulation at its finest.
*For the record I think that ALL drivers should be tested ever 3 years.