Culture

Today’s ‘Daily Telegraph’ Front Page Is As Disturbing As It Is Poorly-Timed

There's probably not a good day to run a tacky picture of a plane careening towards the ground. But today was a particularly bad one.

With their eternal love of dorky wordplay and regular use of Photoshop that teeters perilously between nauseously entertaining and all-out offensive, the larrikins over at The Daily Tele are no doubt proud of the controversy they so often find themselves in.

At this sad point in the game, they’re not surprising anyone. For some reason, they can casually depict Greens MPs as Barbie dolls or the NSW Labor leader as a happy little koala man and everyone’s cool with it. But the fact that they can do all this while maintaining their position as Sydney’s highest-selling newspaper warrants the occasional discussion.

Especially when they run a front page like this:

Now, if it were any other day, this would be business as usual. The story itself details how “one-time darling of the Liberals” turned independent contender for the seat of Penrith, Jackie Kelly, has given her preferences to Labor in the upcoming state election, therefore betraying conservatives, News Corp readers, and the moral decency of this great nation. As Kelly has also declared her intention to stop the construction of the Western Sydney airport in Badgerys Creek, the Tele have effortlessly drawn upon their skills in both Photoshop and alarmism to present her, Labor leader Luke Foley and No Land Tax boss Peter Jones as kamikaze pilots.

Though the airport would create a large number of jobs for the region and is supported by both major parties, there are some who support Kelly’s plans; late last year, the ABC explained the problems the airport was posing for residents. But instead of mentioning any of this other side of the story — which is, incidentally, the exact plot of The Castle — the Tele just stuck to the hamfisted kamikaze angle.

Y’know, because explosions or something.

But there’s also this other thing: overnight, a commercial German plane crashed in the French Alps killing all 150 people on board including two Australians — a mother and her adult son from Victoria — and 16 children on a school trip. Foreign Minister Julie Bishop has been consulting with the airline in the early hours of the morning to determine whether there were any further Australian casualties, and the cause of the incident is not yet known.

It is a terrible tragedy, and understandably a leading story for many newspapers who got to it in time for print; the Tele‘s sister publication The Herald Sun ran it with a big splash on the front page of their paper, and publisher News Corp’s The Australian had a story on their front page too. It’s tricky business to pull a paper if it’s already started printing, to be sure — but even more generally, now might not be the right time to run a front cover featuring a tacky picture of a plane purposefully careening towards the ground.

The Telegraph, be it in print or online, is just as informative, compassionate and sympathetic to our readers as it has always been,” their website reads. “We’re plugged into the state of New South Wales, listening to its heartbeat, checking its pulse every day and delivering the number one product.”

So y’know… you’re welcome.

Feature image via Stephanie Peatling/Twitter.