Tag Archives: EPA

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Weasel words

I was driving to work this morning listening to my local ABC news. Which I think is the best local news in Townsville. There’s a story going round up here about a crocodile – which is not unusual for North Queensland. This crocodile is terrorising the locals at Mystic Sands. It’s two metres long and must be removed because it’s a danger to the community – the creek it lives in flows past two houses. 

The local EPA spokesperson said “The Crocodile needs to be removed because there’s a real chance it could interact with pets, or even small children…”

Since when is “interact” a euphemism for eat? Weasel words are the new black. Obfuscation is a big part of my job, a media training thing yesterday with one of Queensland’s leading PR consulting groups made me even more cynical. The trainer (an experienced journalist) made a point that everything we read now has spin on it because journalists are hand fed more than 90% of their news (ie most stories come from Media Releases) – and anyone who puts out a media release knows that they’re not objective.

This trainer made a comment that politics – and particularly policy making is now purely assessed on the following criteria:
a) will we be hammered more for not doing it, or doing it?
b) is there a photo in it?
c) Can we turn it into a news story or a website?

The QLD Government, and the Rudd Government have massive spin machines dedicated to packaging policy for the masses. Rudd is great at symbolism – but lacking substance. This is a prime example of something that met the aforementioned criteria.

Rumours and innuendo
Rumour has it that several leading local sports stars were busted in a “cocaine party”
Rumour also has it that several leading political journos are starting to link some of Rudd’s decisions in policy making in the Queensland government – linking many of South East Queensland’s current woes with his decisions… eg Water shortages with dam refusals, health problems with health infrastructure investment (or lack thereof), and education problems with a Rudd led education review.

Anyway, I’m off to interact with my morning tea.