Morning Chatter Worth Ignoring

Major newspapers often are criticized for disguising opinion stories as news stories on their front page. It seems safe to assume that one news outlet, called GlobalPost, embraces that style of journalism, making no bones about mixing news and opinion.

It distributes an e-mail called GlobalPost Morning Chatter. Its Dec. 15, 2014 edition focused on the hostage standoff in Sydney, Australia, perpetrated by an Islamic militant. But the news story morphs into a broadside on Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbot. The first salvo is packed with irony – criticizing his tough-on-terrorism stance as a terrorist incident plays out in real time. They write,

“Abbott has also repeatedly spoken of the potential threat of Islamic terrorism in Australia. He ordered counterterrorism in Sydney’s suburbs in September, raised the country’s terror alert, and broadened police powers to arrest terror “suspects.” These moves by the conservative prime minister have been heavily criticized both at home and abroad.”

That last sentence was unabashed editorializing. An objective journalist would have added that his moves have been praised as well, going into a little detail regarding both the praise and criticism. And the word “suspects” is in quotes, indicating that the person who wrote the article for some reason doesn’t consider them as actual suspects. That’s a bold insinuation that warrants an explanation. But alas, no explanation is given.

The current hostage incident is an obvious argument in favor of Abbot’s tough-on-terrorism stance – that he has proven to be prescient in repeatedly speaking about the threat of Islamic terrorism in Australia. Yet the article is written in such a way as to be critical of that stance. I suppose one could make the tortured argument that cracking down on terrorism actually could spark certain acts of terrorism, but the GlobalPost writer certainly doesn’t.

And it gets worse from there – incredibly, GlobalPost Morning Chatter uses the hostage news hook to pooh-pooh Mr. Abbot’s environmental, social, economic, and immigration policies.

Any discerning reader can see that this is one shoddy piece of journalism. Previously, GlobalPost Morning Chatter appeared to be straight news on international events, peppered with a little flair. Unfortunately, that flair has morphed into raw partisanship.