Kiwi Polemicist

November 27, 2008

Yet more idiotic reporting from the New Zealand media

Filed under: Media (newspapers etc) — Tags: , , — Kiwi Polemicist @ 2:00 am

Check out the first part of this article from Stuff:

Duck causes flap and crash on road

A mallard duck that led her ducklings into the path of an oncoming car is thought to have been the cause of a two-car smash on Centennial Drive in Palmerston North yesterday.

The duck crossed the road about 9.15am, causing a car to swerve into an oncoming Honda Odyssey van.

The impact rolled the van and sent it spinning sideways down the road, with the male driver escaping out of the driver’s side window.

This article – also carried by the NZ Herald – is entirely lacking in common sense and beautifully illustrates the dire state of the media in New Zealand.

The duck did not cause the crash and the duck did not cause the car to swerve into the Odyssey, unless she leapt off the road and grabbed the steering wheel (now that would be something worth reporting). The truth is that the driver of the car caused the crash by swerving to avoid the ducks. Here’s my version of the introduction:

Car driver starts flapping and causes crash

Yesterday a mallard duck led her ducklings into the path of an oncoming car and the driver of the car caused a crash by swerving to avoid the ducks.

The driver was travelling on Centennial Drive in Palmerston North around 9:15am when she swerved into an oncoming Honda Odyssey van.

The impact rolled the van and sent it spinning sideways down the road, with the male driver escaping out of the driver’s side window.

Observant readers will have noticed another discrepancy in the story: the author states that both drivers were unhurt, then quotes a policeman as saying that the driver of the Odyssey had a grazed arm. A grazed arm is a trivial injury, but someone with a grazed arm is not “unhurt”. The author could have said something like “the worst injury is believed to have been a grazed arm”.

This is the sort of nonsense we get when schools don’t teach logic and  we have reporters who disengage their brain so as to enable the regurgitation of press releases.

The article finishes with this quote from a policeman:

“Don’t swerve, slow down if you can, but if it’s too dangerous run over them. I’m not advocating killing them, I’m saying don’t swerve to avoid them. Don’t swerve to hit them, either.”

That’s good advice, but every farmer worth his salt will swerve to hit possums and take pride in a double whammy, i.e. getting one of the pests with a front wheel and a rear wheel. The hat trick – getting the possum with a trailer wheel as well – is the height of the craft.

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2 Comments »

  1. I think it’s unfair on the media generally to attribute such utter tosh as this to it. The story, after all, is from the Manawatu (sub) Standard, known locally as the Two Minute Silence. It’s not like it was in a newspaper or anything…

    Comment by Bearhunter — November 27, 2008 @ 9:10 am

  2. Bearhunter: as I pointed out in the post the NZ Herald website ran it, as did the Stuff website. Gone are the days when such utter tosh was confined to a town’s local fish-and-chip wrapper.

    Comment by kiwipolemicist — November 27, 2008 @ 9:17 am


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