The Herald scores a major scoop ahead of competitors

The NZ Herald published a story (really, more like republishing someone else’s list) about unparliamentary name calling on 23 February.

Fast times in Parliament usually end in heated debates, but not everything goes in terms of what can be said.

Insults, “unbecoming” language and accusations of dishonesty are banned, according to a list on the New Zealand Parliament website, but we’re seriously considering getting some of these phrases back into circulation in the newsroom.

Some of our favourites include the 1936 term “Fungus Farmer” which may have been rude in 1936 but is a perfectly legitimate occupation today.

Another favourite is the 1949 banned phrase “His brains could revolve inside a peanut shell for a thousand years without touching the sides.”

This was breathlessly covered on the parenting, arts, lifestyle and travel blog by David Farrar. We also covered it, but something felt off, so I consulted the Google time machine.

The real problem then revealed itself, Radio Live published the same list on 21 May 2015.

Ron Mark got caught out using the ‘f’ word in Parliament yesterday, but it’s not just conventional swear words that have been banned from parliament.

The Parliament website has a list of “unparliamentary language” that shows just how much our standards of what is and is not acceptable has changed over the years.

At this rate, the NZ Herald will be telling us that “students” have just taken over the American Embassy in Tehran taking a number of hostages.

You’d think the “decent journalists, trained and skilled at the NZ Herald would desist from plagiarism, and you’d think their editor would learn how to use Google to catch out cheating journos seeking an easy option to fill a space between the advertising. Perhaps Patricia Greig, who is described on the Herald website as a sub-editor was given a hospital pass? Even if she was given a hospital pass she still put her name to it.

No wonder nobody trusts journalists anymore.

 


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