An earlier version of this story in the Fairfax press seemed to be trying to beat up a spurious Aussie versus Kiwi stoush by highlighting some obscure survey purporting to show that Auckland was in the world’s top 10 most liveable cities whereas Sydney and Melbourne both missed out. The rewritten version shifts the emphasis and tries to whip up Sydney-Melbourne rivalry instead:
Sydney is a little less liveable than last year, but it is still better than Melbourne, which in turn is better than Perth, which is way better than Adelaide.
However, Fairfax completely ignored two similar and much more prominent surveys that came up with very different results. The Independent‘s survey has Melbourne at no. 9 and Sydney at no.11 with no NZ city anywhere in the top 20, while The Economist has Melbourne at no. 2 and Perth, Adelaide and Sydney all in the top 10, again with no NZ city in the top 10.
What does it all mean?
- Surveys like this are completely worthless;
- The Fairfax media has gone so tabloid that it too is just about worthless for anyone looking for serious journalism.
PS – Looking more generally at the SMH online front page as it stands at time of writing this post, the “top news” area consists of a photo feature story about an actor appearing nude in Sex and the City and stories about a drug raid in Sydney’s suburbs; a speeding drunk driver in Canberra; a “deceased” organ donor who came back to life; and a promotional puff piece for the Apple iPhone. Compare that with the lead political items in today’s Missing Link, I modestly suggest. It shows that there actually are lots of more important (and more interesting IMO) stories than the ones the SMH chooses to feature. I also suggest most readers with a mental age over about 13 would agree.
Update – The ABC was even worse. It republished the story on this evening’s TV news and simply ripped off the Fairfax story without checking it, sticking unimaginatively with the Aussie versus Kiwi angle. Neither ABC nor Fairfax bothered even to do a basic Google seach, which would have revealed that The Independent (a vastly more prominent outlet than the obscure consultancy firm promoting itself with brilliant success with the study that received the publicity) had issued a similar survey only 2 days earlier which came up with completely different results, or that the even more prominent The Economist had published a similar survey only a couple of months ago. The Australian is actually more rigorous and serious-minded than either Fairfax or ABC these days, but is in turn besmirched by Murdoch’s willingness to push his personal agenda through editorial policy.