Pigshit! An open letter to The Sunday Times and its editor, Sam Weir
Dear The Sunday Times and editor Sam Weir,
Your 28 May story on PerthNow, “Giant feral pig killed in WA?” was pretty ridiculous.
Basically, it seemed a bit strange to me that your science and environment reporter, Narelle Towie, would:
(a) report as news; and
(b) ask your readers about the genesis of,
an email forward that she admitted had been “floating around” the internet since 2007 and had been explained in a Hoax Slayer piece and a 2007 article in Sporting Shooter.
Today, I turned to page 25 of your newspaper to find the story recycled, this time with the brag that:
The Sunday Times has confirmed that the pig was shot on a Pilbara cattle station near Newman, 1200km northeast of Perth.
Hang on – didn’t Sporting Shooter confirm this two and a half years ago?
I guess you regarded this as an unnecessary detail, given that there’s no mention of the Hoax Slayer and Sporting Shooter articles in today’s paper.
Rather, your only source is:
sources close to the family of the man in the photo
confirmed he is Pilbara pastoralist John Anick and the picture was taken on his property three years ago.
Your only direct quote from this “source” is:
I can vouch 100 per cent, I don’t even have to say 90 per cent, that it (the photo) was taken in the Pilbara and it is who I said it is.
Seriously, that was the best quote you could get from this guy? A weird protest (“I don’t even have to say 90 per cent”) followed by a failure to name the thing (the photo) or the person (John Anick) he’s talking about?
And, while I’m loathe to criticise anyone who doesn’t want to be named in The Sunday Times, on what basis did your source need anonymity? Is he scared of a backlash from the feral pig community?
You go on to write:
This reader comment was left on the PerthNow report this week: “Information I have on this photo is that it was shot by John Anick … During muster a helicopter spotted it and when told John drove out and shot it! Many sausages were made and eaten, so I’m told!”
In fact, this “reader comment” does not accompany your original PerthNow report. A Google search for those words, and combinations of them, only produces today’s article. The comment has gone missing. Did you delete it? If so, why?
You also write:
Another source working in Perth claimed to have scanned the original photograph into a computer.
Again, no sign of this in the comments to your original piece and there’s a distinct lack of corroboration to this claim. I mean, did you even call John Anick? If so, wasn’t his response newsworthy? And on what basis do you give your “source” and these random PerthNow commenters precedence over other random PerthNow commenters (many of whom called bullshit) and the WA Department of Environment and Conservation (who, as you dismissively point out, continue to claim that this is a fake)?
The whole thing smells like a monstrous rotting pig.
FYI, I’ve published this on The Dullsvillain and forwarded it to Media Watch, the West and WA Today.