Austrian Times: The FPÖ story, what do you think – clever or poor journalism?


Maybe it was just too early in the morning and I should have just reached for another coffee, but this story has left me wondering whether in putting this article together the austrian times.at was:

a)      in a rush

b)      guilty of some poor journalism

c)       is actual yet another right wing newspaper

d)      demonstrating a better understanding of events than I’ve managed to follow

Why do I say this? Well I’ve written a few political leaflets and business reports over the years. When doing so I always try to remember, amongst other things, that:

  • Most people often don’t get beyond the third paragraph in an article, unless they are very interested in the subject or bored with nothing better to do.
  • People skim stories rather than reading them in full. This generally involves reading the opening and the first line of the following paragraphs.

Take a look at the second and third paragraphs. The article appears to me to present as facts a description of events which the final line of the third paragraph shows are actually the FPÖ’s view of what took place. Moreover this is the only line in the article to refute the picture painted by the FPÖ of this controversy.

Apply my two rules above and the article starts to read like FPÖ spin. To be fair and balanced the journalist was primarily writing about the impact of the controversy on potential future co-operation between the far-right FPÖ and the conservative ÖVP. Thus the two paragraphs seek to put matters into context. However, I’ve re-read this article a few times and it still comes out the same way as on the first reading as rather unbalanced – even read in full.

So to return to my opening question, what do you think? Would you say a, b, c, d or ‘you need a second coffee before reading the news’?

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Filed under Austrian Politics, Politics

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