Wednesday, November 2, 2016
A couple of days ago, an ABC news story popped up on my feed that NSW premier Mike Baird had removed the mural of himself in Chippendale. Having photographed said mural myself, I thought it was a bit of a shame – particularly the suggestion that this amounts to a censorship of free political speech (one of the few freedoms Australians can legitimately crow about).
But is it?
I had a look at the ABC story again. No comment is sought from Mike Baird. No comment is sought from the artist, Scott Marsh. There is no comment from the owner of the building. No one even knows what the wall looks like now. These details might answer relevant questions such as “When was the mural removed? Because these things change pretty regularly, right?”, “Is Graffiti Removal Day an actual thing?” and “Could a case for trespass to property be made against Mike Baird?” (because that was something I actually considered).
It struck me as odd because, well, if you read between the lines of Mike Baird’s Facebook post, it almost feels as though he thinks he’s cracking a joke. And the story, without the additional research, boils down to a beat-up about people’s reactions to a politician’s social media post. It feels like it’s just feeding the populist narrative that Mike Baird is an asshole.
And this is why people like me don’t trust the media. Not in the Donald Trump kind of “the media is behind a huge conspiracy to keep me out of the White House” way; but in the “Did you people just make something up for the sake of getting a few clicks? Because that is a complete waste of my time and I can’t believe my taxes are paying for this shit” kind of way.
Scott Marsh, the original graffiti artist, is pretty easy to contact. Graffiti Removal Day is an actual thing. And the wall as it appears now? That’s my photo of it in this post, not seven minutes’ walk from the ABC’s Sydney office.
There may be some truth to whatever the ABC story was leaning towards, but the lack of discipline and professionalism applied to a simple story like this makes them look, at best, like they’re trying to sell something.