The Sydney Morning Herald (Independent. Always.) goes from bad to worse.
No sooner has the awful, carping Gerard Henderson moved from its opinion pages to those of Murdoch's Australian, than he's replaced with the likes of Tom ("It would appear that the Palestinians remain vicious thugs")* Switzer, an opinion editor of The Australian from 2001-08, and former Howard Government Minister for Putting the Boot into Trade Unionists Peter Reith.
Today's online issue is particularly appalling:
One of its lead news items, Australians fund terror groups, is followed by this quite categorical assertion:
"Drug-trafficking proceeds are funneled into Hezbollah in huge money-laundering operation."
Click on this and you come to a 'report' by Nick McKenzie and Richard Baker headlined, Terror groups taking cut as drug money is laundered.
The opening 2 paragraphs read:
"Terrorist groups are profiting as part of a money-laundering operation involving hundreds of millions of dollars Australians are spending on illegal drugs. The revelations come as Australia's biggest money-laundering investigation, Project Eligo, has identified hundreds of unwitting Australian residents being duped into helping launder the drug money overseas - including funds generated by outlaw motorcycle gangs and people-smuggling operations."
Then comes this 3rd paragraph:
"It is believed at least one of the 'exchange houses' used in the Australian laundering operation delivers a cut from every dollar it launders to Lebanese militant group Hezbollah, whose military wing has been proscribed in Australia as a terrorist group."
It is believed...? Whatever happened to the earlier, categorical drug-trafficking proceeds are funneled into Hezbollah...?
Whose military wing has been proscribed in Australia as a terrorist group...? This of course is completely false.
One is moved to ask: is there a Zio-Smear 101 unit in journalism courses these days?
[*This comes from a piece by Switzer in the Australian Financial Review of December 23, 1998, and was the subject of a complaint of racial vilification by Ali Kazak before the Administrative Decisions Tribunal of NSW in 2000. Kazak's complaint was substantiated.]