A few days ago the blog wrote about the Murdoch media’s inability to publish a few simple sentences without them being littered with elementary grammatical mistakes.
Now they have demonstrated astonishing historical ignorance.
Just recently The Courier Mail and The Daily Telegraph published an article by Vikki Campion.
In it she wrote: “In the US, the Fourth of July was a celebration of a profoundly violent civil war. Including…Washington’s genocidal campaign against Iroquois Native Americans.”
If the name Vikki Campion sounds familiar it is that of a former Barnaby Joyce staffer and now his wife. If she was getting research help from Barnaby it’s understandable that she could possibly think this was historically accurate but surely NewsCorp sub-editors – if they still employ any – might have noticed that July 4 was actually about something else.
Now it’s hard to imagine any journalist not knowing the right answer to why July 4 was important to Americans – let alone someone who has previously been a political staffer and is now married to a former Australian Deputy Prime Minister – (not that we haven’t had some pretty ignorant Deputy PMs).
Campion was right about Washington fighting the Iroquois and he was known to them as the Town Destroyer but that was in 1753 although as President, he did order other Iroquois villages to be destroyed.
It would also only be fair to also mention that the Iroquois had their own go at some genocide and destroyed several confederacies and tribes through warfare: the Hurons, Erie, Neutral, Wenro, Petun, Susquehannock, Mohican and Northern Algonquins whom they defeated and dispersed, some fleeing to neighbouring peoples and others assimilated, routed, or killed.
All interesting stuff but nothing to do with July 4.
You may not be surprised that a News journalist and wife of a former Deputy Prime Minister didn’t know that what is celebrated on July 4 is the 1776 is the Declaration of Independence. But how on earth did the subs let such an elementary mistake through?
Perhaps it can only happen in a News publication – where even well-established historical facts are contestable.
The source for the Campion quote was Facebook. Trying to check the precise original provenance and accuracy of the quote is difficult unless you have a paid subscription to News Corp. That’s a bridge too far for the blog but several attempts to link the quote to Ms Campion consistently threw up links to The Courier Mail and The Daily Telegraph articles. And even if it’s not entirely correct it’s no worse than some of the outrageous claims Barnaby made about the carbon price and just about any other policy he opposed.
The blog’s friend John Dyett brought the article to its attention.