ED’S DESK: Climate Change May Be Humanity’s Greatest Threat, But News Corp Has Got It Smothered


Ed’s Desk is an occasional column in New Matilda where we sub-edit a story in the mainstream press that has already been published, but probably shouldn’t have been. This edition, we look at News Corporation’s coverage of the gravest threat ever faced by human-kind.

[HEADLINE] Loud fart sound erupts during John Kerry’s speech at climate panel

[BYLINE] Joe Tacopino – New York Post

[ED’S DESK] Hi Joe, yeah great, a fart gag. Good one. I’m pretty busy. Do you have an actual news story you need subbed?

 [INTRO] John Kerry was delivering a rousing anti-coal speech at a climate change conference when he was interrupted by what appeared to be a loud fart.

[ED’S DESK] Oh shit. You’re serious. Okay… well, firstly, if we’re going to reduce the single biggest threat in the history of humanity to a story about a fart, we’re going to need it to be funny. Like, really funny. On that front, the story as it stands has a video embedded into it, so immediately below the headline ‘Large fart sound erupts’ is footage of Chris Kenny talking. I think we can all stop for a moment and appreciate that for what it is, but also, going forward we’ll need to rethink either the headline or the video. And given it’s Chris Kenny, by ‘rethink either the headline or the video’, I obviously mean rethink the video.

[OPENING PAR] John Kerry might need to cut back on his own emissions.

[ED’S DESK] Alright. Much better start than I expected. I’ll be recommending to Rupert that you receive a pay rise, and a promotion. Maybe a stint writing on Roe v Wade and women’s reproductive rights. I think the issue could use a lighter touch and you’re clearly the man for the job, Joe.

Mr Kerry, the Biden administration’s climate envoy, was discussing US policy on coal power plants at the Climate Change Conference in Dubai on Sunday when he may have unleashed a burst of wind energy. As per the New York Post, the former secretary of state was speaking next to Becky Anderson, managing editor of CNN Abu Dhabi, and Fatih Birol, executive director of the International Energy Agency.

‘… may have unleashed a burst of wind energy’. Love it. But we need more funnies. Let’s see… if we put an ‘r’ in Mr Birol’s first name, he becomes ‘Fartih Birol’, which makes him sound like a character in a Sponge-Bob Square Pants cartoon. Also, he looks Muslim, so mocking him helps our racism quota as well. Amend please.

“There shouldn’t be any more coal-fired power plants permitted anywhere in the world,” Mr Kerry began before launching into an anti-coal diatribe. “I find myself getting more and more militant because I do not understand how adults who are in a position of responsibility can be avoiding responsibility for taking away those things that are killing people on a daily basis ….”

Diatribe? Donald Trump launches into diatribes. John Kerry does ‘mincing rants’. Please amend. Also, where’s the comedy?  The line ‘those things that are killing people on a daily basis’ is sitting there waiting for you. Funny it up, please.

Before Mr Kerry could complete his thought, the crude sound of passing gas could be heard over the microphone. The crowd broke into applause, apparently oblivious to the crude theatrics.

Okay. There’s a clear opportunity here for the sort of direct speech that would appeal to our core demographics (Australian men, and children under 10). Please describe the sound the alleged fart made. For example, was it a ‘bllllattttt’ sound? Or more of a ‘Phwarttttt’? Also, delete ‘apparently oblivious to the crude theatrics’. Apart from the fact that’s obviously pure speculation on your part, it’s also much funnier if it appears the audience applauded his fart. See News Corp style guide re ‘Should facts get in the way of a fart gag?’

CNN’s Anderson — sitting to Mr Kerry’s right and within striking distance of a potential bodily function — quickly jerked her head aside and inconspicuously placed her hand to her mouth, possibly in the event of any stench permeating the climate panel.

My God. That’s gold, Joe!!! It’s potentially the driest, most verbose description of a reaction to a public fart I’ve ever read. Forget the abortion round, I’m going to recommend to Rupert that you be moved to cover Israel-Palestine.

Mr Birol, the energy executive, simply nodded his head in rapt contemplation. “And the reality is that the climate crisis and the health crisis are one and the same,” Mr Kerry continued, unabated.

Okay. There’s a line, and you just crossed it. This is not an Emily Bronte novel. Our readership like ‘funbags and farts’. If you want to include phrases like ‘rapt contemplation’ in your copy, consider applying for a job at the ABC. Please delete.

Larry O’Connor of Townhall Media said Mr Kerry’s alleged flatulence was an embarrassment to the US. “The biggest problem is, during this entire exchange, representing us, the United States of America, he ripped a fart out,” O’Connor said. “He let loose with flatulence on an international stage.”

Okay, firstly, who the hell is Larry O’Connor, and why are we quoting him? Unless he has a degree in farts or public outrage, like Sean Hannity, then we don’t want him. Secondly, flatulence doesn’t need to be ‘alleged’ because it’s not illegal, even in the United Arab Emirates. Finally, the ‘biggest problem’ is clearly climate change, not an ‘alleged fart’. You’re leading with your chin a bit there.

The pundit said the evidence was overwhelming and Kerry must answer for his actions. “He should lose his job immediately,” he said. “John Kerry farted.”

Yeah, wow. If that’s a real quote, you’re guaranteed the Walkley Award for Best Interview. If it’s not a real quote, you’re probably still going to win a Walkley. On a more personal note, when your grandchildren look back in 60 years and ask ‘What happened Grandpa Joe?’, you can put your hand on your heart and tell them you didn’t stay silent. Or deadly. Well done Joe, well done.

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