Clementine Ford takes exception to a fellow Fairfaxer’s piece on an alleged family murder:
New Zealand citizen Arona Peniamina has been charged with the murder of his wife Sandra, who was found in the driveway of the family’s home on Friday morning. Sandra had sustained fatal knife wounds to her head, and Arona is now under police guard in hospital. The couple had four children together, who are now staying with their uncle.
Those details are fairly straightforward. And yet, the reporter chose to introduce his story with these words: “Four children are without their parents after a young couple’s marriage ended in a horrible, bloody tragedy”.
He immediately follows with, “On Thursday night, the Peniama siblings had a mother and father to care for them in their Kippa Ring home, north of Brisbane.”
In fact, it isn’t until the third paragraph that readers discover Arona Peniama has been charged with murdering his wife.
Actually, readers would know from the get go Sandra Peniama was allegedly murdered since the piece is titled:
Ford also finds fault with word selection:
If Arona Peniama is shown to have murdered his wife, it will be a devastating burden for those children to carry. But to present it as a “tragedy” rather than another act of paternal violence is to suggest, again, that such a circumstance was unavoidable.
There are other confusing language choices throughout the report. Do we need to know that Arona Peniama was a “keen and somewhat successful poker player” or that the children’s current guardian is “one of their father’s closest friends”? Why is it that the reader is given relatively jocular information about Arona Peniama’s hobbies and friends while learning precisely nothing about the life of the woman he allegedly murdered, beyond the fact that she was both his wife and mother to their four children?
Ironic criticisms considering dumb-ass thinks tragedies are unavoidable, and information can be “jocular”.