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HAG IS AN avid reader of Mercury editorial ... if only for the number of times the opinion leader of the Tasmanian community sits firmly on the fence and uses the phrase, On The One Hand; then, On The Other Hand.

We must maintain balance and keep the corporate cash flowing. Don’t upset the hand that feeds you and only pick easy targets to thunder about. A fine principle, no doubt firmly approved of in Mahogany Row (that’s Sydney News Ltd corporate HQ from which primary orders are issued).

Hag quite likes reading the Leader, also because the jarring mistakes and lits - which generally litter the columns of the news pages - are kept to a minimum. It is rare to see a lit or a particularly bad turn of phrase.

Thus it was with some horror that Hag picked up Friday’s Mercury and in the space of two pars read:

“The fact that the number of undecided voters has gone up since the previous MARES poll means that people are thinking about the election but more are deciding to reserve their judgment for now.”

MARES poll ... god God; Hag already discombobulated by her first shot of morning Green Fairy Absinthe,  thought for a moment she had accidentally flicked to the racing pages. But no; there it was, MARES (rather than the correct EMRS poll).

But wait there was more ...

“The premier who won in March 2006, Paul Lanolin, is long gone.”

Good god, Paul Lanolin*, the Premier who rubbed his constituents up the wrong way; and no relation of Paul Lennon, the Premier who simply shafted his constituents.

While on the subject of newspapers, Hag hears The Examiner has blackbanned because, she is unreliably informed, `the site has the potential to spread viruses to the Fairfax system.’

It seems one poor journo was severely dressed down for reading on his/her terminal a TT story which tickled his/her funnybone.

Tut, tut. Can’t have that.

PS: Hag also hears, though simply doesn’t believe it, that editorial leadership of Mercury has decided to take holidays two weeks before the most important election in recent Tasmanian history, to a week or so after it is all over. Couldn’t be true, could it? If true,  it would simply confirm the view that the poll is regarded as merely a production challenge, with Mercury editorial position already decided: Rupert tells Tasmanians how to vote: HERE

*There was an explanation of this aberration in Sue Neales’  Campaign Diary on Saturday:

It was an unintended consequence of an over-enthusiastic spell-checker.

That figures. Hag can report this is all part of Rupe’s grand plan: Full automation. Auto spell-checking - mostly in Americanese - has been part of the editing process for years. It’s just now there are so few human sub-editing bodies on the floor in Merc HQ that the auto-spell-check is gradually assuming full command.

Bit like Hal.

As part of News Ltd’s grand plan pages already are being despatched fully complete from Melbourne, Sydney or Brisbane, whacked on the whizz-bang local $30m press and hey presto, there is your local Mercury. Stay tuned for more of this: a uniform size for all News Ltd tabloids throughout Australia, call-centre sub-editors processing the “product” - from, say New Delhi (much cheaper there) - then despatched to Hobart.

Rupe’s final vision no doubt is complete automation ... the Master of the Universe, secure behind his Online Paywall,  pushing buttons in New York ...

Surely this is just an absinthe vision ...