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AFP news item drops Steve Waugh clanger

Submitted by rickeyre on October 18, 2003 - 2:00pm

Agence France-Presse have dropped an incredible clanger in a item which has appeared in many news services around the world in the past 24 hours, incorrectly attributing Steve Waugh with comments made by Murray Goodwin last week.

As I've previously discussed on the forum, former Zimbabwean Test batsman Goodwin made some fairly outspoken comments about that country's selection policies when talking to reporters in Perth on October 6, comments which have since seen him charged with an alleged breach of Cricket Australia's code of player conduct.

Australian Associated Press quoted Goodwin on October 6 as saying:

"It sounds really racist but in actual fact it's the truth and that's a sad state of affairs because these guys don't have to perform as well as the European guys to get a game"

Today, an AFP wire report appears on several news sites under headings along the lines of "Waugh supports Goodwin's colour quota comments". ( is one of several sources online at the moment of the report in question.)

The AFP item contains the following sentence, which it uses as the basis for its report:

"'It sounds really racist but in actual fact it’s the truth and that’s a sad state of affairs because these guys don’t have to perform as well as the European guys to get a game,' Waugh said"

Oops. AFP does appear to get its fact right with the next sentence of its report, saying "Waugh, speaking to reporters said while cricket threw up a myriad of talking points, the sensitivity of some of the game’s administrators and conduct codes left players in a Catch-22 situation."

This sentence appears in fact to have been taken from an AAP report of a Steve Waugh press conference in Sydney on Thursday. One example online of the AAP report is,5942,7577658,00.html It does look to me as if a sub at AFP took the AAP report and made a hash of rewriting it, taking Goodwin's quote and thinking that Waugh had said it.

Some sub-editorial sloppiness sullying the reputation of the Australian Test captain?

To back up what Waugh actually said at that press conference, Trevor Marshallsea for the Fairfax press quoted him as saying "The players are caught in a bit of a catch 22" and later that:

"You know there's some topics that are touchy and sometimes you want to give an honest answer on, but you know if you do you're going to get in trouble."

( for Marshallsea's full report of the Waugh press conference.)

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