Sydney Morning Herald slips on form of water ‘nonsense’ | Amanda Meade

lIn an echo of an infamous “magic water” feature it published 20 years ago, the Sydney Morning Herald retracted an article touting the unproven health benefits of “structured water” written by the media relations officer for the company that Product.

“There was a story in Sunday Life this weekend about ‘structured water’ that fell short of editorial standards, particularly due to a significant conflict of interest for the writer,” SMH Sections Editor-in-Chief Monique Farmer said the day after the article had been published. “The matter is under investigation.”

Paul Sheehan was the author of the memorable 4,000-word Wonder Water article in the Herald’s Good Weekend Magazine in 2002, which asked whether a $2.80 bottle of Wonder Water — which had not been subjected to proper clinical trials — had arthritis, fatigue and could fight osteoporosis and help you live longer.

The authored author of The Shape of Water, Joanna Webber, is not a Herald journalist. She works for Phi’on Water, which sells empty glass bottles with a “magnetic vortex device” in the lid that claims to “turn ordinary tap water into life-affirming structured water.” The price tag is $340 for two bottles. The relationship between Webber and Phi’on has not been disclosed.

I have viewed the printed version of this article. Nowhere does it say that it is an advertorial. But at least the word ‘science’ doesn’t appear in the headline…

— Stuart Khan (@stukhan) July 31, 2022

Webber wrote that “some experts are talking about a fourth stage” of water and quoted Rob Gourlay as “an expert in biological research and water structure science” without revealing that Gourlay founded Phi’on Water.

“Structured water is also found in natural, pristine flowing rivers, streams, lakes and waterfalls across the planet, and is essential to the cellular health of not just us, but all living things,” Gourlay said.

“There are so many health benefits of drinking structured water, including improved hydration and mineral absorption, increased oxygen, decreased inflammation, and elimination of foreign or toxic pollutants.”

On Friday, a Sydney chemist explained in The Conversation why structured water is “nonsense”. Prof Timothy Schmidt said the companies that sell structured water products “use scientific-sounding words that are generally meaningless.”

Barty shovel shoveled

The Courier-Mail’s senior sportswriter, Robert Craddock, had the scoop: Ash Barty had married his longtime partner Garry Kissick in a secret setting in July and he had the exclusive Instagram photo of the happy couple for the front of the Sunday Mail and the Sunday Telegraph.

The sport’s best kept secret… Ash Barty’s wedding ceremony. Family plus great friends. No fanfare. Happy Days.

— Robert Craddock (@craddock_cmail) July 30, 2022

“Three precious pillars of Barty’s world – family, close friends and a very private, private life – came together in perfect harmony in an intimate ceremony at a mysterious Queensland venue earlier this month, just after Barty returned from watching the British Open – golf tournament,” Craddock wrote.

But when the story appeared on another News Corp site,, on Saturday night, all the details behind the “weekend Telegraph special” were published below the prize photo. “Don’t warn about online until Barty posts on social media. Robert Craddick jorno (sic) will get back to us when we can post.”

An embargoed photo of Ash Barty was published on along with instructions not to publish until approved by the journo.
An embargoed photo of Ash Barty was published on along with instructions not to publish until approved by the journo. Photo: Instagram

V’landys cheer team

Just when we thought the Daily Telegraph couldn’t be more lavishly devoted to representing the interests of Peter V’landys, the chief executive of Racing New South Wales and chairman of the Australian Rugby League Commission, they’re going to prove us wrong.

Last month, the Tele reported on page one that a Bruno Mars concert was scheduled to take place on the same day as The Everest at Royal Randwick, a move that had “stunned race officials”.

In “Popster vs. Australia’s Richest Race”, V’landys said the state government’s decision to double Saturday would “undermine” the success of homegrown sporting events.

On Thursday, the Tele handed over much of the paper’s real estate to V’landys’ various interests: stadium financing and a puff on Racing NSW’s $350 million financing package.

There were two news stories – a feature story and a sports story claiming Dominic Perrottet would be shunned by his football team for his “refusal to fund the club’s spiritual home” – and a photo on the back page depicting the prime minister, who is a Tigers fan is, disgraced, for not funding the stadium. The editors praised V’landys as an ‘innovative administrator’.

In one news report, the prime minister vowed he would not delay the decision to fund stadium upgrades at Brookvale, Leichhardt and Cronulla’s Ground Shark Park, despite the Tele campaign.

“Ultimately, I am not answerable to Peter V’landys, I am answerable to the people of New South Wales – they are my priority,” said Perrottet.

If only the Tele had the same opinion.

Tribute to ABC veteran

On Thursday, Anthony Albanian paid tribute to the “sensational career” of the head of ABC’s Parliamentary Office, Louise Yaxley, who has covered politics in Canberra for 28 years.

“She has contributed to the quality of political discourse in this country through her work on AM, PM, The World Today, ABC Current Affairs and ABC News,” he said.

“She is someone who is much loved throughout Parliament and is respected by all who have had contact with her. She brings honor, respect and integrity to the profession of journalism. I pay tribute to her on her last day, which also happens to be the 90th anniversary of the ABC, our national broadcaster.”

Piers Morgan’s Quiet Summer

Next week, Sky After Dark is launching a new program, The World According to Rowan Dean, a new offering from the commentator who warned that after the election we were dealing with “three years of hard left government that will destroy the fabric of this nation” of the Labor government.

Piers Morgan is replaced by Rowan Dean on Sky News.
Piers Morgan is replaced (at least temporarily) by Rowan Dean on Sky News. Photo: Sky News

Normally we wouldn’t be much interested in the Spectator editor’s opinion, but he’s stepping into the 9pm timeslot occupied by Piers Morgan’s global show Uncensored, so we wondered what that meant for Murdoch’s £50 million men. Had the terminally low viewing figures led to a cancellation?

Our British colleague Jim Waterson has written about Morgan’s ratings challenge on TalkTV, a new channel launched by News UK, and in Australia the program doesn’t attract huge numbers either – sometimes it has less than 20,000 viewers.

Sky tells us that Morgan has five weeks of summer vacation, during which he will shoot a documentary about true crime, and that he will return on September 5. But Sky stopped confirming that Morgan will be in the same 9pm timeslot when he returns.

Awkward dinner at Ultimo?

On Friday evening, ABC’s Studio 22 in Ultimo will once again host a celebration of the company’s 90th anniversary. But this event will not be broadcast. It is a private dinner to recognize the importance of public service broadcasting, with speeches from the Prime Minister, ABC chairman Ita Buttrose and MD David Anderson. Guests include the Secretary of Communications, Michelle Rowland, and her liberal shadow, Sarah Henderson, who may be having some interesting conversations after her harsh words about Auntie on Chris Kenny’s ABC doco last week.

The leader of the Greens, Adam Bandt; former MD Mark Scott; and former chairman Donald McDonald will also be in attendance.

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