Before we even begin here, this needs to be prefaced with the fact that the situation at Martin Place in Sydney remains an ongoing one, and one from which very little concrete evidence has emerged. In fact, a statement aired on the ABC – “All we know is a crime is taking place” – remains the truest assessment of the events thus far.

And yet, here we are with this – a rushed out special 2pm print edition of the Daily Telegraph containing potentially one of the most vile, deliberately inflammatory, fundamentally wrong and wholly speculative front covers in the sordid history of Australian print media.

Labelling it a “death cult” and deliberately referencing IS, whilst simultaneously showing the faces of the people currently being held against their will, represents precisely the kind of fearmongering that was not needed in this situation whatsoever; the kind of pot stirring and public baiting we haven’t seen since Alan Jones used his talkback radio platform to turn a flickering ember into a raging inferno in Cronulla back in 2005.

This country is far better than weak bullshit like this. Be above it, even when others aren’t.

Photo: Tom Steinfort via Twitter.