In which our intrepid hero quibbles over accuracy in journalism.

One of my bugbears with the media in this country is how lightly journalists bandy about words like “bravery” and “hero”. It’s wrong, sloppy and, frankly, it breeds idiocy in our society. We could use fewer idiots.

I don’t mean to diminish the poor girl’s suffering, but this report is a case in point:

A teenage girl attacked by a shark in Tasmania bravely hit back at the man-eater and screamed for help, her elder cousin and rescuer says.

Had she given up and force-fed herself down the shark’s gullet, would we laud her compassion: Girl gives up life so that flake may live? No, but acting sensibly and—let’s face it—instinctively somehow becomes morphed into the ultimate act of courage.

It happens a lot in sports reporting, too. Let’s be brutally honest here. As much as sports journalists would have you believe otherwise, Brett Lee (to pick a name at random) is not a hero; he simply hurls objects at little brown men in an entertaining manner.

Edmund Hillary was brave. John Simpson Kirkpatrick was a hero, as was the man who risked his life to rescue his cousin from shark attack in the Tasmanian surf.

Slapping these titles onto mere survivors and showmen only cheapens the sacrifice of those who truly deserve them.