I asked the Australian Naming Authority that I just made up, and they said it was fine

I’m one of the founders of the pro-marriage Australian Family Lobby – an organisation which, despite… no, because of its name, actually advocates for the opposite of the far-right Australian “Family” Association and Bill Muehlenberg’s “Family” Council of Victoria (that campaign against families) and Jim Wallace’s Australian “Christian” Lobby (that seems obsessed with things Christ never talked about). Unlike those cranks, we’re rather conservative – we think marriage is a good thing, a positive for both society and couples, and something that should be encouraged.

(Yes, when we stop being ludicrously busy we should probably update the site at some point.)

Anyway, that’s why I was particularly amused by the market fundamentalists at the shadowy Institute for “Public” Affairs setting up an “Australian Environment Foundation” to campaign against the well-known environmental organisations, as discussed on Monday night’s Media Watch. The IPA is obviously well aware that journalists are lazy, and they’ll publish a media release by any old loons if the name they choose for their organisation sounds like it’s important and credible.

And, after all, there’s nothing particularly dishonest about the name of the AEF. Just because they campaign for policies that damage the natural environment doesn’t mean they’re not campaigning for an environment. A polluted hellscape is still an environment. And if there’s enough of it, it becomes the environment, too.

And even if you do take “environment” to mean “natural environment”, it’s not like the name has to indicate which side on that subject the organisation takes. The Cancer Council actively fights against cancer. Why shouldn’t the Australian Environment Foundation actively fight against the cancer of an unspoiled, commercially non-viable natural environment?

Don’t impose your hangups on them.

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33 responses to “I asked the Australian Naming Authority that I just made up, and they said it was fine

  1. The link to Australian Family Lobby take you to a Spyware spam page…

    I think you’ve been hacked.

  2. And when I tried a second time it worked…

    As you were…

  3. So look – I know some of you think I’ve gone all conservative lately, particularly as my contributions to this site have largely morphed from supportive of Jeremy’s comments to critical of them – but I do want to go on the record as saying that’s not my perception of what’s happened.

    For me, one of the key measures of the value of any political commentary is consistency. Political principles are not things that should be easily discarded, even where their application is inconvenient to a preferred policy outcome (like the carbon tax).

    So in that vein I’d like to quote Jeremy’s words from an earlier post back at him:

    Why does knowing Tankard-Reist’s private theological thinking alter the validity of her publicly-expressed arguments? If Tankard-Reist’s only input on the debate is her words, and her words are flawed – which I agree with Wilson they are – then why does it matter what else she believes?

    I’m sure you can see where I’m going with this.

    If we accept that a private citizen’s contribution to the public debate should be judged on the merit of it’s content (and I do) then how can we simultaneously defend Media Watch’s persecution of Mahrosy’s contribution to the debate over the Murray merely because of her association with the IPA? Is the quality of her science somehow measurable by the company she keeps?

    Either we believe that contributions to the public debate should be evaluated on the basis of their content, or we don’t. We shouldn’t simply abandon this principle because one of our ideological enemies happens to be using it at the moment.

  4. Media Watch didn’t “persecute” Marohasy. They were – as is their brief – critical of the lazy way she was given a free pass by the media. I thought they were fairly clear about it, but there you go:

    Let me be clear. We’re not suggesting anything of the sort. Nor are we disputing the AEFs right to promote her views.

    We are saying that journalists too easily swallow, and pass on without challenge, highly controversial claims put forward in the name of science, by organisations whose agendas aren’t obvious from their names.

    The point is that the media ran this dubious self-reviewed “Australian Environment Foundation” nonsense as if it were uncontroversial and published by some prominent environmental organisation, which it clearly isn’t. They didn’t challenge any of the assumptions, or get a response from any opponents of its views – probably because they didn’t click that the AEF is not the ACF.

    Not that the ACF automatically produces better science than the AEF – but if the ACF, with its reputation, had published a study damning its own affiliated organisations’ views on the Murray-Darling basin, contrary to its own views, then that would’ve been particularly credible and newsworthy – it’d be, as it were, an “admission against interest”. In contrast, if a lobby group linked with cotton growers makes a claim entirely consistent with what their supporters would like, well, the media should be a little more wary of that claim. And in the case of the AEF study, whose “peer review” was by a director OF the AEF, it clearly deserved some skepticism. That it didn’t receive it is probably down lazy journalists making assumptions from the name.

    That was Media Watch’s point. They were criticising the credulous journalists, not the lobbyists.

    I’m not sure where you get the idea I’m “abandoning” principles or somehow “inconsistent”.

  5. We are saying that journalists too easily swallow, and pass on without challenge, highly controversial claims put forward in the name of science, by organisations whose agendas aren’t obvious from their names.

    The implication is quite clear – Mahrosy’s science has potentially been corrupted by her poltical/ideological agenda, and the media should have made this clear to its consumers in order to assist them in evaluating the validity of her argument.

    How is that position consistent with your clearly stated preference that we judge public argument on its merit rather than on the ideological agenda of the person making it?

    What has Mahrosy contributed to the public debate here, other than her words?

  6. Again, it’s about the journalists failing to report her claims critically, or give those on the other side an opportunity to reply.

    The media reports Media Watch highlighted indicate that her work was given a pass seemingly because the organisation name implied it was something akin to an admission against interest, when in fact it’s entirely consistent with their apparent brief. If the Australian Industry Group released that study (with its “peer-review” down entirely in-house), you’d expect the journalists would contact an environmental organisation for a response. They didn’t, and it’s not a big leap to suggest it’s because the IPA-established group called itself the “Australian Environment Foundation” not the “Australian Cotton-growers Foundation” or something.

    No allegation or inference of “corruption” against Marohasy was made.

  7. Splatterbottom

    Yawn! So media Watch did another hit-piece on someone who dared to challenge the Green orthodoxy. It’s not “Your ABC” it’s “Their ABC”. It is only worth watching if you are in the mood for a sanctimonious sermon from a pious leftist loon. If you want to hear Flannery’s loony prognostications, like how the dams will never be filled again, you’ll get it in spades on the ABC, together with a credulous presenter fawning and swooning all the while instead of asking tough questions.

    For now Media Watch is just a publicly funded assault on those who dare to disagree with the progressive platform. After Finklefascist’s star chamber is legislated the “progressives” will be able to shut down non-PC views entirely.

    As for honesty in labeling, the Greens have been failing that test for years. They are in no hurry to advertise the fact that they are little more than an enclave of sad old commos led by a demented old prophet who thinks that the Brisbane flood was caused by the coal industry rather than incompetent dam operators. And when does Flannery ever disclose his financial interests and the benefits that flow from pushing the AGW barrow?

  8. Yawn! So SB posts another rant about diabolical leftists TAKING OVER THE COUNTRY.

    I love it when rightwingers pretend that a party called the Greens shouldn’t have any policies beyond the environment, and that people are STILL – after being warned by conservatives over, and over, and over, and after the Greens repeatedly agree they’re a progressive party – deceived into not realising that the Greens are actually to the left on social and economic issues. (Except marriage – they’re conservative on that question, thinking that marriage is a good thing that should be encouraged between any adult couple capable of consenting to it.)

    Does it bother you, SB, that the “Liberals” are pretty much in no way “liberal”? Or that the “Labor” party regularly sides with employers against workers?

    Truth in political party naming! The Greens must be renamed the Pro-Natural Environment Progressive On Social Issues And Preferring Better Public Services Funded By Taxation Party (just rolls off the tongue). The Liberals can be the Pro-Big Business And Right-Wing Religion But Sometimes Pretending To Have A Place For Libertarians Party. And Labor can be the We Like Trade Unions But Distance Ourselves From Them In Government And On Everything Else We’re All Over The Shop Party.

    As for the subject of the subject of the post – I do like how both Mondo and SB have completely fudged over the issue that Media Watch raised, which is – shouldn’t journalists actually check claims made on a contentious topic by any organisation? Particularly if it’s one they’ve never heard of before, and one their readers might easily mistake for something completely opposed to it?

  9. For now Media Watch is just a publicly funded assault on those who dare to disagree with the progressive platform.

    That’s what gets me riled up – not the fact that Media Watch is attacking shoddy journalism, but that it is inconsistent in its attacks on shoddy journalism.

    Where is the Media Watch story castigating the media for failing to report Flannery’s obvious conflicts of interest? Where are the Media Watch stories attacking outlets that report Global Warming alarmism without providing a countering viewpoint?

    They’re either nonexistant, or they are miniscule compared with the stories going the other way.

    The fact that I’m biased against conservative viewpoint (which I am)shouldn’t prevent me from criticising institutions that are supposed to be bias-free – even if they display my own bias.

  10. Does it bother you, SB, that the “Liberals” are pretty much in no way “liberal”? Or that the “Labor” party regularly sides with employers against workers?

    Ouch! That’s a rock-solid rebuttal.

    shouldn’t journalists actually check claims made on a contentious topic by any organisation?

    I dont think I’m fudging that issue – see my post above.

  11. Splatterbottom

    Jeremy: “shouldn’t journalists actually check claims made on a contentious topic by any organisation?”

    Funnily enough I’ve not seen MW take this point before whenever some deranged leftist gets a free pass on ABC programs. I’ve never seen a comment about Flannery’s financial interests in promoting the AGW scare campaign and I’ve certainly never heard MW complain about that not being noted by journalists reporting the shit he so regularly spews, which is hardly surprising given MW’s highly politicised nature. I’ve never seen MW complain about the lack of disclosure of funding of various Green groups or how policies friendly to the business interests of millionaire Green donors seem to get Green support.

    As I said this one-sided approach of MW is exactly what we can expect from government regulation of the media, all foisted on us because Bob Brown couldn’t handle being caught out lying about Murdoch on the 7.30 report. On this at least, the Liberal party is being truly liberal as opposed to the thin-skinned turd-eating lefty fascists who want to abolish free-speech. The fact is that the internet has not been a boon to these people. There are lot more opinions out there that they cannot control, and now the fuckers want to regulate blogs, even this blog. You must really love that! Oh wait! You haven’t put up even one post complaining about the prospect of being regulated by the government.

  12. As I said this one-sided approach of MW is exactly what we can expect from government regulation of the media, all foisted on us because Bob Brown couldn’t handle being caught out lying about Murdoch on the 7.30 report.

    What the hell are you talking about?

    You haven’t put up even one post complaining about the prospect of being regulated by the government.

    There’s not a prospect in hell of a personal blog like this being covered, and Finkelstein’s hit numbers were obviously way too low. Pure Poison maybe, and that’s fine. I have no problem with being required to publish a correction if we get something hideously wrong. Actually, we already DO have to publish corrections if we get something hideously wrong – or if we anger someone with bags of money to spend – because of how expensive defamation actions are to fight.

    Problem is that the limitation on free speech at the moment, defamation, is a stick that can only realistically be wielded by the rich. Which leaves the rich and powerful free to lie as they like about those without money, because they’ve got no meaningful recourse.

    Funnily enough I’ve not seen MW take this point before whenever some deranged leftist gets a free pass on ABC programs.

    When does that happen? You’ll have to link me to an equivalent of the easy ride being given to the claims Marohasy was making in her supposedly scientific “study”. Peer-reviewed by her own organisation.

    Mondo –

    Where are the Media Watch stories attacking outlets that report Global Warming alarmism without providing a countering viewpoint?

    They’re either nonexistant, or they are miniscule compared with the stories going the other way.

    “Alarmism”? The reason there’s more concern about climate change coverage from media organisations without a barrow to push is that that’s simply where the science is. You’ve got to go with cranks like Monckton or Plimer to give the “denialists” equal coverage.

    But does it really deserve it? Do we give “equal” coverage to Scientologists? Or Flat-Earth theorists? Or people who deny that humans went to the moon? Should we?

  13. “Alarmism”?

    Yes Lefty – alarmism. When an AGW advocate spouts unlikely worst-case scenarios and these are uncritically reported and amplified by the media that’s alarmism. When Flannery predicted our dams could run dry within the next few years and the media hyped the story that was alarmism.

    You’ve got to go with cranks like Monckton or Plimer to give the “denialists” equal coverage.

    I’m not arguing for equal coverage – in fact I don’t believe that media should be forced to provide ‘balance’ in their reporting at all. The media should not be forced to cater to the assumption that most people are too stupid to undertsand that what they read in the paper is not the gospel truth.

    That argument is being promoted by yourself, Media Watch and, ironically, most critics of the ABC. Although apparently only when that ‘balance’ suits the ideological bias of the promoter.

    And SB – “turd-eating leftist fascists”? That’s not constructive.

  14. Splatterbottom

    Jeremy: “What the hell are you talking about?”

    This:

    CHRIS UHLMANN: Didn’t you say back in 2007 that we had to kick the coal habit?

    BOB BROWN: No, I did not. You’re looking at the Murdoch press, where I said back in 2007 we should look at coal exports with a view to phasing them out down the line.

    In fact the Murdoch press wasn’t to blame. They had given Brown a column to spread his hysterical propaganda in which he said: “Australia must urgently kick the coal habit “. It was about this time that Brown cranked up his campaign to intimidate his press critics.

    “There’s not a prospect in hell of a personal blog like this being covered”

    Despite the fact that there is a report to government saying exactly that?

    “I have no problem with being required to publish a correction if we get something hideously wrong. “

    If you get something hideously wrong you should correct it for the sake of your own reputation. The idea of a government deciding what is right and wrong is anathema to democracy.

    “Problem is that the limitation on free speech at the moment, defamation, is a stick that can only realistically be wielded by the rich. “

    This is obviously not true. Ask Mamdouh Habib. If you’ve got a good case there are plenty of ambulance-chaser law firms willing to take you on on a contingency basis. Or maybe the ALP or a friendly union will fund your costs as they did for Thomson and Ludwig.

    “When does that happen?” Virtually every time Flannery is interviewed. Who called him out on his junk science claim of a 60 metre sea level rise?

  15. Splatterbottom

    Mondo: “And SB – “turd-eating leftist fascists”? That’s not constructive.”

    Yeah I know, but at least it is not directed at any individual or, more importantly, any commenter here. The funny thing is that this site often has comments slamming particular groups – “neo-cons”, “right-wingers”, “christians” or “the “christian right” – and no one seems to mind. But I’ve turned over a new leaf, and decided to try to not attack individuals who comment here. Still, I feel the need, in a general way, to express my utter, utter contempt for those who would so easily sell speech down the river and have a government agency regulate political reporting. That is so fucking extreme and so fucking ridiculous that I am reduced to rage each time I think about it. At least I now understand why Americans think the second amendment is so important.

  16. Despite the fact that there is a report to government saying exactly that?

    Yeah, that “hits” figure was stupid. Nobody’s going to implement that. I haven’t heard anybody even defending it.

    If you’ve got a good case there are plenty of ambulance-chaser law firms willing to take you on on a contingency basis.

    On a defamation action? Maybe, if it was extraordinarily straightforward.

    Point is that defamation threats are stick wielded by the powerful and rich. Not by the poor and unconnected. Poor people do not take on News Ltd in a defamation action.

    They had given Brown a column to spread his hysterical propaganda in which he said: “Australia must urgently kick the coal habit “. It was about this time that Brown cranked up his campaign to intimidate his press critics.

    Wait, that’s your example of “government regulation of the media, all foisted on us because Bob Brown couldn’t handle being caught out lying about Murdoch on the 7.30 report”?

    The call for a media inquiry was closer to the time of the “hate speech” stuff where Brown accused News Ltd of blatantly lying about environmental matters, and right after News International was caught out hacking people’s phones. To suggest it was because of a stuff-up on 7.30 (on the ABC) is ludicrous.

    Mondo -

    When Flannery predicted our dams could run dry within the next few years and the media hyped the story that was alarmism.

    They could’ve run dry, but I don’t think the media reported the claim uncritically.

    I’m pretty sure Flannery wasn’t releasing a “peer-reviewed” study he’d done, either. Opinion commentary is a little different from what Marohasy was claiming to do with that report.

  17. I feel the need, in a general way, to express my utter, utter contempt for those who would so easily sell speech down the river and have a government agency regulate political reporting. That is so fucking extreme and so fucking ridiculous that I am reduced to rage each time I think about it.

    It’s also a very misleading way of describing it.

    By the way, do you think we have absolute free speech now? Because we fricking don’t.

    I’d love to tell you how much fair and reasonable comment I’ve seen regularly edited out on another site because certain well-connected people send regular threatening letters from expensive lawyers that a smaller media company (let alone an ordinary individual) simply can’t afford to take on, but I can’t.

    At least I now understand why Americans think the second amendment is so important.

    Talking of “fucking extreme”.

  18. Splatterbottom

    Jeremy: “By the way, do you think we have absolute free speech now? Because we fricking don’t.”

    We should have more of it rather than have it further curtailed. We definitely do not need the government deciding which political statements ought to be censored!

  19. Fear not, SB. Under no proposal being considered would “the government” get to decide to “censor” political statements of opponents.

    And limiting the power of the powerful to squash and effectively limit the free speech of the poor and vulnerable actually increases freedom of speech. Giving them effective carte-blanche to use their power to crush opponents for daring to speak up is the real threat.

  20. By the way, do you think we have absolute free speech now?

    Defamation laws are an important part of a fair judicial system Lefty – you’ve used the threat of defamation before (in a situation where I absolutely believe you were entitled to do so).

    If our current laws allow defamation threats to be abused by the rich, as you say, then surely the appropriate response is to revise those laws so as to remove that aspect – i.e. actually do something real to “limit the power of the powerful to squash and effectively limit the free speech of the poor and vulnerable”

    I fail to see how a new government agency with the power to take sides in media-driven political or ideological debate actually achieves that outcome.

    At least I now understand why Americans think the second amendment is so important.

    That was a weird comment SB – did you realise that the right to free speech is the first amendment, not the second (which is actually the right to bear arms)?

  21. Splatterbottom

    Mondo, the comment about the second amendment was tongue in cheek. The right to bear arms was guaranteed in the constitution, inter alia, to allow the people to control their leaders if they needed a new revolution to defend their rights. It is one of the many checks and balances in the US constitution, as shown by this contemporary comment:

    “Whenever standing armies are kept up, and the right of the people to keep and bear arms is, under any color or pretext whatsoever, prohibited, liberty, if not already annihilated, is on the brink of destruction.”

  22. you’ve used the threat of defamation before

    Being a barrister, I’m hardly the average citizen when it comes to knowing my rights under the law, and in terms of being able to utilise its protections.

    If our current laws allow defamation threats to be abused by the rich, as you say, then surely the appropriate response is to revise those laws so as to remove that aspect

    Got anything in mind? Maybe expand legal aid to cover defamation actions? That’d be very expensive. And there’d be an explosion of litigation. Can’t see any parliament doing it.

    I fail to see how a new government agency with the power to take sides in media-driven political or ideological debate

    I don’t think that’s a fair summary of what Finkelstein proposed.

    did you realise that the right to free speech is the first amendment, not the second (which is actually the right to bear arms)?

    As SB outlines, he knew exactly which one he meant. Which is why it was extreme. Gun ownership a “check and balance”? Only if you’re preparing bloody revolution (and a futile one, if you’re planning on taking on the US military).

  23. Splatterbottom

    It was Jefferson who said:

    “And what country can preserve its liberties, if its rulers are not warned from time to time, that this people preserve the spirit of resistance? Let them take arms. The remedy is to set them right as to the facts, pardon and pacify them. What signify a few lives lost in a century or two? The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time, with the blood of patriots and tyrants. It is its natural manure.”

    I’ve always had mixed feelings about this statement, but it does bear thinking about.

    After the War of Independence there was great concern about a standing army, which was seen as a threat to democracy. One of the things that makes Washington truly great was that he handed in his commission to congress after the revolution, in the manner of Cincinnatus. We have no reason today to fear that the army might turn against the people, but there are certainly many politicians who need to be set to rights.

  24. Got anything in mind? Maybe expand legal aid to cover defamation actions? That’d be very expensive.

    Just off the top of my head I’d suggest that we take the resources, financial and human, currently devoted to the media enquiry and proposed new media watchdog and apply them to the challenge of fixing up our defamation system. There’s tens of millions of dollars right there that could be devoted to the task.

    I admit that I can’t personally solve the problem – but that’s hardly a persuasive reason why we shouldn’t try.

    I don’t think that’s a fair summary of what Finkelstein proposed.

    OK – but can you explain how the proposals he has made will address the problem of defamation being used by the rich and powerful to stifle free speech and debate?

  25. narcoticmusing

    The rules for defamation are quite reasonable (ie the law is fine compared to other areas that have a greater need for reform). The problem, as lefty rightly points out, is the financial barrier to access to justice. While the financial barrier is a good thing in terms of reducing frivolous claims and encouraging parties to sort out problems without the courts – it makes one very poor assumption: that the parties are of equal means. The moment they are not, then the less financial endowed party must seek either a loan, a litigation funder, or legal aid.

    The barrier doesn’t exist for all forms of access to justice. For example, legal aid determines if they’ll assist you first on whether your freedom is about to be clipped (ie. legal aid generally preferences criminal cases where you are going to go to jail over merely financial ones regardless of how rock solid your case it). Litigation financiers may not support you if the Goliath you are going against can harm them too. The harm caused to you due to the defamation may also mean you now cannot get a loan b/c of financial hardship.

    I think Finkelstein did address the lack of recourse for those with less capacity to defend themselves in the review. I’m not sure if you’ve read it, so I’ll wait and find out if you’ve read it (or at least a half decent summary) before I post more as I’m not about to summarise all the mechanisms he went into. But overall, his report was fundamentally about balancing the rights of parties and fairness in light of the completely skewed access to two things: 1) the ability to express views (eg a columnist with a dedicated page in the paper, news show and tv vs simple civilians that he/she defamed) – this also relates to the capacity of the party who was wronged to reply and clear their name etc
    2) the access to justice of a major media outlet with a dedicated legal team and budget vs simple civilian who was harmed.

    Further the report balanced the public interest of the media telling the truth – I’m not sure why people are so upset that Finkelstein, who cited the rapidly decreasing confidence people have in the media due to their constant BS, stated the community expected and deserved better. He pointed out the important role the media plays and that it should not be controlled by government (contrary to what the Hun or SB says the report says). However, he pointed out that their self-regulatory regime was a joke that they openly mocked and without no compliance to their own regime, why shouldn’t the public be able to expect standards.

    Well I said more than I meant – I hope that helps answer your question Mondo.

  26. Splatterbottom

    What is truth, Narcotic?

    Finklestein’s report is an abomination. He is utterly contemptible for allowing himself to be used in this way. No decent or sane person would even take the brief. The government has no business regulating political speech.

    Fuck the thought police!

  27. narcoticmusing

    Sometimes SB, truth is not clear. Sometimes it is.

    If you read the report you’ll see no recommendation for government regulation of political speech. Quite the contrary.

    Yet, the model you endorse allows profit and profit driven interests to regulate free speech, to regulate political commentary, to regulate the information people use to make choices. How do people make informed choices in this environment? What you propose is an oppressive abomination to any semblance of free speech or informed choice. You pretend that what we are told is not already censored, is not already regulated, is not already tainted by an agenda. You pretend that this is what will happen if the media inquiry recommendations are adopted. But it is wrong because your starting assumption that are press is currently free is wrong.

  28. Splatterbottom

    “If you read the report you’ll see no recommendation for government regulation of political speech. Quite the contrary.”

    Sorry, I missed the part which said that political reportage and the expression of political comment was completely outside the scope of regulation of the new government appointed and funded star chamber.

    “Yet, the model you endorse…..”

    I haven’t endorsed a model. Please don’t put words into my mouth.

    “How do people make informed choices in this environment?”

    People are a lot smarter than you give them credit for. Even where you have massive and overwhelming bias such as with the coverage of AGW by the ABC and Fairfax, people still manage to understand that the carbon tax is a crock.

    “What you propose is an oppressive abomination to any semblance of free speech or informed choice.”

    What is that exactly?

    “You pretend that what we are told is not already censored, is not already tainted by an agenda.”

    Will you just stop with the bullshit attributions already! I assume you are well into the narcotics by now. I know that Fairfax is leftist in its political reportage and comment. But that is fine. People have worked them out and they now have no readership to speak of (except among the inner-city smart set) which is precisely why they are going broke. The system seems to work just fine.

    If Bob Brown confined himself to Fairfax and the ABC he wouldn’t need to get all hot and bothered about people with differing views and this bullshit inquiry would never have existed.

    “But it is wrong because your starting assumption that are press is currently free is wrong.”

    You really are quite the loon in this post aren’t you? My starting assumption is that government regulation of political speech is fundamentally evil.

    My point is that we do not need a government funded and appointed inquisition to tell people what can be published. It is bad enough that we have a government funded broadcaster that has been colonised by leftists as their vanity press and political megaphone without having the government interfere in what other people are saying as well.

    The answer to bad speech isn’t censorship. It is more speech. People need to hear different views. They will work the rest out for themselves. Sadly cry-baby Brown and the thin-skinned ALP leadership could not cop the criticism leveled at them so now we have this shameful attempt to stifle free speech.

  29. narcoticmusing

    I apologise if my understanding of your position was incorrect, but I dare say if you read what you’ve said, it does indeed infer there is nothing broken to be fixed. I disagree. I also disagree that Finklestein suggested the government regulate free speech. He did not. Indeed the bulk of his report was about the importance of free speech and of a free media.

    The answer to bad speech isn’t censorship. It is more speech. People need to hear different views. They will work the rest out for themselves.

    We both agree on this SB.

    What we disagree on, I suppose, is how to do this. Without some form of intervention we won’t get it – the media companies have already demonstrated that with their compliance to their own regulations. Nevertheless, I do agree with you that government regulation is not the right idea (albeit I disagree that a body funded by govt can’t be independent of govt – there are some good examples of bodies protected by Parliament and not answerable to governemtn such as the auditor-general’s office).

    I think that what is currently happening with the media distribution and a media that sells ‘news product’ (ie the value in the profit is greater than the value of accuracy) rather than reporting news is damaging. Before I go and make more incorrect assumptions (which I do again apologise for – I am being sincere not sarcastic btw) – can you clarify for me, do you think there is a problem with the meda atm at all? Do you think there is a problem having 1-2 people, maybe 3 at best, controlling the entire stream of mainstream information in terms of the public making informed decisions? (which is the only basis for any impled freedom of speech in the Australian Constitution).

    There is a difference between not knowing if something is the truth (eg when it is too early to tell) and blatant lying when you know full well the truth is other that what you are saying, but then reporting that as fact. You know this. I am suggesting that the media be required to tell the truth as far as they know it and to disclose when something is opinion vs. fact.

    Reporting science, btw, is not ‘leftist bias’ that should be countered with ‘right opinion’ as if right opinion is fact. This is what we are currently seeing on the ABC. Science is science. Opinion is opinion. Science is not left wing any more than religion belongs to the right. And yet, the media treat it this way and it results in a dumbing down of the news and thus the people. I think that we are being misinformed and as there is only one person controlling most of the information what ever he thinks is truth is what truth becomes. That worries me. It worries me almost as much as a 1984-style thought police.

  30. Splatterbottom

    Narcotic, I see Finkelstein’s report as an exercise in pious mendacity. He had a lot of guff on the importance of freedom of speech and a free press, but he then poisoned it with recommendations completely inconsistent with free speech. Anyone with any understanding of the importance of free speech would want the government completely out of the picture. Finkelstein’s argument that the new authority would be some how independent of the government when it is appointed by the government is beyond insane.

    “What we disagree on, I suppose, is how to do this. Without some form of intervention we won’t get it – the media companies have already demonstrated that with their compliance to their own regulations. “

    How to do this??? It’s easy – don’t intervene. The only intervention should be by people with different views publishing those views.

    The press council is an evil in itself. Especially in the hands of Julian Disney. It should be abolished.

    “do you think there is a problem with the meda atm at all?”

    Yes. It is over-regulated.

    The really good thing about for profit media is that it is only in it for the money. It’s motives are much more transparent than those organisations which have an agenda, like the ABC which has been colonised by leftists. Fairfax no longer counts as for-profit media as it has also been colonised by leftists and the ability or even the desire to make a profit has been sacrificed to agenda-driven reporting.

    Let’s say that Rupert was converted by Bob Brown’s recent address to his “Fellow Earthlings”, and he directed that his newspapers uncritically support the Greens. Firstly his editors would revolt at the interference, but even if he overcame that, his circulation would plummet and he would be out of business.

    “Do you think there is a problem having 1-2 people, maybe 3 at best, controlling the entire stream of mainstream information in terms of the public making informed decisions?”

    The mainstream is only mainstream because it sells. People don’t read fringe bullshit because they believe fringe publications are biased. They prefer the Herald-Sun to the Age because they believe the Age is partisan and not to be trusted.

    There are any number of news publishers out there. We don’t hear much about a lot of them because people can’t be bothered reading them. But there is no reason why, say Crikey or Green Left Weekly, should not be more popular than the Australian other than that they are so full of shit. That is why they are so anxious to regulate dissenting voices. Another leftist has just paid $15m to set up the Global Mail. No prizes for guessing which way it will swing. If it can get over its leftist tendencies, there is no reason why it should not provide serious competition to the Murdoch press.

    “Science is science. Opinion is opinion.”

    If we get the great government regulator, the first attack will be on reporting of global warming. The ABC’s excuse for not reporting the sceptic case is that the science is in. No doubt the government regulator will take the same view, let the ABC and Fairfax carry on with their completely one-sided reporting and insist that News do likewise. When it comes down to that, democracy will be well and truly dead in this country.

    AGW isn’t about science. Mann Jones and the rest of the Hockey Team do not practice science in that they will not provide the data which will let their results be tested. The IPCC is a political body and its conclusions are political conclusions. What the IPCC produces is politicised science. It is modern version of Lysenkoism, which is what happens when politics corrupts science.

    “I think that we are being misinformed and as there is only one person controlling most of the information what ever he thinks is truth is what truth becomes.”

    This is nonsense. There are many opinions out there. The ABC is relentlessly and proudly one-sided in the global warming debate. So is Fairfax. What you seem to object to is the expression of dissenting views.

    What we don’t need is for a government regulator setting “standards” so that all news and opinion is the same. What we do need, and what we do have in large degree, is many opinions and points of view so that people can make choices.

  31. narcoticmusing

    Are you suggesting then, that news.corp publications are completely agenda free, objective reports (not including opinion, i am content for them to have bias as that is generally the idea).

    They prefer the Herald-Sun to the Age because they believe the Age is partisan and not to be trusted.

    And that couldn’t be because there has been an orchestrated attempt to monopolise the print media and they are only getting one opinion or only getting the one opinion from multiple sources making it appear as if they all agree but, alas, these multiple sources are all still news corp…?

    You seem to honestly believe that the Herald Sun is the ‘real persons’ paper while the Age is only for this group of liberal-elitists that are to be despised – why? Why is being intelligent or educated to be despised (particularly with the vehemence you generally use) and what makes you think the Herald Sun is any more accurate than the Age?

    This is nonsense. There are many opinions out there. The ABC is relentlessly and proudly one-sided in the global warming debate. So is Fairfax. What you seem to object to is the expression of dissenting views.

    No, the science is there. The science also shows the world is round but we don’t go around convincing people that it is flat so a few vested interests can make a buck (notwithstanding that I also agree there has been inaccuracies in the reporting of AGW and that there are also vested interests there) – but I’m not calling for censorship of opinion or debate. You know this.

    Let’s say that Rupert was converted by Bob Brown’s recent address to his “Fellow Earthlings”, and he directed that his newspapers uncritically support the Greens. Firstly his editors would revolt at the interference, but even if he overcame that, his circulation would plummet and he would be out of business.

    Rubbish. The Australian has been losing money for eons and it is supported to enable its agenda to be spewed forth. It is a disgrace of fully partisan reporting that is allowed to continue due to bottomless pockets.

  32. I’m playing rightwing bullshit bingo and I have a full house based on that last post, SB. Seriously, your comments could not be more right wing showbag if you tried.

    They prefer the Herald-Sun to the Age because they believe the Age is partisan and not to be trusted.

    They don’t read The Age, mind you, so they wouldn’t know personally. But they read in The Herald Sun that it is partisan and not to be trusted. That certainly is the popular view among people paid to write for News Ltd publications. Certainly if you think, say, The Australian is balanced, The Age is going to seem partisan. But it would be hypocritical to call out The Age for being biased while buying and reading any News Ltd paper, considering they’re obviously even more biased.

    Fairfax is a commercial venture. This doesn’t change even if it is colonised by leftists and engaging in agenda-driven reporting. It is no more agenda-driven than News Ltd which is totally colonised by right wingers. The Herald Sun is more popular than The Age but is still in decline, like all newpapers are. You know this. News Ltd papers are heavily conservative, which is why they are more popular with older people like yourself who are demographically more likely to be both conservative and buying newspapers.

    The ABC is funded by the taxpayer. It would be a gross waste of your tax dollars for the ABC to give air time to climate change denial when it has negligble support in the scientific community. When approaching 100 percent of climate experts and all Western governments and major scientific organisations worldwide accept the science of climate change, denialists are at the extreme fringe of the debate. A taxpayer-funded news organisation has no business giving a platform to the science-hating extremist nutjobs peddling the snake oil that is climate change denial. Not all dissenting views require publication by responsible news outlets.

  33. Splatterbottom

    Narcotic: “Are you suggesting then, that news.corp publications are completely agenda free, objective reports”

    Are you suggesting there are any agenda free news outlets? The ABC perhaps? I don’t think there is any such thing.

    “And that couldn’t be because there has been an orchestrated attempt to monopolise the print media and they are only getting one opinion or only getting the one opinion from multiple sources making it appear as if they all agree but, alas, these multiple sources are all still news corp…?”

    I think you have one too many Murdochs under your bed. Obviously you need to confine your argument to print media because otherwise even you could not keep a straight face while making it, and surely you must understand that so confined, your argument is irrelevant since the print media is not the main source of news for most people.

    “Why is being intelligent or educated to be despised”

    It’s not. But being smug enough to think that somehow you better or smarter or part of the intellectual elite and you label people who disagree with you as bogans, white trash or rednecks. Or maybe I just despise the intelligent and educated c*nts at Crikey who thought it was a good idea to refer to Sarah Palin’s handicapped son as “Trig The Mongrel”.

    What I like is the consistency of the intelligentsia – as when intelligent and educated people like Germaine Greer say Gillard has a fat arse. I presume she got a pass from the very same people who would be shrieking blue murder if Abbott made that comment precisely because Germaine is considered more educated and more intellectual.

    If the intellectual elite are what passes for intelligent and educated these days, no wonder those characteristics are not highly valued. Most people are revolted by their hubris and vanity.

    “No, the science is there.”

    What science? And don’t talk about vested interests unless you are prepared to include fools like Flannery and Gore. The climate sceptics aren’t the ones sucking up all the research grants and gaining fame and fortune and falsifying their results for academic stardom like the Polar Bear fraudster, or the Hockey Team.

    The Australian takes a hammering from politicians because they hate the scrutiny it exposes them to. If it wasn’t intended to make a profit, it wouldn’t charge for access. They can’t even give the SMH away.

    Buns, your 100% figure is BS and you know it. AGW is a case study in moral hazard and the co-option of science for political ends.

    If the leading proponents actually behaved in an ethical way (and I don’t mean the ethics ethicist Gleick displayed in Fakegate) I might have some time for them. Once I believed the Team’s Hockey schtick but that was before I realised how little respect they had for scientific process or the idea that their findings should be subject to rigorous scrutiny. A big part of the reason for the Finkelfascist Censorship Board is to shut down criticism of the AGW hypothesis.

    “The ABC is funded by the taxpayer. It would be a gross waste of your tax dollars for the ABC to give air time to climate change denial when it has negligble support in the scientific community.”

    Yep it is not “Our ABC” it is “Their ABC” which is precisely why it should be shut down.

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