What message would you really send by switching your vote from the ALP to the Liberals?

There’s been some discussion in the comments to the previous post about whether it really matters if Abbott becomes PM. Won’t that be a start for fixing the problems in the ALP, from its factions to the corruption they had in NSW to Gillard making promises she can’t keep to their gutless aping of conservative idiocy like mandatory detention?

Well, no. No, it won’t.

Because all of those are things the Liberals – and this current mob of Liberals at that – do as well. Obviously Labor’s anti-refugee policies are nasty and they deserve censure – but the Liberals’ are even worse. The Liberals are riven by factionalism just as much as Labor, and the NSW-style corruption is a factor of the kind of unrestrained power the ALP had there – the kind of power that Campbell Newman is now abusing in Queensland, and – if the polling is right – Abbott would be free to enjoy federally. The best way to minimise big party corruption is with minority government so the government has to negotiate in parliament, rather than behind closed doors. And if anyone thinks the Liberals in power don’t hand out favours to mates and punish anyone who dared stand up to them – again have a good look at Newman and O’Farrell in particular.

(All recent efforts to punish dodgy state Labor governments – NSW, Victoria, Queensland – have led to even dodgier state Liberal governments.)

Gillard’s promise thing is no better or worse than Howard’s “non-core” promises or Abbott’s admission that if it’s not written down, you shouldn’t believe what he says. I think it’s a pretty poor way to campaign, and I don’t vote for parties that do it – but it’s hardly a reason to vote for the Coalition.

So what does happen if you vote LNP to teach ALP a lesson and hopefully get it to reform?

Well, the ALP and the media immediately conclude it didn’t go far-right enough. The dodgiest candidates tend to be in the safest seats, so the party loses such progressive talent that it had and becomes even more of a rabble. They learn that vacuous populism such Abbott’s is the only way to win in Australia and so they start aping it even more (for an example, see Victorian Labor leader Daniel Andrews’ recent idiotic and costly promise to let juries start making pronouncements on appropriate sentences).

Worse, they learn that they must never ever stand up to News Ltd. Whatever Rupert wants from now on, he gets. (As opposed to if the Liberals lose despite the most partisan media campaign the country’s ever seen – that would be a fantatsic slap in the face for “the king maker” and a massive boon for our democracy.)

Meanwhile, if the Liberals get in, that will be considered confirmation that Australians don’t care about refugees, are happy to let people starve on NewStart, oppose marriage equality, want tax cuts for the rich at the expense of public services. It’ll be carte blanche to get on with further castrating the ABC. They’ll flog off to their mates the NBN we’ve paid for, and when the recent mining investment pays off for the miners, the rest of the country will see little of it because they’ll have repealed the MRRT. Australia will abandon action on climate change and give up on trying to persuade other countries to act (at which point we’ll be in the terrifying position of having to hope that cranks like Monckton and Bolt actually were, against all the odds, right and we can throw whatever we like at the atmosphere with no consequence).

If you want to send the message that you do not care about the poor or refugees, that you want Australia run by News Ltd and all future governments to give it whatever it wants to keep it on-side, that you want us to roll the dice on climate change and you don’t care about equality before the law – then by all means, vote LNP. That’s what your vote will say.

If you want to send the message that Labor’s behaviour has been dodgy and you’re disgusted with it and you want them to actually be a progressive party – then the choice is obvious. Vote for the Greens and preference Labor above the Liberals.

That’s what your vote does. It tells the decision makers which way the electorate wants policy to go. In broad terms – further to the right, to inadequate services for the poor, to cruelty to refugees, to whatever Rupert Murdoch wants; or to the left, towards adequate welfare that doesn’t lock people out of employment, to humane treatment of refugees, to civil liberties.

Please be careful with it.

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167 responses to “What message would you really send by switching your vote from the ALP to the Liberals?

  1. Wisdom Like Silence

    Has someone slipped you something in the last couple of days Jez…

  2. and the NSW-style corruption is a factor of the kind of unrestrained power the ALP had there

    Yes, that is a big factor, but I think its more to do with the length of time the government was in power than the size of their majority. (Note the ALP never had control of the upper house here the way Howard did Federally when introducing work choices or the way Newman effectively does with a unicameral legislature. The power to pass too ideologically extreme laws and the power to act corruptly seem to have different causes and different symptoms, although admittedly this is going off a very small data set.)

    However that are factors unique to the ALP’s internal structures etc that seem to make it uniquely vulnerable to corruption and the rest compared to the other prominent parties at present.

    All recent efforts to punish dodgy state Labor governments – NSW, Victoria, Queensland – have led to even dodgier state Liberal governments

    I can’t speak to Victoria, and Queensland sounds pretty bad based on media coverage (not to mention every impression I have is that Bligh was extraordinarily hard done by). But I can say unequivocally that this is not true in NSW. Not even close. The O’Farrell government is so far ahead of where the ALP was by the time it completely imploded in on itself, its absurd to even attempt to make the comparison. And I say that as someone who has close family, friends and colleagues who worked in extremely senior positions within that particular sinking ship.

    The dodgiest candidates tend to be in the safest seats

    Nonsense. Thomson was preselected in a marginal; whereas some of Labor’s best talent sits in very safe lower house seats or equally hard to lose Senate ticket positions.

    Worse, they learn that they must never ever stand up to News Ltd. Whatever Rupert wants from now on, he gets.

    Without meaning to be ghoulish or anything about it, the honest likelihood is that Rupert will be dead relatively soon, so while this may be true its a lot less important than it seems.

    If you want to send the message that Labor’s behaviour has been dodgy and you’re disgusted with it and you want them to actually be a progressive party – then the choice is obvious. Vote for the Greens and preference Labor above the Liberals.

    Not for the first time here, the conclusion is right even with some dodgy intermediate steps in the argument :P

    I’d add one caveat. To those genuinely concerned with corruption and so forth – its really worth paying attention to and researching the individual candidates. Your local ALP candidate has a decent chance of being a beacon of integrity who will help heal the party of its problems, and conversely the Coalition candidate could be rotten to the core and/or one of the Fred Nile/Pauline Hanson/etc grade loonies. Same goes for the Greens, Independents, whoever. If you can be bothered, this is also a reasonably strong argument for voting below the line in the Senate.

  3. However that are factors unique to the ALP’s internal structures etc that seem to make it uniquely vulnerable to corruption and the rest compared to the other prominent parties at present.

    Such as, specifically?

    But I can say unequivocally that this is not true in NSW. Not even close. The O’Farrell government is so far ahead of where the ALP was by the time it completely imploded in on itself, its absurd to even attempt to make the comparison.

    Yep. And this is precisely how the ALP will lose the next election. They’ll pick up seats in Queensland and Victoria on the back of Newman and Ballieu’s respective fuckery, but it won’t be enough to offset the seats they’ll lose in NSW where O’Farrell isn’t nearly as hated as the NSW ALP still are.

  4. O’Farrell ahead of the game now that’s a laugh. By nearly every measure, crime, transport, infrastructure, health, education etc. have gone backwards under O’Farrell. All the things he so heavily lambasted in opposition that are now worse, he and the media that were right alongside him back then, are mostly silent on.

    O’Farrell is only ahead because he’s been running around doing fluff pieces and keeping a low profile whilst promising big fixes way way down the track after some committee looks at it, something he canned the previous government for doing. In fact O’Farrell’s government is littered with things he heavily criticised the previous government for but are now apparently OK because it’s him in power.

    O’Farrell hasn’t had the downfall of Victoria and Queensland because he’s been going softly softly whilst in very small baby steps doing the things that have rightly had the other Liberal governments denigrated. But make no bones about it, O’Farrell is still undertaking the same undermining of the State and it might be a term or two longer than the other Liberal States but he will come a cropper the same way.

  5. Such as, specifically?

    The rigidity and scale of the factionalism. That Obeid could tell the Terrigals to tell the Right Caucus to tell the ALP caucus to tell the Parliament what was going to go down was bad. The Libs and Greens etc have factions, but they don’t get that mirco, and they don’t control votes that strongly.

    The homogeneity of the source of the candidates. Too many ex-union representatives and political staffers. And I say this as the very proud grandson of a union rep and son of a political staffer. Such people definitely need to play a prominent role the in party, but its way too prominent at the moment. Again, the other parties have this, but again, its not as bad.

    For example if someone were to tell me that a career scientist had just been elected as a Federal MP and I had to guess which party they were from, I would put both the Liberals and the Greens ahead of the ALP. That’s bad! Especially since I consider the ALP’s policy platform *more* in sync with current science than either of the others!

    I suspect both these factors, and the rules about how candidates are preselected and national executives are elected and so forth that go with them, play a big part in making the ALP more prone to been a boy’s club than the other parties. And that’s one of the main necessary conditions for outright corruption to become possible.

  6. O’Farrell ahead of the game now that’s a laugh. By nearly every measure, crime, transport, infrastructure, health, education etc. have gone backwards under O’Farrell

    Nonsense. O’Farrell’s done some good stuff, some bad stuff, and its almost certainly too early (partly because he has indeed been going slow :P) to get any reliable indication of what direction any such “measure” is going in, let alone that they’ve all simultaneously gone to shit.

  7. I suspect Newman will be kept on a tight leash by Abbot until the election is over. After that it will be “Game On!”

  8. Chickens will come home to roost in NSW, but probably not until after the election. I just hope that people have enough sense to keep Abbott out of the Lodge. Are the Greens all preferencing Labor?

  9. Splatterbottom

    My top 10 messages to this rotten Green/ALP government would be:

    1. Don’t attempt to impose government regulation of the press. Press freedom is fundamental to democracy, notwithstanding the frothing lunacy of thin-skinned leftists like Bob Brown.

    2. Don’t do the opposite of what you promised immediately before the election in a craven attempt to form government.

    3. Don’t change the refugee policy from one that works to one that lures hundreds of people to their deaths. If you do fuck this up don’t pass off the deaths of hundreds of people with a trite “tragedies happen” comment.

    4. Do not take every opportunity to piss money against the wall. Why not try to be the first Labor government in history to leave the country less in debt than when you took office.

    5. If you have strong prima facie evidence that one of your members is sleazy don’t spend a year mouthing support for him. And when you finally say a line has been crossed, at least tell us what line that was. And don’t do deals with sleazy dropkick speakers to shore up your position. It just looks grubby.

    6. I know your party is a Unionland subsidiary entity, but parliament should not be a sinecure for Union hacks and faction bosses. Why not have a more representative caucus.

    7. Also, the fact that the economy is humming along nicely is not an excuse for letting the unions off the leash. It happens every time and then, after enough economic damage has been done, they unions have to be reined in again.

    8. Enough with the class war rhetoric and the vindictive personal attacks. I know it is your only hope of winning, but it won’t work and you just end up looking like a pack of malicious mongrels.

    9. Don’t introduce further restrictions on free speech. We are fucked as a society when you entrench a right not to be offended in law. It would be much better to roll back existing restrictions on free speech. The funny thing is that when the left were having fun challenging the old conservative world-view in the sixties, free speech was high on their agenda. Now they are the intellectual elite they’ve gone all puritan and turned offence-taking into an art form, and a profitable one at that.

    10. If you say that you will only introduce a carbon price when the country is ready for it, after consultation and community discussion, don’t ignore that promise and ram it through at the behest of the Greens. Most of the country hates the Greens for being a sad collection of old commos and sundry other extremist and most of us resent the fact that you have broken your promises and bent the country over for their policy pleasure.

    And a bonus message would be don’t pretend that you only made up your mind to stab your predecessor on the day of the event when your staff was writing your acceptance speech a couple of weeks before. And when confronted with this don’t get all stroppy and say “Well that is the answer I’m giving you”.

  10. Fascinating list there, SB.

    If I may…? (Wait, of course I may, it’s my blog!)

    1. There are plenty of restrictions on free speech already, it’s just that they happen to enforce the privilege of the rich and powerful. Defamation law, for example, or the concentration of media power. Without any regulation, the present system works to effectively silence people – particularly anyone who’d dare challenge the status quo. Not exactly “freedom”.

    2. It was a dumb promise at the time, but you might quote it honestly – what she said was “There will be no carbon tax under a government I lead, but lets be absolutely clear. I am determined to price carbon.” Which is what she did. Or, if she insisted on doing what Labor does and just conceding the Opposition’s redefinition of reality, maybe she could’ve explained it was a “non-core promise” like Howard’s often were. Anyway, I suspect you voted Liberal and I voted Green so at least both our parties did what we wanted them to. (Well, except for if you voted Liberal in 2007 in reliance on their promise of an ETS that Abbott then broke.)

    3. Howard’s refugee policy didn’t work, and treating refugees humanely doesn’t kill them. The main problem is the fact that the ALP retained too much of Howard’s anti-refugee crap which encourages the sending of dangerous boats. The present policy of both the ALP and the Liberal parties is monstrous and inhumane and cruel and anyone who votes for it should be ashamed of themselves. Locking up children behind razor wire indeed.

    4. They didn’t “piss money up against the wall”. Remember there was a GFC? Do you? If you do, you’re at least more economically competent than the Opposition.

    5. Innocent until proven guilty.

    6. How wonderful it would be to reform both big parties.

    7. In what way have the “unions” been “let off the leash”? The “Fair Work” legislation is incredibly pro-employer. Have you looked at how easy it is for them to crush any kind of industrial action at all?

    8. Yes! Labor! Be silent about the Liberals’ plans to shift the tax burden on the poor and reinforce the privileges of the wealthy! Don’t you know it’s “class warfare” to insist on decent public services?

    9. See 1.

    10. See 2.

  11. Thomson’s not guilty of a crime and shouldn’t go to gaol until proven beyond reasonable doubt before a court. The standard of evidence that a person isn’t fit to be a Labor Party parliamentary representative is lower.

    “The main problem is the fact that the ALP retained too much of Howard’s anti-refugee crap which encourages the sending of dangerous boats.”

    The ALP did pretty a pretty huge chunk what various refugee groups (including the Greens) demanded, and had claimed wouldn’t lead to increases in boat numbers. Boat numbers went up nonetheless – a lot. So of course the demands changed – “obviously this means we should return safe boats and demolish dangerous ones…..” The continued assertion that making the policies more liberal will fix any problems is clearly unfalsifiable nonsense shielding people from reality; if sending back the boats made the situation worse it’d just change

    Its perfectly coherent to demand the end of the evil of mandatory detention while admitting that previously advanced alternatives to it haven’t worked.

    We could trial and end to the racial profiling of people applying for tourist visas, for example. Or let those people who are genuine refugees and have money pay it to us for the right to entry instead of to smugglers. I’m sure the Greens could come up with other ideas if they put their minds to it. But apparently admitting your policies were based on a mistaken belief about reality is a no-no for any sufficiently large political party…….

  12. Splatterbottom

    Jeremy: “There are plenty of restrictions on free speech already, it’s just that they happen to enforce the privilege of the rich and powerful. Defamation law, for example, or the concentration of media power. Without any regulation, the present system works to effectively silence people – particularly anyone who’d dare challenge the status quo. Not exactly “freedom”.”

    That is just juvenile parroting of totalitarian claptrap. Is the fact that there are already restrictions on free speech an argument for more? Really?

    You are right about defamation – it needs a good overhaul along the lines of the US system. Especially the rules that require proof of malice in cases brought by public figures.

    Of course the Green/ALP attempt at imposing government regulation of the media was designed precisely at entrenching the power and privilege of the intellectual elite. It was designed to protect idiot politicians like that clown Brown from being criticised. Poor little darling couldn’t handle his idiotic statements being quoted back to him in interviews.

    The reference to the concentration of media power is another idiot left slogan. The dominant media presence in Australia is the ABC which has been colonised by leftist gits. It should either stop being a leftist plaything or be abolished. But the poor little leftists get their knickers in a twist because people prefer to listen to other media voices than the relentless leftist drivel that pours forth from the ABC. The aim of the left is to limit criticism of it. It has nothing to do with greater diversity at all. Who exactly gets silenced in the current system? There is an army of slavering brown tongues at Fairfax and the ABC waiting to parrot every leftists talking point given to them.

    The real problem Brown and the ALP had was that people were questioning and criticising them and they wanted to shut them up.

    The rest of your points are equally without foundation, but free speech and press freedom is by far the most important issue.

  13. Fuck you’re full of shit, SB. The ABC leftist? Brown seeking to silence anyone who’d dare criticise him? Who gets silenced? Have you not seen News Ltd go to war against ordinary people? Which part of the Finkelstein recommendations criminalised criticism? And when did the ABC last do anything “leftist”? Wait, Leigh Sales dared to grill Tony Abbott until he admitted he was making shit up. And so did Kerry O’Brien. Well, that makes up for all the News Ltd talking points that comprise most of their news coverage then.

    Your last comment managed a spectacular 0 out of 10 for connection with the real world.

  14. And you’re surprised Jeremy??

    Isn’t SB here for his comedic value?

    Can we have a climate change thread – that really brings out the best of SB’s bat-shit crazy far-right conspiracy nuttiness.

  15. Splatterbottom

    “Fuck you’re full of shit, SB.” – Aren’t we all?

    “Brown seeking to silence anyone who’d dare criticise him?” – Yep. That was his intent. Bright young man grows into arrogant old cunt. A warning for us all.

    “Who gets silenced?” – At the moment that would people like Andrew Bolt. There is plenty of scope for all points of view to be expressed in this electronic age. It is just that not many people really want to bother with the extremist bullshit of Green Left Weekly or The Conversation or the Global Mail or Crikey. But if Finkelfascist gets his way even your blog won’t be safe. Oh that’s right you’re a lefty so to won’t have to worry. They won’t be coming for you (just yet).

    “And when did the ABC last do anything “leftist”? “ – When were Adams or Faine last on air?

    Wait, Leigh Sales dared to grill Tony Abbott until he admitted he was making shit up. And so did Kerry O’Brien. – They do tend to come from that angle don’t they? Who can forget this ABC house fuckwit?

    “Well, that makes up for all the News Ltd talking points that comprise most of their news coverage then.” – I guess you don’t see anything wrong with the left misappropriating public resources to advance their cause. Neither does Eddie Obeid.

    The Australian gives both sides a fair go. In fact that is what the left really hates – that views which contradict theirs get any coverage at all. Also, Fairfax seems willing enough to spout leftist orthodoxy so why do the left need to colonise the ABC as well?.

    ‘Gadj the real comedy is that the left go completely berserk when other views intrude into their closed-minded world. These new puritans then call for a witch hunt to silence those who dare to differ. Talking truth to the power of the new intellectual elite is a dangerous game these days. I’m just getting a few words in while it is still legal to do so.

  16. Wisdom Like Silence

    SB has a point about lefties and their inability to listen to other points of view.

    Though it’s not like thats a unique trait.

    Half a point.

  17. If I may…? (Wait, of course I may, it’s my blog!)

    Oh my dear Mr Johnson, you had me spluttering my tea at that point. LOL indeed.

  18. The dominant media presence in Australia is the ABC which has been colonised by leftist gits. It should either stop being a leftist plaything or be abolished. But the poor little leftists get their knickers in a twist because people prefer to listen to other media voices than the relentless leftist drivel that pours forth from the ABC.

    How can it be the dominant media force if people prefer to listen to other media voices?

    Also, how could we determine whether the ABC is actually a “leftist plaything”? The people most commonly heard to call it that are the ones who, like you, see all things through a prism of seething hatred of leftists and they’re obviously in no position to judge media bias. That’s not normal. I mean, anyone who thinks The Australian is anywhere near balanced can’t expect to be taken seriously in a discussion of media bias, other than among fellow members of the hard right.

    In fact that is what the left really hates – that views which contradict theirs get any coverage at all.

    Ironically, in our heavily conservative media landscape, that’s what most leftists will say explains conservatives’ endless crying about the ABC. Conservatives will never be satisfied until the ABC reflects the warped News Ltd worldview.

    Bright young man grows into arrogant old cunt. A warning for us all.

    Too late for some, perhaps.

  19. Wisdom Like Silence

    Can we make fun of everyone involved in the election again? This feels alot like caucus.

  20. “left go completely berserk” – Sb

    Strangely enough SB, the main culprit in going ‘completely berserk’ when encountering views they don’t like, would be yourself; see most of your recent comments.

  21. Splatterbottom

    That is not a transition you will have to deal with Buns. You don’t satisfy the initial criterion.

  22. Splatterbottom

    ‘Gadj, the difference is that while my responses may be colourful at times, unlike the left, I actually believe in free speech and a free press. So you won’t find me trying to roll back the enlightenment or trying to co-opt the law to silence those who disagree with me. That is the exclusive domain of the dog-fucking left. Fortunately there are still a few libertarian leftists around who understand that free speech is the most important freedom of all. Sadly among the leftists the dog-fuckers seem to be gaining the ascendancy. I blame the Greens.

  23. You advocate that the government of the day should be able to shut down the ABC if it doesn’t like the coverage it’s getting. It shouldn’t have editorial freedom, but rather be beholden to the government. So you don’t entirely believe in “a free press”. We don’t need to look any further than your comments in this thread to call out that lie.

    You also cheer the US government’s due process-free execution of its own citizens for doing nothing other than exercising their Constitutionally guaranteed right to free speech.

    So I say you are a hypocrite and a liar.

  24. Darn “leftist” ABC.

    And darn leftists “silencing” Bolt. Fuck, if that man can’t lie about individual aboriginal people from his giant newspaper soapbox, what will he be left with? His radio appearances? His TV show? He’ll be like an un-person!

    Fortunately we still have the “Greens should be destroyed at the ballot box” Australian to provide some neutral, objective coverage amidst the fascist tyranny of the Gillard years.

  25. “trying to roll back the enlightenment” – SB

    In fact, that’s exactly what we see from the radical-right and the reactionary conservatives.

    Hence their rabid response to what they call ‘the left’, which stands for broadening democracy and reducing entrenched privilege.

  26. I doubt whether things have changed that much in the last few years:

    ” researchers from the Australian National University, the ABC Television news is the most pro-coalition of them all.”

    http://news.smh.com.au/breaking-news-national/abc-is-right-wing-study-20090902-f83m.html

  27. Crud I meant to call you “DOCTOR Johnson”, of course. That’ll teach me for trying to be clever.

    Mind you, I think I’m pretty well ahead in the “clever” stakes than is SB. Seems like he’s grumpy ‘cos someone took away his moonshine and shotgun. And maybe his banjo.

  28. SB’s comments about free speech are completely valid – it still stuns me to see professed left-wingers like Jeremy arguing for greater regulation of speech in Australia. It’s totalitarian nonsense and anyone standing with or behind that position ought to be ashamed of themselves.

    The concept of defending speech even when you don’t like what the speaker is saying used to be a core tenet of liberalism – a political principle that acted as a clear line in the sand.

    It’s sad to see so many succumb to the urge to shield their sacred orthodoxies through suppression of opposing ideas. I thought we were past that.

  29. Splatterbottom

    Buns: “You advocate that the government of the day should be able to shut down the ABC if it doesn’t like the coverage it’s getting. It shouldn’t have editorial freedom, but rather be beholden to the government.”

    Of course I didn’t say any such thing. The question is why you wrote that lie: Was it (a) you can’t read; (b) you can’t reason; (c) you are only capable straw man arguments.

    Ditto your second paragraph.

    This somewhat undermines your conclusion, but to your credit this time you prefaced your abuse with an attempted argument. At this rate you might even make sense in a few years time.

    Oh Jeremy. Once you claimed to be a libertarian leftist. Now you support suing people for their speech. Inevitably the left always tends to totalitarianism. Whether it is shutting up their critics or seeking to “suspend democracy” as Greens candidate Clive Hamilton would have it or hunting down Andrew Bolt and beating him within an inch of his life as another Greens candidate Andrew Quall suggests. (Talk about the rehtoric of violence in politics – most parties would have turfed Quall, but the Greens still have him on their website, presumably because they have no problem with his exhortations to violence.)

    ‘Gadj, see above. I don’t know what the radical right are up to but I support free speech, due process and representative government. I once though the moderate left did too, but obviously that doesn’t include the extremist Greens.

  30. Now you support suing people for their speech

    I’m pretty sure I was being critical of our present defamation laws, actually.

    But yes, I am prepared to recognise limits on free speech – particularly in a completely lopsided “playing field” where carte blanche gives the powerful an unfettered ability to crush the powerless. “Free speech” where rich and poor alike are free to use their newspaper empires to destroy opponents… yeah, that’s only really “freedom” for the people with the power in the first place. It’s not “freedom” for those who have no voice and no ability to be heard.

    Meanwhile, nobody is advocating criminalising criticism. (Some “totalitarian” I am, given this comment thread.) The Greens aren’t proposing that newspapers can’t criticise them – just that there be some equivalent to the defamation laws so that outright smears and lies have some consequence. What, you’re saying it does no damage to our body politic when you can have a newspaper empire outright lying about groups with no adverse consequences?

    Mondo and SB – are you both advocating for a massive change to the status quo where defamation law is abolished? (The Defamation law that advocates of “free speech” like Chris Mitchell and Andrew Bolt and Tim Blair are happy to use to silence critics.) If not, your ranting about totalitarianism is absurd.

  31. Freedom of speech extends both ways SB – Bolt should be free to offend and insult Australians (of all races) just as Quall should also be free to make tongue-in-cheek comments about beating Andy up.

  32. But yes, I am prepared to recognise limits on free speech – particularly in a completely lopsided “playing field” where carte blanche gives the powerful an unfettered ability to crush the powerless.

    Jeremy you have now, on several occasions, suggested that there is a segment of the Australian public who are “powerless” – whose right to be heard is somehow being “crushed”. The suppression of these victims’ rights appears to be the primary basis of your support for greater government regulation of the media (and for discrimination laws which prohibit speech on the grounds that it is likely to offend).

    I’m genuinely unsure of who these victims are Lefty. Specifically – what viewpoints do you believe are currently being excluded from the public sphere due to the influence of a powerful few?

    are you both advocating for a massive change to the status quo where defamation law is abolished?

    Why would a free speech advocate favor the abolition of defamation law? A belief that people should be free to say what they believe is not inconsistent with a belief that people should be held responsible where their false speech results in material damage to another.

  33. Splatterbottom

    Jeremy: “I’m pretty sure I was being critical of our present defamation laws, actually.”

    I thought you were referring to the recent Bolt case, in which he was found to be in serious breach of the Racial Discrimination Act. Wasn’t that a pathetic case – Merkel QC likens Bolt to the Nazis and Mordy Bromberg laps it up. And here was me thinking that Hitler analogies were deeply offensive to Jews after reading of Mark Dreyfus’ recent confected and hypocritical outrage.

    ““Free speech” where rich and poor alike are free to use their newspaper empires to destroy opponents… yeah, that’s only really “freedom” for the people with the power in the first place. It’s not “freedom” for those who have no voice and no ability to be heard.”

    Yeah right. Bob fucking Brown is a poor powerless muggins with no access to the media. This still comes down to the fact that the thin-skinned Greens can’t stand different points of view being publicised.

    “What, you’re saying it does no damage to our body politic when you can have a newspaper empire outright lying about groups with no adverse consequences?”

    And here is the true stupidity of your argument. For fuck’s sake give people some credit. They are capable of working it out for themselves. The last thing they need is a bunch of new class nanny-state wankers deciding what they can and cannot read by silencing people they disagree with. You sound like some poor dumb old-school commo rabbiting on about false consciousness! The last thing we need is a government regulated press.

    “Mondo and SB – are you both advocating for a massive change to the status quo where defamation law is abolished?”

    I am certainly advocating a restriction on defamation laws which would remove monetary damages and, in the case of politicians and public figures, require proof of actual malice.

    Mondo: “Bolt should be free to offend and insult Australians (of all races) just as Quall should also be free to make tongue-in-cheek comments about beating Andy up.”

    Agreed. I wasn’t suggesting that Quall be dragged before a court as Bolt was. I was merely noting the calibre of candidate the Greens seem fond of and the rank hypocrisy of those who hammered Palin in the Giffords case (for no logical reason at all) but remained silent in the face of Quall’s obnoxious comments.

  34. a newspaper empire outright lying about groups with no adverse consequences?

    Surely everyone here can see that this is the exact reasoning used throughout history by governments/majorities when attempting to suppress the media?

    The opposing viewpoint is always presented as “lies” – as a deceitful attempt to deliberately manipulate and mislead the public (who are, by inference, incapable of seeing the truth as clearly as the author of the regulatory proposal is). It’s never that simple or straightforward and you all know it.

    People of this blog – PLEASE do not give the government increased powers to stifle dissent in the media. Many of you may happen to agree with prevailing public opinionthis time around but that obviously doesn’t mean it’s a good idea to create laws that will effectively suppress non-mainstream viewpoints into the future.

    I can’t believe I actually feel the need to make such a plea to educated and engaged progressives in 2013, but there you go.

  35. The suppression of these victims’ rights appears to be the primary basis of your support for greater government regulation of the media (and for discrimination laws which prohibit speech on the grounds that it is likely to offend).

    I’ve never been in favour of “offence” being the basis of any action whatsoever. But “had harm caused to” certainly should be.

    If you can’t identify any groups who are comparatively powerless to withstand a “Free Speech-off” against a big media company… you might want to examine your privilege.

    Why would a free speech advocate favor the abolition of defamation law? A belief that people should be free to say what they believe is not inconsistent with a belief that people should be held responsible where their false speech results in material damage to another.

    But the latter is precisely what we’re talking about with the dreaded “government regulation” in question. Nobody has ever suggested that “criticising the Greens” should be an offence.

    I thought you were referring to the recent Bolt case, in which he was found to be in serious breach of the Racial Discrimination Act. Wasn’t that a pathetic case – Merkel QC likens Bolt to the Nazis and Mordy Bromberg laps it up.

    That is a ludicrously inaccurate summary of the proceedings.

    I suppose you’d have still had a problem if the people he defamed had simply sued him for defamation?

    Yeah right. Bob fucking Brown is a poor powerless muggins with no access to the media. This still comes down to the fact that the thin-skinned Greens can’t stand different points of view being publicised.

    The Greens don’t have a massive tabloid empire, no, so their “voice” to counter the lies told about them by newspapers that have declared they want them “destroyed” is hardly equivalent.

    And yet they haven’t called for the silencing of the Murdoch rags. Only that there be consequences when they lie. Point me to the part of any of the proposals which prevent “different points of view being publicised.”

    give people some credit. They are capable of working it out for themselves. The last thing they need is a bunch of new class nanny-state wankers deciding what they can and cannot read by silencing people they disagree with. You sound like some poor dumb old-school commo rabbiting on about false consciousness!

    And you sound like some crazy postmodernist humanities student confused about the existence of reality. There’s no objective truth! Everything is true! Even the bits that contradict the other bits!

    And sure repeatedly lying to media consumers day after day doesn’t alter their perception of reality! That’s why advertising totally doesn’t exist.

    I am certainly advocating a restriction on defamation laws which would remove monetary damages and, in the case of politicians and public figures, require proof of actual malice.

    Why remove monetary damages? What if the harm maliciously inflicted genuinely costs a victim a considerable amount of money?

  36. Surely everyone here can see that this is the exact reasoning used throughout history by governments/majorities when attempting to suppress the media?

    Give me any evidence that anyone’s trying to “suppress” the media. You might as well start banging on about taxation as “state-sponsored theft”.

    The opposing viewpoint is always presented as “lies” – as a deceitful attempt to deliberately manipulate and mislead the public (who are, by inference, incapable of seeing the truth as clearly as the author of the regulatory proposal is). It’s never that simple or straightforward and you all know it.

    Yeah. Fortunately we have independent courts that determine questions of fact using evidence.

    People of this blog – PLEASE do not give the government increased powers to stifle dissent in the media.

    Nobody’s doing that.

  37. BTW I love that conservatives are terrified of there being any kind of regulation of enormously powerful media empires – but giving the government the power to lock people up indefinitely without charge doesn’t bother them at all.

    I know which one looks “totalitarian” to me.

  38. I’ve never been in favour of “offence” being the basis of any action whatsoever.

    Strange, then, that you didn’t object to the prosecution of Andrew Bolt under laws that criminalise speech based on whether it gives offence or not (you would undoubtedly be aware that the action against him under s 18C of the RDA hinged on his comments being characterised as offensive)?

    Perhaps you did object and I’ve simply forgotten. It wouldn’t be the first time I’ve made such an error.

    If you can’t identify any groups who are comparatively powerless to withstand a “Free Speech-off” against a big media company… you might want to examine your privilege.

    Help me out here Jeremy. Assume my ‘privilege’ is blinding me to the current suppression of viewpoints in Australian media – can you provide a single example so that I can evaluate where you’re coming from?

  39. BTW I love that conservatives are terrified of there being any kind of regulation of enormously powerful media empires

    Well that’s a strawman unworthy of you Jeremy.

    Objecting to the current proposal to further regulate the media is the equivalent of opposing “any kind of regulation of enormously powerful media empires” is it?

    You and I used to mock people for arguing that way.

  40. Splatterbottom

    “That is a ludicrously inaccurate summary of the proceedings.”

    It was an obscene emotive lie designed to influence the judge, which it apparently did. It makes an utter mockery of your comment:“Fortunately we have independent courts that determine questions of fact using evidence.”

    “I suppose you’d have still had a problem if the people he defamed had simply sued him for defamation?”

    Absolutely – the law of defamation should not be used to stifle political discussion. But at least in defamation proceedings the process is not in itself the punishment as it is in the case of the fascist tribunals which administer the ghastly hurt feelings laws.

    “There’s no objective truth! Everything is true! Even the bits that contradict the other bits!”

    As if I’m saying that! My point is that people can work it out for themselves. That approach is far better than having a government appointed truth tribunal. Especially one appointed by a government built on lies and deception.

    “BTW I love that conservatives are terrified of there being any kind of regulation of enormously powerful media empires – but giving the government the power to lock people up indefinitely without charge doesn’t bother them at all.”

    That has nothing to do with me, as you should know from my comments on the Howard sedition laws. That basically is the difference between us – you have become the complete ideologue whereas I take issues on their merits. When is the last time you departed from the Green’s playbook? You don’t even seem to be able to condemn them for keeping that rancid idiot Quall on their books!

  41. I was critical of the Greens when a few of them endorsed that Moylan idiot. When was the last time you condemned the Liberals?

    Absolutely – the law of defamation should not be used to stifle political discussion.

    Wait, so you think defaming people is a legitimate part of political discussion? And it doesn’t bother you how much that kind of free for all effectively silences those without access to the biggest soapboxes?

    Objecting to the current proposal to further regulate the media is the equivalent of opposing “any kind of regulation of enormously powerful media empires” is it?

    The way you’re doing it, yes. You’re hardly critiquing a specific part of a proposal: your criticism is governments daring to have a role in regulating media output. If there’s a distinction between what you’re saying and that “strawman”, please, elucidate it.

  42. Splatterbottom

    “Wait, so you think defaming people is a legitimate part of political discussion?”

    Did I say that? My argument is that public figures have to meet a higher standard in order to bring a case. Defamation covers a lot of territory. How much to you think Ellis shout have paid Abbott and Costello.

    “your criticism is governments daring to have a role in regulating media output”

    I don’t know about Mondo, but the government should keep right out of that area. There is no chance they will improve matters and, if history is any guide they will abuse their power.

  43. Well, for example, I support laws that prevent the concentration of media ownership. That’s a form of media regulation that is (IMO) beneficial and justifiable.

    The end goal should always be maintaining a free, diverse and unfettered range of public opinion and so any policy acting contrary to that outcome should be opposed – whether that requires one to agree with ‘powerful media’ or not. If you believe in democracy you have to believe that all people, even raving nut jobs, deserve to be able to make their case as strongly as possible.

    What really scares the Left – and what really should scare the Left – is that the nut jobs have such a big and receptive audience.

  44. “SB’s comments about free speech are completely valid – it still stuns me to see professed left-wingers like Jeremy arguing for greater regulation of speech in Australia. It’s totalitarian nonsense and anyone standing with or behind that position ought to be ashamed of themselves.” – mondo

    I’m not sure that the regulation of modern media and the concepts of free spech and free press are anywhere near as incompatible as is being suggested.

    A Murdoch empire was likely unthinkable at the time these sacred notions were first proposed.

    And, in essence, these suggested regulations are not much more than what the industry itself claims as its own standards (upheld in theory rather than practice) under self-regulation. The holwing is mostly shock at the thought of being held truly accountable to those standards.

  45. And you sound like some crazy postmodernist humanities student confused about the existence of reality.

    Zing! And that, dear friends, is why I listen to Jeremy “One Step Ahead” Sear.

  46. Splatterbottom

    ‘Gadj: “I’m not sure that the regulation of modern media and the concepts of free speech and free press are anywhere near as incompatible as is being suggested.”

    No doubt there are degrees of government interference, say from minor interference to the full blown leftism of “Darkness at Noon”. The point is that there is no need for government interference at all. Especially now that there are so many avenues for people to get their views out.

    What really annoys the left is that most people steer clear from doctrinaire leftist publications.

    “A Murdoch empire was likely unthinkable at the time these sacred notions were first proposed.”

    The idea of government censorship is ancient, going back at least to the trial of Socrates. The invention of the printing press brought immediate government licensing of publishers. It was a long struggle to throw of that yoke and now the thin-skinned droogs of the left want to reimpose it. The US constitution got it right:

    Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof: or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; of the right of the people peacefully to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.”

    There is plenty of scope for leftists to get their message out, but most people are sickened by the bullshit that entails and so the audience remains confined to the so-called intelligentsia. Also, I doubt many media organisations want to follow the suicidal trajectory of Fairfax as it tailored its output to satisfy a minority readership consisting of inner city latte-sipping wankers.

    As to industry standards, they were introduced under coercion from sensitive politicians and should be abolished, not given the force of law and extended to blogs as Finkelfuckwit would have it.

  47. Of course I didn’t say any such thing.

    You said the ABC should cease being a leftist plaything, or be shut down. Perhaps you could clarify who you intended to make the determination that the ABC is a leftist plaything, and how specifically they should go about it. Apparently, you intended for someone other than the government to make that assessment. Obviously, only the government can shut the ABC down. You must have in mind some objective way of measuring that the ABC is a leftist plaything, and I’m interested in hearing what that is.

  48. I think that ‘s a compelling exposition of the problems with conservatism – holding fast to an idea concieved at a time utterly unlike the situation of the present, as if time has stood still. Sensible and intelligent progress keeps the spirit of those ideals while paying due regard to how that works in the reality of here and now (conservatisms’ utter failure – preferring to cling to old notions). Mills’ argument about individual liberty and government make perfect sense – 200 yrs ago. The protection of indiviidual rights being almost non-existent at the time, hence his compeling concern over the tryanny of govt. Now, that work is continued by the much-loathed ‘progressives’ and ‘lefttists’ who continue to extend protection to individuals against arbitrary power. Not suprisingly, conservatives often find themselves on the wrong side of these debates.

    The ‘free press’ and ‘free speech’ scene is likewise unrecognizable from from Mill et al experience. There was an explosion of publications back them ,with a very local flavour. Access to a range of views, was surprisngly good (somewhat similiar to the advent of blogs), and there was not the massive disparity of reach, scope and impact between individuals and publications that we see now with the ‘bought press’ . The Murdoch press could decide today that you are a total scum-bage, and by tomorrow morning will have successfully communucated that to most of the population of Oz, via TV, newspaprer and radio. You will, of course, have the ‘free speech’ to respond. You might even sue, and will eventually, after much pain and suffering, get some kind of satisfaction, which will garner nothing like the attention of your initial tarring and feathering.
    Part of the problem is that there is a conflation betwen the ideals of journalism and the realties of the commercial press. No doubt there is some deliberate co-option of the former by the latter (see ‘content providers for an advertising platform’). This is something that journalists need to address.

    As for the rest of your anti-left archeo-conservative baiting.

    Yawn.

  49. Sorry, that was to SB.

  50. Also, I doubt many media organisations want to follow the suicidal trajectory of Fairfax as it tailored its output to satisfy a minority readership consisting of inner city latte-sipping wankers.

    I doubt that we couldn’t quickly program a bot to churn out conservative talking points this boringly.

    Media organisations probably don’t want to follow the News Ltd model either, as their publications’ sales are also declining (as you are most probably aware).

  51. While there’s actually a pretty decent debate about the realities of Free Speech going on now amidst the mudslinging, all this thread makes me think is politics is the mind killer :-(

  52. Those trying to regulate political discussion always have some excuse for why things are ‘different’ this time. They always argue that some random aspect of the current climate warrants the imposition of extra control over a media outlet, or of new rules restricting what people can and can’t say.

    Jeremy has his ‘victims’ whose voices are being cruelly silenced by the sheer size of the media conglomerates – although he can’t identify who any of them are or specify how any of their voices have actually been silenced. Gadj laments the failure of modern-day conservatives to stand up against arbitrary abuse of power – although appears completely oblivious to the notion that government might become the arbitrary abuser itself.

    There’s always arguments for and against media regulation but underneath it all everyone is fundamentally trying to do exactly the same thing – game the system to the benefit of their own ideological beliefs.

  53. “Gadj laments the failure of modern-day conservatives to stand up against arbitrary abuse of power – although appears completely oblivious to the notion that government might become the arbitrary abuser itself.” – mondo

    You could respond to what I wrote, or keep tilting at windmills. Your call.

  54. Splatterbottom

    “You said the ABC should cease being a leftist plaything, or be shut down.”

    Yes, and that is quite different to your misrepresentation of what I said, namely: “You advocate that the government of the day should be able to shut down the ABC if it doesn’t like the coverage it’s getting.”

    ‘Gadj: “Mills’ argument about individual liberty and government make perfect sense – 200 yrs ago. The protection of individual rights being almost non-existent at the time, hence his compelling concern over the tyranny of govt. Now, that work is continued by the much-loathed ‘progressives’ and ‘ leftists’ who continue to extend protection to individuals against arbitrary power.”

    You do know that the US constitution pre-dated Mill’s On Liberty by a good seventy years, don’t you? MIll’s book is as relevant now as when it was written as it sets out the basis of human liberty. Unfortunately that includes the freedom to disagree with leftists which is the reason the left wants to impose government regulation of the press.

    And while leftists may believe that they are doing improving matters, they are clearly deluded. Limiting freedom of speech does nothing to protect individuals from arbitrary power.

    Two main defects of leftists are firstly that they are viciously jealous. They hate “the rich”, except of course rich leftists. And they really hate any non-leftist who is male, middle class and white. Second they are arrogant enough to believe that they can make things better. Of course the history of radical change brought on by leftists is hideous, but that does not give them pause for thought. It just seems to make them more determined to shut up their critics.

  55. Yes, and that is quite different to your misrepresentation of what I said, namely: “You advocate that the government of the day should be able to shut down the ABC if it doesn’t like the coverage it’s getting.”

    If it’s your position that a conservative Federal government should be able to make a (completely self-serving and subjective) assessment that the ABC is a leftist plaything and thereafter shut it down, then it amounts to the same thing. Correct me if that’s not what you’re proposing.

    Who decides it’s a leftist plaything, if not the government? Also, how would they judge it?

  56. Maybe SB wants some kind of independent court-type body to evaluate the accuracy and balance of the ABC, but not in a way that means the government is shutting down critics.

    Although he does oppose an independent court-type body evaluating the accuracy and balance of commercial media, because that does mean the government is shutting down critics.

    Look, it makes sense inside SB’s head.

  57. Exactly. No cognitive dissonance required here. No, sir.

  58. Splatterbottom

    Buns the government set up and is responsible for the ABC. If this public resource is significantly biased then it is not serving a public purpose but rather the interests of a particular group within society. Are you suggesting that the government has no right or duty to ensure that this government resource is not biased?

    It is the responsibility of whoever is in government to ensure that the public broadcaster is not politically biased. Now the chances of this Greens/ALP coalition deciding that are vanishingly small because the bias suits them.

    You can actually test for the bias very simply, Buns. Turn on LNL and listen – it is relentless sanctimonious lefty bluster. No balance there. So maybe you can find a program which provides balance by putting a more conservative perspective – oh wait there isn’t one. Or you get sick of the lefty presenters like Fuckwit Faine and look around for someone more conservative but no, none of them either. Not at their ABC!

    No doubt you will find academic studies which purport to prove otherwise, just like you can find an academic to rewrite the Macquarie dictionary when the PM demonstrates her illiteracy, but I’m not buying it.

    The left thinks the public purse is their private piggy bank, and that it is only right and just that the ABC should sprout their view of the world. It is this sickening sense of entitlement that is so contemptible.

    Even more contemptible are those who not only want to regulate their critics in the press but, at the same time want, to subvert the public broadcaster to their own political ends. Their intellectual dishonesty is breathtaking especially when the contend that a decision by a government to close a government broadcaster could amount to a suppression of free speech.

  59. Prolixity is no indicator of profundity – looking at you SB. If’n ya caint say summat worth reading in fewer than 50 words, you’re wasting oxygen.

  60. “You do know that the US constitution pre-dated Mill’s On Liberty by a good seventy years, don’t you? MIll’s book is as relevant now as when it was written as it sets out the basis of human liberty. Unfortunately that includes the freedom to disagree with leftists which is the reason the left wants to impose government regulation of the press. ” – SB

    You do know the ideas in the US Constitution predate the US constitution, don’t you?.

    The principles are fine but their application is context dependent. ‘The right to bear arms’ made a whole lot more sense then, than it does now.

    The conservative rhetoic about government is just that, rhetoric. They are as happy as anyone to aspire to policital power and then use it to implement their preferred agenda…..only possible through the power of government, which they claim to abhor. This internal incoherence and their bias for the status quo makes them rather poor advocates against the abuse of rights via arbitrary power.

  61. SB’s latest diatribe rests on the assumption that ‘bias’ is the same thing as something he doesn’t like.

    Try introducing a fact into one of your rants…. just for variety.

  62. Buns the government set up and is responsible for the ABC. If this public resource is significantly biased then it is not serving a public purpose but rather the interests of a particular group within society. Are you suggesting that the government has no right or duty to ensure that this government resource is not biased?

    Not really. I’m saying it’s not “significantly biased”. Your whining that it is does not substitute for actual proof of it.

    Even more contemptible are those who not only want to regulate their critics in the press but, at the same time want, to subvert the public broadcaster to their own political ends.

    A+ for sophistry, SB. You are the one who wants to shut it down because you don’t like the political content, but it’s the rest of us who want to subvert it to their own political ends. Please. Nice try.

  63. Splatterbottom

    ‘Gadj: “You do know the ideas in the US Constitution predate the US constitution, don’t you?.”

    I do. It is a shame that today’s leftists don’t seem to have as good a grasp of history as the funding fathers. But that was not my point. Rather, my point was that your statement that “The protection of individual rights being almost non-existent at the time” is resoundingly contradicted by the existence of the US constitution more than half a century prior to the publication of Mill’s On Liberty.

    Buns: “A+ for sophistry, SB. You are the one who wants to shut it down because you don’t like the political content, but it’s the rest of us who want to subvert it to their own political ends. Please. Nice try.”

    My point is simple – taxpayers should not have to pay for a blatantly partisan public broadcaster. Obviously you think otherwise.

  64. You could respond to what I wrote, or keep tilting at windmills. Your call.

    Apologies Gadj – I’ll spell my argument out for you to avoid further confusion:

    You argue that the the commercial media needs to be regulated to avoid it exercising ‘arbitrary power’ to the detriment of the people. You further argue that the Left has generally been more willing to address this threat than the conservatives have. For the record I agree with you up to this point.

    However what you don’t seem to recognise is that the commercial media is not the only threat to our freedom – i.e. it is not the only entity whose ‘arbitrary power’ over the media can be exercised to our detriment. Our government also has that power, and is at least as big a threat as a capricious media owner – particularly if we hand it too many tools with the potential to suppress diversity of opinion.

    This threat – the threat from government – is one that the Left has not had such a great track record with. The fight against excessive and unhealthy government intervention has largely been left up to the conservatives of late.

    Gadj – you want to address the potential threat posed by large powerful, self-interested players obtaining too much media power, I get that. But the solution you propose is to give more media authority to a different large, powerful self-interested player.

    That doesn’t seem like a sensible approach to me.

  65. My point is simple – taxpayers should not have to pay for a blatantly partisan public broadcaster. Obviously you think otherwise.

    Of course, I didn’t say any such thing. The question is why you wrote that lie: Was it (a) you can’t read; (b) you can’t reason; (c) you are only capable strawman arguments?

  66. Splatterbottom

    Buns, I encourage you to go on quoting me – you may eventually start to make sense. But here is a clue for you – when you think that taxpayers should continue to fund the ABC you should just admit that it is because you see nothing objectionable in their obvious bias.

  67. I should admit what I don’t believe to be true, and which you can’t prove? That seems hopeful, if not a little desperate. Seeing as your argument has now devolved to “you should just admit I’m right”, we can probably wrap this up for now.

  68. I’ll happily sidestep into this argument and state that no, I do not find anything objectionable about a public broadcaster with an obvious bias – provided that bias acts to balance out prevailing bias in the commercial media.

    As long as a broad and diverse range of views are being made available I don’t particularly care how that diversity is achieved.

  69. Look, it makes sense inside SB’s head.

    And ZING! yet again. Why does the poor boy keep coming back for more? Masochism?

  70. Splatterbottom

    Whatever, Buns.

    Mondo, Fairfax, Crikey, the Global Mail and GreenLeft Weekly have pretty much got the “progressive” angle covered so there is no need for the ABC to cover the same ground. However, I am a bit concerned that Hizb ut-Tahrir is not getting much of a run in the commercial media. Perhaps you should agitate for them to colonise the ABC.

  71. “Rather, my point was that your statement that “The protection of individual rights being almost non-existent at the time” is resoundingly contradicted by the existence of the US constitution more than half a century prior to the publication of Mill’s On Liberty.” -SB

    And square that with slavery, the status of women, child labour etc.

    Thankfully we moved on from there despite the fine sentiments expressed.

    Hundreds of years on from that, we continue to do so, despite the objections of the conservatives.

  72. “My point is simple – taxpayers should not have to pay for a blatantly partisan public broadcaster.” – SB

    You keep saying that. but provide zero evidence.

  73. “However what you don’t seem to recognise is that the commercial media is not the only threat to our freedom – i.e. it is not the only entity whose ‘arbitrary power’ over the media can be exercised to our detriment. Our government also has that power…” – mondo

    I moght not havebeen clear enough with this;
    “his compeling concern over the tryanny of govt. Now, that work is continued by the much-loathed ‘progressives’ and ‘lefttists’ who continue to extend protection to individuals against arbitrary power…”

    but the second sentence was meant to relate to the first.

    “you want to address the potential threat posed by large powerful, self-interested players obtaining too much media power, I get that. But the solution you propose is to give more media authority to a different large, powerful self-interested player.
    That doesn’t seem like a sensible approach to me.”

    My starting point is that self-regulation is a demonstrable failure.

    Given that, the question is, then what?

    My next proposition is that the constraints on govt (legislative and administrative) in relation to personal liberty in a modern western democracy are significntly greter than those imposed by ‘the market’ in the commericial sector.

    Following from that I have far greater faith in a regulatory body (independent) at arms length from government, enacted, guided and guaranteed it’s independance by legislation, than for any other practical proposal I can think of.

  74. My starting point is that self-regulation is a demonstrable failure.

    You and Lefty both. I don’t see it though – for me there is a good diversity of opinion currently spread throughout the Australian media.

    I’ve asked Lefty twice and he’s ignored the question both times – so maybe you can tell me what segments of the Australian population are being ‘demonstrably’ failed by the current media landscape? If your starting assumption is that the current system is a failure then surely you can identify how the current system is failing and who it is failing?

  75. Fairfax, Crikey, the Global Mail and GreenLeft Weekly have pretty much got the “progressive” angle covered so there is no need for the ABC to cover the same ground.

    SB all of the outlets you mention operate in the print media space where, I agree, a biased ABC would be redundant.

    However in both the radio and television spaces there is no progressive voice to counter the prevailing conservatism of all the commercial networks.

  76. Wisdom Like Silence

    Help me Obi Wan Reucastle, you’re my only hope.

  77. mondo,

    I’d argue that most of the population is currently failed by the ‘media landscape’.

    I’ll give just one example – the MSRT.

    Coverage of the policy issue was execrable.

    The commercial media primarily covered it as a political issue, and even then, they acted as little more than mouthpieces for the mega-mining companies, reproducing their talking points almost verbatim from press releases, with nary a hint of scepticism.

    Every Australian with an interest in how government funds public services in the long-term (ie. everyone) was horribly failed by the media performance on this issue (sadly, the ABC was only a little better. Though if it had done a good public broadcasting job on this issue, you’d have people like SB screeching about ‘bias’).

    There are a bunch of over important and complex issues facing the nation, such as an ageing population, what come after the mining boom etc, but you won’t see much of this in the ‘media landscape’, more likely you’ll hear about the latest reality TV star, or who wants to be the leader of which political party.

    These aren’t just nitpicks, these are massive, systemic, fundamental failures.

  78. These aren’t just nitpicks, these are massive, systemic, fundamental failures.

    Come on Gadj – that’s just nonsense.

    What you’re really saying above is that the media is not reporting issues the way you think they should be reported – and you assume that an industry regulator will share your personal bias and force the media to present stories in a way that is more palatable to you.

    It won’t. It will only make things worse.

  79. I think that’s mostly assertion on your part mondo.

    I think that there is a good objective case; compring the political coverage of the MRST to the policy coverage.

    Do you really think that the coverage/analysis of the policy was comprehensive, or even good?? And when was the last time you saw some coverage of the pressing issue of population ageing?

    I’d be interested if you had an objective response, rather than just accussing others of pandering to their own biases ( a tactic fraught with the potential for ‘blowback’).

  80. Gadj I thought the mining tax was a good idea – the original Kevin Rudd one I mean, not the watered down piece of industry-written crap that Gillard delivered. I would have liked to see it implemented against all the carping and whining of the miners and their conservative groupies, but we lost that political fight (thanks, in large part, to the factional corruption of the Labor party).

    Do I believe that ‘better’ coverage of the issue in the media could have led to a different outcome? Perhaps.

    But – and this is the key point I want to make – I only think the coverage was bad because it failed to sufficiently persuade the public towards my desired outcome. Others probably think that the coverage was excellent.

    in other words the media coverage wasn’t objectively bad – it was subjectively bad – and that’s the point all you cheerleaders for further industry regulation seem to miss. You don’t have a monopoly understanding of what ‘good’ journalism is: all you’re really doing is rating individual journalistic episodes on the outcome they achieve (or don’t achieve).

    Do you realise that your counterparts on the other side of the political aisle share your exact belief on this issue? They complain about ‘bad’ reporting and poor journalistic standards with at least the same zeal that you do (possibly more). Hell – sometimes they’re even right.

    When the Liberal Government is next in power and Fairfax, Green Left Weekly and/or the ABC is hammering them over their latest policy, scandal, hypocrisy (or whatever) do you really think you’ll be glad you created a tool they can use to suppress that criticism?

  81. “in other words the media coverage wasn’t objectively bad – it was subjectively bad – and that’s the point all you cheerleaders for further industry regulation seem to miss” – mondo

    Crikey!, I seem to be failing utterly to make myself understood to you.

    I’ve made not the slightest mention of whether I think the MRST is good or bad. I had, or so I thought, made it painfully explicit that I was interested in an analysis of the media coverage.

    I even gave, what I though to be, a reasonably objective criteria for trying to guage this.

    In response, all I get from you is accusations that I can’t see past my subjective feelings on the topic.

    From your last paragraph, I have to assume we aren’t even remotely discussing the same thing.

    I’ll strive to explain myself more clearly in future.

  82. mondo: “that’s the point all you cheerleaders for further industry regulation seem to miss.”

    mondo is just so balanced and reasonable you see gadj. nothing remotely subjective about his views. oh no. not that he’s a extreme right wing nut job or anything, i mean how could he be…he’s just so even and balanced and reasonable and even and balanced and reasonable and all that….LOL.

  83. Gadj – you asked me whether I thought the coverage/analysis of the MSRT was comprehensive or even good – and I answered that question: I thought the coverage was bad. I explained why I thought the coverage was bad and then clearly linked my perspective back to the topic we were discussing – which was whether our media requires greater regulation.

    You, on the other hand, claimed the coverage was ‘execrable’ and that it failed the country – yet despite your claim to the contrary have offered no truly objective basis for this belief.

    But I don’t mean that as a criticism because we’re all the same in that respect Gadj – you, me, the Fox News crowd – all of us. We all view the world through the prism of our internal bias, and we all instinctively see reportage that doesn’t pander to that bias as ‘poor quality’.

    We notice problems in reporting that contradicts our worldview and vindicate ourselves (as you have done) with deluded claims that “I’m beiong objective!” – yet we fail to notice identical problems in reporting that panders to us. Objectivity is simply not possible – human beings cannot ‘evaluate’ media behaviour without their own internal bias ultimately corrupting their point of view.

    Even High Court Judges – arguably the most impartial people in the country – are known to carry bias, that’s why their appointment is such a big deal. What makes you think that a media regulator could rise above personal bias when even our high-court judges cannot?

  84. Wisdom Like Silence

    Confirmation bias.

  85. Exactly right, Wisdom.

  86. Wisdom Like Silence

    :3

  87. Also I seem to look at my watch at 11:11 far more often than I look at it at other times.

  88. Mondo,

    Double crikey.

    “You, on the other hand, claimed the coverage was ‘execrable’ and that it failed the country” – mondo

    No, I didn’t say that. I have no opinion on what it meant for the ‘country’, but to the individuals who are consumers of news and what the quality of coverage might mean for them (and I think it means a lot).

    I asked for some attempt at an objective evaluation of the media’s coverage, but I have to admit you’ve got me flummoxed.
    First it was “in other words the media coverage wasn’t objectively bad “,

    and you again say
    “I thought the coverage was bad….”

    When i expressely wanted to move away from the subjective perspective, something you seemed to agree with (so I thought).
    But no, we’ll all just slaves to own own bais (except you somehow manage to determine that “the media coverage wasn’t objectively bad”).

    Confirmation bias. Really? Is that all you’ve got??
    Maybe I’m overly burdended by hostile media effect?

    Gawd!

    There’s no truth, no objective reality, just differing opinions? Really?
    I’d thought we’d left that kind of parody of post-modernist relativism behind. Apparently not.

    And then this pearl;
    “Even High Court Judges – arguably the most impartial people in the country – are known to carry bias, that’s why their appointment is such a big deal. What makes you think that a media regulator could rise above personal bias when even our high-court judges cannot?”

    Either you’re arguing for the abolition of High Court Judges, or you accept that in principle a regulator can work.

    I have to ask – have you even looked at the IMI report?

  89. Gadj, let me make my position crystal clear so there is no more confusion: in my opinion there is no moving away from the subjective when it comes to evaluation of the media.

    You seem to believe that media ‘quality’ can be measured objectively but I completely reject that proposition. My view is that the media will always be judged subjectively because we all suffer from confirmation bias.

    (BTW this is obviously not the same as arguing that “there is no objective reality” – it beggars belief that you would construct such a ridiculous strawman.)

    My argument is, and has consistently been, that putting a human being (or human beings) in charge of deciding what is and what isn’t valid reporting puts an ideological filter between Australians and the information they receive. And this is not something that’s palatable to me.

    What really gets me is the hypocrisy – there’s no way in the world you (or anyone here) would support this proposal if it was being generated by the conservatives. If a Tony Abbott government was suggesting the creation of a media tribunal you would (rightly) be appalled.

  90. Wisdom Like Silence

    I love when people say something you said in a derivise tone, which is impressive on an internet, as if that is an argument against what you said.

  91. If a Tony Abbott government was suggesting the creation of a media tribunal …

    Pfft … yeah, right. As if Rupert would LET him …

  92. Whoops … formatting …!

  93. ” in my opinion there is no moving away from the subjective when it comes to evaluation of the media…(.BTW this is obviously not the same as arguing that “there is no objective reality” – it beggars belief that you would construct such a ridiculous strawman.)” – mondo

    You are suggesting exactly that – somwhow, unlike most everything else,the media is exempt from any scope to be objectively measured or evaluated. It’s trivially easy to demonstrate that this is false;
    - A quote can be checked to see if it is accurate.
    - do you follow football? If the match report from your tem latest game, had the result reversed, would you shrug your shoulders and accept that it’d all just subjective anyway?

    “My argument is, and has consistently been, that putting a human being (or human beings) in charge of deciding what is and what isn’t valid reporting puts an ideological filter between Australians and the information they receive. And this is not something that’s palatable to me.”

    So you haven’t read the IMI – this isn’t what is suggested.

    “What really gets me is the hypocrisy – there’s no way in the world you (or anyone here) would support this proposal if it was being generated by the conservatives. If a Tony Abbott government was suggesting the creation of a media tribunal you would (rightly) be appalled.”

    Its rarely a good tactic to play ‘mind-reader’ and its not working for you.
    If you want know what I think, just ask me.

    And, for your information, it has been ‘generated by conservatives’ at least in part. The IMI is not a proposal by the govt, but was an inquiry, with many submissions, that made recommendations, which may be implemented, or completely ignored.

  94. “I love when people say something you said in a derivise tone, which is impressive on an internet, as if that is an argument against what you said.” – wisdom

    Arguments that start with a patently absurd contention tend to find their conclusions held, appropriately, in derision.

  95. Wisdom Like Silence

    Considering I was just giving a name to the theory I am particularly confused.

  96. Wisdom Like Silence

    I miss GrodsCorp at moments like these.

  97. Wow Gadj – the “you don’t know what I think but I’m not going to volunteer it unless you ask me directly” schtick was an interesting way to go.

    Anyway from what I can see you’ve only put one substantive argument in your comment above – which is that the IMI does not recomend that we put human beings “in charge of deciding what is and what isn’t valid reporting.”

    Here is the key recommendation, as extracted directly from the Finklestein report:

    8. I therefore recommend that a new body, a News Media Council, be established to set journalistic standards for the news media in consultation with the industry, and handle complaints made by the public when those standards are breached.

    Unless this new council is to be staffed by cyborgs then I fear your claim is categorically wrong.

    Look – there are times when a healthy society requires the State to step in and ‘adjudicate’ on the rightness or wrongness of something. Our judicial system is the most obvious example – a difference of opinion cannot be allowed to stand unchallenged in the context of whether someone has broken the law.

    But it is equally true that a free society should resist the urge to find new opportunities for the State to intervene and pick sides between squabbling citizens. And that is especially true when it comes to our media – who cares if a newspaper gets your team’s score wrong or mucks up a quote – if an objective error can be proved and actually causes real harm to someone then there is already a mechanism by which the aggrieved party can seek redress. It’s called defamation law.

    And if it doesn’t cause real harm – if it just causes offense or annoyance or frustration or lack of faith in the accuracy of a media outlet then what’s the argument for State adjudication?

  98. Wisdom Like Silence

    Big brother gets bored? So we give them stuff to do so they leave us alone?

  99. “Wow Gadj – the “you don’t know what I think but I’m not going to volunteer it unless you ask me directly” schtick was an interesting way to go.” – momdo.

    Well, I’ve tried to have a rational, evidence based discussion with you, but I’m at my wits end.

    Why the need to fabricate quotes and attribute them to me?

    Surely it’s easy to just scroll up a couple of comments and cut&paste?? This is what I said – “If you want know what I think, just ask me”.
    Which was in response to you several times, telling me what I think about an issue. You attribute a conveniently different, less obliging, tone to my comments.

    This is not ‘good faith’ debate, sadly.

    “Anyway from what I can see you’ve only put one substantive argument in your comment above – which is that the IMI does not recomend that we put human beings “in charge of deciding what is and what isn’t valid reporting.”
    Here is the key recommendation, as extracted directly from the Finklestein report:…..Unless this new council is to be staffed by cyborgs then I fear your claim is categorically wrong. ”

    Again, you’ve invented an argument from me.

    Where did I ever even suggest such as thing?

    Cyborgs”???? WTF?
    Of course you can’t have some kind of independant body, that has no human beings as part of it? How could I mean such a thing?
    Why play obtuse??

    This is part I was referring to “deciding what is and what isn’t valid reporting puts an ideological filter between Australians and the information they receive.”
    There is no “ideological filter”, that is obvious. The new body would hold the media to standards that they *already profess to accept and abide by*.

    “And that is especially true when it comes to our media – who cares if a newspaper gets your team’s score wrong or mucks up a quote….”
    I don’t – but you made the grandisoe cliam that media perception is purely subjective. One of the foundation claims of your agrument (so it appreaed to me) was that it was impossible to objectively evaluate the media – I’m glad you’ve given up that absurd claim.
    Which is good because your reliance on defamation law as a corrective (it’s a pretty poor one) would be even further weakened if we were to accept that there is no objective way to evalute reporting.

    {I’d be interested to know if anyone else has found my comments so terribly difficuly to follow. If so, I’ll try to express mysef with greater clarity.}

  100. correction:
    “I don’t – but you made the grandisoe cliam that media perception is purely subjective”
    Ha! Should be “media performance”.

    And apologies for the typos – typing with one hand, baby in the other.

  101. There is no “ideological filter”, that is obvious.

    And with this comment I assume you think you have sidestepped the crux of the argument being put to you – i.e. that human beings are incapable of objectively evaluating the validity of media reporting without being influenced by their internal ideological bias.

    It’s funny because, in reality, your arrogant assumption that you can dismiss my argument by declaring your opinion to ‘obviously’ be the truth perfectly highlights the point I am making. If I were a publisher and you were on the new regulatory board would you force me to retract my statement?

    I’m ‘obviously’ wrong – so why wouldn’t you? What would stop you from deeming my comments to be non-factual statements and, on that basis, using the laws to force their retraction?

    If that’s too hard to resolve then pretend that instead I asserted that Australia has a carbon tax, or that John Howard is a liar, or that the world hasn’t warmed in the last ten years, or that the holocaust never happened? These are all assertions of fact so a government appointed media regulator should probably step in and resolve whether they are true or not, yes?

    Gadj you can cherry pick trivial examples where ‘facts’ are easy to identify (and, of course, you have) but, fundamentally, that is an irrelevant exercise. The threat posed by this regulator is not found in the world of sports, but in the far murkier depths of political reporting.

    And make no mistake – it is in the world of political reporting that the proposed regulator would spend almost all of its time.

  102. Wisdom Like Silence

    He’s got a very zen, there-is-no-spoon argument style.

    The way to bend the argument, is there is no conflict of interest when one group of people are asked to evaluate the skills and accuracy of another group of people who are engaged in an entirely subjective activity.

  103. Wisdom Like Silence

    Namaste.

  104. “’There is no “ideological filter”, that is obvious’ – nawagadj

    “And with this comment I assume you think you have sidestepped the crux of the argument being put to you – i.e. that human beings are incapable of objectively evaluating the validity of media reporting without being influenced by their internal ideological bias.” – mondo

    First, a correction . The power of punctuation! – that comma isn’t meant to be there. It gives a quite a different emphasis than what I intended!
    No sidestepping at all.
    On the point – you’ll be happy that I absolutely agree with you. Subjectivity is an objective reality of the human condition. We have lots of research detailing how pervasive and strong its influence can be. Cog psych always seeming to be throwing up new and interesting forms of it.
    It’s everywhere, unavoidable and a reality. But I have a totally different response to it- so what! It’s so obviously true that it’s banal.
    There are factors that are a red light to action and others that are just something to treat with due care and consideration –subjectiveness is one of the latter.
    You’re happy enough for a judge of jury to decide on defamation cases. There is just as much subjectivity here (likely much more in the case of juries). I’m guessing that you’re not for the abolition of trial by jury.

    Specifically on the ‘ideological filter’ you fear, I object because there is no censor-like function involved in what is proposed. Editors don’t need to submit their copy for approval, but in the event they make demonstrably untrue statements, there may be consequences.

    “It’s funny because, in reality, your arrogant assumption that you can dismiss my argument by declaring your opinion to ‘obviously’ be the truth perfectly highlights the point I am making. If I were a publisher and you were on the new regulatory board would you force me to retract my statement? “ – mondo
    ‘Arrogant’ would be purely subjective, no?
    I don’t think ‘retractions’ are on the table routinely, more like ‘corrections’, which are already a part of the media landscape (albeit with great reluctance.).
    If a paper splashed ‘mondo is a convicted fraudster’ on its front cover, would it be so terrible if they were required to later publish, just as prominently, ‘apologies mondo, we got it wrong’ on the front cover, rather than burying it back on p.57 ?
    I don’t see free speech imperiled there, in my humble subjective opinion.

    “I’m ‘obviously’ wrong – so why wouldn’t you? What would stop you from deeming my comments to be non-factual statements and, on that basis, using the laws to force their retraction?” – mondo

    See above, re: my errant comma.

    “If that’s too hard to resolve then pretend that instead I asserted that Australia has a carbon tax, or that John Howard is a liar, or that the world hasn’t warmed in the last ten years, or that the holocaust never happened? These are all assertions of fact so a government appointed media regulator should probably step in and resolve whether they are true or not, yes? “ – mondo

    No.
    The recommendations are more focussed on individual complaints and responding to specific issues – failure of journalistic standards and ethics. The role is not to monitor the media in the claim-by-claim manner you suggest. Though there is a useful recommendation for a regular ‘State of the Media’ report.

    “Gadj you can cherry pick trivial examples where ‘facts’ are easy to identify (and, of course, you have) but, fundamentally, that is an irrelevant exercise. The threat posed by this regulator is not found in the world of sports, but in the far murkier depths of political reporting. And make no mistake – it is in the world of political reporting that the proposed regulator would spend almost all of its time.” – mondo

    Political reporting is subject to the same journalistic standards as other reporting, and objective facts relating to political reporting are just as amenable to evaluation as facts relating to other matters.

    I think you’re focused to much on politics, and not what the report is about – standards of journalism.

    The IMI report covers many of the questions you raise – bias, free speech, the arguments for and against regulation etc.

    It’s a worth while read.

  105. “He’s got a very zen, there-is-no-spoon argument style.” – wisdom

    It’s just so trivially easy to demonstrate that the idea that media reporting is impervious to any sort of objective assessment, is obviously false, that I’m surprsed that anyone could entertain the notion for more than a nanosecond.

  106. Wisdom Like Silence

    …That’s actually a fair point.

  107. the idea that media reporting is impervious to any sort of objective assessment, is obviously false

    If I concede that that there are imited examples where an item of reporting can be objectively evaluated (for example sports reporting) then will you cease your pursuit of this red herring?

    Can we instead address the substance of the point I have been making: i.e. that the proposal to create a government ‘adjudicator’ of truth in media is bad policy because adjudication of reporting standards (and in particular political reporting) is generally a subjective exercise?

    That accuracy in political reporting is nowhere near as “amenable to evaluation” as you assert?

    The recommendations are more focussed on individual complaints and responding to specific issues – failure of journalistic standards and ethics. The role is not to monitor the media in the claim-by-claim manner you suggest.

    Gadj – if the regulator will respond to individual complaints then by definition it will be monitoring the media on a claim-by-claim basis. Every time some nut-job ideologue decides that the media is ‘lying’ they will be able to complain to the new regulator, who will then be required to adjudicate that claim.

    Can you not see how quickly that process would become totally untenable for our media? The process becomes the punishment. The free flow of information and ideas would obviously be impeded. The media would quickly learn to self-censor in order to avoid the costs and risks involved in dealing with the proposed regulator. The chilling effect on free speech is obvious.

    And all of this for what benefit to Australia? So that those out there who can’t distinguish personal opinion from objective fact will have an avenue through which to channel their delusion?

    Not worth it in my view.

  108. narcoticmusing

    I often watch from the point of view of an insider who knows the reality and it pains me to great amounts that the media do not even attempt to seek facts, nor analyse a goddamn thing. On many topics (obviously not all) I can be pretty objective as the outcome is not the issue I take with the reporting, rather the lack of any reasonable coverage of facts or analysis – as Gadj pointed out. It is an objective truth that there is a lack of truth coming from our media. This appears to be laziness or just a symptom of the 24hr news cycle, more so than Murdoch corp.

    This is not about the subjective slant or lens the media may cast on something – it is about no attempt to analyse, no attempt to actually figure out what is going on. No attempt to enlighten the public with or without bias. Quite frankly, the only reason why political reporting is so subjective is because the media seem quite content quoting sound bites rather than seeking out facts in any way shape or form.

  109. “If I concede that that there are imited examples where an item of reporting can be objectively evaluated (for example sports reporting) then will you cease your pursuit of this red herring? “
    Well, at the very least ‘limited’. Example are in fact trivially easy to come by, and there are plenty of them and are very far from being limited to sport.
    Thought it worth pursuing as from what I understood, it seemed to be a foundation claim of your overall argument, ie there is no possibility to objectively evaluate media performance, so we would have only a subjective regulation, confounded with bias. I agree this is a ‘red herring’ ,but I’m quite sure it was of your making.

    “Can we instead address the substance of the point I have been making: i.e. that the proposal to create a government ‘adjudicator’ of truth in media is bad policy because adjudication of reporting standards (and in particular political reporting) is generally a subjective exercise?
    That accuracy in political reporting is nowhere near as “amenable to evaluation” as you assert? “-mondo

    The proposal is not for ‘truth’ per se (another ‘red herring’ I think). The report talks about journalistic standards and ethics (an important one being accuracy) – the report talks about these in some detail, and yes, they can be objectively evaluated, ie balance- making a claim about X, requires that X is given the chance to respond. Again, very simple to evaluate objectively.

    “The recommendations are more focussed on individual complaints and responding to specific issues – failure of journalistic standards and ethics. The role is not to monitor the media in the claim-by-claim manner you suggest.- nawagadj
    Gadj – if the regulator will respond to individual complaints then by definition it will be monitoring the media on a claim-by-claim basis. Every time some nut-job ideologue decides that the media is ‘lying’ they will be able to complain to the new regulator, who will then be required to adjudicate that claim.” – mondo
    Again, the IMI report deal with this – the ‘tribunal’ would have guidelines for what is worthy of investigating and trivial/vexatious claims would be rejected.

    “Can you not see how quickly that process would become totally untenable for our media? The process becomes the punishment. The free flow of information and ideas would obviously be impeded. The media would quickly learn to self-censor in order to avoid the costs and risks involved in dealing with the proposed regulator. The chilling effect on free speech is obvious.” – mondo

    That requiring the media to live up to their own professed standards might be ‘untenable’ is an interesting observation.

    “Not worth it in my view.” – mondo

    All existing regulation should go too then? If not, why not?

  110. On many topics (obviously not all) I can be pretty objective as the outcome is not the issue I take with the reporting, rather the lack of any reasonable coverage of facts or analysis

    Narc – on what basis do you identify the facts and/or analysis that the media should be reporting/undertaking when discussing a particular issue? It wouldn’t be on the basis of your personal opinion would it?

    You may think you’re being objective but I would challenge that assumption.

    For the record I agree with both you and Gadj that the standard of political coverage in Australia (and pretty much everywhere) is appalling and getting worse. Media is fracturing along ideological lines as it attempts to appeal to specific ‘markets’, and it seems to me that people are less interested these days in getting unvarnished truth and more interested in having their ideological preference pandered to. And even the outlets trying to inhabit the middle-ground are generally just presenting insipid “he said, she said” stenography.

    But I do not think the answer to these problems lies in a government appointed media regulator.

    Too often I have seen vaunted ‘guardians’ or ‘intellectuals’ reach (what I consider to be) extremely flawed conclusions about the reasonableness of something said in the media. As such I am absolutely not comfortable handing anyone the power to make enforceable decisions about what I should or shouldn’t hear – I would much rather be allowed to hear all views, no matter how flawed, biased or even deceptive, and make up my own mind.

  111. narcoticmusing

    Btw – my comment above is not an argument to censor the media – to the contrary, I wish they would actually report something of substance occasionally. Maybe even something that might have enough facts someone would want to censor it. But there is nothing but arrogance and hot-air instead of news out there now. A few dying flames – but having just come back from a hiatus in the US, I can tell you one thing: we do NOT have equal coverage left/right of the media. We do NOT have left wing bias media (MSNBC – now that is a left wing bias, quite entertaining). We do have a centre-right bias but not as harsh as the US (FoxNews also entertaining). There is a far greater representation of all voices in the US media – so I do not think it is a fair to compare Australia with at best 3 voices (fairfax/newscorp/abc) and in many jurisdictions just newscorp/ABC.

    The failure of the complete lack of voices, quality journalism (you know, the occasional analysis rather than just a my 2 cents rant), reports completely devoid of facts – merely, he said she said. No inquiry. No quest for the truth. No fourth estate.

    I have always been overly optimistic about the role the media should play – but that does not occur in this country. The opposition don’t even hold the government to account – too busy point scoring to actually deal with the real issues. The media are just as bad.

    Is the solution a regulatory body? I do not know. The media seems to believe that they already uphold these standards so what should they fear? Nevertheless, the threat of information requiring ‘approval’ before release is a great one, notwithstanding fact checking etc is appropriate, I refer to the threat of State sanctioned information – such as the awful situation in China.

    So I suppose I agree and disagree with most of the views put here.
    Mondo – i reject your assertion that political commentary cannot be objectively assessed. Yes there will always be some subjectivity, as in all things, but as in all things, there can be processes put in place to minimise this.

    Can the State do that? I do not know. I do not personally trust the Feds (of either colour) to be able to acquire sex in a brothel, so my faith in their ability to regulate media is pretty low. That being said, if it was authorised/administered by a Parliament controlled body (ie not merely the government of the day) then perhaps it has a chance providing the decks are stacked.

    As for SB’s primary argument – can we trust them and then the next guys to do the right thing? That is the crux right there. Is that a risk I’m willing to take? No a chance while that fascist Conroy has his fingers anywhere near the pie. And what about the next guy? Hell, it could be Abbott. I wouldn’t trust him controlling my information any more than I trust private corporations.

    J – I hear your point, I really do. And I agree the decks are totally stacked against the poor and defenceless (and yes, SB’s depiction of the Bolt case was WAY off the mark – they only wanted a fucking apology for goodness sake). I also agree with most of the Fink report. I just don’t trust these guys or the next to implement it without shifting the decks behind the scenes. We already get next to no facts – the last thing I want is less facts to appease a regulatory.

  112. ” This appears to be laziness or just a symptom of the 24hr news cycle, more so than Murdoch corp.” – narco

    I think a grea deal of it is structural – diving profit margins are leading to reductions in the number ofjounaists, while the24/7 news cycle ande merging platforms are increasing the demand for content, and on shorter timelines.

    The proposed reforms might be a necessary circuit breaker in a nasty quality/ethical death spiral.

  113. narcoticmusing

    It wouldn’t be on the basis of your personal opinion would it?
    Perhaps sometimes. But most of the time, to be very honest with you, it is out of disappointment that the media do not even attempt to analyse publicly available documents – such as the budget papers – and prefer to just quote politicians. So it isn’t personal opinion, or subjective bias, it is a complete absence of any use of factual material and/or any material available that isn’t merely spoonfed.

  114. ” As such I am absolutely not comfortable handing anyone the power to make enforceable decisions about what I should or shouldn’t hear – I would much rather be allowed to hear all views, no matter how flawed, biased or even deceptive, and make up my own mind.” -mondo

    I haven’t seen or heard any suggestion to that effect, certainly not via the IMI Report.

    Is someone else making such a case??

  115. Mondo Rock: “What you’re really saying above is that the media is not reporting issues the way you think they should be reported”

    I’d say the media isn’t reporting things the way I’d prefer. It’d be fantastic to see the media reporting things evenly, factually, truthfully, and without resorting to childish bullshit like depicting the Greens as evil space aliens on the front of a major daily metro paper.

  116. Splatterbottom

    Indeed Sandinista, everyone knows the Greens are fellow Earthians, not evil space aliens.

  117. Btw – my comment above is not an argument to censor the media

    I completely accept this narc – nobody is arguing in favor of direct media censorship and, to be fair, I doubt anyone here approves of the concept of indirect censorship either.

    What posters here (and elsewhere) argue for is an improvement in the ‘quality’ of our media landscape – I get that.

    My warning, however, is that evaluation of what is (and what isn’t) ‘good quality’ journalism is a process that is hugely distorted by our subjective opinions. We see errors in journalism where that journalism goes against our ideology but we completely fail to identify the same errors where the reporting panders to us (and vice versa).

    Initiatives to ‘improve’ the media are incredibly dangerous things to undertake, not least because we all associate hearing more of what we’d like to hear with ‘improvement’.

    We should treat any and all such proposals with the greatest of scepticism and not the fan-boy cheering we’re currently seeing from people who should know better.

  118. “My warning, however, is that evaluation of what is (and what isn’t) ‘good quality’ journalism is a process that is hugely distorted by our subjective opinions. We see errors in journalism where that journalism goes against our ideology but we completely fail to identify the same errors where the reporting panders to us (and vice versa).” – mondo

    I think you’re getting distracted by a single, albeit real, issue that is just one small part of the overall picture. No one is inventing what constitutes ‘quality’ journalism. The industry and journalists have a fairly close agreement as what constitutes acceptable professional and ethical standards, which I think gives some confidence that these are useful metrics for evaluation. And this is the crux of the issue – no one is suggesting that we go by ‘feel’ about the media’s performance. Using these metrics we can evaluate the success, or otherwise, in adhering to the generally agreed definition of ‘quality’ (which is really professionalism and ethics).

    You keep mentioning, ‘ideology’ and ‘bias’, but in the absence of much in the way of illuminating examples, it’s coming across more like arm-waving in the general direction of an argument.

    “We should treat any and all such proposals with the greatest of scepticism and not the fan-boy cheering we’re currently seeing from people who should know better.” – mondo

    Scepticism isn’t simply opposition. It’s the rational position of not accepting a proposition until there is sufficient evidence to justify belief in it.
    In this case, the IMI has conducted a fairly detailed review of the issues, gathered opinions from relevant parties and looked at evidence, both directly from the media and from the literature, and then rationally argued recommendations based on this material. I find that to be a reasonable process and one that could satisfy a rationally sceptical position.

    As for your ‘fan-boy’ comment, I think I don’t need to explicitly state where you should place that.

  119. You keep mentioning, ‘ideology’ and ‘bias’, but in the absence of much in the way of illuminating examples, it’s coming across more like arm-waving in the general direction of an argument.

    Indeed – just like those terrible arm-wavers who warned that the war on terror would see individual liberties eroded in the name of fighting them terrorists. I’m sure you discarded those warnings also since they didn’t presciently identify exactly what was going to occur.

    I’ve gone into great detail above about how this threat could manifest and the risk of unintended consequences. I hardly think that my failure to identify specific examples is relevant given that the laws have yet to be passed.

  120. Mondo,

    I think if you look back, you’ll see that those who warned of such outcomes, re: the WoT, identified specific problematic proposals and made rational arguments about the consequences.

    ‘Great detail’ is exactly what you’ve missed. You’ve repeated the themes of bias and relativism is a very general way. I’ve tried to draw you into more detail on the specifics of what is in the report, but to no avail.

    If your point is simply ‘beware unintended consequences’, I’d say – sure, no argument.
    But there can be unintended consequences with any course of action. Noting this is not really an argument against acting, merely something to keep in mind.

  121. Wisdom Like Silence

    I’ve come to realise that I don’t care enough about this issue to even speculate.

  122. And it begins. Today we learn that Conroy is lobbying to ban media companies from creating ‘partnerships’ over news and current affair content. Does anyone here not see that this proposal is specifically aimed at curtailing the ability of News Limited to push conservative viewpoints?

    Politicians don’t ‘reform’ the media to ensure balance or freedom or diversity of opition – they do it to stifle criticism and achieve political advantage. Obviously.

    You all see this as clear as day when the Coalition calls for greater ‘balance’ at the ABC, but not when Labor/The Greens try to intervene in the commercial media?

    Why does everyone’s healthy scepticism of politicians only extend to politicians on the ‘other’ side?

  123. “Today we learn that Conroy is lobbying to ban media companies from creating ‘partnerships’ over news and current affair content. ” – mondo

    Is this a recommendation of the IMI report? I don’t believe so.

    That aside, any proposal that limits the seemingly unending concentration of the media to a smaller and smaller numbers of larger players, is, IMHO, most likely a good thing.

    Unless you think increased diversity of voices/sources is a negative for free-speech?

    “And it begins….” – mondo

    Nothing is especially ‘beginning’ today unless you are keen to nominate an arbitrary point as a beginning to fit in with a preferred narrative.

    Media regulation is an ongoing process. Govt of all stripes have been chopping and changing media regulation for decades……mostly to the benefit of the big players, who’ve argued the need for such regulation in the name of ‘competitveness’. Some regulation tending in the opposite direction is no catastrophe.

  124. LOL – I’m sure that Conroy’s motivations are simply to ensure diversity of opinion and not to blunt the effects of News Ltd’s anti-Labor crusade.

  125. But you’re right to note that ‘begins’ was the wrong word – ‘continues’ would have been a far more accurate choice.

  126. “LOL – I’m sure that Conroy’s motivations are simply to ensure diversity of opinion and not to blunt the effects of News Ltd’s anti-Labor crusade” – mondo

    LOL indeed.

    Are you sure you aren’t the victim of your own biases, seeing only Conroy’s anti-News motivation in the announements that grab your attention for their percieved (by you) anti-News purposes?

    Conroy made the first lot of announcements about this area of policy late last year;
    - a decrease in TV licensing fees
    - removal of the 75% coverage regulation for TV owners
    - and a change to Oz content rules.

    All part of Conroys plan to “blunt the effects of News Ltd’s anti-Labor crusade”??

  127. I think Mondo should have a serious look at what’s actually proposed, not what idiots like Andrew “read my column while you still can” Bolt might claim.

    It bears no resemblance to government censorship of opponents.

  128. All part of Conroys plan to “blunt the effects of News Ltd’s anti-Labor crusade”??

    Nope. Also, when he got up this morning and ate breakfast that wasn’t part of his campaign to blunt his media critics.

    It’s only the policies he proposes that will actually have the effect of blunting his media critics that I have a problem with. See, as a functioning human being, I’m able to distinguish between different policies – some I like, some I don’t like. I’m just funny that way.

    Anyway you guys go ahead and continue to believe that Labor/the Greens are pure as the driven snow and would never do anything so gauche as to try to manipulate the media rules for their own gain. You can save your outrage for when the Liberals propose something substantially similar.

    Lefty – for the record I’ve read the IMI report (well – the summary of recommendations up front anyway) and I still harbor significant doubts about the changes it proposes and their potential for suppression of free debate.

    Crazy as it may seem to you our difference of opinion is not based on me being completely uninformed – we’ve actually considered the same source material and come to a different conclusion!!

    Weird huh?

  129. “I think Mondo should have a serious look at what’s actually proposed, not what idiots like Andrew “read my column while you still can” Bolt might claim.
    It bears no resemblance to government censorship of opponents” – JS

    Interestingly, I googled the Conroy thing yesterday and got 5-6 news pieces on this – only one not from News Ltd (all the Oz IIRC).

    All the Oz pieces were horrified, horrified, by the Conroy plan, with some invoking the sacredness of free speech.. blah blah blah.

    Now, being a rather cynical individual, I did have to wonder about this. You might expect a range of views on a topic like this, from a number of journalists.
    So the unanimity has two possible explanations; 1. it really is just a bad idea, and the articles simply reflects that objective reality (ie, that further aggregation within the already restricted media landscape is not a problem in any way shape or form), or, 2. that our fearless ‘professional journalists’, our beacons of free speech, are actually highly attuned to the ideological/business preferences/needs of the large corporation who is their employer, and can be relied on to produce material that supports these preferences.

  130. I’m guessing that the journos think that it’s 1, but that 2 is actually a much bigger factor in their reasoning than they realise.

    There’s also a third likelihood – that their ideological bent makes them suspicious of anything the Labor government does, and they instinctively distrust its policies in a way they wouldn’t if the same proposals were coming from a Liberal government.

    But I’m happy to see at least one segment of our press being adversarial towards government. That is, after all, supposed to be its function.

  131. “It’s only the policies he proposes that will actually have the effect of blunting his media critics that I have a problem with. See, as a functioning human being, I’m able to distinguish between different policies – some I like, some I don’t like. I’m just funny that way.” – mondo

    You’ve painted youself into a bit of a corner with this line of argument.

    If proposals that limit News are Conroy’s plan to blunt it, then proposals that free-up News (such as the previous ones I mentioned) must be to enable it.

    Is Conroy so muddle-headed as to want to simultaneously blunt and enable his critics?

    Ironiclly, your problem appears to be of the type that you fling at others – “you guys…..believe that Labor/the Greens are pure as the driven snow”., ie analysis of quality based on assumed motivation.
    But first an aside – no one has even hinted at any such sentiment that I can recall. May I suggest that your repeated need to ascribe positions to others that they haven’t made, could stem from the weaknesses of your own argument – in content or form.
    Your assumption of the blackest of motivations to Conroy is of the same type, as if I had actually thought that Labor/Greens were ‘pure as the driven snow’.
    Do I think this? No. Self-serving motivation is a reality, in part, for most policy introduced by political parties; will it play well to our base, the swinging voters? etc etc etc. It’s a banal observation.

    Whether it is good public policy or not, is almost completely seperate from the degree to which it might serve the interests of those proposing it.

  132. “I still harbor significant doubts about the changes it proposes and their potential for suppression of free debate.”

    Some specifics would be good, then. Which proposal precisely, with a link to the government’s announcement that they intend to pursue it, concerns you? Which is the terrible government censorship of the press to which you’ve objected above?

    “t I’m happy to see at least one segment of our press being adversarial towards government. That is, after all, supposed to be its function.”

    Um, there’s a difference bw holding the government to account and a relentless smear campaign. The former keeps the government honest. The latter encourages the government to try to corruptly buy off the attackers and to adopt stupid policies that please them.

    And which segment of the media are being adversarial to Tony Abbott? The present outcome is looking like he’ll snake over the line without any pressure being put on him to reveal before the election what he’ll slash and what he’ll flog off. You cannot honestly think it’s a good idea for only one side to receive scrutiny.

  133. Your assumption of the blackest of motivations to Conroy is of the same type, as if I had actually thought that Labor/Greens were ‘pure as the driven snow’.

    I don’t believe that Conroy has “the blackest of motivations” – the corollary of “X is not pure as the driven snow” is not that “X has the blackest of motivations”. To be perfectly honest I can’t say that I wouldn’t act similarly if I were in Conroy’s position – we all know what they say about power corrupting people. I’m not suggesting he is any better or worse than the rest of us.

    He’s facing sustained and prolonged criticism from part of our media that wants to see him turfed out of power, and he’s searching for mechanisms to blunt the effectiveness of those attacks. Who can blame him?

    What he sees as lies and distortions others see as fearless reporting. What Lefty sees as a “relentless smear campaign” others see as “holding the government to account”. What you guys don’t seem to accept is that it all comes down to perspective.

    The exact behaviour being demonstrated by News today will be repeated by Fairfax when the Liberals form government later this year, and when that happens the exact complaints being made by you and Lefty about News will be made by Bolt and his ilk about Fairfax and the ABC.

    And you might find that you regret having handing the Government an additional tool to suppress media criticism when that happens.

    Lefty – for the record it is recommendations 8 – 12 of the IMI report that concern me (for the reasons I have gone into ad-nauseum above).

  134. “I don’t believe that Conroy has “the blackest of motivations” ” – mondo

    Suggesting that he is proposing regulation changes to ‘blunt New Ltd” critcisms of Labor is pretty damning.

    “The exact behaviour being demonstrated by News today will be repeated by Fairfax when the Liberals form government later this year, and when that happens the exact complaints being made by you and Lefty about News will be made by Bolt and his ilk about Fairfax and the ABC.” – mondo

    Then the Tribunal would hold them to account against the suggested standards, and the complaints of “Bolt and his ilk’ would get the same hearing as the complaints of anyone else.

    Sounds fine to me.

    “He’s facing sustained and prolonged criticism from part of our media that wants to see him turfed out of power, and he’s searching for mechanisms to blunt the effectiveness of those attacks” – mondo

    You haven’t come even remoely close to demonstrating how this could work in reality given the recommendations of the Inquiry. It’s all vague allusions of intent and arm-waving.

    Be specific, if you can.

    “Lefty – for the record it is recommendations 8 – 12 of the IMI report that concern me (for the reasons I have gone into ad-nauseum above).” – mondo.

    Yet you think 21 is OK??

    Take out 8-12 and we have just another report doing SFA.
    Is your suggestion to just maintain the status quo?

    I tink we’re well past the point of doing nothing in the hope that it will all fix itself.

    ‘Ad-nauseum’ – with red herrings.

    If these are the best arguments against implementing the recommendations, then they should be implemented fully and immediately.

  135. Take out 8-12 and we have just another report doing SFA.
    Is your suggestion to just maintain the status quo?

    Bingo.

    The media currently serves our interests perfectly well and there is ample diversity of opinion between the various outlets – I think I have been fairly consistent in putting that case above.

    Obviously you hate News Limited because it puts forth views and reportage that runs counter to your ideology. Obviously you would prefer that they just shut the hell up and stop saying things that undermine what you believe to be the objective truth.

    Good for you mate. Welcome to the dirty and imperfect world of human politics.

  136. “Obviously you hate News Limited because it puts forth views and reportage that runs counter to your ideology. Obviously you would prefer that they just shut the hell up and stop saying things that undermine what you believe to be the objective truth.” – mondo

    Thankyou for, yet again, entertaining with your mind-reading skills.
    Maybe this is where your demonstratably wrong assertion about media evaluation being nothing more than subjective has its origins – in your own bent for assigning your perceptions to others.

    But let’s, again, try to wrest an objective rational argument from you (and I don’t mean your repeated assertions that you’ve made a case – I want the case, not the claim you’ve made one)

    If I, or Conroy, want to make someone “shut the hell up” what is the mechanism in these proposals that will allow them to acheive this??

    No arm-waving, no vague allusions, no argument from motivation. An actual concrete explanation of how this works.

    Please.

    As for your ‘perfectly well’ argument on the media’s performance, we just won’t go there, the gap between that and reality is too wide a chasm to broach (nevermind that according to your own argument your claim is worthless, as it’s purely subjective).

  137. Thankyou for, yet again, entertaining with your mind-reading skills.

    You’re welcome.

    If I, or Conroy, want to make someone “shut the hell up” what is the mechanism in these proposals that will allow them to achieve this??

    I’ve made my case. Over and over and over again.

    You obviously either haven’t grasped it or you have simply dismissed it out of hand – but regardless I doubt that me stating it again will make any difference at this point.

  138. “I’ve made my case. Over and over and over again. ” – mondo

    No, not all all. Hence my question.

    Here are your comments that go closest to answering my question;

    “Our government also has that power, and is at least as big a threat as a capricious media owner – particularly if we hand it too many tools with the potential to suppress diversity of opinion.”

    “…to give more media authority to a different large, powerful self-interested player. ”

    “a free society should resist the urge to find new opportunities for the State to intervene and pick sides between squabbling citizens. And that is especially true when it comes to our media”

    It’s all pretty vague.

    This is probably the closest-
    ” The media would quickly learn to self-censor in order to avoid the costs and risks involved in dealing with the proposed regulator. The chilling effect on free speech is obvious.”

    Is the ‘cost’ of issuing a correction of fact or acknowledging the failure to adhere to an agreed standard really so enormous that our ‘perfectly well’ functioning media will just fold like a house of cards??
    Yet you have no problem with defamation law playing a similiar role, where the actual costs may be very substantial. No ‘chilling effect” there?

    Where does this enable Conroy to get critics to “shut the hell up”??
    The mechanism remains mysteriously undescribed beyond a label.

    I’d suggest that the primary ‘chiling effect’ will be on false speech, not free speech.

    This is a terminally weak argument on several counts;
    - the proposed standards are those that the industry already, in principle, accept and abide by
    - there exist govt created bodies that, in theory, do what the new tribunal would do, just ineffectually. You seem to have no problem with their existance, ie regulation.
    - the media tribunal would be a statutory body at arms length from govt
    - the ‘punishments’ available to the tribunal would be far far weaker in ‘cost’ terms (essentialy, little more than embarrassment), than those that exist under a mechanism you support, ie defamation law.

  139. Yet you have no problem with defamation law playing a similiar role, where the actual costs may be very substantial.

    Gadj – defamation law requires there to be actual harm stemming from speech before the courts can get involved and sanction the speaker. This puts it on a fundamentally different level to proposals that will allow a State-appointed body to simply act as an arbiter of speech in the absence of any quantifiable harm.

    This cuts to the very core of my argument – to my mind nobody on your side of this issue has yet been able to identify any public or private ‘harm’ that cannot be addressed by the laws we already have. The status quo is obviously no longer acceptable to you and you believe we need to create a new authority to address . . .well . . . something that’s not currently being addressed.

    But what is this “something”? What great social ill (or threat) is currently so dire that we need to create a new media regulator in order to address it?

    I understand what motivates the Greens in this – they are perpetually appalled that public debate fails to follow their preferred scripts and are always looking for mechanisms to entrench what they believe is the objectively ‘right’ view. I suppose I could also wade through the hundreds of pages of detailed argument in the Finklestein report to try to understand what motivates him – and perhaps I should.

    But I want to understand what motivates you.

    You keep insisting that I explain what’s wrong with the IMI proposals (and I have tried, apparently unsuccessfully, above) but perhaps my response should instead be to ask why you think they are necessary in the first place. I say that it’s inherently dangerous to fiddle with our free speech rights without a bloody good reason – a position that I’m relatively sure you would agree with – so what’s the bloody good reason?

  140. “Gadj – defamation law requires there to be actual harm stemming from speech before the courts can get involved and sanction the speaker. This puts it on a fundamentally different level to proposals that will allow a State-appointed body to simply act as an arbiter of speech in the absence of any quantifiable harm.” – mondo

    The problem for you here is that your ‘actual harm’ under defamation includes harm to reputation – every bit as subjective (maybe even more so) than the purported subjectiveness of political reporting. If you accept this it seems that your grounds for rejecting the proposed tribunal are seriously undermined.

    “This cuts to the very core of my argument – to my mind nobody on your side of this issue has yet been able to identify any public or private ‘harm’ that cannot be addressed by the laws we already have. “ – mondo

    You’ve made one of the arguments yourself quite well– defamation laws deal with a different type of harm; to the individual. Does it apply to concepts like democracy or the public good? No. The existing reg body, ACMA, does very little and certainly is in no position to pursue these larger issues.
    This is predicated on my belief that the media has a vital role to play in modern democracy and that it’s not just a commercial arena where profit is the only valid objective.

    Can defamation law or any other existing laws address these? – no.

    “The status quo is obviously no longer acceptable to you and you believe we need to create a new authority to address . . .well . . . something that’s not currently being addressed.But what is this “something”? What great social ill (or threat) is currently so dire that we need to create a new media regulator in order to address it?” – mondo.

    The answer is there, as you seem to realize – “. I suppose I could also wade through the hundreds of pages of detailed argument in the Finklestein report to try to understand…”
    It’s all in there – the despair of journalists at the state of their profession, the cataclysmally low public regard for our media, the failing business models pushing ethics and standards aside to stay alive, etc etc etc.

    “But I want to understand what motivates you.
    You keep insisting that I explain what’s wrong with the IMI proposals (and I have tried, apparently unsuccessfully, above) but perhaps my response should instead be to ask why you think they are necessary in the first place. I say that it’s inherently dangerous to fiddle with our free speech rights without a bloody good reason – a position that I’m relatively sure you would agree with – so what’s the bloody good reason?” – mondo

    I’ll keep it brief, as my comments throughout answer this question in part.
    Firstly, that the space occupied by the media is a public space made available for the public good as well as a business opportunity. The public interest function is a vital one to the proper functioning of democracy, and in advent of modern media with its historically unprecedented size, speed and reach, we need to constantly review how we protect this.
    The second point relates to this; in a world of rapid change, the knee-jerk conservative response of ‘don’t change it, it was working OK (kinda) before’ is almost certainly wrong. The principles of free speech and a free press are no less valid today than ever, but they now exist in an entirely different context; modern telecommunications, economics, human mobility, modern democracy etc. We need to interpret these and adapt our application of these principles to suit, rather than giving three cheers for free speech and sticking to the old formula because we fear the consequences of thinking for ourselves and so opt for the easy comfort of what already is.

    IMHO opinion, the IMI Report does these things; attends to the principles, looks at the reality of today and makes rational proposals based on the available evidence.

  141. And therein lies the rub Gadj – the ‘harm’ you are seeking to redress with these proposals is not measurable or quantifiable, it is the entirely subjective notion of “harm to our democracy and the public good.” You can measurably harm the reputation of an individual but you can’t measurably harm the reputation of an idea or a concept.

    Those things should always be left open to free debate without any limits whatsoever. The laws should protect individual rights – certainly – but you’re dangerously extending this concept when you suggest that the law should step in and decide what speech is good for “democracy and the public good”.

    You clearly believe that something fundamental has changed in this modern world, and that the way news stories are now being reported is a threat to public debate. That media entities like News limited are poisoning the well of public information through their unrelenting bias and selective reporting.

    I disagree. Not that News Ltd is unrelentingly biased and selective – we have no argument there – but that this represents such a fundamental change in our media landscape that it requires government intervention. Bias has always existed. Selective reporting has always existed. The “something’s different now” argument is ALWAYS trotted out by those looking to interfere in the marketplace of free ideas – it’s ALWAYS the justification used.

    A true progressive would respond to a biased and selective media environment by seeking to expand the range of ideas and opinions presented to the public, not by trying to restrict them.

    As you say above – we should not fear the consequences of thinking for ourselves.

  142. “And therein lies the rub Gadj – the ‘harm’ you are seeking to redress with these proposals is not measurable or quantifiable, it is the entirely subjective notion of “harm to our democracy and the public good.” You can measurably harm the reputation of an individual but you can’t measurably harm the reputation of an idea or a concept.” – mondo

    Have you really thought this through??????

    You’ve argued;
    - that we can’t evaluate media performance objectively, not even the reporting of facts.
    - we can’t measure or quantify democracy or public good (I don’t disagree, but that wasn’t my point)
    - but we can measure ‘reputation’, which, quite amazingly, is not a concept or idea, but a fully quantifiable thing.

    What are the units of measurement? I’d be fascinated to know.

    Not only is this reputation thing objectively measurable, it is more so than the reporting of facts in the media. So much so, that while the relative minor correction of errors of fact are unthinkable, meeting out potentially serious financial ‘punishment’ for harm done to ‘reputation’ is absolutely OK.

    If you really think this, then you’ve some very serious work to do to demonstrate, rather than just assert, that ‘reputation’ is a more quantifiable thing than say, the use of quotes attributed to an individual.

    I’d suggest you have a Sisyphean task ahead of you.

    “You clearly believe that something fundamental has changed in this modern world, and that the way news stories are now being reported is a threat to public debate ” – mondo

    Again, if anyone can make an argument that modern media and e-communication is not significantly different from the context of small local papers that were the common reality of centuries before, that’s an argument I’d really love to see.

    “Bias has always existed. Selective reporting has always existed. The “something’s different now” argument is ALWAYS trotted out by those looking to interfere in the marketplace of free ideas – it’s ALWAYS the justification used. ” – mondo

    And I haven’t argued that human cognitive processes have changed.

    That’s things are different, is of course always true. Change is unending, so the point is real, but trivial. I was arguing (or trying to) that the status quo is the correct position by default, is not a tenable proposition in a rapidly changing world. It’s too much like ‘and so it is written’, for my liking.

    “A true progressive would respond to a biased and selective media environment by seeking to expand the range of ideas and opinions presented to the public, not by trying to restrict them. ” – mondo

    RTFR- it discusses just this.

  143. If facts are published that are objectively incorrect and those facts damage a person (or persons) then our law already contains a mechanism for redress – defamation law.

    (Incidentally the units used to measure damage to reputation are called “dollars”. Read a defamation judgement and have a look at how the courts calculate the value of reputational harm – you’ll find that it’s not arbitrary at all.)

    If facts are published that are objectively incorrect and those facts do not damage a person or persons then why is there an imperative for the State to intervene at all? What’s wrong with simply allowing a free and independent media marketplace to highlight the factual error?

    BTW I’ve not argued that “the status quo is the correct position by default” – that would be a ridiculous position to take. Let me quote myself so that my position is abundantly clear:

    it’s inherently dangerous to fiddle with our free speech rights without a bloody good reason

    Note the difference between that and the strawman version of it you’re trying to sell above.

  144. “(Incidentally the units used to measure damage to reputation are called “dollars”. Read a defamation judgement and have a look at how the courts calculate the value of reputational harm – you’ll find that it’s not arbitrary at all.)” – mondo
    You jest….surely??
    If not….this is impossible. The awarded damages are made in proportion to the degree of damage sustained. How is the degree of damage sustained evaluated? It’s not by the dollar amount, that comes next. So , what is the unit of measure of ‘reputation’ by which we can assess its diminution??

    If you really believe this then we can overcome your objections about the subjective nature of political reporting and we’ll say that poor reporting damages the repuation of public discourse, attach a dollar amount, and bingo, we’ll have an objective system!

    But obviously I jest. There is no objective measure of ‘reputation’. It’s completely and utterly subjective, because it’s a concept (yes, a concept) that rests on the perception of me by others. My reputation doesn’t sit in a filing cabinet at home where it can be weighed or measured, it is constructed entirely of how others view me. Compare this to a quote in a newspaper….well, no, don’t, there is no comparison.

    “If facts are published that are objectively incorrect and those facts do not damage a person or persons then why is there an imperative for the State to intervene at all? What’s wrong with simply allowing a free and independent media marketplace to highlight the factual error?” – mondo

    Damage to public discourse, to democracy, should be of concern, if you believe, as I do, that the nation, society is far more than just a tightly constrained paradigm called the ‘marketplace’.
    Due diligence may be required here when someone dismisses ‘public good’ or ‘democracy’ as just concepts,but invokes ‘free media’ and marketplace’ as solutions.

    “BTW I’ve not argued that “the status quo is the correct position by default” – that would be a ridiculous position to take. Let me quote myself so that my position is abundantly clear:…
    Note the difference between that and the strawman version of it you’re trying to sell above.
    ” – mondo

    No, you haven’t argued that…..and neither have I said that you did. So you accusing me of a ‘strawman’ might be the only strawman going – it is hard to keep track of the different lines of argument at times.

    To put you mind at ease, that comment was a follow on from your question about my motivation, ie I was explaining my own position, not yours.

  145. Splatterbottom

    Defamation is weighted to favour the powerful as their reputations are somehow more important and worth more money. You can see a discussion of the calculation of defamation damages in this judgment from para 280 and the ridiculous amounts awarded, from para 388.

    The fact that an imbecilic grub like Bob Ellis said some nasty things about Abbott and Costello and their wives should not entitle them collectively to $250k+.

    The whole case looks like a monumental waste of resources. Just scroll through the witnesses called. No doubt the legal fees exceeded the damages awarded. In most cases, the remedy should be apology and publication of the truth. Only in the most egregious cases (if at all) should cash be paid as damages.

    At least the US system makes it harder for the rich and powerful to collect insane amounts by way of damages by requiring the plaintiff to show malice in cases where the ‘victim’ is a public figure.

  146. narcoticmusing

    That is frightening but accurate analysis of defamation SB – which is particularly exaggerated in the UK, notwithstanding that there should also be a proportionate remedy for the less-powerful to gain redress when the powerful harm their reputation and/or just plain lie about them and use their power to lie in order to profit from such lies – an example of which I believe was the Bolt case but I know you’ll disagree with me there.

    On another note, if anyone was looking forward to the legislation regarding media regulation, I would hope that the latest announcement from Conroy would give you reason for concern. They are moving the timetable for it forward to rush it in before the election. While I don’t have an issue with it not going to the election per se (it is completely legitimate for a government to do such a thing), my concern lies in the rushed nature of legislation that has the potential to do great harm. Legislation like this needs to be carefully constructed so that the default position is always to enable freedom of speech. Rushed legislation has great potential to be somewhere between faulty and complete rubbish.

  147. that comment was a follow on from your question about my motivation, ie I was explaining my own position, not yours.

    So I ask why you believe that we need to change the status quo of our media landscape and your answer is, in effect, “I don’t default to a view that the status quo is always the correct position”. Seems like a somewhat redundant disclaimer, wouldn’t you say?

    Anyway, arguments about strawmen aside, it’s good to know that your motivation here is the defence of public discourse and democracy – we share significant common ground in that regard. Obviously I don’t share your conviction that political ‘facts’ are so tangible that they can be ruled on by a Statutory Authority, but each to their own I suppose.

    Who knows, maybe we’ll end up getting the new media authority you crave and we’ll be able to see whether it operates to expand or restrict the range of permissable views within our media? If Narc’s understanding above is correct then perhaps you’ll get your wish. The proof, as they say, could be in the pudding.

    In the meantime you’ll forgive me if I naiively continue to give primacy to the “free” aspect of “free and healthy debate”.

  148. “So I ask why you believe that we need to change the status quo of our media landscape and your answer is, in effect, “I don’t default to a view that the status quo is always the correct position”. Seems like a somewhat redundant disclaimer, wouldn’t you say? “ – mondo

    Yes, that would be . But I think that’s not my sole point – arguments are spread out across several comments, so I’ll pull them together here in one place.
    - the report details the many and serious failings of media reporting to adhere to agreed standards of practice. These aren’t exhaustive, but are indicative. There’s plenty of other literature out there, going into this in more detail
    - many journalists themselves are supporting the above conclusions
    - quality journalism is a vital ingredient in our democracy (ie. it’s more than just another ‘marketplace’ activity). For more than a century quality journalism has been ‘subsidised’ by the profitable nature of the platform it uses. That business model is dying a rather rapid death and the consequences are apparent as per the first point above.
    - the size, scope, speed and reach of the modern media is unparalleled in historical terms. This is creating a nasty synergy with the above point.
    - and getting back to my “redundant’ point; in light of these fundamental changes in the media landscape, relying on the status quo because it was adequate in the past seems a weak argument. What we have with the IMI Report is a contemporary look at the issues, changes and problems of our media, and a cogently argued response to that. I find that a much more compelling proposition than ‘don’t fiddle with it’.

    “In the meantime you’ll forgive me if I naiively continue to give primacy to the “free” aspect of “free and healthy debate”.” -mondo

    My feeling is that “free’ is a glittering generality that appeals more to emotion that it does to a sceptical examination of the issues.

  149. - and getting back to my “redundant’ point; in light of these fundamental changes in the media landscape, relying on the status quo because it was adequate in the past seems a weak argument.

    Agreed. Let me know when someone makes it.

  150. ” ” relying on the status quo because it was adequate in the past seems a weak argument. ” – nawagadj
    Agreed. Let me know when someone makes it.” – mondo

    Perahps this earlier exchange counts?

    “Is your suggestion to just maintain the status quo?” – nawagadj
    And your reply was;
    “Bingo.” – mondo

    And this might need clarifying;
    “it’s inherently dangerous to fiddle with our free speech rights without a bloody good reason” – mondo

    Is it “inherently” dangerous to fiddle, or just without good reason?

    If it’s the latter, I think a good case has been made for the good reason vs. your assertion that it’s all working “perfectly”.

  151. Jesus. Here’s the bit you need to focus on Gadj:

    relying on the status quo because it was adequate in the past

    Yes I am arguing for the status quo but my rationale for taking this position is not, and has never been, “because it was adequate in the past”. How would that even make any sense? Obviously I believe that the status quo is still adequate now.

    Have I accused you of arguing that we need change simply for change’s sake? No – that would be equally spurious – I recognise that you believe the media landscape has fundamentally shifted and that this has presented new threats that require new rules.

    (You haven’t been particularly specific about what those threats are, other than generic “things are moving faster than ever before in this modern world” statements, but hey – at least I’m giving you the benefit of the doubt.

    You’re making a bit of a habit out of throwing up absurd strawmen in place of reasoned argument Gadj.

  152. “Jesus. Here’s the bit you need to focus on Gadj:

    relying on the status quo because it was adequate in the past

    Yes I am arguing for the status quo but my rationale for taking this position is not, and has never been, “because it was adequate in the past”. How would that even make any sense? Obviously I believe that the status quo is still adequate now.” – mondo

    I think we are misunderstanding each other a bit here.

    Whether it is working well or not requires an objective assessment. And that requires to look at it’s past performance. Whether that’s over 6 months , or 5 years, it’s the only sensible way of making such a determination (the IMI Report for instance has looked back over the past decade). I’m sure you don’t really think that we can say the media did well today, so therefore “the status quo is still adequate now”?

    I’m sorry I didn’t explain this more clearly, but I thought my use of the term ‘past’ was fairly straightfoward and commonsense.

    Lucky you’re not in “habit out of throwing up absurd strawmen in place of reasoned argument”, huh?

    But this does take us on to an important point. It is vital that a reasoned case is made for change, but no less so that there is a reasoned evidence-based case for ‘steady as she goes’. Otherwise it is just an argument of ‘it worked before’.

    Mondo you’ve made a pretty big call that the media currently serves our interests “perfectly”, but I can’t recall seeing anything other than assertion to this effect.

    Is your subjective opinion enough to gainsay the evidence in the IMI report, or do you have a rational, objective case to make??

  153. narcoticmusing

    In brief, what I can see here is on the one hand, an argument that the media is not fulfilling its role/duty as the 4th estate and that this can be determined objectively (eg lack of facts/analysis due to being beholden to profit driven interests rather than the role of the 4th estate). On the other hand, how does one analyse the media’s performance, particularly on topics that are inherently polarizing of opinion in their nature, without that nature bringing out our own biases.

    Perhaps it is my bias, but I’d suggest just because something is hard doesn’t mean it cannot be done or should not be done. So, just because it is hard to be objective on certain matters, doesn’t mean we should not try to be and get as close as possible. Thus on this matter, I completely agree with nawagadj that we can objectively assess the media, on the whole, based on elements like factual integrity and/or the viewpoints of journalists themselves (who overwhelming think the media standards have dropped and are far too beholden to commercial interests).

    Nevertheless, who should that body be and how should their terms of reference be determined? In this point, I agree with Mondo. It is a great concern that not only will a quasi-government body be responsible (which I don’t have a problem with per se) but as the legislation is to be rushed through, the integrity of the process itself will lack. An example of such an oxymoron was shown in the Vic Liberals production of the IBAC – such corruption involved in the development of an anti-corruption body should be a concern to anyone. Likewise, I’d be concerned in any body setup without integrity in that process/incorporation/rules/etc when its role is to look out for integrity.

  154. Mondo you’ve made a pretty big call that the media currently serves our interests “perfectly”

    I said that it serves our interests “perfectly well” – not that it serves our interests “perfectly”. You really can’t help yourself can you Gadj?

    I’m not the one calling for new powers to regulate the media – you’re the one doing that. I’m not the one claiming that our media landscape is so different now that a new statutory authority is needed. That’s you again.

    I’ve explained why I think extreme caution is required before we hand the government any extra powers to regulate the media. I’ve explained why I find the concept of a statutory media authority dangerous and contrary to the ideal of a free and independent media. I’ve explained that I believe a media with sufficient diversity of opinion already acts as a remedy for what some might consider to be ‘false’ reporting.

    The closest you’ve come to presenting a cogent basis for your demand for change is a wholly insipid and generic claim that today’s media is so appalling that it no longer serves the public interest.

    I call nonsense on that way of thinking. I call it the same old tired reasoning that every proponent for increased regulation of media has ever offered up.

    You’ll forgive me if I retain my scepticism of those who think they have the magical ability to see objective truth over and above their fellow citizens.

  155. Splatterbottom

    “Perhaps it is my bias, but I’d suggest just because something is hard doesn’t mean it cannot be done or should not be done. “

    That is not the point. Certainly since the printing press, and most likely long before, governments have tried suppress dissent.

    The government should have no role in regulating the press. That is a power which is always abused. The press should be free to print what it likes. People can work out what they want to read.

    Here is a clue – the government runs the ABC and can’t even ensure that it is unbiased. Just have look at their coverage of AGW. It is relentlessly slanted to wards the scaremongers. And funnily enough it is the fact that the Australian allows other opinions on that topic to be heard that so enraged Bob Brown. It is precisely those alternative views that the silly old fascist Brown would like to censor. That was how this whole ridiculous nonsense started. And no doubt a lynch-mob of academics could be mustered to say that the science is settled, dissenting views are unscientific and should not be published, and this would be rubber-stamped by a committee of government-appointed leftist apparatchik censors. And that would be the death of democracy.

    The American founding fathers got it right:

    “Congress shall make no law abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press”.

    The reason they got it right is that they believed people can think for themselves. To leftists that very notion is nonsense because people who disagree with them are self-evidently in need of big brother to protect them.

    The funny thing is that the left (in this country at least) was very big on free speech back when they were the dissenters. Now they are the new puritans, the blasphemy laws are back, and they want to shut down dissent.

  156. they want to shut down dissent.

    You know that repeating that claim doesn’t make it true, right?

  157. Splatterbottom

    You know that repeating that claim doesn’t make it true, right?”

    You know that when Brown was criticising the Australian’s attacks on the Greens and its AGW coverage at the same time he was calling for press regulation that shutting down dissent was exactly what he meant.

    It was no surprise then to see in Finkelfuckwit’s report attacks on the way the News Ltd publications reported climate change.

    Shutting down dissent is precisely what these fascists want!

    This is no trivial issue. It goes to the core of our democracy. It is something people have fought and died for, and if these fascist fuckwits get their way, something they may have to fight and die for all over again.

  158. “I said that it serves our interests “perfectly well” – not that it serves our interests “perfectly”. You really can’t help yourself can you Gadj? “ – mondo

    I think I can, but you might need to help me out a bit here.
    I’d have far less issue if you said “serves our interest well.”. If you don’t use the word ‘perfectly’ in the sense of pertaining to perfection, what do you mean by “perfectly well” that is over and above “well”? Is it there just for decoration?
    Another “absurd strawman” from you????

    “I’m not the one calling for new powers to regulate the media – you’re the one doing that. I’m not the one claiming that our media landscape is so different now that a new statutory authority is needed. That’s you again.” – mondo

    That there are significant changes in the media landscape are undeniable. You do seem to reject this, but have made no actual case to this effect that I’ve seen.
    In the light of these significant changes, there needs to be an evaluation of how existing regulation is working. The IMI Report is that evaluation – you do get this, right? It’s happened. The recommendations are out there.
    So in light of the evaluation, opting for the status quo needs to have that case made, not just arm-waving for BAU.

    ” I’ve explained why I find the concept of a statutory media authority dangerous and contrary to the ideal of a free and independent media. I’ve explained that I believe a media with sufficient diversity of opinion already acts as a remedy for what some might consider to be ‘false’ reporting.” – mondo

    I think you’ve hit the nail on the head in the first sentence. Indeed there is an idea of a ‘free and independent media’, but it’s mostly an illusion. The commercial media is no way ‘free’, and claims of independence are greatly exaggerated. Editorial and advertising/commercial aspects exert a considerable influence on what appears in our media. It’s been argued, persuasively I think (I’ll give you a link to an interesting book on this topic if you’d like), that ‘the market’ is antithetical to the noble ideal of the free press and diversity of opinion; the commercial reality of the need to chase an audience means that there is a pressing requirement to pander to the pre-existing values and beliefs of the audience. How does ‘truth’ fit in with that? Not well.
    Now, once upon a time, when there were a thousand papers owned by a thousand different owners, this was not much of an issue : re diversity. Now, diversity is one of the most glaring failings of the current set-up.
    The related problem here is the conflation of the ‘free and independent media’ (now in reality, large media corps) with the journalistic ideal of truth seeking. You can see this as they struggle with the radically changed media landscape – journalists are for the chop, in large numbers, because they play only a subsidiary role in the ‘free and independent media’. Why is this important? – because is not the media, per se, that is important to democracy, but the ideal of the truth seeking journalist enabling a critical and informed citizenry. Without that, the ‘free and independent media’ is just a commercial entertainment industry.

    “The closest you’ve come to presenting a cogent basis for your demand for change is a wholly insipid and generic claim that today’s media is so appalling that it no longer serves the public interest.” – mondo

    I’ve also repeatedly directed you to the evidence in the IMI Report – apparently this counts for nothing against your entirely subjective assertions…..not a single rational, cogent, evidence-based argument from you. Nada. Zilch. Zip.

    “I call nonsense on that way of thinking. I call it the same old tired reasoning that every proponent for increased regulation of media has ever offered up. You’ll forgive me if I retain my scepticism of those who think they have the magical ability to see objective truth over and above their fellow citizens.” – mondo

    Likewise, I’m sure you’ll forgive me if I find your 100% evidence-free assertions and claims of skepticism to be a load of hot-air when you haven’t even bothered to look at the evidence presented in the IMI Report (and dozens, nay, hundreds of reports/articles in the literature on media).
    And what’s with this anti-intellectual tripe – “ ….. over and above their fellow citizens” ????

  159. narcoticmusing

    Interestingly SB, as you are likely aware, copyright was introduced to control/suppress sedition (ie censorship). This transformed into a far more constructive bargain, whereby its role was to balance the economic benefit of creation with the obvious social harm of monopolies. Today, we have corporate control of copyright, where their interests are so over represented that any remote semblance of public good is gone and the focus is purely on maximisation of profit for the few who, in general, are not the creators. Copyright no longer serves its public policy purpose, rather it distorts the market (via monopolies) and inhibits creation. The exact opposite of its purpose.

    A key learning is evident here (other than the whole realm of estrangement of labour) – that is that the landscape changes over time. It is corporations who have the government’s ear far more than the Bob Brown’s of this world. I’m not demonising corporations, but it would be foolish to think for a moment that the current (farcically voluntary) regulatory regime is as it is purely because it suits the corporate interests for it to be so. The world where the current ideals stems, with many voices, is gone – at least in Australia. I hope the internet can resolve that over time, but in the immediate term it is (to use a pun based on your AGW reference) an inconvenient truth. I don’t think we’ve got to the direct opposite of its policy purpose point yet, but we are well on the way there due to our critical lack of voices and presence of monopolies.

    My recent stint in the US (just got back from an interesting time in San Diego) drove this home to the extent that I no longer believe we can compare Australia to the US in this space (the media). Perhaps the cynic in me that Eric so loathes has capitulated yet another hope of better things. Nevertheless, what was clear from my stay was that we do not have the diversity of voices. We have 1-2 (news and ABC) and in some states 3 (+fairfax) voices. They have dozens in every jurisdiction with very different political bents (from far left, to centrist to extreme right, we seem to have extreme right and centre right). It was with great joy that I was able to watch totally biased left wing views and totally biased right wing views and then discern some form of the truth somewhere in between.

    I am more than a little concerned about a government or quasi-government body to regulate the media, however just as the first copyright was to suppress sedition and is now twisted to serve corporate profit interests, I believe this is the fate that devours our media. While media is for profit in the US too, comparison with the US experience is limited, particularly when our rights as citizens are not enshrined as theirs are – for example we have no right as a citizen to free speech, why then should the media who are now all for-profit corporations have more rights than a human being? Give us both these rights as a starting point, I say. No doubt you’d agree with that.

  160. “The government should have no role in regulating the press. That is a power which is always abused. The press should be free to print what it likes. People can work out what they want to read.” – SB

    Gold medal for naivety goes to……SB!!!!

    Take a bow.

  161. Just had a look at the proposed media ‘reforms’.

    Very yawn-worthy. Shouldn’t frighten too many of the horses.

  162. The IMI Report is that evaluation – you do get this, right? It’s happened. The recommendations are out there.

    Oh my GOD! Someone wrote a report?! Well that settles it then. Case closed.

    Let’s all outsource our critical thinking to a former judge and get on with being good little compliant citizens.

    By the way Gadj – which of SB’s comments did you find naive: that the power to regulate the press “is always abused”, or that “people can work out what they want to read”?

    I’m pretty sure I know the answer – and it goes to the very core of your support for these new regulations – but I’d like you to say it out loud for all this blog to read.

  163. Splatterbottom

    Narcotic: “Give us both these rights as a starting point, I say. No doubt you’d agree with that.”

    Absolutely. Also, copyright and intellectual property in general should have a complete overhaul. The only justification for it is as a monopoly conferred by society for the benefit of society. We need to prune the excesses because at the moment it is more of a tool for greedy monopolists to screw the rest of us.

    IN the UK a shopkeeper stopped playing background music due to the exorbitant fees. Shortly thereafter an inspector from the Performing Right Society happened upon an employee singing while she stocked the shelves and threatened to sue for royalties for public performance. Sheer avarice.

    “Gadj: “Gold medal for naivety goes to……SB!!!!”

    A true naïf is someone who believes that governments can be trusted with more power than is absolutely necessary.

  164. That’s not what he meant SB – he meant that you were naive to believe that people can be trusted to think for themselves.

  165. Splatterbottom

    Sad but true, Mondo.

  166. “Oh my GOD! Someone wrote a report?! Well that settles it then. Case closed.
    Let’s all outsource our critical thinking to a former judge and get on with being good little compliant citizens. ” – mondo

    You babble on with empty-headed nonsense about subjectivity, while ignoring the detailed evidence. Now you’re prattling on about judges as if it meant something.

    For god’s sake, pull yourself together and make a rational argument……or are you determined to be perceived as a fool??

  167. You are free to perceive me however you want Gadj. I’m confident that others here can see the logic and reason in the position I’ve been arguing.

    I note you’ve neglected to tell us what part of SB’s comment above you found to be naive. Again, I’m confident that others here know exactly why that is (as I do).

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