Category Archives: Media

Stephen Conroy promises the Daily Telegraph will still be here tomorrow morning and we totally believe him

Thank God for Stephen Conroy’s glorious new not in any way tyrannical despot-like media reforms!

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It is totally not true that right after the Daily Telegraph ran a front page this morning with the CRAZY assertion that Conroy’s announcement put him up there with the worst and bloodiest tyrants in history, Christopher Dore was taken out and shot, and the paper’s political journos had their homes burned down. None of the staff at the Daily Telegraph have been disappeared or you would have read about it in one of the other newspapers, and the other newspapers are totally not cowed by Conroy’s enforcers in their smashing uniforms so they definitely would have told us about all the disappearances at News Ltd that definitely did not happen. Gemma Jones was not brutally tortured and when she appears in public today her arm will totally not be in a sling because government freedom agents kidnapped her at traffic lights and smashed her elbow with a hammer.

In short: the Daily Telegraph was wrong to point out how much like a brutal despot is Stephen Conroy, and the bloody vengeance that he has already wreaked on them totally didn’t happen and I’m sure they will be free to publish critical stories about the government tomorrow.

NEWS: Opposition politician encourages government Minister to challenge PM and destabilise government

Seriously, ABC? This is some kind of news?


Wow I cannot believe he said that except that of course he did.

This is why reporting “politician said” stories requires more than just repeating what they’ve said. It requires the journalist to perform some kind of basic analysis on whether that statement is actually meaningful for his or her readers, in what way, and in what context.

So – “Both MPs criticised the opposing leader while encouraging each other to challenge for the leadership themselves, clearly hoping for the other side to experience leadership instability before the next election. The Opposition shadow minister complimented the Prime Minister’s one-time rival at her expense, whilst the government Minister suggested that the Opposition leader was the government’s “greatest asset”.”

Admittedly, as soon as you do that it becomes immediately apparent how pointless the story is. POLITICIANS PAY INSINCERE COMPLIMENTS TO PEOPLE ON THE OTHER SIDE THEY HOPE ARE DUMB ENOUGH TO ATTACK THEIR LEADER.

Simply repeating Turnbull’s bullshit for seven paragraphs – particularly the vacuous “faceless men and factions” thing as if there’s a non-faction faction in the ALP and there aren’t factions and schemers in the Liberal Party – wastes the time of politically-savvy readers and utterly misleads everyone else.

You know, ABC, just because politicians appear on a TV show on your network doesn’t make it news. If providing even basic analysis makes it obvious how much it isn’t news, then please use that space to report something that is.

JERMALISM

Rupert tells people who’d dare challenge his family’s little gerrymander at the News Corp AGM that if they don’t like it, go sell their shares. And meanwhile the increasingly ironically-named “News” dot com dot au* website does this for a fellow media billionnaire:

It’s like they don’t care how obvious it is any more. They have the power, they’ll do what they like, and it doesn’t matter how dodgy and corrupt it looks. Suck it up, ordinary people – you’ll swallow what you’re given, and be grateful for it.

*I’m going to have to start pronouncing the word “News” in “News Ltd” with the sarcastic inflection you give to the word “Christian” in the “Australian Christian Lobby”.

ELSEWHERE: By the way, talking of Quality Jernalisms

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

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

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

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

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

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

Don’t impose your hangups on them.

Through the looking glass

A thing the Daily Telegraph and sister News Ltd tabloids actually published this morning:

The revelation comes as… middle- and high-income families struggling with cost of living pressures brace for cuts to private health rebates and the impact of the carbon tax.

Who’s notably “struggling with cost of living pressures”? “Middle- and high-income families”! Everyone, apparently, except those on low incomes.

Yeah, “middle- and high-income families” have it the worst. No wonder they’re so resentful of refugees and the poor.

Utterly insane.

Ted Baillieu: WE HAVE FIGURES THAT PROVE LABOR WILL RUIN YOU but no you can’t see our working it’s secret

Surely you can just take our word for it?

THE Baillieu government has been accused of using ”laughable” excuses to block the release of economic modelling it used to attack the Gillard government’s carbon tax.

The government cited public interest and privacy issues as reasons it will not hand over calculations behind a media release by state Energy Minister Michael O’Brien last July.

We don’t need to back up our bullshit numbers! They must be true! They were published in the Herald Sun!

QED.

This transparently stupid waste of the department’s time and your taxpayer money brought to you by Ted Baillieu’s “Liberal” Victorian Government. Thanks, guys.

Real story missed

The ALP holds a database of disturbingly private information about voters. The Age accesses it in order to expose it. The Herald Sun‘s response? To bash The Age and defend the outrageous abuse of ordinary voters’ privacy:

VICTORIA Police has launched a criminal investigation into allegations senior reporters from The Age newspaper illegally hacked into an ALP electoral roll database and searched the private details of dozens of high-profile Victorians…

The database, which Labor is legally entitled to hold, contains personal details of millions of Victorians including names, addresses, phone numbers and marital status as well as any confidential dealings between individuals and the party.

WHY is Labor “legally entitled” to hold this material, deceptively obtained? They don’t warn ordinary people who write to them, or communicate with them, that their details will be recorded and kept. They don’t warn those who fill in those voter enrolment forms and send them back to the nominated address, which happens to be ALP headquarters, that they’ll be noting down their private details.

Both big parties do it, so it’s not surprising they’ve made sure it’s not against the law – but isn’t that precisely the sort of thing for which the media should hold them to account? Well, not the Herald Sun. Taking advantage of ordinary people? That’s fine with us. Calling to account those who take that advantage? An outrage!

The Free Press

Just considering some of the News Corp whinging this morning about the parliament – the representatives of the people – DARING to hold them to any sort of account. NO LAW SHOULD APPLY TO US! DEFAMATION RESTRICTIONS ARE ALREADY TOO MUCH! WE ARE ABOVE YOU ALL! Think of the freedom! The freedom of the press!

The thing that strikes me as most absurd about it is that we don’t have a free press now. Does anyone really believe that journalists working for News Ltd are free agents, able to hold anyone to account, regardless of their commercial links with their employer, or their employer’s political view on a subject? Or those at Fairfax? Newspapers are owned by billionaires – and corporate shareholders whose stake is built on, for example, the superannuation of ordinary Australians, but where the interests of the board who make the decisions are quite distinct from those of those whose money they control. Can anyone seriously deny that the newspapers with the biggest reach push the interests of the establishment?

It’d be lovely if we did have a genuinely free press to defend, but we don’t. They don’t call truth to power – they call power to truth.

I don’t like the idea of a press beholden to government – but I don’t like the idea of a government beholden to press barons, either. Of a country where the public relies on the accuracy and fairness of media organs that are neither. If the public discourse is so dependent on being honestly informed of the facts, then why shouldn’t there be some standards to which these powerful organs of news be held?

A good Greens joke

Gerard Henderson is annoyed [What a surprise - Ed] that At Home With Julia is not making enough fun of the Greens. That despite there being HEAPS of good jokes out there about them, SIDE-SPLITTINGLY HILARIOUS ones, that lefties, the people in POWER in the media, won’t share because they don’t dare criticise their holy party of principle.

Gerard makes a few suggestions, but sadly they’re embarrassingly lame or stupid.

Still, I know readers of this blog are much funnier than the “Sydney Institute” [now there's a comic creation - Ed] crankypants. So let’s see what you can come up with. Make us laugh about the Greens. Satire, straight jokes, comic situations – we just want to be amused. Show us the comedy that the POLITICAL CORRECTNESS CONSTRAINED producers of At Home With Julia are denying us.

Cost of living increases that we can’t yet blame on the carbon price

Today’s Herald Sun, whinging about cost of living increases that have NOTHING WHATSOEVER TO DO WITH THE MINING BOOM and are NO REASON we should’ve had a super profit tax on those milking our national resources and adding huge inflationary pressure to the economy as a whole:

Keep the above image in mind when, in two years’ time, the Herald Sun runs a nearly identical piece but blaming it on the then carbon price.