Category Archives: ABC

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.

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.


This morning Andrew Bolt revealed that the entire point of the ABC inviting him on to Insiders is to troll lefties:

I should thank [Greg] Jericho. He proves a theory the ABC has explained to me: that the sanctimonious critics of the Left who send Insiders outraged missives demanding the purging of conservatives like me from the show are among the first to switch on when we’re on.

Ooh! Ooh! Right. Right, well, I’m not watching next time! I’m not! I’m… oh. Bolt’s leaving Insiders, possibly to have his own show on another network? Really?

Well, I’m disappointed that I can’t actually prove my ability to resist his trolling by boycotting his next appearance on Insiders, but… well, Bolt with his own show? That should be comedy gold.

Twitter certainly thinks so, with the #BoltsNewShow tag going completely insane this afternoon. Here are a few of the suggestions:

  • The Inciters
  • Packed to the Ranters
  • Andrew Bolt’s War On Everything
  • Thank God I’m Here
  • Top Git Australia
  • Meet the pricks
  • Border Insecurity
  • Snide and Prejudice
  • Are You Being Sued?

And many, many more. Your suggestions welcome in the comments, particularly if you’re not on Twitter and are sick of missing out.

ELSEWHERE: Richard Ackland last week on Bolt’s trial:

But, is my right to free speech indelibly tied to Bolt’s right to free speech? Not if he makes grievous errors, it isn’t. Is it acceptable to whip up vilification on a newspaper’s website? What is the responsibility of journalists and publishers in this situation? Where is the ground for honest argument?

The difficulty is we do not have a right to free speech, beyond the vagaries of the common law. If we had a charter of rights, Justice Mordecai Bromberg would be required in this case to balance Bolt’s right of free speech with the rights of the applicants not to be racially picked upon and we’d have a better idea of where the line lies. But of course, Bolt campaigned furiously against a charter of rights.


Stupid other countries that didn’t think of celebrating New Year’s with fireworks

UPDATE: The ABC now reports that those dastardly foreigners have copied our idea.

And leads with the equally startling “Australia marks 2011 with fireworks extravaganza“:

In other “news”, the sun rose this morning…

Pay TV locks Stewart & Colbert back behind paywall

If “pay TV” was such a plus for Australians, it would be adding programming we couldn’t receive on free to air – not taking it away:

Colvinius @abcmarkscott Is it true we were outbid for Colbert & JonStewart for next year after creating an Australian audience for them? #sayitaintso

Replies the ABC Managing Director:

abcmarkscott @Colvinius Sad but true. Deep pockets of pay-tv purchased all Australian rights for many times what we were paying #sorrytosayitisso

So two of the most dynamic, persuasive progressive voices on our televisions are locked back behind the paywall, where they can do so much less damage – particularly, as it happens, to companies like, say, News Corporation. (You have to love the irony that from next year we’ll only be allowed to watch Stewart and Colbert on TV by paying money to a sister company of one of their biggest targets, Fox News.)

People who subscribe to ripoff TV via that gouging behemoth Foxtel? Thanks for giving them the money to do this…

Fortunately, for now, the shows are still streamable on their respective websites – but I wouldn’t bet too much on that continuing in the long-term.

“Keep a shot in your locker”

Some helpful advice for those speaking truth to power, from former investigative journalist and Media Watch host Paul Barry:

And one of the things that I have learned over the years is very useful, is that you keep a shot in your locker, so there’s something not in the program, or not in the book that you have in reserve that they know you’ve got, and if they go to court, they know that’ll come out. And that’s very good insurance because that then changes the balance of incentive for them. They know if they go to court, a whole bunch of stuff that hasn’t yet been said about them, will be said about them, with a very public audience.

In a country where the rich and powerful appear to be able to use the courts to make life very difficult for anyone who would dare publish something critical, it’s something to keep in mind.

Shoes and flippant insults, where serious questions were available

I didn’t think there was anything I’d actually like to ask the Prime Minister we finally kicked out in 2007 – after all, there was never any realistic prospect of him answering a question directly and honestly, or admitting fault, or expressing regret for any of the damage he did in his eleven years in office.

But as last night’s Q&A approached, suddenly a few occurred to me – as did a number of comments, as the program progressed:

  • Mr Howard, are you sorry that your CGT cut and FHOG caused housing inflation so that now young people have no hope of buying a house? #qanda

  • Mr Howard, do you have an actual argument against gay marriage yet? Or are you still relying on “it just is”? #qanda
  • Howard: good economic results under ALP are because of mining boom. But we’ll take full credit for any positives in our term. #qanda
  • Howard, Hicks pleaded guilty to an offence that didn’t exist when he “committed” it, in the context where there’d be no fair trial. #qanda
  • Howard, no-one said Hicks was a “hero”. Total disingenuous strawman. #qanda
  • Actually, that *isn’t* all the critics of the Iraq War have to throw at you, Mr Howard. The facts should hurt you a lot more. #qanda
  • Howard, your policy was racist because it attacked refugees of particular ethnicities on boats and ignored those arriving by plane. #qanda
  • Howard, it’s just not true to say we’ve reached the limit of our capacity to take refugees. The rest of your argument fails there. #qanda
  • John Howard: it’s everybody’s fault but mine. #qanda

Naturally, none of those questions or comments made it to the TV screen. But this one did:

Wasn't Howard's rejection by the ICC because they saw that footage of him bowling? #qanda

Well, if I can’t get any questions or comments about things that actually matter up there, I suppose I’ll have to be satisfied with the image of Howard’s mouthing off to the nation overlaid with my insult. Better than nothing, I suppose.

UPDATE: Some spectacular comments on the News Ltd online story about the shoe-throwing incident:

titch of sydney Posted at 2:40AM Today

to the critic open your eyes alot more iraquis would have died at the hands of the taliban regime if we did not intervene

What can you say to incisive reasoning like that?

Don’t push your luck, Hicks

Has enough time passed since David Hicks was bullied into pleading into whatever they demanded because otherwise they were going to hold him in Guantanamo Bay making up charges until they found a judge who’d accept them, that we’ll accept his plea as actual evidence of having committed a real crime so we can punish him further? The Liberals seem to think so:

Tasmanian Liberal Senator Guy Barnett has questioned whether convicted terrorism supporter David Hicks’s memoir will breach the Proceeds of Crime Act.

In unrelated news, both the President who abandoned the rule of law to use Guantanamo as a special extra-legal imprisonment system for people he accused of offences that didn’t actually exist when they were alleged to have committed them, and the Prime Minister who was happy to leave an Australian languishing in it (whilst unconstitutionally keeping people off the electoral roll for his own political advantage), have written their own memoirs since the incident. Neither of these breach the Proceeds of Crime Act, because nobody placed those men in legal limbo with no prospect of a fair trial unless they pleaded guilty to something.

So that’s good.

It’s a bit strange that Hicks hasn’t been completely bullied into silence by the terms of his release, though. Doesn’t he realise we can lock him back up again if he says something we don’t like? As we’ve demonstrated previously, it’s not like it even has to be against the law – and this time, we made him agree to shut his big pie hole before we let him out. How could he betray us like this?

Meanwhile, of course the new “please don’t be angry with us Mr Liberal Party” ABC, armed with two differing responses to the David Hicks book, naturally chooses to lead with the one claiming his book is “deceptive”.

Can anyone imagine the “leftist” ABC daring to say that about Winston’s upcoming collection of self-justifying half-truths and evasions?

Channel 7 vs Media Watch: hey, we’re only guilty of some of your allegations of dodginess!

If you watched this story on Monday night’s Media Watch about Channel Seven’s “expose” on security at the Delhi Commonwealth Games, you might have concluded that reporter Mr Duffy has some real questions to answer:

So what strikes me as particularly interesting about the unusual and extraordinary step that he and Channel 7 are taking in response, that of actually suing Media Watch for defamation, is the noticeably limited portion of the allegations that they’re apparently disputing:

But Seven has hit back, defending Duffy’s story, saying he was in possession of a full remote detonation kit for 24 hours and that he did walk into a secure area with a case containing detonation components.

I suggest rewatching the ABC video and noting all the allegations that Seven’s defence notably ignores. Assuming that The Australian‘s report is complete, that seems to me to be fairly obvious admission by omission – and hardly leaves them looking like a competent, reliable news organisation. Frankly, it makes them look like tricky, disingenuous charlatans.

Meanwhile, check out the glass jaws:

Seven took the unusual step yesterday of sending a legal letter to other media outlets warning them not to repeat Media Watch’s allegations — although that did not stop the Nine Network from following up the story last night on A Current Affair.

It’s a funny old area, defamation – you need to strike while the iron’s hot, but that’s also a less than ideal time to be making good, sensible decisions on the overall advisability of legal action. Particularly in public. I suspect, in time, Seven might come to regret adding fuel to this fire. Even a minor victory, even if they managed one (and that’s a big “if”), would probably not compensate for the increased damage they would be doing to themselves and their reputations by running it. Particularly given the elements which they’re apparently not contesting, which they’ll be taken as effectively conceding, and which will be repeatedly raised until the matter is finalised – and beyond – and have greater light shone on them as a direct result of this action proceeding.

Don’t get me wrong – I’m glad that more attention will be paid to the dodginess of their reporting, and potentially the real damage it’s caused. But I don’t think they should be.

UPDATE: Crikey has a copy of the lawyers’ letter.

There will be some “news” on your “24 hour news network” at some point, right?

Isn’t the whole point of a 24 hour news network that you get constant updates on what’s happening? Say an earthquake in NZ.

Been waiting some forty-five minutes now. Had a pointless (and seriously vacuous) interview with Edward de Bono, then some graphics, then some ads, then a pre-recorded NSW Stateline telling us about various NSW issues. Nothing as to actual current news.

For comparison, the present headlines on the ABC News website:

  • NZ declares state of emergency after quake

  • Homes flood near Ballarat
  • Coalition pledges to prioritise detention security
  • Sydney-born cleric calls for MP’s beheading
  • Scores dead after blast hits Pakistan rally
  • Pedestrian struck by ambulance dies
  • Wild weather continues to batter SA

But none of it has come up on ABC News 24 while I’ve been watching.

Wasn’t the whole point of a 24 hour news channel so we’d have constant access to breaking stories?

I’m finding twitter a hell of a lot better a source as to what’s going on than this very, very expensive network.