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The Age is usually such a rabid AGW advocate but maybe this is the start of a new more balanced approach to the issue of climate change. Maybe its just a the removal of the execrable Jo Chandler from their staff that has seen them mellow, most likely its just a reflection of the fact that the interregnum between Christmas and new year is a time when regular writers are away on leave and the need for copy to fill the paper allows them to cast a wider net than usual. No matter what the reasons for its publication I found the piece by John Spooner most refreshing and worthy of praise:
I hope that the real reason that this piece has got such a prominent place in today’s Age is that the minions at Fairfax are finally realising that they have hitched their faith to a false religion and that its apparently golden idols are nothing but tat and cheap wax, that the cold hard light of truth is turning them into the misshapen formless blobs that we sceptics always thought that they were.
- Sceptics cool on climate studies (smh.com.au)
- George Monbiot, millenarian prophecy and his desire to see western society back into an “energy dark age” (iainhall.wordpress.com)
- The choices of Andrew Bolt: “Worry about the climate? I’d rather have an orgy!” (watchingthedeniers.wordpress.com)
- Climate change conforming to UN predictions: scientists (abc.net.au)
I cannot believe that such a prominent newspaper as The Age has dedicated so much broadsheet and cyberspace to this non-story, that ex-AFL biffo man Barry Hall has decided not to pursue a boxing career because he can’t be bothered doing the training. It’s all too hard.
I should add that this non-event was also one of the lead stories on this morning’s ABC Radio National News – I kid you not, I nearly spilt my coffee when I heard the earth-shattering announcement.
Since when is someone’s decision not to do something a news story? It’s not like this changes or means anything to the average Joe in the street. Life will go on pretty much as normal, I suspect, although it might give the obsessed Twitter nerds something else to tweet about. You know, with a #barryhallwontbox hash tag or something like that.
So …….. I wonder what else Big Bazza has decided not to do recently that might also be worthy of such broad media coverage? Like:
- Barry Hall decides not to go to the pub and get pissed tonight
- Barry Hall decides not to take ecstasy or cocaine
- Barry Hall decides not to expose himself in downtown Pitt Street, Sydney
And why stop there? Why limit the news coverage of such non-decisions to ex-sportspeople and/or B-grade celebrities? I want to see and read about what the little man has decided not to do.
Why not cover these news stories too?:
- Ray Dixon decides not to turn professional (mature age) golfer
- Iain Hall decides not to shave his beard he started growing 30 years ago
- Leon Bertrand decides not to restart his blog
- Jo Chandler decides not to admit her secret Internet identity
I mean … these are big stories. Are there any I’ve missed?
(Here’s one the so-called keepers of ‘intellectual honesty’ in the media seem to have missed. Looks like it went over the PP boys’ heads)
It’s bloody obvious that a great majority of the Australian electorate would prefer Kevin Rudd as Prime Minister over Julia Gillard … as all the polls show. Including the one conducted by The Age and highlighted on their front page above: 58% Rudd, 34% Gillard. It’s decisive.
Why then has The Age also chosen to highlight the much closer poll that says voters are evenly split on whether or not the ALP should change leaders (48% & 47%)? And what does it mean?
VOTERS would overwhelmingly prefer Kevin Rudd over Julia Gillard as Labor leader but are split over whether Labor should make the swap when caucus votes on Monday, according to a Saturday Age/Nielsen poll.
Why? Well, it’s either deliberately misleading or just plain dumb. Don’t they know why there is an apparent contradiction in the two results? I’ll try to explain it for them:
When 1,000 or so people (probably about the size of The Age sample) are asked the question, “Who would be the better PM, Rudd or Gillard”, it is not a political question per se, in that it’s just about who people see as the better PM. Period. It’s devoid of any further ramifications. Therefore, most people, regardless of their political leanings ALP or Liberal, would answer it honestly and without prejudice.
HOWEVER, when you then ask the same group of people a secondary question being, “Should the ALP change from Gillard to Rudd”, some of the Liberal supporters might say “No” on the simple premise that it would give the ALP a better chance of staying in power.
The second question is a politically based one and, therefore, the almost line-ball result merely indicates that the respondents have answered pretty much in keeping with their political leanings. It’s irrelevant and shouldn’t have even been asked, let alone highlighted on the front page of The Age.
You have to wonder what possessed The Age to make such a blunder. On its front page. In the middle of the challenge!
Why does it come as no surprise that on the eve of the launch of ex-Victorian Chief Police Commissioner Christine Nixon‘s controversial book Fair Cop, The Age newspaper in Melbourne is running an article under the heading News out to ruin me: Nixon ?
Why? Well, to start with, the whole article is clearly plugging the book’s release. It’s a promotional (or puff) piece of ‘advertorialising’ dressed up as a serious news story that is clearly designed to draw attention and bolster interest (and sales) of the book … which just happens to be authored by Age senior writer Jo Chandler.
But there’s more to this self-serving and intellectually dishonest article. It’s a three-pronged attack that:
- Blatantly plugs Nixon’s & Chandler’s book.
- Deflects blame for Nixon’s failures by shooting the messenger.
- Takes a free swipe at The Age’s only real opposition in the print media, News Ltd.
It’s the old ‘triple-banger’. Why settle for one piece of shite journalism when you can go the whole hog and score a few more free hits? In for a penny, in for a pound and let good, unbiased reporting be damned. This is rubbish.
The article starts out with claims by Nixon that News Ltd papers were “instrumental in bringing down her successor in the job, Simon Overland”. As if she’d know. Nixon claims that News Ltd “turned on Mr Overland after he criticised The Australian for publishing leaked information that he said could have compromised a major terrorism raid”. That’s utter crap. The truth is that the new Baillieu government wanted Overland out because he was a Brumby appointment and they felt he was not ‘their man’. All those stories on Overland’s so-called bias & bungles run by the Herald Sun – that, yes, were damning – were actually fed to the media by the State Government, who were the real drivers of Overland’s unfair demise. And they were run in The Age, on the ABC and in most other media outlets too. News Ltd was just a messenger and, while they may have only been too pleased to run with the story and then some, there is no doubt whatsoever that Overland was dead-man-walking from the moment Ted Baillieu surprisingly won office late last year. Even if News Ltd had played the leaks down, Baillieu would have got rid of him one way or the other. Talk about shooting the messenger.
Nixon then goes on (or, more correctly, the Age writer directs her on) to use the treatment of Overland as some kind of parallel to the very damning news articles that were run by the Herald Sun after Nixon’s amazing mea culpa at the Black Saturday bushfires Royal Commission. She accuses them of conducting “a relentless campaign … to force her from public life”:
”In the 2½ years since retiring, they have run a vendetta against me. They have published articles and beat up stories saying I am not supposed to teach courses, shouldn’t be allowed to sit on boards, not allowed to do leadership lectures, should have quit my job as chair of the Bushfire Recovery Authority, should not mentor people, and the final one is I am not allowed to write a book.
But Nixon (and The Age) conveniently overlook the fact that what the Herald Sun was running – albeit with great vigour and enthusiasm – was exactly what the great majority of the general public believed in too.
Look, despite what *some* people seem to believe, the general public is not that stupid as to be swayed by the Herald Sun’s so-called campaign to ‘oust’ Ms Nixon. We all know that they put a slant on many of their lead stories but we all sat through those live streams of Christine Nixon giving evidence and being cross-examined (twice) quite brilliantly at the Royal Commission, or at least we saw large excerpts of them on our TVs. And boy, did that speak for itself or what?
And, exactly what political agenda does Ms Nixon (and The Age) think News Ltd had in wanting her out? How was that in any way political or biased? Wasn’t the real problem that John Brumby, in a rather bizarre move, chose not to sack Ms Nixon following her self-inflicted downfall and, instead, appointed her to another highly paid position ($380,000 per year, I believe) to head up the bushfire recovery task force? Of course it was. The public was rightfully outraged by this slap in the face. To think that Nixon should be further rewarded, despite her obvious shortcomings, was too much for most fair-minded people to bear, and the hard-hitting Herald Sun articles certainly reflected that.
Sure, according to many bushfire victims, Nixon did a good job in the recovery (although according to just as many others, she didn’t) but that was not, and is not, the point. The point is that most people believed she should not have been given that job in the first place and, instead, cut off from the public purse to make her own way in the private world (with a bloody big payout of course).
But it doesn’t stop there. No, The Age somehow manages to relate all this back to what is taking place in the UK:
Ms Nixon said what had emerged overseas following the News of the World hacking scandal was that News Ltd tries to intimidate people who get in its way. ”They make people fearful of saying anything in case they have the [News Ltd] guns targeted at them. Against me they used vehicles like the Police Association to fire the bullets. The person who loads the gun is the Herald Sun and The Australian.”
Oh, yeah, drag in the entirely unrelated British hacking scandal to suggest the Evil Empire was after her too. Maybe they hacked her mobile phone that she switched off for three hours when she went out to dinner while the State burned and people died? And hasn’t she got something wrong in that statement above? Is she seriously suggesting that News Ltd tells the Police Association what to do and say in public? Wouldn’t it be more the other way around? Wouldn’t it be the self-serving Police Association (a sort of union and a most unimpressive body, I agree) that would feed stories to the media and let them run with it to suit their own ends? I think so.
And then, to top it all off, the article attempts to back up Nixon’s claims of News Ltd’s so-called campaign against her by quoting whole slabs of excerpts from Chandler’s book, such as below, which sounds like they’re appealing to their own authority:
In her book she reflects how Herald Sun editor Simon Pristel rang her media person one night at 6 o’clock during the Bushfires Royal Commission and asked if it was true that on the night of Black Saturday she had held a party at home to celebrate her departure from Victoria Police. The spokeswoman told him it was not true, but that Ms Nixon had gone to a local hotel for a quick meal with her husband, her father and a friend.
”It was a fishing exercise. Pristel was still quite new to the job, and one of the trademarks of his editorship would be to bring to the Herald Sun – once distinguished by its concise, straight-bat coverage of issues – more of the shrill Fleet Street ‘red top’ tabloid formula of ‘name and shame’ campaigning,” she wrote.
”It would cast itself as moral arbiter. Such a culture can have little regard for fairness, or for nuance, and a lot to do with selling newspapers and, sometimes, with pursuing its own agendas.
Or maybe Pristel was onto something. At her first appearance at the Royal Commission Nixon failed to disclose that she had left her post early and ‘gone to a pub’ for dinner, so obviously Pristel’s call was made after that first appearance. If he was fishing then that’s exactly what he should have been doing as a professional and thorough journalist – looking for the truth. So what if he asked if she held a party at home and got that bit wrong? He was onto something and it came out … in her ‘media person’s’ response AND under further cross-examination. The HeraldSun had every right (and indeed a duty) to pursue the question of Nixon’s exact whereabouts on Black Saturday after she failed to disclose it the first time .. under oath!
And this excerpt from Chandler’s book is so self-pitying and self-aggrandizing that it’s almost sickening:
”In the wake of the royal commission, I was informed by sources that the Herald Sun had told them unequivocally that they would see me brought down, the attacks would continue until I quit or was sacked. By now, the paper was heavily invested in demonising me to its audience, and so my pursuit also became a matter of editorial ego. The prize would be my scalp.”
Yes, I too wanted to see Nixon “brought down”. She certainly should have quit before she did and I reckon the great majority of the Victorian population felt the same way … and they certainly didn’t need the Herald Sun to spell it out for them. Nixon demonised herself while the paper simply gave its ‘audience’ what they wanted to hear. What nearly everyone wanted to hear.
But this excerpt from Chandler’s book takes the cake. Here Nixon and Chandler attempt to paint the Royal Commission as “failing” in its outcomes, the implication (of course) being that their findings about her leadership were also wrong:
In the book, Ms Nixon says she believed the Bushfires Royal Commission had failed to achieve its aim of producing better leadership. Instead, it was likely to lead to risk-averse management, with leaders constantly on the lookout to ”cover their arse” during a disaster. ”This is dangerous. Such thinking might dissuade leaders, whether at the political level, in the crisis room, or out at the fire front, from bold and brave decisions in the moment.”
So it wasn’t her fault? She made “bold & brave decisions” on the day? What, like getting her hair done, keeping a private appointment and, of course … dinner.
Well, at least the Royal Commission (and The Age) finally got something right. The article finishes with this telling paragraph. I guess even The Age did not have the audacity to leave this out and, besides, they’d already achieved their objectives of flogging the book, whitewashing Nixon’s record and sticking it to the opposition. The truth doesn’t get in the way of this story because it only appears at the very end:
The commission found that Ms Nixon’s approach to emergency co-ordination during Black Saturday ”left much to be desired” and condemned her performance as ”hands off”. It said she should not have left emergency headquarters at dinner time, particularly when she had no deputy acting in her place.
And that speaks for itself. Not even a senior writer could bend that truth.
I am no fan of News Ltd and I agree that the Herald Sun in particular does run agendas. I just disagree with others on their impact on the public at large and especially the impact they have on things like election results. We ALWAYS get the government we want and deserve – that’s our history. But give me a break: For Nixon, Chandler and The Age to suggest that News Ltd were almost solely responsible for Ms Nixon’s so-called woes (and I bet she’s doing it real tough) is nothing more than one media outlet taking a free swipe at its major opposition. It’s self-serving crap – in more ways than one.
Oh, the article also carries a readers’ poll that says: Was Christine Nixon given a fair go by the media? Please select an answer. Yes/No
But I’d like to add a few more:
- Has Christine Nixon’s book (that was written by an Age journalist) been given one almighty leg up and a great big free plug by The Age?
Please select an answer. Yes/No
- Do you think News Ltd’s reports on Nixon in the aftermath of the Black Saturday Royal Commission where she admitted failing her duties were a reasonable reflection of general community sentiment?
Please select an answer. Yes/No
- Is The Age trying to stick it to its opposition News Ltd with this self-serving article?
Please select an answer. Yes/No
- Is Christine Nixon a screaming hypocrite to blame the media for her poor image while using another paper to enhance it?
Please select an answer. Yes/No
- Are Christine Nixon, Jo Chandler & The Age ‘shooting the messenger’ by claiming that News Ltd “ruined her”?
Please select an answer. Yes/No
- Would you buy Christine Nixon’s/Jo Chandler’s self-serving book Fair Cop?
Please select an answer. Yes/No
- If “yes”, how much would you pay for it?
Please select an answer. $40, $30, $20, $10, $5, $1, Nothing – you’d have to pay me to read it.
- Has the author of Nixon’s book, Age journalist Jo Chandler, ever written anything worth reading?
Please select an answer. Yes/No/Jo who?
Its strange just how much we rely upon the the Internet and how much we miss it when it won’t work. I mention this because when I come home from shopping yesterday our connection was down and as I needed to do a search for a particular piece of information it was actaully rather annoying. Thankfully I now know what I need to know and can finish the task I have to complete.
That said this morning I was rather amused by the way that the Age is trying to counter the very bad poll result for the government by once again tiring to raise the ghost of Workchoices.
Of course the interesting polling result that they are trying very hard to do the bait and switch on is this one:
Now which is a more important story on this winter morning? that our PM is less preferred in her position than Tony Abbott? or that a disgruntled aspirant to the Liberal party presidency still thinks that there should be I R reform? Its the choice between a “dead buried and cremated “policy and a political Zombie in the Lodge as far as I can see and the villagers just can’t wait to light their torches for the procession to vanquish the demon
The Age has become a site devoted to promoting the Greens over recent times and this has meant that it has been at best running dead on the asylum seeker issue or more generally down playing the issue so I found the recent pieces rather interesting insofar as they are actually critical of the government and they don’t suggest that every “asylum seeker” is genuine or that they are all “fleeing for their lives“.
AUSTRALIA’S immigration detention system is being clogged by growing numbers of rejected asylum seekers who should be sent home, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees has warned.
UNHCR regional representative Richard Towle said Australia needed to better handle an increase in people being assessed as not needing international protection.
”You’ve got large numbers of people now coming through the asylum system in Australia who are not refugees and the challenge is how to find fair and humane and effective ways of allowing them to leave this country to go home,” Mr Towle said
The deportation of failed asylum-seekers has already been flagged as central to the government’s efforts to stop the boats. Mr Bowen has previously warned that the rejection rate for Afghans, who make up the bulk of asylum-seekers in Australia, is now about 50 per cent.
I think that what a lot of well meaning lefties forget is that coming from a poverty and corruption riddled shit hole is not actually the required prerequisite for claiming asylum. According to the convention there has to be a “well founded fear of persecution”, if 50% are being rejected and found not to qualify isn’t it time that this was more widely admitted by those who so vociferously advocate for the people who put their lives at risk in the boats? What is clear though is that for Labor to have any credibility at all on this issue they will have to start putting those claimants who have failed to convince that they are refugees onto planes back to their home countries. But my guess is that Labor are just so scared of “bad press’ that they just won’t do it. However when you start to see stories like the one I cite today in the Age then that fear of “bad press” may be as unfounded as half of the claims for asylum are.