Saturday 16 July 2016
1 I was walking through our local newsagency this week when I happened to notice a book titled “Worth Fighting For”. The author’s name was Andrew Bolt. Not knowing that it was a new title I thought it must have been the original book he had written. Anyway I picked it up wondering why anyone would want to read it and casually flipped through its contents. It was just a collection of his newspaper writing. I came across his piece about Adam Goodes and the girl at the MCG. A disgraceful exhibit of bad journalism if ever you have read one.
I recalled writing a rebuttal of his take on the events at the time; ‘Deconstructing Andrew Bolt‘. Coincidentally, the same day I was idly surfing the web and I came across an article about his book written by Osman Faruqi for Junkee. The writer said that the book was released in June and that to date had sold 713 copies.
“Book industry sources confirmed that figure to Junkee today, citing the Nielsen Bookscan database that tracks book sales across the country. When it was first released Bolt accused booksellers of placing a “ban” on its sale and quoted a number of commenters on his website who struggled to find the book in shelves.”
The article goes on to suggest the Bolt is upset that his work is not being displayed in conspicuous places in stores.
But Faruqi suggests that:
A bigger issue for Bolt was probably the fact that a number of bookstores simply refused to stock his book altogether. When it was first released Junkee thought it might be worth reviewing, given Bolt’s enormous national media profile and influence on Australian conservative politics, but we struggled to find a store that stocked it.
We checked more than half a dozen book stores around inner-city Sydney and none of them were stocking the book. A number of sales staff laughed in our faces when we asked for a copy.
The experience reminded me of when in a writing class I attended we would discuss journalism. Andrew Bolt and the Herald Sun or the Daily Telegraph would always be at the centre of our discussion. The course facilitator, herself a former journalist would observe that the articles were written for the intelligence of thirteen year olds with the attention span of six-year olds.
They were rarely more than 300 words. As a journalist she had little respect for Andrew Bolt who she said didn’t know how to construct a challenging sentence let alone use thought-provoking words.
And let us not forget what Justice Bromberg, said about Bolt’s use of language:
“His style and structure is highly suggestive and designed to excite. His style was ”not careful, precise or exact” and the language not moderate or temperate but often strong and emphatic”. There is a liberal use of sarcasm and mockery,” he wrote. Language of that kind has a heightened capacity to convey implications beyond the literal meaning of the words utilised. It is language, which invites the reader to not only read the lines, but to also read between the lines”.
Anyway I just thought I would let those of you busting your gut to get a copy just what the difficulty is. If you come across more than one would you please, in the interest of decent factual journalism please destroy them?
“If a newspaper article is written in a manner to suggest objectivity but subjective words are scattered throughout it together with carefully phrased unsupported statements then dismiss the article as having no cogency“.
2 It seems donations to the Liberal Party are never out of the headlines. Usually for the wrong reasons. Now we read that Malcolm Turnbull has donated $1million from his own fortune to help the party get (or himself) through the election.
On TV Anthony Albanese bemoaned the fact that Labor didn’t have a multi millionaire.
Remember prior to the election the NSW Electoral Commission announced it was withholding $4.4 million in public funding from the NSW Liberals until the party formally disclosed who donated $693,000 to it via a controversial fundraising body, the Free Enterprise Foundation. We are still waiting.
Donations to political parties are always controversial. There needs to be more transparency but governments are loath to reveal the names of donors. For Turnbull it is surely a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answer.
The worry here is what sort of a precedent does this set? Are we heading down the track where the extreme rich will be able to purchase power?
3 Pauline Hanson is scheduled to appear on Q&A on Monday night. I’m wondering if anybody might ask her a question about her party’s policies and how she might answer given they all seem to have been lifted from various web sources.
Perhaps she should consider renaming her party ‘The cut and paste policy party‘.
4 The first post-election Essential Poll has the parties on 50/50.
On the question. Do you think the issue of same-sex marriage should be decided by Parliament or should there be a national vote?
60% favour a national vote on same-sex marriage and 25% think the issue should be decided by Parliament.
This represents a shift away from support for a national vote since this question was asked in March.
5 Conservatives seemingly have some sort of angst against women. Representation of the female sex in this parliament will be half of what Tony Abbott had. A major setback for the fair sex. Only 14% of women will grace the floor of the House of Representatives. The lowest in more than twenty years and is an utter disgrace when 50% of the women. They urgently need to do something about it.
“At some time in the human narrative . . . in our history, man declared himself superior to women. It must have been an accident, or at least an act of gross stupidity. But that’s men for you”.
6 In theory I suppose anyone elected can claim to have a mandate but when an election is so close who can honourably say they have one. When you have stood on the finish line and see just how narrowly you have won can you genuinely say you have one? No, when almost half of the people have voted against you, I think not. It’s little more than an excuse to keep on with what you were already planning to do.
My thought for the day.
“People often demand free speech to compensate for the freedom of thought they rarely use“.
PS: Eighty people are now needlessly dead in France.
“In the cycle of life people we care most about are taken from us too soon. We struggle to come to terms with the why of it and there is no answer. It is only by the way we conduct our living that we salute the legacy they leave behind”.