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The Shit Media Storm

What I’ve witnessed in the last 28 hours, as South Australian has been experiencing the most severe weather event the Bureau of Meteorology says we have ever had, is the perfect case study of the absolute incompetency of the mainstream media and their desperation to turn absolutely every news story into a political contest, no matter the facts, logic, science and you know, reality.

South Australia’s weather event might be once in a lifetime. But the reporting is run of the mill, every day, and as pathetic as it always has been. I could write all night about the problems with the media’s framing of the unexpected state-wide blackout, but really it all boils down to this: the media jumps to conclusions based on politicised, populist statements from political players, without checking facts, without checking the validity of those statements, without questioning the likelihood of those statements representing truth, and then makes it the job of the people doing real journalism to contest the truth, after giving the anti-fact agenda a massive head start.

Here is an example:

xenophontweet

Channel 9 tweets a headline quoting Nick Xenophon linking the power outage to SA’s reliance on renewable energy. Apparently, if you’re a politician, especially a ‘maverick’, ‘king maker’, stunt-man like Xenophon, you can literally say whatever you like, no matter how ridiculous, how outlandish, how not-true and the media jump on it, repeating it verbatim and thereby making it ‘true’.

Xenophon’s quote set the media agenda in reporting the South Australian storms. This agenda was unquestioned as fact before any expert analysis was provided until many hours later. Now, the story is not about the storm or the blackout, but low and behold it’s an anti-renewable energy story. The renewable energy story is what the 24 hour news cycle dedicated itself to today. While the wind is still blowing, and the power is still off across many suburbs, reality (the wind blowing over crucial energy infrastructure and causing a blackout, which would have happened regardless of how that energy got into that infrastructure), now has to compete with political fear mongering. And whacko, the media have found themselves a political narrative which has all the ingredients to fit their lazy template: politicians are disagreeing, someone is blaming someone else, climate change policy gets a kick and there is lots of daily-occurance-whinging from SA Liberal leader, Steven-whinging-Marshall to provide all the sound bites needed to bash the Labor government with. Like a dog eating a bone, or a train on the tracks, the media literally can’t pull themselves away from this narrative, even when experts are telling them that of course renewable energy did not play a part.

If the journalists stopped for even a moment to think about it, they would probably laugh and agree that, yes, it is a little ridiculous to even mention renewable energy in this situation when it so obviously had nothing to do with the blackout. But that’s not the point. The point is the narrative. Xenophon set it and they ran with it and all of them, lemmings, follow suit, unquestioning, and apparently unable to even laugh at themselves while they do it. I’ve just finished watching a special segment on ABC Adelaide news where Sabra Lane explained that the political mess from this storm will carry on, now that questions have been raised about renewable energy’s impact on the blackout. With a straight face.

And the worst part of this whole sorry affair? The worst part is not just that the media is shit at their jobs and the public are let down and the real story is lost in a shit media storm. No, the worst part is the impact this style of reporting has on politics. Let’s take, for instance, Trump. Trump loves being able to say whatever outlandish thing he likes. He loves watching the media put it in big letters on the TV screen, or a sound bite on the radio, or a headline in a newspaper. He loves that it takes the experts a few hours to fact-check what he’s said, and by then he’s embroiled the media in a ‘political contest’ which automatically provides him with political credibility, even though the statement he made epitomises incredible. The media can deny it all they like, but their template-political-contest created Trump. They are the Frankenstein to the Trump monster. It might just be one big storm in South Australia, but the shit storm the media is really causing is a problem for the entire planet.

Shame on these so-called journalists. Shame on them for playing the game and turning everything into a contest, when the audience deserves better. Shame on them for failing in their responsibility to uphold the values of truth and objectivity in news reporting. Shame on them for undermining their profession and neglecting to do their job. Shame, shame, shame.

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55 comments

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  1. Presser#1

    Isn’t electricity in SA privatized? Could this have anything to do with all those maybe-not-so-well maintained towers falling over in the wind? Have the MSM missed the real story again? I guess we’ll never know.

  2. Jaquix

    Good on you Victoria – but you let Malcolm Turnbull off the hook. He is an absolute disgrace. No statesmanlike message to the people of South Australia at this traumatic time, just another petulant nonsensical rant about the Labor Party causing this cyclonic storm, because it set such dangerous renewable energy targets!!! Another well deserved downward thrust in his popularity next poll I suspect. He gets more like Abbott every day. The only real difference now is that he doesnt eat unpeeled whole raw onions in public – not yet anyway.

  3. my say

    Was it the power outage that caused homes to loose there roof’s ,trees lifted out of the ground,semi trailers blown over,really if any of those idiot’s had a brain it would be lonely
    according to reports it was like a cyclone ,It seems they don’t know what damage they can do,a disgraceful case of scoring points out of a disaster

  4. kerri

    Well said Victoria!

  5. Noel

    Totally agree. Turnbull turned a grave national disaster into a political opportunity to attack Labor and renewable energy. He was aided by Barnaby Joyce, Andrew Bolt, Chris Uhlmann and other self styled experts who made huge statements without the benefit of any facts. The media has become the politicians plaything. Journalists just copy and print the most outlandish statements with no effort to check their veracity. As an Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull will be condemned forever as the PM who ignored the dire consequences of a national disaster in order to make political points to shore up his increasingly weak position, a disgraceful,performance. And the media gave him oxygen and let him get away with it.

  6. Phil

    I share your frustrations Victoria. I would not label commercial TV and commercial print as ‘media’ – nor would I describe their contributors as journalists. They and their capitalist financiers have corrupted the media and journalism and have no right to claim either. You allude to this when you say “the audience deserves better” Yes, that is the truth – the people as ‘audience’, mere fodder to be entertained, amused, angered, pacified, mollified – but never made to think – never let the people think, never encourage introspection, reflection or critique.

    The objective of the game is audience entertainment. Truth begone. Facts irrelevant. Nuance pointless. Reflection dangerous.

    Australians en masse are bordering on collective insanity – the nation is becoming intellectually stultified and depressing – socially pathetic – the masses are passivating in front of commerical TV which has degenerated to the level of ignorance, greed, rank stupidity and fearful bigotry – their audience has acquiesced to the neoliberal narrative and I see no way to reverse the decline.

  7. paulwalter

    If ever an incident demonstrated how deeply useless and corrupted the ABC has become, this is it.

  8. helvityni

    I always felt iffy about Xenophon, so no surprises there, anymore than when it comes to Freudenberg, Barnaby or Turnbull. I’m getting mighty fed-up with our “innovative and agile ” leadership…

  9. al

    On the money. There should be laws introduced for screwing up facts completely. The guilty party should have to apologise to the media. Effing sick of this pro fossil fuel blatant bias. Now its spread its noxious roots into the ABC with Michelle (Murdochs favourite lackey) Guthrie.

  10. helvityni

    Yes, Paul, I forgot to add their ABC on my list of the contemptibles…

  11. lawrencewinder

    Xenepohon hates wind energy. Truffles was hysterical ’cause he’s on the nose. Frydenberg wouldn’t know which end was up and the ABC’s reporting? Bloody atrocious… biased, factually misleading propaganda.

  12. Matters Not

    Yes the media reaction was hilarious. Coincidence and causality were conflated. And Turnbull was a willing contributor.

    Yet I have sympathy. Look at the polls. They are terrible. There’s now a trend. Abbott was bumped because of a trend. Turnbull is desperate to reverse that trend. He urgently needs the ‘nutters’ to give him more time. So he panders to them.

    His stated message suggests that ‘climate change’ is seriously overstated. Time to be more ‘rational’ and I am the rational one. Even though I’m not. But I must convince the ‘nutters’. It’s time to shore up my position in the face of the inevitable Abbott challenge.

    While it might be an exciting time to be … it’s not a great time to be a Turnbull.

    He knows that the lights might soon go out.

  13. Brad

    The msm and conservative politicians are turning this country into a joke. Lee Kuan Yew’s white trash statement becomes truer by the day.

  14. Deidre Zanker

    Great article Victoria.
    Turnbull’s first statement blamed unprecedented weather.
    Barnaby then stated it was caused by wind power.
    Turnbull then contradicted his first statement and blamed solar and wind energy. He kept adding to this and ended up with Labors fault, too much renewable energy, something about an enquiry into renewables and finished with Labor state govts will have to cut back to a much slower roll out of renewable energy and keep it in line with the Fed emissions reduction policy.
    He isn’t likely to last much longer.
    Which fossil will replace him?. Dutton, Morrison, Christianson or will they resurrect Abbott?
    The ABC is now the mouth piece for the right wing of the LNP

  15. Ricardo29

    Those of us watching from Darwin where power outages are a regular occurrence, especially in the ‘wet’ are bemused at the reaction to this natural event. After Cyclone Tracy, thousands of us were without power for more than four months. We understand that transmission towers falling over can disrupt the supply. The disgraceful efforts of Turnbull, Frydenburg and Xenophon to try to link this weather event and renewables, aided as they were by the pathetic reporting of the ABC, is beneath contempt.

  16. Matters Not

    What seems to be missing from this discussion is the religious explanatory possibilities. How do we know, for example, this isn’t just an example of God wrecking havoc because Catholics Like Pyne and Turnbull are in favour of ‘gay marriage’?

    If something like this happened in the USA, it would be among the first possibility under consideration – at least in some quarters.

    Will someone in the MSM please ask Pastor Danny Nalliah for his reaction? After all, it would be about as sensible as asking politicians (and not scientists) about weather events. I am sure Chris Uhlmann. He is very religious.will oblige.

  17. Harquebus

    Goodwun Victoria.

    There was a big hooha when John Olsen wanted to sell SA’s electricity assets so, he leased them out instead. To the Chinese for 200 years.
    http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-08-21/chinese-investment-in-the-australian-power-grid/7766086

    Here is something I wrote and sent out a couple of months ago.

    The state and quality of main stream journalism (MSJ), including that at our own ABC and despite what they might think of themselves, has deteriorated to the point of being totally useless. Instead of news, we get stories about cats in schools, fanfares about stupid celebrities making stupid remarks and any other triviality that might distract their audiences from the real world and the little that does resemble credible news, is either government propaganda, incomplete, misleading or a combination of all three. The credibility of MSJ is now non existent.

    The collapse of Venezuela, shattered climate records, the release of Arctic methane and CO2, unsustainable global debt, Bilderberg meetings and the sixth mass extinction event currently under way are never mentioned. Our environment continues to be destroyed, the oceans polluted and fished to exhaustion, finite resources are wasted on corporate profits while poverty and overcrowding due to unsustainable population growth continue unabated and the fault lies squarely with MSJ which, has failed to hold those responsible to account.

    Tony Jones, Australia’s most popular TV journalist, is the worst of the lot. For decades he has reveled in his popularity while all that sustains us is destroyed in the pursuit of growth and profit. He and his MSJ peers must change or we can kiss our sorry little behinds goodbye and if they think that they and theirs are somehow going to be exempt from the bloody mess that will inevitably befall us then, they are even more stupid than the ignorant fools who govern us.

    Aussie journalists are only slightly more trustworthy than the corporate bought and paid for politicians that they serve. How proud they must be.

    https://au.finance.yahoo.com/news/top-10-most-untrustworthy-aussie-professions-050959497.html

    “Sometimes I wonder whether the world is being run by smart people who are putting us on, or by imbeciles who really mean it.” — Mark Twain

  18. Steve Laing

    Until they make journalism a proper profession (like medecine, pharmacy or the law) with significant career implications for abusing the authority of your profession, this descent into misinformation and lies will continue. Fourth estate? A Ford estate would be infinitely more reliable.

  19. John Ward

    Malcolm Signed a MOU with UTAS today to pay $150 million he says he has taken out of renewables funding.
    He has no money until the senate changes the CEFC Act 2012. He has misled the voting public by, in theory, trying to strip $ 5.6 Billion out of the Renewables fund set up by penny Wong and Wayne Swan.
    Greg Hunt hopes to have crippled the renewables while they keep the price of electricity Low due to a $ 24 Billion subsidy to the Fossil fuel Magnates. This is a scandalous pea and thimble trick, amd a crime.

    Misleading and deceptive representations, leading right up to election day 2nd July 2016,

    There is now clear evidence of fraud, misleading and deceptive conduct by members of Cabinet. This crookedness needs to be exposed. The sectional interests of our Government Ministers’ Corporate donors are taking precedence over the national interest, and the sustainability of financing for the Renewable Energy Industry.

    In 2015,Treasurer Joe Hockey and Finance Minister Mathias Cormann directed the Clean Energy Finance Corporation to exclude investments in household and small-scale solar from the $10 billion fund in the future. The draft investment mandate called for “mature and established clean energy technologies … including wind technology and household small-scale solar” to be excluded from the Corporation’s activities.

    Interestingly, the authority to make such changes can only come from the Parliament, not the Executive.

    The Executive cannot change an Act of Parliament. The Parliament also authorises the Executive Government to spend public money (not the other way around).

    Any change such as the revocation of a part and/or a new investment mandate to the CEFC Act 2012 may only be modified by amendments made, requested or agreed to by the Senate. Stephen Keim QC has provided advice to environmental groups about the Government’s ability to direct the CEFC. He said the Government had the power to put in place an investment mandate but it had to “tread a fairly thin line”.

    During 1998, American Petroleum Institute (API), the USA’s largest oil trade association (member companies include BP, Chevron, Conoco Phillips, Exxon-Mobil and Shell) planned a “roadmap” for a climate of deception, including a plan to have “average citizens” believe that the realities of climate science were vague and uncertain.

    Australians have been subject to fraudulent and misleading representations, regarding climate change over the past ten years by the people we elected.

    The direct effect of the CEFC ‘Responsible Ministers’ acting as de facto or shadow directors of the CEFC has been to create the perception that Australian policy support for clean energy is uncertain or diminished.

    These are the same negative outcomes envisaged by the American Petroleum Institute’s (API) 1998 campaign.

    A third entity involved in this deception is the pressure group, the Institute of Public Affairs (IPA). The IPA was founded by a conglomerate of like-minded groups at the same time as the Liberal Party formed in 1943-44 after the break-up of the United Australia Party. The policy agenda of the Institute of Public Affairs (IPA) has been linked directly to LNP policy ever since.

    To put these linkages in context: The law frowns on the abuse of authority by any elected official i.e. to act with the intention to dishonestly gain a benefit for another person and/or cause detriment to another. This behaviour is defined in law as ‘Misfeasance’ In most cases, the essentials to bring an action of misfeasance in public office are; that the office-holder acted illegally, knew he/she was doing so, and knew or should reasonably have known that third parties would suffer loss as a result.

    The last Parliament (2013-2016) twice declined to allow the Executive’s Bill to Abolish the CEFC to become law. Subsequently, the Executive arm of Government had tried for two years to change the CEFC
    investment mandate.

    Recently, while in caretaker mode, the LNP created a different investment mandate directive (in order to appear to the electors to have authority) to modify the intent of the CEFC Act, without returning to the Parliament (which BTW no longer existed). So apparently they were preparing to seek such an alteration to the CEFC Act in (the next) the 45th Parliament.

    During the election campaign Prime Minister Turnbull purported to have the authority to redistribute $1billion from the Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC) to fund his new Clean Energy Innovation Fund (CEIF).

    $1 billion was also set aside to finance a ‘Better Cities Fund’ announced two thirds of the way through the campaign.

    And a further $1 billion ‘drawn ‘ from the “Green Bank ” to clean up the Barrier Reef ($0.6 Billion) is mentioned in an advertisement in the Australian newspaper for jobs to deliver higher water quality in farm runoff in what looks like a subsidy to sugar / ethanol industry.

    $100 million was set aside to prevent the closure of the Steelworks in Whyalla SA, and the University of Tasmania’s Northern Campus in Launceston received a pledge of $150 million to be extracted from the CEFC.

    These monies from ARENA are part of the proposed omnibus legislation meant to wedge the ALP. Prime Minister Turnbull is fundamentally saying to Tasmanians “you can have an expanded Northern Campus or a renewable energy industry, but you cannot have not both”.

    Malcolm promised money he cannot access, with the total pledged so far being $5.6 billion.
    Cabinet Ministers have conspired to remove all funds from the CEFC by pledging the total amount left in the CEFC account to other ‘good LNP causes’.

    At the same time Malcolm Turnbull is subsidising the fossil fuel industry with $24 billion of taxpayer funds. This includes exploration funding for Geoscience Australia and tax deductions for mining and petroleum exploration.

    Prime Minister Turnbull, Deputy Prime Minister Joyce, Former Prime Minister Abbott, Ministers Pyne, Hockey, Cormann and Hunt are attempting to falsely convince the public that the Cabinet can “re-purpose and re-direct the Act” without going back through the Parliament. These changes to the CEFC Act 2012 are still to be legislated.

    Let’s consider the limits the Clean Energy Finance Corporation Act 2012 imposes on the responsible Minister’s mandate.
    Section 65: The responsible Ministers must not give a direction under subsection 64(1):

    (a) that has the purpose, or has or is likely to have the effect, of directly or indirectly requiring the Board to, or not to, make a particular investment; or
    (b) that is inconsistent with this Act (including the object of this Act).

    The object of The Clean Energy Finance Corporation Act (2012) is to facilitate increased flows of finance into the clean energy sector.

    Joe Hockey and Mathias Cormann attempted to skirt around the law. If this gross ideological interference had not happened, the growth and jobs in the clean energy industry might have delivered some real balance to the downturns in other parts of the economy.

    The LNP Cabinet is in contempt of Parliament. Its Ministers have betrayed our trust.

    The LNP and the Institute of Public Affairs (IPA) are still using the same script and still following the American Petroleum Institute’s (API) line of climate deception.

    In a move away from API policy, in September 2014, Shell CEO Ben van Beurden in an interview with the Washington Post said: “Let me be very, very clear. For us, climate change is real and it’s a threat that we want to act on. We’re not aligning with sceptics” (Mufson 2014), Mufson is a director of Shell USA.

    Fraudulent representation means making of a false statement about a material fact, with the knowledge that such statement is false, to another person with an intention that such other person to whom that statement is made must believe it as true and must act upon it resulting in an injury to the person to whom such false representation is made.

    Conclusion

    There are strong connections between the API and the IPA’s disinformation and the LNP campaign aims.

    The links are there. The wrongs have been done. Let us join together to promote public debate on this matter.

    http://www.findlaw.com.au/articles/4433/deceptive-and-misleading-conduct-by-corporations-t.aspx

    http://reneweconomy.com.au/2015/hockey-sets-impossible-targets-for-cefc-in-green-investments-62743

    http://www.smh.com.au/environment/climate-change/australias-renewable-energy-investment-grinds-to-a-halt-20150414-1mkn70.html

    http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/government-pulls-the-plug-on-household-solar-20150712-gian0u.html

    http://www.aph.gov.au/About_Parliament/Parliamentary_Departments/Parliamentary_Library/pubs/rp/RP9596

    AUDIO: CEFC seeks legal advice over Government mandates on wind and solar (Breakfast)

    http://www.ucsusa.org/global-warming/fight-misinformation/climate-deception-dossiers-fossil-fuel-industry-memos – .V9fkLmURqEI

    http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-09-08/verrender-why-stop-at-the-mining-tax/5726276

    http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-07-13/government-accused-of-trying-to-shut-down-cefc-by-stealth/6614446

    https://ipa.org.au/library/publication/1345447840_document_be_like_gough.pdf

    http://www.austill.edu.au/journals/2011/i.html

    http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-07-12/government-lobbies-for-cefc-to-stop-wind-farm-funding/6613590

    https://www.evernote.com/shard/s706/nl/2147483647/b1f0c299-c76c-4e8e-9121-fc2054bbc328/

    http://reneweconomy.com.au/2016/turnbulls-sleight-of-hand-on-clean-energy-investment-63202

    http://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2016/jun/20/how the coalition-is-using-clean-energy-financing-as-an-election-slush-fund-australia

    http://www.smh.com.au/comment/chicken-little-abbott-and-brandis-wrong-on-lawfare-20150821-gj4htj.html

    http://www.themercury.com.au/news/tasmania/libs-match-utas-funding-pledge/news-story/e4b625ce3aaf58402ede3543b703452e

    http://reneweconomy.com.au/2016/second-tasmania-basslink-will-need-at-least-1000mw-of-new-renewables-89558

    https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2016/aug/08/abbott-says-lobbyists-as-liberal-party-power-brokers-could-lead-to-corruption

    https://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/sep/19/clean-energy-finance-corp-could-sue

    http://www.cleanenergyfinancecorp.com.au/the-public-interest-disclosure-(pid)-scheme.aspx

    https://www.legislation.gov.au/Details/C2012A00104

    https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2015/jul/12/coalition-bans-clean-energy-finance-corporation-wind-power-investment

    https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2016/jun/13/when-you-poke-the-coalitions-great-barrier-reef-rescue-mission-it-crumbles

    https://www.ucsusa.org/The-Climate-Deception-Dossiers.pdf

    http://www.lectlaw.com/def/f079.htm

    http://www.theenergycollective.com/gcooperrfa/227356/busting-big-oil-myths-renewable-fuel-standard-part-i
    http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-opinion/abbotts-climate-change-policy-is-bullshit-20091206-kdmb.html

    John Ward
    johnlward010@gmail.com
    03 62921211
    20 Grosse Road
    Gordon
    Tasmania
    7150

  20. Max Gross

    Once again the LNP wingnuts deny reality!

  21. Graeme Henchel

    Turnbull jumped the shark months ago. With the latest foray linking a natural disaster to “aggressive” clean energy targets he has jumped the Trump. Any semblance of the “old” Malcolm has been completely eroded. Bizarre punch drunk intervention he has lost the plot.

  22. Jaquix

    Turnbull trumps Trump.

  23. helvityni

    Jaquix, a brilliant three word slogan for Labor ! 🙂

  24. Matthew Oborne

    I dont know the life span of the towers, but nothing has been replaced, our other power poles the smaller ones have a 25 year life span yet most of the are around 60 years old and only get replaced when they fall over. Money was spent on electricity production here. It was only when the power came back on many of us then realised how bad it was, again today it is very windy and the ground is soaked which means trees dont have a lot to hold onto to stay in the ground, all the while knowing our situation has become a cheap political point scoring game.

  25. Sue

    I have to admit that the storm cell that hit SA was bad. The only reason SA was in almost total blackout was that our power generation capabilities have been dismantled by this and previous govts. SA is totally reliant on every other state for power. Want I want to know is why didn’t the govt have new power stations up and running before dismantling the old ones. (That to me seems like common sense, which no-one in govt anywhere in the bloody world seems to have, not just here).

    PS: You forgot to mention how stupid the media were in telling people (if your want to find out any more information, just get online). Der ?*”;*?/?* How is someone suppose to get online when there is no bloody power. There were problems with the mobile network during the blackout. I mean really. I swear the reporters just love to hear their own voices. The networks should create a reality show and give an award for the most stupid statement made by anyone. (The award being billboards with a picture of the winner/s with the title “This is why Contraception is necessary”.

  26. Möbius Ecko

    Sue. SA could have had lot’s of brand new power stations from coal, gas to nuclear and they still would have blacked out under this storm. The only way it would have been prevented would have been to put all the transmission infrastructure underground.

    As a Guardian article rightly showed that it would have also been mitigated if there had been more dispersed renewable energy.

  27. paulwalter

    Just reading John Lord elsewhere on this and am wondering if the often rational Xenophon was really talking about the maintainance that already had an interconnector link out in the firs t place (why in the middle of winter?) and confused it with renewable energy generatiion?

  28. David

    We don’t learn from history do we? I well remember Cyclone Joan in Port Hedland in WA in the 70s where all the shiny, brand spanking new RSJ power pylons collapsed, but the old trusty wooden ones survived. Why? Because wood can flex!

  29. Peter Muhleisen

    Spot on but its “Lo and behold!” The weather had a “low” and the journalism is but.

  30. diannaart

    Excellent article, Victoria – someone had to say it, Xenophon has not strayed far from the path of immediate self-interest.

    @Möbius Ecko

    Putting essential services underground is an excellent resolution to many of our services issues – with about as much chance of that happening as the LNP understanding Climate Change, Sustainable technology, conservation of resources, recycling resources, renewable technology, the Earth revolves around the Sun and ‘facts’ aren’t thought bubbles…

  31. minnie1946

    From 1978 to approximately 1987, I worked in the media … from newspapers at News Limited to television at TEN and then Seven. Daily, I am reminded what really bad journalism the Australian public is being subjected to these days compared to back in my media days. Of course, there were moments even back then when some media outlet or other crossed the line but from responsible to absurd. Now all we get is absurd. I find it shameful. You only have to look at 60 Minutes for example now, to experience the absurd. Commercial television should hang their heads in shame.

  32. woywoybaz

    Those sneaky wind turbines went and pushed the electricity pylons over. I saw them.

  33. Florence nee Fedup

    The wind turbines actually passed the test. Still producing electricity when turned off. Transmission grid failed. Why did the pylons topple, bend over. Old, poor steel, bad design.? Privatisation?

  34. Harquebus

    Florence nee Fedup

    “Windmills are too dependent on oil, from mining and fabrication to delivery and maintenance and fail the test of “can they reproduce themselves with wind power?””
    “Not only would windmills have to generate enough power to reproduce themselves, but they have to make enough power to run civilization.”
    “If the energy costs of intermittency, back-up conventional plant, and grid connection were added to the “cost” of windfarms, the EROEI would be far lower than current EROEI studies show.”
    http://energyskeptic.com/2015/wind/

  35. Jexpat

    That was a righteous and insightful rant.

    There’s even a fancy word in postmodern media studies that attempts to justify the process you’ve described. Dialogic ethics.

    In this form of “journalism,” which has been ascendent in the 21st Century the presentation of competing stories or narratives is paramount. Demonstrable facts and absolute truths (like maths) are a sideline, often rendered irrelevant to the clash of the “ideas” or “opinion” (which along with abject falsehood is uncritically packaged as “fact”) leaving the audience to decide for themselves who and what to believe.

    As we’ve seen many times over the past two decades or so, this is a profoundly dysfunctional ethic in contexts where the journalism is key to the public’s understanding of issues, problems and solutions- and ultimately, its abiity to responsibly self-govern in a democratic society.

    On the other hand, if one takes the view that media executives, editors and journalists’ one and only duty is to maximise their own profits, dialogic ethics is a very attractive rationalisation. It makes perfect sense.

    Leslie Moonves, the chairman of CBS laid it out clearly: “It may not be good for America, but it’s damn good for CBS.”

    Moonves, who referred to the presidential election cycle as a “circus,” went on to note his surprise at the turn of events that have propelled Trump from a laughingstock to the Republican leader in terms of presidential delegates heading into Super Tuesday. “The money’s rolling in and this is fun. I’ve never seen anything like this, and this going to be a very good year for us. Sorry. It’s a terrible thing to say. But, bring it on, Donald. Keep going.”

  36. jimhaz

    The media’s problem, as are all our problems, a result of neoliberalisation wherein all work is now a matter of opportunities to create and maximise profit.

  37. philgorman2014

    Thank you Victoria, John Ward and other contributors. The COAL-ition innovative bullshit pump primed by Barnacle Choice, Slick Xenophobe and Mal Feasance is being enthusiastically worked by the enthusiastic rump pump of what was the Fourth Estate.

    You can fool most of the people most of the time but you can’t fool all of the people all of the time. This time they’ve surely gone too far. If there’s an ounce of sense surviving in Australia this shitty extravaganza must surely blow-back big time.

  38. bossa

    The tragic irony in all of this is that the storm was the byproduct of Climate Change caused by our addiction to fossil fuels.

    Governments should govern and not play politics at every turn – this is not student politics. This vindicates my decision to never vote for the badly tuned Xylophone (sic). He’s always been a show pony and cannot be trusted.

  39. Trish Corry

    An excellent article as usual. Look out. You might just to Paul Barry out of a job!

  40. wam

    beauty Victoria!!!!!!!
    The diludbransims and slimy X.both have the same agenda and are pragmatic enough to shelve principles. Arguably the lawyer and the doc may now be bereft of principles once held dear??
    When uhlmann contacted the rabbott to seek permission for appointment to 7.30 because he was the partner of a woman in the labor government. He fixed his position as anti-labor(confirmed by bolt) and legitimised the rabbott’s distrust of all things labor.

    Matters I looked for the tongue in cheek but concluded that there was no joke and your words were accurate.
    Bossa
    Gillard, oakeschott and windsor were hoping for a change but the lemonists, the rabbottianss, slimey x and the loonies had other ideas. Whilst the rabbott was a huge success, his camp followers flashed there support into the morning shows, news bulletins and print
    QED

  41. Alan Baird

    When the ABC’s privatised we’ll scarcely tell the difference. More than enough ABC personnel were disgraceful. Even the commercial tele channels were more restrained which speaks volumes for the ABC’s further descent into irrelevance. Xenophon hates wind power of course and was quick off the mark. What a debacle. A grotesque “look over there” moment. If the disaster had happened to NSW I’ll bet there would be NO peculiar twists of logic from the Fizza about the coal fired power stations etc.
    Your ABC: never mind the quality, feel the width. Er, make that thickness.

  42. WarrenRoss

    The Drum also contributed to the story. Incredibly, it sought silly publicist Sharri Markson’s view on what had happened in SA.

  43. Ian Gardner

    For many years I have made little or no attention the mainstream media but enjoy Media Watch each week.

  44. Michael Taylor

    Ian, after watching Media Watch I realise that nearly every thing I’ve read or heard in the media during the week was mostly bullshit.

  45. Jimmy Davo

    One thing to remember here also is that for a majority part most of what is printed in newspapers is press releases, usually with little or no additional editorial comment at all. So, read that again so you can see that all you are reading is a bunch of “entity” (choose/insert your poison here) propaganda all reprinted for you in one nice convenient little package… still watch/read “the news” do you?

  46. nurses1968

    ABC have no shame
    “Former NSW premier Kristina Keneally, the patron of the Stillbirth Foundation, says she is “incredibly disappointed” that an ABC journalist responded so insensitively to a media release from the foundation about the number of babies born dead each year.

    On Thursday the Stillbirth Foundation issued a press release with the news that Australian Bureau of Statistics data revealed that stillbirth claimed the lives of more than 1,700 babies each year – or five babies every day.

    The brusque emailed response from one journalist at the ABC was: “Don’t care, take me off your list thanks”.

  47. Annie B

    Spot on Victoria …. shame, shame and more shame … to the MSM and their ( often ) illiterate reporters. Journalists they are not … true journalism went out with button up boots ( 1890’s style that is ).

    The Xenophon statements were taken at a frantic pace across the entire stupid media – [ they *ran* with it !! ] … partly about the ‘wind being too strong for the wind towers’ … they should have taken a good gander at this first – or at least Nick X should have, before he spoke on the ABC :

    http://www.antarctica.gov.au/living-and-working/station-life-and-activities/renewable-energy/wind-power

    The katabatic winds that can howl down toward Mawson – do so, often at over 250 kmph. …. True blizzard conditions plus, plus, plus. I haven’t experienced them myself (?) – but my son has – he is presently at Mawson, due to return at the end of this year. So – here we go – “Blizzard winds to power Australian Antarctic stations”

    http://www.antarctica.gov.au/magazine/2001-2005/issue-2-spring-2001/feature/blizzard-winds-to-power-australian-antarctic-stations

    As for Uhlmann .. no longer like the bloke …. he seized his opportunities ruthlessly and led Xenophon along in that ABC interview, while Xenophon who may well have had more than enough to worry about personally ( perhaps family considerations ) back in South Australia, followed like a lamb. … But that’s precisely what 2nd rate TV reporters do ( and they most all are 2nd rate imo ). Uhlmann continually side-stepped Xenophons concern for people with medical considerations, but Xenophon kept coming back to that.

    What is it about ex-seminarians – – – ( Abbott / Uhlmann ) that make them so incredibly shallow and inept ?
    ……

    Agree with Steve Laing ( September 30, 2016 at 12:13 am ) … While journalism is in fact a degree ( part of the BA in Communication ) that can be taken at various universities in Australia … abusing any part of that career should have serious implications, just as it does in medical, pharmaceutical and law careers.

  48. Florence nee Fedup

    All criticism of renewals wind and sun seem to be about so called base power. What I don’t understand is why we will need national transmission grids into the future.

    Already we are seeing households generating their own power with solar. Wind can also be used. We now have development of batteries which are becoming cheaper. I see many more homes, even businesses and factories leaving the grid.

    What I don’t see is a role for coal, even gas.

    There are other options such as tidal and thermal which will provide stable generation 24/7.

    I see each town producing it’s own power. This was common back in middle last century where small towns had their own diesel generators before the creation of the national grid.

  49. Harquebus

    Florence nee Fedup
    My criticism of renewables is their negative EROEI.

  50. Steve Johns

    It is easy to see who really runs the government, LNP or, to a slightly lesser extent, Labour, and the media. The problem is that the majority of Australian voters are so stupid and apathetic that they can’t or wont see the obvious. It is a huge mistake to get sucked into playing their game and blaming personalities and political parties. The reality is Big business is calling the shots in the government and the media. You need to look at the underlying causes not just the symptoms that the media are using to distract voters from thinking about the who and why of the real controllers.

  51. diannaart

    Florence

    Agree. There is no need for massive power grids, nor use for gas & coal as heating – there are other limited needs for such materials but not at the scale where we continue to pump CO2 into an atmosphere that has evolved to sustain present day flora and fauna.

    Of course this is why the tobacco company style propaganda wars conducted by mining and vested interests – only a far more desperate war – tobacco never had the support of government and media that fossil fuels do.

    I remain utterly bereft of any hope for reason from Xenophon, another intelligent man paid for by fossil fuels.

    Annie B

    Am so up on ‘katabatic winds’ now, thanks to your interesting links. Love adding to my lexicon.

  52. Sir Scotchmistery

    Some time ago I worked out that it is possible to stop CSG in a heartbeat. The requirement was a single long rifle and 20 bullets.

    The operator had to work between 1100 and 1500 metres.

    The process was to fire the rifle at the cab of 12 trucks carrying crap for the mining system. Some a single shot, others 2.

    That would screw the gas industry for obvious reasons. But how would it be possible to do the same to the MSM?

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