Amid debate about the ABC’s reporting of abuse allegations against the navy, the Prime Minister yesterday declined to support Defence Minister David Johnston’s call for an inquiry into editorial standards.’
ABC apologists will say good, no inquiry.
In fact, Abbott has concluded what I reluctantly have, too: that the ABC simply can’t and won’t redress its ingrained Leftist bias. That leaves conservatives with two options: to simply accept that a massive state-funded media will campaign forever for the Left in breach of its charter, or to cut the ABC down to a less threatening size for a healthy democracy.
Guess which of those two alternatives most appeals?”
Less threatening size? For a healthy democracy? Now, I seem to remember reading from Bolt – among many others – that the size of Murdoch’s empire was no problem in today’s age of ready access to a variety of other sources. The fact that Limited News publishes over seventy per cent of newspapers – including the only ones in some cities – was no threat at all to our democratic system.
But then I also remember them arguing that there was no need for an inquiry into Murdoch’s operations in Australia – the goings-on in Britain were, after all, in Britain. There’s no need to think that the way an organisation behaves in one place should make one suspicious of them in another country. That would be like investigating a church because of a few bad apples in the bunch, or launching an inquiry into the whole union movement when corruption was alleged in a couple of unions.
Less threatening size for democracy? Now, I know some of you will think that he really means “less threatening size for Ruper’s intention to hold a monopoly on all newst”. But that’s unfair. There’s no evidence of that.
However, I’m more concerned at our Prime Minister’s desire to “throw something at the set”. (Perhaps, one could suggest that he throw something at the wall – on either side -beside the set.) It does suggest a certain frustration at what he terms “political correctness” – a shame that we weren’t given examples of the sorts of things he’s talking about.
I suppose that we could put criticism of the navy down as a definite. (Peter Reith did have a rather confused column today where he congratulated David Johnston for his passionate attempt to gain acknowledgement that he was in fact our Defence Minister by rushing to the defence of the Navy as soon as Peta had given him permission to speak. Reith then went on to tell us that the whole “children overboard” thing was because the navy had given him the wrong information and then that naughty ABC gave him a hard time when all that had happened was that those navy people had got things wrong.)
Similarly, Mr Abbott probably gets very annoyed when the ABC persists in calling people “asylum seekers” when the official edict is that they should be called “illegals” and the unofficial edict demands they be referred to as “dangerous desperadoes” or simply “those people”.
Then, of course, when the ABC demonstrate their clear bias by referring to the Opposition Leader as Mr Shorten, instead of “Electricity Bill” as the Government has suggested. And again, when they fail to mention that it’s the Carbon Tax that’s led to the car manufactures closing, even though they’re not ceasing production until well after the Carbon Tax is supposed to be abolished.
Yes, I can see that there’s a lot that could get Mr Abbott all worked up. My suggestion is that he should watch another channel or, better yet, not bother with the news at all, including making appearances on it. I know that he did try to make himself as scarce as possible after the election, and that seemed to have a positive effect on his approval rating.
Enough of this. There are more important stories to write about at the moment. For instance, does anyone know where Schapelle spent her first night of freedom and what she ate for breakfast? Let’s face it, now that “Breaking Bad” is over, there’s a large gap in many people’s lives.
A few days ago, Andrew Bolt shared a rather strange idea:
“I AM an indigenous Australian, like millions of other people here, black or white. Take note, Tony Abbott. Think again, you new dividers, before we are on the path to apartheid with your change to our Constitution.
I was born here, I live here and I call no other country home. I am therefore indigenous to this land and have as much right as anyone to it.”
Of course, that caused a bit of a controversy. And, I am aware that Bolt thrives on controversy and does so deliberately – because let’s face it when it comes to his place in the media, it’s really all he has. Yes, I’m sure that some of you will say that if you just ignore him, then he’ll go away. While I can see some merit in that argument, I also think that lies and misinformation need to be challenged. Otherwise, we end up with things like Jon Faine telling a talkback caller that the Liberals took the sale of Australia Post to the election as one of their policies. Does anyone remember that? The sale of Medibank Private was tucked away in their fine print, but I can find nothing nor can I remember anything about it.
And so to the word “indigenous”. People are arguing. Some are saying that “technically” he’s right. However, I can find no definition to support even a technical argument to enable someone to argue that he or she is indigenous, simply by virtue of being born in a place.
The Oxford Dictionary defines it:
originating or occurring naturally in a particular place; native:
the indigenous peoples of Siberia
coriander is indigenous to southern Europe
If someone can find a definition that includes zoo animals which are born here, then I’ll be willing to concede that Bolt is as indigenous as a cane toad. (Or almost, cane toads have been here for several generations now).
But Bolt is not content with manglng the word indigenous in order to inflame and insult. He goes on to quote Tony Abbott, before twisting history:
“If we had known in 1901 what we know now, if our hearts had been as big then as now, we would have acknowledged indigenous people in the Constitution back then,’’ he said this week.
This is nonsense. The writers of our Constitution no more lacked heart than do people today. The difference is they were inspired by the creed that all citizens — those, at least, we admitted — are as one before the law.
True, they did not always live up to that ideal (although, contrary to popular myth, they granted Aborigines the vote in all states where they had the franchise).
But even if we don’t always follow our moral compass, the answer never is to break it. Changing the Constitution to divide Australians between the “first” and the rest — on the basis of the “race” of our ancestors — is not just immoral and an insult to our individuality.
There is much in this that’s highly questionable, but his assertion that “although, contrary to popular myth, they granted Aborigines the vote in all states where they had the franchise)” can’t be allowed to go unchallenged.
Section 41 of the Constitution ensured that people who already had the right to vote weren’t disenfranchised by the new Federal Parliament.
‘No adult person who has or acquires a right to vote at elections for the more numerous House of the Parliament of a State, shall, while the right continues, be prevented by any law of the Commonwealth from voting at elections for either House of Parliament of the Commonwealth.’
Its main impetus was to protect the rights of women in South Australia who had already gained the vote. As a by-product it gave rights to a number of others, including “non-white” migrants who had arrived before the “White Australia” policy and Indigenous Australians if they already had voting rights.
While two states specifically excluded Aborigines from voting – Queensland and Western Australia, others did little to make them aware of their rights or to encourage them to enrol.
The initial interpretation of Section 41, by the first Solicitor General was that franchise rights only included those who were on the role at the time of Federation, meaning that no new Aboriginal voters could be enrolled. While this was challenged successfully in 1924 by an Indian man who’d been rejected as a Commonwealth voter in spite of being enrolled at State Level, the history of the voting rights of Aboriginal people is not as simple as Andrew Bolt implies with his throwaway line about “popular myth”. It wasn’t until the 1967 Referendum that the voting rights were ensured; to suggest otherwise, is to be mischievous.
But Bolt has always been one for contradictions. He suggests that he just wants us to be all one, but points out that both the judge and the prosecutor at his trial were Jewish. Not that he has a problem with that – it’s just that he thought that such people would understand the dangers of an oppressive government trying to shut down free speech. However, a media organisation should never use its free speech to “aid the enemy” by publishing allegations about who’s being spied on – even if it’s us – or which suggest that our navy has treated people roughly when turning their boats around. In the case of the ABC, the whole organisation should be shut down or sold off for daring to publish that which the public has no right to know. A celebrity’s hacked phone records, however, are no reason to launch an inquiry which may inhibit the media from doing its job.
However, the thing I find worrying is not the fact that Bolt has made a fool of himself with his inaccurate and inflammatory use of language. It’s that – for just a millisecond – he’s made Tony Abbott look good. Oh, I know that some of you will question Abbott’s motives about the constitutional addition, but that’s not the point. When Bolt starts criticising Abbott as being too trendy and left wing, it almost makes Abbott sound like he’s mainstream. (No, of course, not to you died in the wool Left wing socialist, latte-sippers who lap up sites like this 🙂 ). While we’re making effigies of Bolt to throw on the bonfire, we can be distracted from the fact that he’s not the one in government. In the end, Bolt is an irrelevant errand boy who’ll write what he’s told.
And yes, I am aware of the irony of spending an entire blog only to say that Bolt doesn’t matter. However, I make the simple defence that one can’t allow misinformation to spread, no matter who’s spreading it.
“Much has been accomplished when one man says ‘No’!” Bertold Brecht
Labor wastes money! We know this. Tony Abbott, Joe Hockey and company have been banging on about Labor wasting money for years.
And today, Joe Hockey will tell us that the budget has blown out from the $30 billion estimated during the election campaign to a whopping $50 billion. That’s, of course, all down to Labor. Well may not, the $8 billion that the Coalition gave to the Reserve Bank. I suspect that won’t come up in the Press Conference.
“It’s blown out by a further $20 billion!” announces Hockey
So the obvious question is: “But isn’t more than half that, the money you gave to the Reserve Bank and the billions of dollars of tax revenue which you’ve decided not to go ahead with?”
Unfortunately, I doubt that one will be asked. I doubt that the press will even ask – if saving money is such a priority – why did Tony Abbott waste money producing a booklet of his first 100 days? If they do, Hockey will immediately say that Kevin Rudd did that too.
You see, that’s politics: Everything Labor did was bad, unless we’re doing it too, in which case it’s perfectly ok, because they did it!
But rather surprisingly, I’m not at all concerned about the recent booklet. I want to re-visit a more important booklet that the Liberals created. The Little Book of Big Labor Waste, where they list 60 areas where Labor had wasted money.
A few months ago, I actually read this booklet and wrote about it in a blog. And it seems to me that Liberals have either forgotten all about it, or are saving the big announcements for their committee of audit. Either way, I don’t think it’s good enough.
For example, where’s the announcement that they’ve stopped this outrageous waste of money! Public servants getting milk! 350 litres to 900 bureaucrats. That’s more than a third of a litre each! If they could just stop this altogether, then we’d the Budget would be a mere $49,999,999,890 (or should that be $49,999,999,999,890. Like Barnaby Joyce, I sometimes get my billions and millions mixed up)
There were a few other concerns, like Labor advertising the “schoolkids bonus” because people weren’t aware that they were entitled to it. A complete waste of money, because the Liberals are scrapping it, so there’s absolutely no need for people to have known about it!
In fairness though, there are some areas where the Liberals have delivered. For example, there were many complaints about money being wasted on research. And as for this one
Well, I’m sure that they won’t waste any money on equity and fairness when appointing anyone to anything. As for the ABC, they can just appoint Andrew Bolt to the board. That should ensure that there’s no bias against the Liberals. Because, after all, isn’t that what bias means? You write something against the Liberals. Everything else is just the truth!
First, you need to be very, very sure that you’re right. Not right-wing, mind you. Just right. About everything. You know this because, well, you’re always right aren’t you?
The best way to show people that you’re right is to point out that how wrong others are. You can attack them for being nasty and mean-natured and show examples where they have attacked Tony Abbott or John Howard. This just shows how pusillanamous they are. (Throw in a word like that to show your reader that you’re smarter than they are). You can also show how those feral losers support people like Bob Brown and Julia Gillard, who no-one should support because people organise demonstrations with things like “Ditch the Witch” signs. If anyone puts a comment on your blog, pointing out the contradiction here, delete it as offensive, as are all comments that disagree with you.
Similarly, if any other news outlet presents a view different from yours, attack them for their bias. Cite examples where they present a different perspective and use this as proof of their lack of balance.
Next, you actually quote those you are trying to make look ridiculous. But quote selectively. Don’t give the context, or the full quote. And never let them get away with irony or hyperbole, make sure that you reader knows that they meant exactly what they said.
For example, in his recent blog, Andrew Bolt wrote:
‘Every one of them knows what a supporter I have been of the Jewish community, not just in print, yet not one publicly protested when a Jewish QC told a Jewish judge in my case something far more foul than anything I had written – that my thinking resembled that of the Nazis who drew up the Nuremberg race laws. That obscene slur struck me as a legally sanctioned defamation’
Now, the way to quote this would be:
“After, for some reason feeling the need to point out that both his prosecutor and the judge were Jewish, Bolt wrote: ‘my thinking resembled that of the Nazis who drew up the Nuremberg race laws'”
He adds the following Postscript:
‘I have been warned that some people are taking offence at my mentioning the religion of the judge and the barristers for the complainants. One Jewish community leader has even had the hide to wonder in an email to me if I was suggesting a “Jewish conspiracy”.
It should be clear – and would be to those who know me – that the reference is made to suggest just how much an insult was meant by the Nazi reference and how explosive it was in the context of the case.’
After some selective editing, this, of course, becomes:
“Bolt went on to say, ‘I have been warned that some people are taking offence at my mentioning the religion of the judge and the barristers for the complainants…
It should be clear – and would be to those who know me – that the reference is made to suggest just how much an insult was meant’.”
However, it’s not enough to expect your readers to just accept that you’re right. You need to back it up with evidence. Numbers are always good. Just quote some statistics. They don’t need to demonstrate anything, but they look good. For example, you could say that since this morning there have been no boat arrivals, whereas on this date in 2009 thirty seven “asylum seekers” invaded Christmas Island. Call it a drop of 100% and use it as undeniable evidence that Abbott is not a mysognist.
You can also quote experts. An expert is – by definition – someone who agrees with you. If they’re in the majority, that’s proof enough that they’re right. After all, that’s how democracy works. Any contrary views are “radical” or “whacky”. But, if the expert is in the minority, that’s evidence that they’re thinking for themselves, and not going along with the mob. Even if they’ve only been published in an obscure newspaper in Lithuania, this is proof that that sensible views like this – which coincides with yours – can’t get widespread publication. (And if anyone points out that your column gets widespread publication and, therefore, so do these views, tell them that, typically, the Left is trying to distract from the main argument, or better yet, delete their comment as offensive.)
Emotive language is another useful tool.
People making extreme predictions on climate change are “alarmist”; anyone making less extreme predictions just shows that climate scientists are admitting that they were wrong.
Unions using money to further political interests is a “slush fund”; business groups, on the other hand, have a “war chest” or “fighting fund”.
Any government initiative or tax break is “socialism” or “social engineering” if it doesn’t go to an approved industry; on the other hand, tax breaks on diesel to primary industry encourages capitalism.
Climate scientists joined with the Gillard government to invent as excuse for a “toxic tax”; anyone suggesting collusion between businesses is “paranoid” or “delusional”.
Women can be “hysterical” or “shrill” if they argue against you; should anyone complain about this the “feminazis” and “politically correct” are stifling free speech.
Remember that your aim is not find solutions to complex problems. You already have all the answers – they’re obvious and don’t need to spelled out in any detail.
Your aim is to annoy as many people as you can without upsetting your supporters!
If you can do all this, then you, too, may be able to have a column read by thousands of people every day. So what if future generations read your predictions and laugh. You know, after some of the statements from people in the Abbott Government, anything you’ve written will seem minor by comparison.
Ok, it’s time for some balance on The AIMN. There have been far too many anti-Government posts and I’m taking it upon myself to defend the actions of Abbott and company.
Let’s start with the clear bias being showed by certain media outlets. The ABC have tried to embarrass the Government by revealing the Powerpoint that suggested that we had been spying on the Indonesian President. It was ABSOLUTELY wrong of them to publish this. Stories about what Australian Intelligence is doing should NEVER EVER be published. Reponsible media outlets have frequently surpressed stories that aren’t in anyone’s interest. How much have you read about the TPP, or the Leveson inquiry? As some have suggested, this borders on treason. The second point with this, of course, is the timing. Clearly, the ABC and The Guardian conspired together to wait until after the election. This story should have been published months ago when Labor was in power.
Of course, the media does have a set against the Liberals. As Andrew Bolt points out in his blog, there have been a number of articles in the Fairfax papers critical of members of the Abbott Government. Headlines like “Hockey blows $3b hole in budget” and “Barnaby Joyce says that rugby league expenses were official business” are clearly designed to create a negative impression on the reader. Nothing Barnaby says should be reported unless it’s first cleared by one of the adults.
(The ABC in particular keeps trotting out shows with ex-Labor ministers, and they even tried to make you see Julia Gillard in an affectionate light, with their program, “At Home With Julia” – a sit-com purporting to show Tim and Julia at home. But will they have something like “Hard Times With The Boys” – a sit-com supposedly showing what a ficticious Abbott is doing at the police training academy? I very much doubt it!)
We promised to stop you having to worry about boat arrivals being the front page of your newspaper every day. I don’t think anyone can accuse us of failing to deliver on that promise. But the media are upset because now they actually have to find other things to write about, but why should the Abbott Government get the blame for that?
Then there was the furore over Hockey’s request to raise the debt ceiling to a mere five hundred billion dollars. The way some of the media reported it, you’d think that debt was a problem in this country. Fortunately, many economists and other experts were quoted as saying that we don’t even need a debt ceiling. Unless, of course, Labor is in power, because they put things on the credit card and we have to pay it off, by borrowing more money, so they should have one, but a much lower one. We’ll only be using the increased borrowings to pay off the debts that Labor will be racking up over the next two or three years.
As for the recent attempts by the press gallery to suggest that the recent statements by Christopher Pyne on education were somehow a broken promise, I find it incredible just how stupid some of the media can be. What Pyne said before the election was that they had a “unity ticket” on Gonski and as we all know, just because you have a ticket, that doesn’t mean you have to go to the show. Some people might give their ticket to someone else. Or sell it. There is no compulsion for you to use your ticket and the Liberals can hardly be blamed if the media is too stupid to recognise that.
As for the statement: “you can vote Liberal or Labor and you’ll get exactly the same amount of funding for your school”, it’s easy to see that by “your school” what was meant was overall funding and not specifically your particular school. To try and argue that “your school” means “the school you send your kids to” is the sort of tricky word play that we’ve come to expect from Shorten and his mob, and really you shouldn’t be sucked in by it.
Finally, we have the inconsistency on complaints about foreign aid. First the bleeding hearts want us to help out other countries, then they complain when we give Sri Lanka a couple of boats to help save people from ending up in a place like Manus Island or Nauru. Not that there’s anything wrong with these detention centres. In fact, by the time we may even lease them out as holiday detentions once all the boats are stopped.
“It is not good for schools to be funded through anomalies, outside the criteria. Gonski was going to fix this, and help all schools, but his model seems to be a dud or at least in need of a blood transfusion.”
* Cardinal George Pell (Opinion Piece, September 2nd 2012)
“Since Pinocchio says he is starving, Geppetto gives him the pears and teaches Pinocchio to waste nothing. In gratitude, Pinocchio promises to go to school. Since Geppetto has no money to buy school books, he sells his only coat. Pinocchio heads off to school, but on the way he hears music and crowds. Curious, he follows the sounds until he finds himself in a crowd of people, all congregated to see the Great Marionette Theater. Unable to withstand the urge, he sells his school book for tickets to the show.”
From Synopsis of the original Pinocchio story
Once upon time, there an old word-carver called Abbotto. He carved a wooden puppet which he named Pynocchio. Abbotto was lonely because he didn’t have a son, and he wished upon a star that Pynocchio would come to life.
That night, Pynocchio was visited by a blue fairy – just for drinks, mind you and there was no mention of Cinderella’s Slipper. And the next day, Abbotto was surprised to see how much life there was in Pynocchio.
“Will I ever be a real boy?” asked Pynocchio.
“Not a chance,” replied Abbotto.
“Not even if I’m brave, truthful, and unselfish?”
“You’ve watched too many Disney movies,” replied Abbotto. “You might as well just accept who you are and lie through your teeth.”
“But won’t my nose grow long?”
“Yes, but no-one’ll care. The Murdochio newspapers will photoshop it out. And we’ll just accuse the others of trying to mislead the public.”
“But I don’t want a long nose – I’ll look ugly.”
Abbotto let the silence speak for him.
“Well,” said Pynocchio eventually, “I suppose I’ll need to go to school”
“Why?” asked Abbotto.
“To learn to read.”
“I’ve never read anything, and look how far it’s got me.”
“You’ve never read anything?”
“Well, of course, I read the BHP statement. And all the things that I’m suppose to have read.”
“But didn’t you just say…”
“Look, if you’re going to keep bringing up the past, what hope do have of ever being a real boy?”
Pynocchio was silent.
“Come on, let’s get you ready to meet the press.”
And so Pynocchio, who were all amazed that he could walk and talk and looked just like a real boy even though he was wooden. Over the next few months, Pynocchio showed that he could do many, many tricks that his master had shown him such as say one thing in the morning and another at night. However, he never became a real boy, but, in the end, that didn’t matter. Because he was one of the adults. And there were in charge. They could do anything. Stay up late, drink, lie to the electorate. It was grand!
And he knew he was an adult. Andrew Bolto said so.
“Fighting for Peace is Like Screwing for Virginity”
Graffiti from the 70’s
A work colleague complained that speed cameras were just a way of raising revenue, and that they had nothing to with safety.
“Really,” he complained,”having to take your eyes off the road to check your speed all the time makes you more dangerous.”
I resisted the temptation to ask him if he could manage to chew gum and walk at the same time, but the conversation stuck with me. Looking at where speed cameras are placed, I wondered if he had a point, but generally, I felt that if one speeds, one can’t complain too much if one gets a ticket every now and then.
It was when the same colleague walked in complaining about receiving a fine that I got a taste of the future. It was for using a phone to text while driving.
“Ridiculous,” he said, “I’m a competent driver – I can text keep and drive at the same time.”
But not keep an eye on the speed without being a safety risk? I wondered.
It’s just this sort of logic that seems to be prevalent at the moment. Principles change depending on the personalities involved, or what the person wants to happen. Abbott’s insistence that he has a mandate seems at odds with his determination to block the ETS when Rudd was PM. Didn’t Rudd go to an election promising to introduce this in 2007? Didn’t he have a mandate?
I don’t think that the Left is immune. People who complained about the personal attacks on Gillard or the legitimacy of her government are now using sexist and demeaning language about the Speaker, Bronwyn Bishop, and trying to argue that Abbott wasn’t legitimately elected. (There’s an argument that people were misled, which makes his claims for a mandate on everything a little dodgy, but whether that makes a government “illegitimate” is a more complicated discussion.)
However, it fascinates me that those who have been squawking about freedom of the press, and how any attempt to regulate or provide checks and balances was a threat to the very foundation of democracy. Just because the Murdoch empire had – allegedly – been engaged in inappropriate relationships with police and politicians, and hacking people’s phones in the UK, there was no evidence that they had done so here, and to suggest such a thing was just an attempt to stifle their criticism of Labor.
In fact, to even have an inquiry, to even look to see if there was any evidence, well, that was an insult to the integrity of the hard-working members of the Murdoch Media in this country.
As for suggestions that it was too big, and too powerful, well, these days, thanks to the Internet, there are so many ways that people can access the news, that there’s no need for restrictions on the size of any company.
Ah, glancing at your speed makes you dangerous, but an experienced driver can text without being distracted.
Yesterday, Andrew Bolt wrote the following in his article, “Abbott Must Take On the ABC”:
“Just as concerning is how the ABC is metastasising, using our $1.1 billion a year to strangle private media outlets and stifle diversity.
No healthy democracy should have a state media this dominant, with the ABC sprawling over four national TV channels and four radio networks, and now an online newspaper that gives free the kind of news and views that dying Fairfax newspapers must sell to survive.”
The ABC has grown too big and it’s “killing diversity”? Mm, I suppose if you chose to define left-wing as anyone who doesn’t support the idea that the rich should pay no tax at all because they provide all the work, rather than the Occupy Movement or the Socialist Workers’ Party, then the ABC hosts would all address each other as “comrade” while the Fairfax journalists would be plotting the overthrow of the system by the ballot rather than the bomb.
Of course, Bolt’s views are designed to provoke. He makes a living out of being controversial. So I wouldn’t even bother were it not for the fact that there are similar views being promoted by so many on the Right, and for the fact that the IPA clearly have the sale of the ABC on its agenda.
Then we have the distraction in the spying scandal – should the ABC (and “The Guardian”) have published, or should they have decided that it wasn’t in the national interest and buried the story? (In much the same way that certain newspapers in Australia have buried the Leveson inquiry or the charges against the Murdoch Press in the UK – presumably they weren’t in the national interest either!) But surely, if the Government-owned media starts to censor its news because it might embarrass the Government, they’d be open to all sorts of criticism. Secondly, does anyone really think that Snowden’s revelations would not have found their way to Jakarta – and eventually, some media outlet – anyway?
Ah, how quickly we’ve gone from this:
“I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it” Voltaire
“I disapprove of what you say, so shut up, because free speech only applies to those who are right. And you’re part of the Left, so you don’t have anything to say!” Bolt aire.
Now, I know some of you approach Andrew Bolt like some people approach climate change. If we just ignore it, it will go away. Unfortunately, that’s not true. So, if you’re one of those people that hates reading about Bolt, turn away now. Don’t comment that I shouldn’t be writing about him, because there are things you’d prefer me to write about. Write to him and tell him that I’m charging him with treason.
Blot’s been in his “Free Speech, what’s that?” mode lately. He’s great the way he can swing between someone being told that they can’t print falsehoods is an enormous threat to democracy to people who write things I don’t like should be sacked or jailed.
So, according to the Nut’s blog, the ABC and The Guardian have betrayed our national interest by reporting on the tapping of the Indonesian President’s phone. Let’s completely overlook how public the story would have become anyway. And let’s completely overlook the idea that when the press start not reporting stories because it would “embarrass” the security agency or the Government we’re going down a very well-worn path. Certainly, let’s completely ignore the idea that if a journalist can get hold of “top secret” information, then probably the fact that we have a leaky secret service is a problem in itself – it’s like complaining that someone got hold off those naked photos you have of yourself and published them. You really should ask yourself what you’re doing with 1) naked photos of yourself and 2) not making sure that they’re so secure that nobody would ever find them.
But no, apparently it’s the ABC and Fairfax that are to blame. They shouldn’t have published. It was against the national interest.
Now, let me just repeat that. They shouldn’t have published. It was against the national interest.
I’m tempted to repeat it again with CAPITALS.
For once, Bolt has convinced me that he’s right. Newspapers who publish things against the national interest are wicked, evil traitors.
So, let’s forget about this and move on to the more important business of boats arriving.
Young Scotty Morrison – he’s a Christian, you know see here – was asked to provide the Senate with information about boat arrivals. However
‘Immigration Minister Scott Morrison has defied a Senate order to release more information about asylum seeker operations, citing “national security” and the “protection of public safety”‘
He claimed that reporting the arrival boats would help people smugglers, and that it would jeopardise military operations.
Therefore, it would be treasonous to report the arrival of boats. And surely anyone doing it doesn’t have Australia’s interests at heart. If anyone knew about a boat arriving…
Wait, something is echoing in my head. Ah…
They shouldn’t have published. It was against the national interest.
Ah, so all those times that the Murdoch press published boat arrivals they was doing the very thing that Blot condemns. (As for reporting the hacking of someone’s phone, well, the Murdoch press never report on that so we can’t accuse them of hypocrisy there.)
Surely, Murdoch must be ashamed. How can he call himself an Australian?
“Tony Abbott’s election victory give us the chance to push for the repeal of laws stifling our right to free speech, which came under such sinister attack from Labor.”Andrew Bolt
“Or at least not to be offended about the things that matter to them, because almost all the sorts of people who like the legislation being deployed against Bolt would be horrified to think that those in the US who are offended by the burning of the American flag ought to be able to prosecute the burners for their offended sensibilities… The only kind of free speech worth anything is the kind that leads to speech that offends people.” Speech by James Allan
Did Scott demand: “Get this sh-t off?”
Hell, no. Here, instead, is the ABC’s official excuse for the shot, screened on The Chaser’s The Hamster Decides: “While strong in nature, the segment was consistent with the humour from the Chaser Team and in line with the target audience of The Hamster Decides. The graphic was clearly fake and absurd.”
Yes, the graphic was clearly fake. That’s not the issue. The issue is that it was obscene, humiliating and viciously abusive.
To that, the ABC has two evasive defences. First, “the segment was consistent with the humour from the Chaser Team”.
But if this Dog F—er “joke” was “consistent with” the humour the ABC expected from The Chaser, should it not explain why it knowingly hired the team to consistently broadcast such stuff?
Second, the ABC says the “joke” was “in line with the target audience of The Hamster Decides”. Andrew Bolt
I notice that there were a lot of derogatory comments about Sophie Mirabella on social media, some calling her “witch” and “bitch”. And I do understand how someone who denied the existence of the stolen generations and refused to stay while Kevin Rudd made the apology can excite strong passions. But it does trouble me that many of these people were the same ones who objected to Abbott, Mirabella and company standing in front of the “Ditch the Witch” signs.
In Victoria, our Premier, Dennis Nap-time relies on Geoff Shaw’s vote for his survival – Shaw, who has recently been charged with 24 offences relating to the misuse of his taxpayer funded car. The Labor Party is outraged that the Liberals are being kept in office by a “tainted” vote. Sound familiar? Of course, the Liberals argue that Shaw is entitled to due process and the presumption of innocence. Something I agree with. And believed in the case of Craig Thomson, Peter Slipper, Muhamed Haneef and David Hicks. Strange that it’s only recently that the Liberals have discovered this concept.
Consistency may not be easy to achieve, but it’s certainly something to aspire to. Andrew Bolt may make a living by being so outrageously inconsistent that it gets people talking. How can he seriously be arguing that “The Hamster Decides” needs to be censored because it was offensive while arguing that being told to correct his factual inaccuracies about “white” people claiming to be black is stifling his free speech? (It was “stifled” to the extent that he had the front page of the paper to complain.) Bolt may have a point when says that people are selective in their attitudes to what should be allowed said (not him, of course, the latte-sipping, chardonnay-sipping socialists), but where is his outrage that the commercial networks refused to show GetUp!’s ad?
But in the end, Bolt’s just a mouthpiece and doesn’t really matter. He’ll write what suits his paymaster. It’s the hypocrites that are now running the country that concern me.
We’ll be told that someone on the minimum wage has more than enough, but someone on $150,000 is “struggling”. We’ll be told that the surplus doesn’t matter because the economy needs a boost because Labor left it in bad shape. We’ll be told that low-interest rates are a sign of good management by the Government, or else we’ll be told that rising interest rates are a good thing because they’re a sign of increased activity. We’ll be told that Indonesia just won’t cooperate, but it’s no big deal because the number of boats arriving doesn’t matter now we have Temporary Protection Visas. We’ll be told that it doesn’t matter if Holden stops making cars here because it’s not a viable industry without Government subsidies, but we’ll go on subsidising mining, because without subsidies they may pack up and start mining in the middle of the Cayman Islands. We’ll be told that – in spite of rising unemployment – that there are plenty of jobs out there. And we’ll be told that the number of women in Cabinet has tripled when another couple are appointed, and it was all done on MERIT.
And the strangest thing of all, in spite of the election being a “referendum” on the Carbon Tax, we’ll be told that the Abbott Government have a mandate to do all sorts of other things, as though electing a Party gives them open slather, even for things barely mentioned in their election campaign.
More than 90% of everything is predictable; most predictions are wrong.
How do I reconcile those two things. Well, quite simply, people don’t bother to make predictions about the predictable things, and if they do, the prediction won’t get much oxygen. If I predict that Monday will be followed by Tuesday, then no-one’s really going to be interested. Nor, when I tell people that this years Melbourne Cup will be run on the first Tuesday in November and won be a jockey riding a horse, is anyone likely to contact me for my amazing prognostications.
To raise interest, predictions have to be outrageous and unexpected, which is why they’re so often wrong. If I predict that Turnbull will challenge Abbott for the leadership, then people will want to know when and what basis I have for my belief. Unless, of course, I say something like next Thursday week at 3pm. And happen to be right.
Philip Tetlock did a study on expert prediction, and, apart from finding that they were little better than a monkey with a dartboard, he concluded that he could divide them into “foxes” and “hedgehogs”. The “hedgehogs” were good at one thing, and they knew they were right. Their predictions tended to be specific and clear. (“The GFC is far from over – the market will crash again in 2011, 2012 at the latest.”) The “foxes” were able to consider a number of things and couched their predictions in generalities and qualifers. They could take into account a number of possible scenarios, using “if/then” phrases.
An example of a “hedgehog” would be someone like Andrew Bolt or Tim Flannery. (Some of Flannery’s statements are far too specific and don’t help in the attempt to educate the general public on the difference between weather and climate.) I can’t think of a good example of a “fox” because generally they don’t get much air time. They don’t make for good headlines, so who wants to talk to them?Might as well talk to me about my prediction for the Melbourne Cup. (“Don’t forget I told you that it would be on a Tuesday and won by a horse.”)
The only trouble is that the “foxes” are the ones who actually frame the discussion in terms of intelligent questions. And they have more success in their actual predictions than the “hedgehogs”. The interesting thing is that success doesn’t seem to matter. People who get things wrong over and over again are still asked for their thoughts in the media.
How is this possible? Well, it’s easy to explain away why you were wrong. You can say that your timing was out, but that what you predict will still happen. (“I know I said 2012 for the stock market crash, but because of the way Obama has propped up the economy, he’s delayed the inevitable.”) Or you can cling to the part of your prediction that was correct. (“I know that I said that the Cup would be won by an imported horse, well, the winner’s sire was imported, so I was on the right track.”)
So, I’m tempted to go out on a limb here and to be a “hedgehog” and say that Labor has this election in the bag now. Rudd’s return will throw Abbott out of stride, and the pressure will get to him, leading to some Liberals speculating privately about whether it’s too late to go back to Turnbull. Of course, I don’t actually believe that, but it’d sound more impressive than what I actually think will happen. I think Abbott may well be rattled. He’s been cruising to a victory, but the latest polls make it close. And, just like a sporting team that’s given up a large lead, they often try to hang on, change their strategy and end up choking, there’s a genuine possibility that Abbott will repeat his: “Of course, I read the report” fiasco.
But I’m more circumspect than that. I’m going to predict – with certainity – that what happens now is uncertain. There are so many variables going into the election that only a “hedgehog” would try to call it. Rudd has taken the wind out of the sails of the simplistic “Juliar” campaigners. No-one will accuse him of lying, in spite of his promise not to challenge. But he does come with his own baggage. And if you go on any social media, you’ll be able to find disaffected Gillard supporters who swear that they won’t vote Labor now. What happens when it becomes a choice between Rudd and Abbott, or when they actually consider voting for the Opposition candidate in their electorate is anyone’s guess. If the Liberals actually start trying to articulate their policies, will it turn voters off? If they try to attack Rudd, in the same way they attacked Gillard, will it just make them look negative? Will Katter’s party affect how the Liberals go in Queensland? Will Palmer have any effect? Could it be another hung Parliament with Abbott having to negotiate with Katter?
Like I said, only a “hedgehog” would be definite about the coming months.
As for the Melbourne Cup, that’s easy – take Bart’s horse and the French one with your grandmother’s tip for the trifecta!