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Tag Archives: Fairfax

Squeaky Clean

Putting aside the fact that Julia Gillard was treated as a back-stabbing-murderess after she replaced Kevin Rudd as PM. Putting aside that she was labelled ‘the illegitimate PM’ even after she went straight to an election to let the ‘people decide’ and then won, but for some reason was then even more ‘illegitimate’ presumably because she led a minority government and it suited Abbott’s Liberals and their mates in the media to paint this as unstable when really it was the most productive government Australia has ever had. Putting aside the grand hypocrisy of none of these labels ever being assigned to Malcolm Turnbull when he plotted and schemed and white anted and undermined and destabilized and finally got what we all knew he wanted because he was quite openly campaigning for it: Abbott’s job. Putting aside that he hasn’t gone straight to an election and is instead intent of pretending he was legitimately chosen by the people to be PM when he quite clearly was not. Putting aside all these things which really make me so mad I could lose my mind, except that I won’t because it’s all so predictable that the Liberals would have their own leadership spill and it goes completely unnoticed by the mainstream media like a massive ‘meh’, when Labor’s leadership spill was the only thing the media wanted to talk about. For 5 years.

What I really want to discuss today is the fascinating situation of Turnbull’s Prime Ministership where he can do NO WRONG, according to the mainstream media, and anything that does go wrong in his government is, incredibly, coincidentally, conveniently, somehow painted as still the last guy’s problem. Still Abbott’s fault. Except Abbott isn’t the PM anymore. Turnbull is. How the hell does Turnbull get away with this bullshit? He reminds me of the classic quote from the classic movie, Shawshank Redemption, but replace ‘Andy Dufresne’ with ‘Malcolm Turnbull’: Malcolm Turnbull – who crawled through a river of shit and came out clean on the other side. How? How is Turnbull squeaky clean after all the crawling through shit he’s been up to?

Take, for instance, the horrific and tragic case of rape victim and asylum seeker, ‘Abyan’. Dutton is in a bit of hot water over this. That’s not to say Dutton is in as much hot water as an Immigration Minister should be who has denied an asylum seeker, a frightened young woman, the dignity and human rights any human being deserves, for political gain. But there is some criticism of the way Dutton has handled this situation, such as here, here and here. And you will notice in this Dutton-criticism, Turnbull is either given a cursory mention, or not mentioned at all. As if he’s somehow not involved in this situation.

As if he’s floating situation, detached, uninvolved, an innocent bystander. As if somehow Dutton wasn’t chosen to continue in his evil role of Immigration Minister in the new Turnbull government, and therefore doesn’t report to Turnbull like an employee reports to an employer, where the employer is ultimately responsible for the decisions made by that employee and liable for any damage done by that employee. Why is Turnbull not being held liable? How is he coming out of this squeaky clean?

Another example is the news this week that the rolling ball which Abbott started rolling in his ideological quest to eat away at the public’s ownership of Medicare by privatising some parts of it, with the ultimate goal of privatising all of it, is still rolling forward. I’m really glad there are news outlets letting us know about this treachery because it’s a really seriously important news story that all Australians would be interested in. But I don’t understand why articles about this news story, such as this one, fail to even mention the word ‘Turnbull’.

Turnbull, who we all knows likes to talk, and likes to explain, and is even well known for his particularly patronising ‘mansplaining’ tone, which he no doubt uses because he looks down on all of us since we’re all poorer than he is, is completely silent on this issue. He’s had plenty of time to comment and as far as I can tell he’s made no comment. It’s really not hard to guess why he’s made no comment. There are two reasons: a) because he doesn’t want to be splattered in the dirt of this issue, having to explain why his government is considering turning our universal health sector into a profit making machine for potentially international companies who would then ‘own’ our health records and eventually may own our entire health system. And b) Turnbull loves this idea, and hopes if he keeps his mouth shut it will more likely slip through unscrutinised. Which it possibly will. Turnbull loves this idea both for ideological reasons and perhaps because he has money invested in the companies who will make billions out of taking over Australia’s Medicare system, money which will be filtered through the Cayman Islands, un-taxed and back into Malcolm’s pocket which is bulging with cash. Of course there is a class-war, and Malcolm’s pocket is winning.

Long-time readers of my blog will recognise that the longer my sentences, the angrier I am. My keyboard will also tell you that the intensity of my fingers hitting the keyboard is a fair indication of the level of blood boil going on. So yes, I’m angry about this ‘Turnbull getting away with swimming in shit, yet still being treated like the beloved-shiny-sparkling-glistening-in-the-sun-squeeky-clean-brand-new Prime Minister who can do no wrong’. I’m terrified the squeaky cleanliness will get Turnbull another Liberal term of government and all the horrors of his political agenda will come about, unabated by any real scrutiny, just like the media did when they betrayed the country by giving Abbott such a free pass. It’s not just News Ltd this time either. It’s also Fairfax, the ABC and even, inexplicably, the Guardian. I’m not asking for these media outlets to do anything except their job and their job is not to let Turnbull get away with zero scrutiny on issues damaging to Australians. Just do your jobs people. For the love of dog, just do your jobs.

 

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Two things I have trouble with involving the Abbott Government … all right, three!

Negativity-21 OK, I know it’s obvious, but I want to know why Justice Heydon can say that there was absolutely no reason for him to disqualify himself for accepting an invitation to be the guest speaker because – as he points out in his sixty seven page justification – it doesn’t demonstrate that he agrees with the politics of the organisation where he’s going to speak.

So there’s no problem with him accepting the invitation. Got it! Except now the question is why he felt that he had to change his mind about speaking there. It might be perceived as bias. But now his ruling on apprehended bias is that a “rational” person wouldn’t see it as bias.

I guess, from that, one could infer from that as Heydon decided to change his mind about speaking then he isn’t a “rational” person.

We also learn that Justice Heydon is famous for not reading emails.

Which seems a clear link to the Liberals who have a reluctance to read anything (as Kaye Lee pointed out in “Less Shovels And More Reading” a few days ago).

While not reading emails or anything going to their office has been a popular pastime for Liberals since Peter Reith and the children overboard fiasco, I suspect that it may become popular for unionists in the coming days.

“Sorry, Justice Heydon, but I’m well-known among my colleagues for not reading emails, opening letters, checking bank statements or anything else you wish to question me about. I wasn’t aware of any of this and I don’t see how any rational person would expect me to keep track of what I’ve been doing when – as a union leader – everyone knows that I’m a bludger who never does anything but wage war on those poor multinationals who are providing jobs for Australians as part of their charity program.”

But I’m more concerned about the Fairfax “jihad”.

Yep, that’s right. Minister for Not Reading Press Releases, Mr Peter Mutton told everyone that Fairfax were waging a “jihad” against the Abbott Government. Which if you look up almost any definition of the word, is a wee bit confusing. For a start, surely they need to be Muslims to wage a “jihad”. Although Waheed Aly does occasionally write a column for them, so perhaps he’s converted Amanda Vanstone and Peter Reith to the cause. And Paul Sheehan. None of those columnists ever show the Abbott Government in a positive light.

Yes, yes, I know. Allowing such people to give you their thoughts does make the Abbott Government look bad. Anyway, the Petester wasn’t finished, obviously concerned that he didn’t have anyone at “hello”. Or “jihad” for that matter.

PETER DUTTON: I think it would be helpful if some of the commentators in the area, in this space of politics, started reporting on the incidents, as opposed to being players themselves.

I think there’s a huge move by Fairfax at the moment to try and bring the Government down, that’s fair enough. But they aren’t, they aren’t….

They aren’t supposed to be political players, they’re supposed to be objective reporters of the news and I think many of them have morphed into frustrated politicians themselves.

Yes, they should get back to simple reporting of incidents the way the Murdoch Press does. Then we can see simple reporting of incidents like the fabulous: “We Need Tony” or “Kick This Mob Out”!

Although I seem to remember that we were told that News Limited were a private organisation and that they were allowed to be biased. Fairfax, on the other hand (sorry Andrew Hastie but that wasn’t directed at you!), should stick to reporting the facts because, well, they’re being “helped by the ABC” according to Pete the Insignificant.

But I find it strange that he thinks that “commentators” should stick to reporting “incidents”. I thought the whole idea of commentators was to commentate, but I’ve always been a bit funny about words and their meanings. You know, I’m one of those that thought that when Abbott said that there was no difference between him and Rudd on Education, I thought that meant that he was saying that he’d implement the same policy, not that they both had a university degree. Or that no cuts meant that he wasn’t going to reduce the funds to pensioners, not that he wasn’t going to take a knife to them.

Still to be fair, all our Minister for Operational Matters actually said was that “it’d be helpful” if they stuck to reporting incidents. Objectively. You know, factual reporting. Using last Friday’s events maybe he’d be happy with something like this appearing in Fairfax.

“Operation Fortitude was called off when a clumsy worded press release caused people to compare the Abbott Government with Hitler and Stalin and to make comparisons between the Border Force’s black uniform with the Nazi SS. The press release wasn’t read by the Minister’s Office because they don’t have anything to do with the day to day operational matters, so they didn’t think that it was worth reading something sent to them. The Prime Minister assured us that he knew nothing.”

Yeah, that should make him happy.

That, and a decision by the media to stop reporting that there’s disharmony in the Liberal Party, because it’s not really news. People leaking. As Dutton himself told us, people could have a pretty good idea who was doing the leaking, and they’re doing it for their own ambitions and they should be sacked. But there’s no disharmony, and any attempt to report disharmony is just due to the Labor/Green/ABC/Fairfax/socialist/Jewish/alien/Islam/foreign/World Trade Centre conspiracy to bring down the natural rulers by refusing to mention that all they think about is Jobs and Growth And Security, and if you think about something often enough, then it happens. We all know that, we’ve all seen “Field of Dreams” and we know that if we build it they will come.

Mm, perhaps I should apply for a job as Tony Abbott’s speechwriter.

 

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Let’s All Buy Fairfax Shares and Stop publishing Amanda Vanstone

I always try to consider the possibility that I may be wrong. In 1975, I was one of the few students to say that Malcolm Fraser believed the sacking the Whitlam Government was the “right thing to do”. When someone said that it was part of his “born to rule” mentality, I tried to argue that it wasn’t that simple, that Fraser genuinely believed that the country was being destroyed by Whitlam. Of course, the “country” that Fraser believed in was different from Whitlam’s idea of Australia. Many of Whitlam’s initiatives survived Fraser. It’s possible to argue that the best survived while the worst disappeared, but I suspect that’s a little simplistic. (Ironically, these days Fraser seems to have more in common with many of the people who protested against him than he does with the Liberal party.)

So every time time the media do something like their “Kick this Mob Out” front page, I try to imagine what I’d do if I had that sort of power. The first thing that occurs to me is that I wouldn’t be as bloody obvious. Fairfax, for example, claims to be neutral while using a disproportionate number of regular columnists from the right: Amanda Vanstone (she DOES have sex appeal), Paul Sheehan, the “feisty” Nicole Flint (I presume that’s ok to say?) and Peter Costello. I can’t think of a regular left leaning writer to counter these, although I’m sure that someone will point out that Wayne Swan wrote a number of articles or that some “the market isn’t ALWAYS perfect” economist writes every second Shrove Tuesday.

I like to think that if I was controlling the media, I’d give both sides a “fair go” – I’m Australian, after all – with the arguments themselves promoting the correct course of action. I’d employ Andrew Bolt – on an exclusive contract – and make him remove any part of his argument that was emotive or abusive. (All right, that would reduce his column to “I’m Andrew Bolt and I think blah, blah for reasons I can’t tell you, but I would give him a front page where he could legitimately complain about his lack of free speech!)

And I guess it’s that notion of a “fair go” that’s been so lacking in the Murdoch Press. Everything that has happened has been portrayed as the Government’s fault. Pink Batts catch fire due to dodgy insulation, blame the Rudd Government. Someone thinks the builders charged too much for a school building, blame the Rudd Government. The Liberals refuse to back a reduction in company tax, blame the Gillard Government. High Court decision goes against them, blame the Gillard Government. Ford shuts down, blame the Gillard Government and the Carbon Tax. Boat capsizes and people drown, blame the people smugglers or the “queue jumpers” themselves? No, blame the Gillard AND Rudd Governments.

Compare this to some of the events under Howard. The inability to find the WMDs – “Our intelligence was misleading”! The closure of Ansett – “Rescuing Ansett will be our first priority after the election”. Children overboard – “The doctored picture was confusing.” Just about anything Howard or a minister didn’t know about – “Nobody passed that on to me.” The AWB bribes – “We heard rumours, so we went and asked AWB are you illegally bribing people and they said no, so what more could we do?”

I’m sure that if Labor had been in power, they’d have been blamed for all these things and quite possibly the September 11th attack would have been something they should have forseen.

So what’s the answer?

Should we all band together and purchase Fairfax? I’m sure there must be enough people out there prepared to buy up $500 worth of shares that we’d at least make Gina increase her holdings when we announced our takeover bid. Then we could sell them at a profit. But it probably wouldn’t be enough to counter Murdoch.

Should we just continue to complain in the hope that this raises the awareness of people who didn’t realize that a front-page headline saying “We Need Tony” was an opinion and not merely a presentation of some objective fact?

Or should we just hope that newspapers really are becoming less relevant – that Murdoch and Rinehart are wasting their money in a foolish power display – and that social media and smaller independent internet sites will be the way of the future – “Crikey” – for example? With the downsizing and centralization of news organization, there’s bound to be plenty of unemployed journalists out there.

Whatever, I’m going to conclude by giving both sides a “fair go”. When casting your vote this Saturday, this is what each of the two major parties would like you to think about:

Labor

”If you’ve got doubts about that, don’t vote for him. If you’re worried about funding to your local hospital, because he has cut a billion dollars worth of funding to hospitals before, then don’t vote for him,” Mr Rudd told Channel Nine on Monday. ”If you’ve got doubts about what happens to the future of your schools given he’s going to take $8 billion out of the Better Schools plan then don’t vote for him. If you’re uncertain about what Mr Abbott’s putting out there, then I think listen to your instincts and don’t vote for him.”

Liberal

“If you want to know who to vote for, I’m the guy with the not bad looking daughters,” said Mr Abbott.

There now. No-one can accuse me of lacking balance!

 

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An Open Letter to Fairfax Media Limited

To whom it may concern,

A great deal has been said about the media in Australia of late, especially with regard to political coverage. Most of it has been necessarily and appropriately critical. Many Australians feel that the media has failed them and continues to do so. Not even the people’s ABC has been spared, and rightly so. Its coverage of the current election campaign has been little more than a failed social experiment in journalistic sloth. Essentially reblogging stories from other news outlets regarding polls conducted by those news outlets is hardly journalism. Nor is posting Twitter feeds in the place of actual analysis. But you, Fairfax, are not innocent in this or removed from the public’s critical glare. Fairfax News unashamedly joined the Julia Gillard lynch mob and cheered at the gallows. The negativity that the Gillard Government faced from the MSM, right across the board, was unrelenting. Your anti-Labor leanings have noticeably softened with her departure, but there is still a great deal of work to be done if any kind of balance is to be restored to the presentation of political information and opinion in this country. I presume you care about that.

You would be studiously aware, no doubt, that the main focus of the public’s criticism has been News Corp. The reasons for that are as obvious as the glaring and daring headlines, transparent and tenacious as they’ve been in driving the Murdoch agenda to seat Tony Abbott in the Lodge. It’s surely incontrovertible that the Murdoch press has fully embraced the philosophy and modus operandi of the Tabloid Press. Australia has been confronted for too long with the jaundiced jabbering of pseudo-journalists of the Gemma Jones ilk, who would be far more appropriately assigned to writing gossip columns. Mind you, the difference between that and what is presently being offered as news is one measured in yoctometres. That the Murdoch Media Machine has made this choice, taking some of Australia’s most respected print media outlets with it, is plain enough. What may not be so obvious is the potential benefit that exists for Fairfax in this betrayal of all things intellectually and morally credible.

The gleeful abandon with which the Murdoch Press has thrown off the shredded rags of any vestigial sense of journalistic integrity has been most unedifying. Aren’t there laws about disrobing in public? But whilst the journalists of News Limited indulge in their collective streak across the playing field of Australia’s media landscape, a task goes unattended. A void has been created in the news market in this country, as well as in the hearts and minds of politically engaged and concerned Aussies. That void is simply one of reasoned, objective journalism that does not ignore the code of professional ethics governing it, but instead takes pride, both professional and personal, in adhering to it with consistent authenticity. It is that of a media that does not attempt to obfuscate the difference or blur the line between journalism and commentary or opinion; a media that does not set out to manipulate the perspective or emotions of its readers when reporting news; a media that seeks to report news rather than be the news.

I put it to Fairfax News that they have an opportunity to take that market share and fill that commercial and emotional void. Yes, news is resource heavy and doesn’t attract the profits enjoyed by other facets of the media, but no price can be put on the status and pathos afforded a respected and trusted news service. I assert in the strongest possible terms that in what is commonly known as the Mainstream Media, no such news service exists. You only have to look at the social standing of journalists to know this is true. People simply no longer trust you. And that is nothing less than a cultural tragedy – one that we ignore at our peril.

The demand for real, balanced, ethical journalism is alive and well. Australians all over this land are crying out for it – into their beers and into their keyboards, or in some cases both things simultaneously. The market for it is genuine and not just something artificially generated by the ephemeral passion and pandemonium of an election campaign. The significant rise of alternative on-line information sources is testament to this fact. Rest assured that if the Coalition should prevail on September 7 much of the public is excruciatingly aware – and some of it dangerously and naively unaware – that the Murdoch media empire will not provide the sort of scrutiny of Government that the people of this Nation require and deserve. Current circumstances make that patently clear. Neither the Murdoch press nor the Coalition are going to look that particular gift horse of reciprocity in the mouth. If they did, the stench of the halitosis might well render them as catatonic as Tony Abbott in an awkward interview.

This is a defining moment, I believe, not only in Australia’s political history, but also in its media history. Fairfax has the opportunity to capture not only a specific share of this media market, but also a place deep in the spirit of average Australians. It’s an opportunity for Fairfax to reverse, or at least mitigate the trend of cynicism directed at Australia’s media with respect to news and political coverage in particular. This is not hubris, nor is it excess maudlinism. It’s real. The need is real. The demand for that need to be met is real. Can Fairfax enter that reality?

Now, you may feel you already have a place there, and it’s true that to some extent you do, but you must surely also appreciate that the larger market share for real news and real journalism is not a mere abstraction but something tangible and there for the taking. This particular market, made available by Murdoch’s deliberate and seemingly joyous relinquishment of it, doesn’t require capital investment; it requires intellectual and moral investment. All it takes for that market to be in your hands is to heed the calls of the people and to meet their demands for better quality political journalism. I believe Murdoch has handed this opportunity to you on a gold plated, solid silver platter. Even Bargain Hunt couldn’t put an estimate on its value.

You have before you the opportunity to be the news service that Australians trust uppermost. You have the opportunity to return the craft of journalism to a place of respect in our communities. Please don’t underestimate or dismiss the significance of the absence of that trust and respect in Australian society. It has been socially cancerous. Cynicism is cancerous. Who can the people trust? It seems not the politicians. Nor is it anymore those whose brief it is to cut through the jungle of Machiavellian Madness and give us some clear, unbiased and informed vision into that which effects our everyday lives. There was a time when journalists appeared to feel the moral weight of meaningfully and objectively informing the community. There is a certain sentimental yearning running through the Australian psyche right now with regard to that time. You can either tap into that sentiment and become culturally relevant, or you can strip off and let it all hang out with the cavorting clowns of the Murdoch Circus.

As far as I can tell, only one of those options comes at any real cost.

 

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The mainstream media has gone stark raving mad

It’s official. The mainstream media has gone stark raving mad.

This article was published in the Age today:

For the sake of the nation, Ms Gillard should stand aside

Let me preface this post by saying that I take great pride in writing a blog using my own name. I am Victoria Rollison and these are my opinions. For some people, writing under a pseudonym is their only option. I understand that. But what I don’t understand is why this piece of junk article has no byline on it. It implies it has been written by a newspaper. But we all know newspapers are just mechanisms for delivering words. They are where news articles are published. Newspapers can’t actually write, because newspapers don’t have a brain. Someone, or some people wrote this article and I don’t understand why they are not proud enough of their words to put their name to them. Perhaps they think it gives the piece more gravitas to sound like it’s been written by some higher force, some all knowing being which has more power than just some journalist, editor or media executive hack. I’m calling this out for the bullshit it is. There is no higher power and why the f*ck should there be in a democracy? This piece has nothing to do with the interests of Australia. It has everything to do with the interests of Fairfax media and their unrelenting campaign to bring down Julia Gillard, our first female Prime Minister. Emphasis on the word FEMALE. Also emphasis on the Prime Minister’s title which is, more often than not, left off Julia Gillard’s name in pieces throughout the mainstream media, including this one.

I would have thought this an obvious point to make, but it seems I have to make it anyway for the benefit of those people who decided to take it upon themselves to write this article: it’s not Fairfax’s role to decide who our Prime Minister is. Fairfax should be telling us the news. Not trying to make it. And since they’ve failed at telling us the news for many years now, who the f*ck do they think they are calling on the Prime Minister to resign as if it’s up to them decide? It reminds me of John Howard’s arrogant statement about asylum seekers:

‘We will decide who comes to this country and the circumstances in which they come.’

Fairfax are saying exactly the same thing to readers about our Prime Minister. They think it’s their job to decide. This failed media outlet with a failed business model think they are going to play king maker with Kevin Rudd. So it’s beholden to bloggers like me to remind Fairfax of one major flaw in their reasoning as to why they think the Prime Minister should stand down. After saying some complimentary things about Prime Minister Gillard’s performance over the past three years, they announce that her message just isn’t getting through and this is why they’ve decide it’s time for her to go. Excuse me if I just lie down for a moment because I’m overcome with the irony and ridiculousness of this concept.

Why is Gillard’s message not getting through Fairfax? Might it be because you’ve been on a campaign to cause a leadership spill for the past three years, which has completely obliterated any focus on Gillard’s policy successes and the amazing work she has done in reforming this country, and therefore you are saying that because you, and your mainstream media colleagues have ignored policy in favour or rumour and innuendo that undermines the Prime Minister, you have caused a situation where Gillard’s message isn’t getting through? If you don’t see how you’ve created this circular reference, the Mobius strip of leadership tension, then you don’t have the intellectual capacity to be commenting on this situation.

To make this article even more ridiculous, your campaign to undermine the Prime Minister is just making you look desperate. Not Julia Gillard. We know you have a week left to try to get Kevin Rudd back into the Lodge. There’s no news in the fact Kevin Rudd wants to get back into the Lodge. Despite this, and despite the one failed challenge where it was revealed Rudd didn’t even come close to having the support of his Labor Party colleagues and the second aborted attempt where Rudd didn’t even challenge because he already knew he didn’t have the support of his Labor Party colleagues, you still keep flogging this dead horse like a desperate dumped boyfriend who doesn’t get his calls returned.

Maybe if you provided a quality product – full of interesting facts, analysis and real journalism – your business model wouldn’t be in such a dire position. Perhaps if you had made some correct choices in your editorial narrative over the past three years, you wouldn’t need to now be disrespecting your audience to the point where you think you decide who leads this country, all in a quest to sell more papers.

 

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