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Tag Archives: Piers Akerman

Once You Realise that Maggie Thatcher Was A Left-Winger, Everything Becomes Clear!

Maggie Thatcher. Yes, it’s true that she did a lot of privatisation. And she did take on a lot of unions. But what was her reaction to a plan to dismantle the National Health Scheme? From her memoirs: “I was horrified when I saw this paper. I pointed out that it would almost certainly be leaked and give a totally false impression … It was all a total nonsense.” She allowed the Welfare State to prosper!

As for her position on climate change, the following is from the ABC:

“What many people admired about Margaret Thatcher was her ability to embrace the potential of science to guide and lead the way on environmental issues. What marked her out even more is that she embraced the ‘precautionary principle’ years before other politicians did. As she once said:

“…the danger of global warming is as yet unseen but real enough for us to make changes and sacrifices, so that we do not live at the expense of future generations.”On November 8th 1989, she addressed the General Assembly of the United Nations about the need for nations to join together in tackling climate change.”

So, we can see that Maggie was far from the sort of Prime Minister that would have gained Rupert Murdoch’s approval.

Andrew Bolt would be condemning her as an alarmist.

And the ABC, well, they’d be right behind her, that side of politics all stick together!

* * *

Yes, I know this sounds absurd, but that’s the thing. Once you define Maggie as left-wing, then you’re the “fair and balanced” one and everyone else is the extremist. And that’s pretty much what’s been done. If you read my previous blog on Framing, then you probably already understand what I mean when I say that the debate is constantly being “framed” so that we feel that The Greens and others on the Left don’t have the right to a point of view. Labor still does, but only just, so they need to have a good hard look at themselves, or else they can just be ignored, too!

The ABC keep giving these people a chance to express what they believe – an example of bias – and Piers Akerman will appear on the ABC to point out that people like him don’t appear on the ABC, because it’s full of people that disagree with him. (Piers, the WORLD is full of people who disagree with you!) Of course, the Liberals were concerned enough in 2003 to complain of bias in the ABC because a cynical tone was detected when interviewing people about the Weapons of Mass Destruction. The ABC reporters seemed to be suggesting that some of the reports may have been exaggerated. I can’t seem to find much about that on the Internet.

I read a comment today about this site only ever being supportive of the Labor Party. That struck me as interesting because, while I’m sure that many of the bloggers on this site ARE supportive of the Labor Party, I don’t see the fact of being critical of the actions of the Liberal Party automatically means that one is supportive of the Labor Party. I’m sure that a large number of people reading this will be disappointed with both major political parties.

And I guess, that’s my point, for most people politics is NOT about which political party is in power. It’s about what’s being done, and how it affects the individual. Or rather, how the individual perceives the way what’s being done affects them. So, what are we hearing about? What’s happening with the NDIS, the Gonski education reforms, the boats, the Direct Action Plan, the Budget, and so on? Why are we not hearing about these things? Ah, early days. I guess we’ll be told closer to the election.

Yep, this is when some Liberal Party supporter will start to talk about the past, and say how hopeless the Labor Party was. Personally, I no longer feel the need to defend the past. Tony Abbott is our Prime Minister. I find it strange that people continue to attack the ghost of Labor past. Or sites which are critical of Abbott. It’s like they have no postive plan for the future, and the only argument they have is that at least we’re better than the other mob…

Mmm, I guess the thing that has always distinguished left-wing and right wing is that left wing who disagree with me usually attack my argument; right wing trolls attack me for being a left-winger.

Chomsky, Alanis Morisette and Irony.

  • “The political policies that are called conservative these days would appall any genuine conservative, if there were one around to be appalled. For example, the central policy of the Reagan Administration – which was supposed to be conservative – was to build up a powerful state. The state grew in power more under Reagan than in any peacetime period, even if you just measure it by state expenditures. The state intervention in the economy vastly increased. That’s what the Pentagon system is, in fact; it’s the creation of a state-guaranteed market and subsidy system for high-technology production. There was a commitment under the Reagan Administration to protect this more powerful state from the public, which is regarded as the domestic enemy. Take the resort to clandestine operations in foreign policy: that means the creation of a powerful central state immune from public inspection. Or take the increased efforts at censorship and other forms of control. All of these are called “conservatism,” but they’re the very opposite of conservatism. Whatever the term means, it involves a concern for Enlightenment values of individual rights and freedoms against powerful external authorities such as the state, a dominant Church, and so on. That kind of conservatism no one even remembers anymore.” Noam Chomsky

“It’s like ten thousand spoons when all you need is a knife
It’s meeting the man of my dreams
And then meeting his beautiful wife
And isn’t it ironic…don’t you think
A little too ironic…and, yeah, I really do think…”

Ironic Alanis Morisette*

Noam Chomsky, the well-known social activist, made two very good points in his book, “Manufacturing Consent”.

The first was that newspaper proprietors didn’t need to tell their journalists what to write or the editors what stance to have. They’ve picked the editors, who set the tone. If Piers Akerman or Andrew Bolt was appointed as editor of “The Socialist News”, I’d be surprised if there wasn’t some change in tone. The need for day to day intervention is unnecessary.

Image from theaustralian.com.au

Image from theaustralian.com.au

The other point he makes is that, if one wishes to know what’s really going on, the business pages are a good place to start. He suggests that people will accept being lied to in the rest of the paper, but when misinformation might cost them money, they want to know the true state of play.

I have found it interesting over the years to flick between how a story is being reported in the front section of the paper and how it’s being presented in the business section. Try it sometime. True, most of the business pages is about takeovers, floats, changes in directorships and a lot of numbers that have less meaning to your average punter than the mathematics of Quantum Mechanics. (And, just in case anyone who actually understands Quantum Mechanics wants to use up the comments section explaining why I shouldn’t have said that, please just provide a link rather than explaining that once one grasps Planck’s Law, then it’s a simple step to letting Schrodinger’s Cat out of the bag.)

So what’s been the impact of the Carbon Tax? Well, according to the business pages, this “massive tax on everything” which was going to lead to the closing of Whyalla hasn’t quite led to the devastation predicted.

ABOUT half of Australian companies have either seen little impact from the introduction of the carbon tax on their energy costs or are yet to calculate the effects, according to surveys by the Australian Industry Group.

About 49 per cent of businesses in the manufacturing, construction and services sectors reported an immediate increase in prices of at least some of their inputs after the introduction of the carbon price on July 1, the AiGroup report found.

A follow-up survey of 485 businesses in November, however, found that a third of manufacturers and construction firms and as many as one half of service sector respondents ”did not yet have enough information” to gauge the impact of the new tax.
Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/business/carbon-economy/business-counting-carbon-tax-20130128-2dgw6.html#ixzz2gnPn2CTr

“While the carbon tax came into force on July 1 its impact is still far from clear. Many companies are taking a ‘wait and see’ attitude, perhaps because it’s very future is still sometimes called into question. But even if the Liberal Party should win the next election, dismantling the tax might well prove too complex and costly. And, in the meantime, failure to accommodate the new environment could put businesses at risk. –

See more at: http://www.aon.com.au/australia/thought-leadership/currency/carbon-tax-impacts-and-outcomes.htm#sthash.fKEyHeF0.dpuf

And finally, a more recent article.

Some wrecking ball that was! Australia’s first year with a carbon tax has ended with inflation so low that it was only the carbon tax that kept inflation from falling out of the Reserve Bank’s target range.

The Bureau of Statistics reports that in the year to June, consumer prices rose 2.4 per cent on the raw data, 2.3 per cent after seasonal adjustment, and 2.2 per cent on the trimmed mean measure, which strips out the biggest price rises and falls to define underlying inflation.
Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/business/the-economy/carbon-tax-inflation-fears-evaporate-20130724-2qj4q.html#ixzz2gtN1GT2F

Removing the Carbon Tax. It was going to be the “first thing” that Abbott did. Strangely, I’m now hearing on the news that he’ll be able to get rid of it after July next year. I seem to remember Kevin Rudd announcing that Labor would bring forward the end date to July 2014#. So the net result of electing Abbott is that the Carbon Tax could be in place for longer. Now, (and pay attention here, Alanis Morisette) that’s ironic!

*Alanis Morisette may be partly to blame, but there seem to be a number of people who just don’t understand what irony means. Nearly everything she describes in her song is just bad luck,

#Yes, I do know that Labor planned to have an Emission Trading Scheme, after that date, but Abbott plans to have a “direct action” scheme, so both have a plan to reduce emissions. It’s just that Labor’s is a sensible, market-based policy, whereas the Liberals are planning an inefficient, socialistic “tax us, then subsidise” program. And yes, Alanis, that’s irony, too.

P.S. The Image of Treasury milking the taxpayer 59, comes from the Liberal booklet on Labor waste, which listed 60 things where Labor was “throwing your money away”. I hope that the outrageous waste of supplying Treasury officials with milk has been stopped. That $110,000 a year will go a long way toward putting the budget back in the black.

Someone has well and truly lost the plot

That fine custodian of moral virtue, Piers Ackerman, is mostly known for his frothing-at-the-mouth appearances on ABC Insiders most Sunday mornings and as a journalist for The Australian and a couple of other magnificent Murdoch journals. The Australian, we are reminded, is the masthead of Murdoch’s media empire in our country. It espouses to be the pinnacle of decency in the Australian media landscape. I found this summary of its wonderfulness:

The Australian is this country’s leading news brand. The editorial values focus on leading and shaping public opinion on the issues that affect Australia, its residents and the Australian business environment. Led by a team of highly credible and experienced journalists, editorial themes cover economic, political and social issues.

Unparalleled national and international news and business sections are supplemented by indepth business to business sections such as; Australian IT (the largest newspaper IT section in the world), Higher Education, Media, Aviation, Thoroughbreds. As well, lifestyle, arts and sports sections balance the read for our independent thinking and influential readership.

The Australian brand is globally recognised as a leader in media innovation. The brand has evolved into a multi-platform offering for both its consumers and its advertisers by taking full advantage of the many techonologies available in the marketplace. From a refreshed, smart broadsheet layout to full gloss executive lifestyle magazines. From an up-to-date by the minute guide to news around the world via The Australian website to the fully interactive iPad application, online and iPad editions are refreshed throughout the day.

The Australian newspaper is published Monday to Friday.

A word from our Editor-in-Chief

The Australian was born in July 1964 as a bold venture in national journalism, vowing to provide “the impartial information and the independent thinking that are essential to the further advance of our country”.

Today, it retains that sense of adventure, covering the affairs of an island continent, with reporters across the country and foreign bureaus throughout the region and around the world. It is read by Australians from Broome to Burnie to Cooktown, and is published at six print sites around the country.

As the national broadsheet, our core areas are federal politics, international affairs, business, sport, the arts, technology and education. To do our job, we must stand above other sources of news and information.

We strive to be first with the big national stories. We aim for factual reporting and penetrating analysis. We seek to take our readers beyond the “spin” of the political, business and sport press release machinery.

Chris Mitchell

Keep this piece of propaganda in the back of your mind: to provide “the impartial information and the independent thinking that are essential to the further advance of our country”.

Two newspapers in The Australian’s stable are The Daily Telegraph and Sunday Telegraph, where Piers Ackerman is given the freedom to provide “the impartial information and the independent thinking that are essential to the further advance of our country”. They promote Piers as being:

. . . one of The Daily Telegraph and Sunday Telegraph’s best-read columnists since 1993. One of the nation’s most respected journalists he has worked in New York, London, Washington and Los Angeles.

Well someone has well and truly lost the plot.

Here is Ackerman’s latest piece from The Australian, “Piers Akerman hits back at his critics following the ABC Insiders program”. I have highlighted those sections that do not to provide “the impartial information and the independent thinking that are essential to the further advance of our country”.

The chattering classes whipped themselves into a lather Sunday afternoon claiming that I raised questions about First Bloke Tim Mathieson’s sexuality on the ABC Insiders program that morning.

Rubbish. The ABC’s producers had conservative Perth shock jock Howard Sattler’s repugnant interview with Prime Minister Julia Gillard listed as an item for Insider host Barrie Cassidy’s discussion to open up the question of whether she had been exposed to sexism during her career.

Do the sneering Left and the Twitterati really believe that it is possible to discuss the Sattler interview without touching on its subject matter?

What seems to have enraged the Left-wing blogosphere is that I said the Parliamentary press gallery had been asking the same sort of questions when Gillard and Mathieson’s relationship first came to light as Sattler had raised last week.

That seems to have infuriated my fellow panellists, former Fairfax journalist Lenore Taylor, now writing for some Leftwing online site and my News Limited colleague Malcolm Farr, who with Cassidy denied ever hearing such a thing.

I have never made any suggestions Mathieson’s sexuality. I don’t deal in tawdry topics.

Mathieson is in fact a very good friend with one of my long-standing mates and over the past several years we have been scheduled to meet for a weekend lunch, with or without his Significant Other, but diary conflicts have prevented such a felicitous engagement.

Yet there is no greater rumour mill in the nation than the federal press gallery – which in recent weeks has been relentlessly asking (I shan’t say what because I don’t engage in rumour mongering).

As I said the Sattler interview was unacceptable, that should have signalled my view clearly.

Quite frankly, I can’t understand why the Left gets itself so wound up about sexuality and gender issues when it publicly preaches these matters are irrelevant.

That’s my position and always has been. What people do in private is up to them.

What angers me more than the phony outrage of the aged feminists and class-and-gender war warriors is that the Sattler interview was deemed worthy of comment when there are so many more pressing national issues.

Not least the fact that the Australian navy and customs ships are too busy ferrying illegal people smuggler boats to Christmas Island to pick up the drowned bodies of those who were unsuccessful in making Labor’s lethal voyage.

Or the fact that the Prince-in-waiting Kevin Rudd is equally to blame for Labor’s blow-out Budgets, waste and failed policies as Gillard, the woman most ALP MPs hope he rolls.

Outrage from the Left – don’t make me laugh. Campbell Newman and his immediate family were subjected to a barrage of falsehoods concocted by Labor during the recent election and some of those who endorsed the rubbish have now found refuge in the Prime Minister’s office, just as the phony race riot of Australia Day 2012 was concocted there.

As I said at the end of the show, addressing Gillard (who wasn’t watching), I intended no offense.

I meant it. Just as I now say I will never be intimidated by the baying of Labor’s politically correct lickspittles who were ever so silent when this government was trying to muzzle the news media during its current term.

I repeat, I don’t draw up Insiders’ agenda, the ABC did because a conservative shock jock had made a fool of himself and been sacked.

They ignored the offensive nature of the charge in their attempt to further gore their quarry.

Many of you will find nothing wrong with that. He is simply sharing his opinions, even though they don’t provide “the impartial information and the independent thinking that are essential to the further advance of our country”. I think, more than anything, he’s letting us know that he doesn’t like the Left or any class or group likely to fall into the Left category.

But he doesn’t leave it alone. His article was reproduced on The Telegraph under ‘Sexuality rubbish a tawdry affair’ where readers were offered the opportunity to debate the article with Piers himself. There one can see first hand that Ackerman has no intention of providing “the impartial information and the independent thinking that are essential to the further advance of our country”. I produce some examples below:

In response to:

Piers,
I believe your wife is a female…correct? Well, does that make her a lesbian? THINK !!….that’s if your narrow-minded, blinkered, one-eyed, right-wing extremist attitudes allow you to.

Ackerman wrote:

THIS must be the stupidest comment ever submitted, Chris. This is the sort of logic that brought the destruction of border protection, the installation of pink batts, the Budget surplus we never had and Gonski, you must be channeling the brains trust of the ALP.

I agree with Ackerman that it was a stupid comment, but don’t you just love how he turns it into some Labor bashing?

Someone wrote:

Did you ask Tony why his sister is gay? Did you ask Alan Jones whether he is gay? Are you gay? Never seen you with a woman and has never been discussed. Don’t care what you do or Alan Jones and rest of you so called commentators. When did journalists become commentators? Your a journalist. Come out to the country sometime and look at real people with real issues. and yes there are gays in the country maybe you will fit in. Wasn’t that personal maybe that’s what the PM thought?

Ackerman, quick to blame the Lefties responded with:

Being a homosexual or a heterosexual has never been a big deal with me, Bathurst, but it seems to excite the Lefties no end. I have always been interested in the issues the ABC would prefer not to deal with – such as Labor’s failure.

Ackerman, so far, hasn’t answered many comments but when he does the majority of them are used as a vehicle to provide “the impartial information and the independent thinking that are essential to the further advance of our country”, which in his opinion is to demean anyone on the Left that breathes. Here are more of his rants:

And as for your pathetic smear, go and get your shilling from the ALP, they run the only smear operation I am aware of.

Interesting, Andrea. The first woman in parliament was elected by conservatives. The first female office bearer was conservative. Elected and appointed on merit. People aren’t afraid of women. They don’t like Quota Queens though and they distrust Labor losers like Gillard, Kirner, Bligh and Lawrence. With good cause.

Carol – if Anne Summers is not an aged feminist, I am a carrot. I would have thought that applying age as a descriptor might have excused her peculiarly bilious form of feminism. If you suggest not, I guess mit is just pure nastiness on her part.

Mark, why wouldn’t everyone feel entitled to feel superior to those on the Left when the evidence of the Left’s disastrous policies and philosophies is abundantly evident.

So The Australian vows to provide “the impartial information and the independent thinking that are essential to the further advance of our country”. Yet they put Piers Ackerman to work on the farm. Goodness me, someone has well and truly lost the plot then.

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Making up the news

We all know just how manipulative, dishonest, sensationalist, gutless, unfair and unbalanced the media is in this country. And it seems at time as though they are simply making up the news.

The Daily Telegraph’s Gemma Jones has been very successful in coming up with some blistering political scoops over the last couple of days that fit that description. She may have a history of such successes, but of this I don’t know as I’ve only noticed her contribution to our political discourse over the past say or so. Given that she is employed by the Murdoch media empire would suggest that she’s a master of political journalism. From what I’ve seen in my rare adventures into reading anything produced by the Murdoch zoo it portrays itself as nothing but a provider of gossip.

The three pieces that Gemma Jones has written, or co-written, over the space of a mere 24 hours confirm my opinions of the rubbish that the Murdoch media specialise in. Stories are fabricated or blown up out of proportion to make them appear as though they are the scoop of the year. These stories may very well be based on facts, and most readers might actually assume that to be the case given the sensationalist and convincing nature of the content.

I would argue that the content, in most cases, is fabricated as are the sources and statements that the articles are built around.

Take this big scoop about the old media favourite: a Rudd challenge to Julia Gillard in the article ‘Ides of March: PM, Rudd set for battle’. The story leads off with:

A final showdown between Julia Gillard and Kevin Rudd could come within weeks, as tensions in the Labor caucus rose yesterday over the leaking of a letter critical of the former PM.

She gives the story some ‘weight’ by introducing a host of people that could have easily been fabricated, as so might be their alleged statements. Yet they litter almost every paragraph. The paragraphs are below, where I have highlighted the ‘fictitious’ people.

Supporters of Mr Rudd yesterday accused the Gillard supporters of circulating a damaging letter from a member of the public to the media and among the caucus . . .

Claiming it was in retaliation for Mr Rudd’s public attacks over the failed mining tax, several Rudd backers claimed there was now a push within his ranks to “finish the thing before the end of March”.

Mr Rudd has been privately counselled by some of his key backers to pull back from his public campaign for fear it could spark another showdown before they are ready.

And a source close to the PM said Ms Gillard would not rise to the bait and had no intention of goading the former PM while she still had the numbers behind her.

But many in Parliament believe another challenge to Ms Gillard’s leadership is being hatched.

MPs have been seen openly coming and going from Mr Rudd’s office this week.

One Rudd supporter yesterday admitted that the issue was coming to a head but wanted to give the appearance that “nothing was going on”. “There is nothing happening, no counting, nothing going on,” they said. (“They said”? I thought there was only one supporter).

“But it would be fair to say though that a lot of MPs are becoming increasingly despondent about their prospects after the disasters of the past few weeks.”

Another MP, who supports Mr Rudd, said: “Every day is a blow, every day there is something that dents the confidence of members in the leadership . . . “.

An MP who backed Mr Rudd in the leadership ballot last year said caucus members were “shaking their heads” over the $126 million return on the mining tax and reports yesterday that a $4 billion hole could be left in the Budget when the carbon tax moves to an ETS if the price plunges, as predicted.

Just about every paragraph in the first half of the story is built around what an un-named person insists upon. They could be anybody. Perhaps even Piers Akerman’s distinguished eye surgeon. Names are introduced at the end of the article, by which time readers would be the ones “shaking their heads”.

But what I find most interesting is that this article suspiciously appears to be based around something the Opposition’s Julie Bishop had said the day before:

”Beware the Ides of March.” The next meeting of the Labor caucus falls on the week of March 15, she said. Who would be the Prime Minister’s Brutus? Exeunt and end scene.

How convienient. Someone has given Ms Jones a little spur from which to build a story. And in keeping with the Murdoch agenda it was used as an attack against the Government. Kevin Rudd might very well be planning a challenge. I don’t know. But I do know that Ms Jones’ article fails to convince me that it’s a true story. And I find it odd that when Kevin Rudd does come out and publicly state that he’s not interested in a challenge that it appears in news.com without an author referenced. What’s the matter? Can’t Murdoch find any journalists prepared to but their name to a story that might have some truth about it?

Twelve hours later an article from Ms Jones again makes the front page; an article about taxpayers paying for NBN coffee. Jones didn’t make up many names, just the story. On the front page of news.com we read that:

Aussies are frothing at the mouth over news NBN is spending over $164,000 on fancy beans and coffee machines.

You can read her article here, titled Libs foaming over NBN coffee perk. Have a read of the article and tell if you see where it says that Aussies are frothing at the mouth or whether the Libs are foaming over the coffee machines.

Actually, don’t bother, as they aren’t there. It’s just another one of those pathetic headlining bullshit stories that have become the trademark of the Murdoch media. Expect it to get worse as the election nears.

Jones was at it again within 24 hours with this stunner: By-election threat to test PM’s leadership. I ventured in to read the story. As with her recent article about a Rudd challenge it is filled with speculation and un-named sources, which I have highlighted:

The former federal attorney-general is likely to win a job with the NSW Industrial Relations Commission. Prime Minister Julia Gillard is expected to argue the resignation would be too close to the September 14 election date for a by-election to be necessary, further fuelling speculation the poll decision was simply a strategy to defend that position.

While the minority government would still have the numbers in parliament to retain power, losing another MP – even without a by-election – would cause a “psychological injury” – as one Labor MP described it.

State government sources have confirmed a decision on Mr McClelland’s job application is as little as one month to two months away. He is understood to be prepared to jump out of parliament immediately to take on the role.

A spokesman for Ms Gillard denied yesterday she had any knowledge of Mr McClelland’s decision when she announced the election date – a day after Mr McClelland announced he was retiring from politics at the next election.

The only piece of remote credibility in those paragraphs is the “spokesman for Ms Gillard”. Ms Jones, should that source not put an end to the speculation you have led us to believe are facts?

Like I noted above, expect it to get worse as the election nears. Much, much worse.

Journalists in our fair country claim we need a better government. I would argue that we need a better media. But I don’t expect that Ms Jones and her employer will bother to lead the way.

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In whose opinion?

An old friend, Nick, recently said that what was once news has now been replaced with a journalist’s view on the world. The journalist’s opinion is no longer secondary; today their opinions are the news.

Having spent many years in the USA and retaining an interest in their politics and their media, he commented that what he is starting to see creep into our media and presentation is this impression that the opinion of journalists is not only something nice to have for politicians, but is somehow more important to the public than the politicians and policies themselves. “Where have I seen that before?” he asked. Yes, FOX News, that world-renowned bastion of journalistic integrity known for it’s fair & balanced review of subjects. Where it is more important to know what a journalist (or more correctly, an “opinion entertainer“) thinks about a subject than it is to know about the subject itself. When that occurs, you start getting people carrying placards to political rallies, not about the policies they object to or want to see enacted, but bearing the name of journalists and thanking the heavens for their opinion.

His best guess is that it occurred when investigative journalism became too expensive compared to paying peanuts for the opinions of journalists, who then began to believe their own rubbish, and whose sense of their own importance grew to an unreasonble level not at all commensurate with their actual talent.

He summed it up:

You’d be excused for thinking today – going by a number of newspaper front pages, headlines and political commentary – that Australia had descended into Mad Magazine hell.

He cited, as an example, Julia Gillard. Rather than being hailed for her expert negotiating tactics and creating one of the most diverse governments in Australian history, we get instead from much of our media the type of reporting and imagery you’d expect from a bunch of attention-seeking, spotty misogynists, beer swilling and word wanking themselves into a fury in some American frat house . . . or a bunch of smart-arse UK toffs scoffing their ivory towered arses off by way of tabloid drivel. Again, his words.

The idea that Julia Gillard has become more than just a paragraph in the history books, Nick added, has really annoyed and frustrated plenty in our self-serving Fourth Estate . . . where public interest has fallen to the wayside as sensationalism, gossip and snarling have become the main courses served to the readers/viewers throughout the day.

He had often suspected that the MSM (mainstream media) in this country – much like the USA – have asserted as much influence as possible on Joe Citizen to have Joe vote for the party of their choice. They do this by ‘front paging’ the issues which support their cause. They don’t tell Joe who to vote for, but instead, what to base his/her vote on.

To test out Nick’s hypothesis I took a look at the musings of The Daily Telegraph’s much adored journalist, Piers Akerman. Musings is an appropriate word, however, I think “opinionated rubbish” would be more ideal. Here is a journalist who clearly is unable to write any article without lacing it with unsubstantiated opinion. He fits the bill of what Nick said earlier and which I’ll repeat again: “Where it is more important to know what a journalist (or more correctly, an “opinion entertainer“) thinks about a subject than it is to know about the subject itself“.

I started with Akerman’s “I watched a political show so comical it was a tragedy”. So was his journalism, a comical tragedy, that is. In his opinion, for example, the splashing across the front pages of our newspapers of the drug scandal rocking the major football codes was orchestrated by the Federal Government. Without any embarassment he sloppily writes:

While real characters appeared in the Obeid Family and Julia’s Disintegrating Party, stars of the new sports-based show have yet to be revealed.

Writers for the Dopiest Sports must name some key players if the series is to build on initial ratings.

Few viewers could resist a show which began with the boast of “the blackest day in Aussie sport”, but without some substance to support the claims, interest could fall rapidly.

Scriptwriters include the Australian Crime Commission, the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority and the Therapeutic Goods Administration. The focus is on the AFL and NRL but main cast members remain shadowy.

As compelling as these programs are, there is the suggestion that the sports show has been rushed to air as a spoiler to woo viewers from the very successful Canberra saga.

Note his conclusion that “there is a suggestion . . .” without any indication of who might have suggested it. Note too, his earlier comment in the quote that “. . . without some substance to support the claims, interest could fall rapidly”. He wants substance, yet provides none himself. He is nothing more than a gossip columnist.

The next article I looked at was simply the same baseless opinion with the words re-arranged. Plus he was able to create some imaginary Labor figures to add some grand delusion to his opinion entertainment:

A number of senior Labor figures have compared the Gillard government’s performance over the past week with the dying days of the Whitlam government in 1975, marred by distrust.

Did he name those Labor figures? No. If they existed they could only be chased down for some facts, and facts conflict with opinions. But good old Piers, those Labor figures keep running to him. More appeared here:

Around the nation Labor politicians are shaking their heads and offering their critique of Julia Gillard’s decision to nominate an election date 226 days away.

Many are paraphrasing the catchphrase devastatingly used by slapstick comics Laurel and Hardy: “Well, here’s another fine mess you’ve gotten me into!”

I’d like to hear who those Labor politicians are and how many and who are paraphrasing the old comics. Again, those facts might get in the way of Akerman’s opinions. After all, he is the news. His opinions are greater than any worthwhile news event, any policy, or any politician.

Where there are no imaginary politicians on call to add credibility to an opinion piece one can rely on an un-named ‘distinguished eye surgeon’ to add support:

But Gillard’s new eyewear is straight out of central casting via focus group testing.

A distinguished eye surgeon told me that the new glasses were designed to mask Gillard’s heavy eyelids and give her the appearance or sense of a presbyopic school headmistress/grandparent and convey a knowledge/security/comfort/safety to the most primitive part of the brain stem.

That is, they were designed to create an image totally at odds with the Australian experience of her leadership and the nation’s knowledge of her character.

Goodness. I might phone a friend as well. Or I might bother half of the distinguished eye surgeons in the country and hopefully they won’t respond like a modelling agency. Akerman was ever so lucky to stumble across one who speaks his language. Or simply, shares his opinion.

Piers Akerman’s opinions are highly sought after. We see him on ABC Insiders most Sunday morning offering us nothing worthwhile. Just opinions. He well represents the mainstream media in this country. Like Nick said, a journalist’s opinion are no longer secondary in the news these days. Their opinions have replaced the news.

But there is hope and it comes from Akerman himself. He asks his readers this:

Please send all further examples of media stupidity to this site so they, too, can be entered in the judging to be held on the Saturday of the election or as soon as possible thereafter.

Perhaps he should read his own articles. There he will find a goldmine of data.

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