Australian Lefty on Politics, Governance, Science and Info Management

Archive for the ‘Media’ Category

The Indian angle on the Australian bushfires

Posted by Dave Bath on 2020-01-11

Right wing Christians and their allies in Australia blame Greens.   Right wing Hindus and their allies in India blame Islam.
Aaaah, so it’s environmentalist jihadis. It all makes sense now. (eyeroll)

How long before Andrew Bolt and Alan Jones and the Gestapotato pick this up and run with it?


Posted in Australia, International, Media, Politics, Society | Tagged: | Leave a Comment »

Arsonists v Murdoch’s Papers – Who kills the most trees?

Posted by Dave Bath on 2020-01-11

Using official data from police and firefighters, and attribution of suspected arson to individual fires, arsonists might be responsible for destroying fewer trees than used for the newspapers Murdoch spreads his lies with.
“Only about 1 per cent of the land burnt in NSW this bushfire season can be officially attributed to arson, and it is even less in Victoria, the ABC can reveal.”

“In Victoria, where about 1.2 million hectares has burned, only 385 hectares — or 0.03 per cent — have been attributed to suspicious circumstances.”

Posted in Australia, Media, Politics | Tagged: | Leave a Comment »

Has Gina done us all a favor?

Posted by Dave Bath on 2012-06-20

Has Gina Rinehart done us all a favor by her ham-fisted attempt to stifle the only moderately-balanced privately owned newspapers in the country, by making it obvious Big Money thinks the press can be bought as a proxy means of buying politicians?

The world’s richest woman, mining magnate Rinehart, has made it plain she wants to make Fairfax (The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald, as well as numerous popular radio stations) more mining-friendly, more anti-scientific-consensus, and I suspect, more against the opinion of independent economists when it comes to policy in general.

  • No more can informed debate dismiss as ridiculous what was previously almost held as "conspiracy theory" the notion that Big Money will seek to control the press to control debate, and policy.
  • She has certainly increased the feelings progressives have to a decent media sector that, at least as a whole sector, is theoretically important to a liberal democracy.
  • She cannot trash the brand, and profitability, while avoiding the wrath of corporate regulators, without a complete takeover.  This will at least raise the price of fairfax shares during a takeover, putting money in the pockets of people who have been supporting better journalism, and more likely to contribute to society with it than Gina ever would!
  • Her claims that moving to the right editorially is the fix to Fairfax’s woes is rendered ridiculous when the centrist Fairfax, just in Melbourne, sells more newspapers, at least 25% more, than the pro-plutocrat Murdoch "The Australian" does across the entire nation.  She is either stupid, or a liar, or both – and proof not everyone, especially with inherited wealth, should be listened to.
  • If she does destroy what existing investors see as their most valuable asset and product differentiator – relatively independent journalism – then most readers will move their habits online to the likes of ABC Drum for their daily dose of analysis, opinion, and "letters to the editor".
  • The timing, with Murdoch on the nose with criminal investigations in England for privacy violations and improper political interference, could not have been more likely to inflame progressives.
  • By bringing forward the rationalization in size of the print edition, moving many classifieds to the net, less trees will be killed, and the latte sippers will have more room on their tables in cafes!

While progressives may be angry at Gina in the short term, it may be the pigs, the "one percent", the "five percent", those against evidence-based policy, that will be angrier with her in the long term.  That’s not guaranteed, but it is a possibility, a possibility the arrogance of Big Money is naturally too stupid to consider.


  • "Go ahead Gina, build another content company", Alan Kohler, takes a wider view of things, and in places, against the "common wisdom". (Business Spectator, 2012-06-19)

    Gina Rinehart has absolutely nothing to contribute to the transformation of the company into a profitable digital publisher and is not interested in it anyway, …
    the combination of print and digital publishing simply does not work. They are completely different products with different uses, and the construction and operation of them require totally different ways of thinking.


  • "In defence of independent media", Malcolm Fraser, former PM, once-bogeyman of the left, now the only publically-active elder statesman in the country, (Business Spectator, 2012-06-19)

    Media should not be under the direct control of special interest groups whether they belong to this country or to other countries. That is why we need diversity of media ownership. That is why I stood on the back of a truck with Gough Whitlam overlooking Fitzroy Gardens long years ago, to try and prevent the Fairfax empire falling into foreign hands. A foreign owner has interests that are not ours. A mining magnate has specific industry interests that are not necessary those of Australia.

Posted in Australia, Ethics, Governance, Media, Politics | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Lefties should hurt the bastard, not legitimate righties

Posted by Dave Bath on 2011-07-26

Skepticlawyer has a(nother) good post "Excusitis" (2011-07-25) talking of the "no true scotsman" fallacy – giving a wide range of examples across the political spectrum.  This error is something many in the less-decent right have been, and will be, doing in the wake of the Breivik atrocities in Norway.

We in the left should acknowledge those on the right who are thinking logically, with decent motives, and help them clean up the fifth column of bastards and inflammatory voices within the right.  It will give us on the left a chance to have a proper debate where we’ll have to keep on our toes – be protagonists not antagonists.

But those on the right who choose not to reflect, choose to dismiss Breivik as unrelated to the rhetoric of right-wing pundits, are fair game for derision and exposure by the left.

The decent righties can be troubled and reflective.  We on the left need them, and need to help them reflect rather than attack the good with the bad, causing knee jerk defences, the debate about extremism turned merely into "two dogs barking"

Consider the predicament and honesty and basic decency of "Anonymous John" from Sweden, commenting on the sweep-Breivik-under-the-carpet post over at OzConservative – it’s something every lefty should read and reflect on to know what we should do next:

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Posted in Australia, International, Media, Politics, Society | 2 Comments »

Would a lone Green wiping out Young Libs be a terrorist?

Posted by Dave Bath on 2011-07-24

Perhaps I was wrong in an earlier post about how a lefty watermelon lone gunman would be labelled by the media here.

I’d thought the label "madman" would be applied if the mass-murderer was white and non-moslem, if the mass-murderer was from the left or the right.

But, thinking about the effect of who was killed by Breivik, the gutting of the Norwegian lefty talent base, I think the likes of the Murdoch press would identify such politically-motivated terrorism as such, if and only if it was something like a (very hypothetical) watermelon mass-murderer, going into a Young Liberals annual general meeting and wiping out a similar proportion of talent.

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Posted in Australia, International, Media, Politics | Leave a Comment »

Dummies Guide To Mass Murderers

Posted by Dave Bath on 2011-07-24

Unless you are part of that demographic-to-be-ignored, the latte-sipping bleeding-hearts, both left and small-l-liberal, here is a quick guide to labels and policies regarding mass murderers, or assassins of your own prime minister:

Demographic: Swarthy Moslem White Lefty Latte Sipper White Christian Anti-Moslem Righty Swarthy Ultra Orthodox Jew Righty
Psychology: Evil Mad Mad Mad
Your Ideology: Evil Mad and Dangerous Irrelevant because of insanity Irrelevant because of insanity
Punishment: Execute or incarcerate forever without trial Criminally insane ward in a prison Criminally insane ward in a prison Imprison
Others in the demographic: Kick them out of the country, don’t let any more in, or subject them to security agencies bullying. Make them shut up, and especially don’t let them speak in schools or mass media.. The Right Stuff Patriots
Assumption next atrocity is from the demographic: 99% 1% 0% 0%
Assumption the demographic’s policies will destroy civilization: 100% 100% 0% 0%


Personally, I’d classify all four as mad, and where frank psychosis is incomplete, the evil results come from improper education, incitement by others in the same demographic, and twisted readings of the texts of the ideology.

In other words, things that could be largely prevented by a combination of decent community mental health services, and an education system that gives fair exposition of all texts used by nutters as pretexts for action, stressing the humanity in those texts, and showing how the inhumane parts should be deprecated.

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Posted in Australia, International, Language Use, Law, Media, Politics, Society, Theology and Religion | 1 Comment »

Herald-Sun Ethics Checklist

Posted by Dave Bath on 2011-07-23

Surprise, surprise, the Murdoch Hun main web page now has a link to the ethics and code of conduct required of editors and journalists.

….So, have fun ticking these dot points off for Muroch’s Melbourne rag for the first few points, using the Hun’s most notoriouspopular propagandistcolumnist as a touchstone: Andrew Bolt, or indeed, even the Murdoch broadsheet, The Oz:

  • 1. Accuracy
    • 1.1 Facts must be reported impartially, accurately and with integrity.
    • 1.2 Clear distinction must be made between fact, conjecture and comment.
    • 1.3 Try always to tell all sides of the story in any kind of dispute.
    • 1.4 Do not knowingly withhold or suppress essential facts.
    • 1.5 Journalists should not rely on only one source. Be careful not to recycle an error from one reference source to another. Check and check again.
  • 8. Discrimination
    • 8.1 Do not make pejorative reference to a person’s race, nationality, colour, religion, marital status, sex, sexual preferences, age, or physical or mental capacity. No details of a person’s race, nationality, colour, religion, marital status, sex, sexual preferences, age, or physical or mental incapacity should be included in a report unless they are relevant.

Given the extent to which Abbott dances to the Murdoch tune, I wonder if the same standards should apply to him?

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Posted in Australia, Ethics, Media, Politics | 3 Comments »

Not tweeting … buzzing plus good

Posted by Dave Bath on 2011-07-23

I’m finding Buzz and the public posts (easily separable from private posts) in Google Plus a hell of a lot more conducive to short comments than Twitter.

So, if you want some of my shorter thoughts and notes …

  • Google Buzz has all my shared gReader items, with a few comments, as well as other links I find interesting.  (Mind you, most of those I follow have their Buzz feed from their tweets.)
  • Short Posts (well, the public ones unless you are in my circles) are for short posts, links, and the occasional personal comment.

Oh, and regular readers here, if you still need an invite to get into Plus, get a gmail address to me one way or another and I’ll send you one.

Impressions of Plus

GooglePlus isn’t all prettily wrapped up yet, and it’s an odd mix of twitter, newsfeed, email and blogging with a bit of linkedin thrown into the mix – even without blogger.  The one thing I really like is the way it is well integrated into gmail – add posts, get notifications, respond to comments, all without leaving your gmail windows.

And yet, if you expect a facebook clone, you’ll be disappointed.

It is, however, already very good at letting you choose what bits are seen by who – public, one circle, or another circle.  At the very least it means I can easily choose to not annoy my younger friends with geeky science posts, not waste more politically-oriented interlocutors with posts about funny things my grandson said when I came home that night… that’s a real boon.

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Posted in Information Management, Media, Society | Leave a Comment »

What turned Breivik into a gunman and/or bomber?

Posted by Dave Bath on 2011-07-23

(Update on my opinion of what was going on in Breivik’s head: "Was the Norwegian atrocity strategic?")

I wonder what filled the gunman arrested in Norway and linked to the Oslo bombing, Anders Behring Breivik, with so much hate?  (Here is the untranslated original.)

I wonder if he reads papers filled with the same Tea-Party-esque anti-watermelon rhetoric as we have here…. Or are the Norwegians too damned nice to have a popular columnist equivalent to our bogan-inciters?

The guy probably has a pinup of Sarah Palin on his wall and a bible by his bed.

I wonder how long F*x News pushed an islamist terrorist line, or whether even F*x realizes that those nice nordics are so nice, that they’ll only be attacked by individuals or a "losers’ club" in desperate need of psychiatric care – the types who probably needed remedial reading classes but didn’t get enough of them.

Can you see tabloids around the anglosphere (or indeed anywhere) demonising as "the face of evil" people who look like the following?  Calling for incendiary right-wing groups to be shut down?

The man arrested over the shootings and bombing in Oslo - a profile that will not be demonized by Andrew Bolt

The man arrested over the shootings and bombing in Oslo - a profile that will not be demonized by Andrew Bolt

No… I don’t think so.

Update: I expected better of "The Guardian"!

Oslo bomb: suspicion falls on Islamist militants
Norway’s role in Afghanistan and its decision to file terrorism charges against a Muslim cleric may explain the Oslo bomb attack

The question now is who is likely to be behind it.
The most obvious conclusion would be a jihadist group.

Ye gods, could the The Guardian attacking Murdoch be not a principled stand but a takeover bid for the ability to spout rubbish to bogans?

Update: This page apparently lists Breivik’s facebook interests, favorite books, etc … saying (in my view correctly from what we know), that he is "Norway’s Timothy McVeigh" – except McVeigh wasn’t exactly bright.

Update: – I was wrong about the remedial reading if the reports about his facebook reading list are correct.  I still reckon he’ll turn out to be a nutter not a terrorist.

Update: Yes, Andrew Bolt did as expected:

Once the identity of the attackers becomes known, the consequences for Norway’s immigration policies could be profound

Yes…. paragraphs on moslems, and any corrections or focus on the real problem tucked away, not blasted in bold….. but read the comments to Bolt’s article and see what ordinary voters who drive the policies of both major parties are like..


ElineGiske Eline Giskeødegård
G.W. Bush, 9/11: “We’re gonna hunt you down.” Stoltenberg, 22/7: “We will retaliate with more democracy”. I’m proud to be Norwegian.

Posted in International, Media, Society | 2 Comments »

Are you smarter than a chocolate ad?

Posted by Dave Bath on 2011-07-21

Tony Abbott should probably loosen his celice … from around his neck – it’s cutting off the blood supply to his brain.

Tony Abbott’s 2011-07-07 interview transcript on the Liberal Party website proves a half-way decent 3rd grader knows more science.

See, one of the things that people haven’t quite twigged to is that carbon dioxide is invisible, it’s weightless and it’s odourless.

By saying carbon dioxide is weightless, it shows Mr Rabbit never paid attention to Julius Sumner Miller on chocolate advertisements, or Deane and Rob on The Curiosity Show.

Even Dan Quayle, the US VP who was filmed at a school spelling bee telling a kid to mis-spell "potato" had a better excuse than Abbott.

But the Australian public (apart from the latte left and latte right) won’t laugh, they won’t notice the error.

Pauline Hanson, even Humphrey B. Bear is an intellectual giant by comparison.

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Posted in Australia, Environment, Media, Politics | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

Even in bold print, retractions do not fix the damage

Posted by Dave Bath on 2011-07-19

The adage "act first, apologise later" has extra truth in it given new research on the persistent effect of lies/misinformation, even when strongly counteracted.

The research indicates just how damaging the lies and innuendos of dodgy politicians and press can be – retractions and corrections have relatively little effect on later decisions by victims.

It means truth in advertising, and even more, truth in reporting, needs heavy-handed policing, heavy penalties for intentional misrepresentation, and strong statutes.

Research reported in Scientific American "Lingering Lies: The persistent influence of misinformation" gives a stunning example of just how strong the effect misinformation, even when immediately corrected, can have.

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Posted in Australia, Biology and Health, Ethics, Media, Politics, Society | Leave a Comment »

Right penalty for the wrong crime

Posted by Dave Bath on 2011-07-16

In true tabloid form, and putting another black mark on modern society’s good sense and probity, the Murdoch empire is copping a well-deserved, indeed too light, punishment, but because of the trivial and limited offences, not the heinous acts of the group that are harming the world as a whole.

It was the hacking (and destruction of evidence) of the phone of a teenage girl who had disappeared (and later discovered murdered) that finally got things moving against Murdoch’s empire in the UK.

It will be the hacking of phones of the World Trade Centre attack victims that will probably get things moving in the US.

These are hardly the most serious of the obvious illegal acts – the bribing of police is a greater crime against the functioning of a society, so the general public is damned by being galvanized by the pure tabloid headline offence, that only affecting individuals, rather than being concerned about corruption that eats away at civil society for all.

The greater crime against civilization committed by the Murdoch empire is hardly causing pain to Murdoch at all.  This damns the public even more, who have had the opportunity, through the sum of individual actions, to hurt Murdoch’s methods – not just used by Murdoch, but any media magnate.

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Posted in Media, Politics, Society | Comments Off on Right penalty for the wrong crime

Fox – goose or gander

Posted by Dave Bath on 2011-07-06

Murdoch’s Limited News Corporation has, shall we say, a fair and balanced attitude to hacking.

The principles they operate by when deciding whether an act is good or evil becomes apparent after a little thought.

On the one hand, the Murdoch empire defends itself when its agents hack the phones of politicians, royalty, and even murdered girls – aiming at profit by gaining unlawful access to information that is obviously private.

On the other hand, hackers who hijacked the F*x News twitter feed, posting untrue news reports, are totally reprehensible, and get the US Secret Service involved to chase down what could be termed incompetent and untruthful journalistic volunteers.

It is not as if it’s the first time F*x has reported counterfactuals, it’s not as if it is the first time the Murdoch authors, even in broadsheets, deliberately cause people to believe falsehoods.

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Posted in Media | Comments Off on Fox – goose or gander

Bushfire bastardry

Posted by Dave Bath on 2011-07-04

The dead in the horrible Victorian bushfires a few years back, and those that will die in the future from similar causes, seem to be, by misdirected investigations and blind eyes to evidence, poorly served by both current and previous governments.

Who benefits from this? Only the negligent – the privatised power supplier cutting corners on safety, or a government unwilling to pay compensation, or politicians in both major parties who do not want a proper evaluation of the fundamental dogma that pushes privatization of state assets in general and utilities in particular.

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Posted in Australia, Economics and Business, Governance, Media, Politics, Victoria | Comments Off on Bushfire bastardry

The Chaucer Wedding Ban

Posted by Dave Bath on 2011-04-28

The Chaser’s Royal Cockup Performance Cut … why?

Perhaps the royals were worried about crudity, given what The Chaucer authored last time after seeing DCameron.

Goe uppe the ille, ryght uppe the myddel,
goe downe the knayve, the ryng than twyddel.
We practysed words, the dressyes mocked up,
for we do and don’t want ryght royle cock up.

– The Commoner’s Tail

For those readers who don’t get it D.Cameron is British PM, while Prince Gay Otter is the alternate title of The Decameron by Boccaccio, a series of often bawdy tales which inspired Geoffrey Chaucer to pen Canterbury Tales.

Posted in Humor, International, Media | Tagged: , | 1 Comment »

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