Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Peter Costello, Michael Duffy, Paul Comrie-Thomson, Phillip Adams, and paranoia as a way of life

(Above: Peter Costello trapped in an ABC studio with socialist zombies. Will the brave lad emerge from the jungle to share his thoughts with us? Yes, oh yes, oh no).

The Cheshire cat that is Peter Costello refuses to let that irritating smug smirk disappear into the trees.

Instead he keeps hanging around, another surreal part of the media landscape, and this time he's delivered a corker in Everyone's ABC? Only if you lean left.

Whining about bias in the ABC, he comes up with this:

Five nights per week Phillip Adams broadcasts on Radio National. Adams claims that he has been close to every Labor leader from Whitlam to Beazley. Robert Manne has described Adams as ''the emblematic figurehead of the pro-Labor left intelligentsia''.

Back in 2001 the then managing director of the ABC declared he would look for a right-wing Phillip Adams to balance up that program.

It must be an exhaustive search. The new managing director is now in his fourth year of office. Apparently the corporation is still looking.

I will make the prediction they will still be looking under the next managing director.

It appears there is nothing urgent about the task of getting balance into the ABC.

Imagine if the corporation did find a right-wing Phillip Adams? Then we would have a Liberal in Perth and one in Sydney, too.

What? Outrageous. I felt a tremor and a shock of indignation.

For a start, thank the lord Phillip Adams only broadcasts four nights a week, Mondays to Thursdays at 10 pm, and then is inflicted on the hapless and the unwary at 4pm the following day in chaff filling repeats. (here).

Recycled perhaps in this economical way because of Costello's economical way with the ABC budget during his years as Treasurer.

And these days Adams sounds about as rampant left as an aberrant mastodon, pleased to be still hanging around, and just as happy to talk about Egyptology and his radio crypt as he is to propose the coming of the socialist apocalypse. If only he wouldn't keep talking over his guests, who invariably are more interesting in their thoughts and ideas than he is ...

But okay, we wouldn't expect Costello to know the exact air times of Adams, especially as his own radio tastes probably go with Alan Jones, and for lighter moments with Kyle Sandilands and Jackie O.

What's truly shocking is Costello's refusal to acknowledge Counterpoint, which broadcasts at 4 pm and earns a lunchtime Friday repeat at 1 pm. Now it's true that this doesn't have the same airtime volume as the verbose Adams, but it does make more of an attempt to engage with diverse issues. If only it wasn't for the relentless nineteen thirties music buffery (here will get you the latest programs for streaming or downloading).

Is Costello saying that the brave lads running Counterpoint aren't conservatives, or at least people with conservative interests?

As older but no wiser readers will remember, this site started out in honor of SMH columnist Michael Duffy. And the Duffster, along with Paul Comrie-Thomson, presents Counterpoint.

If you click here, you can read about the lads, but it seems yet again it's a matter of perverse pride amongst the likes of Costello to dismiss them out of hand as lick spittle lackeys of the ABC. But does that mean that because Costello constantly preens and ponces in The Age and the SMH he's a lickspittle lackey of Fairfax?

Here's a sample of the way Duffy was dismissed as beyond the pale by Gerard Henderson's Media Watch. Yes the prattling Polonius had no kind words:


Another recipient of "Lunch with Jennifer Byrne" gig was Michael Duffy. He, too, spoke to Ms Byrne about his leftist past (The Bulletin, 15 June 2004). Duffy told Byrne that his parents were supporters of the late B.A. Santamaria and the anti-communist Democratic Labor Party. He reacted by joining an anarchist group and running a bookshop. How about that? Does anyone really care? And so on.

Michael Duffy has been much in the news of late following his appointment to the position of presenter on the new ABC Radio National program Counterpoint. ABC Radio National manager Mark Collier was reported as declaring that Counterpoint was designed to balance the views of Phillip Adams. In short, Duffy became the embodiment of the much sought after "right-wing Phillip Adams" personality to counter the very left-wing Phillip Adams. Duffy told Byrne that he is not really a conservative: "I'm not a monarchist, I'm not opposed to homosexuality, I believe drugs should be legalised". John Howard, are you listening?

Michael Duffy seems to have moderated his views on the ABC now that he is on Aunty's pay-roll. Once upon a time Duffy favoured the virtual privatisation of the public broadcaster. In 1999 he questioned whether "we really need a government-subsidised Australian Broadcasting Corporation" and asked: "Why should the taxpayers subsidise our middle class's desire to watch television without commercials" (Daily Telegraph, 20 February 1999). Later he declared that "90 per cent of the ABC is about... subsidising middle-class light entertainment" (Daily Telegraph, 28 June 2000). Later still he described "much" of the ABC as "a dinosaur that has managed to escape extinction" (Daily Telegraph, 3 November 2001).

But now Michael Duffy reckons the public broadcaster is okay. He told Byrne that he respects the ABC "a lot more now" that he is "working there". How surprising. So how is Duffy doing on Aunty? Here's a sample:

26 July 2004.
MD devotes his Counterpoint program to a discussion of (female) orgasm with Bettina Arndt, who is described as a "sex commentator". The program is surprisingly titled: "Wedge Watch: Politics of the Orgasm". It follows Ms Arndt's article in The Bulletin (20 July 2004) titled "The Politics of Oh!". The Bulletin sub-title makes the message clear: "The vagina is making a comeback: Social commentator Bettina Arndt reports on how science is re-defining the female orgasm". Wow – or rather, oh! – with a capital OH!

BA tells MD that she has "lived through an era when clitoromania was rife and it was 'not done' at all to talk about the vagina". She is "very pleased to see that there's some new research now suggesting that the vagina is due for a comeback". BA does not say where the vagina is coming back from – and MD does not ask. Phew. MD asks BA to define "clitoromania". She responds: "Well clitoromania – just the notion that the clitoris is king – I suppose we should say the clitoris is queen…". Well, thanks for that.

And so it went on and on. When the topic moved to men, MD responded: "I think there's an entirely new program in this, Bettina". OH! NO! (

Oh dear, I let that run on at some length because it so perfectly illustrates the mindset of paranoid jealousy and because somehow talk about the vagina making a comeback is more interesting than reading Peter Costello, and certainly Gerard Henderson. But at least I now know the Sydney Institute's aware of the existence of vaginas. Civilization marches on.

But you can see how it works. If you work for the ABC, you can't be a true conservative, QED. And if you even happened to be a true conservative, once you join the ABC, you will turn and be infected by the zombie socialism infecting the place. Nothing you can do about it. It's in the water, and the tea lady tea, and the vile cafeteria food. After a month, you'll be roaming around slobbering and spluttering "must find conservative brains to eat. Need food, fooood."

And I guess we can accept that the presence of Janet Albrechtsen and Keith Windschuttle on the board of the ABC must mean they've also turned into socialists, or dismally failed at their job. Unless of course we accept that the ABC's board has actually nothing to do with the ABC.

First please endure a bit of sanctimonious paranoid blather from Costello:

I was doing an ABC radio interview last week and a listener sent in a text message, which was read out, suggesting the ABC should engage me as a radio host. ''I don't think I have the right political views for the ABC,'' I told the broadcast audience. It was not said with any malice, just an observation of an obvious fact.

If I had been on my guard I would not have said it. The ABC does not like the idea that its presenters have a common political outlook.

Although the media likes to give criticism it does not like to receive it. And if you criticise the media you can expect rough treatment in return.

Experienced media hands will always advise you that no matter how bad your treatment, never complain about it: that will only lead to worse.

As if the ABC was the media, and the media was all biased, and they all hated Liberals. As if network Nine or 2GB or any other area of commercial television and radio is infested with socialists and they're all out for conservative blood. And as if Radio National's market share wasn't pitifully low, or as if commercial television doesn't capture eighty per cent of eyeballs, or as if Chairman Rupert didn't control some seventy per cent of the newspapers in Australia. But go ahead Petie boy, conflate away, since conflation is in essence the art of politics and mis-direction the skill of the magician.

If you repeat this paranoid furphy often enough you'll certainly get it repeated ad nauseam by Gerard Henderson, Tim Blair, Andrew Bolt, Janet Albrechtsen, Piers Akerman and all the other commentariat columnists thrust to centre stage by media stooges to complain about left wing bias by everybody except them. Except that they get all the plum gigs. But hang on a moment the paranoia gets richer and riper and fruitier:

But I was not on my guard. I am not now at the mercy of the media so I can afford to say what everyone on the conservative side of politics knows - the ABC is hostile territory.

One time I walked into ABC headquarters in Sydney and was confronted by an employee who began hissing at me. The station manager, who was there at the time, was so shocked he organised a written apology from management.

He told me the employee would be ''counselled''. I wasn't shocked, I knew I was on foreign soil. I never worried about what occurred off-air. I was always worried about what would be broadcast.

Oh brave lad. There amongst the zombies, flying their flag for the Republic of Ruritania while singing the Internationale and hissing at pious Pete and worrying about what might be broadcast, tampered with in the way tricky Dick used to fiddle with the tapes in the oval office.

Well I say give the hisser a medal - hiss boo - instead of offering him PC counseling. But there you go, say what you think, express your feelings, and suddenly the ABC wants to give you a course in how to behave. Curse you you damn PC correct socialists. Let hissers run wild and free.

But let's get to the point:

When I dropped my inconvenient truth in last week's interview it didn't provoke any outrage or comment. It just hung there.

There was a mild effort by my interlocutor to defend the corporation. He pointed out there is a Liberal employed on ABC local radio in Perth, which says it all. It is quite an oddity really - so odd that they know about this man in Melbourne. Out of the 4500 employees in the ABC they know there is one Liberal. The ABC would do well to get a second or a third (and, no, I am not interested).

Sob. It's true. Janet Albrechtsen and Keith Windschuttle don't count, and neither does Michael Duffy or his mate. And Ron Brunton's gone. Once again the socialist zombies win, and put poor Petie and his mates in peril.

There's more, much more that's profoundly amusing. Like Costello's advice to interviewers:

The on-air interviewers for the ABC are generally aggressive, which is a pity. In my experience, if a subject is relaxed and lulled into dropping their guard, they are more likely to make revealing disclosures.

With the ABC the line of questioning is always predictable. It always comes from the Labor/Green perspective.

Which makes it astonishing when you come to think about it that the old fox dropped his guard, and somehow dropped that clanger and read out that text message, and then had to fear being dragged away to the gulag to repent on his errors. Just how did he relax and get lulled and gulled and drop his guard and make such a revealing disclosure? That the media in Australia is run by socialists! Damn you, Chairman Rupert and your socialist ways. Oh sorry, damn you cunning ABC socialist zombie interviewer.

But by the time Costello's got to listing all 7.30 Report presenters that have made it into politics (and there are a few), he got me to thinking and wondering just why it is that the Liberal party refuses to pick up media types for a political career, and why commentariat columnists prefer to blather from the safety of a pulpit or a castle rather than get down and dirty in the bear pit.

Now that would have made for an interesting column. Rather than an ever so predictable piece from a Cheshire cat with a smug smirk, who rarely lets anything interfere with prattling paranoid prejudice ...

(Below: an ABC socialist zombie interviewer eyes off a likely Liberal interviewee. How could they do that to Bronwyn Bishop?)

No comments:

Post a Comment

Comments older than two days are moderated and there will be a delay in publishing them.