Friday, March 02, 2012

In which the pond joins the heavily regulated media giants, and discovers the limits to freedom of speech ...

(Above: The silliest header that ever was? Urged on by a vicious, gloating, possibly intolerant and prejudiced reader, the pond simply had to memorialise the thoughts of Dennis "the tie" Shanahan, and yes, if you want to laugh and dance, you too can break The Australian's embargo, and chuff off to The foreign minister who never was. Oh Herbert, such fun if you're brave enough to enter the clowns' den, the pond tips its Marilena Romeo lid to you).

Meanwhile, back in Sydney, Anthony Albanese's golden comedy routines strike again.

One of the problems you've got with Sydney airport is where it is, he opined on radio, or words to that effect, showing he'd mastered the art of stating the bleeding obvious. Of course the real problem with Sydney is that Sydney is located where it is.

Next? Albo does the Shakespearian rag of asking to be or not to be, that is the question in relation to a second airport.

In the process Albo showed that Tony Abbott was an amateur when it came to nattering negativity. It was 'no' to an increase in caps, it was 'no' to Badgery's Creek, it was no to doing anything, because unless there was something radical done, it would be just fiddling at the edges. And already the "nos" are out in NIMBY force explaining why any alternatives to Badgery's Creek won't work. The pond stands by, waiting another ten years of political fiddling at the edges, inspired by naysayer Albo ...

Meanwhile, the pond is gobsmacked that Bob 'panem et circenses' Carr is now the Foreign Minister of Australia. At least the world can be bored by the bloated Bob, and not just Sydney, but oh how we weep for the world. Luckily they won't be depending on Carr to deliver infrastructure, they'll just be expecting verbiage, and he can deliver that by the truckload. Rest easy, mushrooms of the world, Bob is now at hand ...

Oh and mushrooms, the bonus, and possibly the only upside? Conclusive evidence that Dennis Shanahan is a goose.

Speaking of geese, another reader sent in this little note, linking to Mumbrella, and Press inquiry calls for mega watchdog to run 'enforced' selfregulation' across all media including bloggers.

Yes the report is out, and you can find it here as a pdf (be warned, it's as bloated as the thinking therein), and the pond was so tired and emotional, the obvious thing to do was not to read the bloody thing, but just highlight Mumbrella's comedy highlight:

On which media would be covered, the Inquiry said: “There are many newsletter publishers and bloggers, although no longer part of the ‘lonely pamphleteer’ tradition, who offer up-to-date reflections on current affairs. Quite a number have a very small audience. There are practical reasons for excluding from the definition of ‘news media’ publishers who do not have a sufficiently large audience. If a publisher distributes more than 3000 copies of print per issue or a news internet site has a minimum of 15 000 hits per annum it should be subject to the jurisdiction of the News Media Council, but not otherwise. These numbers are arbitrary, but a line must be drawn somewhere.”
Finkelstein appears to be using the word “hits” to describe page views. 15000 per annum would equate to just 40 page views a day.

Yes, the pond offers reflections on current affairs and current fools, and it scores more than forty page views a day. Hell, you could put up a photo of Lara Bingle in the nude, and score more than forty hits a day, calling it a post-feminist commentary on the delusional nature of Australian cricket.

The pond suddenly realised that it was up there with the big boys. Murdoch, Fairfax, Tim Blair, Andrew the Bolter (what a pity his Melbourne radio station suddenly went into an easy listening void ... MTR teeters as cash dries up. Now will the Bolter dry up as ratings and cash dry up?)

Feel the wrath of the pond, watch how it curls up and quivers as it's regulated. What's that? The pond can't be fined?

The inquiry recommends that the News media Council should not have the power to fine outlets but it should be able:
  • To require publication of a correction.
  • To require withdrawal of a particular article from continued publication (via the internet or otherwise).
  • To require a media outlet to publish a reply by a complainant or other relevant person.
  • To require publication of the News Media Council’s decision or determination;
  • To direct when and where publications should appear.
Talk about delusions of grandeur. Suddenly with just forty page views a day, Finkelstein thinks that the Council should have the power to direct when and where publications should appear? How about he takes that up with Google in the good old courts of the mighty USA?

Correct and admonish? And chide as a primary school teacher would chide a child, as if the laws of defamation were not sufficient to guarantee safe conduct? And suddenly the hundreds of thousands of blogs around the country with relevant photos of Lara Bingle would be regulated by the gauleiters?

If outlets do not obey the rulings, the inquiry wants the News Media Council to be able to go to court to enforce its ruling. It said: “Any failure to comply with the court order should be a contempt of court and punishable in the usual way. This will be both a deterrent to breaching standards and, in the event of a complaint being made, will act as an incentive for media outlets to resolve the complaint through discussion.”

Yes punishable in the usual way. Off with their heads, or at least a month in the slammer.

Suddenly the pond is a media outlet, though it enters the field purely by the amateur gate, and has made not a cent from its fun, and doesn't want to make a cent from the fun, but now it must take its place amongst the Murdochs and the Fairfaxes, and be subject to the gauleiters and contempt of court and yadda yadda ...

It's the Conroy dream of total control come to consummation, and the wise report has delivered what the Minister wanted.

Is there delusion let loose on the full to overflowing intertubes or what?

Sorry, I don't know where that reference to gauleiters and jackboots came from. It must have been a heavy night on the piss imbibing a nice oak chip chardonnay of the low rent kind, and the thoughts of Brendan O'Neill ...

I wonder if the mega watchdog will rule out breaches of Godwin's Law?

And now for the first time in its life, the pond has become aware that they play soccer in this country, and it involves Clive Palmer trying to kick the head of Frank Lowy, except when vice versa Frank Lowy tries to kick the head of Clive Palmer, as if anyone cares (Farcical situation: billionaire gave up right to speak for code long ago).

It will remind devotees of classic movies of the way they played polo in The Man Who Would Be King. News Media Council, and sensitive readers, please avert eyes, ugly Clive Palmer inspired scene is available at YouTube, in The Man Who Would Be King Polo Scene Human Head. And here's a couple of screen grabs as a reminder:

Oh yes, Caine and Connery love their human head games.

The funniest sight? Soccer players running around with "freedom of speech" emblazoned on their jerseys. What's the bet that the players' contracts specifically limit their freedom to speak on club matters and Clive Palmer?

Is this naked contradiction, and blatant political publication, seen everywhere, the first job for the News Media Council?

He looks a little too free in his speech.

Such fun watching billionaires at play ...

Is it possible to be so rich and so deeply fatuous and unhappy? Well I guess Gina Rinehart and her family make an excellent role model ...

Truly, the pond says unto you, it's a wondrous, joyous world, and you can step out into the sunshine, with a spring in your step, to enjoy every last minute you have left on the planet. Except in New South Wales, where it's more likely to be accompanied by the squelch of gumboots and galoshes ... or the droning sound of Bob Carr and Phillip Adams praising themselves in a way that even the long absent lord would deem unseemly for secularists ...

And now, as befits a serious publisher wanting to maintain more than forty hits a day, and be regulated by minions of Stephen Conroy, the pond publishes a tasteful photo for gentleman readers to celebrate the end of the cricket season and the return of the bum sniffers (and nothing wrong with that, though the pond recommends that it be done with taste and passion in the bedroom).

Oh you thought it was going to be a nude photo? No need. You see inept Googlers will just type in "Lara Bingle nude photo", and they'll find their way here, like moths to the flame.

And soon enough the pond will be a media giant, ready to take over the world, and be regulated just like News Ltd, well known for its insightful relevant stories, like Lara Bingle 'caught in nude photo scandal'

Now on with galoshes and raincoat (no it doesn't make you part of a cinema-going raincoat brigade), or bikini if preferred, and onwards and upwards and out into the weekend world ...


  1. Imagine the Senior Staff lounge at The Pontificate any early afternoon. The atmosphere is redolent with humours as Kelly et al doze off a few reds. Remarkably similar to the beach scene at Macquarie Island. The survival of News print is safe in their hands.

  2. Wow. Those are some crazy hats.


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