Tuesday, March 06, 2012

Gerard Henderson, Sophie Mirabella, and oh that Orwellian rag, it's sooh elegant, so intelligent ...

(Above: what need of a press council, when you can have Gerard Henderson write outraged letters, emails and memos?)

It was eminently predictable that prattling Polonius would tackle the report into media regulation by Ray Finkelstein, QC, and so it is that Gerard Henderson has produced Lawyers and academics propose more regulation? It's hardly news.

It seems that if you're an academic or a lawyer - as opposed to a preening, prattling head of Sydney Institute - sponsorships and supporters kept quiet - you have nothing to contribute to the debate about the media.

Henderson's piece is full of righteous pomp and cant, about how he didn't feel the need to participate, because he was sceptical and taxpayers' money was involved, as if his absence was in anyway noted by anyone, and then he delivers this zinger:

I was also sceptical about inquiries into the present that make recommendations about the future and are run by lawyers who have no first-hand experience of the subject of their investigations.

So you have to have first-hand experience before producing commentary and recommendations? On this basis, Henderson should be run out of town, preferably tarred and feathered, since he routinely pronounces and recommends on subjects which clearly don't involve first-hand experience.

Unless the pond has got it wrong, and Henderson has had first hand experience as a hamburger flipper working for the minimum wage.

You have to work, or have worked, in the media to have an intelligent view of the media? Somehow not working in the media incapacitates you when considering the Sunday Terror's publication of nude Pauline Hanson photos, which turned out to be nude, but not a nude Pauline Hanson?

As you'd expect, there's little of the substantive, and much abuse of lawyers and academics, as if somehow Henderson was down wit the butchers and bakers and candlestick makers.

So what about News Ltd and its daily, observable war on various issues, such as climate change and the NBN?

In fact, as we know from last week, the strongest (private) critics of the Rudd Labor government were Wayne Swan, Julia Gillard, Stephen Conroy and Nicola Roxon.

Oh it's impossibly twee and fatuous, the sort of rebuttal argument you'd expect from a man who peppers his piece with lines like "Fancy that", and "Enough said".

Perhaps the pond could sell a used Lordy, lordy, lah di dah to the man ...

On and on Henderson rambles, and then in his bid to knock down Finkelstein, and show he's the balanced one- since where would a prattling Polonius be without balance - Henderson leads with this on the matter of corrections in the media, since it seems agreed that corrections might need a tad of attention, though why this should be in a world where Alan Jones is eminently fair is never quite explained:

... this overlooks the fact that, as a rule, the media has never been more willing to acknowledge errors and make clarifications. The task has been made easier by the growth of online sites, where permanent corrections or clarifications can be made.

Roll that one around on your tongue, and knock the pond down with a feather.

The media has never been more willing to acknowledge errors and make clarifications ...

Could you want any clearer evidence that Henderson, who routinely berates the ABC for failing to acknowledge errors and make clarifications, is living in an alternative universe, or at least an alternate Murdoch world.

Well luckily Media Watch addressed the same issue last night. After celebrating the way that the pundits and the commentariat got the appointment of Bob Carr completely wrong - corrections, clarifications, admissions of error, quoi moi? - in Gillard shows off her new Carr, Jonathan Holmes sensibly concludes that, as a result of the Finkelstein report, the media will be dragged, kicking and screaming, towards a better, more securely funded Press Council with powers that provide for quicker and more prominent corrections to be published (and if you missed it you can catch it here in Regulating all with one).

And if that's the result, and some of the greater absurdities in the report are quickly forgotten, that will be a good result.

While it's tempting to think it's only the likes of the HUN and The Australian and the daily and Sunday Terror that treat victims of its attention with contempt, and offer up Rush Limbaugh style apologies, Fairfax and the ABC can be just as bad, though they tend not to indulge in the vicious, relentless, monomaniacal, gutter, yellow press, crusading and distortions you can find when the Murdoch pack get an NBN or climate science in their teeth and taste the blood ...

In that context, seeking balance is like asking Genghis Khan to present both sides of the story.

Naturally, over at The Punch, you can find the most stupid response of all emanating from that windbag Sophie Mirabella in Politically correct jeopardise our freedom of speech, as if freedom of speech includes the right to be an utter goose, getting matters wrong, and publishing nude pictures of people who aren't the nude persons in the nude pictures.

Mirabella immediately jumps the shark and nukes the fridge:

There’s a kind of political kismet to the fact that the Orwellian Finkelstein media review is released while international crusader for free speech Mark Steyn is in this country on a speaking tour.

Oh no, not the Orwellian gambit, the fool's mate of overblown, overheated, fear-mongering political rhetoric, though I guess it's designed to show Gerard Henderson in a good light ... though we do appreciate Mark Steyn's relentless campaign to announce the end of musical theatre as the world has known it while doing his doomsday schtick ...

It seems poor hapless Sophie has been a victim of evil Orwellian intervention herself because in one of her rants, her use of "illegal entrants" was changed to "irregular entrants".

I don’t blame The Punch crew. It was explained to me that it had to be done due to a Press Council ruling which found that the word “illegal” “may be considered inaccurate and unfair” in relation to those who enter our country by other than legal means. Go figure. Therefore journalists have been instructed to use the term “asylum seekers”, rather than “illegal entrants”. Even more insidiously, the Press Council ruled that “even opinion pieces and commentary” had to be held to this apparently new standard.

How shocking. Instead of arbitrary abuse, fear-mongering and vilification of a group of people, who might well be asylum seekers, Mirabella was forced to use words that were neutral, rather than defamatory and inflammatory.

Why next thing you know they'll be wanting to abolish signs that say "ditch the witch" and "Bob Brown's bitch", and then what politician will be able to preen and simper and pose beneath such simple elegant expressions of free speech?

Apologise? Correction? Just suck on it ...

Not to worry, no one is going to take away the right of Sophie Mirabella to be an outrageous dimwit. No one's going to stand in the path of her standard slippery slope argument:

It’s a gradual thing. Bit by bit we are guided down the politically correct path. And we won’t realise what we’ve lost until it’s gone.

Yes, it seems we're in the last moments of posing beneath offensive signs, and Satan herself roams the land in the form of a Finkelstein:

The fact that something as draconian and absurd as the Finkelstein Review can be met with little more than a murmur suggests we are becoming accustomed to surrendering our freedoms on the say so of Government or some other arbitrary body.

Draconian? Oh for the love of exaggerated overblown hysterical rhetoric, it's just another government report.

Well for the record, the pond has worked in the meejia, and the pond has had a dozen reports shelved by government, that's the way it goes, but the way to win debating points isn't to suggest you need to have worked in the media to have an intelligent view on it, nor is it to lapse into overblown rhetoric of the Mirabella Orwellian kind.

It's a fair observation that those who continually cite Orwell never have the first clue what he was on about, and it's equally fair to say that it's highly likely he would have recoiled from Mirabella with horror and contempt, especially when she leads with this kind of tripe:

We must all be prepared to stand up and be counted, to rail against this sort of overtly-political censorship, and to argue for our own beliefs rather than a collectivist view handed down from the powers that be.

Having a view on a prompt correction regarding the publication of nude photos of a nude person who has been fraudulently converted into the nude is an act of overt political censorship?

Mirabella really should try working in a newspaper one day, and watch the herd of journalists go about their sheeple business, busy peddling a collectivist view handed down from the editor of the day ... often with regard to the fears, fancies and favours of the owner of the day, the ultimate power that be ...

Oh it's all too provoking, even if a strengthened Press Council is the likely outcome and poor Finkelstein's hapless egregious errors, like the 15,000 hits routine, are the things that are featured as the collectivist media go about their collectivist business of protecting their turf, and of censoring and censuring the report ...

Meanwhile, to end on a light note, and as a reminder that in these troubled times, Mad magazine endures and there's no bid to censor it or make it politically correct, here's what's currently doing the rounds in the Facebook crowd:

(Below: click to enlarge).


  1. David Irving (no relation)Mar 6, 2012, 4:22:00 PM

    Apropos that Champion of Free Speech, Mark Steyn I submitted a question to Q'n'A for him last night. Now, Our ABC claims they post all qustions on the Q'n'A website even if they don't get asked, but mine isn't there as far as I can see.

    I merely asked Mr Steyn if he were a fool or a rogue - a fair question, I think you'll agree, and I'm felled by the dead censorious hand of the ABC.

  2. i wish some journalist had the guts to ask that revolting harridan mirrabella if her wait gain is due to the extra food she can buy after manipulating a very rich senile old fool with her sexual favours to get his money (prostitute comes to mind).
    the poor old fool must have been blind as a bat to go anywhere near her (the mind boggles in revulsion at the mental picture of sophie the seductress plying her trade).

  3. Believe it or not, sully, La Mirabella was reasonably attractive (although not to my taste) when she was a bit younger. I can see the old fool being quite happy to be manipulated.


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