Thursday, June 07, 2012

A busy morning down in the gutters and squelching the bounce with a bit of doomsaying, and finally discovering it's all the fault of the intertubes...

(Above: the Daily Terror gives Thomson a drink of water, while taking the bounce and crowing out of rooster Swan. Screen cap, no links, the tabloid gutter is easy enough to find).

And so we revert to Tracy Grimshaw's homily about the evils of the intertubes:

Remember when to express your opinion you had to write a letter to the editor? The paper would only run the best letters with a view to balance and content. Now there’s no such filter and the online tyrants are running amok. Let them have a Twitter page, that’s democracy. But why translate their jaundiced opinion and intemperate language into news copy that’s supposed to actually carry some authority?” (here)

Democracy hurrah. Stand in the queue of letter writers please, if you wish to express an opinion, while hard-nosed reporters, honourable descendants of Clark Kent, go about the business of reporting the facts. Just the facts ma'am ...

But where do we get the news copy that's actually supposed to carry some authority?

One thing's certain. Buggered if it's the Nine Network's A Current Affair, as it goes about the business of sticking wayward feet in doors and bashing welfare bludgers, infecting the air with moral panics and hysterical prejudice and calling it news.

Every so often the skylarking comes home to roost, though never enough for the pond. But what a satisfying read Tabloid TV in a tiff as former prostitute recants her statement on Thomson makes (warning forced video at end of link).

Bit by bit the grubby truth emerged that ACA had offered an anonymised hooker 60k to spill the dirt on Thomson. Next thing you know, she's off to that rival grub and gutter fest, Seven's Today Tonight to apologise, recant, say she got it wrong, and say how absolutely terrible she feels for Thomson and family.

Boldly refusing to take a backward step, the Nine network insisted that the woman stood by her story ...

... Channel Nine hit back at the woman's version of events. In a statement issued last night, ACA's executive producer, Grant Williams, said the woman had ''panicked' after seeing Mr Thomson's address to Parliament and had texted that she was ''no longer a credible witness''. But when contacted by Mr Armsden ''she indicated verbally that she stood by her positive identification of Thomson,'' said the statement.

Seemingly oblivious to the contradiction, Williams, after claiming continued verbal support from this unreliable witness for her positive identification, then does a classic back flip:

Mr Williams said that the woman's credibility is ''obviously now seriously an issue'' and that it should be left to police to investigate.
Last night Mr Thomson told the Herald that Channel Seven's revelation ''speaks for itself''.

Actually Mr Williams, it's the ACA's credibility is obviously now seriously an issue, and Channel Seven's revelation speaks for itself in relation to the way ACA (and Today Tonight) go about their sordid business of lathering up hysteria in search of ratings, with a cheque book near to hand, and then dare to call it journalism.

So where can the average punter go in search of a media police who will investigate this sort of horseplay?

Sadly, the only relatively objective venue that brings the media to account in anything approaching a timely way is the ABC's Media Watch - fifteen minutes a week to cover a multitude of sins, and then only able to offer verbal slaps on the wrist and the embarrassment of ineptness revealed.

Though it is pleasant when sometimes in a tabloid v. tabloid moment, blood is spilled. Perhaps we could mangle Tracy Grimshaw a little:

But why translate that tabloid junk, jaundiced opinion and intemperate talk of stat decs and hidden hookers into news copy that’s supposed to actually carry some authority?

Indeed, Ms. Grimshaw. Enjoy your pay ...

The trick of course is to get a reasonably sympathetic and seemingly affable and intelligent host or presenter to front the shock horror garbage that's delivered nightly to a screen to you in the name of tabloid screen journalism. Grimshaw, and before her Ray Martin ... and the only pleasure to hand John Safran hiring a Paxton and giving Martin a hard time (as commemorated on YouTube here).

Does anything ever change? Same old, same old ...

Meanwhile, the Thomson saga bubbles along nicely, though below the surface, unless you happen to stray off into the world of the underground intertubes, including Thomson 8: The HSU Family, and gossip-mongering Vex News here. Lordy, lordy, what a festering pile of snakes, but thank the long absent lord we know what to do with snakes. Dice and slice and make them go away, as you might make an inquiry into the AWB scandal disappear (Cop told 'make AWB probe go away' - warning, links to forced video)

Meanwhile, the media was determined that any good news be firmly squelched. Chris Uhlmann led the way as a prophet of doom in Growth figure brings good news, or does it?, and naturally, as shown above, the Daily Terror was quick off the mark to squelch any notion of bounce, and naturally The Australian also quickly lined up with the gloom mongers and naysayers

After briefly giving rooster Swan a little room to gloat about the doomsayers in its digital lead last night ...
... this morning the rag was on song, with anxiety about China slowing, global threats, the crisis ahead and the cost of local projects.
It takes a special jaundiced skill to find misery in sunny skies, but if they might happen to be Labor skies, that's automatically misery street. Every so often the pond feels like shouting "what the fuck", and transporting all the moaning misery guts back to the great depression so they could get ready to do their bit in a vast and exceptionally miserable world war ...

What a contented, clueless lot of whingers. Why The Australian is worse than inner city elites worrying if their coffee roast contains just the right amount of pungency this morning ...

Speaking of professional moaners and worry warts, Paul "Generally Grumpy" Sheehan seems to have taken to writing about things digital on a Thursday.

Now for your digital briefing you might have preferred to head off to Wired, or a dozen other sites that deliver insights from digital insiders, but Fairfax seems to think that Sheehan is their go-to man for the good "0101" oil.

They even make it one of the graphic splashes of the day:
It turns out that, bottom line, it's just a bit of business Darwinism of a bleedingly obvious and banal kind, an excuse for Sheehan to have a Google and Facebook bash, and amazingly as a starter, he proposes to change Google's slogan to "Don't be irritating". Frying pan, say hello to blackened pot. (you can find it all here).

The brave-hearted lad has become a Bingster - clearly there was no way he was going to risk being infected by the British disease and Ask Jeeves.

We keed, we keed. Most of the piece is a stock standard bit of fluff about the rapid turnover of businesses in the internet age - yes the pond still has actual genuine Lycos and Yahoo email addresses - but it gets amusing when Sheehan begins to talk about the difficulties Qantas is facing in the current landscape.

Naturally he ritually abuses the unions for their strike action. Naturally management is specifically exempted from abuse. And naturally you might wonder if there are any other factors at work. The cost of fuel, an ageing inefficient fleet and an inability to replace the fleet in a timely way, fierce competition from well-heeled, government backed airlines intent on making their location a hub for international travel sporting flash new gear (as with Emirates, Etihad, Singapore Airlines, and sundry new Chinese fleets), or a half dozen other crucial bits of airline business you might find covered at a site like Plane Talking?

Nope. It's the intertubes:

The numbers show just how reckless and stupid was the union campaign against Qantas last year. Again, technology had transformed the competitive landscape. The internet may have been a boon for the Qantas budget operation, Jetstar, but it has obliterated many advantages once enjoyed by the international division.

Yep, the bloody intertubes has ruined Qantas's international division.

Talk about generally bloody irritating. And generally silly. And then that bit of Darwinism for the capper:

No company is safe. No brand is safe. Dominant one decade, irrelevant the next. Adapt or die. And former customers will step over the corpse.

Does the same apply to commentariat commentators and Fairfax? Adapt or die, get someone to write something sensible, someone a little more coherent and in touch, perhaps even a little more young and hip.

Or former readers will step over the corpse.

Is it any wonder, when surveying the media scene in Australia, that some feel vaguely sociopathic of a morning and turn to The New Yorker for a laugh?


  1. Isn't Today Tonight being a bit slack, only finding one hooker who didn't have sex with Craig Thompson. If I was running that show I would find 10 or 20 more hookers who didn't have sex with him. How many gratuitious shots of sleazy lingerie could you get out of that! It's a rating goldmine just waiting for 1700 foreign workers to exploit it.

  2. Salacious is a terrific word and Sheehan in particular loves the shit out of it. I'm really looking forward to his next article on the ACA debacle (in detail as it were) and then your take on that.

    Won't hold my breath because he's probably locked up in the Coalition talking points tank right now awaiting his orders...

  3. Hired Anonymous. It's terrific ideas like yours that have helped make commercial Australian television the wasteland it is today. Together boldly marching forward with lingerie visions, and with your blessed help, the pond can extend the wasteland across multiple digital channels. Oh wait ...

    Roll on gridiron lingerie football ...


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