Monday, February 25, 2013

Inspired by the lizard oz and generally grumpy Paul Sheehan ...

(Above: now there's an easy survey question to answer. The pond is inspired to laughter every day of the week, or whenever reading The Australian).

The good news is that The Australian pissed its money up against the wall on a dud survey in relation to the ABC.

The headline that resulted must have shattered the hearts of the fearless crusaders. It was still dressed up as an exclusive, even if it was an exclusive about nothing much:

Well at least it allowed "ABC" and "bias" to be linked in the same header. 

But when you evade the paywall fickle finger of gold brick doom, the real story becomes quite dull, with a sadder if no wiser header Most people don't believe political bias widespread (paywall protected to save you wasting time on a useless survey):

Yep, they've discovered the aging, paranoid demographic that read the lizard Oz, the paper with a declining circulation and an absence of profit, are likely to take a view about the ABC, but that's not many up against the generally more sensible general citizenry.

Let's say it again ... most people don't believe political bias widespread. The lizard Oz subbie just couldn't find it in his or her heart to add ... in the ABC. 

But the killer diller, the real chiller, must have been the result that emerged in relation to climate science, which the lizard Oz dubs climate change, a term lovingly embraced by deniers of the science, because, well, because the climate changes all the time:

Now you might wonder why no one thought of including the lizard Oz in the survey, because the rag routinely, nakedly and blatantly displays bias in its climate science coverage.

But that would be to miss the point, which was to drum up a survey which would nail the ABC and justify the rag.

Instead the question reveals a profound inherent bias.

Yep, you see those rumours were true. They really did phrase the question as whether the ABC favoured "rejectors" or "favours believers".

It's an astonishingly ignorant way of phrasing it, and a classic example of the in-built bias at the lizard Oz, but even using this push-pull phrasing, they couldn't come up with a decent result. The 15% would be the lizard Oz readers and nutters who confuse science with religion, and natter on about believers.

Amazingly, so strong is the kool aid within the place these days that they wasted money on a meaningless survey designed to target the enemy, and for what?

... most do not believe there is any bias in ABC coverage of the parties, even among committed voters for the particular parties. 

All that for sweet bugger all.

The issue of political bias at the ABC came up again recently when managing director Mark Scott was forced to respond to a report in The Australian that a lack of objectivity was turning away the ABC's audience. 

Actually the issue of political bias at the ABC comes up on a daily basis at the lizard Oz, in its elite commentariat (oh we love calling them elitists), but also in what passes as objective news, and the poor, hapless possums must really have believed they were going to nail the ABC with their biased questions. 

That's what happens when you work inside the bell jar, in one of the most partisan, wretched and biased rags in the country. How it must have stuck in the craw to conclude with a quote from Mark Scott:

"And the truth is, unlike some of our partisan competitors, all voices are welcome at the ABC," Mr Scott said in a statement to staff.

For the record, the pond accepts the theory of gravity - it was the apple wot dun it, your lordship - and the theory of evolution - the pond's uncle was most definitely a monkey - and the current implications of climate science which are doing the rounds in refereed publications (which rules out The Australian, because they sacked the referee).

Belief or being a true believer has got nothing to do with it. If anybody, by weight of data or stunning insight, could contest and demolish the current science, well whoopy do, and it's time for that second air conditioner, and heaps of guilt-free international air travel, and pump up the coal-fired generators, and to hell with the acid seas and the little fishies.

The sheer ignorance, the unmitigated gall, the criminal folly and stupidity, and yet they still ran with it, true believers that they are ...

Anyhoo, it's just as well it turned up today, because it's a splendid distraction from the venerable generally grumpy Paul Sheehan, who is suffering from a severe, clear-cut bout of schizophrenia in today's piece, Overkill in the name of Islam threat.

The first half is dedicated to explaining how Sheehan went off to Bangladesh, and discovered he was wrong to call it a moderate Muslim nation, because it likes to style itself as a secular democracy. Even more astonishing to the grumpy one:

Islamist parties have failed to gain significant traction. The prime minister is a woman. The leader of the opposition is a woman.

Oh the copy could have been written by the Bangladesh Tourist Bureau (but there was no disclosure in relation to the piece, so presumably Sheehan paid for it himself, and the rapturous declaration of love is untarnished).

Yet for years Sheehan has entertained himself, if not his readers, by kicking the Islamist can down the road, and so it must have taken a considerable effort for him to type this par:

... as Bangladesh shows, and nearby Indonesia shows, there is no Muslim monolith. The problem is a strain of violent, mediaeval, repressive Islamic fundamentalism that exists within nearly every large Muslim community but does not define any large Muslim community.

Uh huh, that makes it a little tricky to deal with Geert Wilders, who fanatically preaches that there is a Muslim monolith, and that the fanatics define the larger community, and that the monolith is coming to get you. Right now!

How to claw it back, and get back on song with Geert warning that being girt by seas is no guarantee of safety?

Well it's tricky, but that's where the schizophrenia comes in handy, because Sheehan then trots out Wilders' message for the rest of the piece (and when you remember what the Dutch did in Indonesia, and why they attempted to re-assert their empire at the end of the second world war, you can understand why Indonesians might think anyone from the Nederlands talking about freedom and intolerance is a complete and utter tosser).

Anyhoo, by the end, after faithfully reproducing a typical Wilders rant, the best that Sheehan can muster is a gnomic question. a puzzling rhetorical flourish right up there with the riddle of the sphinx:

The room gave him (Wilders) a standing, cheering ovation. He departed, leaving behind a question: who holds the fringe view on the issue of Muslim immigration in Australia? Is it the Dutch visitor, or the political-media class that shunned him? 

Who knows, but it shows how a goose can in the one breath rant about the joys of Bangladesh, and in another breath kick the can on fringe views on the issue of Muslim immigration, as if it's the fault of the politicial-media class for shunning a man whom Sheehan proves is a paranoid irrelevance when it comes to silly chatter about a Muslim monolith.

Whatever, it's hard to sort out a winner today between The Australian and Paul Sheehan, but as always there are guaranteed losers ... anybody who wasted their time to read their surveys and their musings ...

(Below: and so to a few Monday cartoons. The last one is by Frank Cotham for the New Yorker, and seems to summarise how Paul Sheehan can remember what he thinks from day to day).


  1. I think the Oz is trying to win the Wokley award for the best stirring and trying story of the year.

  2. lol, i don't think so, the self important suited and coiffed guys and gals of the lizard are far to self serious and think the world awaits their words.
    someone should point out to these dickheads that they are dole bludgers, bludging of the murdoch share holders and when the old fella finally croaks they will be on the dole for real.
    i wish all labor politicians would stand up to them, refuse to answer any question they put and just say we don't take questions from liberal party hacks and murdoch whores.


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