Wednesday, February 06, 2013

Let's hear it for snap judgments ...

(Above: more Nicholson here)

The pond has taken to reading The Australian by its headlines, and forming a snap judgment.

Cue Paul Kelly:

Actually the march to this year's election looks long and difficult for the readers of The Australian, forced to suffer endless blather about the long and difficult march to the election, remembering that we still haven't reached March, we're still in bloody February.

Actually The Australian is crazed and demonic. One bad Newspoll sends tremors of bloodlust through the ranks of its commentariat.

Hang on a second, perhaps we should re-phrase that, because if you click on either of these splashes, you end up on the very same story. 

The Australian is damaged and weak. It can only afford within its ranks one bloviator to discuss the tremors of a Newspoll and then it makes it look as if the rag is full of the bloviating opinions of Paul Kelly by re-dressing the one story to suggest a multi-hued rainbow, a plethora of stories.

By golly, this could be fun. No need to actually read any of the articles and go into the usual frenzy, better to keep the frenzy on the surface, and avoid the all too predictable dance, with the all too predictable opinions, all skewed the one predictable way.

Let's see if it works for others:

Actually if anything can win this election for Labor, looking as we are at a September 14th poll (maybe) from a 6th February vantage point, it will be the ability of voters to absolutely ignore the dithering scribbles of old party hacks who routinely turn out for a rag that is responsible for more fear and loathing of Labor than any other rag in the country (and given the Bolter at the HUN that's saying something).

Oh there's a bloodlust forming here. Come on down Dennis "the tie" Shanahan:

Actually Julia Gillard is now facing the new challenge of what to do about Dennis Shanahan churning out the same old stuff about the Ruddster that he and the rag have been churning out since the day the Ruddster fell.

The trouble is of course that when she asks what to do about him and his chums, the answer is nothing, or perhaps to listen to yet another re-telling of the scorpion and the frog and how it's in their nature ...

But thus far we've kept this in the realm of Australian politics. Is it applicable to any kind of article? Yes, it is:

Actually the notion that Bjorn Lomborg is here to help shift our focus to the best and most effective way to help the world in relation to climate science surely must be a joke of the meta-kind, coming as it does amongst a blizzard, a gale, a torrent, an extreme weather event of climate denialist stories in the rag.

Is this the same Bjorn Lomborg who dubbed the greenhouse effect a myth, and then spent his time explaining how doing anything about it is completely useless, only to apparently change his mind, and now spend his time inventing new ways to do nothing, by attacking global warming alarmism and scare stories, and proposing only cost effective solutions where it seems the only solution is to avoid any costs?

Yes, it is, and what's more, in the usual way, The Australian has put up its gold bar fickle finger of fate over the story, with the header Pasta no more likely to disappear than polar bears, and the pond guesses that if polar bears survive in the zoo rather than the wild, then the header is literally true.

But most importantly why would anyone fork over hard cash when they can find the very same piece published back on January 11th on another site, for free - speaking of cost effective solutions to reader conundrums - under the simple header The End of Pasta?

That way you could get Lomborg's dissembling for free, and discover for free that Lomborg is a classic cherry picker, with the polar bears discussion a case in point.

Lomborg does the very same trick as his opponents do. Thus if someone has said the polar bears will be extinct by end of century, all Lomborg has to say is what's the fuss, they're still breeding. And pasta's still breeding too.

A middle path might be to look at the actual predicament of the current crop of bears, and see what the ramifications might be (as you can read here).

Does Lomborg ever wonder why The Australian is his natural home down under? And why they charge for opinions freely available on the full to overflowing intertubes?

But contemplating that conundrum does give the pond the inspiration and the courage to tackle the very font, the source, the acme, why the very Everest of abuse in the rag. Come on down:

Yes, and perhaps free speech batters (so unlucky, South Australians, not to have a fop as the leader of the Liberals).

But why does it have to be a humiliating backdown? Why not a considered, sensible response to sensible people making sensible points?

Why? Well because Janet "Dame Slap" Albrechtsen is big into hostility and hate and humiliation, and nothing will do unless she's ground an opponent into the ground so hard they become like the dirt around them.

What's remarkably funny is that Albrechtsen's piece is headed People power defeated Roxon's radical agenda, (behind the paywall so you can stick to vitriolic judgments of headlines and splashes), and then she produces sundry splendid examples of people power, including but not limited to media groups, including News Ltd, high court judges, a gaggle of potentates ... and the Institute of Public Affairs.

If that's people power, it's a funny notion of the people. Oh sure she mentions letter writers, clearly never having written a letter to anyone, and been ignored as yet another raving loon ranting on about something, safely ignored because you're outside the tent.

But there is a benefit beyond learning about Albrechtsen's curious definition of the people.

If you want an example of the curious fortification mentality at work in The Australian and other Murdoch rags, you couldn't get a better example in this Albrechtsen tirade.

If you read it properly, it seems only Rupert Murdoch and his minions stand up for the rights of ordinary Australians, while the ABC and Fairfax stand close to Satan.

It's such an absurd mis-reading, and offensive too, because the very same media groups she mentioned included Fairfax Media, SBS, West Australian Newspapers, the AAP, and radio and television groups. And Jim Spigelman, the ABC's chairman, probably made the biggest splash of all in his criticism of Roxon's efforts, late last year, which was widely reported at the time, and was probably the most effective intervention of all.

But the misrepresentation does allow Albrechtsen to be offensive in her usual way. After doing the usual stuff about the nanny state and abusing the ABC up hill and down dale - she needs to watch out, she's sounding more and more like Gerard Henderson - she ends it all with this:

It was a similar story at Fairfax, where only the usual loyal protectors of liberty exposed Roxon's draft law as an affront to free speech - stand up Paul Sheehan at The Sydney Morning Herald and the IPA's Chris Berg writing in The Age. While a few SMH editorials fought for freedom, there was barely a whisper of interest among journalists for whom free speech is, after all, a professional necessity.

Paul Sheehan as a loyal protector of liberty, as opposed to being a protector of magic water, and the quest for the perfect bread?

Chris Berg as a loyal protector of liberty, as opposed to being a prolific hack for a shadowy lobby group serving vested interests which refuses to divulge the sources of its funding, and the way its lobbying benefits its funders?

Ah well, the day the pond reads a devastating expose in The Australian, perhaps by the hand of Janet Albrechtsen, delivering a mighty slapping to the IPA, investigating its funding and its client base, and tracking back to the very heart of its power base, and demanding reasons why its spokespeople appear so regularly on the ABC, the people funded forum for the people, is the day that the pond will know that the polar bears of the Arctic can sleep soundly at night ...

Meanwhile doff your lid and dip your head and give thanks to the mighty commentariat at The Australian.

Is there nothing they can't do? Save the liberty of all Australians, sort out global warming, and yabber on endlessly about an election still off the over the horizon radar ...

(Below: the good news is that polar bears are on an endangered species list, but they aren't really endangered. They'll have plenty of pasta to eat).


  1. The most despicable think on the News blogs yesterday was little Blair being sarcastic about kids drawings from the Manus detention centre and pretending they were done by 'the greens' as some sort of deception, and then Bolt's regurgitation of the same.

    Shameful crap.

  2. Chris Berg is an enigma - His columns are ridiculously rigid libertarian dogma, taking no account of the real world or human nature (apparently greed, jealousy, lying, cheating, etc. don't exist in the Free Market Utopia) - yet his twitter persona seems like a reasonable and good humoured (albeit "right leaning") person. To the point where I queried whether it was a fake account; to which he also responded with good-natured banter. Go Figure!

  3. If you don't mind, DP, please desist from the pics of Dame Slap. Too unsettling.
    I thought Borowitz was hilarious, then up popped Chinese still hacking us, or were over weekend.

  4. Thanks, Trevor, for the link to Borowitz. I suppose every old dog wants a bone.

  5. Seeing as you did raise the Bolter - I have found it very interesting his take on because an "election" has been called, Tony Abbott must be afforded the same amount of time on the likes of the ABC as the PM. Through Bolt's myopic prism, this is a major strategic blunder by Labor.

    There is probably no way he could conceive that this is in fact a strategic benefit for Labor. Abbott avoids hard interviews like the plague (I personally haven't seem on the ABC since he was decimated by Sales) and tends to stick to friendly shows such as Today and Bolt.

    If he is in fact due the equal time on the ABC, but does not utilise it (my prediction), then Labor will run with the he has no policies to discuss, can't stand scrutiny etc. Not according to Bolt though...

  6. A premature election?



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