Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Hate is like a loaded gun, and when you read idle chatter about hypocrisy and cant, chances are you're about to get a dose of hypocrisy and cant ...

(Above: substitute The Australian, and you'll see where the pond is heading)

The pond is wildly excited this morning at the news that Richard Torbay has been dumped, and that Barners himself - Barnaby Joyce to the unknowing - might take on Tony Windsor in the mighty capital of the known universe, Tamworth, at the foot of the wild New England ranges.

It seems the far-reaching tentacles of Eddie Obeid might have had something to do with it, but on legal advice, all the pond can do is link to Tony Windsor rival dumped by Nationals.

Oh if only Jimmy Sharman was still alive to showcase the punch-up, instead of making young black fighters punch drunk ...

But duty calls, and today is Janet "Dame Slap" Albrechtsen day, and happily she provides a fine example of psychopathology of a kind all too frequent behind the barricades in Murdoch's paranoid castle, in And if this were Howard's bill? (behind the paywall so you needn't pay for a therapy session after reading it).

Now the pond sometimes keeps the company of shrinks (though they prefer, for some obscure reason to be called psychiatrists), and has learned enough to be dangerous, and the temptation to do a Freudian analysis of Dame Slap is almost overwhelming.

There's such seething bitterness and rage and resentment and paranoia, it's a wonder to behold.

Ostensibly the subject is Conroy and his arrogant media bill, and ordinary people rising in revolt to scribble furious editorials for tabloid papers and the lizard Oz (it's the sort of thing average ordinary people like the pond do in their spare time, rage and rant against the dying of the light, and the right of Murdochians to do and say as they will).

Then there's a sideswipe at Nicola Roxon, who apparently has forsaken maternalism for paternalism, and then a resounding hurrah, huzzah, of the kind the fifth form sounded out when they defeated St Trinians in hockey:

Happily, people are not stupid. The voices of ordinary Australians defeated Roxon. They ought to also defeat Conroy.

Yes it was the voices of ordinary Australian photoshoppers who provided the Daily Terror with those splendid images of Stephen "Uncle Joe" Controy that did the job.

Well done ordinary Australian voices. Thank the absent lord Murdochian hacks only channel your voices, like mediums in search of a Sir Arthur Conan Doyle gullible enough to believe such tosh ...

You know whenever a bluestocking given a plum commentariat job, while married to a filthy rich banker, starts talking about the voices of ordinary people, you know you're somewhere up the top of the magic Faraway tree, getting a slapping from Dame Slap ...

It's all predictable enough, and it's followed by a generous dollop of praise for big Mal for standing up to the Stalinists, and an even bigger dollop for George Brandis, and it's at this point that the pond began to think it was time to drag out the couch:

Now compare Labor's former attorney-general with the man who will be attorney-general if the Coalition wins the next election. George Brandis is the antithesis of Roxon. He believes passionately in freedom of expression, recognising that without this freedom other freedoms are nothing more than words in a UN covenant. 
 Last month he called on the Human Rights Commission to create the role of "freedom commissioner" to defend free speech. Eminently sensible, it is also an idea that reflects how far we have moved away from freedom. 

Eminently sensible? A freedom kommissar? A freedom Tsar? And this from a man who can't stand Bruce Springsteen and his poignant cries for freedom?

Surely it's a perfectly preposterous and meaningless idea, yet another example of a politician thinking that a bureaucrat and a department and regulation is the answer to it all.

Oh sorry, who on earth knows where that libertarian rant came from ...

As Brandis told this newspaper, the HRC was established to promote a number of human rights instruments. Yet, while the country has been engaged in a vigorous debate about free speech and freedom of the press, "the Human Rights Commission has done virtually nothing to promote the rights recognised in article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political rights, that is freedom of speech and expression, while it spends an enormous amount of time advocating other rights, in particular in the anti-discrimination area." 

Uh huh. We're deep into the territory of delusion, with nary a jot or a whit explaining how "the Brandis Initiative" (right up there with the Bourne factotum) will actually insist on freedom.

You haf the right to be free, and we will insist you are free. Like it or not.

Will the commentariat and journalists be stripped of their jobs, and ordinary Australian voices be given control of the media? Will the first twenty pages of the lizard Oz be filled with letters to the editor, instead of the servile voices of lick-spittle Murdochian lackeys?

Never mind, because about now it's time that paranoia took over.

And guess the cause of the paranoia ...

Yep, it's the ABC.

What a surprise, or as we Francophiles say, quelle surprise. Bet that caught you on the hop.

Now the pond is always ready to slag off the ABC - witness its vicious assault on Bush Telegraph, and the supine host's acceptance of the argument that fluoride was a chemical that shouldn't be added to the water ... without once mentioning chlorine ...

But it turns out that's nothing when you come to unhealthy obsessions, and paranoia about same, and Dame Slap is deep in the mire of unhealthy obsessions:

Here's another mind game. Imagine if John Howard, who faced a hostile media for much of his time in office ... 

Oops, stop right there. We just wanted to point out a bald-faced lie. Now do go on:

... had proposed Conroy's regime. The ABC would quickly morph to its bolshie role of campaigner. Questions such as: What? Why? How? would be rightly raised on every ABC platform. There would be taxpayer-funded outrage 24/7 at Aunty. 
Instead, this past week there has been a curious quiescence from Aunty about Conroy's aim to regulate the media. 

Oh yes those bolshie lefties, not once have they pointed out the obvious resemblance of Stephen Conroy to Uncle Joe, thereby abandoning sensible argument, while trying to maintain a semblance that Godwin's Law wasn't shattered by the Murdochian empire.

And then the paranoia comes gushing out, like the fluid from a lanced boil (yes, it's an ugly sight):

Freedom of speech is a fundamental tool of the journalistic trade. Yet, with only a few notable exceptions, a close look at the ABC's output last week revealed Aunty's unhealthy obsession with News Limited (publisher of The Australian) rather than a healthy scepticism about government efforts to oversee the content of newspapers. 

Actually speaking of unhealthy obsessions, Dame Slap doesn't seem to notice that the lizard Oz has an unhealthy obsession with the ABC, routinely reporting on the need to privatise it (well so the IPA believes, and so the Murdochians report - Call to privatise the ABC), barely concealing a deep fear that as The Australian keeps making a loss, and as the papers are cut loose from television and flung into the corporate wilderness to survive on their own, there might be a lot of journos queuing up at the ABC asking for jobs.

But back to that paranoia:

Wherever one turned, from the nightly 7pm bulletin, to 7.30 on ABC1, to ABC journalist Barrie Cassidy on News24 on Thursday huffing and puffing about News Limited to AM and PM on ABC radio, the obsession about News Limited, not media regulation, was on show. 
The week finished with a shameful episode of Insiders with Cassidy and panel members Karen Middleton and Malcolm Farr laughing, giggling and smirking while Piers Akerman pointed to the authoritarian nature of government intervention in the content of newspapers. 

They giggled at Akker Dakker. Oh the shame. Laughter and smirking? Oh the horror.

Of course the real question is why everybody isn't laughing at Akker Dakker all the time, because he's such a one-eyed, hysterical, monomaniacal scribbler, such a foaming frothing ranter inclined to abuse and conspiracy theories, that it's impossible not to laugh. It's like being in the company of a Collingwood supporter (insert Manly if living in NSW) on a 24/7 basis ...

Contrary to the hysteria being whipped up by News Ltd - all too familiar these past few years - the sky isn't falling in, and there's no need to be in a state of paranoid agitation.

Even if Conroy and Gillard manage to get through their watered-down proposals - no guaranteed thing - the current fuss about Stalin and Star Chambers is absurd, and reminiscent of the tone about the carbon tax, in which it was proposed that Whyalla would be wiped from the map and a leg of lamb would cost a hundred smackeroos (oh we luvs ya Barners, we luvs ya mate, what a dinky di mouth you have).

It's no big deal, and it certainly wouldn't stop the crusading excess of Murdochians dropping boiling oil on the punters in the moat down below ...

Now if you've ever been a member of the Catholic church, you'll know that persecution and paranoia is followed by martyrdom, and so it is with Dame Slap:

But let's say thanks anyway to these strangely quiet journalists for providing a clear-cut lesson in cant and hypocrisy. And reminding us that when the going gets tough, the tough get going and our wimpy taxpayer-funded broadcaster cringes at defending freedom. 

Oh for god's sake, the tough get going? Richard the dick Nixon? What next? Jibber jabber about not standing the heat and the need to get out of the kitchen?

Wimps? So we're all better off being boofhead thugs like rugby league players or Murdoch commentators?

Phew, lucky the wimps missed the Murdochian clarion call for freedom.

Freedom for big Rupe and family feuding Gina, and Andrew the Bolter abusing whom he likes at a time of his choosing, and in a manner which inhibits any response ...

But none of this would amount to a hill of beans if we didn't have a swipe at the inner city latte set.

Now steady, deep breath, it's a very long par, getting through it without mud and sweat and tears is like running a marathon, but it's a very important par if you want to get your patient file and analysis right, and capture the tone of bitter resentment and hostility and aggro and biff, a bit like a surly drunk outside the Manly pub at midnight:

Finally, let's express gratitude to the silencing dissent crowd. Remember those passionate authors whose books filled inner-city bookstores declaring that Howard and "an inner circle of ideological warriors" (including me) were silencing dissent? How did we manage this? According to Clive Hamilton and Sarah Maddison, authors of Silencing Dissent, by "pouring scorn on anyone who dares to articulate views associated with the now unfashionable values of social justice and human rights." The actions of the Howard government "put democracy at risk," they protested. It was nonsense. These academics had grown so accustomed to a one-sided debate they were unable to recognise genuine debate. In any case, where are these defenders of democracy now that a minister of the crown proposes specific legislation aimed at curbing free speech by controlling the content of newspapers? Their silence is another lesson in how human rights -- not to mention democracy -- matter only sometimes, when it is politically convenient to defend them. 

It is of course only an irony that right at the moment the world is celebrating - if that's the right word - the tenth anniversary of the war in Iraq, in which the Howard government played a splendid role as a key player in the coalition of the willing, and never no mind the thousands who lined the streets to protest at going off to war to wreck a country - and wrecked and broken it surely was ...

Up against the hundreds of thousands killed, justified and set in motion by lies and deceit, peddled and supported by the media, Albrechtsen has the cheek to propose that somehow the current little dust-up bears some comparison (and we haven't even got on to the Howard government's locking up of people, or the emulation of that policy by the current government).

Never mind, it's time for a splendid bout of cant to wrap up proceedings:

It's true that on some issues, there is a happy blurring of lines between Left and Right. Members of the former camp have been mugged by the reality that the Right was right on issues such as the regressive nature of welfare to the need for an open economy to education reform. But on the most fundamental of issue of free speech, Conroy, Roxon and their echo chambers within the ABC and academe prove that too many on the Left have not yet recognised that the real title deeds of democracy, best described by Howard, are a robust parliamentary system, an independent judiciary and a free and sceptical press.

Well no, actually. Nobody has persuaded the pond that the recent treatment of single mothers is evidence of the regressive nature of welfare, as opposed to the regressive nature of government.

And as for the tosh about an independent judiciary? What happened to the almost weekly rants by Dame Slap about activist judges? Why the sudden change of tone, from someone who flings around the word "hypocrisy" like confetti and rice at a wedding ...

And as for a free and sceptical press? Is that the same as the wildly hysterical and paranoid Murdoch press, always shaking the finger and pointing the bone at the ABC and anyone who disagrees with the Murdochians (frequently treating them to a one page crusade, with all the sparrows farting in the one general direction, in unison, as if dancing and singing under the guidance of an invisible master sitting just off in the wings).

Every so often, the pond wishes it had the style and impact of a Jon Stewart, and that memorable moment on Crossfire, a show which he helped kill:

I wanted to - I felt that that wasn't fair and I should come here and tell you that I don't - it's not so much that it's bad, as it's hurting America ...
So I wanted to come here today and say ... Here's just what I wanted to tell you guys ...
Stop ...
Stop, stop, stop, stop, hurting America. (full transcript here).

Reading Akker Dakker or the Bolter or Albrechtsen in full fulminating mode has the same impact on the pond.

Stop, stop, stop with the paranoid hysteria.

Stop with the childish obsession with, and abuse of, the ABC.

Stop with the relentless tiresome abuse of people who have a different world view, and theoretically according to your jibber jabber about freedom, are entitled to same.

Stop, stop, stop. You're hurting Australia ...

(Below: yes, hate, read daily in The Australian, is very much like a loaded gun).


  1. One more article such as this, DP, and you will join THE LIST. You can’t say you haven’t been warned.

  2. Andrew's hysteria is particularly enjoyable given his many radio commitments, a medium already subject to brutal government regulation via ACMA

  3. DP - you obviously know a lot more about the media and how it works than me. But am I correct in assuming that the proposed changes in regards to the privacy exemptions are only aimed at journalists - and not the commentariat?

    As Akker, Bolt and the Dame are only opinion writers - are they even covered by this privacy exemption now?

  4. This is murky territory Trippi Takka. Traditionally commentary and opinion-makers are perceived to have more latitude, but they are subject to the usual laws - the Bolter could well have been taken to court for defamation in relation to his white black comments, but defamation proceedings can be lengthy and expensive.
    There is no indication that Conroy's laws would do much to alter anything of what goes down at the moment. It's mainly about the way a Public Interest Media Advocate can declare that an organisation is a news media self-regulation body, and in this case that would be the Press Council, and unless the Press Council is rejigged and empowered, it could go on its toothless way beating the likes of Akker Dakker and the Bolter with a limp lettuce every so often.
    Have a read here, and I think you might agree that a lot of hot air has been vented over sweet bugger all:

    14: Implied freedom of political communication This Act does not apply to the extent (if any) that it would infringe any constitutional doctrine of implied freedom of political communication.

    A lot of the fuss is actually about money and commercial dealings, but that's backroom fuss, with the indignation about deal-making cloaked by pious hypocritical talk about freedom of the press and freedom of the media, which sounds vastly better than the freedom to do take-overs while doing bugger all for readers and viewers ...

    As Knifey Spoony notes what the media wants is a toothless ACMA which can only either suspend a licence, or get out that old lettuce leaf ...

  5. Dear Dorothy
    The cartoonist is David Pope, Canberra Times
    Just a bit hard to find in the swamp of Pope cartoons


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