Sunday, August 04, 2013

A pox on both their houses and their not bloody nice NBN coverage ...

They must be really feeling the pinch at Fairfax.

The pond almost fainted with shock at the sight of Paul "generally grumpy" Sheehan strutting the boards on a Sunday, even featuring on the front page with Rupert v Rudd.

Say what? An actual Sunday piece, with splash, announcing Murdoch's vicious attacks on Rudd: it's business, and noting that Col Pot's arrival down under is more than coincidental?

On one level, it's merely a statement of the bleeding obvious.

Could the Murdochians descend any lower than their vicious, relentless campaign against Julia Gillard?

Probably not, not even with Col Pot lashing the hounds, and driving them yelping forward into the abyss of lickspittle lackydom. Or possibly they can, but the baying might then be too naked, contrived and obvious, and be counter-productive.

On another level, Sheehan's piece is full of the pious, rank hypocrisy of the kind all too often to be found in Sheehan's bile and Fairfax's coverage.

Sheehan contends that News is violently, viciously opposed to the NBN because of the threat it poses to Foxtel, and that's behind its fierce assault on Rudd.


That's always been the agenda behind the Murdochians' behaviour, and it helps explain the shameless quisling copper mentality of the man who invented the internet in Australia, big Mal Turnbull, always ready to roll over for the rich and the luddite copper mentality of Tony "invisible substance" Abbott. Yes big Mal took the bait this morning, and scribbled Murdoch and the NBN - a reality check, and never mind the copper ...

The shameless hypocrisy comes into play when it's noted that the Fairfax rag, the Australian Financial Review, has also conducted a vitriolic campaign against the NBN.

You don't get to learn this by reading Fairfax or Sheehan.

You have to go off to other sources, like It's been a bad week for the anti-NBN brigade, which pinged both the AFR and the reptiles at the lizard Oz for getting things wrong in their campaign.

But that was recent news, it's been going on for a long while, so let's wind back the clock to another Crikey story, in June 2012, with Bernard Keane's AFR's opposition to NBN infects journalism.

Once upon a time you used to be able to distinguish The Australian Financial Review from The Australian because it was only at the latter that its editorial stances infected its journalism; the AFR, for example, is editorially opposed to the NBN, but its coverage was always far more neutral than that to be found in The Oz, which has conducted a mostly fiction-based campaign against it for years. Things however may be changing under the not-so-new rĂ©gime of Michael Stutchbury. 
On Wednesday, David Ramli produced a piece (page 3, but led off page 1) describing how construction companies were abandoning the NBN because of delays caused by “bungled planning”. This would, Ramli declared, lead to increases in construction costs. He “understood” that two of the three winners of NBN’s first round of construction contracts had declined to participate in the second round of contracts. The two companies were Silcar and Transfield; both were said to have declined to comment because of “contractual obligations”, implying the sinister hand of government had silenced the companies. 
Only, Silcar and Transfield did comment afterward. Transfield, in a remarkably terse 34-word statement, said the story was “incorrect”. The company “already successfully bid for one major work package and remains committed to the project”. Silcar said the same, issuing a statement saying the report was “untrue”: “Silcar has and will tender for specific components of the NBN offered to it and remains 100% committed to the nation building project …” 
What did the AFR do? Yesterday Ramli revisited the issue to couch it in terms of an NBN denial and, while noting the companies had issued “similarly worded statements”, said neither had confirmed they were bidding for contracts. So, a company’s failure to openly declare it is tendering for a contract in competition with other companies is evidence it has walked away in disgust at “bungled planning”. They have some funny ideas about how tender processes work at the AFR.

In fact it was back in April 2012 that the pond itself noted this little bit of front page FUD digital mischief, a 'print the controversy' piece of the most shameless kind.

You could multiply this story over and over again in sundry Fairfax rags - it was one of the chief reasons the pond didn't give a toss when the AFR stopped turning up on the front porch.

Sadly the management and the board didn't get it - that's to say the intertubes - despite being given much advice on how to get it, and there remains a clear, obvious, long-lingering resentment and suspicion of the internet within the organisation, with Fairfax's attempt at TV online one of the more risible efforts to compete.

As for Sheehan? What a joke he is, and what a joke Fairfax is for pretending it's somehow on a more elevated plane than the Murdochians.

Here's the pond's solution, which some might term piracy, but which in these perilous difficult times, the pond has decided is actually better termed civil disobedience.

The way with all the big corporations is that they want to herd the sheep into closed pens - cable, subscriptions, geoblocking, territorial limitations - so they can pluck and fleece the sheep as they will.

It's not just the Murdochians. Apple is a prime example.

So the pond cracked the Apple TV so any sort of file - mkv, avi - can be played along with the mp4s. And it got itself an anonymising VPN. And you can guess the rest, and how sweet it is not to have geoblocking pop up on the screen like a stern maiden aunt. Or like a bad Daily Show joke.

Hey guys, you can get 'roos, and 'rangs and still have John Oliver.

Now the pond has nothing against rewarding owners of intellectual property rights - a roomful of CDs and DVDs testifies to that - but when you get the Murdochians wanting to shut down an open system in their own favour, then between an open and a closed system, the pond will chose the open system ...

Which happens to include no reward for Sheehan scribbling the bleeding obvious, while ignoring the deviants in his own nest ...

As for the Murdochians?

Well hell will freeze over before the pond pays a red cent towards any of the rags, or the cable TV, but they're surely running true to form this Sunday:

As for the NBN? Forget it Jake, it's already been too long, and the pond now has enough speed to go about its business, and that business isn't giving the Murdochians or the Fairfaxians a brass razoo ...

(Below: a Murdochian cartoon? Nope, it was in the AFR, and used to illustrate that 28th June 2012 David Ramli story, NBN contractors log out on Labor. Who needs Col Pot when you can have the AFR?)


  1. The highlight of the day had to be Rudd's serving it up to "the tie",(and what a fine Sunday tie it was)and serving it up to Shannahan even when he hadn't asked the particular question,and asking if he would see a questioning of Abbott's policy costings on the front page of tomorrows edition of the Australian.The look on Shannahans face priceless.
    Can't wait for his next spit after being cutely mocked before the gathered pack.The next 30+ days should be most entertaining.Cheers

  2. By golly you've done the hard yards Anon. Thanks for this report from the trenches ...

  3. It's interesting- now pollies, other journalist and commentators have started not just criticizing but actively mocking News Ltd people. I think they are moving in on your turf Dorothy! GlenH


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