Friday, February 07, 2014

Journalism 101 for Murdochian dummies ...

(Above: more Tandberg here)

Lenore Taylor started off by making a perfectly reasonable point in her generally reasonable and polite Where is the government's new line in the sand on industry handouts?

A long, long time ago – before the September election – an eager opposition leader declared “let the message go out … to the manufacturing heart of our country, that we must be a country that continues to make things''. 
They were the heady high-vis vest years for Tony Abbott, when he could say stuff like “any government which makes it harder to manufacture cars is making it harder for us to continue to be a first world economy because without cars, without steel, without aluminium, without cement, we don't have these manufacturers in Australia, we are not really a sophisticated economy anymore''.

Ah yes, the good old days, but then Taylor has to go and ruin it:

If you set aside that very large discrepancy between pre-and post election, it’s entirely defensible for the Abbott government to draw a new “line in the sand” on corporate handouts, especially as it re-examines government payments to families.

Hang on, hang on, if you set aside? It's entirely defensible for a government to change its mind, betray its promises in opposition, and lay itself open to charges of dire hypocrisy, deceit and lying?

If the pond learned anything from the long winter years when the leader of the opposition strutted his glowing vest stuff at every factory around the land, such changes, such deceit, were an indication of a corrupt, failed, flailing government.

Let there be hate, and in due course, let there be electoral blood, and the blood of the lamb would lead to a new way of doing things ...

Perhaps that's how the pond learned hate, from an expert hater, and it's typical of mild-mannered reasonable liberals like Taylor that they never got the Abbott method and the Abbott way.

The pond is more inclined to reach for the bowling alley pin Daniel Day Lewis style ...


After all, the current government has a ream of hagiographers, daily ready to shaft the heretics and the unbelievers.

Here they are again, parading, promenading and strutting their stuff, faithful to the Liberal cause one and all, which doesn't of course, have anything to do with actual liberalism:

Uh huh. Well if anyone doesn't get it, it surely has to be Gra Gra "Mr Swiss Bank Account" Richardson, and as for the bouffant one, with resplendent tie and suit, the pond is routinely in a world of pain, but it generally comes from reading the lickspittle hagiography of the reptiles at the lizard Oz.

And then there was this:

Oh dear, the Fairfaxians just don't get it, and they're in a world of pain and leaving themselves opposed ... at least to daily feral abuse from the true believers ...

Could it get any worse?

Yep, that was The Age, leading off with a much more spectacular splash than the much tamer splash for the Sydney Morning Herald, as you can read in 'Oh, you're a monkey from Africa'

It turns out, on reading, that Michael Bachelard did a simple trick, at one time routine for journalists, but long forgotten in the grim Murdochian years.

He went and talked to Yousif Ibrahim Fasher, and recorded what he had to say. He didn't endorse it, but he did report it, and in detail, what with the toilets and the burning and so on and so forth.

Two things that Fasher is reported as saying struck the pond as immediately credible:

Fasher, though, says he has no motive to lie. Quite the reverse; he believes telling his story may harm his chances of being granted permanent refuge in Australia. He is willing to talk to Australian authorities, but none so far has sought to ask him questions.

Yep, payback is a bitch. And then there was this:

Some of the navy personnel, though by no means all, had also been rude and insulting, he said. ''They said: 'F--- you . . . You choose to come from your country, we don't ask you to come'. To the black Africans, one said: 'Oh, you're a monkey from Africa'.''

Uh huh. Remember Defence investigates Navy member's Facebook post about asylum seekers, swept into oblivion by the promise of an investigation?

Defence has confirmed it is investigating the comments, which the member made on a friend's post about asylum seekers whose boat had sunk. 
 "More Asylum boaties sank in a boat trying to get here to jump on Centrelink and get free government housing," the post said. 
 The Navy member responded: '"I'm about to head out today to deal with these f------s." (that's fuckers, to people in the real world where real insults are a daily routine)

How about we flash back to 2007 and Racism, abuse: army training in time warp?

Asian officer cadets were singled out to play the enemy in a classroom war lesson, reservists were called dogs and female recruits were harassed when they complained they were unable to carry loads of more than half their body weight, an internal army survey has revealed. 
The descriptions of bastardisation at Duntroon, the Royal Military College in Canberra, came to light only when cadets were asked to assess their officer training course in an anonymous online evaluation. Their responses so horrified the warrant officer who reviewed them that he informed senior officers at the college, who ordered an investigation.

Ah an investigation. That'll do, that'll do.

Of course the army isn't the navy, or the NT Police for that matter, but why should journalists just accept the hand outs and the official version of any story?

Speaking of an investigation, Michael Gordon in a companion piece to Bachelard's story, makes the obvious point: No transparency or effort to establish facts about asylum seekers' abuse allegations.

The common denominator is the lack of transparency and refusal to get to the bottom of serious allegations when they are made. 
One troubling aspect of this saga, revealed by Bachelard, is that there appears to have been no attempt by Australian officials to interview those making claims. 
Another is the refusal to reveal precisely what did happen when the asylum seekers' boat was turned back under a policy opposed by Indonesia, and how some asylum seekers came to suffer burns. 
The danger of blanket denials in the face of accusations and total secrecy is that, inadvertently, it encourages less than best practice by those on ''the front line'' because they do not appear to be held accountable. 
If the operational imperative of secrecy concerning ''on water'' matters is considered paramount, there should be a mechanism to investigate claims promptly by a third, independent party, with the findings then made public. 
One result of such an approach would be a more informed debate about who is owed an apology.

Indeed. It's amazing how a few simple questions can lead to a few more simple and disturbing questions.

Instead all we've copped is the ritual abuse of the ABC.

Probing and asking questions used to be high in the art of journalism, but sadly, actual journalism has routinely been swept aside by Murdochians, more interested in point scoring against the ABC, while also doing their hagiographic best to give the Abbott government a free ride.

It was perfectly feasible for the Murdoch papers to club together and send a correspondent to Indonesia to investigate the story, to ask questions, and to report back their findings.

But they didn't. Instead, as Gordon notes:

The initial reaction from the government and some commentators has been one of outrage that the ABC would give the claims oxygen - and so be complicit in the ''sledging'' of those who do brave, demanding and ethical work under extraordinarily difficult circumstances. 
The claims were denied outright and those making them were depicted as less credible because they had a vested interest in not being truthful - they were attempting to come to this country ''illegally''. They would say that, wouldn't they? 

If nothing else, Bachelard's report has given the lie to that riff. There's no upside for any whistleblower in this story.

And so we turn to that other problem ...

Is there anyone in Murdoch land willing to stand up and say 'I'm a journalist' and then do, without fear or favour, some actual journalism? Some actual travel to Indonesia, some actual interviews, some actual investigation? Instead of delivering commentariat rants and broadsides at the ABC?

Let the chips fall how they may ... as they often did in the Howard years.

Okay, you've guessed it. The pond is deluded and may be barking mad and is certainly as mad as hell.

Promises made are promises to be glossed over, and forgiven, because treachery is just defensible politics.

And alien, foreign black people are to be demonised as liars and frauds, because that's the Australian way ...

And instead let's rabbit endlessly on about Schapelle Corby and how she's suffered so much at the hands of the brown people ...

But if journalists want to be paid, and expect subscriptions to be paid, they should do their bloody job, without fear, favour or political bias ...

Say what?

Things might have changed in Canberra, but it's a pity no one told the reptiles at the lizard Oz that the job description of journalists hasn't changed. Their job isn't to be supine, to lie down in the gutter and to get run over, to cower and fawn and to turn tail when the heat is on.

They're not in the business of lickspittle kowtowing and forelock tugging, they're in the business of asking difficult questions and investigating tricky issues. The Murdochian management really does need a reality check ...

Oh they'll tell you this off-duty over a drink, but then it's back to the kow towing and the tugging ... but if they keep on this way, there's no guarantee of a happy ending.

Finally, apropos of nothing, the pond's own correspondent is currently in Jakarta, and sent back these snaps of the aeroplane graveyards at the airport.

Talk about the wreck of the Batavia.

Yep, after its grounding and bankruptcy, poor old Batavia Air has planes on the ground going nowhere.

Is there a message for the reptiles here? Or did Shelley put it better?

I met a traveller from an antique land 
Who said: "Two vast and trunkless legs of stone 
Stand in the desert. Near them on the sand, 
Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown 
And wrinkled lip and sneer of cold command 
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read 
Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things, 
The hand that mocked them and the heart that fed. 
And on the pedestal these words appear: 
`My name is Ozymandias, King of Kings: 
(Though you might remember me as Chairman Rupert
King of Newspapers and other Faux Noise things);
Look on my works, ye mighty, and despair!' 
Nothing beside remains. 
Round the decay 
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare, 
The lone and level sands stretch far away".


  1. The pond is deluded and may be barking mad and is certainly as mad as hell. - I resemble that remark. All you have is hope! An asteroid strike might right things, not so large as to kill the innocent.
    Having been compelled to do my obligatory 2 years under threat of jail and destruction of career, I still remember the bastardisation of Puckapunyal. But what shocked me most at the time was the racism exemplified by the comment from the person sitting beside me on the 707 bound for Tan Son Nhat airport "I wanna kill Gooks". After a period of time messin' with the SAS, i.e., eating meals, I retreated to my post and ate c-rations for several months. With those experiences long behind me, I still find the the jingoistic support of our military (your much loved hagiography?), particularly by Howard, Ms. Gillard and now the latest crew, nauseating. It seems that our so-called leaders simply shut their eyes to what happens at Duntroon and elsewhere. It is a pity that the ABC did itself a disservice by not making a fuller attempt at getting the story out as Bachelard has.


  2. Hi Dorothy,

    I have to agree with you about Lenore Taylor. She like a number of similar political commentators have reported every lie, back flip, cock up and u-turn that Abbott and his government has managed to achieve in just a short period of time. However when it comes to analysis they seem unable to realise what all these gaffes mean. They try and try again to explain it as "clever politics" or defensible in light of changed conditions.
    It's like they cannot believe what is plainly obvious to just about everyone. Abbott and his band of idiots are incompetent, hypocritical liars who will keep stumbling from one disaster to another causing untold damage to Australia's economy and standing in the world.

    A great read as always


    1. Diddy,

      I think they know exactly what's obvious but have to draw a line somewhere in the interests of balanced reporting. The rabid rightists who do respond to the articles would have a field day otherwise.
      Fortunately DP can stick it up 'em every day. Nasty bitch.


    2. Hi olddavey,
      Well you can try and be "balanced" which appears to side with who ever shouts loudest or somebody in the "mejia" might actually make the attempt to gather some facts. Also I don't think Ms Parker will appreciate the bitch appellation.

    3. A bitch and proud of it when the occasion calls Anon, there being so many pricks in the world already ...

  3. Old enough here to remember when taking the boys out for a bit of poofter bashing was part of basic training...anyway we can still go to the Jakarta Post to find out what is happening.

    1. Yudhoyono has played comparatively nice with Corby, and indeed with lib/lab, yet Abbott & Co have become such a pain. What's the betting in Jakarta on one-way trips to a beach notable for not having any Australian lifeboat for the "nine" HoWARd Australian sacrificial offerings occurring perhaps even as soon as sometime between July 9 and October 20 this year?,_2014

  4. The problem with journalists like Taylor is that they think liberal governments have some attachment to facts or consistency. They are convinced that they deserve to be in power as a birthright, nothing else matters they will say or do anything to maintain their position. You can't take people like that at face value, unless you have some masochistic desire to be perpetually mislead

    1. Hi KS,

      You're right the Press Gallery appear to be displaying a sort of masochistic role in all of this. Abbott either ignores their questions, refuses to say anything other than his pre-prepared three word slogans, just turns his back on them all and walks off or just lies straight to their faces. Their response is to say thank-you and keep coming back for more.
      It's like they are locked into a Stockholm Syndrome with their abuser. So much for the Fourth Estate holding the government to account.


  5. One of the reasons for the problems in the Roman Catholic Church was that any criticism of priests was regarded as heresy by both the clergy and even other members of the laity. If the Navy cannot accept criticism or deal positively with allegations being made against them, they must be hypersensitive.

    The ludicrous aspect of this is that it has taken the Defence Minister a week to respond allegedly because he was so angry at the ABC. He'd be good in a confrontation wouldn't he? Imagine 'The Australian' reporting:

    “Due to the ultimatum, the Defence Minister was incensed and was unable to respond. The enemy began bombing immediately.”

    1. Before the enemy had a chance to begin their bombing, the Defence Minister would scare them away with his own not so secret weapon, the 'angry face'.

    2. Shouts went up, "The weekend is coming and the horses, have bolted from stables all over!" "Some even from ours!"

      Came the reply, "Quick, ah, m-a--a---te, Peta says wake up, er, um, Johnston and mount him, um, on one of our, er, bogan carousel ponies, ah, while, ah, while, "Clancy" Pyne gets, ah, ready to, er, to, er, ah, um, to turn the mob on Sunday, Sunday afternoon."

  6. "secrecy concerning ''on water''" - it won't go away - it's required this year more than ever. Shhh... ssh, don't let Barners know why the next Australian grazing, farming, or horticultural and processing industry will be closing this parliamentary cycle due to foreign dumping. Shh-i-t don't tell Gina the GF how. Don't even tell 'em who. So wtf if it is Mao's idea? Or just because it was, they will also want to show, Menger vs Marx, that marginal utility theory right stuff is up to labour theory of value before anyone notices who is running China now, and copy, quickly. It's for the unfolding bogan nation's threatened future they'll say pointing north. They'll want, and get a magic water NSWTP future double quick:

    If it proves too bad to be true, be dammed. Be quiet.


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