Monday, September 01, 2014

Amanda Vanstone and Sharri Markson and Chris Mitchell and Murdoch hack activists a threat to journalism ...

(Above: more Wilcox here).

Australia beaten by Zimbabwe?

Say it ain't so, and thank the long absent lord it wasn't in a significant international sport, like tiddly winks.

But thanks to the Julia Gillard principle - she was responsible for everything that went wrong - surely this is Tony Abbott's fault?

Hang on a tic. Zimbabwe?

So Mugabe's gone and all's well in this troubled land and Tony Abbott can take the credit?  Not really, not if you read Mugabe wins at Beijing bingo.

Since Mugabe’s disputed election win last year, foreign investment has plunged, hundreds of manufacturing companies have closed and unemployment in the country stands at an estimated 80%. The Mail and Guardian reported last week that Zimbabwe would allow China to bypass the normal State tender process for major projects in return for quick funding. 
Mugabe is subject to sanctions by the United States and the European Union and was one of only a handful of African leaders not invited to Barack Obama’s US-Africa summit in Washington earlier this month.

Thank the long absent lord Australia is willing to be thrashed by minnows so they can feel better about themselves. Is this the land of the heroic, sacrificial warrior or what? By golly, and soon enough we'll have sorted out Iraq, just like the Howard government did ...

What else? Well it seems the magic water man has abandoned his slot in the Monday Fairfax, so in urgent need of a troll to do some trolling, the Fairfaxians naturally turned to Amanda Vanstone, usually the resident twit on ABC on a Monday.

Vanstone does one of those "what if?" numbers that are entirely meaningless and speculative, and only suitable for snide asides, as you can discover if you can summon up the strength required to wade through the tripe that constitutes Imagine if Tony Abbott had been accused ...

No it's not the revised lyrics for a John Lennon song, it's imagine if Tony Abbott had been accused of rape:

There has been a good deal of restraint exercised by both the media and members of Parliament in the lead-up to and since Shorten's wise announcement. It stands in something of a contrast to the frenzy surrounding the apparent revelation that many years ago Tony Abbott had punched a wall very near a woman's face. 
That contrast invites us all to speculate what would happen if a similar complaint as was made against Shorten were made against Abbott. 
I think I know what would happen: The handbag hit squad would be out there fanning the fires with every bit of hatred they could muster. Does anyone seriously think the media commentary would be as restrained? Even if you backdate the question to when Abbott was opposition leader, you still get the same answer.

Vanstone, a bear with very little brain, shows an ongoing taste for cliches and stereotypes - handbag hit squad will do nicely - but the rest shows the sort of paranoid thinking that is currently the state of mind of Liberals, Tea partiers, and Murdochians everywhere...

Actually if the police had investigated and decided there was no case, the likelihood is that commentary would have been muted, but let's play this game.

Imagine if there had been a complaint made against Julia Gillard's former boyfriend twenty years ago for corruption ...

The pond thinks it knows what would happen: Amanda Vanstone would be out there calling for the fires of hatred to be extinguished, right?

You know, on the fair dibs principle:

Shorten has had a rough time of it. He can be grateful for the decency shown all around. Perhaps he will insist the same courtesies are extended by his team on future occasions. But don't hold your breath.

Yeah, sure. Julia Gillard can stop breathing now ... and head off to the Royal Commission aimed directly at her. Oh yes, they play dirty pool and then talk about the common courtesies ...

Meanwhile, the pond was pleased to note how Vanstone slipped in that remark about the "apparent revelation".

Just as well she was cautious. Not so long ago the Bolter was the latest in a long line to turn up with an apologetic grovel in relation to the matter, as recorded in Richard Ackland's Andrew Bolt the latest to apologise over Tony Abbott's wall punch.

The Australian and Michael Kroger had previoiusly grovelled, as did Alan Jones ...

Could Vanstone get any more offensive, with her loaded "what ifs" and her stereotypical abuse? Of course she could - that's why she's in Fairfax, to troll and score trolling hits:

Courts have rules of evidence, for very good reason. These rules have been developed over many years and are designed to ensure that judges and juries make the fairest decision possible. The problem is neither we, nor the media, follow any such rules. That means that bits and pieces of information about each of us – parts of the story when there might be many versions, often completely untested – are passed on every day. In normal daily life we call it gossip. 
Sadly, some investigative journalists get away with being paid to publish this sort of stuff, irrespective of whether innocent people are damaged along the way. They would say they are only doing their job, working to shine a light on bad things that do happen. When they do in fact shine that light and wrongdoers get their due, we should all cheer. The trouble is that often, in digging to find the dirt and shine the light, they chuck a fair bit of mud.

What a chain jerker (yes, in the old days, the pond lived with a chip heater and a toilet operated by jerking a chain and learned about chain jerking ...)

There's Vanstone shedding crocodile tears about the persecuted fate of an imaginary Tony Abbott, as opposed to the gentle kid glove handling of Bill Shorten, and flinging around mud in fine style, without even the courage to name Barbara Ramjan but instead referring to her as that woman making apparent revelations, while at the same time chucking a a chunk of mud at an amorphous handbag hit squad, which, seeing as how it's not otherwise limited, refers to every woman in visible possession of a handbag ...

The truth is, no one needs an imaginary rape case to observe that Tony Abbott in opposition behaved on a daily basis like a boofheaded thug with a steel capped toe, and in government has proceeded in much the same manner, and on an almost daily basis has provided the stuff of what in daily life we call gossip ...

Except of course that the gossip is reported and tested. There's actual video footage to hand of Abbott upsetting Warren Mundine yet again, though curiously the pond doesn't mind Mundine getting agitated, on the principle that if you lie down with dogs, you should have to expect to scratch when bitten by fleas ...

Vanstone routinely provides a black hole on radio, only occasionally enlivened when the likes of barking mad apparent Marxist Brendan O'Neill turns up to explain that it doesn't matter about the honey bee, heck we can just do pollination by hand, perhaps by exhuming Chairman Mao to run the five year plan (Europe update).

But enough of the activist ex-politician, the pond was inspired to visit bubble headed booby Sharri Markson in her native Oz home today, after her appearance, to express her opinions and views, on the rabidly right wing, ratbag Bolter report,  ...

Only to find this profoundly ironic header, which makes irony sound like post modernist satire ...

It's an EXCLUSIVE? No, not really, it lost that tag somewhere along the line:

Surely then if not much of an EXCLUSIVE, it must be an epic joke?

Is Markson actually bemoaning journalistic activism in that rabid, ratbag home of ideological zealots, and activist reporting, the house of Murdoch?

Is her piece going to turn into an assault on Murdochian madness and mayhem, and editor Chris Mitchell in particular, or more generally the feral crusading tabloids dominated by people like the totally off the planet Paul Whittaker, always ready with Photoshop and a jihad of the day (currently the Islamics are the top of the hit list)?

In short, is Markson going to dish it out to the reptile manor known as the lizard Oz? And all the rest of the raptors?

You really must stop day dreaming ... try ice cubes on the nipples. It works for the pond ...

How wonderful it would have been.

Markson attacking the very same rag that in recent days issued a fatwah and embarked on a jihad against Julian Disney and the Press Council. Just like its ongoing jihad on climate scientists and its jihads on the ABC and Fairfax. And these are just a few of the many, many jihads, crusades if you will, the reptiles have launched in recent years ...

All the pond can do is suggest to anyone interested in high media-related comedy that they circumvent the paywall and read Markson's Activism a threat to journalism, which starts out by quoting Eric Beecher and getting very alarmed about social media trends.

Mr Beecher, the founder of Private Media, said journalists, who once were strictly impartial, now frequently expressed their views on social media and television. “There is a clear need for newspapers and other media platforms to have a policy about how their writers and their big name talent use Twitter,’’ he said. 
“Are they tweeting as individuals or are they tweeting on behalf of their newspaper? I would have thought it’s implied, particularly when you’re tweeting about a subject or story, that you’re representing your masthead.” 
Asked about his own organisation, where Crikey’s political editor, Bernard Keane, often ex­-pressed strong views on Twitter, Mr Beecher said there could probably be greater clarity around guidelines for his company’s editorial staff.

Oh that wicked Bernard Keane, what a shocking, awful man he is, always shooting his mouth off:

Oh okay you can see where this is heading.

Markson has drunk deeply of the Chris Mitchell kool aid.

How deeply?

This deep:

Editor-in-chief of The Australian, Chris Mitchell, said the greatest threat to journalism was not the internet or governments and press councils trying to limit free speech, but the rise of the activist journalist over the past 25 years and the privileging of the views of activist groups over the views of the wider community. 

About that point the pond started rolling the jaffas down the aisle.

Let's not focus on the shoddy English ... though the pond was curious as to whether Markson really meant to say that the internet was trying to limit free speech ...

No, let's just marvel at Chris Mitchell, rogue ratbag running a loss-making concern allegedly dedicated to free market principles, but in reality heavily subsidised so it can stay in the business of launching assorted fatwahs and jihads ... and then having the cheek, the gall, the presumption, the indolent eye-jabbing hypocrisy to blather on about activist journalists...

The man who waged a war on Manning Clark, based on an allegation he could never prove ...

Physician, heal thyself.

So who's to blame if you read Mitchell la la land with a glass of kool aid to hand?

Why the ABC and activists, at least the activists who aren't reptile activists, and academics of an activist kind who by necessity aren't the tame activist academics who turn up in the lizard Oz's pages:

"Listen to ABC current affairs any day and you find the majority of stories are driven by comments
from activists about federal or state government policies or about social phenomena activists either oppose or support,’’ he said. 
“Why for example are the views of Ian Rintoul and Australian for Refugees given so much currency when voters for both the Labor Party and the Coalition overwhelmingly support strong border protection? 
“Why are the views of environmental activists privileged above the role of economic growth, which inevitably creates better ­environmental, employment and social outcomes for the wider community?” 
Mr Mitchell, who has edited newspapers for more than 20 years, said media academics who were vocal about ideological issues on social media were part of the problem. 
“This is at the heart of my disdain for modern journalism academics. And anyone who watches their Twitter feeds as I do will know I am correct,’’ he said. 
 Tens of thousands of people, including journalism students and those starting their career in the industry, follow media academics Jenna Price, Wendy Bacon and journalist Margo Kingston on Twitter. All are opinionated on political issues. 

Whereas Sharri and Chris simply have no opinion on political issues, none whatsoever. And Chris Mitchell isn't opinionated. Oh no, not even about Manning Clark

Oh scrub the irony, what's really interesting is this example of what the pond likes to think of as the fascist mind.

The fascist mind can't stand alternatives, different ways of seeing the world. The fascist mind demands conformity. Only one line can be heard, only one line followed, and the rest drowned out by righteous abuse.

This isn't an original observation:

The fascist mind, the ideological mind is a state of mind that permanently adopts an unchanging rigid argument that cannot and must not be altered, and this argument defines it. An example would be: ‘In the War On Terror you are either with us or against us.’ It logically follows that if you object to the War on Terror, you are potentially a terrorist and should be subject to certain kinds of punishment. Any reading of Australia’s right-wing columnists will discover dozens of these kinds of statements. They’re very common. (here)

Now let's see this in action, courtesy of Markson:

The Ten Network’s contributing political editor, Paul Bongiorno, has in recent weeks expressed his personal view on the NBN, saying it was “being trashed”. 

Well yes, and Markson twittered her personal twittish view that Paul Barry is being paid handsomely to conduct a war on News Corp.

The difference? Well Bongiorno can quite fairly argue that the NBN is being trashed and that in due course much more expenditure will be required to upgrade the current roll out - in ten years time, the copper lines in the ground in inner city areas will be in even worse condition, and so will the HFC cables, and right at the moment Turnbull hasn't begun to think about delivering decent broadband to the inner suburbs of major cities, having commissioned a bullshit report that projects entirely useless speed and band requirements for the next couple of decades ... as if anyone in 1994 could imagine where we've already reached in 2014 ...

But the fascist mind doesn't want to hear alternatives or objections. The fascist mind requires that everyone drink the kool aid and fall into obedient line and be shocked and horrified that Bongiorno dared to express his mind, and never mind that day in day out, the ferals at the lizard Oz have organised, promoted, conducted and waged a relentless war against decent broadband, both in the opinion and in the news pages.

What else?

Former News Corp chief executive Kim Williams said he had noticed, particularly in relation to reports on the conflict between Israel and Hamas, that opinion had overtaken facts. 
 “People seem to adopt opinions first and discovery is the very poor cousin of getting to the core of the information. It’s been an ignoble period,’’ he said. 
 In relation to the decision by Fairfax Media to suspend former columnist Mike Carlton for abusing readers, Mr Williams said “it goes to the heart of the difference between professional journalism and the blogosphere”.

Uh huh. And what are the facts this very minute, courtesy Haaretz: Israel appropriates massive tract of West Bank land. (slow to load, inside the paywall but can be googled):

Israel’s Civil Administration in the West Bank yesterday announced the takeover of 988 acres (3,799 dunams) belonging to five Palestinian villages between the Etzion settlement bloc and Jerusalem. The move clears the way for construction of a new settlement named Gvaot...  
Justice Minister Tzipi Livni told IDF Radio last night that the timing of the announcement was inappropriate. “Israel now needs to be recruiting the world to prevent steps being taken against it, and to work together with those moderate forces” she said. “Anything that can turn attention toward us and arouse criticism against us hurts the very things we are trying to achieve.” 
Palestinian officials did not seem very surprised last night by the Israeli cabinet decision. Immediately after last week’s cease-fire, Haaretz reported that senior officials in the Palestinian Authority were turning to the United Nations and the European Union warning that Israel was taking steps whose goal was to strengthen its hold on territories beyond the Green Line. 
 “It’s been proven that this government has no intention of moving forward with the peace process,” one senior PA official told Haaretz.

Yep, that's getting to the core of the information.

As to the difference between professional journalism and the blogosphere, on a daily basis the reptiles in Murdoch la la land routinely abuse their readers, especially the intelligence of readers who don't automatically, reflexively shriek in fear at the sight of an academic, or think there are alternative views on theMiddle East to hand, or understand that one of the reasons that The Australian does so badly in the marketplace of ideas (let alone sales) is that it's being run by crazed, climate science denying, NBN hating, right wing zealots and ratbags ...

It was Williams himself who explained that working at News Corp was like working in a feudal empire ...

And Markson is just one of the more diligent serfs ... but if she keeps on celebrating her serfdom this way, the difference between professional journalism and the blogosphere will be confused and conflated from the moment she turned up yesterday on the Bolter's platform and indulged in twittering ideological abuse and ratbaggery like a damned activist journalist ...

Meanwhile, speaking of Tony Abbott and Warren Mundine, yet another corker from David Rowe and as always, more Rowe here:

And as always, the pond is delighted to present the original, E. Phillips Fox, on the subject of Captain Cook landing at Botany Bay:


  1. in court are speculation and opinion are inadmissible.

    1. judges and juries make the fairest decision possible... in some other legal system maybe, but this one was long ago bought, bent, and sold by lawyers only to serve their financial interests.

  2. I also had my early morning ruined by contact with Amanda Vanstone...

    Incidentally, on the subject of reporting and opinion I see Google has taken Independent Australia out of the blogosphere and into the news service fold - on the back, I understand, of IA's investigative reporting of HSU/Kathy Jackson and Peter Slipper. Documentation of HSU revelations currently before TURC have been in the hands of the sluggish Victorian police for a couple of years now - courtesy IA. The Lawler name seems to be significant in Australian law enforcement and Liberal Party circles.

    1. Now that's a good result. It was always a false dichotomy, as Chris Mitchell's confession he's a Twitter addict goes to show. Twitter is as twitter does ... and life's a chocolate box of twitters ...

  3. DP - brilliant as always. Keep it up and don't let the bastards get you down.

    I only fear that one day the trolls will arrive.

    1. Fear not Anon. Occasionally a troll dares to pop in and it is pure delight to see them chewed up and spat out like a mouthful of sardine omelette,never to return again.

    2. Sardine omelette? Priceless!

    3. And this is why I love this blog so very much. DP is wonderful, as are the commenters, and I've seen one troll transformed into something resembling sardine omelette, and it's just such a good place to be. Thank you, thank you all.

  4. Surely, surely this is the day when someone, bearing a passing resemblance to an editor at Fairfax looks at what they have done by enabling Vanstone's wittering in public, and draws a line: no more sinecured ex-politicians to be given opinion space anymore. My eyes and my mind may never recover from exposure to this nonsense any more.
    Land sakes.

  5. Dot,
    Blanche Clark must be shaking, whilst not in Collins st, Bourke street was closed yesterday because of a bomb scare .
    A collingwood woman apparently has engaged on a Fatwa on the Myer store.

    1. Alarming, terrifying news, but what Myer store? That teeny little thing that's shrivelled to the size of a prune? Why there's bigger shops in Smith street, or there soon will be when that monstrosity in its heart is completed. But your sympathy and concern for Blanche is touching. She might already have arranged the sick leave arising from the panic in the streets. Why, to avoid a nervous breakdown, she might need to stay a month in Morwell ... let's hope that fire stays under control ... who'd have thought the jihadists could arrange such a cunning act of terror in coal country?


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