So you think you’re a journalist?

Bushfire Bill’s last piece A Triumphant Return or the Last Hurrah? and the many comments it attracted, exposed many instances of second-rate journalism, leading me, and visitors, to ask “What has become of journalism in this country?”  This piece attempts to tease out how such journalism has become so harmful an influence in our society.

But let’s begin by acknowledging that there are many fine writers who grace the profession of journalism, who write well-researched, informative and factually accurate pieces, who express balanced opinions based on those facts, and who distinguish clearly between fact and opinion.  They are what we expect journalists to be.  They are not the problem – it is that they are diluted by so many who are careless with the facts and at times downright dishonest, slipshod in drawing conclusions from them, arrogant in making far-reaching predictions from their sometimes limited knowledge and experience, and subject to personal or institutional bias that seriously distorts their writing.  It is to those that we should address the question:  “So you think you’re a journalist?”

Ask a hundred people what a journalist does and most will say that they write articles in newspapers; some might say they write opinion pieces and editorials.  Some might include those who prepare and deliver radio and TV news and current affairs, and a few might add in those who write in the online media, even perhaps blog editors.  I refer to all of these.  If you ask members of the public what they expect of journalists, what would they say?  The cynical among them might say – not much.

‘Journalist’ comes from ‘journal’ which in turn is derived from the Latin diurnalis, from diurnis ‘daily’.  The implication is that daily events are at the core of most journalism.  But journalists also collect and disseminate information about people, trends, and issues.

Where has journalism gone wrong?  In this piece let’s stick to political journalism.

Just look at the articles that have appeared about the insulation issue.  Again and again writers have simply not got their facts right.  Bushfire Bill has exposed many of these inaccuracies in the last piece on The Political Sword: A Triumphant Return or the Last Hurrah?  If you haven’t read his critiques, scroll down to February 23, 9.46 am and 2.35 pm, and February 24, 12.32 am.

Getting the facts right seems to be fundamental to proper reporting, but as BB points out, too often when the facts don’t fit their preconceived notions, some journalists simply distort them or just make them up.

Next, while interpreting the meaning and import of the facts is a legitimate function of journalists, they ought to distinguish clearly between fact and opinion, which so often they don’t.  Don’t they realize that the interposition of qualifying words, which on the face of them seem not to be ‘opinion’, are indeed opinion.  I refer to words used in the media to describe, for example, the Government’s Home Insulation Program: failed, flawed, botched, debacle, scandal, disaster, fiasco, catastrophe, crisis, tragedy, calamity, farce, fraudulent, mishandled, scrapped.  Peter Garrett is described as embattled, beleaguered, finished.  As soon as journalists use these words to describe the program or its authors, and are not simply quoting others, they are inserting their own value judgement.  And by using this technique the fact that it is their opinion is concealed.   It is part of what BB describes as ‘bootstrapping’, where an assertion, true or otherwise, is made which becomes a self-perpetuating ‘truth’ as each iteration of it reinforces the previous one, somewhat like negative feedback in audio systems that eventually reaches screaming pitch.  The more iterations the more valid the comments seem to be.  BB gives several examples in his comments on February 20 at 1.12 am and February 23 at 9.46 am.   This phenomenon is seen over and again both in the printed piece and in the spoken commentary.  What right do journalists have to insert their views in this way?  What entitles them to influence public opinion, when all they are offering is their own opinion, and without revealing it is their own opinion?  Who do they think they are?  It would be different if they prefaced their condemnatory remarks with: “in my opinion”, because then it would be clear that it was only their opinion.  But instead, by subtly inserting these pejorative words they surreptitiously insinuate that this is a widely held and spreading opinion among not just the pundits but the population at large.  It is as pernicious a technique as that used by authoritarian regimes.  If they don’t realize that, they should get another job where they would do less damage.

As BB asserts, too many journalists seem to start with a preconceived agenda and write in a way that converts their beliefs into a self-fulfilling prophesy.

Enough of the background, let’s look at some actual examples.  As it would take several pieces to dissect and expose the many instances of faulty political journalism, I’ll confine myself to just a few.  Dennis Shanahan has been the subject of several critiques on The Political Sword.  Newspoll through Shanas’ Magic Looking GlassMore of Shanas’ Magic Looking Glass? and earlier Dennis Shanahan is at it againand BB has appraised him in recent posts.  No more needs to be said.  The pity is that Dennis is Chief Political Editor of our premier national newspaper The Australian.  We’re entitled to have better balanced, less biased critique from such a senior and experienced journalist.  Even worse, he seems to be part of what appears to be a sustained anti-Rudd campaign by The Australian and indeed News Limited papers in which several of his colleagues are involved.

I could waste valuable space by critiquing Piers Akerman, Andrew Bolt and Glenn Milne, but I won’t.  You will have made up your minds about the standard of their journalism long ago.

Occasionally a writer goes so far over the top that one is left wondering if the article is some sort of sick joke.  Such a piece was written by Paul Sheehan in the SMH on February 22: How Rudd the dud dropped Australia in the alphabet soup .  I suppose it was meant to be a smart-aleck appraisal of the Rudd era written for those who loathe him, but it destroyed its credibility by listing only what Sheehan sees as the Government’s failings, with not one mention of a single achievement.  Under ‘G’, not surprisingly all he lists is ‘Grocery Watch’; no mention of the ‘Global Financial Crisis’ from which the Rudd Government shielded the country.  But what do you think he had under ‘D’?  You’ve guessed it, ‘Debt and deficit’.  Does Sheehan believe that thinking people will swallow such grotesquely biased writing?  The rusted-on supporters will cheer, but who else will?  This is puerile writing that does not deserve a place in a reputable newspaper.  If you’ve got the stomach, read it and judge for yourself.

What about ‘Our ABC’?  Reasonable people might expect more from this supposedly neutral and balanced source.  Insiders last Sunday was an improvement on previous editions which had showed signs of becoming tabloid.  At least it was prepared to discuss the view that The Australian was showing persistent bias.  David Marr brought this out and even Fran Kelly agreed, although she previously has insisted that Kevin Rudd should not openly complain about this and instead should just sit there and take his medicine’.  With her years of experience in the field, Fran seems to be assuming the mantle of political guru.  While giving the Government credit for its management of the GFC, she nonetheless confidently asserted that the Rudd Government was ‘in a hole’, ‘in trouble’, and might be ‘a oncer’.  Does she expect viewers to respect her opinion, expressed with such assurance, without qualification?  As expected, Piers Akerman did nothing but heap scorn on the Government’s head, which evoked gentle ridicule from David Marr.  Why they still use Akerman on Insiders is a mystery.  His responses are consistently biased and predictable.  What can he possibly contribute to the balance of the programme?

Our ABC now has an online news service that on the face of it seems to be deriving much of its material from the MSM.  It seems just as prone to journalistic distortion as the rest of the media.  Here’s just one example:  Coroner probes Yothu Yindi death after Rudd visit by Phoebe Stewart on 22 February insinuates that there was more than a temporal connection between the death in mid 2008 of a 26-year-old man who played the didgeridoo in the band Yothu Yindi, and a visit by Kevin Rudd.  The article states: “The ABC understands the man died not long after he had taken part in a dancing ceremony for Mr Rudd during a visit to the community for a cabinet meeting.”  What is that supposed to mean?  What is the implication?  Why was it written this way?  This is such poor journalism that it ought not to endorsed by Our ABC.  I wonder whether my protesting email will evoke a response. 

Enough examples – one could go on and on.  The essence of this article is that much of the media in this country has become disappointingly poor and seems to be getting worse – so bad that commentators like Bushfire Bill believe that the MSM is steadily losing its impact, losing its credibility, losing its audience, and is now having its last hurrah.  It is no longer the maker and breaker of politicians and political parties, and resents its lost prowess.  Media proprietors too are becoming concerned about their loss of influence.

So as consumers of what the media offers, the challenge we’re entitled to address to substandard political writers is indeed “So you think you’re a journalist?”

What do you think?

 

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Sir Ian Crisp

25/02/2010AA, there was a recent comment piece at TPS that made mention of the Ten Commandments. I may be wrong but didn’t you upbraid me for reaching back 7 years when comparing two cherished comedians in the harlequinade known as our federal parliament? I hope most fair-minded people would agree that reference to two stone tablets upon which 10 rules regarded as a crude user’s instruction manual and dating back to classical antiquity is reaching further back than I did. In the name of consistency surely a mild rebuke from you is in order. As if to compound the willingness of the author to demonstrate how comedy and tragedy can collide the comment piece carried a reference to an event in one of our federal MP’s life that occurred 32 years ago. Wouldn’t that warrant a mild rebuke from you under the TPS rules of remaining current? I’m sure Mark Bahnish’s “Blogger’s Commandments” would have something to say about consistency.

mick smetafor

25/02/2010just finished reading this. looks like this topic is becoming topical. http://andrewelder.blogspot.com/

Helena Handcart

25/02/2010A basic problem seems to be the need to fill space, to have a startling new insight each day, without regard to external facts or political realities. The tone of so much Australian political debate has a feverish quality, which makes acknowledging the other side's strengths or commonalities between parties almost impossible. It means that 'journalists' like Akerman and Shenahan will squeeze out the most venomous allegations and imputations of motive in a fantasy scenario of their own devising and manage to pretend to be affronted when it is clear others do not take them seriously.

Michael Cusack

25/02/2010The influence of the rabid attack dogs of the tabloids can be exaggerated. There are tradies working in the grounds next door. I spoke to them yesterday whilst they ate their lunch in the shade of my tree. one of them was reading the Tele (sports section), and I made a comment about Akerman. He didn't know what I was talking about! Further questioning revealed he bought the Tele nearly every day for several years and he had never read Piers column, had no idea what he was on about and no interest in him. He is your classic Tits and Footy reader. Which doesn't mean he has not picked up some subliminal messages. THe anger of the owners, usually expressed by their senior writers is caused by the fact that papers are an economic loser. See the Australian as prime example. They are kept afloat as both vanity projects and as influence drivers. They are rapidly losing influence, I'm not sure about the vanity stakes. It must be galling to shovel millions into the furnace each year to fuel an influence machine that refuses to provide any grunt.

Paul

25/02/2010How many Walkley Award winning political journalists do we have? How many political journalists do we have that completed an Honours Degree in their craft? Are they a reflection of our modern culture - the "cult of personality"? Do they suffer from GroupThink? Is the political culture that they are reporting on changing? Or is it us - we are just after a sport-like contest where the polls are the score?

janice

25/02/2010Whilst acknowledging there are fine writers that grace the 4th Estate, we must also acknowledge that they are now few and far between and we need to question why this is so. The gutter journalism inherent in the tabloids has ever been thus and recognised by one and all. Why though have these grubby journalists increased in numbers and managed to infect the whole media with their cancerous disease? Is it because there is no emphasis placed on integrity, honesty and responsibility during the training of journalists? Is it because journalists see themselves as having a licence to character assassinate, villify, destroy and even topple an elected government? There is much placed on our idea of 'freedom of speech' but somewhere along the line there has to be a line drawn in the sand whereby integrity, honesty and responsibility come into play so that anyone, journalists in particular, can be held accountable. This blanket notion of 'freedom of speech' is particularly dangerous in political journalism when it is used against an elected government because of personal views and biases that result in blatant mis-reporting, mis-information and beat-ups designed to aid their preferred party to gain political scalps. The current behaviour of the ABC is particularly worrying. Prior to the Howard years we were able to rely on the ABC for factual reporting. ABC reporters were trained by the ABC and reporting standards were very high. People say now that Fran Kelly has changed – I don't think her political views have, but she certainly feels she has the freedom now to express her personal views knowing there will be no repercussions from ABC management. It was evident to me when watching The Insiders that some of Fran's ABC training is still there but suppressed – she agreed with David Marr yet previously opined that Kevin Rudd should just sit there and take his medicine; while she gave credit to the Govt for its management of the GFC, she then went off on a tangent to write off the govt as a one term govt. We now see the ABC not training its own journalists and apparently incapable of gathering its own material. All ABC news is now taken from MSM which is why there is the same distortion of facts. Something needs to be done to get our National Broadcaster out of the clutches of Murdoch and his kingmaker/breakers. Perhaps we need to get up a campaign to insist that our National Broadcaster is re-educated to adhere to responsible and factual reporting, that it once again trains its journalists, that it is funded appropriately and some insurance put in place that ensures it cannot be turned back into a political mouthpiece to suit the agenda of whichever party is in power.

Bushfire Bill

25/02/2010Sir Ian wrote, [i]"I hope most fair-minded people would agree that reference to two stone tablets upon which 10 rules regarded as a crude user’s instruction manual and dating back to classical antiquity is reaching further back than I did. In the name of consistency surely a mild rebuke from you is in order."[/i] The writer of that piece was me. I was quoting [i]Tony Abbott[/i] who brought up the Ten Commandments himself, in one of his (now regular) confession sessions, mostly on the subject of how he doesn't get enough sex on while on the campaign trail. He also mentioned that he'd broken all of the Commandments (including presumably the one against adultery), except the 5th - "Thou shalt not Kill" - but only because he hadn't had the opportunity to do so. I hope he was joking. But joking or not, it was Abbott who brought the subject up and it was quite legitimate of me to loovolunteered just about any of this to a reporter he would have been pilloried by the media, set up as some kind of sociopathic monster who couldn't control his urges and was thus a threat to the state and unsuitable in character to be Prime Minister... yet Abbott was given a free pass. In fact the "murder" comments were not even mentioned by the MSM, only by the regional newspaper, the Launceston Examiner, the original interviewer. There is much of this about. Take Abbott's comments, indeed his [i]formal submission to the Shadow Cabinet[/i], on the tightening of welfare disability eligibility tests and the Work For The Dole program. Apart from the original articles by Lenore Taylor at her new gig on the SMH, this has gone completely unreported in any other media outlet. Abbott is reported to have been angry at the leak, as well he might be, but not to worry: the friendly media, looking for negative stories about the government and not the Coalition, gave Tony a free pass. You can bet your bottom dollar that if Rudd had made such a formal recommendation to the real Cabinet, this would have been all over the papers like a rash. Abbotts colorful phraseology - "Shit-eating grin", "Crap" to describe Climate Science to list two - are now excused as proving he is "The Real Deal". Contrast this with the acres of newsprint devoted to Rudd's "Fair Shake" comment over several weeks subsequent to his using that phrase. Rudd (according to the MSM) was phoney, a nerd, a gawky, bookish caricature trying to be relevant, and failing. So many journalists wrote about this - each with their own angle on the "story" - that it was as if a "Fair Shake" story and sniggering commentary was mandatory for any self-respecting journo. the all got in on the act like a bunch of gang rapists. Sir Ian went on: [i]"As if to compound the willingness of the author to demonstrate how comedy and tragedy can collide the comment piece carried a reference to an event in one of our federal MP’s life that occurred 32 years ago. Wouldn’t that warrant a mild rebuke from you under the TPS rules of remaining current?"[/i] As Abbott himself (once again) has brought this story to light several times in [i]recent[/i] years, and especially as he was lecturing young women on the virtues and precious nature of their virginity in recent [i]weeks[/i], this was also a fair comment. The meme about Abbott is that, "With Tony you know where you stand," that he is "a conviction politician". But it is [i]only[/i] a meme. Abbott's past behaviour in the field of sexual morals, and his confession (confession is a compulsion with Tony) that he has committed adultery and has only [i]not[/i] committed murder because he lacked the opportunity put his "convictions" to the test of consistency, where, in my opinion, he fails. If Tony Abbott wants to be a naughty boy, continually shocking us with his sexual adventures, who are we to ignore him? The media love stories. They love narratives, whether they are true or not. Very few think outside the very small squares that they inhabit. They are self-referential, but only within a closed loop. As AA characterised it, the negative feedback principle applies until it reaches the level of a scream. Why didn't anyone in the MSM go and check the figures for deaths in the insulation industry pre-Stimulus? Why didn't they wait for the coronial or police investigations into those deaths? Was there any attempt to ask fire brigade experts whether all the house fires (supposedly 93) were directly attributable to the Insulation Stimulus package and associated shoddy workmanship? Why has this been left to Possum, a blogger for Crikey (and a good one), to investigate? The reason is simple: a biased media believed it was time, even overdue, for a Labor ministerial scalp to be offered up. It's traditional. No self-respecting government gets by without a scalp or two missing from a ministerial head. On the basis of a few slightly encouraging polls for Abbott and the Coalition (mostly [i]News[/i]polls, owned and operated by the government's chief critic, News Ltd.) they went in for the kill, ignoring anything from outside their squares, neglecting facts, or even curiosity as to whether they were writing complete hogwash on the subject. If Tony Abbott cannot prevent himself from committing sins so that he can later on confess them, then as far as I am concerned his [i]mea culpas[/i] are fair game for comment.

BH

25/02/2010I think most of us who appreciate the pieces by AA and BB can sift through the rubbish passed off as journalism or opinion in the MSM. I'm more worried about the quality of future reporting if what is currently written becomes the norm and acceptable. I'm thankful that there are people prepared to write about this in a way that many of us can't. I realise it will be difficult to keep it up in the face of proprietors who don't want to give up their power but for the sake of future integrity we need AA, BB, Possum Commitatus, Andrew Elder and others like them to continue exposing bad media.

Ad astra reply

25/02/2010Sir Ian BB has answered your specific questions. You seem to be attributing to me an admonition to stick to a ‘rule’ ‘to remain current’, and you quote the piece on [i]TPS[/i] that was the result of Mark Bahnisch's request on [i]Larvatus Prodeo[/i] where he said he [i]"...would be interested in what LP folks think makes an excellent piece of online writing in journalistic form...a set of criteria distinctive to feature writing or reportage produced specifically for the online medium rather than print..”[/i] My response is in [i]What makes good online journalism?[/i] http://www.thepoliticalsword.com/post/2009/02/27/What-makes-good-online-journalism.aspx I cannot see anything in the list I created that suggests that bloggers must remain current. History is sometimes relevant to current affairs. mick Interesting link – thank you. Shaun Carney’s piece was particularly germane. http://www.smh.com.au/opinion/politics/bungled-rollout-tests-australians-faith-in-big-government-20100223-p0me.html Helena Handcart Welcome to [i]TPS[/i]. I agree. I see that you have opinions of Piers Akerman and Dennis Shanahan similar to many visitors to [i]TPS[/i]. Michael I think what you say is right; it’s the loss of revenue and the shaky financial situation of many papers that has heightened the irritability of the proprietors and senior editorial staff. But it seems that taking a sledge hammer to the Government might not turn out to be a smart strategy, if all it does is to turn off readers. Paul Don’t know how many Walkley’s there are among MSM journalists, but the quality ones are thin on the ground and seemingly thinning out. The very first piece I wrote, published on Possum [i]Pollytics’[/i] old site in June 2008 was on groupthink, which I am certain has a significant influence on political writing: [i]Is the media in Australia suffering from groupthink?[/i] http://thepossumbox.wordpress.com/2008/06/14/is-the-media-in-australia-suffering-from-groupthink/ janice You and I are on the same page re the ABC. The standard of its news editing has slipped towards tabloid standards, and its current affairs programmes seem to be following. I have had no response yet to my protest email about the Phoebe Stewart article. I wonder if I will. I have had courteous replies to previous emails about the ‘tabloidization’ of [i]Insiders[/i]. BB Thank you for responding so comprehensively to Sir Ian, and for adding so much more meat to the debate. BH Thank you for your encouraging remarks. We write knowing that people like you are watching and hoping that more and more will come to realize how poorly we are served by much of the MSM. It’s a torrid battle. They have great power, but as the old saying goes; “The pen is mightier than the sword”, and we can wield a pen as well as they can. We know our audience is much smaller, but it is growing. Meanwhile, as BB pointed out in his last piece, the MSM is on a downward path as it struggles for credibility and readership.

BlockyPS

25/02/2010I agree BH. I'm a long term reader and really appreciate seeing people like AA and BB taking writers to task. Possum is another one of my favourite reads! I agree with all that's been said and it reminds me of what a scientist on ABC radio said this morning. He was presenting the finding from his recent study and said scientific studies generally take years and then they are peer reviewed by other scientists who delight in tearing each others work apart. He said it was like a "macabre blood sport" in a way. But from these reviews they strengthen their research, find new angles and usually end up with solid factual and useful information. However, as soon their work is finally published reporters will immediately go and look for someone with an opposite view just to balance out their story. Unfortunately they commonly end up relying on the opinion of someone who hasn't got any solid researched themselves - just an opinion. But the reader is left with the impression that the original scientist's research must be lacking and therefore not as credible. It saddens me that it's left to people like AA, BB and Possum to get the real facts out there. But I'm so glad they are!!!

ebenezer

25/02/2010[b][quote]I have had no response yet to my protest email about the Phoebe Stewart article. I wonder if I will. I have had courteous replies to previous emails about the ‘tabloidization’ of Insiders.[/quote][/b] Ad, I received the standard auto generated email stating that it could take up to four weeks until I get a reply to my complaint. I wait with baited breath and shall send you a copy when it arrives. It will be interesting to see whether our replies are similar or complaint specific. Cheers Eb :)

HillbillySkeleton

25/02/2010Sir Ian Crisp, You just seem to be using Mark Bahnisch's internet blogging rules as a blunt instrument to beat AA and BB about the head with, and for your own convenience, as you appear to have no valid basis for your continuing criticism of them and their work as far as I can objectively see. Might I suggest a reality check?

BH

25/02/2010AA - I, too, complained to the ABC when I read that headline plus the GNW 'gaffe' one but have not received an acknowledgement. Normally they send it pretty quickly so perhaps many others did the same as we did. Now if enough of us continue to point out their ridiculous headlines when they appear we may see a change - we can live in hope.

BK

25/02/2010AA (and now BB) It is a pleasure to read your musings. They help fill the regrettablr void left by the MSM. Congratulations.

HillbillySkeleton

25/02/2010Could someone please tell me what earthly purpose Kerry O'Brien's attempted mauling, in the self-appointed role of avenging angel, served tonight? Raking over old coals and misconstruing that damned Minter Ellison Report had to be one of the most pointless and irrelevant exercises in political journalism that I've seen in all my born days. I wonder what Kerry O'Brien thinks he achieved with his interview? Giving the Opposition tomorrow's talking points, as they continue to flog a dead horse in a circle jerk with the Canberra Press Gallery? Um, making the PM grovel to him in abject contrition? Or, going off on a frolic to bring the PM to heel and finally make him accountable, for what? Deaths and housefires that occur in the normal course of events in the Home Insulation Industry? He seemed intent on nitpicking, that's for sure. All that focus on April this, and meeting that, when what he so obviously had lost sight of, and for what ulterior motive I can't quite fathom, the fact that the PM tried to repeatedly make, that is, that the problems with the program had been identified and were in the process of being rectified. What more did Kerry O'Brien want? Peter Garrett's head on a plate? And what would that achieve? All I could think of is that it might prove to the septagenarian that he still had 'it', and that he could go home to the missus tonight and not have to take any Viagra, as he unloaded all his pent-up smug self-satisfaction on her. That interview was chapter and verse on what is wrong with political journalism in Australia today, what is wrong with the ABC mode de emploi wrt political journalism, and why the ABC appears to have a barely concealed vendetta against the Rudd government. I ask agin, what did that interview achieve? Did it make the PM realise he had to do this or that, that he wasn't already doing, as he tried to get through Kerry O'Brien's thick head. Did it expose some fatal flaw inherent in the Rudd government and their behaviour? I don't think so, especially as, as was again laboriously explained to K O'B again by the PM, it was a program set up in response to an economic tsunami called the Global Financial Crisis. Hence its implementation was expected to be, by all reasonable observers, to be not exactly perfect. Yet the termagent O'Brien willfully overlooks that core raison d'etre for the scheme and its rapid implementation. Oh hindsight, what a powerful tool in the hands of a manipulative journalist on the warpath for a scalp.

Ad astra reply

25/02/2010BlockyBS Welcome to [i]TPS[/i]and thank you for your kind comments. In his book [i]The March of Patriots[/i] Paul Kelly asserts that the media thrive on conflict. So good-news stories are anathema, except perhaps when there’s a cuddly animal story. In political discourse journalists thrive on dissent, discord, tension, disagreement, having one party at the other’s throat. Even in the field of science MSM journalists look for contradictions and controversy. It’s a sad fact that for every soundly-based scientific conclusion the media can always find someone with a contrary view. We have seen that classically demonstrated in the climate change debate. Regrettably, because most journalists are not trained to assess the validity and reliability of scientific studies, they give as much credence to those quoting shonky studies or illogical conclusions as they do to reputable scientists quoting sound studies. With just a few notable exceptions, the MSM is incurably adversarial in its approach to almost every topic. Eb, BH Let’s swap notes – I’ll let you know if and when I get a response from the ABC. If enough complain something may happen. An apocryphal story is that if a politician gets one letter on a topic, it is ignored; two letters cause some consternation, and three panic. Let’s see how many the ABC needs. HillbillySkeleton Sir Ian is very fond of what he terms Mark Bahnisch’s “Blogger’s Commandments”. I can’t recall ever seeing Mark’s final list. I have only my contribution to it that is to be found at [i]What makes good online journalism?[/i] http://www.thepoliticalsword.com/post/2009/02/27/What-makes-good-online-journalism.aspx BK Thank you too for your encouraging comments.

Ad astra reply

25/02/2010HillbillySkeleton I agree with what you’ve written word by word. I too was appalled by Red Kerry’s performance tonight. Of course we can only guess what his motivation might be. Political journos, especially those on TV, are a very competitive lot. Each wants to upstage the others in getting the big scoop, or achieving the gotcha moment, or getting an unguarded answer to the ubiquitous ‘will you guarantee’ question. All week there has been an amassed army of journalists in all parts of the media hell-bent on getting Peter Garrett’s head on a plate. As BB has said several times, they are incensed that Garrett continues to survive when they have repeatedly insisted ‘he must go’. They seem obsessed with having a sacrificial lamb. If I had to hazard a guess at Kerry’s aim tonight, it would be what you proposed when you said [i]” What more did Kerry O'Brien want? Peter Garrett's head on a plate?”[/i]. Yes, if he had achieved that when all his competitors had failed, what a feather in his cap that would be. But they are all whistling in the breeze. Garrett is going nowhere no matter how much those in the media stamp their feet, no matter how much hysteria Tony Abbott injects into the debate. They will become exhausted before Kevin Rudd or Peter Garrett. When something juicier comes along to distract them watch them switch horses. How much damage such interviews do to Rudd is hard to discern. While his opponents will be clapping their hands, his supporters will be seething. But how will the swinging voters react? Will they applaud Kerry for mercilessly hammering Rudd? Or will they applaud Rudd for sticking to his guns and remaining calm and logical in the face of extreme provocation? Who knows? I suspect reasonable people don’t approve of the bullying that we saw on the [i]7.30 Report[/i] tonight. It will be interesting to see how Barrie Cassidy handles Rudd on [i]Insiders[/i] on Sunday. This will be his first appearance there in a couple of years. Barrie might be circumspect in his handling of the interview lest he not see Rudd on his program for another couple of years.

janice

25/02/2010HillBillySkeleton, the media want someone (preferrably Garrett) to be punished by suffering the ultimate punishment meted out to a Government Minister. It is not enough for Rudd to take responsibility, admit and apologise for any mistakes that were made or perceived to have been made. They are not interested in the notion that the employer installers should be held accountable for shoddy work and negligence in not adhering to safety regulations. The question that should be asked of Kerry O'Brien, who wants to know who in the Government is going to be made to suffer the same pain suffered by the bereaved and those who lost their homes by fire is a simple one: Do you think that their pain will be eased or washed away if Minister Garrett is hung, drawn and quartered? And, would you be happy if their pain is avenged with a political scalp or would you then turn on the next in line without mercy?

Bilko

25/02/2010AA If you listen to Parliamentary QT the majority of the Questions start with "will the PM/Minister whoever admit/explain, "substitute "failed, flawed, botched, debacle, scandal, disaster, fiasco, catastrophe, crisis, tragedy, calamity, farce, fraudulent, mishandled, scrapped" program/package etc etc. How could anyone on the Government side honestly answer such a question, when to do so would be to acknowledge or give some credence to the accusation built into the question? I believe that the ABC is about to lift its game, however Janet A, is gone and Windshuttle will not far behind. The bottom line from the Murdoch media outlets "is NOT to let the true facts get in the way of a good story/beat up/whatever". It's as if the journalists you refer to, are following the Coalition song sheet, with not AN original thought amoungst themselves. keep up the excellent standards and maybe my dream from earlier blog messages to this site for an unbiased ABC will come to pass.

John

25/02/2010I agree that the MSM is suffering a loss of influence. From a political tragic, I haven't watched insiders for months and my viewing of The Australian is a quick scan of the online headlines and a look at the cartoon of the day. No joy for advertising revenue there. From a business perspective, you have to wonder at the business model that is being advanced and how much longer it can go on in its gradual decline.

Blyfu

25/02/2010Well, well is the tide of opinion turning in the MSM? For the first time I can recall in recent memory "Red Kerry" has held a Labor minister up for real scutiny and to account. Tonight on the 7:30 Report it just happened to be the PM. It is usually an approach that Kerry reserves for conservative politicians only. Kerry can never ever be categorised as anti Labor. He is a ring leader of the media cheer squad for the Labor party. Kerry sought answers to his questions and for once didn't obliging accept the PM's diversions, self questioning and non answers that he offered up. By my observation it was an experience the PM is unaccustomed to. Being asked to answer hard questions with answers that have substance. Our Dear Leader is much more comfortable with the confected, scripted nonsense of the nature that he indulges in on Channel Seven's Sunrise with Kochie. A very lack lustre and unconvincing performance by the PM tonight. How much are you willing to bet he won't appear on the 7:30 Report again before the election?

Daisey May

25/02/2010I think the biggest problem with most political journalism in Australia is the lack of generational change. We have been reading the same stuff by the same people for so long that we are simply exhausted. For a long time now I have skipped over articles based on the byline and I suspect many readers are the same. A new approach is needed and a return to the basic concepts of factual reporting is long overdue. Up until quite recently the journos of this country could get away with dreadful standards of reportage. A weekly shellacking on Media Watch was about the only punishment they had to worry about but things are (thankfully)looking up. I find it ironic that the truly shithouse hacks are now facing a hostile reading public without understanding the reasons why. There are now many people who not only refuse to buy newspapers but source their news from other types of media. Big media companies the world over are losing money hand over fist and they have no idea how to arrest this decline. I thought Mark Scott's recent speech on crumbling empires was beautifully argued and deadly accurate. It's not only the moguls who are terrified of losing power but the gutless journos that are commandeered to prop up that pathetic little house of cards. Does anyone imagine that journalists are leaping for joy at the prospect of paywalls? I hope to see them introduced before I die just to see how quickly the chaff is sorted from all the other chaff. Perhaps it will force these companies to reassess what it is that news organisations are actually supposed to do, ie, report the news. Not make it up; not distort it; not reinterpret it; not spin it to death; not omit facts pertinent to it and most imprtantly not give in to vested interests and flaccid old fools with more money than sense. This leads me to the ABC. It is very tempting in light of the recent plunge in standards to claim the nations broadcaster is in the spare room running a up a coalition banner on the taxpayer funded spinning wheel but on balance I think they are doing ok. When Labour is in power the ABC are hideous six headed monsters intent on destroying free thinking democrats . When the Libs are in power it's all fascist, pinko, lesbo loving falafel eaters who would rather fold basket weaving latte drinkers into a national narrative than admit to how glorious workchoices would be to small business owners and even smaller dicked owners. A number of posters have pointed out problems I have missed but the biggest for me is time and space. We have umpteen media outlets all vying for the advertising dollar and most of them don't care how they get it. That is why we are saddled with careless reporting, sensationalist claptrap, mindless inanity masquerading as serious journalism and downright ugly propaganda.In the 24 hour news cycle there are only so many stories and a very limited way to pad those stories out. Just watch the nightly news. Four minutes of "news" then ads. Another four minutes and ads again. After that we get sport, weather and then the shaggy dog story. The simple fact is that human life on a day to day basis is pretty boring. No-one will say that of course because the whole edifice is built on the presumption that human affairs are endlessly fascinating. This is why a story about human suffering can live cheek by jowl next to an ad for orange juice or nail polish remover. I grew up watching Media Watch when it had a pair and only now feel the blood pumping again. The blogosphere has many faults but being able to confront and dimantle the dishonest arguments of disgustingly inept journalists in this country is not one of them.

Rx

26/02/2010[b]Dear Bushfire Bill,[/b] I hereby join with others asking you to consider submitting some of your pieces to the ABC's 'Drum Unleashed' blog. You could out-write and outsmart those RWFs they're always publishing with one hand tied behind your back. They/we desperately need the balance. Please do it Bushy! http://www.abc.net.au/unleashed/suggest/?layout=popup

Sir Ian Crisp

26/02/2010Thanks HillbillySkeleton for your kind suggestion. I was merely trying to establish TPS's rules for this week. Surely you're not suggesting that AA jettison Mark Bahnish's "Blogging Bible" if AA himself contributed to the list of rules. That would put AA in the same league as Peter Garrett and his bark hut philosophy. Garrett ditched all he held to be sacred in order to join the ALP. So much for principles I s'pose. I refuse to believe that AA is that sort of person.

vote1maxine

26/02/2010AA Another excellent post with a great supporting cast of BB, HBS, Janice, Bilko inter alia. Unfortunately, the Fourth Estate is in rapid descent into propagandism for the Right as its raison d'etre. The pace of this descent reflects the consolidation of media ownership into the hands of the very few who support the Right for their own economic benefit. Fortunately, this is beginning to be countered by the rise of the blogosphere, which I regard as the "Fifth Estate". Where the dissemination of both fact and opinion is undertaken by the hands of the many. A far more democratic approach. I prefer to be informed by fact and well constructed argument rather than be incensed by hysterical rantings of opinionistas who think they are journalists carrying out their function of reportage of news. Of course not all journos fit into this category. However there are far too many bootstrappers posing as journos to sift through to get to the real facts and well argued opinions. Thank god for blogs such as TPS, Possum, The Piping Shrike etc. I agree with those who lament the demise of the ABC. I used to religiously listen / watch AM, PM, 7:30 Report, Lateline & Insiders. These days I more often do not. The blogosphere has become my daily prime source of information and well argued opinion. AA I think that you have been far too kind in referring to the Australian as "our premier national newspaper". It is just a national broadsheet, second class at best.

Michael

26/02/2010It's the curse of the byline. The celebrity journalist who pulls off a king hit on a politician or some other public figure has become the 'hero' of the craft, so that reporting events is now secondary to telling the story of events in your own individual way. To being the celebrated author. For those still seeking recognition, or feeling that their profile is slipping, if the facts don't fit, or are too irksome to actually dig for, pump up the story. Who cares if it's a 'good read', and stirs response? We should all care, because the inevitable result of news outlets emphasising the commenting upon events over the reporting of them, is that the commentators get into competitive commentary. All aware of each other, each is trying to 'own' the story, but in seeking clear and manifest ownership of it, they begin to reshape it to their own signature style of telling it. The facts then become elements of their own story, mere backdrops to establishing their identity as THE commentator upon ALL stories in their supposed area of expertise. And if that expertise is clearly much less than they believe it to be, the truth of the matter is lost even further behind the hyperbole, confected outrage, leaden irony, or whatever 'style' it is any commentator you might like to nominate claims as their own. Michael

HillbillySkeleton

26/02/2010Sorry guys, this is a bit long because I took the subject matter seriously. Please bear with me... AA, I'm glad you're being as unflinching and relenless in your pursuit of the MSM, as they are in their pursuit of Kevin Rudd! It's about time that they had their day of reckoning, and I hope from little things, like 'The Political Sword', big things will grow, such as bringing these charlatans who masquerade as objective journalists, to account. Firstly, might I go to the topic of unaccountability. When was the last time one of the entrenched opinionistas was sacked for bringing the profession of journalism into disrepute, either as a result of their agenda-driven behaviour, or for flat out being wrong? Just who is Paul Sheeham accountable to on a week to week basis, other than his Editor who appears to be encouraging him, as he churns out ever more bilious, anti-Rudd government purple prose with the singular intention of causing as much damage to them as possible, hopefully to eventually wound them fatally? Is he under riding instructions from the Editor-In-Chief to go that hard? Or from the Fairfax board? Or does have have overt approval to do & say whatever the hell he pleases because he is from the almost untouchable caste of 'Senior Political Correspondent'? I just can't fathom it. And the same appears to go for Miranda Devine, and gerard Henderson at the smh, even though they have all been shown to be knaves wrt to some of the stories they have peddled in the past; Paul Sheehan especially with his 'Miracle Water' ers guff and nonsense. I mean, doesn't that incident just prove that Mr Sheehan is no more erudite than any other man in the street, so why is he and his opinions given given national prominence and more credence than others? And speaking of the Devinely devious Ms M, since when has nepotism been the main qualifying factor for a big gig(I include Pia Akerman and Leo Shanahan in this basket as well)? As in, their fathers are doyennes'(and I use that word advisedly)), of Australian journalism, ergo they go to the front and centre of the journalism pack, barely catching breath before they, too, are out there pontificating with the best of them. Miranda Devine's father had barely gone cold in the ground before she took up the conservative cudgels on his behalf. In fact, it was obvious that he was grooming her for exactly that job up until his death, even though he was at News Ltd. and she at Fairfax. I guess Ron Walker, Chairman of Fairfax and Liberal Party 'Board' member had something to do with it. Because they know how the game is played, and are prepared to play it, and have been schooled in the rules of the game since they were knee-high to a printing press, they are allowed easy access and given a spot on the team. Also, to the casual observer, it appears to be a sinecure for life. For no matter how many holes get blown in their stories, or their credibility, none of them are ever held to account for the quality or nature of their work. They just go on, and on, and on, honing their 'craft'. No matter how many letters of complaint to the Editor are written, they're always back again next week to do it all over again, until the media proprietors have achieved their aim, via their cyphers, I presume, of getting the Rudd government 'turfed out' of office. Which leads me to the next point I wish to make. The rise to prominence of 'Advocacy Journalism'(see here for an explanation: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Advocacy_journalism and its confrere, 'Yellow Journalism'(see here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yellow_journalism), to further its aims. So much so that you can no longer rely on even the so-called 'Journals of Record' in the media, and their equivalents on radio and TV, to behave with the decorum expected of respected, reliable media outlets. As, dare I say it, a direct result of Rupert Murdoch's successful media startegy of encouraging an irresponsible Laissez aire approach to the once serious pursuit of political commentary. It started with kneecapping the Print Unions at Wapping, and went on from there to dismantle the journo's collective strength, which had operated as a bullwark against vertically-integrated tabloidisation of all a proprietor's outlets, including the formerly serious, sombre, rational and reasonable ones, in a race to the bottom with the bottom-feeders, such that we now have all of them seeking to adopt, to varying degrees, the Fox News/News Corp. model of bloviating journalist/political commentator, compared with their more traditional news reporting and sober commentary role(though I will say some are gamely struggling on against the tide, like Peter Hartcher, for example). There is now also much blurring of the lines between news reporting and commentary, especially with Newscaf's new 24/7 profile. Waht have been the upshots of this? ''Gotcha!' journalism. The interview, not to tease out the facts, but to lay a trap that the interviewer hopes the interviewee will fall into. Such that we see a badgering & hectoring and interrupting of answers, in a poorly-designed attempt to drag the subject back to the path the trap has been laid on. Also, the political interview as some form of journalistic pissing contest, to see who can bring senior figures of the government lowest, by fair means or foul. Often only for the ultimate benefit of the Opposition and not the edification of the viewing public. As was noted elsewhere, also to engender that staple of journalism, conflict, and to attempt to create a conflagration. For example, what would be the result, at the end of the day, if the Press and the Opposition succeed in having the Home Insulation Scheme shut down? Sure, the government would be mortally wounded, and the Opposition would have a new crusade/frolic to embark upon, that of baying for blood on behalf of those whose jobs/livelihoods have been lost. What they would never admit to though, is the fact that it is because of their cynical political opportunism that those people are out of work. Neither will the Press admit it because they are as complicit in the commission of this crime against the piggies in the middle, the Home Insulators. Finally, I'd just like to pointedly target again the role of the proprietors & Editors in the 'Once Were Journalists, Now Are Stars' syndrome. They deserve as much blame as the journalists themselves because, at the end of the day, tho' enthusiastic contributors, it's the Editors & Proprietors who have given them their riding instructions, oversee their work, create the 'Group Think' atmosphere and the Echo Chamber of like-behaving compadres. Also, it is they who make sure that they always have a token 'Lefty' journalist like Phillip Adams on staff, as a shield against critics of the obvious bias that they promulgate in other parts of their respective publications, radio or TV stations. For I'm sure that if Dennis Shanahan et al. didn't perform the way they were expected to, or didn't come to the job with the inbuilt bias expected of them in-house, then they would be shown the door toot sweet.

HillbillySkeleton

26/02/2010Rx, I totally agree with your suggestion for BB(and AA) to submit their pieces to The Drum Unleashed(as well as keep them here for us to discuss). As you say the Rightoids have shown no hesitation in co-opting whatever new media outlet appears on the horizon.

lyn1

26/02/2010Hi Ad Thankyou for an Excellent column again providing fantastic comments coming in. Ad and Bushfire Bill what an exiting idea by Rx, pretty please Ad could you and BB do some serious considering. Everyone should read your column Ad on 21/5/09 link below http://www.thepoliticalsword.com/post/2009/05/21/How-do-you-rate-our-political-journalists.aspx I was so disgusted with Kerrie O'brien as well, none of his questions were original anyway, they were straight from Tony Abbotts mouth, but I was horrified at Kevin Rudd, which made me remember Bushfire Bills piece, Why I am annoyed with Kevin Rudd and why I am not quote "but sometimes one finds one’s self shouting at the television, “Just bloody say something out of your own damn mouth for a change, will you !?” Here is the link http://www.thepoliticalsword.com/post/2010/01/19/Why-I-am-annoyed-with-Kevin-Ruddand-why-Ie28099m-not.aspx I am watching Kevin Rudd slapping my face "Oh no don't give the MSM and Abbott more fodder, sure as eggs he did, Fran Kelly in the drum has decided to be very nasty "Prime Ministerial Blah Blah? Here they all are on cue this morning that is if anybody wants to bother reading the nonsense: http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2010/02/26/2830726.htm?site=thedrum http://www.theage.com.au/national/i-failed-on-insulation-program-rudd-admits-20100226-p671.html http://www.heraldsun.com.au/news/national/kevin-rudd-is-in-rush-for-new-home-insulation-scheme-and-will-announce-a-rescue-package-for-the-thousands-of-insulation-companies-facing-ruin/story-e6frf7l6-1225834525819 http://www.smh.com.au/national/mps-told-to-face-voters-over-insulation-bungle-20100225-p60p.html http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/opinion/pm-taking-a-risk-by-grabbing-centre-stage/story-e6frg75f-1225834540451 http://blogs.news.com.au/heraldsun/andrewbolt/index.php/heraldsun/comments/no_thanks_to_kerry/ http://blogs.news.com.au/heraldsun/andrewbolt/index.php/heraldsun/comments/obrien_shows_just_why_rudd_must_go/ http://news.smh.com.au/breaking-news-national/pm-too-proud-for-insulation-apology-20100226-p6di.html http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/im-to-blame-for-the-lot-in-bungled-insulation-scheme-kevin-rudd-declares/story-e6frg6xf-1225834540206

Ad astra reply

26/02/2010janice You’re right – the media and the Opposition are determined that someone must be made to suffer because of the insulation issue. Kerry O’Brien was pursuing this line. He was not satisfied with Kevin Rudd taking responsibility – he wanted Peter Garrett to lose his job as punishment. This masquerades as the ‘Westminster principle of ministerial responsibility’, which no one to my knowledge has thoroughly explored and explained in the context of this matter. It’s vaguely understood by most people, but they are happy to take journalists’ or politicians’ word for it. We need an expert exposition to enable correct understanding of its operation. Writing in the [i]SMH[/i] yesterday Simon Longstaff executive director of St James Ethics Centre tried to explain it in [i]Garrett must accept harsh necessities of our constitution[/i] http://www.smh.com.au/opinion/politics/garrett-must-accept-harsh-necessities-of-our-constitution-20100224-p3dx.html It’s worth a read but a couple of paragraphs in the middle are telling: He writes: [i]“By convention, the Australian constitution sets the bar of ministerial responsibility impossibly high. In all fairness, no minister could ever be expected to master complete knowledge and control over each and every aspect of their department.” Yet, it is essential that we maintain the fiction that this is so. From this fiction, the standard of ministerial responsibility is derived.[/i] He concludes: [i]“ It also remains a matter for Peter Garrett to decide, in all good conscience, whether he can stand before his colleagues in the House of Representatives and attest to the fact that he and his department took all reasonable steps to identify and mitigate foreseeable risks. If he cannot give that assurance, then despite his unblemished character, despite the possible ignoble motives of his pursuers, despite the unfairness of it all … he must resign.” [/i]. There you have it. Although I agree with HBSk’s suggestion that O’Brien wanted Garrett’s head on a plate and his actions were in line with that objective, I can’t believe that he expected Rudd to deliver that on live TV last night. Perhaps he felt he should join his media colleagues in pressing for that to avoid being seen as a wimp. Groupthink pervades the whole MSM. Because the celebrities too are part of this they like to maintain their macho image by going along with the group – to do otherwise would look weak. Your last point is germane. Are we a society that believes that making someone else suffer, even if that person was not directly responsible for the suffering of others, somehow reduces the suffering of those others? That’s not even revenge, it’s scapegoating. This morning I note that Tony Abbott is questioning Kevin Rudd’s sincerity in his O’Brien interview, and insisting that the only way Rudd can show his sincerity is to sack Garrett. So our Tony now sets the rules for measuring sincerity, and is not prepared to grant Kevin absolution although he's said he's sorry. Perhaps we ought not to be surprised. Bilko Thank you for your encouraging comments. QT has become a sickening recital of the same hackneyed words, the same questions over and again with minimal variation, to which the same answers are provided. The Coalition is running out of puff. They are not going to get their man, and the longer they go on with their faltering attacks, the sillier they look. The journalists will probably soon tire and look for something more interesting. I note Barrie Cassidy wrote on [i]The Drum[/i] yesterday that the [i]Garrett fiasco not going away[/i] http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2010/02/24/2829055.htm?site=thedrum Groupthink or wishful thinking? Rudd is on [i]Insiders[/i] on Sunday; Barrie would want the matter to still be extant then, wouldn’t he?

Ad astra reply

26/02/2010John I expect there are many like you who are using newspapers less; that is worrying the proprietors. Blyfu Welcome to [i]TPS[/i]. I imagine that Kevin Rudd’s performance last night on the [i]7.30 Report[/i] will be judged quite differently by those who dislike him and his Government on the one hand and by those who like him and support his Government on the other. The comments on [i]The Poll Bludger[/i] reflect this. Most thought he was sincere, calm and convincing, while others felt it was a poor performance. One even counted the number of times he said ‘um’ or ‘ah’ while searching the Minter Ellison document for what he wanted, and found him of being guilty of too many. We all have our biases and see the world through our own unique optics. On such issues we can argue the toss until the cows come home without approaching resolution. I have seen Kerry O’Brien hammer Rudd just as hard many times previously, just as he hammered Brendan Nelson and Malcolm Turnbull. I’ve not yet seen him putting Tony Abbott under pressure. Kerry is said to be left-leaning. I don’t know if that’s so; do you? I think he at least wants to be seen as even-handed. We’ll watch to see if Rudd appears again on the [i]7.30 Report[/i]; he’s appearing on Sunday on [i]Insiders[/i]. Daisey May You make a very salient point. There has not been much turnover in the ranks of senior journalists. There are some younger ones on Fox News. So the competition between the gladiators for scoops, exclusives and gotcha moments is intense. Yet their propensity to groupthink often overrides their competitiveness. Few have come out in this insulation issue with a contrary view. Refreshingly, Bernard Keane of [i]Crikey[/i] is one. You’re right when you cite the financial incentive as an overriding one in commercial media outlets. That should leave Our ABC in an advantaged position, but sadly it seems hell-bent on following the commercial stations down the sensationalist path. Just listen to the language used on both ABC radio and TV. It is full of the pejorative descriptors that place it on one side or the other, when it is supposed to be even-handed, balanced and fair.

Ad astra reply

26/02/2010vote1maxine Thank you for your kind remarks. I like you use of the ‘Fifth Estate’ to identify the blogosphere. It is increasing in influence, and if one can judge from the rising visits just to this site, will continue to do so. You’re right when you attribute to the blogosphere [i]”...the dissemination of both fact and opinion...undertaken by the hands of the many. A far more democratic approach.”[/i] Just look at the increasing number who offer a carefully considered opinion here. We don’t know who else visits here, but I suspect some mainstream journalists might, and that some definitely do. So let’s press on with our critiquing of the MSM, and hope for change. Michael I agree with your statement [i]” The celebrity journalist who pulls off a king hit on a politician or some other public figure has become the 'hero' of the craft, so that reporting events is now secondary to telling the story of events in your own individual way.”[/i] The expertise of which journalists boast is less content expertise that it is editorial. While there are a few who specialise and whose opinions are worthy, most are ‘generic’ and need therefore to research their pieces thoroughly. Because they too often don’t bother, we get the poor quality we see.

janice

26/02/2010Ad astra, re your comment below: "I have seen Kerry O’Brien hammer Rudd just as hard many times previously, just as he hammered Brendan Nelson and Malcolm Turnbull. I’ve not yet seen him putting Tony Abbott under pressure. Kerry is said to be left-leaning. I don’t know if that’s so; do you? I think he at least wants to be seen as even-handed. We’ll watch to see if Rudd appears again on the 7.30 Report; he’s appearing on Sunday on Insiders." I've noticed Kerry O'Brien pussy-foots around Abbott but as yet haven't come to a conclusion as to why he is doing this. Perhaps it has something to do with religion? Whatever, my respect for Kerry O'Brien has been gradually declining for a year or so now. It seems to me that he has become overly enamoured with his own importance which is diminishing his objectivity which ensured viewers tuned into the 7.30 report each evening. I have never been sure whether Kerry leans to the left or the right and it is that unbiased face which has given him his influence and made him popular with viewers. Wholeheartedly agree with you HillBilly - excellent post. I really think it might be a good idea if you also submitted your pieces to the Drum/Unleashed.

Ad astra reply

26/02/2010HillbillySkeleton What a contribution you are making to the debate on this site. Thank you. The attention you have drawn to ‘advocacy journalism’ is timely. Using your Wikipedia link, it is defined as follows: [i]” Advocacy journalism is a genre of journalism that intentionally and transparently adopts a non-objective viewpoint, usually for some social or political purpose. Because it is intended to be factual, it is distinguished from propaganda. It is also distinct from instances of media bias and failures of objectivity in media outlets, which attempt to be — or which present themselves as — objective or neutral.”[/i] That is what we are seeing. And your point that it is the proprietors and editors who are behind this is manifestly plausible. Of course the journos would disagree and insist that they have a free hand to write or say whatever they want, and that they have never been instructed what to say or do. That might be so, but even small children knows what their parents think and want, and fall in line. Otherwise how can one explain why all except one of Rupert Murdoch’s editors editorialized in favour of the Iraq war? Journos know on what side their bread is buttered; too many fall into line with their outlet’s preferred position. Groupthink is the other operative influence. It takes courage to step out of line. It seems courage is in short supply among many journalists.

john Ryan

26/02/2010If the Govt wins the next election he should immediately change the media laws to make it a condition of owing a Newspaper or TV station and radio that you must be permanently living Australia for taxation purposes,and the company must be HQ in Australia as well,if you own a paper dual citizenship should not be allowed. I think there are a few other laws to scuttle some of these bastards,if Rudd wins I think the gloves should come off with these dogs

lyn1

26/02/2010Hi Ad Ad did you see my comment. I think you might have missed it.

lyn1

26/02/2010Hi Ad this by Bernard Keane is a must read for everybody. http://www.crikey.com.au/2010/02/26/dear-media-are-we-all-vented-now/

Ad astra reply

26/02/2010Lyn1 Again, thank you for your links – you do keep us up-to-date and save us all a lot of searching. The pieces show the vultures circling hoping there will be carrion to tear to shreds. But no one is dead yet, much to their disgust and dismay. They are heavy with sarcasm about Rudd’s concessions, and take pleasure in tearing strips off him. Bolt is predictably vitriolic and I see is now insisting that ‘Rudd must go’. He’s doing a Turnbull. Fran Kelly’s piece was more balanced than the headline suggested: [i]” Is this the end of Prime Ministerial Blah Blah?”[/i] But it did show the power of slogans. I believe ‘Blah Blah’ was invented by Abbott, but it has caught the imagination of the journalists – expect to see more of it. Political tragic like us dwell on every word that politicians and interviewers utter. We become irritated by repetition. But as I have said so many times on this blog, Rudd is not talking to us, but to the millions of busy Mums and Dads who catch just fragments of political news among the piles of dross perpetuated by the visual media day after day. That’s why we heard ‘working families’ countless times. That’s why we hear Abbott mouthing ‘a great big new tax’ over and again. No one seems to be complaining about that. Moreover, having heard Rudd hundreds of times on radio and TV, what we saw last night is his style in those situations. He always looks apprehensive when fronting Kerry O’Brien and Tony Jones as he knows how savage they can be, and how one misplaced word can cause so much damage as it is amplified and repeated endlessly in all forms of the media. He is waiting for them to pounce with a ‘will you guarantee’ question or trap him with a gotcha. So he weighs every word carefully, too carefully for many, lest he find himself trapped. His style on lighter programs is relaxed, smiling and confident. While I imagine his media minders have briefed him with what they believe are suitable words and phrases, what he utters is, I believe, what he genuinely wants to say, awkward though it may sound. Some journalists like to portray him as an automaton that speaks gibberish. This mystifies me as I have never had any problem in understanding what he says, even if I would have said it another way. It seems that many commentators have taken a dislike to his style of delivery, and no matter what he says, they will always criticize him. As your links show, the media is revved up and looking for blood – the political equivalent of ‘the pecked chook syndrome’ where if only some blood can be drawn, barnyard death will not be far away. How much effect this will have on the swinging voters is impossible to know. Rudd’s opponents would like to promote this as a terminal condition, while his supporters would prefer to see the mea culpa approach as a turning point in getting the Government back on track again. I guess the polls will eventually give us the answer.

Ad astra reply

26/02/2010Talking of polls, today's Morgan poll just out carries the headline [i]ALP slips slightly but holds big lead: ALP 56.5% (down 1%) - L-NP 43.5% (up 1%)[/i] The poll was taken over last weekend, February 20/21, when the Garrett insulation issue was extant, but perhaps not at its crescendo. Morgan comments: [i]“The latest Morgan Poll conducted last weekend shows a slight tightening between the Rudd Government (56.5%, down 1%) and the L-NP Opposition (43.5%, up 1%). Dominating much of the news over the past two weeks has been Environment Minister Peter Garret’s conduct of the home insulation rebate scheme. Opposition calls for Garrett to resign for mismanaging the scheme have so far fallen on deaf ears and Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has now taken full responsibility for the scheme himself. “Today’s Morgan Poll suggests that the electorate are not impressed with the Government’s handling of the issue as the ALP’s primary vote has fallen 2% to 45% - its lowest Face-to-Face Morgan Poll result since mid-November 2009.”[/i] So far the damage to the Government is limited, but Tuesday’s Newspoll might tell a different story.

Ad astra reply

26/02/2010The link to the Morgan poll is http://www.roymorgan.com/news/polls/2010/4472/

Ad astra reply

26/02/2010Lyn1 I did see your comment at 11:58 AM; I presume that is the one to which you are referring. Thank you for your kind remarks and for drawing my attention to past [i]TPS[/i] pieces on journalists, which I must say I enjoyed re-reading. Nothing much changes does it. I’ve been struggling today to keep up with the comments that have arrived. They are so well written, I feel obliged to respond in some detail. They enrich this site immeasurably. Which brings me to the suggestion that we should offer pieces to [i]The Drum[/i] or [i]Unleashed[/i]. For my part, I’m flat out servicing this site. BB can speak for himself. I agree with janice that HillbillySkeleton should consider offering some of her superb pieces to those outlets. I said earlier that Bernard Keane was one of the few who had the guts to run against the rest of the media pack. This piece is further evidence of this. I particularly enjoyed the paragraph [i]The latest example of having it both ways is that Kevin Rudd — notoriously the worst micro-manager in the world, and subject to a steady stream of media criticism about how his urge to control is strangling the Government — apparently didn’t micro-manage this program enough and ought to have demanded continual briefings about it and intervened to guarantee that no one in an entire industry acted illegally or with poor judgement.[/i] Not that the media would be aware of its inconsistency.

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26/02/2010John Ryan I think this is your first visit to [i]TPS[/i]. If so welcome. I must say I bridle at the control Uncle Rupert has over the world’s media and particularly in this country. As mentioned earlier, his control is not just as a proprietor, his influence pervades his papers, and subtly extends to editorial matters, despite the indignant protestations of his editors who insist they have complete freedom. The evidence points the other way. Whether there is anything that can be done to curb the near-monopoly of mainstream newspapers enjoyed by News Limited is doubtful. Rx Thank you for your suggestion that has been echoed by others, that BB write for [i]The Drum[/i] or [i]Unleashed[/i]. I’ll leave it to him to respond.

Bushfire Bill

26/02/2010Reality Check (after reading Lyn1's link to the SMH): [i]"The government remains under fire over the roof insulation rebate program, which was scrapped last week after being connected to four deaths, nearly 100 house fires and [b]thousands of electrified roofs[/b]."[/i] As far as I can recall, even Dennis shanahan and Greg Hunt asserted (by extrapolation) that there were only [i]one thousand[/i] roofs potentially electrified. This article has taken the word "thousand" and pluralized it to "thousands". It is clearly wrong, and worse, [i]lazy[/i] and wrong. The source is given as "AAP", that is, Australian Associated Press, supposedly a firm that gathers [i]raw[/i] news, for subsequent use by by-lined journalists at the various newspapers and other media outlets. AAP now seems to have joined in the bandwagon and is upping the ante. It's like the story of the Chicken That Lost A Feather. By the time the story got around the barnyard - each time with an extra embellishment - and back to the original chicken whp'd lost a single feather, the story had the chicken completely plucked and eaten! 1. Hunt takes a figure of 17 electrified roofs in 700 (2.43% of the sample) and extrapolates it to "potentially 1000 roofs" in 47,000 (approximately the same percentage, the an accurate figure would be 1140). 2. Shanahan (and others) quotes Hunt's number, but leaves out the fact that it is extrapolated and an upper potential limit. Hence Shanahan writes "a thousand electrified roofs". 3. A couple of days later AAP takes the word "thousand" and turns it into "thousands". Now AAP have taken the "thousand" part and amplified it in the laziest and most incorrect manner possible. Similar liberties were taken with the estimated cost of the electrical audit of the 47,000 homes: the original figure was worked out at about 9 million dollars. It is now generally quoted as "$50 million dollars". This is traceable back to an original article by Samantha Maiden inthe Australian where she mistakenly (I [i]hope[/i] it was a mistake!) included a price for "quote-and-repair" combined, summing to, in some cases, up to $1000, inand then set this as the cost for just the quote. So suddenly we had 47,000 homes at $1000 each, rounding out to "50 million dollars". Anyone with any real-life experience of electricians' costs would realise that, at $100 per hour this would mean each [i]quote[/i] took 10 hours (to quickly check whether foil came near wiring), which is completely ridiculous. But nobody in the media bothered to do even this basic sum, or use their common sense, hence the "50 million" figure has wide currency. The herd instinct was just too strong to resist the pull of a really BIG number. This is happening time and time again. Figures like "thousands of homes" and "50 million dollars" are bandied about, almost as a colloquial preface to remarks on the Insulation story. Likewise, no-one - including even straight news bulletins at this stage - seems to be able to say "Insulation Scheme" without a pejorative adjective being included, like "botched" or "disastrous". Once upon a time (a few days ago!) we often saw "flawed" or troubled" as the adjective [i]du jour[/i], but the single chicken's feather has now become the whole chook, and no self-respecting journalist can help themselves. It has to be "botched", "fiasco", "disastrous" and so on. These kinds of pejoprative words remind me of a drug-addicted junkie: after just a little while a single hit doesn't give them the high they need. The junkie needs more and more, just as the journalists need stronger and stronger language, when the simple words "Insulation scheme" would suffice to get their factual reference across.

Northern Roo

26/02/2010Garret slightly diminished, Combet promoted. A stunning own goal for the Coalition.

Bushfire Bill

26/02/2010Northern Roo above wrote: [i][b]Garret slightly diminished, Combet promoted. A stunning own goal for the Coalition.[/b][/i] Maybe, but that's not how Dennis Shanahan sees it. He seems to be almost wetting himself with excitement of Garrett's demotion as he rushes out 150 triumphant words: [i]PETER Garrett's sacking over the roofing insulation scheme - and that's what it is - has extended the sense of crisis about the failed $2.45 billion project and heaped more pressure on Kevin Rudd. In an attempt to clean up the mess the Prime Minister has made things worse. ... Garrett has been left to the geckoes and is filling valuable space in Cabinet."[/i] My, my Dennis must have been streseed over the past week. His last nasty words in Garrett's direction are almost rabid with hatred. But there's more: [i]But it’s not just a question of Garrett and roofing insulation. This symbolises the collapse of climate change politics for the Government and a complete re-ordering of priorities after the shelving of the ETS."[/i] Well, at last we can see what Shanahan was on about... All those calls for Garrett's sacking have (and I believe) would [i]always[/i] resulted in Shanahan upping the ante to include Rudd, and ultimately the government. Dennis is on record as saying Garrett is "finished as a minister". He is having no truck with namby-pamby descriptions of today's events as a "demotion". Garrett was [i]sacked[/i]. Got it? It all fits in neatly with Dennis's agenda: the target is Rudd, was Rudd and will always be Rudd... Garrett was just a pathway to the Prime Minister. Giving him a half-baked "scalp" will not mollify Dennis Shanahan at all. It will only encourage him. As to Dennis wetting his pants, we are breathlessly told at the end of the short article: [i][b]Get the full analysis by Dennis Shanahan and complete coverage of the story in The Weekend Australian tomorrow.[/i][/b] ... and you can bet it will be "full"... of doom and gloom for Rudd (especially on a Newspoll weekend). Dennis will be up all night chuckling to himself as he adds absolutes and the most insulting pejoratives he can muster to his sure-to-be cocky article for tomorrow's edition. He will see himself as back in the Kingmaking Business again. At first examination I feel it's a dreadful mistake for Rudd to make, demoting Garrett (it clearly is not a "sacking", whether Shanahan thinks it is or not). It has given them their scalp by declaration ([i]their[/i] declaration, of course). A very poor decision on Rudd's behalf.

Northern Roo

26/02/2010How can a greater profile for Combet - the workers' champion - be anything but positive for the ALP? This will turn into a workers' rights issue & then watch as Abbott and his media cohorts burn the midnight oil to no avail.

HillbillySkeleton

26/02/2010Northern Roo, Tho' somehow the Opposition have now morphed this response by the government into Rudd has to go. They're nothing if not predictable.

lyn1

26/02/2010Hi Ad Thankyou so much for your replies Ad, I always enjoy them so much, and because you respond in detail is what makes TPS so special, an extra special Blog site. Ad I hope you didn't mind me asking had you read my comment, it is just that I was busting to find out what you would say about writing for The Drum. The comments coming in this week are marvelous, fantastic and extremely enjoyable. I can fully understand how busy you must be, and as you said comments so well written responding in detail of course would take time. This first: http://blogs.crikey.com.au/thestump/2010/02/26/garrett-loses-insulation-et-al-to-rudds-mr-fixit/ And then as to be expected this: http://www.theaustralian.com.au/politics/kevin-rudd-cant-even-sack-a-minister-properly-says-tony-abbott/story-e6frgczf-1225834894547 I agree with Janice HillbillySkeleton should send some of her work to the Drum but not at the expense of this our best Blogg, actually Janice you should too, I love your comments Thankyou Bushfire Bill excellent again and again. .

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26/02/2010Northern Roo The Opposition will find Greg Combet a much tougher adversary. He's used to bare-knuckle fighting. BB Time will tell whether this move will be to the Government’s advantage. The Coalition has not got Garrett’s scalp – he is still in Cabinet. Abbott will have to be satisfied with what is a demotion. My guess is that Garrett himself would be happy to shed the responsibility of the insulation program and restrict his efforts to areas his knows and likes. Of course Shanahan will be ecstatic. He’s had to suffer the ignominy of Howard’s defeat and the consistently low polls since Rudd took over, so we shouldn’t be surprised that he has let his hair down today over this matter. Let him have his day. Today’s [i]Morgan[/i] still had the TPP at 56.5/43.5. Dennis will be praying for a [i]Newspol[/i] adverse to Labor, and if that happens he will crow. He’s showing his true colours so we will have no doubts about his leanings ever again.

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26/02/2010Lyn1 Thank you again for the links – you do save me a lot of time scanning. Bernard Keane has been quite the most balanced journalist commenting on this issue. Dennis Shanahan has gone ballistic this afternoon as reported by BB. Let him have his fun; it will likely be short-lived.

janice

26/02/2010Initially I thought it was a poor decision to demote Garrett, BB, but on giving it a lot more thought I think that putting Combet in charge is a wise choice given his experience in dealing with attack dogs. I think that Rudd has come to realise that leaving Garrett to handle it all would just encourage more and more vitriol from Abbott and the media. Thanks Lyn1 for your kind words but I lack the expertise of BB and HillbillySkeleton and I'm not organised enough (too lazy) to keep files of the relevant information I'd need to back up my argument.

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26/02/2010Folks You'll enjoy reading [i]Score one for the ignoarant and for politics[/i] on [i]Grog's Gamut[/i]http://grogsgamut.blogspot.com/2010/02/score-one-for-ignorant-and-for-politics.html

BH

26/02/2010Perhaps Garrett quietly asked not to have to handle Pt 2 of the insulation project. I can't help but think that Combet is a good choice. He is high profile with workers and business and in an election year he knows what is needed. Still no response from ABC, AA.

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26/02/2010BH We should get something on [i]Lateline[/i] tonight at 10.40 from George Brandis and Craig Emerson.

lyn1

26/02/2010Hi Ad Thanks for Grogs link, his blogg is always of high quality and interesting.

Sir Ian Crisp

26/02/2010AA, I read your comment piece “So You Think You’re a Journalist” and the references to the Government’s Home Insulation Program. Minister Garrett, and by extension PM Rudd, sure copped heaps from those hacks and hackettes at the various tabloids. The one description of PM Rudd that was missing was ‘financially illiterate’. I juxtaposed your two comment pieces “Kevin Rudd’s Essay on the Global Financial Crises (GFC)” (7th Feb, 2009) against “So You Think You’re a Journalist” and was shocked at the result. AA, in the GFC comment piece you got us off to a positive start with your intro: “First, I was impressed with what seemed to me to be Rudd’s grasp of macroeconomics… .” Should we follow suit and be impressed also? You told us that Rudd identified rampant capitalism, free market fundamentalism and excessive greed as the causes of the GFC. Further, external regulation was absent or not needed and governmental interference in markets anathema. Rudd then mentioned the baleful figure of Thatcher to cow the great unwashed. Rudd said that what was needed was the application of a good tried and true antidote: social democracy. Rudd sees the way forward as open competitive markets being assisted by the government as a regulator ready to blow the whistle on foul play. Social democracy had as its mission statement “fairness to all”. It was Rudd government that would assume the role of regulator. Rudd signed off his thesis with: “Labor, in the international tradition of social democracy, consistently argues for a central role of government in the regulation of markets and the provision of public goods”. Having waded through your panegyric I gained the impression that those with a vacant mind would come away thinking Rudd was a financial savant, a man on top of his game, the only way forward for Australians. How could Rudd demonstrate to all that he was on top of his game? Along came the Rudd government’s Home Insulation Program, the perfect opportunity to display in parvo his social democracy. Rudd didn’t even read or comprehend his own essay. What we were witness to was a program inhabited by cowboys, rampant capitalism, no sign of a regulator, obfuscation by ministers and department heads, ministers operating in a vacuum, ministers gripped by inertia, ministers afraid or protected from reading reports that they had requested, and, various other insults to social democracy. It stands to reason that such an inchoate policy was bound to end in condign disaster. As I said, the GFC in parvo. The insulation program has become a real tar baby for Rudd. We have four dead workers, the necessity to audit 160,000 homes or maybe more, the exposure of the taxpayers to litigation, 93 house fires, a possible 1000 electrified roofs, the expenditure of AUD$2.45 billion, the forced layoffs of people who are genuine roof insulators, the possibility of genuine roof insulating companies going belly-up, and no bloody sign at all of social democracy. As if to mirror events in the USA at the height of the GFC when Obama tapped GM’s head honcho on the shoulder, we have the comedy of the feckless Minister Garrett being tapped on the shoulder. Greg Combet will now don the superman costume. I think Mr Rudd would do well to read his own essay and develop an understanding of certain words and their meaning. He might start with ‘government regulator’ and ‘social democracy’.

Daisey May

26/02/2010Dennis is more rabid than usual because Barry Cassidy aired the view that the ALP openly laughs at his spin on the newspoll results on last weeks Insiders. Strap yourselves in folks because the Murdoch press are just warming up. Rudd will be re-elected but by the time they are finished with him it will be a miracle if he survives a second term. The only glimmer of hope is the knowledge that they threw everything at him before the last election and it actually worked against them. Yes the ABC have fallen into synch and into the gutter but that is all about awarding the ABC rights to broadcast into Asia over SKY TV which is yet to be announced. Make no mistake, the way politics are reported in Australia is all about money. Who gets it and who doesn't get it will utterly influence the opinions put forth. I think the MSM will hammer Rudd till the election campaign proper starts and then Abbotts decision to back Murdoch over the commercial TV stations will backfire on him big time. I think it hilarious that an Abbott lead government would seriously consider blocking $250 million worth of "good will" prior to an election. I think Rudd is right to focus on Abbotts poor judgement and in the heat of an election campaign all his shortcomings as an alternative PM will be exposed. As cuastic as I often am about the Canberra press gallery they will eventually come around and get off their arses and do some leg work. Not out of a sense of professional duty but like the politicians they routinely hound, their own standards will be ruthlessly and unmercifully be put to the test via the glorious people power enabled by the net.

Bushfire Bill

26/02/2010[i]We have four dead workers,[/i] We don't know the circumstances of their deaths and whether all or any blame can be attributed to the Insulation package. [i]... the necessity to audit 160,000 homes or maybe more,[/i] Where did you get this figure? [i]... the exposure of the taxpayers to litigation,[/i] Who is suing whom? All we have is litigation wish lists, empty threats. [i] 93 house fires,[/i] At last a verifiable number [i] a possible 1000 electrified roofs,[/i] Good, Sir Ian, you're learning not to exaggerate this number as well. [i] the expenditure of AUD$2.45 billion,[/i] This is the budget for the program. It has nothing to do with workmanship, shoddy or otherwise. [i] the forced layoffs of people who are genuine roof insulators, the possibility of genuine roof insulating companies going belly-up,[/i] It was the "genuine roof insulators", or at least their peak bodies, who called for the program's suspension: "Be careful what you wish for...". The insulators should elect new representatives if they got the wrong result. [i] and no bloody sign at all of social democracy.[/i] Thousands of jobs, reduction in electricity bills for years to come, Australia saved from the worst of the GFC in part from the scheme... sounds like social democracy to me.

HillbillySkeleton

26/02/2010According to Lateline tonight it seems as though the Coalition will flat out lie if it sounds good, is vindictive and destructive of the reputation of the Rudd government.

Colen

27/02/2010BB "This is the budget for the program. It has nothing to do with workmanship, shoddy or otherwise." SO if the budget is wasted on shoddy workmanship and rehabilitation.It's not an issue. "It was the "genuine roof insulators", or at least their peak bodies, who called for the program's suspension: "Be careful what you wish for...". The insulators should elect new representatives if they got the wrong result. and no bloody sign at all of social democracy." And you know this because??? Suddenly they listen to the peak body. I'm rolling on the floor. They had a report which they only read last week and they took notice of it. Give me a break. "Thousands of jobs, reduction in electricity bills for years to come, Australia saved from the worst of the GFC in part from the scheme... sounds like social democracy to me." If an unemployment rate of 8.5% is considered high than we are seriously under resourced of the human element at 5.6%. Most countries would consider that full employment. We had better let in anyone applying for residence. Forget about the skills categories. We need all and sundry. This in itself would boost our economy. That famous multiplier. Forget about China needing our resources we will need them. The job's created were merely temporary, the programme was due to end and the employees retrained. Senator Arbib had a new retraining scheme waiting in the wings. Yeah, Yeah and I have a new full head of hair. I some how doubt if the CO2 savings would have been that much. A condition of the installations should have included the age of the house and the condition of the existing insulation. I bet you would find that newly built or renovated houses have been included in the programme by the shonky installers. They were in it to make as much as they could with as little effort possible.

Blyfu

27/02/2010So after accepting full responsibility for the insulation debacle the PM has demoted his "first rate Minister". The sweet irony.

Bushfire Bill

27/02/2010[i]SO if the budget is wasted on shoddy workmanship and rehabilitation.It's not an issue[/i] That statement is hyperbole, fairly typical of the free mixing of milliona and billions going around. I remind you: yesterday AAP wrote that "thousands of homes" were electrified, amplifying a surveyed 17 out of 700 homes into "thousands" in the total figure of 47,000. Please don't insult our intelligence here. The wildest exaggerated figure for rehabilitation is "$50 million", which is 2% of the total budget of $2.45 billion. The lower figure quoted until The Australian ramped it up comes in at around $10 million, which is a mere 0.4%. Let's double it and round it off. The true rehabilitation figure probably lies somewhere around the 1% mark. Clearly a 1% rehabilitation figure is not a "waste" of the total budget budget. [i]And you know this because??? Suddenly they listen to the peak body. I'm rolling on the floor. They had a report which they only read last week and they took notice of it. [/i] Sorry Colen, but it [i]was[/i] the peak body that called for the abandonment of the program as it stood. If you're going to take political advantage from shock-horror headlines saying "Peak body demands end of scheme" you have to live with that. [i]If an unemployment rate of 8.5% is considered high than we are seriously under resourced of the human element at 5.6%. Most countries would consider that full employment.[/i] It was only a few months ago that Joe Hockey was getting us all whipped up about the coming "Rudd Recession", forcast to peak at over 8% unemployment. When that did not happen he switched horses in mid-stream claiming we were going through "The Recession We Never Had". 8.5% unemployment would have been squarely blamed on the government, GFC or no-GFC. [i]I some how doubt if the CO2 savings would have been that much. A condition of the installations should have included the age of the house and the condition of the existing insulation. I bet you would find that newly built or renovated houses have been included in the programme by the shonky installers. They were in it to make as much as they could with as little effort possible.[/i] Of course shonky installers would rort the system. This was part fo the risk assessment and was accepted as a reality by Garrett. When you spend over $2 billion on an accelerated roll out more will be wasted than if you wait. But waiting was not part of the plan. The jobs were needed immediately. It was a [i]stimulus[/i] package, not a national infrastructure 5 year plan. The aim was to find industries that could be ramped up, delivering immediate employment first. This delivered both a social and economic dividend. The environmental benefits were, in a way, a secondary consideration, but certainly better than shovelling sand from one heap to another. It's interesting that the opposition and the Murdoch newspapers claimed there would be little or no employment benefit from the scheme. Suddenly when the jobs they claimed did not exist were under threat, they brought out the sob stories of displaced workers cruelly treated by the "incompetent" minister. There were more violins around than an Andre Rieux concert. The campaign from themedia and the opposition has been to criticise the government at every turn. Unemployment would have been Rudd's fault. Employment didn't exist. The scheme was a failure and should be cancelled. When it was cancelled it was a tragedy. To do something was incompetent. To do nothing was equally incompetent. It has clearly been a political campaign, not one based on the merits of the case. A few deaths and a few fires in over a million installations (especially when the rate of deaths and fires under the older unegulated system were not investigated) have been ramped up into a total disaster. It has been a shameful and wilful exercise in misinformation and the omission of information that might have been germane to the subject. The political jounalists excuse this by saying their job is not to investigate the facts, merely to provide commentary on the two rival spin camps without investigating the bona fides of either side's arguments. How convenient!

HillbillySkeleton

27/02/2010AA, Would you consider putting a link to Grog's Gamut on your 'Sites of Interest' list? He appears to be on the same page philosophically as you and many of us go there as well as here. Um, he also appears to have an 'off the shelf' blog engine powering his site, with, um, Captcha word recognition anti-spam technology to keep the bogeymen away.

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27/02/2010Folks I might be imagining it, but I thought Our ABC presented a more balanced appraisal of its political stories this morning on AM. Although the usual pejorative language was used about the insulation program, the segment by Lyndal Curtis ended on a positive note which counterbalanced the negatives she mentioned earlier. If you missed it, you can hear it at http://www.abc.net.au/am/content/2010/s2831931.htm Is this a change towards better balance or simply a once-off exhibition of what ABC current affairs items could be? What do you think?

Sir Ian Crisp

27/02/2010Are you lifting the ban on the ABC or am I still restricted to reading ALP press releases?

HillbillySkeleton

27/02/2010Bushfire Bill, It appears to me that we are going to get no sense out of the MSM whilever Tony Abbott is Opposition Leader. As I have mentioned before, he has instituted a policy of having Press flunkies virtually permanently stationed in each and every MSM Press Gallery office in Canberra AND the States to feed them their lines, day in, day out, until they respond the way he wants them to. Then they can be counted on to mouth the Opposition's talking points reliably, or so it seems to me when I listen to the ABC Newscaf bulletins start stories with: "The Opposition today criticised the government..." before any mention is given to the facts of the story. That is, colouring the story with the Opposition's pov before anything else is said about the subject. It exasperates me to the point of utter frustration as I realise there is nothing I can do about it in this, an election year. Not that the commercial channels are much better. I caught a bit of the 7pm Project the other day(for my sins), and it appears that the Opposition have got their hooks well into Channel 10 as well, trying to manipulate the youth vote and thinking about the Rudd government. For what did I see and hear but that Opposition mouthpiece in the media, Steve Price, whose wife used to work for Joe Hockey, corrupting the minds of Dave, Corinne and Charlie, who used to reliably defend the Rudd government from the Regressives(my new word for the arch-rivals in the political sphere of the Progressives). To the point that he had them performing like Young Liberal seals. Not to mention that Tony Abbott has free reign of The Daily Telegraph to proselytise for his cause at will and as often as he likes. It's just not right, but what can we do about it?

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27/02/2010HillbillySkeleton A good suggestion - I've added [i]Grog's Gamut[/i] to [i]Sites of interest[/i] and also to [i]Blog Watch[/i] under [i]Politically Homeless[/i] in the [i]Political blogspots[/i] section. I've checked out Captcha but unfortunately it's not usable in my blog engine.

HillbillySkeleton

27/02/2010Ad Astra, I too have noted the change in emphasis of ABC political reporting over the past few days, so you're not imagining it(or we both are)! It does sound a little forced still, with the majority of the story going down the usual track, only to have the horse pulled up before it goes off the cliff with a total obeisance to the Opposition line. Maybe they have finally figured out they were being spoon-fed their pov by the Opposition's operatives in their offices, as opposed to what normally happens in these situations, as in the past, when the Labor Opposition's pov was simply tacked-on to the end of a glowing story about Howard. Maybe Mark Scott has had a read of TPS or Andrew Elder's blog? I certainly know that Q&A has responded to criticism of the Liberal stooge, audience stack criticisms, as they released a defence the other day of their audience 'balance' policy, lol. Anyway, thank goodness for blogs like TPS, Grog's Gamut and Andrew Elder, holding the bastards to account and trying to keep them honest. A necessary counterbalance to the MSM to be sure. Keep up the good work, and watch out for Tony Abbott's ComCar whilever you are out on the road! Btw, I suppose I should take this opportunity to respond to the flattering entreaties for me to become a contributor on TPS. Well, I can say that, yes, I have had my own blogs, plural, before; one was back in 2003(I think), when Blogger first came to our computers on the Internet. It was really cute back in those days, everyone had to get in a virtual line for a blog engine, and we were all listed on the site, all of us, from all over the world! Anyway, I gave that up as a bad show because I ended up getting lost in the ether, not knowing from one day to the next if anyone here in Australia was connecting with me out there on a world-wide blog engine. Next, a few years down the track I replied to a call for female bloggers on another blog, and was really happy there until they shut it down due to being too time poor to keep it running. I must admit, it became a testing proposition to come up with original content continuously and very mentally wearing, such that, by the end of the blog I was actually sorta glad it folded. Which led to me deciding that I would just contribute to other people's blogs, leaving the content generation up to them. Which is where I'm at today, and why I have the utmost respect for people like AA, BB, GG, and Jack the Insider, who come up with superior stuff on a regular basis. I think that continuing to take my contribution seriously is the best way that I can add to the debate. Although, being a woman, I reserve the right to change my mind in the future. ;) Maybe some blogs on women's issues in the run-up to the election might be possible. Ciao for now, bambinos!

Ad astra reply

27/02/2010Sir Ian As Bushfire Bill has addressed some of your specific assertions about the Home Insulation Program, I will restrict my response to the principles you enunciate, and in particular your reference to the role of government as regulator. In his essay Kevin Rudd pointed to poor financial regulation as a large contributor to the GFC, as well as greed and unfettered capitalism. You seem to be saying, and I’m sure you’ll correct me if I’ve misinterpreted your argument, that the Insulation Program was an opportunity for Rudd and his minister to ensure that the market into which this program entered was regulated in a way that would prevent the problems that arose, and that he has failed. First, the market was regulated, principally by state regulations and OH&S provisions. Clearly some of those were not adhered to. If we can believe what we’ve been told, when and as safety and quality problems arose Peter Garrett’s department took action to resolve them. That there were similar problems in the insulation industry before the Home Insulation Program began has been documented by Possum on [i]Pollytics[/i] in [i]Did the insulation program actually reduce fire risk?[/i] http://blogs.crikey.com.au/pollytics/2010/02/24/did-the-insulation-program-actually-reduce-fire-risk/ Please read it. That the problems continued is obvious, and the entry of shonky operators into the market introduced new problems of safety and quality. In retrospect, it seems clear that Garrett’s department was not geared to oversee quality and safety issues to the extent required, and that despite its documented efforts, was unable to regulate the industry to the extent that was needed. It seems to me that inadequate regulation in this instance does not negate the need for it, quite to the contrary. So I find your insinuation that Rudd in his implementation of the Insulation Program has contravened the [i][b]principle[/i][/b] of regulated markets that he espoused in his essay. Indeed both this episode and the GFC saga demonstrate the need for well-regulated markets, as Rudd’s essay argues. It was faulty application and monitoring of the regulations already in place, and later added, that resulted in the problems about which we now know so much. In summary, I fail to see the inconsistency between what Rudd said in his essay about the need for regulation and the implementation of the Insulation Program which starkly demonstrated how important regulation is. Your reference to ‘social democracy’ seems out of place in this debate. Finally, Sir Ian, in response to your most recent one-line comment, the language you usually use paints an image of yourself as a well-educated erudite gentleman, perhaps with an imperial honour. It seems incongruous that with that comment you treat us to such heavy sarcasm.

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27/02/2010HillbillySkeleton It’s reassuring that someone else has noted some change in ABC reportage, and that I’m not suffering from flights of fancy. While it seems egotistical to believe that media luminaries might read [i]TPS[/i], if that is so we have a responsibility to keep up the quest for better quality and more evenly balanced journalism. Life’s experience has taught me though that the battle is never over. Reversion to the norm, to ‘the way they were’ is a continual threat. It comes as no surprise to read that you have been a blog contributor in the past. The one line I can still remember from Robert Pirsig’s book about the metaphysics of quality: [i]Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance[/i] is ‘that quality is hard to define, but you recognize it as soon as you see it.’ Several contributors to [i]TPS[/i] have recognized the quality of your comments. I do though identify with your comments about the mental effort of keeping up a continual flow of pieces worthy of the attention of visitors to [i]TPS[/i], and can appreciate your reluctance to return to the role of original contributor. I’m grateful that Bushfire Bill has joined me in servicing this site. He writes such readable material. Thank you though for your willingness to continue to contribute on an [i]ad hoc[/i] basis as you have this year.

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27/02/2010Daisey May We can expect Dennis to use extreme language in the time ahead. He has waited impatiently for Rudd to falter, to lose some of his popularity, popularity that had irked him for two years. If [i]Newspoll[/i] is poor for Rudd and his Government we can expect to see Dennis in full flight, vindicating his long held views about them. Yesterday’s [i]Morgan[/i] TPP 56.5/43.5 showed little change from the previous face-to-face poll and was the same as the one before that. But I’d be surprised if next Tuesday’s [i]Newspoll[/i] is as favourable to Labor. They are certain to ask questions related to the insulation program, answers to which are bound to be adverse. How much such questions affect answers to others is conjectural. [i]The Australian[/i], which because it ‘owns [i]Newspoll[/i]’ claims to ‘understand it’, will assert that no such cross contamination of results occurs. I agree that we will see the Murdoch press going for broke to unseat the Rudd Government, and for a while its journalists will go along with that. But eventually the professionalism of the better quality ones will prevail. As Lyndal Curtis reminded us this morning there’s a long way to go to the election, time for journalists to shed their current frenzy, time for them and the people to appraise Tony Abbott, his team and his policies. If a week is a long while in politics, several months are a lot longer. Let’s absorb the worst from the tabloid press and the tabloid journalists, some of whom write for broadsheets, and wait patiently for ‘normal conditions’ to return.

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27/02/2010Folks If you can get hold of [i]The Weekend Australian Financial Review[/i] you may be interested to read Geoff Winestock's [i]Insulation fears more hype than actual fires[/i] which begins: [i]"The home insulation business is no more risky than it ever was"[/i]. Its findings, from a different source, are congruent with Possum's analysis on [i]Crikey: Did the insulation program actually reduce fire risk? [/i] http://blogs.crikey.com.au/pollytics/2010/02/24/did-the-insulation-program-actually-reduce-fire-risk/

Bilko

27/02/2010As my better half reads the Canberra times articles re insulgate and the deaths reported, I have to keep telling her it is all a media beat up. The rational amongst us have one hell of a task, not just to keep our close ones across the facts not the fiction, but the general public as well. The fifth estate (I like that expression) will need to be on its toes until the Federal election mid October my prediction for the year. AA your "normal conditions" have not been around for almost three years; rather longer than an elephant gestation however I will not hold my breath while waiting for it to arrive. The unbiasing of the ABC still has a few months to run before they reach our level. The Morgan poll still shows an increase in overall labor seats so the rabid MSM who have more bites than a piranha, still have their work cut out. Keep up the good work folks.

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27/02/2010Folks On the road again! Back this evening.

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27/02/2010Bilko Tomorrow's [i]Insiders[/i] might give us a guide to how the ABC is intending to play the run-up to the election when Barrie Cassidy interviews Kevin Rudd. Barrie has been annoyed that Kevin has not graced his program for a couple of years. Will he give him a hard time a la Kerry O'Brien, or will he take a more facilitatory approach in the hope that he will attract him back again? I note that Laurie Oakes has written quite a balanced piece after a private interview at Kirribilli - http://www.heraldsun.com.au/opinion/decisive-rudd-to-atone-for-failures/story-e6frfhqf-1225834917993 It will be informative to see his Channel Nine interview tomorrow, if it's on - the Winter Olympics might displace it.

HillbillySkeleton

27/02/2010Lack of bias on the ABC has ebbed again today. The 7pm News Bulletin had Tony Abbott front and center continuing his avenging angel persona, not happy that Peter Garrett has been removed from administering the program that has caused the headaches for the government...though as you point out AA, it's more of a problem with people's perception of the problem, which Tony Abbott is encouraging for all he is worth, than the actual existence of a concrete 'problem' per se. What I can't understand is where is the news editor, in the chain-of-command, that can say, "Enough is enough, Tony's had a good run, it's time we stopped giving him oxygen on this issue"? Can't someone make a value judgement, on behalf of Australians watching the ABC News, that Tony Abbott has succeeded in getting his pound of flesh, and Peter Garrett has paid enough? I only caught SBS and ABC News, but at least SBS had better things to report on tonight than indulging the vengeful Mr Abbott's vendetta against Peter Garrett and efforts by the Opposition in general to milk this for all it's worth. Where is the responsible adult in the ABC capable of coming to the same conclusion? Peter Garrett is no longer in charge of the area that has caused all the grief. His other areas of responsibility have not been subject to the same sorts of problems. He should now be left alone to get on with his parliamentary career. Anyway, the human truth of the matter is probably that the obviously vain Mr Abbott is jealous of Peter Garrett because he is a more charismatic character, with a more substantial life story, than Mr Abbott can ever hope to have. In short, a much nicer guy than Tony Abbott can ever hope to be.

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27/02/2010HillbillySkeleton As I said in an earlier comment, there is always a tendency to revert to old ways; it will take the ABC a while to reorient itself, if indeed it is planning to do that at all. Tony Abbott will never be satisfied. He wants his pound of flesh; if you figuratively offered Peter Garrett’s head on a plate, he would complain that it was not a very good plate or would mouth the usual ‘too little too late’ mantra. The only reason the media could justify for giving him so much airplay would be the pursuit of ‘balance’. Abbott might feel he’s had a victory in Garrett’s demotion, but he’s got Greg Combet to cope with now. He may find that not much of a swap. Combet is a bare-knuckle fighter who will give Abbott no quarter. Like PK in [i]The Power of One[/i] Combet will fight first with the head then with the heart. Abbott has wished for Garrett’s head – he should be more careful what he wishes for – he’s now got the booby prize. Some have assessed Rudd’s demotion of Garrett as a bad move. But to have left Garrett there to implement the new plan would have left him as a sitting duck for the media and Abbott. Now they will have to target Combet.

Blyfu

28/02/2010Stop squarking about media bias. The MSM have seen through the spin of the Rudd government. Kevin07 sat on the wall Kevin07 had a great fall All Kevins friends and all Kevins spin Couldn’t put Kevin together again

Rx

28/02/2010Blowfly Get back to your WorkChoices, peasant, before they sack you.

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28/02/2010Blyfu Enjoy your fantasy while it lasts. Folks Back later in the day

HillbillySkeleton

28/02/2010Interesting how the Young Liberal maggots who come to rant and rave about Kevin Rudd's 'spin' never say one word about the hypocrisy they are exhibiting by not saying a thing about's Abbott's obvious spin about evrything. Spin about the state of NZ's economy compared to ours. Not a problem. Spin about the 4 deaths, ...yada, yada, yada, about a 'problem' which actually made the situation in general safer. Not a problem. Spin about how much of WorkChoices would be revivified. Not a problem. Spin about Kevin Rudd's undertaking re the Public Hospitals. Not a problem. Spin about Kevin Rudd's 'broken promises'(and this from a man who was senior member of the 'Core, Non Core' Coalition government of John Howard). Not a problem. Spin about how much Kevin Rudd spins, with nary a word about how much the Coalition spins like a top. Not a problem.

lyn1

28/02/2010Hi Ad Everybody look at the media headlines reported today: http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2010/02/28/2832270.htm http://www.sbs.com.au/news/article/1204137/Poll-sees-Coaltion-pull-level-with-ALP http://www.smh.com.au/national/coalition-draws-level-with-labor-as-abbott-bites-20100227-pa3r.html If you just watch the introduction by Hugh Riminton you will hear him missleading the viewers say The Government is looking ragged, new poll has a Dead Heat: http://ten.com.au/video-player.htm?channel=MEET+THE+PRESS&clipId=1427_mtp10e4-seg1-280210 http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE61R03720100228 Josh Gordon reports Taverner poll reveals slipping support for Labor overall: http://www.theage.com.au/national/women-like-gillard-for-pm-poll-20100227-pa8x.html Sky news are reporting a new poll shows a massive slump in Kevin Rudd' support. Note the headline "Coalition draws level with Labor" http://www.skynews.com.au/politics/article.aspx?id=434201 Good News guys we have the Bloggs for the facts, Mickey goes to NSW, Mumble says "paper or pollster has stuffed up": http://mumble.com.au/ Blyfu I think you might like this blogg http://www.theblowfly.com.au/

bilgedigger

28/02/2010Lavartus Prodeo (under the heading beginning "Lead...") today has provided a link (http://climateprogress.org/2010/02/25/max-boykoff-media-balance-deniers-contrarian-climate-change/ This is a great article, primarily dealing with climate change and the media but has applicability to what's been under discussion here. There's also a treasure-trove of credible links to follow. Sorry I could not provide a direct link but a visit to Lavartus Prodeo might be quicker for some than typing in the site.

lyn1

28/02/2010Hi Bilgedigger Thankyou for the link "wow" sure is a treasure trove you have found and shared with us. http://larvatusprodeo.net/

lyn1

28/02/2010Hi Ad I went looking for poll analysis on google and found this: http://southern-courier.whereilive.com.au/news/story/catsaras-an-extraordinary-few-weeks-in-federal-politics/ And back on Shana this: http://blogs.crikey.com.au/purepoison/2010/02/27/we-understand-the-romance-because-we-own-the-romance/#comments

HillbillySkeleton

28/02/2010That poll in the Sun Herald was misinterpreted so badly that Lenore Taylor had to make the point forcefully on Insiders this morning. I hope Possum analyses it to bits. I wonder if the media is overegging this particular pudding about the government's fall from grace. As far as I can tell it, Kevin Rudd just might get away with the underdog tag for this coming election if the polls and the media keep placing the crown on Abbott's head prematurely. I think the PM would be keeping a weather eye on the Morgan poll to make sure that things weren't too bad. Tho' Channel 7 6pm News weren't having anything to do with a rational analysis of the poll. Too tempting a bone for them to resist gnawing on. They even made, one of the increasingly bitchy and vicious 'comments' about the PM's mea culpa, calling it a "Sorry spree". I just wonder if we're all Mean Girls and Boys now, or whether the rational centre with their level heads will prevail.

HillbillySkeleton

28/02/2010lyn1, You're a regular mine of information yourself!

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28/02/2010HillbillySkeleton The journalists responsible for today’s poll analysis and comment deserve to be sacked for incompetence or deceit or both. If they did not know that the ‘[i]Sun-Herald/Taverner poll[/i] of just over 600 people in NSW was seriously questionable on several grounds, principally the issue of how a primary vote of 42/39 became a TPP of 50/50, incompetence is the likely diagnosis; or if they did suspect the validity of the result but published it anyway, with embellishments, the diagnosis is deceit. I note that the Stephanie Peatling piece in the [i]SMH[/i], the Josh Gordon piece in [i]The Age[/i], the [i]ABC News[/i] item, the [i]SBS News[/i] item, the [i]Sky News[/i] item and the [i]Reuters[/i] item, [i][b]all[/i][/b] fail to mention the primary vote of 42/39. Neither did the TV news channels I saw. This shows ineptitude or dishonesty. It demonstrates how vigilant we, who monitor the media so closely, need to be in drawing attention to this mendacious inept behaviour. One has a David versus Goliath feeling, but press on we must. The next [i]Newspoll[/i] will be pivotal, either ‘confirming’ the ‘Rudd is in decline’ story or defying that narrative. Whatever it says you can rely on Shanas to spin it the Coalition’s way. Lyn1 Again thanks for doing so much leg work finding such a useful collection of links for us. bilgediggger Your link is one for the climate change file. Thank you.

Bushfire Bill

28/02/2010I thought it was funny this morning when Gerard Henderson on Insiders tried to run a "GFC is a Northern Hemisphere thing" line, and then said it didn't apply to countries like China and India - both of which are, of course, in the [i]Northern Hemisphere[/i] and by Gerard's calculations should have been in the toilet economically. He might also like to ask New Zealanders if half a dozen negative-growth quarters in a row mean [i]they[/i] are immune to the GFC as well. Be that as it may, the 50/50 poll of NSW this morning in the Sun-Herald was a perect example of group-think and herd mentality on behalf of the media. They don't seem to be concerned with the truth, merely slagging off their victim, who at this juncture is Rudd. But Rudd isn't alone. Whitney Houston is copping it too. Garrett went to take his dog for a poo and was ambushed by a Telegraph photographer with the result that he was depicted as "barefoot and dejected" and, get this... "looking miserable and dressed down in tracksuit pants and a grey T-shirt." what did they expect him to be dressed in? A tuxedo? Suit and tie? Early on a Saturday morning taking his dog ot for a crap? I would have thought trakkie daks and a T-shirt were the normal attire for someone on this potentially pongy mission. But when they're out to get you, they're out to get you.

Colen

28/02/2010BB You looking a little google eyed and gob smacked. Chill out a bit. It's not the end of the world. It works in cycles. The press are merely dishing out a little bit to restore the imbalance of fawning over Rudd for the last 3 years. They wanted Howard out and got him out. Now they are after the next king to prove a point they are the king makers. Relax mate. A politician is a politican be they Liberal, Labour, Green or Independent. They attack each other in QT but hug and kiss in the pub after. It's all a comedy and so is the Canberra press.

Bushfire Bill

1/03/2010Oh for God's sake, Colen, they haven't been fawning over him for three years. We've had dozens of fake "scandals", one after another, from accusations he faked his childhood, to Utegate, with shouting at flight attendants in between. We've had a month of aimless posturing on the "Fair Shake" saga, and a wilful dismissal of all the good done in the response to the GFC, to the extent that they're peddling a line now that Australia had some kind of natuiral immunity to it (Henderson's "it was a Northern Hemisphere thing"). Cassidy this morning even brought up an anonymous woman's claim from apparently weeks ago that Rudd had told her the PhD she was writing was an excuse not to make babies. It was a stupid question, utterly pointless and insulting. It sounded a lot to me like someone dared him to ask it. You know me, I could go on, but will resist the temptation. Suffice it to say that I reject your premiss that Rudd has had an easy time of it for three years and this is just some kind of balance being restored. The coverage of the government has [i]never[/i] been in any way, shape or form anything less than grudging, petty, gossip-ridden and mostly unfair and at times outright slanderous.

janice

1/03/2010As you say Bushfire Bill, the Rudd Government has not only been up against a hostile senate but the most hostile media campaign I can remember which has become more intense since the would've-been priest became the leader of the opposition. I was only able to stay with the Insiders long enough to hear the interview with PM Rudd and, I must say I think he (the PM) went too far in genuflecting to the media. I ended up sending the PM an email this morning to point out my reaction and to suggest he be more forceful in emphasing the achievements of this government despite the efforts of the opposition to scuttle every bill in the senate. This government has not been incompetent and even though there have been problems with the Insulation programme, the blame does not lie exclusively with Minister Garrett who executed his responsibilities with diligence and acted upon the advice he received. I cannot believe that Australian voters will fall for the dishonest gutter tactics of this 'straight-talking' Tony Abbott who, no doubt, spruiks his distortions and lies and then runs to his church to seek absolution to get a clean slate to do it all over again. This man cannot sink any lower but because he has an anti-labor, anti-Rudd, media with him, rational debate is stifled so that only rabid views and distortions of the truth are published.

mick smetafor

1/03/2010fellow swordsmen and women you may care to peruse gittens column this morning.he often writes interesting stuff. http://www.smh.com.au/business/libertarians-silent-on-insulation-bungle-20100228-pb4m.html?rand=1267360524927

janice

1/03/2010Thank you Mick smetafor for that link - I agree Gittens often writes good stuff and he is to be applauded for this article.

Colen

1/03/2010Janice, Maybe you should have watched a little longer. I reckon the panel was pretty fair and gave the P.M. credit where it was due. Even Gerard Henderson. Shock Horror. The P.M. only has himself to blame for claiming "mea culpa" for everything at the moment. You cannot be responsible for everything. As any businessman will tell you you need to delegate, have systems and reporting requirements in place to prevent stuff ups. If a team leader is ineffectual or incompetent you remove them. He was doing well previously because he hadn't done anything but call meetings and consulatations. However once your policies and actions are on the table you are going to always cop criticism. It's normal. Some you do well and claim credit others you will mess up and be criticised.

HillbillySkeleton

1/03/2010A fair assessment of the situation atm for the PM from Dennis Atkins: http://www.news.com.au/couriermail/story/0,23739,26786010-5016424,00.html

HillbillySkeleton

1/03/2010mick smetafor, Thank you for the Gittins link. I have been worried about the Libertarian Paternalism that Tony Abbott has been preaching for a while now. The "I will hold the purse strings, and dole out the money to my ideological confreres in the religion and business diaspora to spend on service delivery the way I want it to be done" philosophy.

lyn1

1/03/2010Hi Ad I have picked these links out this morning, I can't be bothered with the newspapers today, because it is just more of the campaign to blacken Kevin Rudd the frenzy is on big time. http://larvatusprodeo.net/ http://www.pipingshrike.com/ http://mumble.com.au/ http://blogs.theaustralian.news.com.au/markday/index.php/theaustralian/comments/abcs_role_as_niche_provider_needs_to_be_redefined/ Hope you all enjoy

mick smetafor

1/03/2010hbs, abbott's leadership has exposed the current libs for what they are,rank unprincipled opportunists.where are the genuine liberals?hiding under a rock hoping they won't be noticed and be called to account.to paraphrase bill elliott"intellectual warrior my arse"

You must be kidding

1/03/2010Folks I find it interesting that when Kevin Rudd admits to his government not being good enough to meet the expectations his government set ... a line pushed by many on this site only to be pillaried and bullied by many ... you still balme the interviewers. Rudd said that he is responsible for the non performance of his government, he is responsible for the troubled insulation program ... and then after telling us all what a first class Minister Garrett was .. just a few days later he is turning him into a second class Minister yet still on full pay. I belive the term the Prime Minister used was a whacking ... please consider AA, BB, the HillBilly et al to have been whacked by your Prime Minister ... even he doesn't agree with your points of view and rubbish preached about Shanners ... Rudd virtually agreed with him ... "we are doing well at all" .... yet the disciples on this site still don't get it. The Beattie, Carr et al tactic of falling on the sword and then moving on this time because he doesn't have any credits ... thank goodness there is no parliament for two weeks ... but then that was his plan after all. It's when the so called left press begin to criticise that you have to worry and if I were you folks I would begin to worry. It's when Philip Adams agressively writes a column attacking the attachers that you should worry ... The days of wine and roses are over and perhaps you should try and get a glass or two before it runs dry.

lyn1

1/03/2010Hi Ad Mumble has an update on his Mickey Mouse poll column http://mumble.com.au/ This is a link from Mumble's page very very interesting http://mumble.com.au/?p=1472 Another interesting blogg you will all love http://loonpond.blogspot.com/2010/03/ross-gittins-david-burchell-kevin.html Bernard Keane column from Crikey for all to enjoy http://www.crikey.com.au/2010/03/01/rudds-sackloth-and-ashes-tour-limited-venues-only/ You Must Be Kidding is dreaming again

lyn1

1/03/2010Hi Ad Sorry everyone the Mumble polling wishlist didnt work, here it is again http://mumble.com.au/?p=1472

Ad astra reply

1/03/2010BB Some in the media will sharpen their pencils and go in harder to diminish Rudd. But what can they say? They can insist that Rudd’s mea culpa is an acknowledgement of what they have been saying all along; they can paint it a just a cynical political ploy; the can argue that it is too ‘over the top’ and sends the wrong message; they can compare Rudd with an underachieving state premier facing re-election; they can try to analyse what the underlying strategy is; they can ridicule it with smart phrases such as ‘a sorry trip’; they can add this new Rudd persona to the long list they have assembled under the filename ‘Who is Rudd’. They have to write about something; they have to fill space, so anything goes. They will write as political pundits whose views ought to be respected; the fact that they each have different angles on what’s going on points in the other direction. Not much notice will be taken of what they say. Bernard Keane's [i]Rudd's sackloth-and-ashes tour - limited venues only[/i] in [i]Crikey[/i] makes sense. He begins: [i]"While the press gallery this morning wrapped itself tightly into a navel-gazing knot about whether the Prime Minister had 'gone too far' in his current hairshirt act, it made the same mistake it often makes, of confusing itself and average voters."[/i] The link is http://www.crikey.com.au/2010/03/01/rudds-sackloth-and-ashes-tour-limited-venues-only/ [i]The Piping Shrike's: Stoop low[/i] too is worth a read http://www.pipingshrike.com/2010/03/stoop-low.html You’ve answered Colen; I need not add anything. janice I think we’d all like Rudd and his ministers to emphasize more the achievements of the Government. I believe they will once the list is longer. It seems likely that focus groups have indicated that they can’t rely on their shielding the nation from the worst effects of the GFC as an excuse for the delayed delivering on other commitments. I’d be sure the strategy has been well constructed; we will see it unfold over the coming months. In the meantime the Coalition is deprived of a specific target and is having to resort to trivia such as labelling Rudd as a Beattie all over again. Even when it has a target such as the new national curriculum, the best Christopher Pyne could muster today was that it portrayed a ‘black armband’ picture of indigenous history. mick Thank you for the Gittins link – a well-written piece. HillBillySkeleton The Dennis Atkins piece too is a balanced assessment. What a pity we have to endure less balanced pieces. Lyn1 Another interesting batch of links. Thank you. The [/i]Mumble[/i] link and the [i]Crikey[/i] one are worth a read. YMBK I’m fascinated by your interpretation of Rudd’s mea culpa. If that makes you happy why should we argue with you? Somehow I don’t feel ‘whacked’ by our PM. His prediction of ‘whacking’ is partly born out in the Essential Research Report taken over the last fortnight just out a few moments ago: TPP53/37 – Labor down a point, but there’s not much joy for Tony Abbott in the rest of the report, particularly the Rudd/Abbott Personality Traits comparison. Take a look: http://www.essentialmedia.com.au/Media/Essential_Report_010310(copy).pdf

HillbillySkeleton

1/03/2010Ad Astra et al., This has to be the line of the day, over on Poll Bludger, when commenting on the obvious bias towards the Coalition shown by the ABC, someone referred to it as, 'Their ABC'. Priceless!

HillbillySkeleton

1/03/2010That Essential Report was a jolly good read. I especially liked the response to the question about the Private Health Insurance Rebate where disapproval at implementing a means test increased the more the respondents earnt!

Ad astra reply

1/03/2010HillbillySkeleton Which goes to show how potent self-interest is in these matters. Self interest first, social justice a poor second. That's why we need governments to make such decisions; otherwise self interest would always over-ride social justice The other interesting observation is that support is at 51% while opposition is at only 34% - a strong endorsement of the Government's legislation.

You must be kidding

1/03/2010The basic problem AA is that you and your colleagues are basically arguing a basic point that basically Kevin basically doesn't agree with you. Basically you argue the media is basically biased against the PM yet the PM basically issued a basic statement that he thought the polls were basically trending against him and basically it was his basic fault. So basically what I was saying to you in very basic language was that the PM basically disagrees with your basic view which means basically you are in a zone the PM is basically not with you. Basically

janice

1/03/2010Thank you for the link to the Essential Report Ad astra. It is nice to know that so many of those surveyed have Abbott's measure. I'm sure Rudd's tactics are well thought out and I understand the reasons for apologising for the real, or perceived, shortcomings regarding the insulation programme. I still think though that he could have stood up for his government a little more but then, I'm no politician LOL.

lyn1

1/03/2010Hi Ad This link to Reuters opinion piece (Tony Abbott, a straight talking Christian conservative), I hate it when they all say straight talking Abbott, because he is not just because he says everything and anything that comes in his head, that means straight talking, doesn't matter about the truth it seems. http://www.alertnet.org/thenews/newsdesk/SGE62001Q.htm I can hardly wait to see the newspoll results on Lateline tonight can you.

janice

1/03/2010YMBK I did advise you to go climb a box tree which is the remedy my dear old Dad used to say cured cantankerous behaviour.

Sir Ian Crisp

1/03/2010I disagree with YMBK. Uncle Phil keeps churning out his puff pieces over at the Oz and has one goal and one goal only. He is driven in his campaign to have Paul Keating beatified. I doubt whether anything else appeals to him.

Bushfire Bill

1/03/2010YMBK, Disagreeing with Kevin Rudd has become a pasttime of mine over the years. I do disagree with the extent of his "mea culpa". I do think it went too far and gave oxygen (however small a whiff) to the likes of you and Shanahan that neither of you deserve. If I had the chance I'd argue with him till I was blue in the face on that subject. One thing I don't have any problem with is who I think is best suited to govern Australia at the moment. That is Labor, by a country mile. Abbott has played a spoiling role because he can. He criticises Rudd for lack of action on, for example, the ETS, when it was he - and he alone as new leader of the Coalition - who made sure it didn't pass the Senate, after a tortuously negotiated compromise was reached according to all the rules and practices of mature and good-faith negotiation. The endless points of order during QT (to be fair, not just confined to Abbott's leadership), the knock-back of the Medicare Levy legislation are another two examples of this obstructionism for its own sake. He is so mindless in this negativism that he even criticised Labor for implementing policies that [i]he[/i], or the government of which he was a member thought up: the doctors' golf balls, the solar electricity rebate and the insecure passports. The latest is the new curriculum, which apparently evidences a black arm-band view of history (now, where have we heard [i]that[/i] before?). I guess all's fair in love and war, but you can only go so far in treating the public as a bunch of morons. So yes, I am in disagreement with Rudd on what he said on the weekend, and perhaps a lot of other people will be too. Shanahan, Grattan and others today (Fran Kelly last week, too) have all written articles that claim Rudd's government isn't all that bad after all. All of a sudden, they're being a little fair-minded. Well, OK, it's only because they want to put out the idea that Rudd has become unhinged that they suddenly discover his government's achievements to contrast against his apology, but it seems that they [i]can[/i] see some good that this government has done after all... a far cry from their usual complete opposition (when it suits their agenda). So don't get too cocky or jubilant over the last few days. Have your five minutes out in the sun before the blizzard returns. But don't ever think that a disagreement between supporters (and some ministers) and the PM indicates anything more than a momentary disappointment that will soon pass.

HillbillySkeleton

1/03/2010You Must Be Kidding, Basically...you're a jerk.

HillbillySkeleton

1/03/2010Did it get up anyone else's nose to hear Abbott, on the one hand, criticise the new History curriculum for having, "Too much Aboriginal content", whilst on the other he was happy to be filmed sucking up to some Aborigines in the Alice Springs Town Camps? As in, I'll shit all over giving dignity to your history and heritage to the white audience at home watching the news tonight, but, as it suits my agenda today I'll feign interest in your dire living conditions. His tut-tutting about those living conditions was a bit rich coming from a man who did nothing about them whilst a senior member of the Howard government for 12 long years, and only discovered their cause at 5 minutes to midnight before the last election, and only then because it was politically opportune and the focus groups were saying, "Do something."

macca

1/03/2010I have a sneaking suspicion that the Prime Minister is setting up Mr.Abbott and his mate Rupert for a big fall. Do they really believe he would be putting his head on the chopping block if he didn't know exactly how things are going to play out? Mr Rudd is playing chess, Mr Abbott and Mr Murdoch are playing noughts and crosses. We're in for a ride!!

HillbillySkeleton

1/03/2010macca, I hope so. He did lure Howard into playing himself, didn't he? And Howard was supposed to be the 'Master Politician'.

Ostermann

1/03/2010Hi Guys Just finished watching the Red Terror getting in on the band wagon with Julia Gillard, they really are in a lather aren't they, thankyou everybody for the links it has been fantastic reading. Well I think they are actually going to end up doing Kevin Rudd a favour, because most people will just get sick of the media hype and Abbotts verbal detritus, we like to pull down "Tall Poppies" but at the same time we back the "Underdog" and the MSM is starting to make labor like like the "Underdog" hmmm! Macca Rudd has in the past made statements that have whipped up the frenzy which has shown the oppositions hand, and what Rudd is doing is showing the opposition and the MSM are treating us like idiots. Well time for a nice single malt and lets see Chrissy Pyne has to belch tonigh on Q and A

lyn1

1/03/2010Hi Ad Macca, I just finished watching the red terror with Julia Gillard, Kerrie O'Brien is no match for her. Did you hear Kerrie say "Kevin sorry Rudd" how cynical is that, then he had a go about cynics, Julia put him back in his box with "well the media are being cynical Macca love your noughts and crosses comment and I think you are dead right chess for sure. Bushfire Bill, I agree with everything you say, and yes I did think Kevin Rudd was a bit too sorry yesterday, but maybe the tatic will work, because now the MSM has to change their agenda. What about the list of broken promises they published, among hundreds of other detrimental columns, they will have to change their stories. Hillbilly Skeletan yes Abbott did get up my nose and he has been there plenty of times before. Also remember the comment, messing with Howards head in 2007. Good on you Janice. Ostermann you are right Rudd will show oppositions hand, Kevin Ruddd is good at whipping up a frenzie if he bothers to care or think about it, take this weekend and today, who have the msm been talking about, 2 days Abbott free for us. Is this a sign of change http://www.news.com.au/breaking-news/abbott-narrow-minded-new-poll-finds/story-e6frfku0-1225835790241 I have to go now to watch Q and A.

Ostermann

1/03/2010A bit of fun reading for a change http://newmatilda.com/2010/03/01/get-behind-paywall-you-parasites

HillbillySkeleton

1/03/2010First question on QandA tonight obviously from another one of those Young Liberal plants. How horrible and cynical the ABC are becoming to think that such a nasty question, worded in such an affronting and offensive way, should be put to Peter Garrett as an opening gambit. Very 'clever, clever', but still very offensive.

Ostermann

1/03/2010lyn1 Yep thats Rudds tactic, show Abbott and the MSM's narrow mindedness, so they realy are trying to treat us like idiots, as if after Howard we are going to just believe what they say, Kevin Andrews, Barnaby, the mincing poodle!, and the formaldahide twins (Pillip Ruddock and Bronwyn Bishop) back on the front bench!!!! surely they jest, well I'm a believer....... NOT!!!!

Ad astra reply

1/03/2010Folks Newspoll just now TPP 52/48. [i]Newspoll: PM avoids 'whacking'[/i] Dennis Shanahan writes[i]"Kevin Rudd has not got the whacking' he predicted in the latest Newspoll, with virtually no change in the primary and two-party preferred support for the Government. "But the Coalition remains competitive with Labor and has had its best run of primary vote support since the election. "According to the latest Newspoll, conducted exclusively for The Australian last weekend, support for the Coalition went from 40 to 41 per cent and support for the Government went from 39 to 40 per cent. On a two-party preferred basis support for the Coalition went up from 47 per cent to 48 per cent and down a point for the Government from 53 to 52 per cent." "A slump in support for the Greens detracted from Labor's second preferences, leaving the Coalition and Government where they were at the 2007 election."[/i] Link http://www.theaustralian.com.au/politics/newspoll-pm-avoids-whacking/story-e6frgczf-1225835822723

HillbillySkeleton

1/03/2010Newspoll: 52:48 Labor! Phew! Dodged a bullet! Well, thousands were actually fired over the last 2 weeks by the MSM and the Opposition, without no more than a flesh wound; and it appears "The great good sense of the Australian people"(copyright, John Howard), has prevailed again. "Nothing to see here, move along". Maybe the 'pollees' have realised that the workers and the employer on site have had a bit to do with the Insulation deaths as well? Not just Peter Garrett.

Ostermann

1/03/2010AA So a good base to start from again, if Combet can pull off the reparation of the Home Insulation Scheme, which by all accounts he is more than capable of, has Abbott realised what he has unleashed?.

HillbillySkeleton

1/03/2010Preferred PM 55:30 Kevinator:Abomination

HillbillySkeleton

1/03/2010"The Coalition continuing to gain ground according to the latest Newspoll" Well according to Miss Prissy(lyn1, you'd know who that is if you are a fan of Warner Bros cartoons), erm, Leigh Sales. Even Dennis Shanahan hasn't been so brazenly misleading about the Newspoll as that. Also, Lateline have played every Abbott grab for the day. They are simply becoming a Liberal mouthpiece and megaphone.

Ad astra reply

1/03/2010Folks When Dennis is able to write about tonight's Newspoll that there was "...virtually no change in the primary and two-party preferred support for the Government. it must have been that way. The lower Greens primary vote seems to be the reason for the change to the TPP from the last Newspoll As usual the ABC sees it as less favourable to Labor, despite how Dennis has written it up. The ABC says PPM 55/30; Rudd unchanged, Abbott up 3% I thought Peter Garrett was brilliantly articulate and lucid on Q&A tonight. He showed his true character. That appearance will do his image a lot of good after all that has been heaped on his head over the last two weeks. He is an impressive man.

Ostermann

1/03/2010AA Agree whole heartly, Garrett showed his mettle, Just watching it now, No daylight savings in Queensland, Chris Pyne was really standing on his own tonight, the lost little boy.

lyn1

1/03/2010Hi Ad Thanks for such early info on polls. So there has been virtually no movement after all the Garrett bashing. comments on Pollbludger are interesting http://blogs.crikey.com.au/pollbludger/2010/03/01/newspoll-52-48-4/all-comments/#comments Hillbilly Skeleton I too took exception to to Miss Prissy. Not sure about the cartoon. (They are simply becoming a Liberal mouthpiece and megaphone) Well said Hillbilly Skeleton. Ostermann I noticed that all Christoper Pyne had to do was pull faces

lyn1

2/03/2010Hi Ad I was just watching Sky News and I thought of a topic for your next column you could write. "They Think We are Stupid"

HillbillySkeleton

2/03/2010Guys, this has nothing to do with the topic at hand, but it is an important article which lets us know a bit more about the ideological underpinnings of the Minchin/Abbott conservative philosophy which has taken hold of the Coalition, as reflected in their simulacrum in the American Conservative movement: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/mike-lux/the-philosophy-of-me-firs_b_478685.html

HillbillySkeleton

2/03/2010lyn1, 'Miss Prissy' was the fussbudget mother of the chickenhawk tutored haplessly by Foghorn Leghorn. I can't help it, but everytime I see Leigh Sales with her pursed lips, pen always in her uptight hands, and her prim and proper manner of interrogation(which, thankfully does sometimes dissolve into real humanity and warmth), I can't help but think of Miss Prissy in her bonnet.

HillbillySkeleton

2/03/2010Might I also just add what an absoluteely disgraceful hypocrite Tony Abbott is. Off on his jaunt around the photo opportunities presented by Indigenous Australians in the Outback of Australia, on the same day as he speaks out the other side of his mouth to the conservative bigots in the rural and urban parts of Australia about the new History curriculum having "too much Aboriginal content". That man could only ever be a blot on the nation's copybook, should he be able to pull the wool over enough sheep's eyes to vote for his equally abominable political Coalition in the upcoming election.

HillbillySkeleton

2/03/2010Grog's blog on the new National Curriculum is a cracker: http://grogsgamut.blogspot.com/

Ostermann

2/03/2010Hillbilly, Abbott is showing his true colours, pledge the Aboriginals but bugger there culture, it will be interesting to see how many toes he has left after this week if keeps pointing the gun at his feet, he should have taken Barnaby with him to share the load.

macca

2/03/2010Hillbilly...re.Miss Prissy/Leigh Sales...Spot on!

Ad astra reply

2/03/2010Lyn1 Thanks for the great title - I'll file that one. HillbillySkeleton Thanks for the links. The Grog's Gamut one shows Christopher Pyne for the mindless mouth he is becoming. Data-free utterances seem to be his specialty. Ostermann It's only the media that keeps Tony Abbott going and giving him a lift in his ratings. If they ever wake up to the real nature and [i]modus operandi[/i] of the man and portray it accurately, he will sink like a stone. But don't hold your breath, the media is running its own agenda. Folks Will be out of action until this evening.

You must be kidding

2/03/2010Some of you folks should get a life and begin to relax a bit ... so much tension, angst and conspiracy theories ... have a cup of tea and relax a bit ...

lyn1

2/03/2010You Must Be Kidding You would do everyone a favour if you practised your own medicine.

BH

2/03/2010[I was just watching Sky News and I thought of a topic for your next column you could write. "They Think We are Stupid"] Lyn1 - I think that every day. Little Ashleigh Gillan was almost impossible to watch this morning with Craig Emerson and Fifield. I'm becoming sick of being taken for a fool by the Sky mob so have decided to give it a miss more often.

HillbillySkeleton

2/03/2010I darn well knew it: Peter Garrett was asked a "bruising" first question about his performance and demotion on Q&A last night by young interlocutor Sanjay Kumar, who asked if he'd offered his resignation to the Prime Minister. It's been heavily reported today in the papers, but why no mention -- or more importantly, no disclaimer by Kumar, Christopher Pyne or Tony Jones -- that Kumar is the Administration Director of the SA Young Liberals (and member of the Marion branch), or that he's a staffer for SA Liberal Senator Mary Jo Fisher (who took Big Mandy's seat when she got her pasta posting)? That's from Crikey today.

HillbillySkeleton

2/03/2010The example above is just more evidence, if any were needed, that the ABC is in bed with the Liberal Party. This is WRONG! What can we do about it though? SFA it seems to me!

HillbillySkeleton

2/03/2010Which now leads me to wonder, as that guy who asked the question was an Indian, how much of the Indian Students Association attacks on the Labor Party in Victoria have been co-ordinated from Liberal HQ in Melbourne?

Ostermann

2/03/2010Hillbilly you mean this guy http://www.vexnews.com/news/8368/go-away-gautam-indian-student-radical-denounces-government-pr-programme-his-racism-lies-made-necessary/

You must be kidding

2/03/2010And Sachin Tendulkar made 200 runs in a one day cricket match recently which was not reported on the ABC which indeed links with the questioner on Q&A which confirms Tony Jones is a plant trained by the Victorian Liberal Party HQ. The infiltration of these Liberals into our way of life is nothing short of scandalous and something ought to be done ... at least that's what the Hillbilly thinks ...

lyn1

2/03/2010Hi Ad Some links for you today and everybody else http://grogsgamut.blogspot.com/ http://blogs.crikey.com.au/purepoison/ http://blogs.crikey.com.au/pollytics/2010/03/02/newspoll-not-quite-whacking-day/ http://www.smh.com.au/national/full-marks-for-trying-but-could-do-better-20100301-pdkq.html http://theangle.org/2010/03/02/opposition-in-a-special-kind-of-wilderness/ http://guttertrash.wordpress.com/2010/03/02/its-back-to-basics-for-rudd/ http://thecarboneconomist.wordpress.com/2010/03/01/mike-steketee-gets-stuck-in-to-the-skeptics/ http://www.businessspectator.com.au/bs.nsf/filterPersons1r?openview&restricttocategory=kevin+rudd&gclid=CLWKh7CZmaACFRQWawodG3tzPw http://inside.org.au/big-cuts-and-little-cuts/ http://laborview.blogspot.com/ http://www.australianpoliticstv.com/ BH Ashleigh Gillan has not improved since she first started, David Spears introduces distorted headlines constantly, he tries so hard to get the interviewees to say something anything detremental to labor.

HillbillySkeleton

2/03/2010Thank you, Ostermann. I thought so. * You Must Be Kidding, Go to the website, Nitin Gupta himself doesn't deny a connection to the Liberal Party. In fact, the dupe goes on the attack against the Labor Party like a good little Liberal attack puppy. It's a pity, isn't it, that Shane Warne has more charisma than Gautam or Nitin combined? You know what the pity of it all is though? That the Liberal Party realised they were unable to make a dent in the popularity of the Victorian Labor Party other than by using underhanded tactics, manufacturing a racial conflagration. You can't really get much lower than that.

Blyfu

2/03/2010Ad Astra The tone of your blog has really fallen away. Attacking a contributor personally rather than attacking the issue or the opinion expressed. Poor form. John Ryan's comment speaks volumes regarding his character "YMBK your just a Liberal Liar trolling around, I suggest u stick your head up Abbott arse and take a deep breath." I recommend you get a good moderator.

john Ryan

2/03/2010Why does the truth annoy you

Sir Ian Crisp

2/03/2010I see the ALP blue singlet squad has finally made an appearance here at TPS.

Blyfu

2/03/2010John Ryan which part of your abusive and off colour comment demonstrated "the truth"?

HillbillySkeleton

2/03/2010Has anyone else noticed Tony Abbott's mug all over the 7.30 Report's opening collage, without a compensating image of the PM in sight? Talk about 'Abbott's ABC' allright.

Ad astra reply

2/03/2010john Ryan You are welcome to comment on [i]TPS[/i], but please maintain the tone we set here. I have deleted your 6.38 pm comment as unnecessarily rude. Blyfu Since you criticise john Ryan for lowering the tone of this blog; I expect you would not want to overstep the mark yourself and do the same. You say the blog needs ‘a good moderator’. I am the moderator, but I don’t sit here all day watching each item as it comes in. The one to which you take offense is about an hour old, arriving at meal time. Please be patient.

lyn1

2/03/2010Hi Ad Hillbilly Skeleton, I am in Queensland will watch 7.30 report coming on now I will let you know

HillbillySkeleton

2/03/2010lyn1, Will you be watching 'The 7.30 report' sitting in a boat in your living room? ;) I hear it's been raining a bit in Queensland today!

lyn1

2/03/2010Hi Ad Hope you had a nice day today. Hillbilly Skeleton Mugs loud and clear, do you have the feeling the aboriginal segment was coincidental, seeing Tony Abbott in Alice Springs with people that have lived under a lean too, for 6 years ( 4 years under Howard Gov), wasn't Tony Abbott indigenous affairs shadow for 2 years. The press shots of Tony Abbott sitting under a very shabby lean too, riding around the scrub like a wild man, conducting interviews with a scruffy face and cap, everyone can make up their own mind, my opinion is it's sickening. Nothing about the education reform and not one shot of Kevin Rudd or Julia Gillard. I have lodged a formal complaint with the ABC today about the stooges on Q and A, Chris Ullmann's sarcastic reports on Abc 7pm News, especially last night. also the sarcastic sorry song playing in the background. The stacking of the Insiders panel eg. Piers Ackermann and Andrew Bolt Fran Kelly's obvious biased comments constantly. Kerry O'Brien's rude comment to Julia Gillard last night (Kevin sorry Rudd), then had the hide to use the word cynical to Julia Gillard. Mark Symkins missleading reports, statements straight out of Tony Abbotts mouth. Sky News is campaigning hard tonight, video clip after video clip of Abbott riding a trail bike in the scrub with 3 aboriginals following him.

HillbillySkeleton

2/03/2010lyn1, You're a trooper. I hope they do something about your complaints. I fear they will get lost in the bowels of the ABC. Yes, I have found the increasing use of 'mood music' in ABC political reports to be intentionally demeaning. What I can't understand is why the ABC would support Tony Abbott and the Coalition when it was obvious during the Howard years that the Coalition had an agenda to undermine the integrity of the ABC(which seems to have worked), and to introduce commercialisation, as they did to SBS, which is a slippery slope to having to pander your content to your advertisers' wishes. This constant undermining of the government is iniquitous, and functioning as an arm of the Opposition more than that, it's not in the nation's best interests.

Ad astra reply

2/03/2010Folks Thank you all for your links and interesting comments - the largest number ever on [i]TPS[/i]. I've just posted [i]The Great Big Home Insulation Program Beat-up[/i]. I hope you find it interesting.

Ad astra reply

3/03/2010Folks I think we've exhausted responses to this piece, and all we're now getting is spam. So I'm closing comments.
I have two politicians and add 2 more; how many are there?