The Canberra Press Gallery will decide who governs this country...

And the manner by which they come to power.

Initially, this blog was going to be a bit of a rant about the Australian Federal Press Gallery, and press galleries in general, hot on the heels of the scathing article in the May 15 edition of The Weekend Australian, Canberra gallery turns on an ADHD prime minister who has lost his way by Christine Wallace, attacking the Prime Minister for his personal style, especially as it relates to his personality and his interpersonal relationships with members of the Canberra Press Gallery, and the Adam Walters' Channel 7 exposé of the private life of David Campbell, the former NSW Transport Minister. How these people have the temerity to arrogate unto themselves the power to decide what the political narrative will be for the country, and who should be leading us, is a situation which regularly leaves me dumbstruck. However, when I started doing a bit of research into the theory which would underpin this piece, I came to the conclusion that, whilst I would encourage you all to contribute your thoughts about how our Press Gallery members themselves show the adverse signs of any one of a number of  human frailties which manifests in their work, just like any other group of Alphas, just like any Prime Minister, really; I thought no, instead of that I would like to lead an initial, rational discussion about what drives political journalists to behave the way they do and write the things they do for our consumption.

So I propose to outline the techniques that they use such that we may become better informed consumers of their contributions to the political debate in this country, especially in the run-up to the federal election. Forewarned is forearmed, in my book.

Also, as Mr Denmore over at Larvatus Prodeo has this week done a sterling job of deconstructing our political journalists' motivations and 'shifts in the media and journo-sphere', I thus searched for a different perspective. So, I have chosen to present a hopefully balanced and informative look at the broad nature of political journalism, as I am sure there will be plenty of opportunities in the near future as the temperature rises, in the Press Gallery, in the electorate, and in the blogosphere, to have a more emotively-based dig at the self-important 'oracles' that sit in Australia's Federal Press Gallery, thinking they know what is best for all of us to believe about the Australian political scene and our politicians. Their argument, of course, for this 'right' would revolve around their proximity to the 'action', and their deep engagement in the scene over many long years in Canberra, or wherever. However, I would put it to you that maybe that's the problem. Which goes to the title of this piece. Nevertheless, I will be explanatory first, and establish the framework by which we might be able to go forward and judge them objectively and effectively into the future.

So here goes...

Media Political Bias
There is no such thing as an objective point of view.

No matter how much we may try to ignore it, human communication always takes place in a context, through a medium, and among individuals and groups who are situated historically, politically, economically, and socially adjacent to each other. This state of affairs is neither bad nor good. It simply is. Bias is a small word that identifies the collective influences of the entire context of a message.

Politicians are certainly biased and overtly so. They belong to parties and espouse policies and ideologies. And while they may think their individual ideologies are simply common sense, they understand that they speak from political positions.

Journalists, too, speak from political positions but usually not overtly so. The journalistic ethics of objectivity and fairness are strong influences on the profession. But journalistic objectivity is not the pristine objectivity of philosophy. Instead, a journalist attempts to be objective by two methods: 1) fairness to those concerned with the news and 2) a professional process of information gathering that seeks fairness, completeness and accuracy. As we all know, the ethical heights journalists set for themselves are not always reached. Especially these days when, as others such as Mr Denmore have observed, the modern political journalist is virtually shackled to their desk as they struggle to meet their deadlines, and need to factor in input from new media such as Twitter and TV and parliamentary proceedings. Is it any wonder, they say, that wearing out shoe leather in the hard slog of investigative journalism falls by the wayside, and Press Releases prepared by ever-ready media advisers from one party or another, come to be relied upon as grist for their daily mill? But, all in all, like politics, it is an honourable profession, practised, for the most part, by people trying to do the right thing.

In other words, journalists often do what they do without reflecting upon the meaning of the premises and assumptions that support their practice.

I think we may begin to reflect upon journalistic practice by noticing that the press applies a narrative structure to ambiguous events in order to create a coherent and causal sense of events.

For citizens and information consumers (which are one and the same today), it is important to develop the skill of detecting bias. Remember: Bias does not suggest that a message is false or unfair.

Critical questions for detecting bias
1. What is the author's socio-political position? With what social, political, or professional groups is the speaker identified?

2. Does the speaker have anything to gain personally from delivering the message?

3. Who is paying for the message? Where does the message appear? What is the bias of the medium? Who stands to gain?

4. What sources does the speaker use, and how credible are they? Does the speaker cite statistics? If so, how were the data gathered, who gathered the data, and are the data being presented fully?

5. How does the speaker present arguments? Is the message one-sided, or does it include alternative points of view? Does the speaker fairly present alternative arguments? Does the speaker ignore obviously conflicting arguments?

6. If the message includes alternative points of view, how are those views characterised? Does the speaker use positive words and images to describe his/her point of view and negative words and images to describe other points of view? Does the speaker ascribe positive motivations to his/her point of view and negative motivations to alternative points of view?

Bias in the news media
Is the news media biased toward progressives? Yes. Is the news media biased toward conservatives? Yes. These questions and answers are uninteresting because it is possible to find evidence – anecdotal and otherwise – to ‘prove’ media bias of one stripe or another. Far more interesting and instructive is studying the inherent, or structural biases of journalism as a professional practice.  A more accepted, and perhaps more accurate term, instead of 'bias', would be ‘frame’. These are some of the professional frames that structure what journalists can see and how they can present what they see.

Commercial bias: The news media are money-making businesses. As such, they must deliver a good product to their customers to make a profit. The customers of the news media are advertisers. The most important product the news media delivers to its customers is readers or viewers. Good is defined in numbers and quality of readers or viewers. The news media are biased toward conflict (cf. bad news and narrative biases below) because conflict draws readers and viewers. Harmony is boring.

Temporal bias: The news media are biased toward the immediate. News is what's new and fresh. To be immediate and fresh, the news must be ever-changing even when there is little news to cover.

Visual bias: Television (and, increasingly, newspapers) are biased toward visual depictions of news. Television is nothing without pictures. Legitimate news that has no visual angle is likely to get little attention. Much of what is important in politics – policy – cannot be photographed.

Bad news bias: Good news is boring (and probably does not photograph well, either). This bias makes the world look like a more dangerous place than it really is. Plus, this bias makes politicians look far more negative than they really are.

Narrative bias: The news media cover the news in terms of ‘stories’ that must have a beginning, middle, and end – in other words, a plot with antagonists and protagonists. Much of what happens in our world, however, is ambiguous. The news media apply a narrative structure to ambiguous events suggesting that these events are easily understood and have clear cause-and-effect relationships. Good storytelling requires drama, and so this bias often leads journalists to add, or seek out, drama for the sake of drama. Controversy creates drama. Journalists often seek out the opinions of competing experts or officials in order to present conflict between two sides of an issue (sometimes referred to as the authority-disorder bias). Lastly, narrative bias leads many journalists to create, and then hang on to, master narratives – set story lines with set characters who act in set ways. Once a master narrative has been set, it is very difficult to get journalists to see that their narrative is simply one way, and not necessarily the correct or best way, of viewing people and events.

Status quo bias: The news media believe ‘the system works’.  This bias ensures that alternate points of view about how government might run and what government might do are effectively ignored. They go with the flow and analyse that.

Fairness bias: No, this is not an oxymoron. Ethical journalistic practice demands that reporters and editors be fair. In the news product this bias manifests as a contention between/among political actors (cf. narrative bias above). Whenever one faction or politician does something or says something newsworthy, the press is compelled by this bias to get a reaction from an opposing camp. This creates the illusion that the game of politics is always contentious and never cooperative. This bias can also create situations in which one faction appears to be attacked by the press. For example, politician A announces some positive accomplishment followed by the press seeking a negative comment from politician B. The point is not to disparage politician A, but to be fair to politician B. When politician A is a conservative, this practice by the press thus appears to be liberal bias, that is, the press manifesting their liberal tendencies by seeking out comment from politician B that disparages politician A's conservative achievement; and vice versa, of course. I would add though that the motivation for doing this in some instances is questionable when you read how it has then been used by the journalist.

Expediency bias: Journalism is a competitive, deadline-driven profession. Reporters compete among themselves for prime space or air time. News organisations compete for market share and reader/viewer attention. And the 24-hour news cycle – driven by the immediacy of television and the internet – creates a situation in which the job of competing never comes to a rest. Add financial pressures to this mix – the general desire of media groups for profit margins that exceed what's ‘normal’ in many other industries – and you create a bias toward information that can be obtained quickly, easily and inexpensively. Need an expert/official quote (status quo bias) to balance (fairness bias) a story (narrative bias)? Who can you get on the phone fast? Who is always ready with a quote and always willing to speak (i.e. say what you need them to say to balance the story)? Who sent a press release recently? Much of deadline decision making comes down to gathering information that is readily available from sources that are well known.

Glory bias: Journalists, especially television reporters, often insert themselves into the stories they cover. This happens most often in terms of proximity, i.e. to the locus of unfolding events or within the orbit of powerful political and civic actors. This bias helps journalists establish and maintain a cultural identity as knowledgeable insiders (although many journalists reject the notion that follows from this – that they are players in the game and not merely observers).  News promos with stirring music and heroic pictures of individual reporters create the aura of omnipresence and omnipotence.

Blatant political bias: This is the most contentious framework 'bias' of all. It is one that I wrestled with defining specifically because I could not decide, as I have never spoken to any of the protagonists about it, how fully invested politically are some journalists in defining the stories they write based upon their own political prejudices? It is probably fair to say that some are guilty of this bias. Yet others may only be playing to the audience that the proprietor instructs them to write for.

Simply communicating by written or spoken words introduces bias to the message. Rhetoric scholar James A. Berlin once said that language is "never innocent." By this he meant that language cannot be neutral; it reflects and structures our ideologies and world views. To speak at all is to speak politically.

False assumptions by journalists, rather than overt politicking, help create the political bias news consumers often detect in news reporting. A conservative will quite naturally assert a conservative world view by using concepts in ways comfortable to conservatives. The same goes for progressive journalists communicating with their 'consumers'.

So, whilst it might seem like I have morphed into an apologist for some of the most egregious violators of the public's trust that exist in Australian political journalism, I would rather see what I have put before you today as my considered analysis of the possible motivations behind why they do what they do, good and bad. We all know who 'they' are, and, I guess, they all have mortgages and school fees to pay, like you and me. Thus, while I may not agree with what they say, I will defend to the death their right to say it. And, it doesn't make what they sometimes do correct, but I can now understand better why they might do it.

So is the Canberra Press Gallery really attempting to determine who will govern this country and the manner by which they come to power?

What do you think?

 

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Acerbic Conehead

30/05/2010HS, great stuff, thanks a million for your thread. On the previous one, Rx reckoned Insiders was so bad, it should be canned (thanks Johnny Button) and replaced by “a rerun British cop show”. It just so happens, however, a new drama has been purchased from the BBC and will soon hit our ABC screens. The fact that it never made it on to BBC TV, however, is neither here nor there. It is centred on the machinations of a crooked cop and the various shenanigans he gets up to in Sunhill. Eponymously, it is entitled, “The Bazz”. So, Bazz has been given the task, by the equally shonky Superintendant Scott, to “investigate” the thefts, by the faceless gangster, Phoney Tony the Policy Pincher, of election material delivered to letterboxes. It seems that Phoney Tony is too lazy to come up with his own policies, so he rides by very fast on his bike and grabs the election material from the hands of unsuspecting householders. And, as he travels so fast, no-one has come forward to say they got a good look at him, so the police have no picture of him to go by. Until now, that is. A very concerned citizen, Betty Battler, has fronted up at Sunhill nick, claiming she “got a good butcher’s at his boat-race” and knows what Phoney Tony looks like. Betty is being interviewed by shonky Bazz. Bazz: Erm...Mrs Battler...could you just indulge me for a moment and tell me why you are dressed in a burqa? Betty: Oh, it’s just to keep the sun off me, love...I don’t want to get any of them melon-gnomers y’know – after all, we’re havin’ a heat-wave at the moment in London with it bein’ 12 degrees n’all... Bazz: Riiiight...Now, Mrs Battler...what’s this about you catching a glimpse of Phoney Tony the Policy Pincher – how come you had a good look at him and no-body else was able to? Betty: Oh, it must have been the burqa, dearie – stopped ‘im in ‘is tracks it did – he looked sort of ‘confronted’, like... Bazz: Riiiight...So you would be able to give us a good description then? Betty: I’ll try, son... Bazz: Righto, then, I’ll just pull out my IdentiGit kit and we’ll see how we go... [Bazza starts with the examples of hair – Betty can’t decide whether he had a bee-hive or hair like a poodle, so opts for both. Next, Bazz shows her his collection of eyes. After some deliberation, she picks an absolute loony pair – ones that could transfix a gnat at 1000 paces. Then, the chins. She picks a well-endowed double one that looks like it belongs to someone who is used to eating a tray-full of party-pies just for a snack. The mouths/cheeks are next, and Betty finally decides on a smirk that would put the cat that got the cream out of business. Next, Bazz asks Betty to describe the facial complexion, so he could colour it in. She describes it as ashen, even zombie-like. The final piece of the IdentiGit puzzle is the eyebrows. Betty chooses a set so bushy, they would make Peter Garrett’s dome look like one of Ken Henry’s hairy-nosed wombats. Bazza looks at the final product and is so shocked, he remains speechless for what appears an eternity. Finally, he turns to Betty] Bazz: I don’t f**king believe it...I asked you to describe Phoney Tony the Policy Pincher and you have the effrontery to implicate one of the most upstanding of our local citizens – the president of our cricket club, Mr John Howard, no less – now could you! [Bazz proceeds to grab Betty by the scruff of her burqa, berates her for wasting police time and kicks her unceremoniously out of the nick. Back in the now-empty interview room, he begins to concoct another one of his cunning crooked plans] Bazz (to himself): Heh...heh...I know what I’ll do – I’ll take Betty’s witness statement and substitute her next-door neighbour, Rudd, as the suspect. I’ve fitted him up already on a few things – dealing in consignments of stolen hair-dryers...fencing hijacked utes...selling stewardesses on the white slave-market...industrially man-slaughtering pink batts installers...shaking sauce bottles in a public place...not speaking English...consorting with that other miscreant Brian Burke...being an undischarged bankrupt...talking to people outside church...and for being as boring as bat-shit...hee...hee... [Notice to viewers: don’t forget to tune in every night up until the election to “The Bazz” – the series that makes Underbelly look like Songs of Praise – and ain’t that the gospel truth!]

HS

31/05/2010Acerbic C., I suggest Superintendant Cassidy needs to read over your document for verification. :)

gusface

31/05/2010AC Pure genius I suggest a radio play strays of our lives :)

Sir Ian Crisp

31/05/2010HS, are you qualified to assess media matters? Would you please inform the debate by listing your media credentials or are you just an ultracrepidarian?

HS

31/05/2010Sir Ian Crisp, I have as many qualifications as any Opposition MP has in order to criticise the government's media actions. :) Anyway, as this is not a site for media professionals I have as much right to an opinion on these matters as anyone else. Also, if it seems to be of a professional standard, then maybe I should offer myself to all the major metropolitan dailies, as I would be capable, no doubt about it, of doing a better job than many of those that now work there.

Sally

31/05/2010HS A very thoughtful piece. I read it not as an apology but more an overview of the pressures, constraints and, yes, biases of modern journalism – notably news journalism. For what it’s worth I think many of the structural factors you outline are unavoidable. What is missing for me at present, and it appears to be worsening, is ethical standards, independence from editorial control, genuine analysis and (don’t laugh) truth. I’m neither a linguist nor cultural studies aficionado, but I don’t believe language ‘structures’ ideology or world view: it certainly reflects it and probably reinforces it. Ideology, I believe, structures language. Thus the ‘egregious’ violations you mention from some quarters that includes both editors and media proprietors, and individual journalists. May your contributions continue. Sally

Agnes Mack

31/05/2010 Yesterday I posted a tweet from @abc_investigate on Political Sword/getting some balance into RSPT debate. "Do you know any builders/contractors with the BER? We want to hear from them via http://bit.ly/90Zohg. Please retweet! 3:56 PM May 27th via TweetDeck " I wondered in a following tweet if the ABC and News Ltd were co-operating on a get-Julia campaign. You will understand then why I found the following two news stories today of more than passing interest. http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2010/05/31/2913338.htm http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/nation/managers-charging-four-times-the-norm-for-ber-projects-in-nsw/story-e6frg6nf-1225873223837 BTW, Hilbilly a very thoughtful piece, albeit a little generous in its treatment of journalists, some of them anyway.

Michael

31/05/2010"Why they do it." But why does Glenn Milne (yes, I know) do what he does in today's Australian? It reads like a testament by someone seeking psychiatric help, as in, "here, doc, doesn't this lay out just how obsessed I am? So, please, help me."

HS

31/05/2010I have just heard what the ABC 'Investigative Unit'(otherwise now to be known to me as the taxpayer-funded Coalition Dirt Unit), have done with their call for dirt on the BER. A 'news' item(and I use that term advisedly) on the radio this morning has said that they have found out, via their call for submissions on the BER, that builders that replied said that they were not able to make enough profit from the BER!!! That is, these greedy individuals have complained to the ABC that it was not good enough that their businesses were kept afloat during the GFC as a result of the BER, no, they want more than that from the government and the taxpayers of Australia. They want a fat profit! They have also used the contrivance of the latest bugbear as a result of the BER, which has been manufactured by 'The Australian' and the ABC, that the Management Fees for the large building companies that they subcontract to, are so high that it has starved them of what they expect as their due. As far as the above criteria goes, I would say that this is an instance of 'Fairness Bias' not being practiced. In other words, it's not very fair to the government and an abrogation of their journalistic responsibilities.

HS

31/05/2010For ABC Watch, from Crikey's Charles Richardson blog: It’s not just News Ltd. There’s an increasingly blatant pro-Coalition bias at the ABC. How’s THIS for a headline – written by none other than the charming Fran Kelly. Wheels falling off the Labor bandwagon http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2010/02/18/2823251.htm Note: the piece is about federal politics where Labor’s position is far healthier than their positiion in NSW. Yet according to Kelly, the wheels are coming off. She wishes.

HS

31/05/2010Actually, all the comments plus the initial blog by Charles Richardson are germane to this blog up above, so here is the link: http://blogs.crikey.com.au/electioncentral/2010/04/27/why-ive-stopped-reading-news-ltd/

Lyn

31/05/2010[b]TODAY'S LINKS[/b] [i]Mining through Rudd’s broken promises, Media Wrap, Crikey[/i] Did Rudd deliberately mislead the parliament on the impact of the RSPT? Is Rudd a hypocrite on government advertising? http://www.crikey.com.au/2010/05/31/mining-through-rudds-lies/ [i]An Abbott Future, JJ Fiasson, The Daily Bludge[/i]. There is a broad perception across the left that Abbott is dangerous because of his devout religious conviction, and hypocritical lack of compassion. http://dailybludge.com.au/2010/05/an-abbott-future/ [i]Julia vs Kevin, John Warhurst, Eureka Street[/i] If Labor wins the next election, Rudd will be entrenched for another term. If the Coalition wins by any margin Rudd will probably step down and Gillard is likely to become opposition leader http://www.eurekastreet.com.au/article.aspx?aeid=21556 [i]The World according to Tony Mark 1 or 11 or 111 or 1V or V.[/i] North Coast Voices remember that he tailors his opinions to his audience. Here's Tony over the last six months: http://northcoastvoices.blogspot.com/2010/05/world-according-to-tony-mark-i-or-ii-0r.html [i]Rio’s Chief Says Mining Tax Creates ‘Silent Partner’ (Update2) Bloomberg businessweek,Shani Raja[/i] Updates to add opposition’s call for senate inquiry into government’s advertising campaign in 11th paragraph.) http://www.businessweek.com/news/2010-05-30/rio-s-chief-says-mining-tax-creates-silent-partner-update2-.html [i]In the Billinudgel's front bar there's no reason to bother , Mungo MacCallum, National Times.[/i] You can get a better argument about foreign policy, immigration and asylum seekers, climate change, health, education, almost any aspect of the environment and even Tony Abbott's budgie smugglers in the front bar of the Billinudgel http://www.theage.com.au/opinion/politics/in-the-billinudgels-front-bar-theres-no-reason-to-bother-20100324-qwtg.html [i]Polling tips big swing against Labor in by-election - ABC News[/i] There are a bunch of unknowns and it is difficult to really assess how much of a backlash will be recorded against the Labor Party. http://alexschlotzer.wordpress.com/ [i]Which man wanted to f**k the unions?, David Penberthy, The Punch[/i] There is plenty in all this for Tony Abbott to enjoy but he still has some serious unity headaches which are damaging the cohesion of the alternative government. http://www.thepunch.com.au/articles/Which-man-wanted-to-fk-the-unions/ [i]Malcolm Turnbull, Sunday profile, Monica Attard, ABC Radio[/i]. Now he's urging the former Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser to reconsider his decision to quit the Liberal Part http://www.abc.net.au/rn/sundayprofile/stories/2010/2911966.htm

HS

31/05/2010Everyone would be well advised to follow #abc_investigate Twitter feed, so that you can have a crack at them like I did this morning.

Lyn

31/05/2010Hi Hillbilly So now the ABC ,rely on a book report, by Simon Benson, [b]The Daily Telegraph[/b], to report the biased opinion. [i]Rudd reneged on privatisation deal: Iemma, ABC[/i] An extract of a new book by Daily Telegraph political reporter Simon Benson http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2010/05/31/2913473.htm

janice

31/05/2010An excellent piece Hillbilly, your expertise at writing these articles grows to new heights with each one. Isn't it a pity that we seem to be stuck with the low standards of journalism we're dished up from our 'modern' journalists? I've been listening to our local ABC radio this morning and in particular, tuned into the segment on the mining tax and Labor's advertising. As I've said before, I live in the middle of a pro-labor electorate and in the middle of the Hunter's coal mining areas, so there is not the same hysteria about this issue around here. The callers so far are supporting Labor's policy and also the advertising but some have said they wished the advertising hadn't become a necessary course of action. I am pleased to say that, in general, our local ABC have not gone feral and remain balanced in their reporting.

HS

31/05/2010An excellent example of journalistic balance in the smh from John Watson today: http://www.smh.com.au/opinion/politics/poll-results-bode-well-for-rudd-20100530-wndw.html As I have stated in the blog above, it bodes us well to to apply a sceptical filter to what we read and to learn how to spot quality.

HS

31/05/2010Agnes, Thanks for your kind comments and links. As far as this blog goes, I'm just trying to lay the groundwork to be able to argue in future, when I seek to advance a criticism of the MSM, and the Parliamentary Press Gallery journos, that I am not merely a partisan ranter. Especially if I accuse some of them of same. :)

HS

31/05/2010lyn, And an avowedly partisan political reporter in Simon Benson as well. Anyway, as I remember the situation at the time wrt NSW Electricity Privatisation, the PM did stand 4 square behind Morris Iemma to get it done. I wonder if Simon Benson included those examples of support in his book?

Snoozer289

31/05/2010Hi, I think this article by John Wtason in todays Age, puts this election years polls into perspective and shows despite all the MSM hype Abbot and the Coalition are not travelling anywhere near as well as past Oppositions that have had a clear advantage in pre election polling to still be beaten by the incumbent Government. http://www.theage.com.au/opinion/politics/poll-results-bode-well-for-rudd-20100530-wndw.html#poll

HS

31/05/2010Sally, Thank you for your thoughtful comment on my piece. I think that was one of the important aspects of political journalism that I wanted to point to, that is, how much of what we read from the Press Gallery is unalloyed opinion borne of years of political observation, allowed a free reign by proprietors of the media that these people speak in, and how much of it has the ghostly hand of the proprietor virtually ghost writing the work they produce? Then, there are those who appear to have, after decades in their jobs at pretty much the one outlet, if not the one stable, like News Corp., a kind of Stockholm Syndrome where they have become so used to writing their stories for their particular audience that they know no other way, have forgotten the journalistic tenets described above, and actually believe that what they are writing is a 'Fair and Balnced' perspective. :) I think we can all agree that we can put Glenn Milne in that category. Also the other 'Poison Dwarf', Steve Price, who has gone now to infect the Melbourne airwaves with his caustic appraisals of the Rudd government, only. Which is why I would say that these people no longer deserve the appelation of 'journalist'. Instead they are mere pamphleteers for their masters and owners of the deed to their souls, plus the side of politics that their master supports.

HS

31/05/2010janice, Did you also see the coverage of the issue of the RSPT in the Hunter from the perspective of one of the Coal Mine owners on Channel 9 News yesterday? The mine owner said that his mine needed $250 million for refurbishments and he didn't know if he would be able to afford to do that if the RSPT came in? Which is an absolutely fallacious representation of the situation that an RSPT would address as if that man's Coal Mine was so close to the profit bone he would be able to afford infrastructure as the government, being a 40% silent partner, would help defray the costs, and if he didn't make a Super Profit he wouldn't have to pay the tax at all!

HS

31/05/2010Thank you, lyn, for your lovely links! :)

gusface

31/05/2010Hola Swordians Paul Howes would like any input you can give @howespaul Preparing for my debate with Clive Palmer on Wednesday at the National Press Club - if you have any points send them through https://twitter.com/howespaul

Jason

31/05/2010A bit off topic but disgusting anyway http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/breaking-news/barnaby-joyce-apologies-for-gough-whitlam-sledge/story-fn3dxity-1225873367688

gusface

31/05/2010Jason I always find the Australian disgusting

nasking

31/05/2010"It’s not just News Ltd. There’s an increasingly blatant pro-Coalition bias at the ABC. How’s THIS for a headline – written by none other than the charming Fran Kelly. Wheels falling off the Labor bandwagon" Pretty pathetic stuff from many in the ABC of late. Makes you wonder about how many are trying to get jobs w/ the Murdoch empire in the future. I'm beginning to think we should refer to it as "the ABFOXC". :) Perhaps Fran Kelly might want to have a read of this: Poll results bode well for Rudd JOHN WATSON May 31, 2010 http://www.theage.com.au/opinion/politics/poll-results-bode-well-for-rudd-20100530-wndw.html BTW, good stuff HS. I think "Commercial bias" has alot to do w/ the problems we're seeing. The corporate news is so tied in to fear of losing/offending advertisers...and they have their own connections to companies that might be affected by government policy. And journos are obviously afraid at times of losing their job in a transformational and increasingly insecure career sector/industry and consequently the word from "the top" can make a big difference. Not to mention the "gatekeepers". We also don't know how much personal shareholdings are determining a journos/columnist's bias. Or previous & present political affiliation. We know that Fox News basically hires Republicans...or 'Independents" who were once registered Republicans. I wonder if we scrutinised News Ltd if we'd see the same kind of party affiliation bias. As Abbott was once a journo for the Murdoch media then these barrages against Labor could be seen in the context of "trying to get jobs for mates"...as in the PMs job. And perhaps he gets treated better by the press lot in general because of his past connections & employment. N'

HS

31/05/2010Jason, All I can say is that it appears that Barnaby Joyce has more integrity in his little finger than gutless Tony Abbott has in his whole body. So gutless that he wouldn't even venture an opinion on the matter. I hope that the electorate takes out from that something pretty significant about the type of man they would be voting for to lead this country. Jason, I hope that what we might all get out of the blog I have posted is the ability to scrutinise the Press Gallery better. We will hopefully be able to apply the ruler to them from now on, and learn to discriminate better the hacks from the true journalists who are faithful to what should be the adherance to the Journalists Code of Conduct, which is similar, I would imagine, to the tenets for good journalism that can be gleaned from above. If we are really lucky, some of them might pass by this way in cyberspace, stop, take the time to read what I have written, and then go off and examine their consciences. I see glimmers of light as far as that goes. For example, Karen Middleton gave the political commentary on NewsRadio this morning sounding way more circumspect than she was when being gee'd up Bolt on Insiders yesterday. I even thought she may have taken onboard tweets she may have received yesterday from people like Gusface(a tireless soldier to the end for the cause), and thus had a change of heart about her position joining in the campaign to tear down the Rudd government, in opposition with the Opposition and Murdoch, against a Tax change that would benefit all citizens of her homeland. Anyway, I've signed on to follow her Twitter account as well today. I think these 140 character butterfly wings can have an effect.

HS

31/05/2010gusface, I've already sent Paul Howes a tweet pointing out the obscene profit of $40 Billion that Rio Tinto have made over the last 2 years. I'm sure he'll put such data to good use. I am lucky to have a friend that knows him very well. She assures me he is a genuinely lovely man. Can't wait until he comes into parliament, which he surely will down the line.

HS

31/05/2010Now that's what I call an unbalanced report from the ABC. The Midday News just had as their top story a commentary about the Ad campaign that the government is undertaking in order to counter the misinformation campaign from the Mining Industry. Completely negative and with only 4 talking heads from the Opposition given airtime, including a top and tail comment from Tony Abbott, and no counterbalancing comment from a government member. Disgraceful!

HS

31/05/2010The ABC have abandoned all pretence at balance, in my opinion.

janice

31/05/2010Hillbilly, I did hear, or at least I should say I half-heard, that coal miner crying croc tears on Ch.9 news. I haven't heard anything about it since though so I don't know who it was or where his mine is. It is only a very recent phenomenon that Upper Hunter communities have realised the devastation that has been caused to the valley by open cut coal mining. Suddenly, farmers and the horse stud industry have found themselves overwhelmed by the encroaching mines squeezing the life out of all in their path and people have become concerned about the air they're breathing being detrimental to their health. There is good reason for the concern as people now realise we have nowhere to run anymore and our valley is fast becoming a moonscape. BHP Billiton and their ilk won't get any sympathy from this quarter. Everyone and his dog around these parts know full well that over the years the mining companies have walked all over every community - they made it impossible for other businesses to compete with the miners wages so were bled dry of employees who were enticed to the mines. Communities only get what is left - tradies are scarce as hens teeth because they all work in the mines and maybe 'moonlight' on the side if they have a bit of spare time. Gosh, our Council couldn't even help out a pensioner sport club with recycled water because the mines needed it all. Feed the mines first and any crumbs left the ratepayers can scramble for. Great stuff, isn't it?

HS

31/05/2010lyn, Put this in our daily links please? A pass on from Peter Martin on Twitter: http://aussieobserver.blogspot.com/2010/05/why-julie-bishop-must-go.html

Lyn

31/05/2010TODAY'S LINKS PART 2 [i]Why Julie Bishop must go,PAUL BARRATT , Australian Observer[/i] I think Julie Bishop violated three rules of political courtesy and common-or-garden professionalism in relation to this matter. http://aussieobserver.blogspot.com/2010/05/why-julie-bishop-must-go.html [i]Lowy Poll – climate change and public hypocrisy, Possum Comitatus, Pollytics[/i] Climate change, like so many other areas of public policy in Australia, is an exercise in rank public hypocrisy – oh yes, we all want X,Y and Z, but someone else can pay for it. http://blogs.crikey.com.au/pollytics/2010/05/31/lowy-poll-climate-change-and-public-hypocrisy/ [i]WA at the 2010 Election, Peter Brent, Mumble[/i] (William reckons more like 52 to 48) and odd talk about boundaries. And http://mumble.com.au/

Lyn

31/05/2010Hi Hillbilly and Ad This link has been posted before, but I wanted you to see my comment and the reply from "Stop Murdoch" [i]Tell the ABC it" not good enough, STOP MURDOCH[/i] As we found before, the ABC try to ignore this valid criticism. It's up to each of you to keep telling the ABC and your politicians this must stop. [b]http://stopmurdoch.blogspot.com/2010/05/tell-a [/b] 2 comments: lyn said... Hi This an excellent column, you have provided some very valuable information about the dissapointing performance of the ABC, in particular their biased reporting, and their savage attack on our Government. Would you be kind enough to visit Ad Astra's The Political Sword, we are conducting an ABC watch. We would be very grateful of any information or help you could provide us with http://www.thepoliticalsword.com/page/ABC-Watch.aspx Regards, Lyn May 29, 2010 3:27 AM Stop Murdoch said... Hi Lyn, [b]Thanks for that. We're reading through that long thread on "Their ABC", good stuff[/b]. Sometimes it feels like a lonely losing battle against Murdoch and all the neo-cons, so it is always refreshing and heartening to find others trying to bring some sanity back to our media and democracy. Best wishes. May 30, 2010 5:59 PM bc-its-not-good-enough.html#comments

Lyn

31/05/2010Hi Hillbilly and Ad [b]ESSENTIAL POLL[/b] [i]Essential Report - Big look at IR, Possum Comitatus, Pollytics[/i] washing out into a two party preferred of 51/49 to Labor – a one'' ONE point gain to the Coalition since last week, http://blogs.crikey.com.au/pollytics/

Gravel

31/05/2010Thanks HS for your great topic. I read the first paragraph of a story and usually can tell where the 'journalist' is coming from. Oh and by the way are you (I won't say the whole name) V....... from JTI's blog?

Lyn

31/05/2010Hi Gravel Can you tell me, who is JTI, I am intrigued. cheers

gusface

31/05/2010Good on karen m for engaging in debate :) . @daGusface Re #insiders. Trying to figure out if I was being biased agst Govt re ads, agst Oppn re asylum or agst Greens re blocking ETS..? @KarenMMiddleton my replys @KarenMMiddleton and BTW I think you are amongst the cream of the crop of the fair journos. Why doesnt SBS have its own Insiders program 3 minutes ago via web in reply to KarenMMiddleton Delete . @KarenMMiddleton I felt you let Bolt get away with crap- tho you did smack him down, I felt he needed a stronger putdown. 4 minutes ago via web in reply to KarenMMiddleton

Lyn

31/05/2010Hi Hillbilly and Ad ESSENTIAL POLL BY REB, GUTTER TRASH [i]Tony Abbott: Standing on Shaky Ground.,Reb, Gutter Trash[/i], Abbott’s brain snaps on talkback radio and the 7.30 Report, his approval rating has fallen 4% to 35% and disapproval went up 7% to 50% http://guttertrash.wordpress.com:80/2010/05/31/tony-abbott-standing-on-shaky-ground/

Johnny Button

31/05/2010Hi All, I've been busy looking after my son today, but I managed to send this complaint today to the Insiders. Can the Cass! I am writing to voice my concerns over yesterday’s episode of Insiders. I have watched this show religiously for several years and it has always been a Sunday morning institution at our place. I have always considered it to be the number one program for politics on Australian Television. In the past, I have found Barry Cassidy to be an outstanding journalist with high professional standards. The show has been well-researched, informative, fair, balanced and good natured. Since the start of this year, however, I have found that the quality and the integrity of the show have deteriorated quite markedly. In the last few months, and especially yesterday, the show has stopped delivering a balanced platform for both major parties and politicians to present their ideas and policies for review. I was so incensed with the program yesterday I felt compelled to write and to complain. I have also forwarded my criticism and comments to my local Member in Federal Parliament, and to the Friends of the ABC. Something quite sinister is happening to The Insiders. The program is rapidly becoming a mouthpiece for the Federal Opposition and is beginning to resemble an extension of the News Limited Empire. During yesterday’s episode, Cassidy and his panel of journalists took a scatter-gun approach to attacking the government in a biased manner. On a number of occasions, the panel of journalists were allowed to attack the government with lies and misinformation without the scrutiny of Cassidy. Furthermore, there was no critical analysis of Coalition policies that were released during the week. Errors committed by opposition ministers were brushed aside with flippant and glib remarks by Cassidy and the other journalists. This is not the usual, non-partisan approach that the ABC prides itself on. The high standards and principles that the ABC adheres to were thrown out the window yesterday. As stated above, I was especially disappointed with Cassidy’s lack of ability and willingness to facilitate a robust and balanced discussion. It is no secret that Cassidy does not like the Prime Minister and that is his prerogative. Despite this, as the host of a publicly funded show, he has a responsibility to conceal his personal disdain and to provide the taxpaying viewer a fairer and balanced approach to politics. He came across extremely unprofessional yesterday and like I intimated earlier, this has been getting progressively worse since the start of the year. It is fundamental to a public broadcaster’s role in a democratic nation, to assist the voter to make a better and more-informed choice at election time. The Insiders and Barry Cassidy are no longer living up to those standards and responsibilities. It might well be the case that Cassidy has approached his used-by-date. In my opinion, this once good and fair journalist is no longer capable of hosting a show that delivers a robust and balanced approach to politics. Yesterday was the last straw for me and my family and we have no intention of watching the show into the future. We have better things to do on a Sunday morning. It is a pity, as The Insiders was a great program. We are deeply offended that our hard-earned tax dollars would be wasted and misused by the ABC to fraudulently promote one political party over another. Maybe it’s time to ‘Can the Cass’ and The Insiders.

Gravel

31/05/2010Lyn JTI is Jack the Insiders blog in the Australian, I visit it occasionally but not much lately, he used to be quite good, even given his dislike of Kevin.

NormanK

31/05/2010Thanks HS for a fair-minded look at the state of things in the world of journalism. Having studied to be a journalist and discovered that one of the first things you must compromise is your integrity, it is no surprise that few quality people stay in the mainstream and those who do can mostly be found in the public broadcasting sector. This is another reason to keep our ABC unfettered by commercial constraints. Could I offer a word of advice to my new family? (I can sleep here tonight, can't I?) Don't get caught up in the very thing against which you are railing. The John Watson article mentioned above says a lot. I am relatively new to news-watching as an obsession but it does seem that the Murdoch Press has been writing this drivel for years and years - if not decades - and it really has a marginal affect on the electorate (although the journos like to think of themselves as king-maker/king-breaker). This belief in their own power and the personal nature of the current attacks is what particularly irks me at the moment. Putting that aside, do you really have so little faith in Mr Rudd that you think he is being swept along by events and has no control over his and the party's destiny? Personally, so far this year I have been encouraged by most recent events. No-one in their right mind could expect to maintain such outrageously high personal approval ratings. Remember this is the man who gave almost every Australian individual a cheque for $900. How could he not be a great bloke? This bubble was sure to burst. So, to use one of my pet expressions, he squeezed the pimple at the time of his choosing rather than letting it fester and pop dramatically while out at the dance with his favourite girl. We are potentially a long way out from an election and he and the party can afford to take the hits now whereas it might have been more damaging later. And I reckon there can be no doubt that a dramatic drop in ratings was going to come. So he has cleared the decks - sorry about not doing as much as you expected; we need to balance the budget so the ETS is on the back-burner; we don't really need all those child-care centres immediately; sorry about the pink batts - that was a stuff-up and so on. To his credit he never talked about polls when they were positive so now he can maintain that stance when they are less flattering. Don't misunderstand me - I agree wholeheartedly with the comments made here but I really do not think it is all doom and gloom. Let me go out on a limb (even if it is extremely close to the ground and not likely to hurt me if I fall). Before the year is out we will see - -Significant movement on the whaling question - it has already begun -An interesting announcement from Labor regarding climate change policy -Big strides forward on health care reform with it either being in place or available as a stick with which to beat the Rabbott -Ditto the mining rent tax - should be a very big stick -A forceful reminder to we-the-ungrateful that it wasn't luck or mining or by divine providence that we dodged recession -A big leap forward in the roll-out of computers to students -A better explanation of why we NEED the national broadband network to stay up with the rest of the world - there might even be some significant moves forward on this also -A relaxing of border protection policy as the three and six month moratoriums on processing visas has expired -A dummy-spit (public or private) by Joe Hockey for having been asked once too often to compromise himself -At least one, and I expect up to three, brain explosions from Mr Abbott when some journo asks him a tough question -Barnaby will be Barnaby and keep us all entertained Sound like wishful thinking? I know Sir Ian will think so.

HS

31/05/2010Gravel, Tis I of JTI fame. :)

Lyn

31/05/2010Hi NormanK What a wonderful thoughtful, writer you are, thankyou so much for your enjoyable piece. Love your future predictions, optimistic & practical I appreciate you writing, and appreciate your opinion very much. Ad Astra will let you sleep here, you are a nice member of our family. Ad Astra is a very kind gentle manager of The Political Sword. I will give you permission anyway, especially if you keep writing for us.

Lyn

31/05/2010Hi Hillbilly and Ad [b]Well now, is this trying to cause aggravation or what,[/b] [b]couldn't be more bias surely. From the ABC Online Investigative Unit[/b] Who did they investigate, looks like Murdoch newspapers, well done award winning stuff. [i]BER issues slip under the media radar,Anne Connolly, ABC News Online Investigative Unit. The Drum[/i] http://www.abc.net.au:80/news/stories/2010/05/31/2913850.htm?WT.mc_id=newsmail [quote]Murdoch's national flagship has uncovered some disturbing details about the stimulus spend and raised real questions about both federal and state administration of it. [/quote][quote]So why hasn't the rest of the media given the issue the same coverage? the media has not become the pack that it so often falls into when the scent of scandal fills the air. Fairfax's failure to come to the party on this one has had far reaching effects in terms of wider media coverage - [b]and that unfortunately includes the ABC[/quote] [/b]

Lyn

31/05/2010Hi Hillbilly and Ad Link to ABC broken again: Here's another try: http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2010/05/31/2913850.htm?WT.mc_id=newsmail

Lyn

31/05/2010Hi Hillbilly and Ad ABC working furiously [i]Question Time erupts over mining tax ads political, Emma Rodgers,ABC[/i] Tony Abbott has moved a motion of no confidence against the Prime Minister over the Government's $38 million mining tax ad campaign, [b]accusing him of "lying shamelessly" and acting to save his own political skin.[/b]http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2010/05/31/2914287.htm?section=justin

Ad astra reply

31/05/2010Folks Back at my computer at last. LYN'S DAILY LINKS updated: http://www.thepoliticalsword.com/page/Lyns-Daily-Links.aspx ABC WATCH updated: http://www.thepoliticalsword.com/page/ABC-Watch.aspx

Macca

31/05/2010Emma Rodgers was obviously at a different question time to the one I heard on the radio. All I heard was some boofhead ranting and screaming like a banshee, then another boofhead screamed and raged some more. Apparently everything is the fault of some bloke named Kevin! Then some other guy got up and spoke in pretty reasonable terms, without screaming and ranting, and refuted, rather intelligently...IMO, what ever he could decipher from the banshee twins. I think his name was Kevin.

Lyn

31/05/2010Hi Johnny Button I read your complaint last night on the Poll Bludger, I was so impressed. I tried to register on the Poll Bludger, so I could ask your permission to copy your complaint here on The Political Sword. So it was with delight, I see you have posted your complaint here today. Thankyou Johnny Button, good on you, well done, fantastic, very well thought out, surely the ABC have to reply. Ad will post your complaint on our ABC WATCH PAGE. Oh! by the way Ad, don't forget to post your own complaint on the Watch page.

Sally

31/05/2010NormanK Thanks for a great post. I agree entirely with everything you say. It is so easy to be sucked into a 'doom and gloom' scenario (which I admit I was getting into) and forget what the real world is like. I love this site but it is important to keep real and remember what electorates and the voting public (ie us) do at elections. Sure, let's keep up the pressure on the Murdoch media and the ABC, but let us not forget ordinary voters who tend to change their minds at the booths - despite the polls - and to sometimes really think about what they want in a government.

janice

31/05/2010NormanK, thank you for sharing your thoughts. I too have faith in Kevin Rudd and believe he knows what he is doing. However, what worries me is that there are a great many voters who are susceptible to being conned by the Abbott truth distortions, especially when they're backed up by the media. This is why I support wholeheartedly Labor's ads to counter the lies with the truth.

HS

31/05/2010NormanK, Thank you so much for your kind words of encouragement. You can leave your hat on the TPS hatstand any day at all, and I'm sure Ad Astra would concur with that(he's the big boss man after all, so he has the final say!). Now, it is exactly for the reasons that you mentioned that I have written this blog in the way that I have in order to put out on the table for all to see a few reasons why we must indeed be measured in our appraisals of the Press Gallery denizens. There may be those who do what they do in order to satisfy base motives, yet others who do it to satisfy hip-pocket drivers. Unless we get down into the dark recesses of their minds and find out which camp they are in, then I guess we'll never know which one they belong in. Except to say that with some of them it is plain as the nose on their faces. They've been at it so long, with opportunities to move on not taken, that I think you can pretty safely put them into a particular box. On the other hand, they might say, if asked directly, that they are only doing their job of holding the government and Opposition to account. However, the fair-minded observer makes an objective assessment as to the amount of similar scrutiny given to the other side, and if the articles about both sides of the political debate don't stack up evenly then you can be pretty confident about your conclusion. Or can you? For as I said in the post above, a lot of the motivation for political journalists is to play to their core constituency in order to attract a certain set of eyes and sell the advertising for the product that goes on the side of their work. There is only one way to get to the bottom of this quandry. That is to go to the Press Gallery and try and interview some of the members so as to glean some answers to these questions.

HS

31/05/2010Johnny Button, I have a theory about Barrie Cassidy and his disdain for Kevin Rudd. Do you think that, because he worked for Bob Hawke, that he is always making mental comparisons between the two and deciding that Kevin Rudd comes up short in his mind compared with the Silver Bodgie?

Sir Ian Crisp

31/05/2010NormanK, a very warm welcome to TPS. The ALP echo chamber looks forward to your comments. I hope you have a TV set without an off switch or any means to change channels. You must also buy as many of Murdoch's newspapers as possible and then complain about what is written. If you can comply with those simple rules you'll get along just fine. Mind you you'll be a tortured and demented soul but that's life.

Lyn

31/05/2010Hi Ad and Everybody GROG REPORTING ON QUESTION TIME TODAY, FANTASTIC AS NORMAL, THANKYOU GROG' [i]On the QT: Mining for Hypocrisy, Grog,Grogs Gamut[/i]. by the end of his 5 minutes I seriously worried for Hockey's blood pressure. He looked ready to burst, and was seriously out of control – kind of like Homer Simpson in Angry-Dad mode. http://grogsgamut.blogspot.com/2010/05/on-qt-mining-for-hypocrisy.html

HS

31/05/2010Sir Ian Crisp, By your comments to NormanK I can see that you have totally missed the point of my post, accidenatlly or intentionally I am unsure. Perhaps you could enlighten me about that. Suffice to say, as if I really need to reiterate, but I was attempting, in my post, to show how Press Gallery journalists may not in fact be the tendentious ogres we normally paint them as, for a variety of reasons. I was attempting to give them the benefit of the doubt, actually. Can I help it if the Press Gallery constantly seeks to disappoint?

Johnny Button

31/05/2010HS Could be. I think, however, it is more to do that Rudd refuses to go on the show. I think he has only been once. It gets back to Rudd not really mixing with the Canberra Gallery. Any predictions on the latest Newspoll folks?

Ad astra reply

31/05/2010NormanK You are a welcome visitor to [i]TPS[/i]. I hope you will return often. Thank you for contribution - a welcome reminder that Kevin Rudd and his Government are in a strong position despite all the adverse publicity and the criticism that has been heaped upon them. I agree that before the election campaign proper begins there will be announcement after announcement that will show how much the Government has done and is doing that will surprise a sceptical electorate. That will contrast with what the Abbott Party will not do, or take away, or reintroduce, such as the Pacific Solution and WorkChoices.

Grog

31/05/2010Excellent post Hillbilly - very interesting. As to your "qualifications" - this post alone shows you know what you're talking about!

Paul of Berwick

31/05/2010I think Peter Hartcher is the only one to get it... - http://www.theage.com.au/opinion/politics/big-miners-gave-rudd-the-fight-he-was-looking-for-20100528-wlbe.html

HS

31/05/2010Johnny Button, My guess is that Newspoll won't show a significant swing to the Coalition, otherwise it would have come out again on a Monday to give the Oppo a boost coming into the 2nd week of parliament. Frankly, it will probably be another one of those, 'A pox on both your leaders' polls. No shift, except wrt MOE, from what they have been recently, which is still better than other governments at this stage in the electoral cycle, as was mentioned in the John Watson/Age article that Nasking linked to earlier today.

Lyn

31/05/2010Hi Paul of Berwick I hope Peter Hartcher is right, if so, this RSPT fight, might just work for Kevin Rudd.

Daisey May

31/05/2010Wonderful article HS. Can that brain of yours get any more delicious? You have neatly said what I have been clumsily shouting to all and sundry for eons. My own theory is that journalists have never recovered from 9-11 and all the attention it gave them. The whole world looked to them for information and for a while they competed amoung themselves and many of them actually acquitted themselves quite well. Since then, unfortunately, they have beaten up any story of import to death with overwrought metaphors and cardiac arresting hyperbole. The truth plain and simple is no longer good enough. It doesn't sell advertising and if you want to work in the media business then you have to write in such a way as to bring the bacon in. Some write honestly and with a degree of reflection that is admirable. They are what is known as 'loss leaders' and only have their jobs because a slim section of societies wierdos have an unending fascination with accurateness and fairness. The rest know they are reviled by large sections of their fellow men for being muckraking termagents who will never rise above pond scum on a good day and consider being overtaken in the PR stakes by a leper colony a bad day. It would be very easy to lump SIC into this group as the rodomontadist par excellence but what would be the point? He knows he is laughed at and scorned and ridiculed and derided every time he pushes "send" but he continues to do so. The fundamental flaws he displays are just like everybody elses which lend all his spit out missives a touch of poignancy that is probably unexpected. In the end though his voice is a tedious and tiresome one that screams out for step by step instructions on how to build a funeral pyre and an elegant way in which to hurl oneself upon it without raising eyebrows. At La Boltas' site he is probably a god, at Ackermans' a queen in waiting but here in 7.30 Reportland his views are little more than unpolished turds that need to be scraped from the underside of our shoes.

HS

31/05/2010Grog, Thank you! Coming from you that's a big compliment. Tho I will admit that while I didn't do Arts at Uni, I did brush up my essay writing skills recently when I did a Grad Dip Ed(for my sins).

Ad astra reply

31/05/2010Newspoll Dennis Shanahan says: [i]The Greens have scored a record high primary vote of 16 per cent as both the Labor government and Coalition opposition lose support. According to the latest Newspoll survey, taken last weekend, the Rudd government’s primary support has dropped back to 35 per cent – its lowest level of primary vote support since the 2007 election. But the Coalition’s primary vote has also dropped back from 43 per cent to 41 per cent. It appears disaffected mainstream voters, particularly Labor voters, are shifting to the Greens as they flee the major parties. The Greens'[ primary support has lifted six points in six weeks from 10 per cent at the end of April to 16 per cent last weekend. Kevin Rudd and Tony Abbott are turning off voters who are rejecting both leaders.[/i]

Ad astra reply

31/05/2010Poll Bludger says: [i]Newspoll: 51-49 to Labor Monday, May 31, 2010 – 10:23 pm, by William Bowe Courtesy of Ghost Who Votes on Twitter, Newspoll has Labor recovering to a 51-49 lead on two-party preferred (up from 50-50 a fortnight ago), but back down two points to their 35 per cent nadir on the primary vote with the Coalition also down two points to 41 per cent. The big show is the Greens – up four to 16 per cent. More to follow. UPDATE: Full tables from Mumble. Kevin Rudd’s personal ratings have reached a new low, with approval down three points to 36 per cent and disapproval up three to 54 per cent. However, the news for Tony Abbott is even worse: approval down five to 37 per cent and disapproval up four to 49 per cent. All this cancels each other out on preferred prime minister, with Rudd’s lead steady on 49-33.[/i] http://blogs.crikey.com.au/pollbludger/

Acerbic Conehead

31/05/2010Daisey May, I notice you saw SIC's ultracrepidarian and raised him a rodomontadist. lol.

Daisey May

31/05/2010Newspoll 51-49 to the ALP. Pretty good considering that the kitchen sink has not only been hurled with great force but a dirty great big mob of hairy chested mug lairs has been sent into bat for the woeful Coalition. It just proves that Murdoch with all his money and power cannot sway a nation to do his bidding.

Ad astra reply

31/05/2010Mumble [i]From primaries of 41 to 35, Greens a whopping 16. Think about what sort of people that 16 might comprise and who they’ll end up voting for (either directly or via preferences). Both leaders unpopular.[/i] Tables www.mumble.com.au/pdfs/federal/newspoll100531.pdf

Ad astra reply

31/05/2010Folks Time to retire - I'll catch up with comments tomorrow - it's been a long day

Daisey May

31/05/2010Thanks AC, it was pretty hard to resist. Oscar said that he could resist everything except temtptation.

HS

31/05/2010The only poll that will matter to me is the one on election day which has that obsequious Liberal sycophant in Family First clothing, Steve Fielding, not getting a quota.

Lyn

1/06/2010[b]TODAY'S LINKS[/b] [i]On the QT: Mining for Hypocrisy, Grog,Grogs Gamut.[/i] by the end of his 5 minutes I seriously worried for Hockey's blood pressure. He looked ready to burst, and was seriously out of control – kind of like Homer Simpson in Angry-Dad mode. http://grogsgamut.blogspot.com/2010/05/on-qt-mining-for-hypocrisy.html [i]Newspoll: 51 - 49 to Labor, William Bowe, The Poll Bludger[/i]. All this cancels each other out on preferred prime minister, with Rudd’s lead steady on 49-33. http://blogs.crikey.com.au/pollbludger/ [i]Newspoll Greenades, Possum Comitatus, Pollytics[/i] when an opposition leader tries to drag a PM down into the mud with them like Abbott has been doing, is it ultimately a good or bad strategy? On the up side it takes shine off the PM and gives them all sorts of grief in the process, but on the downside, does it completely destroy all chances of an opposition leader to win an election? http://blogs.crikey.com.au/pollytics/ [i]Newspoll says 51 to 49 . Peter Brent, Mumble[/i] Think about what sort of people that 16 might comprise and [b]who they’ll end up voting for (either directly or via preferences).[/b] http://mumble.com.au/?p=2365 [i]Stop the boats, I wanna get off , Dominic Knight[/i] For someone who’s always happy to bang on about family values, Abbott is very light on the notion that even the darkies on the boats are part of God’s great big family of creation. http://www.domknight.com/stop-the-boats-i-wanna-get-off/ [i]How do we get the full picture on political donations? We can’t,Crikey[/i] the Government tried reform the Commonwealth Electoral Act, , The reforms were blocked by the Coalition and Steve Fielding. http://www.crikey.com.au/2010/05/31/crikey-says-how-do-we-get-the-full-picture-on-political-donations-we-cant/ [i]New ‘Bronwyn’ takes some heat from Rudd’s amateurs, MUNGO MCCALLUM, CRIKEY[/i] As Treasury secretary Ken Henry pointed out last week, they did not save Australia from recession; in fact, unlike the economy as a whole, they fell into it themselves. http://www.crikey.com.au/2010/05/31/mungo-new-bronwyn-takes-some-heat-from-rudds-amateurs/ [i]The person who will dig out our last iron ore has probably already been born, Peter Martin[/i] Based on the best available research, and relying on current level of production, there is estimated to be 70 years worth of iron ore in the ground across the country. http://petermartin.blogspot.com/2010/05/person-who-will-dig-out-last-shovel.html [i]Hey Boltadamus!Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is! Darryl Mason,The Orstrahyun[/i] My tip is that Rudd is now finished and will be replaced. I’m guessing this could even occur within four weeks http://theorstrahyun.blogspot.com/2010/05/hey-boltadamus-put-your-money-where.html [i]On with the show nobody's come to see ,David Marr, National Times[/i] the opposition was baying for blood, an animal sound I haven't heard since playground brawls at Gordon Public a very long time ago. http://www.smh.com.au/opinion/politics/on-with-the-show-nobodys-come-to-see-20100531-wrg7.html [i]Poll Analysis ,Joni, Blogocrats[/i] Now - could Turnbull rise from the backbench and challenge Abbott before the election? Or will he wait to pick up the pieces?http://www.blogocrats.com/

janice

1/06/2010I lifted the following post from JTI's blog. I wonder why the anti-Rudd brigade had nothing to say on the points Curmudgeon makes. [quote]Curmudgeon of High Dudgeon Mon 31 May 10 (12:46pm) I am OS at the moment which is why I have time to correspond. So lets up the debate. The main criticism of Rudd is things like the BER and HIS. That his new government programs are wasteful and poorly managed. The Howard government to my knowledge did not initiate too many programs or initiatives but lets look at the ones that they did. 1) First homebuyers scheme – no means test. Wealthy buying houses in young childrens names. The creation of a housing bubble which no government will dare burst that will torment our children and grandchildren. The cost? 2) T1 and T2 – any happy investors? That’s why T3 had to be sweetened excessively. The cost? 3) Enhanced patient care (EPC)- a Howard initiative that is being rorted by medical professions. One dentist alone rorted 4 mill in 18 months. The cost? 4)GST- apart from making the Howard government the highest taxing gov we had, the cost to the business community through a rough doubling of accountancy fees. I had the joy initially of doing 3 BAS per quarter till I handballed the whole lot to the accountants. The cost? 5) Generalized middle class welfare- taking money from the needy and giving it to the greedy. The cost? I am a bit hungover this morning so I cant think of others at the moment but I am sure that others will add to the list. The point I make is that all governments waste money , at least the Rudd governments seem to waste money in a more useful direction. Back to the EPC, millions were rorted but we blame the medicos, not Howard, who set up an improperly managed scheme with no checks and balances. So to be consistent we should blame greedy and unscrupulous contractors for the BER and HIS problems. But we don’t. Why? Media bias. The Howard government was as gutless as their bulletproof jacket wearing leader. Abbotts grand plan for the future is to remove Labor plans and initiatives. As much as we are adopting presidential style politics, as others have pointed out, we elect a team. The Lib team looks like the night of the living dead and the best policy that they can come up with is to oppose what Labor does. As I pointed out a couple of years ago, the next election will be fought on traditional lines with the Libs using the Labor tax and spend and union bosses blah, and as I pointed out then, Labors best bet is to concentrate on the team. Honestly folks, Joyce , Hockey, Ruddock, Andrews, Pyne and the 2 Bishops. Surely you jest. Chuck in Satan’s mum(Mirabella) for good measure and you have a team that can curdle milk and make the chooks stop laying with one glance. If Howard was still in then he would not have responded quickly enough to be effective in regard to the GFC and Oz might have been a less fortunate place.Go the Bombers! [/quote]

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1/06/2010LYN'S DAILY LINKS updated: http://www.thepoliticalsword.com/page/Lyns-Daily-Links.aspx

Sir Ian Crisp

1/06/2010HS, my question was just that; a question. No inference should be drawn from my question. A word or two of caution to you and Daisey: Be vewwy vewwy careful about dictionary abuse. Oooops! That slipped out.....of course you won’t get slapped for dictionary abuse because you’re part of Rudd’s Praetorian Guard. I love the consistency here at TPS.

gusface

1/06/2010Sir Ian I just wish the tea had as much consistency, you really must lift your game, garcon I keep telling you and still you dont listen No teabaggers Ian!

Lyn

1/06/2010Hi Gusface Good morning, you little furry possum. You have to remember, to ask Sir Ian for your dash of cream, I could be your Roman guard Your tea must have TPS consistency.

gusface

1/06/2010Lyn I love it !!!!!! Its all in the tea leaves (and cream of course) :) Now I have a smile to last the day, and you do too now.

HS

1/06/2010Sir Ian Crisp, Maybe you are making your accusation of 'Dictionary abuse' based upon your own terminological inexactitude? I don't need a dictionary to be able to compose what I write, sweetie. I swallowed the dictionary at 8 years old, when others were reading Fairy Tales, and haven't needed to refer to it much since. Sorry to ruin your conspiracy theory.

HS

1/06/2010janice, Maybe the Rightoids on Jack's blog had no comeback because they have no answers to the truth! All they know how to do is tear people down. Par example excellent: Tony Abbott.

HS

1/06/2010Here's some more speaking of truth to the Mining powers of WA, amazingly from the economics correspondent Shane Wright in today's West Australian: "The person who will dig out the last shovel load of iron ore from WA has probably already been born. Based on the best available research, and relying on current levels of production, there is estimated to be 70 years worth of iron ore in the ground across the country. It’s better than gold — about 30 years — and copper — about a decade — but short of the 90 years worth of black coal or the 130 years of zinc thought to be hiding in the soil. Of course, technology and price rises should mean we will find more iron ore, but on the other side of the equation demand will also increase. You can’t start an iron ore or coal farm and grow more of the stuff. Once it’s gone, it’s gone for ever. That is what sets mining apart from every other industry and one of the reasons why resources rent taxes are much better than the system of royalty payments... As the Minerals Council of Australia recognises, taxing a resource at a flat rate is one of the worst ways to tax these commodities. That’s because the royalty hits before you even start production, which encourages the development of high-value minerals at the expense of others and hits hard those mines at the tail end of their existence. Royalties don’t care if iron ore prices are at $20 a tonne or $120 a tonne, and therein lies the problem with them. The Henry review, in a comparison of all types of taxes, found royalties were the worst type of tax in the country. For all Colin Barnett’s complaints about the resources super profits tax, his plans to increase royalty rates are also a substantial danger to the mining industry. Maybe not to a BHP or Rio Tinto, because of the huge revenue flows these two are generating, but to anyone else in the mining game. Mr Barnett wants to push up royalties because he recognises that royalty rates have not kept pace with the accelerating demand for the commodities. He has to look after the long-term finances of the State, and by signalling a royalty increase the Premier is effectively admitting WA has been giving away its non-renewable resources to private companies far too cheaply. When the iron ore runs out, BHP, Rio, FMG and others will head off to other parts of the globe in search of resources. The Premier is doing the right thing by the taxpayers of WA by seeking to increase the payments for commodities that can never be recovered. However, the royalties system is a terrible way to do it because of the wider economic damage it causes. That’s the whole reason behind moving from royalties to a system that taxes profits, and grabs a constant share of those profits. Unfortunately, the Rudd Government has seemingly stuffed up this whole issue from the very beginning. Some of the Government’s arguments have been disingenuous to the point of outright lying. Just the name of the tax — the resources super profits tax — is a piece of political spin and nothing else. It’s all about tapping anger in urban parts of the country over the Government’s claims that miners don’t pay their fair share of tax. Really, this is an onshore minerals rent tax and nothing more. The Henry review suggested excluding certain low value minerals such as peat, talc, lime and sand, largely because any financial benefits would be outweighed by the administration costs and the fact these minerals don’t generate very large profits. Instead, the Government brought them under the super profits umbrella, with no explanation. It has welched on a confrontation with the States over royalties. Even with all the evidence that royalties are a bad way to tax non-renewable resources, the Government went with a second best option of leaving the States to collect royalties and then rebate them back to the companies involved. In the selling of the whole change, Ken Henry was not rolled out until a fortnight after the report was made public. The person best placed to explain the tax was held in reserve, while other members of his panel were not asked to front the cameras to explain how the tax would work. And attempts to explain how the rent tax would work made the plot lines TV’s Lost seem simple by comparison. Mr Rudd failed to sell the ETS and his ham-fisted efforts at the RSPT have been no better. Apart from Dr Henry and a few tax experts, no one seems to be able to explain, without a power point presentation why the tax kicks in at such a low level. The fact this tax does not operate anywhere else in the world is also of little comfort. As Ross Garnaut, one of the fathers of rent taxes in this country who is also the chairman of gold miner Lihir Gold, explained recently, making the theoretical case is one thing. He argued that unless every element of the theoretical argument could be borne out, then the best option would be the introduction of the petroleum resource rent tax to the onshore mineral sector and one other minor change. I think he has it about right, and it’s an option that should be pursued by the Government. The PRRT is understood, its arrangements have not changed since it was introduced more than 20 years ago. A key element of any tax system is that it should not change over time. The fact oil and gas are still being taken from Bass Strait is a testament to the success of the PRRT. Under the previous system of excises, BHP and Esso, the two firms behind Bass Strait, would have wound up production almost two decades ago. The main selling point of the RSPT over the petroleum tax — the Government taking 40 per cent of the risk in a project — is simply not valued by the companies. That is a major problem. Of course, the Government is no orphan being disingenuous in their argument. Mining companies claim that royalties are a tax, but on their annual accounts they are accounted as a business cost and so are tax deductible. The royalty is a fee for digging up the dirt — without some sort of fee, the owners (us) would be giving away a non-renewable resource that is worth money for free. The RSPT replaces the royalty to become the fee, and so rises and falls with the movement in price. That is what sets it apart from a royalty, and why it is a much better tax. None of this, however, detracts from the main point — the RSPT will collect a lot more tax from a few key mining companies. Taking $10 billion or so a year from their bottom lines must have an impact on the operation of the sector right now. Some projects seem likely to be delayed for many years to come, although eventually the value of WA’s commodities will demand their exploitation. Maybe the person destined to be the last to dig iron ore out of WA has a little more time up their sleeve." * Seeing stories, with "Just the facts, ma'm", gives me hope that there are still journalists out there, working for our major news publications, that know the meaning of journalistic ethics and balance in their reporting.

Sir Ian Crisp

1/06/2010HS, I admire your unassisted genius. Your claim about not bothering about Fairy Tales seems to be stretching the truth a little. Aren’t you drawn to Australia’s version of Old Mother Hubbard? I thought you admired the Fairy Tale about the family living in an FJ Holden (the one kitted out with the Poverty Pack), innocent victims of Rachmanism. Yes or no?

HS

1/06/2010Sir Ian Crisp, Ah, but I did not say that I never read Fairy Tales, just that whilst others were having them read to them I was otherwise occupied. In fact, one of my all-time favourite series of children's books, which I read for myself, unassisted, was the 'Alice' series by Lewis Carroll. So many parallels with modern day politics and politicians, it's hard to know where to start! Maybe with 'Alice Through the Looking Glass', where white could be black, and black, white; up was down, and down was up! So apt a descriptor for the Coalition. No?

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1/06/2010HS I join Sally, janice, Agnes, nasking, Gravel, NormanK, grog, Daisey May, Lyn and others in lauding your piece, detailing as it does a framework for evaluating the efforts of our political journalists and diagnosing the specific deficiencies they are exhibiting in any given article. Of course some consistently exhibit multiple biases which are predictable from their past performances, while others seem to lapse into bias from otherwise balanced positions. Examples of the former are Andrew Bolt, Piers Akerman, Glen Milne and Terry McCrann, while the latter includes the likes of Peter van Onselen and Dennis Atkins. Of course there are consistently balanced journalists like George Megalogenis, Peter Martin and Mike Steketee. It is easy to understand how [i]Commercial bias[/i], [i]Temporal bias[/i], [i]Visual bias[/i], [i]Bad news bias[/i], [i]Status quo bias[/i] and [i]Expediency bias[/i] operate and to some extent this explains, even at times excuses some of the less-than-professional journalism we see every day. [i]Narrative bias[/i] is very real. Many, possibly most journalists have their own concept of what the Government’s or the Opposition’s narrative ought to be, and complain loudly about what they see as a lack of it. Recall the furore raised by a group of journalists lead by Paul Kelly, and followed by groupthink-affected lesser lights about the ‘lack of a Rudd narrative’ in the Government’s early days. As you say, some journalists have their own master narrative to which they cling tenaciously. Andrew Bolt is a classic example - his narrative about Kevin Rudd has been consistent for a long while and will not change even if future events show it to be wrong. [i]Glory bias[/i] is seen writ large among electronic media journalists. Classic examples are TV’s Terry O’Brien and Tony Jones, and radio’s Jon Faine and Neil Mitchell, who relentlessly pursue gotcha moments, even though they seldom occur. O’Brien felt he got close with his recent interviews of Kevin Rudd and Tony Abbott. You expressed some uncertainty about how to identify [i]Blatant political bias[/i]. Perhaps it’s easier at the extremes. Piers Akerman is an example of the extreme and Andrew Bolt is not far behind. Of all Akerman’s writings, which admittedly I’ve stopped reading, of all his TV utterances, only once have I heard him agree with Rudd, and that was about the Bill Hensen photographs of adolescents. No matter how poor an opinion he might have of Rudd, to find virtually everything he does or says totally wrong can be explained only by [i]Blatant political bias[/i]. The same goes for Bolt. These journalists render themselves unreadable for those seeking balance. They cater for like minds who lap up every word they offer and respond in kind. For many journalists it is more difficult to identify [i]Blatant political bias[/i], and in instances where it seems to be occurring it may be more the product of editorial or proprietorial pressure. As children know what their parents want, all journalists know what their editor and proprietor thinks, prefers or even wants, and in an atmosphere of uncertainty about their position, it is not surprising that they seek, consciously or unconsciously, to toe the ‘party line’. Many journalists at [i]The Australian[/i] seem to be so persuaded. Thank you again for your reflective contribution to discourse on [i]TPS[/i], which has attracted so much thoughtful comment.

HS

1/06/2010Actually, SIC, now that I think about it, it's also a pretty apt descriptor for many of the pieces of work that emanate from the Press Gallery. :) Tho, credit where it is due, I note that Ms Alison Carrabine of Radio National and ABC Sydney fame, is taking a far more balanced position on the issues of the day of late. Good girl! See it's not that hard. All you have to do is read my piece above to refresh your memory about those Alice-like rabbit(or, is that, Rabbott?) holes which you can easily fall into, and then avoid them like the plague!

HS

1/06/2010Erm, the holes that is, not my free advice. :)

Rx

1/06/2010[i]Of all Akerman’s writings, which admittedly I’ve stopped reading, of all his TV utterances, only once have I heard him agree with Rudd[/i] Has anyone ever, any time, any place, heard him say a critical word about the Liberals?

HS

1/06/2010Rx, Nope.

Lyn

1/06/2010Hi Rex Hasn't happened,never happened, can't happen, won't happen, Cheers

Rewi

1/06/2010HS, Thanks for your piece. I fear you may have inadvertently failed to describe Laziness Bias, but apart from that I think the field's pretty well covered. Rewi

BH

1/06/2010HS - good article and a lot to think about. You asked re Cassidy's dislike of Rudd. The story I heard was that Cassidy was very sympathetic to Beasley becoming PM and was furious that KR rolled him because it was thought that Beasley would win the election against Howard. Cassidy would then have become an Insider again. In my opinion Beasley would not have beaten Howard just the way that I think Hockey will never beat anyone. They are both hale and hearty blokes but not PM material. BTW - come hell or high water I would have voted for Beasley in 2007.

Gravel

1/06/2010HS, thanks for confirmation. I now have to apologise to for not supporting you against some to the 'people' that were horrible and nasty to you on that blog. Now that I have broken my vow to not comment on any blog, until twice on Poll Bludger, and now semi regularly on here, I will definitely jump in and give you or anyone else that is treated as badly as you were. support. As I said I very rarely go to that other blog and have not read any for a while there, but feel free to call on me if you need some backup. I know you are more than capable of defending yourself but sometimes a bit of moral support can help.

FFreddy

1/06/2010ABC watch alert... Nikki Sava has a piece in one of the ABC's sites and is cited as a former senior member of the press gallery and author of a particular book. No mention of the fact she was more recently a senior advisor to Peter Costello and it's that qualification that is being used to flog her book and not any press gallery experience. On the ABC midday news today we had another example of how this famous ABC balance works. Referring to todays Newspoll the reporter noted that Kevin Rudds satisfaction rating had taken another tumble and immediately cut to a Coalition member at a doorstop saying "...no one can believe anything KR says anymore..". The reporter then noted that Tony Abbotts satisfaction had also suffered and given the famous ABC balance you would have expected a cutaway to a Labor member doorstop "...no one can believe anything TA says etc..". Instead we had a cutaway to another Coalition doorstopper who did his best butter wouldn't melt in his mouth "...we need to do better..." spiel. re: Bolt on Insiders at one point Bolt spat that one thing that made Rudds actions worse than Howards was that the RSPT adverts come before any legislation has been passed something Howard never did. Even someone with most rudimentary knowledge of Oz political history ie. Barry Cassidy, would know that the "unchain my heart" GST adverts came before the 1998 election and legislation passing and should have pulled him up on that. Finally its always good to finish with a laugh. One of the ways the Adelaide Advertiser has "toughened up" its attitude in the last few years has been to syndicate ABolt every Wednesday. Two weeks ago ABolt had a long piece defending TAbbott after his liargate interview and boohooing the fact that "leftist" newspapers got stuck into him with nasty headlines. The first "leftist" newspaper and headline he cited was from the SMH (I know it's funny but it gets better!!). The second "leftist" newspaper and headline he cited was from the Courier Mail!!! P.S. 'Insiders' at 9am political primetime 'Order in the House' midnight Sunday.

Beerme

1/06/2010Keep the articles flowing guys - nice work. Slightly off-topic open-ended question: Would it be fair to say that the current fight between Rudd's government and the mining industry over the RSPT is similar to the fight between Howard's government and the unions over Work Choices?

NormanK

1/06/2010Sir Ian It is such a pity you don't speak English. It must be very frustrating at dinner parties to not be able to join in the conversation. Still, I wouldn't mind reaching for the digital dictionary occasionally if you actually had something to contribute to the conversation. Granted, I am a newcomer but seeing you standing on the edge of a skirmish waiting to stick someone with your sharp little knife hardly makes me think you are courageous or enlightening. You wouldn't be a Green by any chance? I take some small umbrage at the implication that my ideological leanings blind me to all else being said with regard to the current government. To be honest, I have not yet seen any reasonable explanation of what went wrong in the pink batts scheme and therefore am obliged to believe that there was a monumental stuff-up somewhere by someone. It is far too easy to say without proof that it was Garrett (although it may have been) and it would be escapist to try to condemn without evidence those in his department responsible for its implementation. Also, without concrete evidence we can not excuse them. We may never know the real story - therefore : stuff-up. I hope that makes me a little less pink. HC I look forward to further pieces expanding your theories as they apply to current articles. This is certainly not an unhealthy exercise provided we keep our eyes and minds open. I may begin collecting examples of overly emotive language and unsubstantiated personal opinion from MSM as this is my particular bugbear at present. Add to that the current tabloid television habit of broadcasting the journalist's probing question (Do you have anything to say to your victims?) even when no answer is forthcoming or even expected. It has degenerated to the point now where it is glaringly obvious that the question itself is what the news editor wants - not the response. Remember, guilty as charged if you say nothing sir.

HS

1/06/2010Gravel, The thought of your having my back gives me the confidence to keep on toughing it out. :) As I have said repeatedly, the conservatives only seem to know one way to win an argument against another with the opposite point of view...attack!attack!attack! Or, if you are in parliament...Oppose!oppose!oppose! It's an unedifying spectacle, but one which leads to a degree of success when combined with, not journalism, but pamphleteering from conservative framework builders in the media. I have always believed that you have the most effect by taking the fight up to your opposition on their turf. Which is why I will continue to frequent the blogs at the website of 'The Australian'. No matter how many times they express the wish for my disabled son to be spat on, among other charming insults that have been hurled my way. Backing down only encourages them to go on to the next progressive voice in THEIR forum.

HS

1/06/2010Beerme, Interesting analogy you make. I guess the simple answer is yes. Not only for the fact that the two are inextricably-linked by the fact that it was the Mining Industry that backed WorkChoices to the hilt as well, seeking to break the hold that the AWU especially has on the workforce in the Mining Industry, such that they could then introduce the dreaded AWAs in place of Enterprise Collective Bargaining, which generally produces higher wage and condition outcomes. Especially in times of skills shortages in the Mining Industry. I think the major difference between this fight over the RSPT, and the Unions sponsored fight over WorkChoices, is that the Unions were on the side of right, and the Mining Industry is on the side of might.

NormanK

1/06/2010HS Sorry. I used HC - what would Freud think? - I had you down as HillbillyCannibal. Oops. Sorry.

HS

1/06/2010FFreddy, Thank you for contributing to my blog! It's always good to hear fresh perspectives. Andrew Bolt is just about everywhere these days, isn't he? Walking in the footsteps of Glenn Beck, the American conservative propagandist, who gets his head onto as many platforms as is humanly possible in order to sway debate the debased conservative way. Sadly, he is an effective communicator, and able to cover his furphy tracks exceedingly well. He is also on John Singleton's(now, where has his name popped up recently? Oh, that's right, working with the Coalition on their ad campaign atm. Hmmm), new Melbourne talk radio station, More Conservative Garbage, or whatever it's called. There is no pretence at balance in his diatribes, he just daily looks for ways to besmirch the Rudd government's achievments and individual member's characters, like acid dripping on a stone. The rest of the media, with some notable exceptions, which I try to highlight when I come across them, just echoes the Murdoch/Bolt line and then tries to one-up him. It's sad and pathetic at the same time that our journalists are increasingly unable to stand up to these motormouth bovver boys in the media, and tell it like it is, not like commentators like Andrew Bolt try to make us believe it is.

HS

1/06/2010BH, You may well be right about Cassidy. Nothing would surprise me about a man who is increasingly being diminished wrt journalistic integrity in my eyes.

Rx

1/06/2010Here is a prediction. Andrew Bolt and / or Piers Akerman to host segments on the 24/7 ABC "News" Channel. They'll show us how political bias is done - and we'll pay them to do so. Freddy, Thanks for your contribution. We're getting quite a bulging file in 'ABC Watch'. Keep them coming!

HS

1/06/2010Here's another one for ABC Watch from Friends of the ABC(Victoria), by way of a comment in today's Crikey: Glenys Stradijot, Campaign Manager, Friends of the ABC (Vic), writes: Re. "ABC gets into bed with Fairfax ... and news is the winner" (25 May, item 4). In Margaret Simons' article she wrote of the benefits of media organisations collaborating in investigative journalism. She is right. It makes financial sense to share costs and can result in important public information being more widely reported. It may even result in the exposure of a matter which there would otherwise be insufficient funds to investigate. Nevertheless, there is a downside. Joint media operations run contrary to the public interest for media diversity. Australia already has a dangerously low level of media diversity. It needs more news sources, not less. Furthermore, there are serious risks for the integrity of the ABC if partnerships with commercial media companies were to become more than an occasional practice: * Decisions on content go beyond the probity of individual journalists to the political and corporate interests of the bodies that employ them. A strong incentive for the ABC to share costs with a commercial outlet could result in compromises - from the selection of matters to be investigated, to program content, presentation and promotion.And what would happen if media outlets of questionable independence which are considered by governments to be reputable, or so powerful they cannot be ignored, come to regard themselves as being entitled to their share of the public subsidy which collaborations with the ABC deliver to the private partner? Some influential commercial media players have already made clear their interest for ABC services, like news, to be put out to tender. * Add to the business interests of the commercial media, the hostility of some governments to independent broadcasting and the apparent commitment of governments of both major political persuasions to scale back the public sector. The next step to full-scale outsourcing would not be far removed. Former Coalition Minister for Communications, Senator Alston, commenced a process that made funding for the ABC dependent on the broadcaster outsourcing much of its television production. Despite a change of government, the ABC now produces no local television drama in-house.The experience of the seriously under-funded SBS points to what happens to the level of government funding for a public broadcaster when it demonstrates a willingness to resource its activities (if only to a minor extent) with income from commercial sources. If government took a similar pecuniary approach to an ABC sharing costs by increasingly operating on joint projects with commercial media, the result would be less funding available to the ABC to undertake investigative journalism. For the same reasons that the ABC should not be funded through advertising revenue, it should generally not enter into joint operations with commercial media outlets. The future of investigative journalism would be better served by the national public broadcaster being rebuilt and fully funded to engage in the independent journalism for which it is rightly respected.'

HS

1/06/2010NormanK, No I am never going to bite your head off! :)

Lyn

1/06/2010Hi Ad This is the piece by Niki Savva, that FFreddy has mentioned above, 2.19pm Thankyou FFreddy one for the ABC Watch. [quote]No mention of the fact she was more recently a senior advisor to Peter Costello and it's that qualification that is being used to flog her book and not any press gallery experience. [/quote] [i]Henry's last stand, Niki Savva, The Drum[/i] Assuming the Liberals win, and if he hasn't entered Parliament at the election, their man of choice to head Treasury could be Arthur Sinodinos, http://www.abc.net.au/unleashed/stories/s2914133.htm

janice

1/06/2010HillbillySkeleton, [quote]For the same reasons that the ABC should not be funded through advertising revenue, it should generally not enter into joint operations with commercial media outlets. The future of investigative journalism would be better served by the national public broadcaster being rebuilt and fully funded to engage in the independent journalism for which it is rightly respected.'[/quote] My opinion exactly. After the election we must actively lobby the Labor government (Labor will win despite the efforts of the Murdoch/Abbott/mining companies alliance) to take the necessary steps to give us back our National Broadcaster.

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1/06/2010ABC WATCH updated: http://www.thepoliticalsword.com/page/ABC-Watch.aspx Please check that I have taken in all the items you wished to be added.

Lyn

1/06/2010Hi Ad Here is Grog's wonderful piece on Question time today, enjoyable, thankyou Grog [i]On the QT: It's Guatemala City Time, GROG, Grog's Gamut[/i] Abbott decided he had the answer, and decided to move yet another censure motion on exactly the same issue that was moved yesterday and and hour and a half earlier. http://grogsgamut.blogspot.com/

Rx

1/06/2010Ad Astra, [b]Freddy[/b]'s post at [b]June 1. 2010 02:19 PM[/b] should go into [b]ABC Watch[/b] please.

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1/06/2010Rx FreddyF's comment added to ABC WATCH in chronological order: http://www.thepoliticalsword.com/page/ABC-Watch.aspx

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1/06/2010LYN'S DAILY LINKS updated: http://www.thepoliticalsword.com/page/Lyns-Daily-Links.aspx

Lyn

2/06/2010[b]TODAY'S LINKS[/b] [i]On the QT: It's Guatemala City Time, GROG, Grog's Gamut[/i] Abbott decided he had the answer, and decided to move yet another censure motion on exactly the same issue that was moved yesterday and and hour and a half earlier. Thankfully Albo sensed that no one on God’s green earth wanted to hear Shouty Tony again and so he once again moved a motion of STFU. http://grogsgamut.blogspot.com/ [i]Forrest has a bit each way on China’s role, Glenn Dyer, Crikey[/i] the opposition is willing to bang any old “red horde” line to scare voters. It makes you wonder who is using whom in this debate. http://www.crikey.com.au/2010/05/31/forrest-has-a-bit-each-way-on-chinas-role/ [i]So what if royalties ( and the RSPT) are operating costs -not taxes?[/i] Guest post, by John Davidson, Larvatus Prodeo The mining companies have done a good job of conning us into believing all taxes are automatically bad, bad bad. So by selling the lie that royalties are taxes, http://larvatusprodeo.net/2010/06/01/so-what-if-royalties-and-the-rspt-are-operating-costs-not-taxes-guest-post-by-john-davidson/#more-13390 [i]How Does Our Economy Compare?, Ben Eltham, New Matilda[/i] If this tax succeeds, I would not be the least bit surprised if we see countries in Africa and South America, Brazil and India imposing similar taxes, because every government around the world is looking for money, http://newmatilda.com/2010/06/01/ben-eltham-interviews-david-wessel A[i] Stream of Conciousness Plague on Both Their House, Emmjay, The Pigs Arms[/i] Clive Palmer and the likes of Andrew Forrest, both billionaires from digging up our dirt and not a bit grateful for it, bleating that such a tax is unAustralian. I suppose because so many Australians are mining billionaires. Beats the shit outa me! http://pigsarms.com.au/recent-posts/ [i][u]Miners head to Canberra for mining tax fight, ABC[/u][/i] Prime Minister Kevin Rudd is skipping the miners' conference, but Opposition Leader Tony Abbott will give a lunchtime address. http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2010/06/02/2915629.htm?section=justin [i][u]Greens' popularity soars to record high,ABC[/u][/i] Labor is hanging on to government with a razor-thin majority on the all-important two-party preferred vote. http://www.abc.net.au:80/news/stories/2010/05/31/2914530.htm?WT.mc_id=newsmail [i][u]Brown welcomes Greens poll surge,Emma Rodgers, ABC [/u][/i] Coalition frontbencher Eric Abetz has warned voters if they support the the Greens Labor will be returned to government. They will in fact have to vote for the Coalition," he said. http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2010/06/01/2914739.htm?section=justin [i]Paternalism, Emmjay, The Pigs Arms, The Daily Bludge[/i] An Opposition in total meltdown. A pack of talent less egoists with no cohesive ideology and no viable leadership. The conservatives in Australia, it’s fair to say, are as fucked as Labor was in the Ming Era. http://dailybludge.com.au/2010/06/paternalism/ [i]Why I’ve stopped reading News Ltd, part II, Charles Richardson, The Stump[/i] This isn’t a tabloid: we expect such things from them. This is what bills itself as Australia’s quality newspaper. http://blogs.crikey.com.au/thestump/2010/06/02/why-i%E2%80%99ve-stopped-reading-news-ltd-part-ii/ [i]The Young conservatives, killing the LNP'S chances, Admin, The daily Bludge[/i] they are hoping to put themselves up as potential future leaders or at the very least become party of the Liberal or National party machine http://dailybludge.com.au/2010/06/the-young-conservatives-killing-the-lnp%e2%80%99s-chances/

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2/06/2010LYN'S DAILY LINKS updated: http://www.thepoliticalsword.com/page/Lyns-Daily-Links.aspx

Lyn

2/06/2010Hi Ad Sorry the ABC links are broken again, you know, I think the ABC just doesn't like me. Here they are again: wish me luck. http://www.abc.net.au:80/news/stories/2010/06/02/2915629.htm?section=justin http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2010/05/31/2914530.htm?site=news http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2010/06/01/2914739.htm?site=news

Lyn

2/06/2010Hi Ad No Luck, the links are working from here ok, only think I can do is, to tell everyone to paste the black writing into their web browser. Sorry everyone

Johnny Button

2/06/2010Morning All, Sent this off last night to the Letter's page after Kezza's interview with Swann on the 7.30 Report. I suggested they interview all those 'other' parties involved in the RSPT debate. Dear Kerry and the Team Love the show and I have thoroughly enjoyed Kerry’s one-on-one interviews with Rudd, Abbott, Hockey, Tanner and Swan pertaining to the RSPT. All I can say it has been well-balanced and researched. To maintain this fairness, would it be possible to interview some of the Mining CEO’s, State Premiers and Unions with the same level of one-on-one scrutiny that the politicians face from Kerry? They are actively involved in this debate and it is only fair that the community gets to hear their point of view under some critical review. They are spending enormous amounts of money in advertisements to influence a decision/election that will affect us all. Keep up the great work and have a think about the suggestion. Quite happy to provide a list of questions.

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2/06/2010Lyn The ABC links are working now.

Lyn

2/06/2010Hi Ad You are just wonderful, I was having ten thousand fits, Thankyou so much Ad.

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2/06/2010Folks I should have said if the ABC links are not working in Lyn's original post, go to LYN'S DAILY LINKS where they are working. Lyn Is the link problem the ABC's revenge?

HS

2/06/2010Johnny Button, How audacious of you! You can provide a list of questions! I'm sure, the ego of Kerry will not approve of that suggestion. :) Anyway, I think the Treasurer acquitted himself quite well under the 3rd degree from Kerry O'B last night. I think that, after initial stumbles, the government are finally getting 'on message' and 'on the front foot' to throw in a couple of cliches. Now, all they need is for Paul Howes to deliver the knockout blow to Clive Palmer at the Press Club today(the reverberations will be felt all the way to the Mineral Council conference across the block!), and the government can finish up the week in parliament with both the Mining lobby and the Opposition back on their heels. I hope so anyway, as this Resource Rent is all about the future for this country, either a prosperous one, after the minerals have been exhausted and the Mining caravan has moved on, or an impoverished one, where the lap dance of luxury continues to be enjoyed by the Miners, and Australia becomes the Banana Republic that Keating predicted. Go Paul!

Lyn

2/06/2010Hi Hillbilly I have watched Paul Howes address the Press Club before. He is an exceptional performer, and kid he doesn't know what he's talking about, wonder if he will ever become a Minister in the Labor Government. I thought Kerry O'Brien was very mean on the 7.30pm, report last night, but Wayne Swann held his own, extremely well.

HS

2/06/2010lyn, Paul has a big future ahead of him in federal parliament, I have that on good authority. However, I believe he also has a young family and would rather wait until maybe the next election, and they are grown up a bit more, before he stands. Also I believe that it is hard to get someone to move aside for him, at least that was the case at this election, but in the next there may be a retirement or two in one of the safer Inner Sydney seats. Which is also maybe the wrong way to go about it as they say you should put your strongest candidates into marginal contests. Nevertheless, I don't think we've heard the last of Paul Howes yet, and with the other strong candidates coming online in the ACT seats, Chris Uhlmann's wife, Gai Brodtmann, and Dr Andrew Leigh, a respected ANU economist, the Labor Party can only get stronger. And who are the Liberals putting up? Oh, that's right, Tennis commentator and shonky businessman, John Alexander. Hmmm.

NormanK

2/06/2010Hi Lyn, You can't have it both ways with our Kerry. He had a point to make - he was trying to get Wayne Swann to say, in effect, that Labor had used up some more of Kevin Rudd's credibility by rushing the new ads out only a couple of weeks ahead of schedule in an attempt either to stop the negative mining campaign from impacting on resource stock prices and/or to bolster the government's case coming into an election period. Fortunately, he was unsuccessful on both counts but if you want independence in the ABC, these questions have to be asked forcefully and answered reasonably. I thought Wayne Swann performed brilliantly. Can you imagine the Mad Rabbott in similar circumstances?

HS

2/06/2010NormanK, I guess you're right there. I imagine however that, as a day is a long time in politics, to have had to wait another 2 weeks could have seen the initiative slip away from the government and the miners and the Opposition in the ascendency, so they calculated that the public opprobrium was worth it.

NormanK

2/06/2010HS I couldn't agree more - that was the correct answer to Kerry's questions. The point I was trying to make is that if the 7.30 Report, and Kerry in particular, wish to maintain their credibility they must ask these pertinent questions in a dogged manner in order to have on record the politicians' responses. In a back-handed way, Kerry was giving the government a national forum in which to refute the claims. I feel the same way about Kerry's assault on the Prime Minister over his fall in the polls and the ETS question - the answer he finally elicited was to Mr Rudd's credit but one which he could not have given so forcefully in response to a casual throw-away question. In fact, he batted away the first couple of attempts in a typically bland way. I want Kerry O'Brian to go after all of his guests in the same way and leave it to me to decide how they fared. To my mind this is one of the 7.30 Report's great strengths. If the interviewee can withstand such a blistering attack, it lends weight to their (the interviewee's) argument. If the interviewee wilts, as Mr Abbott did (and to a lesser extent Mr Hockey), it shows their position to be on shaky ground.

Johnny Button

2/06/2010HS I'm not being audacious, just want to be a model citizen. Lol. I've got a few economics degrees so I want help him out so he can ask the right kind of questions without appearing partisan. You know what the Libs are like? They'll have Kerry on the politicised public service list with Ken Henry, Glenn Stephens etc.

HS

2/06/2010Johnny Button, You can add Jane Halton to that PS Hit List, if today's reception in Senate Estimates is any guide. How dare she help the Rudd government to run the Health Department well, lol!

HS

2/06/2010NormanK, And I guess we have KO'B to thank for bringing forth from the PM's lips the phrase '7.30ReportLand', which will now be forevermore etched into our collective consciousness, in much the same way as '...Gate' has become. :)

Johnny Button

2/06/2010HS Didn't see it but I have no doubt in what you are saying. They are crazy.

HS

2/06/2010Paul Howes wiped the floor of the Press Club with Clive Palmer. Clive Palmer sounded like a goose, and not one who lays golden eggs.

NormanK

2/06/2010Johnny Button Perhaps you can help me out using your economic qualifications. These couple of questions are what indirectly brought me to The Political Sword and have kept me surfing the topic ever since. Why are commentators (K O'B included) getting away with saying that the RSPT will help the government bring the budget back into the black? At the time of announcement, Wayne Swann clearly stated - no RSPT = no reforms. The nett effect on the budget should be zero. In the same vein, Joe Hockey claimed as part of his 47 billion dollar savings, a sum of 12 billion dollars 'saved' through not implementing these same reforms. Except they also won't collect the RSPT - nett effect on the budget is zero. I was incensed by this nonsense from Hockey and looked forward to him being lambasted the next day but there was barely a whimper. Have I misunderstood something or have there been revelations since the budget address which lend credibility to these two positions? I would have thought the 'No RSPT = no Super @ 12%; no company tax @ 28% and no Infrastructure Fund' line of argument was crucial in the current debate but it has disappeared.

Lyn

2/06/2010Hi Hillbilly Paul Howes' performance was nothing short of superb, Clive Palmer towards the end suffering from very red cheeks and heavy breathing. Paul Howes, loud clapping from the audience on a number of points and answers, Clive Palmer did not receive one clap. Paul Howes said, Kevin Rudd and the Government's interest is in the Nation, The Mining Industry and the Minerals Council have their own self interest, (very loud clapping). Clive Palmer tried in the end, to switch from blaming Labor only, to blaming both parties, didn't work, very lame lettuce leaf effort.

HS

2/06/2010'Keep fighting Rudd, Abbott urges miners' Or else I'll be left looking like a goose. :)

Johnny Button

2/06/2010NormanK Good set of questions you ask. To be honest I have not looked at the Budget Papers to check where they get their numbers from. My feeling is that the RSPT will bring in more revenue than the cost of the reforms/new spending anouncements. This I suspect will happen directly and indirectly. Directly, the increase in tax receipts from the mining industry. Indirectly, the mining boom and terms of trade rise combined with the natural growth of the economy will assist in boosting national incomes/GDP across the board, hence a greater collection of tax receipts from all sectors of the economy. This would include income tax, company tax, GST etc. As for Hockey's psuedo savings well that is farcical. No idea why they have gotten away with that. The media has been very poor in analysing policies and have contributed greatly to the confusion and misinformation. They have been especially kind to the Libs ,cas it fits in with this 'close contest' meme and the disgust they have for Rudd. Having said that, you'll find that the better commentators praised the budget cautiously when it was delivered. Hope that helps.

NormanK

2/06/2010Johnny Button Thanks very much. Halfway there. I might try to have a squiz at the Budget Papers.

gusface

2/06/2010Hi Swordians what awild few days michael johnson is really opening a can of worms I am left to wonder if this will go to the Fed libs The MSM dont seem to want to give it much coverage

Snoozer289

2/06/2010Gusface, As there is no MSM coverage, what has Johnson let out?

gusface

2/06/2010Snoozer The cat out of the bag- tho whether it is Mals is another matter ;)

HS

2/06/2010gusface, ABC 7PM News covered the Johnson speech in parlt. today. Apparently, Bruce McIvor asked him to resign. Well I never!

Snoozer289

2/06/2010Gusface Hopefully the MSM will be as curious: here pussy pussy :)

Lyn

2/06/2010Hi Gusface Hello my furry little friend, what mischief have you been into today. Latest news on Michael Johnson, like the bit about cash strapped. Johnson dumps on federal Lib director , Sandra O;Mally, SMH Claims about the involvement of Mr Loughnane add to the troubles surrounding the federal Liberal organisation, which is strapped for cash in the run-up to the election. http://news.smh.com.au/breaking-news-national/johnson-dumps-on-federal-lib-director-20100602-wzk3.html

Lyn

2/06/2010Hi Ad This is an interesting piece by our friend Miglo, the cute duck gravatar with a smiling beak: .[i][b]New Racism, by MIGLO, Gutter Trash[/b][/i] Given the current political climate on immigration, and in particular ‘illegal’ immigration, I tend to think Tony Abbott might very well be Australia’s version of Enoch Powell. http://guttertrash.wordpress.com:80/2010/06/02/new-racism/

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2/06/2010LYN'S DAILY LINKS updated: http://www.thepoliticalsword.com/page/Lyns-Daily-Links.aspx Folks There will be a new post tomorrow: [i]It is that hard to sell the RSPT?[/i]

Lyn

2/06/2010Hi Ad Here is another perfectly wonderfull piece, by our friend Grog, thankyou Grog. [b][i]On The QT: Pies, chippies, chalkies and pottery,GROG,Grog's Gamut[/i][/b] Are the Liberals telling us that on the issue of a $9b recourses rent tax on mining in this country, the key issue is a fricken pie chart – and not actually the pie chart, but who put the figures into an Excel spreadsheet to create the pie chart? http://grogsgamut.blogspot.com/2010/06/on-qt-pies-chippies-chalkies-and.html

Lyn

2/06/2010Hi Ad An excellent interesting piece from another good friend of ours, Chris, thankyou Chris. [i][b]Halt or delay the BER spending now and you risk causing harm to the building industry. Chris Owens, Sportolotics[/i][/b] I occasionally like to “angry up the blood” by listening to manic conservative commentators. http://sportowens.wordpress.com:80/2010/06/02/halt-or-delay-the-ber-spending-now-and-you-risk-causing-harm-to-the-building-industry

Chris

2/06/2010Thanks Lyn. It's nice to be able to use my lawyering skills for good occasionally.

Snoozer289

2/06/2010Ad Astra Yes, particularly when our MSM are more interested in attacking the Governemnet rather than explaining the facts. The MSM are more interested in trying to discredit the Government for their own agenda's rather look at he long term benefits for the country. As HS said in this very informative piece it is preferable to promote: Bad/Negative News: As Positive/Good news is boring (and probably does not photograph well, either). This bias makes the world/economy look like a more dangerous than it really is. Plus, this bias makes politicians look far more negative than they really are. Unfortunately due to the short sightedness/quality/Bias of the MSM promoting and developing positive long reforms that may not benefit us diretcly now, but will benefit future generations is beyond them Sorry to jump in before reading your article, but the frustration at the way the MSM are promting the Mining Industry v the long term benefits the Government are trying to implement is really starting to bite. No Governemnt is going to implement a major reform like the RSPT if it didn't have benefits for the country. I'll take a deep breath now :}

HS

2/06/2010I haven't laughed so hard all day...Australia's version of Enoch Powell. :) He wishes he was Australia's version of Boris Johnson, though. Anyway, I'll a dd a salient article to the mix about Tony the Cracked Actor-Politician: http://blogs.theaustralian.news.com.au/samanthamaiden/index.php/theaustralian/comments/abbott_dumps_a_load_but_misses_the_point/ * I'd especially like our female participants here to make sure they read all the way to the bottom of the article and take in the rank sexism on show from the creatures on the Coalition frontbench.

HS

2/06/2010Snoozer289, Thank you for taking the time to 'breathe in' my blog. I love being taken seriously! By way of your comment about the Negativity Bias, I read a comment in passing today that made that exact point about the reporting coming out of the Press Gallery at this point in the electoral cycle. That is, that constantly focussing on the negatives wrt the Rudd government has provided a tightening in the poll numbers which has allowed them to go forward to the election and play out the 'tight electoral contest' narrative. Also that the media proprietors would prefer it to be that way because it sells more papers, attracts more eyeballs to the website, and hence more advertisers to the company. Sounds cynical to say that it almost seems to have been manufactured with that intent in mind, but nothing surprises me these days in politics.

Rx

2/06/2010The lead-in phrase: [i]"The Federal Opposition says ..."[/i] dominated political news stories on their ABC radio news this evening. It's THEIR abc.

Snoozer289

2/06/2010Thankyou HS, I just let out that deep breat, after turning a slight shade of purple. These comments just re-enforce the fraudulent approach of the MSM and why the general public are so cyniical towards to MSM reporting/Headlines. Politican may rank low on the creditibilty register, but journalist are pretty well on par with used car sale people

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2/06/2010LYN'S DAILY LINKS updated: http://www.thepoliticalsword.com/page/Lyns-Daily-Links.aspx Snoozer289 I look forward to your comments on [i]Is it that hard to sell the RSPT?[/i] when I post it tomorrow.

Rx

2/06/2010Hi Ad Astra, One for [b]ABC Watch[/b], please. By poster, 'Roy Orbison', Poll Bludger blog, June 2, 2010 at 9:39 pm http://blogs.crikey.com.au/pollbludger/2010/05/31/newspoll-51-49/comment-page-40/#comment-484759 And on the subject of ABC bias, perceived or otherwise, I recently emailed them about something I didn’t think rang true. No point in showing their response, because it has been on display here many times. An embarrassing (for the ABC) amount of times, actually. But here is my rather lengthy reply. I won’t get an anser and I don’t really care. I have made my mind up about the ABC. ———————- [i]Thank you for your reply. I am one of a few generations that grew up believing the ABC to be a refuge against the prejudices, biases and agendas of the privately owned media. I also was of the belief that one its main briefs was to report on the news and not offer comment. If you say there was no bias intended then I have to accept that as the end of the matter. It does not mean that I have to believe you. I don’t. The internet now provides vast opportunities to get alternative views and one of those opportunities is for those who believe the ABC is no longer objective to make their views, objections and the responses received available to all. Since I responded to the ABC on this matter, I have done some checking myself and found several web-sites that have opinion pieces claiming similar bias. While no one can claim that these sites do not have biases of their own, I have seen enough evidence, by way of the boilerplate responses that the ABC provides, that my concerns are not even close to unique and, more disturbingly, that the template replies indicate that the ABC management does not take these concerns seriously, or at least seriously enough to do something about it. I have also made the effort to listen to the ABC more often, particularly News Radio, which I have never, ever listened to previously. I was very disappointed to come to the conclusion that these claims of bias appear to have some substance. As an example, I was listening to one of your reporters, Lyndall Curtis, yesterday give an opinion on the Mine Tax funding row. She gave a sample of the opinions offered the previous night at a concert. Every single one of the people interviewed was critical of the government. I am therefore left with the impression that the reporter could either not find anyone agreeing with the government position, that she did not look for one of those opinions or deliberately omitted those replies that did not agree with her personal stance. Of course, there is always the chance that 100% of those interviewed were of her persuasion but I seriously doubt it. However, when I see evidence elsewhere that public opinion is close enough to fifty/fifty on the matter, then I find it very difficult to believe that any section of any ABC policy, similar to those to described in your reply, have been applied. I can only come to the conclusion that Ms Curtis is biased and that this bias is condoned. My “research” has also found that the managing director/CEO of the ABC was appointed by the previous government and that he had some sort of position in the Liberal Party. I don’t know what that position was – perhaps you can enlighten me – but he is still there. Apparently there are a few others on the board whose appointments can only be described as political. For reasons best known to itself, the current government has left those people in their positions, possibly out of blind faith but most certainly out of stupidity. If they were expecting to be treated even-handedly, I would imagine they would be very disappointed. But that is for them to act on. I don’t really care who is on the board. All I expect is for them to act in the interests of all listeners and viewers, to provide balanced reporting and not to push their personal political barrows. Believe it or not, it actually saddens me to see what the ABC has become. Its traditions are much better than this and I would hope that something would be done about it. But on all evidence, I won’t be holding my breath. All very disappointing.[/i]

HS

2/06/2010Rx, Thank you for continuing to do ABC Watch data mining over at Poll Bludger for us! I keep wondering whether the ABC is getting more complaints than average recently, and if that is having any effect in the echelons of power further up the line from the 'Complaints Department'? Does Mark Scott even know how many complaints the organisation he is running is getting? Does he care? Or does he just have his agenda which he is intent on carrying out, come what may? Anyway, the only solution I could come up with was to subscribe to his Twitter account and just keep bombarding him with Tweets! Maybe he reads those. Then, on the other hand, he probably has a secretary to do it. Sigh. Also, I thought that Janet Albrechtsen's contarct on the Board of the ABC had run out, maybe last February. If so, I must say I haven't seen it reported anywhere who has been chosen to replace her on the board. If Kevin Rudd chooses another ex-Liberal politician, I'll scream! :)

Miglo

2/06/2010What a damn fine collection of posts we have here. I can see that this place is the intellectual pulse for truth.

sawdustmick

2/06/2010HS ABC Board members are... (as at 25th February 2010) Mr Maurice Newman AC Mr Steven Skala AO Mr Peter Hurley Mr Keith Windschuttle Mr Mark Scott Dr Julianne Schultz AM Mr Michael Lynch CBE, AM

Rx

2/06/2010Hi Hillbilly, it's my pleasure to join in the ABC Watch effort. Believe it or not, not so long ago you wouldn't have found a more passionate defender of the ABC than myself. I guess that's why I feel so let down. It's gone, like a blink of an eyelid, from being something I loved and trusted all my life to ... well, I'd rather not say what in polite company. No doubt they are getting lots of complaints from progressive members of the audience who, like us, would have to be blind to not see the bias that's washed over the news and current affairs coverage in recent times. Like you I wonder what the organisation makes of all the complaints. Perhaps they are happy to log large numbers of letters, calls and emails from pissed-off lefties because they can say (to their Liberal tormentors, presumably), "See, we are not biased towards the left!" Alternatively, I'm sure there are some within Aunty's walls ideologically gratified by the flood of anguished correspondence...

gusface

3/06/2010Via PB A quite valid suggestion to take up the ABC concern with your local MP if labor of course. The de facto oversight that is provided here should be used as a template to assess whether Bias exist or not

Lyn

3/06/2010[b]TODAY'S LINKS[/b] [i]Rudd’s shit sandwich,Bernard Keane, Crikey[/i]. Confronted with systematic lying from the mining industry, which has deep pockets, and a concerted media campaign every bit as deceitful, no government worth its salt can afford to simply not respond. http://www.crikey.com.au/2010/06/02/kevin-rudd-and-the-politics-of-the-sh-t-sandwich/ [i]MINING TAX FACTS,.THE DAILY BLUDGE[/i] http://miningtaxfacts.com.au/ [i]How Profitable are some of these mines? Peter Martin[/i] Some of those commodities would actually be better off under the proposed arrangement because they pay royalties which would no longer be paid under the RSPT." http://petermartin.blogspot.com/2010/06/how-profitable-are-some-of-these-mines.html [i]RSPT polling and low hanging fruit,Possum Comitatus, Pollytics[/i] things will have to get either a lot more hysterical, or a lot more professional from the mining side of propaganda war. http://blogs.crikey.com.au/pollytics/2010/06/02/rspt-polling-and-low-hanging-fruit/ [i]Resource Tax Will Create More Revenue for Australia, Gruen Says, Marion Rae and Gemma daley, Bloomberg Businessweek[/i] “Other countries are looking to Australia as an example and they’re rubbing their hands together,” Cutifani said in a speech in Canberra today. http://www.businessweek.com/news/2010-06-02/resource-tax-will-create-more-revenue-for-australia-gruen-says.html [i]Rio Tinto releases RSPT spin, now I'm getting annoyed, Clarencegirl,North Coast Voices[/i] I'm sorry Mr. Albanese, I just can't dredge up any sympathy for the mining giant you represent. http://northcoastvoices.blogspot.com/ [i]Gaza flotilla two days later: Opinion round-up, Tobias Ziegler, Pure Poison[/i] Andrew Bolt’s take on the flotilla boarding hits the newsstands today http://blogs.crikey.com.au/purepoison/2010/06/02/gaza-flotilla-two-days-later-opinion-round-up/#more-6220 [i]Campaign countdown, now with more balderdash, David Penberthy, The Punch[/i] though he won full marks for energy, Tony Abbott probably did neither the Libs nor Labor any favours moving two unruly censure motions yesterday, http://www.thepunch.com.au/articles/campaign-countdown-now-with-more-balderdash/ [i]Gloves Come Off in Online Political Battle, Ales Schlotzer, The Angle. Org.[/i] Yet only in the last week, the Labor Party has started to come under fire for sponsoring and endorsing a Twitter account called Phoney_Tony , designed to heckle Tony Abbott. http://theangle.org/2010/06/01/gloves-come-off-in-online-political-battle/ [i]Going Green, Media Wrap, Crikey[/i] Greens’ leader Bob Brown has warned Kevin Rudd about assuming that Greens voters will direct their preferences to the ALP. http://www.crikey.com.au/2010/06/02/going-green/

HS

3/06/2010Miglo, You are too kind. :)

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3/06/2010LYN'S DAILY LINKS updated: http://www.thepoliticalsword.com/page/Lyns-Daily-Links.aspx ABC WATCH updated: http://www.thepoliticalsword.com/page/ABC-Watch.aspx

Lyn

3/06/2010Hi Ad ABC information Move over major parties, it's independents' day, Barrie Cassidy, The Drum evidence is everywhere. There does seem to be a lack of trust and faith in both Kevin Rudd and Tony http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2010/06/03/2916747.htm?site=thedrum Rudd dodges tax attacks by talking up economy, Brendan Trembath Mr Rudd was invited to the mining function but was nowhere to be seen. http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2010/06/02/2916607.htm ABC Board Protocol http://www.abc.net.au/corp/board/board_protocol.htm ABOUT THE ABC http://www.abc.net.au/corp/

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3/06/2010ABC WATCH updated: http://www.thepoliticalsword.com/page/ABC-Watch.aspx

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3/06/2010Rx, Lyn Thank you for your ABC links, which I've posted on ABC WATCH. Miglo Thank you for your complimentary remarks about the comments on [i]TPS[/i]. We are fortunate to have a group of thoughtful bloggers who post insightful comments here that inform us all.

bilgedigger

3/06/2010Re ABC Board appointees - Dr. Julianne Schulz (Griffith University) is the recent appointment to the ABC Board and will hopefully bring a more rounded view. Keith Windshuttle's appointment has not long to run thank goodness, although Julianne Schulz would be more than a match for his distorted inputs. Re the Opposition claims of "savings" to be gained to their Budget from the abolition of any mining tax, it is not only the Opposition who cannot reason. It has been clearly announced on a number of occasions that the amounts nominated going to Superannuation, the reduction in Company Tax, and the moneys towards the Infrastructure Fund are dependent on the passing of the RSPT, so it's not only Sloppy Joe who is thick or baseless (or even both) but the muppets in the media who have consistently omitted or refused to represent the true position. The many posts above have set out the lack of balance in reportage in the media so it is interesting to see the current issue of Australian Literary Review (June 2). On pages 12 and 13 in the Media Section there are three reviews of current books which make interesting reading and which highlight the differing roles of journalist, Editor and newspaper proprietor. There is a review by Les Carlyon, a journalist, on the book Pressman Par Excellence which looks at an influential journalist of the past, Alan Reid. This highlights the political role Alan took. The second review is by Max Suich, a former Editor, of the book Breaking News: The Golden Age of Graham Perkin (former Editor of The Age) who is often cited as setting standards for Editors. This review also touches on the interconnected role of the Board and the occasions for interference with Editorial policy which present the Board of a media outlet on behalf of its owners. The third is a shorter review of the book War at The Wall Street Journal: How Rupert Murdoch Bought an American Icon, which sets out clearly the role Rupert Murdoch sees for an owner and documents the change in focus of the Journal since he has owned it. To my mind, each review brings into sharp focus the interconnecting dynamics at play in what is presented as "fact" in the media. Who dominates? Conversely, the Australian Literary Review itself also highlights a case of "biting the hand that feeds you". In their consistent tirades against the sins of the current Labor Government and in particular in its advertising campaign around the RSPT, The Australian newspaper and its related media outlets do not see fit to reveal the extent to which they themselves are in receipt of the taxpayer dollars they are so horrified to see used in that particular campaign, or any other. The Literary Review is published as an insert in The Australian and receives funding through, or to use their version of doublespeak "in co-operation with" the Australian Government (i.e. us the taxpayers) and the Australia Council. Where is it published within that Review or in The Australian the amount of taxpayer dollars going to sustain the Literary Review. This is rank hypocrisy of the kind we have come to expect. Where does the public stand in The Australian's campaign for "The Right to Know"? My guess is nowhere and nowhere again.

HS

3/06/2010biledigger, Absolutely thoughtful, erudite comments. I am beginning to form the opinion that the news we get these days has changed entirely in character from that which we grew up relying on. No longer do we appear to have proprietors, such as the Graham family, and, to a lesser degree, the Fairfaxes, who were willing to invest in news organisations and publications, simply for the greater good. What we have instead, since Murdoch launched his empire, is media companies owned for the purpose of controlling the hearts and minds of as much of the population as possible, in order to advance their greater agenda. The agenda of Murdoch, and other lesser-known but just as intent, media proprietors, seems to revolve around taking democracy back from the people, and placing it in their hands, for them to decide what is best for us. Alongside this Corporatocracy, in concert with the major religions, we are left with the increasing sham of politics, as transparent lobbyists stalk the corridors of power, as their master's voices, to bend the ears of legislators to their wants, or just plain offer up a bucket of donations to get their way. If it were a horse race, last place would go to the tired old nag, 'Integrity'. Still, I hold out hope that the great mass of the people hasn't been lulled by their Fox(tel) soma, and may still be able to one day rise up against it, should push come to shove.

BH

3/06/2010HS - on your recommendation only I opened the OO site and read that piece by Maiden on Abbott. The last 2 paras "Some of Abbott’s big men offered their own contributions. Western Australia’s charming Don Randall suggested Labor frontbencher Jenny Macklin looked like a horse, interjecting. “Have you looked in the mirror?” Randall said. And Liberal frontbencher Bob Baldwin took to Twitter to offer this on the Deputy Prime Minister: “Julia Gillard appears to be fantasising over Tony Abbott in budgie smugglers. Is she starved?” It’s top-drawer, quality politics from here on in, all the way to the election." Are they any better than those YLs who wrote about Gough? Baldwin is my Federal member - he's certainly not a class act.

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3/06/2010Folks I've just posted [i]Is it that hard to sell the RSPT?[/i] http://www.thepoliticalsword.com/post/2010/06/03/Is-it-that-hard-to-sell-the-RSPT.aspx I hope you find it informative. Your input will be welcome.

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3/06/2010ABC WATCH updated: http://www.thepoliticalsword.com/page/ABC-Watch.aspx

NormanK

3/06/2010Johnny Button et al, Found this in The Australian of all places. Article by Nicola Berkovic on May 14th. "DEFEAT of the government's resources super-profits tax would significantly shrink the first budget surpluses after the global financial crisis but would still allow Wayne Swan to meet his target to balance the nation's books by 2012-13. Analysis of the budget reveals that stripping the super-profits tax and all of the promises the government has linked to it would remove $365m from the budget bottom line in 2012-13. This would leave the budget with a surplus of $635m instead of $1 billion. And in 2013-14, the surplus would be slashed from $5.4bn to $3.3bn without the resources super-profits tax. The resources tax is set to add $2.4bn to the government's coffers over the next four years. About $10.2bn of the total $12.6bn in revenue from the tax will be spent on new promises." Such a pity this point has been allowed to drift away.

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3/06/2010LYN'S DAILY LINKS updated: http://www.thepoliticalsword.com/page/Lyns-Daily-Links.aspx

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3/06/2010Folks Only spam now so I'm closing comments.
I have two politicians and add 2 more; how many are there?