Sydney Morning Herald

Compare and Contrast

The Sydney Morning Herald captioned this photo:

Men stood on top of a Townsville shopping centre holding a racist sign in the wake of the Sydney siege. Photo: Facebook

Men stood on top of a Townsville shopping centre holding a racist sign in the wake of the Sydney siege. Photo: Facebook

Men stood on top of a Townsville shopping centre holding a racist sign in the wake of the Sydney siege. Photo: Facebook

First of all it cannot be racist as ISIS? is not a race it is a terrorist group. Also to be fair its members are very fond of wearing tea towel like rags on both their heads and over their faces.
Secondly, the language used is no different to that used on Islamic Protester’s signs in western countries everywhere. How many times have we seen ‘Death to Infidels’ or ‘Death to those who insult Islam’, on signs in the West?

Thirdly the media have censored the wording on the sign in the photo. Have you ever seen Muslims’ signs censored in the media? Death to Infidels means death to all of us who are not Muslim. That is a pretty overt threat don’t you think?

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Whale Week What Was

Steve Harris - Iron Maiden, Whale Oil Beef HookedSaturday started with a Face of the Day photo that was a bit hard to look at before breakfast. ?Cam finds a Frenchman worthy of respect, and is pleased to find they aren’t all cheese eating surrender monkeys.?Count Jacques le Bel de Penguilly does have a poofy name though. ?Five Lesbians Eating a Quiche is a play that Whale suggests David Farrar should review for his Womans Weekly blog. ?Australia charges its second Catholic Priest for child sex crimes, and this blog continues to ask: ?Why is New Zealand immune? ?We’re either better than the rest of the world or we’re still covering it up. ?Which is it, and why? ? Sadly, another Cry Baby post where we highlight those who aren’t taking personal responsibility. ?This time, people who booked on Jetstar had their flights cancelled are in the paper bleating they’ll never fly Jetstar again. ?If only they knew this could happen, eh? ?Sharing a public space is tough when the others are eating, playing music and talking on their phones. ?Cam Slater throws in a joke about an ERO school inspector and Hekia Parata, and follows it up with a post where he reveals that politicians lie. ?Yeah. ?Why do women wear high heels? ?It can get to the point of ridiculousness for sure. An interesting post showing that a Connecticut newspaper is still advertising guns right next to Sandy Hook School news. ?That was followed by a post of dash cam footage from 1927 as well as dash cam footage of a plane crash last week. ?Next a top drawer post about glow in the dark toilet paper and poop hand soap. ?Only on WOBH. ? An interesting BBC2 short about Gordon Buchanan turning himself potential into Polar Bear lunch?leads a post about Iron Maiden showing Steve Harris wearing a Whale Oil Beef Hooked T-Shirt. ?Perhaps we should avoid NZ Herald Stock tips: ?Australian shares are hot apparently? ?Especially those APN stocks. ?Oh, and Fairfax stocks are doing just great as well. ?And as we wind down towards the end of the Saturday, we have a post about a CK Stead letter in which he slams the Binnie report as having clear bias. ? Read more »

Life in the Collective

? Andrew Bolt

Interesting description from Tom Switzer at The Spectator about life in the Fairfax news rooms. I dare say the comparison with the Herald and Radio New Zealand here is very close:

I?ll never forget my first week of work in Australian journalism nearly a decade ago. I started work at the Australian Financial Review at the height of the waterfront dispute in March-April 1998. My editor called me into his office … and instructed me what our editorial line would be, which was along the following lines: ?This is a great day for Australian capitalism; at long last, Australia is reaching a big bang end-game in its decades-long quest to remove the shame on its waterfront.?

After writing my first draft of the next day?s editorial for the editor, I then walked around the floor to meet my new colleagues. They were clearly concerned about the docks dispute unfolding outside our Darling Park office windows. One disturbed journalist asked me: ?Comrade, how do you think we are going in the war out there on the waterfront??

Now, the ?comrade? talk naturally astonished me? Leaving that aside, I still assumed that my new work friends meant we in the sense that we were on message with the company line. So keen to assimilate into my new workplace, I thus plagiarised the editor?s refrain: ?This is a great day for Australian capitalism!”?

Imagine my surprise when one senior journalist called me aside and warned me that airing such provocative opinions around the office could amount to a workplace dispute–even though I was merely parroting the paper?s editorial line! My colleagues, you see, belonged to the journalists? union and so had pledged solidarity with the battling wharfies. Never mind that these battling wharfies had held the country to ransom for decades…. I stood out like a cattle rancher at a vegetarian convention.

The episode, though, made me think: if the sober and august journalists at the nation?s leading financial daily had such views about the modern workplace, I wondered how much more entrenched the same attitudes might be among the journalists at the Sydney Morning Herald and the Age, as well as at the public broadcaster.

The problem with Fairfax

? Quadrant Magazine

David Flint finds where the problems lie with Fairfax:

For two decades now, successive Fairfax boards have hidden behind the charter. To them it has not been a charter of independence ? it has been an abdication of responsibility. The board has abandoned the running of newspapers to the journalists while they have concentrated on ?growing? the company business.

Instead, the business declined, exacerbated by the drying up of those famous rivers of gold, classified advertising. Roger Corbett?s Canute like defiance of the advertising drought, as recounted by Eric Beecher, would be funny if it were not so tragic. That the classified drought was coming was obvious. But successive boards and management were unable to rise to the challenge in the way any capable media mogul would have.

Fairfax has been run too long by a board full of accountants and management men most of whom – with the exception of the passing appearance of John Fairfax – knew absolutely nothing about the running of newspapers. Worse, they seem to have had little interest in doing so. Contrast that with the typical media mogul who is totally obsessed with and entranced by the media. The fact is, to make any media outlet a success, you have to know the media intimately.

Fair and square the board is to blame as those ultimately responsible…but the journalists and editors do not escape unscathed:

Faced with the abdication of responsibility by the Fairfax board, the journalists went their own way. A succession of charter based editors accepted that they were at most first among equals in these cosy, politically correct collectives. They result was those once great journals of record, the?Age?and the?Herald, were converted into fey mouthpieces of the bicycling vegan inner-city elites whose lives are far removed from the mainstream.

The journalistic collectives took the papers in a direction which first irritated and then outraged their traditional readerships. For years I have been told by countless numbers of people that they have given up their subscriptions to the Fairfax papers. Invariably, they mention the letters page which they see as a forum for the inner-city left. In both papers conservative, suburban, Australians are the subject of condescension and ridicule.

Sound familiar? I suspect the board at The NZ Herald is likewise facing the same issues.

“Independent” Journalism

? The Daily Telegraph

There are a great many moaning minnies out there talking about the loss of “independent” journalism. The crescendo is growing, particularly because fo the?upheaval?inside Fairfax as they realise that?alienating?readers doesn’t really pay in the long run.

One such whinger even maintains a blog that constantly moans about partisan bloggers because they don’t fit his world view of what “independent”?journalists?or commentators should be like. Every second post almost he takes aim at bloggers because they aren’t pure of thought and purpose like him.

Miranda Devine explains how it was at the Sydney Morning Herald and what “independent” journalism looks like. I imagine it isn’t too dissimilar at the NZ Herald or even TVNZ:

This column is based on my experience and on recent conversations with current and former Fairfax journalists, editors and high-ranking executives.

When I arrived at the Herald it was controlled by a handful of hard-Left enforcers who dictated how stories were covered, and undermined management at every turn.

“At one extreme, they could be likened to the KGB’s Cambridge recruits at MI6,” recalls former editor in chief Alan Revell.

“More generously, I think they saw themselves as ‘the keepers of the flame’, whose job it was to resist the approach that I (and others) had, which was to encourage a ‘broader church’ of opinion.

“In my view, the paper was not serving its market: its readership was predominantly on the north shore and in the eastern suburbs, not in Balmain and Glebe.”

Another former high-ranking executive described the newsroom collective as “sabotaging the paper and some very good journalists. It’s a crying shame”.

A former editor said: “They love acting like politicians act. To them it’s a war, to the great damage and detriment of the newspaper.”

Another former executive described the world view of the collective as, “inarguably Left-leaning, and anti-business”. It was also anti-religion – especially anti-Christian – and hostile to bourgeois family values.

“The tragedy was that (Fairfax’s) core audience was a conservative audience. You’ve never seen a paper more disengaged from its core audience. Particularly The Age.”

While editors in morning conference decided which stories should be covered, the collective decided how those stories were framed – and they were ruthless enforcers.

For example, in 2007, a journalist was assigned to write a story about the appointment as head of the NSW education department of Michael Coutts-Trotter, who had once served three years in jail for dealing heroin. To his credit, he had rehabilitated himself, but his conviction remained an important part of the story.

One former executive recalls the journalist being heavied by members of the newsroom collective to remove the fact from the article, because Coutts-Trotter’s Labor politician wife was a “particular favourite”.

“All the usual culprits just ganged up on the reporter and bullied her into changing that story, first to not include that fact at all. When she refused she was pressured to downplay the matter. The defenders of free press and independent journalism censored the story.”

He was struck by how overt the interference was: “Such was the strength of that group, and the level of confidence they had around their position. It was understandable, since they’d seen off very many editors and CEOs and directors.

“There used to be a saying that you didn’t need to worry about the current Fairfax regime because there would be another one along any minute”.

The collective, or “nomenklatura”, as one of my Fairfax colleagues described them, were not household names. They rarely had bylines because they did very little of what you might call journalism. They were too busy policing what the real journalists did.

Their tactics against me included bombarding my screen at deadline with poison messages about previous columns, or recruiting friends to lodge complaints about my work.

Show us the money

? Sydney Morning Herald

Tim Andrews of the Australian Taxpayers Alliance writes in the Sydney Morning Herald:

In 2006, in the US, the senators John McCain and Barack Obama co-sponsored the US federal funding accountability act. Its premise was simple: that taxpayer expenditure be placed online in an easily searchable database, so all taxpayers can find out how their money has been spent.

Since then, the City of London, the European Union and 38 US states have enacted similar online portals – many with no thresholds, so every cent of taxpayer expenditure is publicly available. In some cases, literally every expense of government is made public after being entered into a database.

The benefits are obvious: not only are taxpayers empowered, but also savings can be easily identified, waste exposed and unethical behaviour discouraged. Those who want spending to remain hidden might argue that informing people is too costly, that it just cannot be done. But international experience proves this to be false. The website, which provides the details of all US federal government expenditure of more than $US25,000 ($25,800), cost less than $1 million to set up – and the software is now available free of charge in the public domain.

Texas, with a population greater than that of Australia, was able to create a spending portal for $380,000, and Nebraska did it for only $30,000. Such minor costs are nothing compared with the benefits such portals bring.

What agreat idea, we need something like this here. The Taxpayers Alliance in Australia is making similar calls:

It is time Australia joined this revolution. Everywhere that transparency portals have been tried, the results to date have been breathtaking. Citizens have been searching these websites in record numbers. In Missouri, with a population smaller than NSW, 15 million hits were reported in the first year. Millions in savings have been identified. To use just one example, Texas reported $8.7 million in savings directly attributable to their transparency website in just the first year of operation.

Opening the government books to an army of online citizen investigators has uncovered waste and duplication, and made junkets or pork-barrel spending near impossible. Corruption and rorting cannot occur when the records are freely available – sunlight truly is the best disinfectant.

Such portals should be a ”no-brainer” for policymakers. This is not a partisan issue – people on all sides of politics should agree that empowering citizens through transparency can only lead to higher outcomes. There is no logical argument to oppose their creation, unless you have something to hide.

Once the cost argument crumbles, the only opposition to transparency portals can come from vested interests seeking to preserve their misuse of taxpayer funds.

The lobbyists and vested interests of course oppose such transparency:

It is time our politicians stood up for the average taxpayer against these special interest groups and rent-seekers, and called for the establishment of transparency portals at all levels of government.

The Australian Taxpayers’ Alliance is calling for all politicians and political candidates to publicly pledge their commitment to taxpayers by supporting this initiative. If they truly represent their electors, and are not beholden to other influences, if they truly have nothing to hide, they should support it without hesitation.

Would our own politicians make a similar pledge?

A good scorecard

??The Sydney Morning Herald

At 1.59pm sharp Bob Carr came bounding into the red room with his head held high and his chest puffed slightly out.

He had arrived for his first Senate question time with one minute to spare.

Carr hopped down the stairs, onto the floor of the chamber to take his place next to Finance Minister Penny Wong: front row, behind Government Senate Leader Chris Evans.

In terms of Senate real estate, we’re talking location, location, location.

Bob Carr was in the Senate…here is how it was scored:

The Scorecard:

Minutes until Bob Carr was asked a question:?23

Total questions Carr was asked:?2 (6 including supplementaries)

Number of questions the Opposition asked Carr:?0

Number of times Bob Carr and Kim Carr appeared confused about who was being asked the question:?1

Number of Senators kicked out:?0

Number of MPs kicked out in the House’s question time today:?6

Why do politicians break the no rooting rule?

An article in the Sydney Morning Herald investigates why politicians are inveterate rooters:

Richard Nixon’s secretary of state, Henry Kissinger, said: ”Power is the great aphrodisiac.” (Although it has to be said his planned seduction of the B-grade movie actor Mamie van Doren went awry when she was repelled by his smelly socks.) He regretted saying that famous bon mot but it’s true. Because political leaders are the alpha males in the community, women are attracted to them, even though the men may be ugly and much older, as was Bill Clinton when he and Monica Lewinsky indulged in kinky cigar sex in the White House.

It’s the same with the recently resigned Italian prime minster, Silvio Berlusconi, whose orgies, or bunga-bunga parties, have become notorious. What repelled many people was the thought of this plump former cruise singer in his 70s, with a rigid, shiny face courtesy of plastic surgery and Botox, bedding teenagers.

But, as I know from my own past, the allure of the dominant male is strong.

A relative of mine was a prim and proper woman and a fanatical Labor supporter. Although she was married, she had flings with a charismatic prime minister and an unappealing but highly intelligent state premier. She not only admired these men but justified her behaviour as a feminine way of supporting the Labor Party.

Many political leaders have had enormous sexual appetites. Chairman Mao Zedong was a legendary sleaze and the recently murdered Libyan dictator Colonel Muammar Gaddafi, fuelled by dangerous amounts of Viagra, had sex five times a day with any women his aides could find for him. Mussolini and Napoleon were just as voracious.

The thing is that we might be shocked by the amount of sexual excess but not surprised, which is why it’s strange that we continue to have politicians’ careers ruined or besmirched by sexual allegations.

So it appears that politicians break the no rooting rule because they can.

What appears common to most of these politicians is the risks they take, whether it’s sex in the Oval Office or mooching around for hookers in a Paris park. But then it could be said that most politicians succeed by taking risks.

It’s the nature of politics to gamble on making a grasp for leadership or to outfox one’s opponents with a risky strategy. Fuelled by a lust for power and driven by vast reserves of testosterone, which he needs to make it to the top, the alpha politician regards women as a just and proper reward for someone in his position.

Politics is about power and with it comes the exhilaration of being the dominant male. The risks of discovery these men take in their private lives is a part of the allure of such adventures. The excitement of the risk of being caught is underpinned by their arrogance and feelings of invulnerability, something that was clearly evident in Clinton’s dangerous fling.

But there’s more to it. The art of politics is being able to seduce your backers and the public to vote for you. It’s only a short step to these men thinking it’s only natural that they can also seduce any woman they want. If you believe Tiffanie – and there are many reasons for doing so – then Macdonald said to her: ”If you knew who I was, you would be very surprised.” It sums up both a politician’s massive ego and the thrill of being a powerful man.



Helping Christchurch and New Zealand Rebuild #eqnz

Like most New Zealanders I have had a feeling of helplessness following the Christchurch earthquake. As much as many of us have wanted to go down there and shovel silt and help people repair their houses, it is not practical. Donations are great but it is not the same as actually doing something physical to help.

It is not just Christchurch that has taken a pounding. New Zealand?s economy has a $16 billion hole in it and this is going to hurt New Zealand for years, even as Christchurch is being rebuilt.

I read a brilliant article in the Sydney morning Herald?by Ben Groundwater entitled Friendliest people on earth need you … to visit:

Over here, calls have been going out for donations to help those affected, but we?ve had our own fair share of natural disasters lately, so it can be hard to keep doling out the dollars.

There is, however, a win-win solution: spend your holidays this year in New Zealand. Give money by injecting it into the economy, and enjoy yourself in the process.

It?s not just friendly people you?ll find in NZ ? that?s just something I picked out because it was what impressed me the most. Scenery-wise, it?s like a little slice of Europe that?s been dumped in the middle of our ocean. Culture-wise, it?s a rich mix of Maori, Islander and Western customs.

Plus, there are hobbit-infested mountains, beautiful islands,?really high things to throw yourself off of, good wine,?awesome beer, world-class coffee, half-decent rugby players, and loads and loads of sheep.

This has got me thinking about what we can all do to help in the long term, and to grow New Zealand?s economy so we can rebuild Christchurch quicker.

What I have come up with is a massive internet campaign asking people to take holidays in New Zealand. Increased tourist numbers will give a massive boost to our economy, and is the one way our friends overseas can personally help us.

So I am asking all my family overseas to come home for their holidays every holiday for the next few years to show they care. I am asking my kiwi mates overseas to do the same thing. And I am asking all my foreign mates to come here for their holidays to help us all out.

I?ll be doing this with my blog, on Facebook and on Twitter. I?ll email all my friends in the next week or so, and I will call a few people too.

Can you all consider posting something along these lines, and encourage your readers to change their facebook status to

?Help New Zealand Rebuild. Take your next holiday in New Zealand?

Help New Zealand Rebuild. Take your next holiday in New Zealand

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And this dork thinks he is a Mayoral wannabe?

Check out the new MetroLive website at – it's deliciously bitchy just like the days of the Warwick Roger era of that mag.

One great example is the "Seven days in the city" column – a more genteel version of the old Felicity Ferret, a wonderfully nasty bitch that makes Whaleoil a gentle river pike by comparison.

Anyway, check out the unveiling of the Waterfront stadium plan.

Mayoral wannabe and flamboyant metrosexual Alex Slimey tried to start a Mexican wave (ugh) at the unveling of the bedban. Apparently, it went down like a cup of cold vomit.

[quote]"Well done!" he whooped as Mallard played his video showing what a large bedpan might look like from the air at night. However the tide wasn't running Swney's way. Instead of whoops there was a wave of embarrassed silence broken only by the gentle hiss of sniggering – which made our little, tan-suited cheerleader rather grumpy. "Come on Auckland," he harrumphed."[/quote]

Of course they don't leave poor old George Wood and dopey old Barry Curtis alone either.

[quote]There weren't nearly enough chairs – heaven help us if this is a sign of things to come! And what's this? Oh dear. There's poor old Manukau mayor Sir Barry Curtis and poor old North Shore mayor George Wood. Not at the high table, but jammed in among the slavering hacks. How far out of the loop were they? So far that they were forced to join the journos and ask Mallard questions from the floor.[/quote] ?

It's hard to think of someone who could make Hubbard look less dorky, but Slimey (ACT Candidate in 1999 and Action Hobson candidate in 2001) must surely be a candidate.