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sydney alternative media - non-profit community independent trustworthy
Wednesday, 5 March 2008
Who can you trust online, or anywhere really?
Mood:  sad
Topic: independent media

Who can you trust? Such a little word, such a massive issue, personally, professionally, local, state, federal. Trust underpins a viable society because otherwise one is paralysed by constant threats of cheating.

We got a whiff of that malaise in an SBS show on constant 'price points' put onto daily life in Kenya otherwise known as demands for bribes. In Australia however it's called Macquarie Bank and their famous coin with the hole, making more out of less:


Joe Hildebrand picks up the farcical nature of a society without trust recently too:

Sartorial elegance is costly Joe Hildebrand – Friday, February 29, 08 (05:35 pm) IT’S fair to say that the whole concept of house pride kind of passed me by in my youth, but it struck me this week that as a man in the soft-grey glow of his early 30s it would seem unbecoming not to start experiencing it now.

In the last week we've had two requests for comment to other sections of the 'up by their boot straps' independent (micro/minor) news sector. Always ready with an opinion we are happy to be approached. One from NZ of all places, another from the groovy NewMatilda (now on our right hand sidebar) for a panel discussion on 2nd April 2008. For instance this cracking read:

nsw politics 3 Mar 2008 Treasurer Costa Lot by Ben Eltham

Their topic is:

Newmatilda.com is holding another In Conversation panel discussion on Wednesday April 2nd.

 Our last years panel- “Is Online Media Dumbing Down Journalism” was very successful with speakers such as Liz Jackson, Peter McEvoy, Dylan Welch and Carrie Lumby on the panel.

 We would like to invite you to be in the panel for our next discussion:


Who Can You Trust?

Who is a credible source online? With the proliferation of blogging, amateur experts and user generated content- has the investigative journalist become redundant?


Due to your work on your blog we think you be an ideal speaker for our panel. We are trying to get bloggers/journalists from a range of backgrounds.

Who do you trust indeed. We are working up our submission already and will attempt a positive approach. However the obverse also applies, as in, who do you distrust on the offline media, even while being an obsessive media consumer of same.

Exhibit 1 and 1A is the Sydney Morning Herald "paper of record" today. Their pie charts on p6 as shown above regarding ALP versus Coalition fails to address "environmental protection" when arguably this was the difference between Carr and Fahey in March 1995, and even underpinned the Metherell Affair bringing down the Greiner Premiership in 1992(Metherell became an independent rather than support wholesale forest/wilderness destruction, sat on the cross benches and was 'encouraged' to take a job out of parliament as head of the NSW EPA instead, enter ICAC).

Environmental protection, and not simply "public transport" is a big ticket item in the real politik of NSW. Clennell as their gun state political reporter knows, or should know, this when he interprets the Nielsen polling company pie charts.

The omission by Clennell/Neilsen/SMH is even more curious given at heart it's been the rock steady determination of The Green Party to flush out democracy for sale political donations that has got us in this meltdown with ICAC into Wollongong right now as a specific exemplar. Also it underlines why Peter Garrett joined the wrong party if he wants real change versus vanity. Though he is surely helping educate the ALP who need him alot, but not nearly as much as Australian politics needs The Greens. Because it's an interlocked political spectrum and by remaining steadfast the rest of the political family has been forced in the Greens direction, bravo Green Party, in particular Norman Thomson et al at:

Political Donations - Democracy4Sale — The Greens NSW

And it's not just Metherell/Greiner 1992, or Carr/Fahey 1995 (and arguably 99, 03, on other greenwash with the Coaliton re Nats being slow learners) but arguably Rudd v Howard leverage climate change in Nov 2007 but still no pie chart in the economic rationalist Big Media. But you can't fool all the folks all the time. The green in Green Party just won't go away like a spot on Mrs Macbeth's hand.

The real politik implication in the airbrush of the "environmental protection" pie is that the National Party leg of the Coalition is dead weight, and therefore of no utility in a pro NSW Coalition agenda in the Herald [or 2nd lead on ABC tv nightly news]. Certainly the NSW ALP have been exploiting that low base for 12 years now (including via ngo trusties) not least Part 3A of the Planning Act dictatorial destruction of nature, because no matter how evil 'they couldn't be worse than the Nationals'?

Or could they, given even the Nats criticise bogus "biobanking" recently via leader Andrew Stoner - the thesis seems to be the Nats copped lots of political pain early 90ies on North Coast Land Deals so they want equal treatment for the ALP corruption with developers today, which is a fair point Mr Stoner. Bravo. Extract here:

> Date: Wed, 27 Feb 2008 16:20:15 +1100
> Subject: [NCEC] Nationals come out against BioBanking and developer influence
> North Coast Environment Council (& friends) discussion list
> In Tuesday's Macleay Argus the paper published the following article:
> STATE Government links with developers, raised at an Independent
> Commission Against Corruption inquiry last week, are worrying for the
> Mid North Coast, Oxley MP and NSW Nationals Leader Andrew Stoner said
> yesterday. Mr Stoner said high development on the Mid North Coast had
> local residents concerned about possible corruption between
> developers and the Government. "People in our neck of the woods are
> very concerned," Mr Stoner said. "I've had many people contact me
> from the Mid North Coast about the stench of corruption."
> Specifically, Mr Stoner said the bio-banking legislation introduced
> by the Government could be exploited.
> The scheme lets developers offset any loss of biodiversity caused by
> their projects through credits purchased from a bio-bank, which uses
> the money to conserve threatened species in other areas. Mr Stoner
> said land on the coast that was previously protected was in danger of
> being developed as developers trade off land elsewhere.
> State Parliament resumes today and Mr Stoner said the fireworks
> would begin as the Opposition pursued the government over what he
> said was a stench of corruption in the ALP. He said an inquiry in
> the Parliament's Upper House would investigate donations to the
> Government from developers. The links were raised at an ICAC inquiry
> into Wollongong City Council that began last week. Some State
> Government ministers have been drawn into the controversy. A former
> employee of the council, Joe Scimone, is a friend of Waterways
> Minister Joe Tripodi. Mr Scimone's recruitment to NSW Maritime is
> under investigation by ICAC because of his friendship with the
> minister responsible for the department. He is also a subject of the
> ICAC inquiry into Wollongong City Council. Mr Tripodi has said
> Maritime recruited Mr Scimone, and it was all proper and "at arm's
> length". Health Minister Reba Meagher, Police Minister David Campbell
> and Tourism Minister Matt Brown have all been put on notice by
> Premier Morris Iemma that they would be investigated over any
> allegations made against them. The three ministers have all been
> linked to Mr Scimone, who was a member of the ALP. It was
> also revealed that a company linked to a developer at the centre of
> the ICAC inquiry had donated money to Mr Campbell's and Mr Brown's
> election campaigns last year. "No doubt there is a huge stench of
> corruption," Mr Stoner said yesterday, But the Deputy Leader of the
> Coalition said the Opposition would be unlikely to pursue a vote of
> no confidence in the Government. "A lot of people have contacted me
> and said we can't wait three years (to get rid of this government),"
> Mr Stoner said. But he added a vote of no confidence would not
> succeed in the lower house, where the ALP holds the majority of
> seats. He said blocking supply at budget time was a course of action
> available to the Opposition but the public service would grind to a
> halt, and a dismissal by the State Governor would require very
> serious corruption allegations to be proven. Mr Stoner said the
> Opposition would be proposing legislation this week to cap donations
> by developers to political parties.

To reinforce this shallow effort on natural heritage real politik reportage the otherwise commendable ECO page(s) from page 12 today are two thirds government greenwashing today courtesy of the "Green Globe Awards" (funded by NSW Dept of Environment and Climate Change) which at least are not the Power and Energy industry "special advertising report" we are used to seeing in The Australian. But it is thinly disguised advertising for the NSW Govt and we wonder about the editorial control of the content now too.

The big light green colour scheme over 4 additional pages is desperately needed to sanitise with greenwash the smell of the ALP corruption on display at ICAC and Macquarie St itself. 

In terms of editorial problems we noticed at least one - Page 15 - Peats Ridge Festival  under the headline "fun and frugal". Only the festival didn't occur in the 2007/08 summer break and we know this for a fact. But why was it cancelled is the story: A local activist wanted to instruct us as a pro bono lawyer on commencing action in the Land & Environment Court for alleged failure of the land owner for the festival venue, one wealthy and influential Mr Barton Lawlor, to obtain a conforming Development Application for the parking area, and possibly time frame for part of the area,  from Singleton Council.

Apparently locals have been the victim of success at Peats Ridge parked out and other environmental amenity impacts galore, so it seems. Either it was "too muddy" this year due to rain or legal discretion played a more significant role given the dry weather 4 days before the event, and no rain during the schedule advertised in the city entertainment press. In other words quite a deal of financial outlay sacrificed.

The overall point in all this is that for all the environmental concerns of the Sydney Morning Herald which are real enough, and which can be impressive, the newspaper is suffering a neurotic conflict over materialistic growth economics covert subtext. This affects the quality of their political coverage when fully 10% are now voting Green Party (a taboo perhaps) as above absence of pie chart on an issue 'owned' by that Party. It's affecting SMH's editorial control of their own content as above too.

Another example was Ross Gittins' excellent story as economics editor recently on limit to growth after Garnaut, contradicted in juxtaposition by the editorial in the same paper opposite page:

Thursday, 28 February 2008


Maybe Gittins should be handed over the real politik stories a bit more too with cracking and valid expose of the racket of hyper immigration (quite exclusive of refugee obligations):

An inconvenient truth about rising immigration | smh.com.au Ross Gittins; March 3, 2008. JOHN HOWARD never wanted to talk about his booming immigration program.  It seems Kevin Rudd's lot doesn't want to either.

And it is this increasingly obvious deficit in a grand old lady of the Big Media which creates an opportunity for a micro general news media outlet which has a 21C conceptual framework of ecological sustainability in its political economic assumptions to increase readership and influence. That is online micro news service SydneyAlternativeMedia here - trustworthy for it's subtext of ecologically sustainable economics, and real politik, compared to growth fetish economics.

Posted by editor at 9:41 AM EADT
Updated: Thursday, 6 March 2008 5:38 AM EADT

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