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sydney alternative media - non-profit community independent trustworthy
Sunday, 23 November 2008
Big media short takes
Mood:  chatty
Topic: big media

* Our predictions of climate intensified storms travelling south to Brisbane, and the real politik implications of that for the pineapple mafia / Rudd led federal Govt, seem to have been realised this week. Implications include perceptions/reality of climate change, and escalating insurance payouts.

You couldn't get a view on the tv news without Rudd, Qld premier and BrisVegas mayor all looking earnest on location of storm damage: While having very little practical to offer in real organisational involvement. They might allocate more funding perhaps. It was all about expressing the politics of symbolic empathy. Poor sods.

We recall a contact telling us how his father, a painter by trade in Rockhampton, was unusual in that he had a metal anchor from the slab of the house up to the roof - to avoid the kind of storm damage all this last week. Quite proud of it too.

Which all reminds us of the ripples of cyclone Wati on 27 March 2006 on the shores of Sydney, though the storm was actually 1000 km north east of Sydney. People crowded the coastal walk to watch the show.

* Tragedy of father and two sons death at Tathra results in local fools beating up media doing their job. This echoes what green people on the South Coast have expressed for years - the tendency for violence by the local loggers for instance, itself encouraged by the culture of Howard Govt domestic terrorism on the environment. Several loggers around Cobargo have been convicted of violent assault, as well as reports of cowardly rock throwing. Such cave dwellers deserve no sympathy.

* A raucous festival (as per ABC audio) of feminists held their Ernies event last week according to radio news. But this year it didn't travel much beyond that. No press or tv news pictures that we could see.

And we can imagine why - ex MP, now Cr, Meredith Burgmann awarded 'prizes' (actually raspberries) to anyone and everyone it seems but ALP figures like now notorious Matt Brown MP (alleged t*tty f*cking), Tony Stewart MP (alleged leg holding bully) both dismissed from Burgmann's own government cabinet.

Is that bias undermining the whole point of the event? Ernie apparently was a unionist after all. Instead Liberal Tony Abbott got a 'repeat offender' award. No wonder most news services dropped the story cold.

* We have our own insights into the cynical tribalism of local ALP politics. Co-author of the Ernies book Yvette Andrews - former staffer of ex MP Meredith Burgmann - still hasn't submitted to a competitive job selection process for the $65K per year manager's job at Addison Rd Community Centre for over 12 months now. This has got to be the most brazen breach of ethical employment policies in any community organisation we have ever heard of.

Now a source advises that copies of the minutes of the recent AGM for ARC are not available to tenants/members let alone the public 'because they might be leaked to the community media'. ARC is all public land and receives significant public funding one way or another. The governance there is also a fearful secretive nepotistic disgrace.

All in all this is why the important purpose of the Ernies exposing sexism is failing in it's mission. It's being implemented with biased motives by  ALP cronies under cover of principle. Meanwhile a much drier but arguably more reliable source of advice in the wake of the Ernies is in the press today, namely federal Sex Discrimination Commissioner Ms Elizabeth Broderick, p 9 today's Sunday Telegraph.

* Uh oh, Lisa Carty has a story about Robert Furolo MP, Iemma's ex electorate staffer and Mayor of Canterbury still in the SunHerald. An important story on cash for access to ministers. 

Only they've got the wrong photo on page 13. Maybe they should've just gone to the NSW parliament website (actually his pic is not up yet) or maybe Canterbury Council via google as we did. Furulo is pictured in the free inner west suburban press almost every week. Or did they mean to use the wrong picture? That would be sneaky.

* Same Fairfax stable - Sacha Molitorisz (bloke) back page of Review section p38 of weekend Herald wrings his hands snag like over sexism and the cute and funny Cilmi video "Nothing sweet about me". It's running at about 13 milliion views on YouTube now. That's big. Does Sacha get the punchline wrong regarding revenge fantasies of young women?  

The guy hung upside down finally cut free as the song closes in a cutaway is possibly like one of those folks in an upturned car after a crash, hanging by their seat belt. On sudden release they suffer potentially broken neck. Happens sometimes apparently. Nothing sweet indeed. It is carefully choreographed - the victim is shown aware of the fall to come and his arms are extended hopefully to take the weight?

Superb song all the same. But on the more serious point, emotional violence is a spiral. Reverse sexism is just that, best keep that in mind champ. The rest is sophistry.

* Heather Ridout, of Australia Industry Group and Rudd Govt confidante is revealed as an ex Greiner staffer, which figures given her ideology on energy privatisation.

* Joe Hildebrand runs a YouTube image with his Saturday column in the Daily Telegraph which looks suspiciously like a SAM format of a recent story about US Govt $700B bailout via big alternative media programme Democracy Now! with Naomi Klein and Amy Goodman. We wonder.


* Curiously our SAM micro news website has now had 4 days [make that 5 at 24 Nov] running of 'zero pageviews'. Unlikely given we also look at the website, including from another distinct work station. It's a puzzle. Maybe the host server is cutting back on that information tool in difficult financial times. Maybe we wrote something - last hot one was about W Bush alleged looting of the NSW Treasury in his last 2 months. We haven't got a clue. But we don't write for audited circulation. We write because we can and for peace of mind.

[and now see this graphic, traffic metric stopped at November 19 by the host server based in the USA.]

[Host server writes 25 Nov to say "Unfortunately, we are currently doing maintenance to our servers which is causing you not to see your reports correctly.

We hope to have this resolved by the first week of December.

We do apologize for the inconvenience and we thank you for your patience as we work to get this resolved for you as soon as possible

* Imre Salusinsky waxes lyrical in the Weekend Australian applying an apocalyptic metaphor with locusts in the regions swarming closer to the Rees Govt in Sydney. Very literary for a literary premier. A shallow device nevertheless Imre.

* The same newspaper carries ex NSW Treasurer Michael Costa earlier in the week, prominently. Only he writes like a honking goose. Says he shouldn't attack the mini budget, which is laughable after dumping on his Govt at his resignation presser.

He also badly misconceives the reality of his own ALP-union political milieu: It's not the comparatively low 20% membership of unions these days, but the 50-80% coverage of work places by award conditions that truly measures the role of unions. Just as Telstra complains bitterly about other small telco companies as passengers on their infrastructure and investment. Unions feel the same about non union members getting pay rises that unions fought for. But it's no use complaining, it's a systemic reality.

Similarly there is a truism we heard at the Future of Media conference called the '1:9:90 rule': Meaning only 1% of society are very active participants in any given agenda, 9 moderately and 90 tend to be passengers. That puts the union 20% membership in a genuine perspective. They are the victims of their own success in achieving such wide economic coverage and that's a good thing.

* The mean and nasty ultra ideologues, some of whom still hang at News Corp, never liked Nicole Kidman ever since she did The Interpreter as a vehicle for the United Nations. 

The film also featured lefty Sean Penn - and check the film for the Robert Mugabe character feted at the start, despised at the end. Also funny the trailer above shares suspense soundtrack from the Bourne trilogy.  But we digress. You see the UN went up against W Bush's outrageous Iraq war and was supposed to be marginalised and crushed by the neo cons. Somehow we think this might explain this sniping at A lister Kidman, just like Charlie Chaplin?

* Sharp thinker Marian Wilkinson as environment editor at the SMH ran a friendly story out of Deputy Premier Tebbutt's office 2 weeks ago. This coincidentally (?) was when the pressure came on the SMH to run in the newsprint not just hidden away on the website about logging of koala habitat on the NSW south coast. Tebbutt being the environment minister now. Senator Bob Brown will be attending the logging protest later this month down at Bermagui. It still hasn't run in the SMH proper 3 weeks later.

Wilko's colleague James Woodford locally based down there has also failed miserably to report the logging protest either in the Herald or on his real dirt website despite ABC TV news, PM show, JJJ coverage. Tebbutt cunningly gave a feature about how she declined the premiership, crowding out why she declines to protect koala habitat from logging at Bermagui. How shameful.

Sooo this weekend we have a balancer from Wilkinson edging up to the koala issue with picture on page 7, Sydney Morning Herald. Again Tebbutt is in the story as well as some koala study in Gunnedah, still not south coast logging of koala habitat going on NOW at Bermagui.

(Gunnedah reminds of our work in the mid 90ies lobbying for Pilliga wilderness area where we helped with a $1M buyout of a willing seller with koala habitat by the NSW NPWS. )

At least the article mentions "woodchipping" and a quality scientist Dan Lunney. It's a grudging half hearted coverage.

* Nor has Minister Tebbutt been much help protecting the Blue Mtns world heritage area. Recently SAM's editor played a central role in a reversal by Hawkesbury City Council  cajoled, briefed, flattered and embarrassed into voting 12 to zero against a local sandminer. We have reported the saga here exclusively on SAM. In 2004 HCC wavedt the sandmine through. We got an email from a well intentioned staffer for Minister Tebbutt after the event to say 'Oh that world heritage, thanks for the updates etc etc.' Too late, too late.

* Michael Duffy SMH yesterday runs a policy call out advert for the NSW Liberal Opposition in his column, last sentence. This was after colleagues in the Big Media ran press tantrums over many days the previous week which got the anti Labor forces in NSW exactly nowhere.

* Big Barry O'Farrell is to "wield the axe"  on his shadow ministery, says the Sunday Telegraph p15. Seems latest Newspoll has Nathan Rees as preferred Premier still after literally 10 days of fearsome anti ALP tantrums. Wow. And we noticed the tide turning on that attack about 4 days back too. Rees has a certain sense of teflon. Not indestructible but tough all the same. And people warm to strength.

We called it early here on SAM that the big press tantrum(s) over failure to privatise energy was like being 'thrashed by a wet lettuce' and Rees would make it through if he held fast. And so it seems to be. We also raised the prospect of the next NSW election being the first internet one like Obama leveraged the net all the way to the presidency. 2 years is a long time to be writing off Rees.

* A much more convincing piece about the woes of political culture in NSW came from (I say grudgingly) Ken Phillips of the Institute of Public Affairs. It was a bit conspiracy theory regarding the NSW IRC gazumping the High Court of Australia (sounds dubious). But his piece rang more true in The Australian than Michael Costa same day 21 November. Refer Yvette Andrews/ARC above for nepotism.

* Tim Blair despairs at Obama as president elect. Keeps referring to roaring trade in USA gun shops. He really is a nasty piece of work is ole TB. How prescient of TB's parents to choose those initials perhaps alluding to the global campaign to eradicate the persistent disease. (A cheap shot but hey the guy is an avowed gun lover.)

In his Saturday column he notes Rio Tinto greening up with a photo competition about evidence of global warming for staff. TB is dismayed the concern over climate has spread literally like ... TB.

Our source tells us it's much worse than that TB, now increasingly relegated to the back of the newspaper. Apparently Rio Tinto were so averse to bad PR on the environment such as via the Gunns pulp mill that if the greenies had lobbied Rio to not sell the land where the proposed pulp mill is sited to Gunns, they would have blocked the sale.

Only like in cricket, the greenies failed to make the appeal in such a direct fashion to Rio that they felt okay to sell he site Gunns. (In the rules of cricket if the fielding team don't appeal the umpire can't give the batsmen out. We actually saw this once as a colt.) This was in the days before Gunns pulp mill was really ramped up as a national cause celebre, not least ex Premier Lennon exposed allegedly lying about the reasons for cancelling a Planning Assessent Commission (in the press this week).

Our source is a good one - family friend of a staffer in a section of Rio in Tas that would know.

* Petrol is down to about US $50 a barrel. That changes politics alot.

......and many, many more quirky notables in the Big Media but too numerous to go here. Stay tuned.

Posted by editor at 8:18 AM EADT
Updated: Tuesday, 25 November 2008 10:34 AM EADT

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