Topic: big media
Tabloid news 60 Minutes style. Get the ratings. Get the advertising. Richard Carlton died in recent years but during a retrospective for Australian 60 Minutes he used to refer to adopting "The Black Hat" whereby he would go in aggressive and confrontational as the bad cop to the good cop colleagues at the show.
Now Michael Usher is there on the Australian version of satirical Frontline hair all coifured, challenging an alleged refugee smuggler from Indonesia. This was 2 weeks ago. Straight off Usher refers to "illegal immigrants" about the least journalistic term available. No Refugee Convention signatory. No compassion.
Here we go. It's a beat up. Sri Lanka civil war and Afghanistan War push factors don't exist. Newspoll (rogue poll?) has ALP Govt on the backfoot. Interview subject is a desperado brownie foreigner. Perfect for prejudice tv and tabloid sensation.
Come forward to last Sunday night. Usher traverses the diabiolical bushfire threat this summer. He sets on hazard reduction burning as the answer oblivious to the concept of fire weeds from transitional vegetation growth. Oblivious to high impact land use areas where bushfires usually arise - like private farm, like state forests, rather than conservation zones. With a belated reference to actual climate effects.
Usher notes in cavalier certainty a deceptive oft repeated forumula - 'fire needs fuel oxygen and ignition'. Well no it actually needs a fourth thing - lack of moisture. Low humidity. Climate micro and macro. The moisture that prevents hazard reduction burns in the first place over winter. What bushies call "Too juicy". Hence the limit of the formula.
And guess where his star guest David Packham came from originally: The loggging industry - which has spent the last 50 years destroying big wet old growth forest types for woodchips, and replacing it with dry schlerophyll forest. Not just a few trees. Whole landscapes. Hundreds of thousands of hectares. That is wet to dry. Absence of moisture. That turns forest litter into fuel. Thankyou logging industry. And do they have a guilty conscience whispering in their heart? You bet they do.
Any scapegoat will do to avoid addressing that history of landscape abuse.
Thankyou Mr Packham and Michael Usher for obscuring this profound reality.
Tsk, tsk, tsk.