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sydney alternative media - non-profit community independent trustworthy
Wednesday, 23 April 2008
News Ltd biffo on ABC using dodgy ANZAC day pretext, getting square for last week's fizzer?
Mood:  not sure
Topic: big media

ABC are copping the (in)famous (melo)dramatic blowtorch today [pic of front page Sydney Daily Telegraph, and Melbourne's Herald Sun in due course).

We wrote of the tabloid agenda setting gambit last week:

Wednesday, 16 April 2008

 Then this follow up:

Thursday, 17 April 2008

In that dynamic it was a fraught factual and legal situation about under age sex possibly consensual, possibly criminal abuse all to still be determined.

 (In fact the big media power rivalry involved spun off in two curious directions with News Ltd into other gender/sexual harrassment litigant story involving a Young Lib flying off to New York - as per crikey.com.au gossip, and tit for tat criticisms of news standards between Sydney Morning Herald and Daily Telegraph - we have a sheaf of clips about it but that's another story).

We wrote last week that ABC TV news in effect 'humiliated' both senior journo Janet Fife-Yeomans and editorial decision of the David Penberthy both at the Telegraph by not only freezing out the attack on the barrister/legal system as potentially flawed (we think so as NSW govt looked to be egg beating against the respected defence barrister) but also adding salt by running another embarrassing legal story about Family Court lack of resourcing and safety as no.1 lead story. That's a sincere repudiation really.

Now Kim Dalton is arguing today for the ABC TV just now on AM that today's tabloid is effectively a beat up (our words, not his) - more about deciding who to keep faith with - live feed of Sydney and Melbourne marchers - more mundane perhaps than the live cross to Gallipoli but not to the families of the actual marchers one presumes. According to Dalton on AM just now it's a tv editorial divergence where either way someone authentically involved in the ANZAC memorials - marchers in Sydney/Melbourne (in other words home soil that was being defended), or dawn service in Turkey (where so many died) - are going to miss out on live broadcast. Seems like a  reasonable choice here, survival or death, as the dominant theme (?).

Why indeed should the live feed on the battleground be favoured over the ceremonies on home soil? That's a value judgement people might be expected to have valid differing views on, perhaps related to who is desperate for the ratings and advert sales?

Since when did 30 minutes delay really matter?

Looks like the egg beater is out again with some added spice gettting square with ABC rivals. This kind of divisive Big Media is pretty exploitative of sensitive feelings of veterans and their families, let alone logistical headaches of different time zones. In the world of politics this is a well worn and cynical strategy of emotional manipulation, with no actually sincere compassion for the vets or relatives. It's about point scoring, and power rivalry of the Big Media.

Frankly News Ltd should be ashamed for being so divisive. They could make their point alot more moderately and respectfully. Are they really suffering so much relevance deprivation syndrome to stoop to such tactics? Where is the editorial judgement to get the facts clear on their big lead stories? Have they underpaid and under resourced their staff so much that they can't keep the content fuel up to the front page furnace?

Or did they really get it right. The truth will probably come out in about 12 hours time by the tv nightly news one presumes. A bushfire or a damp squib? Professional reputations on the line again. What a blood sport the big media really are.

Posted by editor at 10:26 AM NZT
Updated: Wednesday, 23 April 2008 11:14 AM NZT
Monday, 21 April 2008
New York Times blows big whistle on Pentagon military 'propagandists' of 2005
Mood:  down
Topic: peace
[New York Times story] 
20 April 2008

A PENTAGON CAMPAIGN Retired officers have been used to shape terrorism coverage from inside the TV and radio networks.


Posted by editor at 7:19 PM NZT
Updated: Monday, 21 April 2008 9:40 PM NZT
Take out of 2020 Summit: Rudd Inc showcase is Rollerball style monolith
Mood:  sad
Topic: aust govt

Picture: The World Corp's CEO in his lair in movie Rollerball, like PM Rudd inviting the Big Media into his interview room at the Summit, surrounded by his powerful machine in parliament house rather than the usual press conference format.

It will be up to the 5th estate to lead the dynamic critique of the 2020 Summit. The Big Media are mostly co opted, as pretty much agreed on Insiders show yesterday. This is not healthy democracy.

For those excluded from the grand weekend Summit then there is always great movie fodder  Rollerball  made in 1975 directed by Norman Jewison who also made Fiddler on the Roof. Quite a moral giant is Mr Jewison - he made Rollerball in the 70ies in Germany of all places, in a dis-used 1936 Olympic venue.

(How's that for a sharp inhalation moment as the profound implications of that sinks in, not least sequel to Munich 1972 tragedy. Quite ironic with the Jewish Passover 19th April 2008 as we watched it, with religious Jewry absent from the big 2020 Summit in Canberra. We swear we had no idea about all this background before the weekend viewing of the DVD special features from our local.)

The underlying theme is all about monolithic corporations (Rudd's ALP Inc?) taking over all liberty and free thinking. In exchange for comfort and good health, free of war the world's people devolve their individuality and politics and values to a monolithic single corporation. Indeed this is what China Inc really is modelled on today. Just sublimate your own personal authentic insights for official acceptance and rewards.

It's a terryifyingly manipulative model.

The echo with the co-option of diverse interests at the Rudd showcase 2020 Summit last weekend are scary. In the movie it's all about a violent circus game to entertain the masses under the strict control of the World Corporation.  

At the 2020 Summit it was all about violence to one's individual political will power, stripping people of their alliances making them political virgins again as it were, and embracing them within the Rudd ALP Inc fold. All the sub and sub-sub groups were like a Moroccan carpet salesman dividing all into smaller and smaller groups until they succumb to the love of Big Rudd.

 Picture: Rollerball screenshot of a brain dead player victim, Moonpie. Quite a metaphor for the fate of Opposition Leader Brendan Nelson swamped by the ALP choreography and too desensitised to the political pain to extract himself before it was all too late.

The Moroccans carpet sellers really do winnow people like that to make their sale, as experienced on our travels in 2002. It's about separating people from their moral support.

The Rudd/ALP machine are excellent at co-option. All those 1000 brains were prostituted to this tv news presentation (below) last night on 10, 7, 9, SBS, ABC. Notice it was not a press conference but an intimite personalised chat one to one leveraging the PM's office at it's most powerful surrounded by 1,000 groupies, and so much harder to ask brutal questions about manipulation:


Picture: PM Kevin Rudd is never so happy as when he is on stage. As here on every tv news channel last night in one on one interviews different questioner but same background location.

Our last word this morning before checking the gush in the major press: Who would ever present a final report in book form these days to be buried for discovery in 12 years? What about a CD? Are the proceedings entered on the 2020 website for everyone to look at, or are they secretive like the faulty selection process excluding eminent scientists who don't toe the Rudd Govt line?

Posted by editor at 10:59 AM NZT
Updated: Wednesday, 23 April 2008 9:37 AM NZT
Sunday, 20 April 2008
2020: Final results for nation building 2 day summit?
Mood:  special
Topic: aust govt

This image above is taken from the final scenes of the ripping Cannonball Run movie of the 70ies starring David Carradine more recently in the Tarrantino schlock movies. It just seems appropriate of the battered integrity of the Summit process: Narrow secretive selection process, ALP stodge patronage, grotesque co-option by the ALP of the Big Media and terrifying manipulation of the whole presentation. We include a link to barely reported letter of world leading scientist Dr Jim Hansen to PM Rudd on the urgency of climate change. The deliberate exclusion of the Green Party leaders and swathe of top quality scientists on issues of real ecological reforms for sustainability speak volumes. It's a stock standard ALP stitch up, whether these idealistic 'best and brightest' know it or not (probably not).


Posted by editor at 6:49 PM NZT
Updated: Monday, 21 April 2008 10:59 AM NZT
2020: Rudd does a good version of Qantas seminar advert in Health Group
Mood:  mischievious
Topic: aust govt

The Rudd distinctive rubbing of forehead. The 1000 yard stare shown below that. Not as bad as Noel Pearson literally asleep in all the footage yesterday but still pretty jaded.

PM Rudd drops into the Health Group and looks like actor Tiriel Mora (think the suburban solicitor in The Castle) in the classic Qantas advert campaign stuck in a seminar ordering a flight home asap. We can't find that latest commercial satire but this gives earlier one gives you the flavour - very world weary:


But wait. Rudd perks up. Perhaps because he's got the microphone now, listening was never his thing?. And ABC2 loyally cross back to broadcast the PM giving nothing more than a "core" business stump speech?


Posted by editor at 1:02 PM NZT
Updated: Wednesday, 23 April 2008 9:44 AM NZT
2020: Minister Wong at the Environment Group just in time for ABC2 camera?



We are duly watching the 20 April 2008 live net feed and at 10.25 am the compere Phillip Williams crosses to the Population sustainability climate change and water group.

Literally within one minute Penny Wong, former logging unionist, former adviser to NSW Forestry minister Yeadon, now federal climate change minister, walks into the discussion in order draw the attention of the full net audience. In other words a clear indication of choreography of publicity for ALP ministers for this event, in handshake with the ABC coverage.

And she adds very little value really, going through process and drafting minutiae. All very dry and disempowering really.

Posted by editor at 12:30 PM NZT
Updated: Sunday, 20 April 2008 1:42 PM NZT
Sunday tv talkies: Polyanna summit reportage not scrutiny of federal budget prep?
Mood:  caffeinated
Topic: aust govt


Author’s general introductory note (skip this bit if you know this regular weekly column):



This is not a well packaged story. It’s a contemporaneous traverse of the Sunday television free to air political talkies indicating the agenda of Establishment interests: Better to know ones rivals and allies  in Big Politics and Big Media.



Indeed it’s the tv version monitoring task similar to what Nelson Mandela refers to here in his book Long Walk to Freedom (1994, Abacus) written in Robben Island prison (where he was meant to die like other African resister chiefs of history in the 19C), at page 208



“..newspapers are only a shadow of reality; their information is important to a freedom fighter not because it reveals the truth, but because it discloses the biases and perceptions of both those who produce the paper and those who read it.”

Just substitute ‘Sunday tv political talkie shows’ for "newspapers" in the quote above.

For actual transcripts go to web sites quoted below except with Riley Diary on 7. And note transcripts don’t really give you the image content value.

Media backgrounders


We have a big swag of dodgy NSW Govt clips some of them more serious than others but the trend is clear and not some “media beat up”. Vision of Carr heading for Iemma at 2020 opening.  Latest story about Iemma Costa being charged and suspended from the ALP via Alexandria Branch. 600 versus 150 on power privitisation says the press reportage by Clennell etc in SMH.



Nightly news after day 1 is replete with naïve idealism about clever ALP branding much like Peter Garrett’s ACF Mittagong Forum co option process for his personal career into ALP federal ministry. Naïve, naïve, naïve. It doesn’t matter what is said in meetings for all the free media profile. Father Chris Riley told the truth.


One thing the Summit does show is the general patriotism of high achievers ‘wanting to serve’, which is indeed good and admirable. What is not is the cynicism of the Federal ALP machine raising their expectations for barely any honest purpose of profile build and pre budget . The ABC live net feed is down this Sunday too so far. That’s weak. Hang it’s back at 915 am at least. With Sky News David Spears interviewing talented Muslim woman and Tanya Plybersek against illustrating it’s a staging for ALP MPs.


Almost no new ideas contrary to Rudd opening speech.


Sunday 9


Greenwood story with Graeme Samuel as head of ACCC term may end/renew for 5 years on July 1. Very fast talking for limited time. Looks like a job interview/review on air with support of RG/9-Sunday.


Feature about medieval books – no doubt worthy.


Anzac primer re Kokoda Track [we did it solo in 1990, 1 week of malaria as a result, relapse back in Oz. The problem is learning but not glorifying war, which is evil.]


Laurie Oakes interview Julie Bishop – takes a sledge re Rudd reading down Garnaut, surprising green line. Takes another sledge re Medicare Gold [only a huge budget surplus, so how stupid was it?]


Argues strongly on a range of things – sounds like a leader in fact. Not so much supporting Nelson. LO puts THE exact question. Defty avoids direct answer. Committed to deputy work is her formula. Not going to hypotheticals. Blah blah.


Petrol commissioner story – runs a technical glitches on implementation to embarrass. While saying good for transparency. Cute but trustworthy angles?


JB nails the budget point about summit as a distraction. Compare’s Republican Convention. 2 weeks on one issue. Points out raised expectations of genuine folks. Is it just a stunt?


Acquits herself really well. Some style comments. Got the cute quick thinking charm schtik down pat, but needs the serious and gravitas to generate trust in the centre. Less opportunistic and more public interest if she wants to build broader trust. May mean dressing down, flashing that glinty smile less, and emoting more.






10 Meet the Press:  8- 8-30 am

Hot air and waste of time say critics of 2020. Summit dominates press coverge today says Paul Bongioro as compere. Trouble is none of them are new ideas!


Out take of Nelson growing in the job with a well calculated formula of words.


Panel is Maria Hawthorne AAP, John Stanley 2UE?


Steven Smith patter, steady as she goes. PNG meeting since.


Outtake Nicholson re world not domestic focus danger for manic Rudd dreaming stellar heights, a theme from last week’s Insiders.


Tim Costello second guest on binge drinking. [No new voices from 2020 summit really proving it’s a machine operation.] Talks very well as usual. Crops for ethanol is rubbish just like West Wing episode years back now (2005?).


Meet The Press - Watch Political Video Online - Channel TEN.





Riley Diary 7

World tour wrap, amusing. Nothing particularly profound except this: Rudd skipped the Button funeral bad form [and we wonder perhaps that it was Button's real free thinking like calling the native forest woodchipping industry as in Tasmania today "a bastard of an industry". If Rudd went he risked exactly this kind of media question?




Insiders 2: 9- 10am


Uhlmann points out political choreography for Rudd, as above venal politics, which indeed is a daydream. [or a charade Chris]


Cross to Deputy PM Gillard – dressed in darker clothes with gravitas – note ambitious Julie Bishop.


Gillard drones on. Aim about big ideas – it’s timed to run interference on the pre budget phase of the govt. Pretty clever and dishonest too.


Every person segment with gogo dancer class, 3 women. Entertaining and colourful.


[the summit does indeed promote the idea of meritocracy rather than privilege at least to some degree by even making the invitation and selection process]


Bolt goes sincere about “manufactured consensus”. Says very arrogant self appointed like minded groups.


Footage of Geraldine Doogue “fawning” to PM Rudd at Sydney Institute re Rudd ingratiating with media luminaries. Cross reference to Wall Street Journal Asia editorial 18th (19?) April 08


Schubert agrees exercising co-option, full marks. Robust debate about republic media discussion.


Talking pictures. Bill Leak big fan of Cate Blanchette betrays his ancestry there. Spin by Rudd on GG is fair and cutting. 


Gippsland candidates named but 


Olympic Torch in Canberra on Thursday. Millions on inquiry re sunk Sydney is waste. Peter Costello around for a year as back up to Turnbull. 


Home page is http://www.abc.net.au/insiders/


Posted by editor at 11:46 AM NZT
Updated: Sunday, 20 April 2008 1:51 PM NZT
Saturday, 19 April 2008
2020 Summit: ALP schmooze and stodge jostles selective talent and ideals on day 1
Mood:  sharp
Topic: aust govt

Picture: Facilitator for the Productivity Group selling a used car? 

Glynn Davis, the political operative and academic who hails originally from Rudd's Queensland,  as 2020 Summit organiser has the nerve to tell the serious media that effective action on climate change must emerge from this summit:

Even with his own show with no David Mills, or Dr Zhengrong Shi, world leading experts from Australia who have deserted our shores. Mills in particular applied and was not accepted to the summit or so it has been reported.

Picture: Facilitator of the Health Group selling used car?

The packaging on this summit is marvellous PR. But the truth is far more worrying. Ecological sustainability has no chance of ever being progressed here. Fact is Rudd has nothing to offer on forest destruction ongoing, and record levels of coal exports.

As we dipped in this morning to the government funded abc reportage on this haystack of chatter with endless ideas people and over achievers one could not help but note the same ALP machine profile build co-opting the event as a stage prop. Bob Carr ex ALP premier on 702 abc early morning with Simon Marnie. Geof Gallup ex ALP premier on abc AM. PM Rudd at the opening. Julie Gillard's drone online at the productivity group around 10.30am.

The best was the indigenous welcome for its distinctive authentic Australian character.  

The best and worst in one speech by GG Jefferies with the stunning vapourous ice core from Antarctica evidencing 80K years of history, and then reading the govt approved thinly veiled menace:

"I ask you to faithfully and objectively report this event in a positive and constructive way to assist the nation's understanding of the issues before it"


What impertinent special pleading and attempt at pre-emptive censorship. This was the Rudd ALP machine up the back of the current Governor General. The media should report the event according to the principles of free speech in a robust democracy. Nothing more or less. It is not any part of a citizen's patriotic duty to sanitise any of the federal govt postures.

By 11.30 am we noticed that 133 comments were on the ABC's Sustainability Group web string , a mere 12 on productivity, 36 on government, 88 on Indigenous, 65 on economy. We take this to mean a level of frustration in the public.

Truth is the 5th estate and some in the 4th have done alot of work in the last several weeks exposing the selective and loaded selections process. In the sustainability area there is not only a deficit of our world class renewable energy experts, but there is most likely not one of the 100 brave scientists who signed a letter to protect our forests in Tasmania prior to the 2004 election.

We understand a full page advert was to appear in the Canberra Times about this issue today. Did it run? .

We could have watched a narrow selection of tedious conference speeches online via this web page, albeit as sincere as a boy scout camp, but decided to turn on Robyn Williams the brilliant veteran abc Science Show broadcaster when the thought struck: He should have been at the Summit. What is more the shows on Radio National as evidenced by their phenomenal podcast ratings are actually the real thing, a rolling 2020 Summit of the best minds in the nation, only they don't get an ALP brand on their forehead. And long may it be so.

You can be sure Robyn Williams won't try and sell you a used car, or a brown vision of the future for that matter.



Posted by editor at 3:54 PM NZT
Updated: Saturday, 19 April 2008 5:15 PM NZT
Friday, 18 April 2008
NSW Stateline nails Sartor contradicting Director General of Planning on market sensitive land
Mood:  sharp
Topic: nsw govt

The transcript will become available soon here for 18 April 2008.

NSW Planning Minister Sartor is alleged to have acted partially in favour of a developer Stockland in relation to sale price of crucial public land from the owner Wollongong Council.

At issue is the integrity of a valuation of public land. But there is a trick in such questions.

The guiding rule from our time as a local councillor at Waverley in Sydney 1995 to 1999, as ex officio co director on the Board of the Waverley Woollahra Process Plant (which was earmarked for multi million dollar asset disposal), as a former corporate lawyer, and still a solicitor today:

the value of market sensitive land is by definition what the market will pay, not simply theoretical guidelines. The market is set by the buyers and sellers in this case only two entities - Wollongong Council and Stockland.

Theoretical valuations based on theoretical buyers and sellers don't count for a hill of beans compared with an actual buyer and seller in real negotiation. These two constitute the market. It all depends what it's worth to those two parties in all the myriad of factors from how much do they need the money to how much do they need the land, what they can afford, how patient, how the rest of the world influences their view etc etc etc.

To tediously repeat the point, as director of Waverley Council's building and development department Paul Anderson was fond of telling we councillors in 1995-9 the real market value of any land is WHAT THE MARKET WILL ACTUALLY PAY. No more or less. Theoretical valuations are just that.

In this case we have Wollongong Council as custodian of a public land asset at Sandon Point, and an actual buyer Stockland developer. The value of the land is based on each party's bargaining power: Land that was compulsory to the success of the whole development commencing so naturally this makes the land value much higher to that particular buyer. That's what a market system is. It's not an objective value for anyone else, or an average of anything. 

That's why the Dept of Planning director general Sam Haddad has correctly written in a briefing note, as reported,  that the State Govt ought not get involved in the price being negotiated for the public land between the buyer and seller. The allegation, and its a heavy one, is that Sartor did get involved as a facilitator, or in his own words do "mediation", rather than arms length consent authority.

Apparently the council was demanding a high price and Stockland wanted Sartor to intervene on the price. The allegation is that Sartor intervened to reduce the sale price below the price being bargained for between the public owner and private company buyer. If so that would be partial as in corrupt conduct.

One speculates that Stateline have documentation leaked to them from someone aggrieved by the State govt (including Sartor) sacking the political leadership of Wollongong Council?

We heard on the Stateline show tonight widely divergent numbers like $4M or $8M and $700K for parkland 'needed' for an access road and it all sounded quite strange to us. Talk of land swaps as well. The compere Dempster said he has submitted the information with the NSW Independent Commision Against Corruption.

Stateline ran extensive footage of a journalist, without doubt the brave Andrew Clennell of Sydney Morning Herald at a press conference about a week ago, challenging Premier Morris Iemma on perceptions of corruption. Clennell also challenged on the NSW Govt's 'totalitarian' tendencies  

It was a brutal and savage exchange barely covered by strained scoffing laughter by the politicians. That called up the sinister systemic "joke" of corruption inquiries. In one segment Sartor even called up Dempster's role in the Fitzgerald Inquiry into the corrupt Bjelke-Petersen. This is particularly ironic as Part 3A of the Planning Act that Sartor uses to  railroad approval of development is based on a 1970 Act of the Bjelke Petersen era (according to Jeff Smith, principal solicitor of the Environmental Defender's Office).

Sadly we saw Indigenous MP Linda Burney running interference for the Premier in the press conference which shows what a tough operator she is and also how implicated in sanitising this allegedly corrupt government.

Burney's seat of Canterbury is adjacent to Iemma's seat of Lakemba, with both underpinned in part by Canterbury Council as best we can tell. Iemma's people control Canterbury Council (according to recent research for an environmental team leader job interview this writer actually participated in about 3 weeks ago at those council chambers). 

Conclusion: Burney will be dependent on Iemma's goodwill for her pre-selection.


Posted by editor at 9:47 PM NZT
Updated: Saturday, 19 April 2008 3:53 PM NZT
John Coates AOC/IOC loyalist 'takes out the trash' as front pages taint the brand
Mood:  d'oh
Topic: big media

The timing of Nick D'Arcy fate today is highly related to the front pagers even earlier today, as well as tv news coverage the night before about a completely unrelated criminal matter in NSW. Cie la vie. It might have been the same result for alleged 'bad boy' D'Arcy anyway, just not today?:

John Coates of the Australian Olympic Committee has just dropped D'Arcy from the Olympic Team, via live broadcast on ABC radio at 10.30 am roughly 18 April 08 AustEast standard time, while criminal charge is pending against him, along the lines of 'will or is likely to bring the Olympics into disrepute' or words to that effect. Due natural justice submission process (in a legal sense) and appeal rights duly acknowledged

The Olympic Inc big business/politics media management strategy is well understood as per the "taking out the trash" episode on West Wing tv series also discussed here:

"The West Wing" Take Out the Trash Day (2000)

 Usually on a Friday in that fiction, but also for real today as above.

Posted by editor at 12:41 PM NZT

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