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Weekly Open Thread 19-23 March 2012

A place to discuss news that doesn’t yet have its own individual post. Like anything that happened today. Enjoy.

56
  • 1
    Angra
    Posted March 20, 2012 at 7:52 am | Permalink

    Mr B takes Mediawatch to task for concentrating on Marohasy’s links to and financial dependence on industry lobby groups and denialist fronts. Perhaps he missed the opening, where Alan Jones claims people should trust him above Government scientists and the CSIRO because he isn’t bribed by the Gov to toe their line.

    So the thrust of the show was to show how rightist commentatotrs and their few tame scientists are hypocrites by complaining about Government ‘bribes’ whilst all the time sucking gleefully at the teat of private funding from interested lobby groups and shamelessly promoting their interests.

    Holmes himself said that he wasn’t going to argue the scientific points, but the few scientific peers he did contact were scathing in their criticism of Marohasy’s science.

    In fact the piece was called ‘What’s in a name?”

    “When an environmental lobby group claims that a major government policy is based on junk science, shouldn’t journalists ask questions?”

    This whole right wing beat up about not being able to trust scientists because their salaries come from Government sources is so outrageous, it deserves closer attention.

    For the time being, let’s just say that equally we can’t trust teachers, nurses, policemen, social workers or soldiers – after all they are accepting bribes from the Government every time they get a pay check. Plus of course the ABC.

    Bah humbug.

  • 2
    Mark Nettle
    Posted March 20, 2012 at 9:42 am | Permalink

    The Canberra Times seems to think “Labor spending billions on advice” is an appropriate heading for an article which ends by noting that (at least for the only department for which a comparison is given), the amount spent is “considerably less than … the Howard government spent on consultants in 2006-07″.

  • 3
    fractious
    Posted March 20, 2012 at 10:07 am | Permalink

    The Mineral Resources Rent Tax passed last night. Therefore, multinational resource extraction companies are packing their bags, shutting shop and clearing off, thousands are about to be made redundant or starve to death, and the thousands of towns and communities that rely on mining are withering and dying right now. I daresay it’s only a matter of time before the Straya Nekonomy collapses.

    In the face of all that, Evil Leftist Ian Verrender in the SMH dares to suggest that:

    When it comes to taxing resource companies, Australia is a soft touch, a virtual tax haven

  • 4
    RobJ
    Posted March 20, 2012 at 10:42 am | Permalink

    RIP – Jim Stynes

  • 5
    Angra
    Posted March 20, 2012 at 11:10 am | Permalink

    The hypocrisy is so blatantly obvious, I’m surprised anyone has to point it out. Have the Australian public become so stupid?

    AB and Jones as examples, complain about scientists recieving Government funds – so they must be compromised. (So should we cut of all public funding to Universities? WTF are they saying?)

    But AB’s salary is paid by a media tycoon whose companies are subject to multiple investigations about criminal behaviour. Up to and including hacking the phone of a murder victim and bribing police for information?

    And also of course by a mining magnate seeking to extend her influence over public opinion by buying up various media assets to promote her interests? And her own family describe her as a … (insert your own favourite quote here)?

    Gods bollocks!

    I can’t believe that anyone with an ounce of intelligence would listen to such crap.

    God that’s my mental enama over for the day.

  • 6
    Angra
    Posted March 20, 2012 at 11:25 am | Permalink

    And of course Jonesy is the notorious ‘cash for comment’ guy.

    How can he still be on air?

  • 7
    Nate The Great
    Posted March 20, 2012 at 11:40 am | Permalink

    Now that the carbon tax, MRRT, NBN etc. have all passed, the “Labor spending billions on advice” beat up is the natural next step after the after the “All Labor does is send things off to reviews, no action” angle.

  • 8
    Cuppa
    Posted March 20, 2012 at 12:13 pm | Permalink

    Just popping in a quick plug for a new Australian political blog, Turn Left 2013.

    http://turnleft2013.wordpress.com/

    As it relates to the subject matter of Pure Poison, it looks like there will be significant coverage of the “Howardisation” of the ABC.

  • 9
    Angra
    Posted March 20, 2012 at 12:22 pm | Permalink

    I’m going to be elitist. And the critics can fuck off.

    We were talking a while ago about self-reference. An interesting concept in language, logic, art and music. “Ceci n’est pas une pipe’ etc. Used by Bach, Beethoven, Mozart and others in music etc.; Vermeer in art to name but one – See also Hoftstadter.

    Just listening to some Richard Strauss, and his works are full of it. For example, “Also sprach Zarathustra” has many references to “Till Eulenspiegel”, “Don Juan”, “Alpine Symphony” and “Rosenkavalier” – even the famous waltz.

    But his greatest work is of course “Four Last Songs”. Perhaps the most moving music ever writ.

    Pity he was a Nazi. Or was he?

  • 10
    returnedman
    Posted March 20, 2012 at 12:57 pm | Permalink

    Behold the unhinging of Gerald:

    http://www.theage.com.au/opinion/politics/welloff-get-a-free-ride-on-taxpayer-for-childrens-education-20120319-1vfni.html

  • 11
    twobob
    Posted March 20, 2012 at 1:00 pm | Permalink

    The world hasn’t warmed since when?

    Before it was thought the hottest years were 1998 followed by 2010, 2005, 2003 and 2002. The updated series puts 2010 as the hottest year on record followed by 2005, 1998, 2003 and 2006.

    The bolt effect strikes again
    http://thinkprogress.org/romm/issue/

  • 12
    shepherdmarilyn
    Posted March 20, 2012 at 3:51 pm | Permalink

    And Simon Benson is still uncritically reporting dodgy refugee stats comparing Australia to Europe without mentioning small details like we imprison refugees when Europe does not.

  • 13
    Fran Barlow
    Posted March 20, 2012 at 4:02 pm | Permalink

    And of course Jonesy is the notorious ‘cash for comment’ guy. How can he still be on air?

    During Cash for Comment he claimed to be no more than ‘an entertainer’. Why an entertainer should be a more trsusted source than anyone is something that is not clear, unless this remark too was mere entertainment.

  • 14
    Matthew of Canberra
    Posted March 20, 2012 at 4:24 pm | Permalink

    I saw bolta’s spit this morning about the media watch episode, and from his coverage, I did wonder if media watch had exceeded its brief somewhat. I have my own opinions about marohasy (based on passing a “why save the murray” article that she wrote past a friend who actually, really, truly, does know what she’s talking about viz the murray and salinity) but it’s not automatically obvious why media watch would be talking about her.

    Having actually taken a look at the media watch SITE, however, it doesn’t seem quite so controversial. For all andy’s “nothing to see here” about the foundation’s name, it is slightly orwellian. And marohasy strikes me as somewhat predictable in the things that she says about any given environmental issue. And it DOES seem a bit odd to be presenting what is (in reality) a fairly fringe point of view that appeals far more to the interests of irrigators and landowners to actual groundwater and river experts as “scientific” without explaining why it might not be quite what it says on the tin.

    I wonder if andy would be quite so uncritical about all-too-clever naming if an abortion clinic called itself “australian pregnancy consulting”, or if the commission proposed by mr finkelstein called itself the “australian commission for free speech”. Maybe the AEF would be more appropriately named the “australian irrigators’ and CO2 emitters’ foundation”?

  • 15
    ltmon
    Posted March 20, 2012 at 7:11 pm | Permalink

    Clive Palmer has accused the Greens and the CIA (yes, that CIA) of a “treasonous” plot to sabotage the coal industry in Australia. The Rockefeller foundation has something to do with it, as does a “secret budget” in U.S. congress — that we only “have to look at”.

    In case anyone thinks I’m making some kind of joke, yes it seems he actually has made this claim.

    http://www.theage.com.au/queensland/cia-threatens-australian-coal-industry-palmer-20120320-1vhi7.html

    Words cannot do justice…

  • 16
    Posted March 20, 2012 at 7:13 pm | Permalink

    WTF?

  • 17
    Matthew of Canberra
    Posted March 20, 2012 at 8:35 pm | Permalink

    WT … F?!?!

    http://www.abc.net.au/news/2012-03-20/palmer-says-green-groups-funded-by-cia/3901920

    *blink*
    *blink*

    I don’t even know what to think about that. If he’s got some evidence to back up what he’s saying, it’s not in that video. The CIA would have to be pretty short of options before it started funding an organisation as mercurial or erratic as greenpeace, which is just as likely to take that money and use it to campaign against the US stationing troops in the region. And greenpeace wouldn’t have had trouble getting that 6 million if they were being funded by the CIA.

    My golly. That’s a rare insight. Still, if bob brown turns up in parliament packing a stinger missile launcher, I’ll start to take mr palmer’s theory more seriously.

    Wow. The senator from tassie’s going to have a ball with this tomorrow. I wonder if the ALP’s being funded by the CIA too? What with their industry-destroying carbon tax and resource rent tax and all that.

  • 18
    Posted March 20, 2012 at 9:32 pm | Permalink

    Just dropping in, I am in Bris-vegas this week for work, and am being persecuted by the usual run of State Election ads.

    That was until last night when a hysterical Bob Katter Australia Party ad was screened for my viewing pleasure.

    It was too good not to share with you.

    I have only found it in 1 spot on the web: on Mumbrella. It is the second ad in this post:

    http://mumbrella.com.au/bob-katters-australian-party-threatens-bad-boys-in-music-video-80256#more-80256

    I warn you though, do not watch the first ad in the post, you will never forgive me.

  • 19
    Posted March 20, 2012 at 9:44 pm | Permalink

    Clive Palmer loses his marbles.

  • 20
    Adam Rope
    Posted March 20, 2012 at 10:38 pm | Permalink

    Damn, I found one of the myriad Clive Palmer / Greens / CIA articles, and thought it would make a good talking point here.

    So the question is, is this just more self-publicity from Palmer – albeit of the negative kind – or is he really that off-the-rails right wing that he thinks it is entirely possible?

    Apparently Bob Brown thinks Palmer ‘genuinely believes’ it:-

    “The Greens Leader said he believed that Mr Palmer genuinely believed the CIA or the Rockefeller Foundation has links with the Greens because it is Mr Palmer’s practice to bankroll political campaigns.
    “He therefore assumes that other people are into it like he is,” Senator Brown said.”

  • 21
    Adam Rope
    Posted March 20, 2012 at 10:47 pm | Permalink

    Just spotted this on the ABC. Does he recognise the word ‘hypocrisy’?

    http://www.abc.net.au/news/2012-03-20/palmer-says-green-groups-funded-by-cia/3901920

    “”If you’ve got anyone funding directly, political parties funding lawyers to obstruct our laws in this country, it’s something you should be ashamed of,” he said.”

    So he should be ashamed of himself then? After all, he is apparently going to the High Court to ‘obstruct’ the law in the shape of the “carbon tax”.

    Oh, and MoC @ 17, Brown has already commented, and I await further from him.

  • 22
    Howard,B.
    Posted March 20, 2012 at 10:51 pm | Permalink

    Clive Palmer: could we be witnessing the birth of a Howard Hughes type character to call our own?

  • 23
    Matthew of Canberra
    Posted March 20, 2012 at 10:52 pm | Permalink

    Does anyone happen to know where palmer stands on the whole “birth certificate” thing?

  • 24
    Brizben
    Posted March 20, 2012 at 11:27 pm | Permalink

    http://www.theverge.com/2012/3/20/2886806/the-decline-of-print-visualized-us-ad-sales?utm_source=dlvr.it&utm_medium=twitter

  • 25
    peter de mambla
    Posted March 21, 2012 at 12:16 am | Permalink

    The CIA funded modern art:

    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/modern-art-was-cia-weapon-1578808.html

  • 26
    fractious
    Posted March 21, 2012 at 7:18 am | Permalink

    Re Clive Palmer, dash it, I’ve been rumbled, the game’s up. I had thought I could keep the fact that I’m a stooge for the CIA quiet, but Clive’s far too clever, I should’ve known.

    /sarc

    Message to Mr. Palmer: that rumbling noise you can’t hear is the black helicopters Clive…

  • 27
    Matthew of Canberra
    Posted March 21, 2012 at 7:59 am | Permalink

    “The Canberra Times seems to think “Labor spending billions on advice” is an appropriate heading for an article …”

    I think that the word “advice” might not be the correct term, there. If I’m not mistaken, that word “consultants” basically means “contractors”, and while some of those are surely doing research and genuine “consulting”, the bulk (again, if I’m not mistaken) are just doing day-to-day work on contract.

    I’m not an expert on the numbers (because, basically, I don’t care), but the federal government is particularly beholden to IT contractors. Basically, people who turn up and do your basic 9-5 job, but get paid on an hourly or daily basis. If those are included in the term “consultants” (and I think they probably are), then I’d like to see the oppo take another swing at the problem, because they’ve had a go before and only made the problem worse.

    The problem I see is that the public service is so constrained by regulation that departments find it very difficult to engage technically skilled staff any other way. They can hire and fire contractors on very short notice (like, a couple of weeks – and instantly, in some cases). They can pay salaries that departments are simply incapable of paying to permanent staff. They can get people in for fixed periods of time to solve specific problems, then send them on their way. They don’t have to take on liabilities like leave entitlements, or sick pay. If somebody doesn’t shape up, they can be straight out the door (and I’m surprised to say that it does happen). Contractors (if they’re good ones) are also vastly more flexible (in principle) than permanent staff, because there aren’t the usual rules about hierarchy or job descriptions – they just turn up, do stuff, get paid (or get fired).

    And you might be surprised to hear that a lot of people actually PREFER to work that way. There’s some good money in it, but it also just happens to suit some people better than a permanent job. There’s a lot less “nonsense”, for one thing – it’s possible to be almost completely oblivious to office politics (if that’s what you want), and the employer/employee relationship is pretty straightforward. And if you’re somebody who likes to move around and likes change, then a locked-in job in a department is hardly one’s idea of heaven. And in canberra, there really is a lot of work around for contractors.

    I personally think that good, permanent staff are worth their weight in gold (well, ok, not literally). But departments just find it hard to look after good technical people when the temptations of the private sector (and, ironically, contracting) are out there.

    I know one thing, though – the oppo’s promise to freeze all PS hiring for two years is hardly putting the fear of god into consultants. That policy is more or less guaranteeing two years of gravy for people who aren’t technically “hired” at all. Prevent a department from being able to hire people with specific skills, and they’ll have no choice but to call up those agencies.

  • 28
    Matthew of Canberra
    Posted March 21, 2012 at 9:36 am | Permalink

    Wow. If this is somebody in defence’s idea of payback … they’re going to have to up their game, even with a gormless, craven NEWS pack to help sell it.

    http://www.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/defence/game-on-stephen-smiths-vip-hockey-drop-off/story-e6frg8yo-1226305724638

    Andy’s asking the following, supplying his (ever increasingly ‘skeptical’) audience with a selective slice of the data (And I’m shocked to have to tell you that, obviously)

    Is this what I hand over my taxes for?

    Is this really a justifiable expense to hand over to taxpayers?

    DEFENCE Minister Stephen Smith used a taxpayer-funded aircraft to travel from Dili, in East Timor, to Brisbane where he then watched his daughter play in the Under-18 National Hockey Championships.

    The flights on a commonwealth VIP aircraft in April last year were within commonwealth travel guidelines but came a week after the eruption of the Skype sex scandal at the Australian Defence Force Academy.

    Reading that, you’d almost think that smith flew from dili just to watch a hockey game. But actually, no. He (and others) flew back from dili and while the rest of them took a connecting flight from brisbane to canberra, the minister stayed to watch the games (or so we’re told) and took a later flight.

    And THAT’s the controversy?

    There might be some reasonable questions about who paid for any accomodation if there was no other business in brisbane, but as for the flights … sorry, but there’s really no story there. Any businessman could do the same, and nobody would blink an eye. It cost the ATP the price of the second airline ticket, and that’s chicken feed in the scheme of things.

    Like it or not, stephen smith does not live in canberra, and he is entitled to travel, just like any other MP. I expect that there are very few flights direct from dili to canberra, so the stop-over was inevitable. So yes, andrew, that IS what you pay your taxes for.

  • 29
    podrick
    Posted March 21, 2012 at 10:35 am | Permalink

    The Bolt thread on the Clive Palmer conspiracy has really bought out the tin-foil hats. Perhaps Clive should get together with the Bolt Brigade in some secure locaation, say the bottom of one Clive’s mines to exchange information.

    http://blogs.news.com.au/heraldsun/andrewbolt/index.php/heraldsun/comments/beg_your_pardon_clive/#commentsmore

    BTW MOC @23, there is a bit of a birther crisis here in Queensland. It seems “Cando” Campbell Newman is one of them foriegn alien types and has Tasmania listed as his birthplace. How can we trust the man come State fo Origin time if he is not a real Queenslander? Clive is threatening to sue anyone who makes this information public.

    OOppps

  • 30
    fractious
    Posted March 21, 2012 at 11:54 am | Permalink

    @ podrick 29

    there’ll be some Cut & Paste nuggets in there I’m sure. Not sure I want to wade around in comments at Blot’s for fear I might catch something.

  • 31
    Holden Back
    Posted March 21, 2012 at 1:16 pm | Permalink

    Does Clive own a bauxite mine and shares in Alcoa? I take my tin-foil hat off to him if he does. That’s really thinking the supply-chain-necessary-to-protect-your-mind-from-evil-thoughts through.

  • 32
    fractious
    Posted March 21, 2012 at 2:05 pm | Permalink

    At Failfax Palmer is saying “I didn’t say that. Well alright yes I did say that but I didn’t mean what you say I meant”. Or something.

    http://www.smh.com.au/opinion/political-news/palmer-backs-away-from-cia-claims-20120321-1viok.html

  • 33
    Matthew of Canberra
    Posted March 21, 2012 at 5:06 pm | Permalink

    fractious @32

    This afternoon, bolta added an UPDATE:

    Hmm. Have Palmer’s comments been taken out of context? My thoughts on this in tomorrow’s column.

    Did Palmer actually say the CIA was funding Greenpeace, the Greens or their anti-mining crusade?

    I sense a bit of whitewash on the way. On your hairs, get set, SPLIT!

  • 34
    Matthew of Canberra
    Posted March 21, 2012 at 5:13 pm | Permalink

    Yeah, watching the video again, he specifically calls for greens candidates to resign if they’re receiving funding from an offshore political power. “It’s tantamount to treason, and something needs to be done about it”.

    I’m dying to see how andy spins that. Also “drew hutton is a tool of the US government and rockefeller, and so are the greens – everything they say”

    I’m sure somebody’s got an unedited video – let’s see it.

  • 35
    Angra
    Posted March 21, 2012 at 7:44 pm | Permalink

    Has Carr just put his foot in it again, or is he merely doing the bidding of his evil CIA overlords? Or is the SMH merely beating up stuff again?

    “Foreign Minister Bob Carr has revived the threat of a ”clash of civilisations” in his maiden speech to the Senate this afternoon.

    Senator Carr said the recent incidents such as US soldiers burning copies of the Koran and young people desecrating Commonwealth war graves in Libya could look like ”cultures at war”.

    He said that at ”times like this”, people might subscribe to the notion that we were being ”tugged toward the nightmare” that US political scientist Samuel Huntington wrote about in his 1996 ”The Clash of Civilisations”.”

    ”We should ask what we Australians can do in our modest way,” he said, adding that he didn’t think Australia should fetishise multiculturalism.

    ”I don’t think there’s a need to … give it a capital M,” he said.”

    Well this is what the SMH reports.

    I think his actual speech is rather more nuanced and intelligent and varied than this report might suggest. But this is what Judith Ireland chose to concentrate on.

    Are we seeing the start of a “Get Carr!” campaign from Fairfax?

  • 36
    Angra
    Posted March 21, 2012 at 7:52 pm | Permalink

    Contrast the SMH report on Carr’s maiden speech with this from the ABC –

    “Foreign Affairs Minister Bob Carr has focused on climate change in his first speech to the Senate.”

    This important quote was ignored by Ireland…

    “Senator Carr also used his speech to outline his vision for the way Australia can help promote tolerance between cultures and religions.

    He says Australia can do more to encourage dialogue between faiths in the region and work with Indonesia, which is the largest Islamic nation in the world.

    “We can make sure that our multicultural society continues to tick over,” he said.”

  • 37
    Angra
    Posted March 21, 2012 at 8:02 pm | Permalink

    And in breaking news – I’ve just driven past a horrific head-on crash on Sparks Rd, Warnervale, Central Coast NSW. It looked terrible – I am sure that those involved would be lucky to survive. One car smashed to bits, rolled over and lying on its roof in a ditch, with onlookers trying to comfort those trapped; the other car squashed in half.

    But no media coverage as yet. I was not goulish enough to stop and take pictures, and I could see that others had already called 000 and the police/ambulances were on their way. Around 50 people were helping out.

    Shit, car crashes are hell.

  • 38
    Angra
    Posted March 21, 2012 at 8:28 pm | Permalink

    The question I meant to ask. How could a journalist or even passer-by take pictures of such a tragic and horrible event?

    There’s an account in one of Plato’s dialogues (can’t remember which) where he is talking about moral dilemmas. One of his students says he was sailing past an island on which recent offenders had been hanged for their crimes. He says something to the effect of – one part of me was drawn to the scene to see the horrible yet strangely alluring sight of the dead bodies, but another part of me wanted to escape as soon as possible from the horror.

    How can we be both simultaneously attracted to and repelled from such a scene?

    Why do people buy tabloid newspapers which are the modern-day equivalents?

  • 39
    savemejeebus
    Posted March 21, 2012 at 9:58 pm | Permalink

    Angra, I always thought that Huntington’s Clash of Civilisations thesis was mistaken. His argument was the same as in Robert Kaplan’s Balkan Ghosts. Both argue that collision between neighbouring cultures is the cause of disharmony and conflict. It’s shallow and any study of history condemns their argument to ruin. Differing cultures are usually the tool of conflict rather than the cause. Compare Marshal Tito and Slobodan Milosevic. One smothered cultural difference while the other fanned its embers back to life. At the heart of any ethnic conflict, there is always one louder than the rest stoking the flames of ethnic hatred for political gain.

  • 40
    Deziner
    Posted March 21, 2012 at 10:14 pm | Permalink

    Angra, it may have something to do with how modern, western people are shielded from the tragedy of death until the point where it directly affects them (i.e they actually see a friend or family member who is dead). The MSM shows intimations of death—sheet-covered bodies, crashed cars after the recovery, pixelated violence, death from afar—but the actual process itself is shrouded in mystery. It’s one of those things we’re protect from by society in an attempt to preserve the “innocence of youth”.

    When we see a car crash, or a plane flying into a building, we’re transfixed by what we might see. What are those last moments like? What does a body devoid of life look like? How can a lifeless lump of flesh, possibly horribly disfigured, have once been a living person?

    Of course I’m just guessing, and I reckon religion has a hand to play in keeping people ignorant of the ordinariness of death, but it’s a place to start.

    As for tabloids, that’s probably more to do with people needing somebody to feel superior over.

  • 41
    AR
    Posted March 21, 2012 at 10:28 pm | Permalink

    Angra – perhaps, as some claimed to buy Playboy for the articles, they’d say it was purely for the sport, astrology & crosswords. And the need to line kitty litter trays.

  • 42
    Andrew McIntosh
    Posted March 21, 2012 at 11:04 pm | Permalink

    Clive Palmer blames the CIA for plotting against Australian coal and Bob Katter spins on his head. And it’s only the middle of the week.

  • 43
    Angra
    Posted March 21, 2012 at 11:42 pm | Permalink

    Personally I blame “Catsmeat” Potter-Pirbright, “Sippy” Sipperley, and Isabel Rockmetteller.

    Not to mention “Stiffy” Byng and Esmond Haddock.

  • 44
    Angra
    Posted March 21, 2012 at 11:44 pm | Permalink

    I’m lapsing into stupitidy in a vain attempt to cope as Wodehouse did.

  • 45
    Angra
    Posted March 21, 2012 at 11:49 pm | Permalink

    I should explain my nonsense by saying that I am attending to my old dad every day who is slowly dyinng in hospital aged 87.

    Humour is the only thing we have left. And it is great.

    He fondly remembers Charlie Drake and Tony Hancock.

  • 46
    Matthew of Canberra
    Posted March 22, 2012 at 8:20 am | Permalink

    “Humour is the only thing we have left. And it is great.”

    I can’t recommend “goon show radio” highly enough:

    http://goons.fabcat.org/

  • 47
    Matthew of Canberra
    Posted March 22, 2012 at 8:32 am | Permalink

    AB has posted an update to his post of yesterday which repeated the theory that the killer in tolouse was a neo-nazi. I noticed that yesterday, and I thought about posting something here about it (except, you know, I can’t spend ALL day on the computer).

    I don’t think the problem is scapegoating, though. I think it’s just not being skeptical enough. My thought yesterday about the “neo nazi” theory was … how did anyone KNOW? At the same time people were claiming a neo-nazi connection, nobody seemed to have any idea who he was. Those two things don’t fit together all that well. It seemed to me that somebody was just guessing, and it was a theory that suited the assumptions of enough influential newspapers that it gained currency. But it still seemed like a guess, as long as nobody could actually say who did it.

    I reckon that maybe newspapers should just stop guessing. And stop passing along stories unless the source can actually present some evidence. We will eventually find out the facts – we (nearly) always do. It might 24 or even 48 hours, but we will eventually know. And there’s really no benefit to anybody in speculating wildly about political motivations anyway – I think we’ve been around this whirlygig enough times to agree that the people who do these things are beyond the pale, not taking orders from anyone and don’t represent the mainstream of any political point of view.

    Oh, and the press’ record on guessing right is appalling. Worse than chance, it seems to me. So it would be a lot better if, rather than speculating, the media just said “we don’t know”. It would be more informative.

  • 48
    Howard,B.
    Posted March 22, 2012 at 4:05 pm | Permalink

    A bit is being made of Ross Gittins’ apparent lifting of whole segments from an OECD report (that he himself was reporting on) in various quarters across the conserva-sphere. I’d have to give Ross the benefit of the doubt here and say it can’t be said to be outright plagiarism as the content he was lifting was from the very report he was writing about.
    He should, however, of attributed the specific passages he appears to have pinched instead of allowing them to appear as his own writing. A pretty silly thing to do for a such a prominent commentator and a technical case of plagiarism that will do his credibility no good, but not serious enough to see him expelled from campus IMO.

  • 49
    rhwombat
    Posted March 22, 2012 at 6:12 pm | Permalink

    Vale Linc Hall.

  • 50
    fractious
    Posted March 22, 2012 at 8:31 pm | Permalink

    Howard:

    I’d have to give Ross the benefit of the doubt here and say it can’t be said to be outright plagiarism as the content he was lifting was from the very report he was writing about

    For one as prolix and insufferably prone to forcibly press-ganging unnecessarily polysyllabic vocab into your every offering, your failure to appreciate the meaning of plagiarism might, to an observer unfamiliar with your workhere to date, come as a surprise. To me it is simply another manifestation of your persistent delusion that it makes you appear learned. Plagiarism’s commonly accepted definition revolves around the uncredited wholesale copying of chunks of others’ work, not of one’s own.

    Secondly,

    He should, however, of attributed the specific passages…

    Should of?

    Really?

    You really do belong in Private Eye’s Pseuds Corner.

Womens Agenda

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