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Sep 28, 2010

Gibbons throwing poo

As Australia enters a period where we are going to have one of the largest battle of ideas for decades, the noisiest newspaper in the country  - once proudly considered the na

As Australia enters a period where we are going to have one of the largest battle of ideas for decades, the noisiest newspaper in the country  – once proudly considered the national broadsheet – has been transformed by its current leadership into such a farcical shadow of its former self, that it has resorted to that most pathetic of tactics that we in the blogosphere are all too familiar with; trolling the internets.

The outing of Grog’s Gamut and the petty, vindictive thuggery and implied threats behind it, speak much more about the character of the paper and the journalist involved than it does about any vacuous nonsense over imagined rights of anonymity online. If you want to be anonymous, you can – and no amount of bleating from some half baked, well dressed, shit sheet is going to change that any time soon. Speaking as someone that did it for years, it can be done.

Yet we’ve had not just one article on this tawdry rubbish,  we’ve had a rolling series of articles churned out by this newspaper and its usual suspects over the last few days, with a special collection still to come.

Jay Rosen called it a war on bloggers while the paper itself has laughably called it a debate.

Yet this is not a debate any more than its a war – it’s just a bunch heritage media gibbons throwing poo.

Often this mob will take issue with a blogger over some particular point, or indulge in one of their well known hissyfits and drive by smears – we’ve seen this happen for years with this newspaper. But after the original, sad little article that outed Grog – something certainly deserving of debate – the follow up stories have been singularly defined by their complete absence of any real content; well, once you remove the glorious self justifications and gratuitous fantasies of being the nation’s public interest netcop.

These clowns are trolling the internet.

They’re trolling you.

They’re trying to stir up shit to drive online eyeballs, and so far there’s a lot of people falling for it.

These actions aren’t the mark of leadership in Australian journalism, it’s the mark of a declining newspaper desperate for attention.

It’s also the type of pathetic unhinging we thought was inevitable.

As the saying goes – don’t feed the trolls.

In better news, now that Parliament has returned and political business ramps back up to normal levels, the blog can start doing what it does again. Yes, the break was lovely – thanks 😛

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71 thoughts on “Gibbons throwing poo

  1. Fran Barlow

    Possum … perhaps I should have pointed out that that was the department backing News Ltd online. I was hoping people would email their complaints to the person in question.


  2. Fran Barlow

    It turns out that the NSW Department of Health is backing the OO.

    [snip Have absolutely no idea what that is about…. Poss]

    Who would have thought that the NSW government was using public funds to subvert … the Commonwealth and State governments and the public policy they advocate?

    Strange days indeed …

  3. Fran Barlow

    Anthony Green has completed an analysis of preference flows in the election. Amongst those that caught my eye were:

    Green to ALP preferences were marginally below 80%*. Even so, this preference flow exceeded the preference flows of various nominally socialist organisations, most spectacularly that of the SEP (Socialist Equality Party) whose preferences flowed nearly 40% to the Liberals.

    Equally amusing is that the DLP preferences flowed to the ALP nearly as strongly as did those of the SEP.

    The SEP and the DLP — who’d have thought it?

    * One suspects this was the result of tactical voting by the Libs in ALP seats like Grayndler, Batman and Melbourne.

  4. Possum Comitatus

    Thanks Doc – I’d given up looking!

  5. Dr Good

    AEC have counted and published preference flow details at last.

    Many interesting things to see.

    Eg, on preferences from Greens to ALP.

    Overall across the nation 78.84% of Green (1st pref) voters went on to preference ALP over Coalition. This is down on last election: it was 79.69% in 2007.

    That is quite surprising to me as you would think that the voters switching from ALP to Greens, of which there seems to have been many, would have at least kept preferencing the ALP, and so upped the preference flow rate.

    Some individual seat flows are missing for various reasons (eg, Greens came 1st or 2nd, or ALP did not). However, there are some individual stand outs.

    Mallee had the worst Grn-ALP flow of 52%.

    Wills had the best of 90%.

    Biggest 2007-2010 drop was in Werriwa, down from 78% to 64%.

    Biggest 2007-2010 rise was in Blaxland, up from 56% to 78%.

  6. jenauthor

    Congrats on the jobfront Poss!

    As to the OO — I can’t wait for the paywalls to go up fully — then they’ll really see how unpopular they are. I know I wouldn’t be paying for such blatant nonsense.

    After seeing the quality of some of the US newsmags on the iPad, the Aussie counterparts will need to do a great deal more with their online presences before I part with any hard earned.

  7. Tweets that mention Gibbons throwing poo – Pollytics --

    […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Fran Barlow and Fran Barlow, Fran Barlow. Fran Barlow said: #auspol #ozleft Time to #pwnNewsLtd The Oz is running amok like a virus, subverting good public policy. […]

  8. Fran Barlow

    I regard the time as long overdue for a political campaign against the OO (aka The Australian). This arrogant swaggering component of the Murdochracy is a living, breathing insult to good public policy. Far from articulating critiques of public policy, it is now openly subversive both of evidence-based analysis and established usages of cultural life in this country such as the right to privacy. Their publications have also infected the ABC, whose lazy and witless journalists take the latest talking points from the OO as if it were the News and frame discussion accordingly. News Ltd is not merely a media organisation. It’s a virus that is causing a chronic illness in public culture.

    A little while back, it declared that The Greens were hypocrites who were bad for this country and should be destroyed at the ballot box. Those of us who support good public policy should respond that the OO are hypocrites who should be destroyed in the marketplace.

    Not paying for their tatty sub-intellectual rag (and its equally ugly sister The Telegraph) is not going to do the job. No self-respecting person I know buys this stuff and in any event, the cover price barely pays for delivery, let alone production. We must keep in mind that however it may appear, readers are not their customers. Readers are their audience, i.e. their product, which they market to the customers that keep them afloat — advertisers. If we wish to hurt News Ltd, we must convice advertisers that that sections of the audience that they pay good money to access online and in print are being prejudiced by their support of News Ltd publications — that such support damages their standing.

    We have, after all, laws in this country restraining people from giving financial support to or profiting from criminal activity. It is illegal to coerce members of parliament, judges, juries and public officials to secure favourable treatment. It’s very clear that this is what the OO and its related set of replicating viruses do. Advertisers in these publications are in practice behaving just like someone funding the contamination of a watercourse, or facilitating the spread of a serious disease or the blackmail of public officials.

    We should make this plain to companies like Vodaphone and the ANZ Bank, whose adds sit alongside screeching editorials defending the outing of GrogsGamut author Greg Jericho, and beside Terry McCrann insisting that Marius Kloppers is bent on destroying the company he runs by advocating a carbon price.

    It is fair to say that we are few in number, and so we must direct our energies so as to maximise the impact. We don’t yet have the resources to work effectively against all supporters of News Ltd. Therefore, I would urge those who are repelled by the activityies of News Ltd to target these two companies, ANZ and Vodaphone with letters explaining why you mean to implicate them as responsible for the decline in the quality of public debate in this country and as thus commercially unsupportable.

    I’d be very interested if those who make progress on this let me know via my Twitter ID (fran_b__ ) where I wil, retweet useful actions and progress. I am starting a new hashtag there to coordinate searches for this campaign, the string for which is #pwnNewsLtd so please include this in any Twitter feed.

    Best …

  9. paddy2

    Great report on the outing of Grog. How pathetic these tossers from the OO are!
    Grest news about the job all the best.

  10. Socrates

    Thanks Dr Good, you should post that on the comments sections of the relevant websites. Never mind the bias, that is just lousy research. How could they pick out a particular date for the claim (1941) without checking the period in between? Pathetic.

  11. Dr Good

    ABC, OO and now SMH running with “government suffers first defeat since 1941”.

    Here is a reference to the loss of a vote (a confidence vote no less) by the newly installed 1975 Fraser minority (and temporary) government in the HOR.

    “The House agreed to a motion expressing its lack of confidence in
    the newly-designated prime minister and requesting the Speaker to ask
    the Governor-General to have Whitlam again form a government.”

    page 107 (towards the bottom) of

    Bach, Stanley. and Australia. Parliament. Senate. Platypus and parliament : the Australian Senate in theory and practice / Stanley Bach Dept. of the Senate Parliament House, Canberra, A.C.T. : 2003

    available from the Parliament House Library online.

  12. Socrates

    I missed the news Poss; congratulations! Can I ask where you are working?

  13. Socrates


    It is as Mr Denmore said: clicks on Rupert’s website = web traffic which, like TV ratings, allows him to sell ads for more. So even if you don’t click the ads, Rupert indirectly gets money from your perusing his news pages. That is why some webpages like to have sensationalist story by lines, trying to entice more clicks within. Hence my tactic: just don’t go there.

  14. Mr Denmore

    DodgyKnees, the advertiser pays on page impressions. You can’t separate the story from the ad, which is where advertising over the internet has an advantage over the newspapers. You can see the traffic and click throughs. Newspaper circulation is bodgy, which has been shown recently. Trouble is web traffic is still worth much less to publishers than the dead tree circulation (which is why it’s in their interests to falsify the data). There’s a whole other story in how generating page impressions is distorting news priorities.

  15. Possum Comitatus

    Thanks VP!

    I’ll still be doing this place – I made sure the job I chose gave me the time to still run Pollytics.

    So all is good!

  16. vp


    Congratulations on your new job. If you still find time to keep us informed, that would be great too.

    I have found your cool dissection of the issues a great comfort, since the days before 24/11/07.

  17. DodgyKnees

    G’day Socrates 33,

    Is Rupert-revenue generated by clicking on The Australian or by clicking on the advertising links therein ?

    Perversely, if it’s the former, then a squillion Blogger supporters could devalue the Au$click by hitting the site as often as possible without visiting the advertisers.

  18. Socrates

    As I have said for some time, the best tactic to deal with these “gibbons” is to ignore them. Never clikc on The Australian website. For that matter, avoid News Limited entirely, as far as ossible. Every click gives Rupert Murdoch advertising revenue, and helps Milne, Shanahan and co justify their existence. Ignore them, and they will wither and die.

    Ask yourself this question before clicking on the Oz:
    “What will I learn by visiting this webpage?”

  19. Space Kidette

    Hey “possum”, I just love the way you sugar coat everything!

    Well all those stupid journalists did was highlight to me that I was missing out on a real news source – thanks guys!

  20. TomSellecksMoustache

    As the saying goes – don’t feed the trolls.

    Actually I think a more contemporary saying is: “Troll the trolls”

    And there is noone who is better at, or who enjoys doing this more than Anonymous. I think maybe it’s time for some “lulz”.

  21. Supersmirk

    Gee Poss, don’t hold back now. Tell us what you really think.

    I am curious to see what happens once the the paywall goes up for both New Ltd and Fairfax publications, especially given the tripe being published as “news” in recent times. Do they really think people will pay to read articles of such low journalistic quality as the original James Massola article on this topic?

    Ironically, the articles have probably doubled the readership of Grog’s blog.

  22. samistapol

    The Oz’s thuggery is part of a fairly widespread trend with a long history – shoot the messenger to distract attention from the message, it is so much easier to win arguments that way. In the Oz’s case, so much easier to sell papers if any journalist competitors are nobbled. Tactics like this must be opposed wherever possible.

  23. Peter Phelps

    [the noisiest newspaper in the country – once proudly considered the national broadsheet – has been transformed by its current leadership into such a farcical shadow of its former self]

    Sorry, thought you were talking about the SMH or the Age. Certainly the circulation figures would seem to indicate it to be the case. The SMH treading water, the Spencer Street Soviet heading down the drain, one wonders?

  24. DodgyKnees

    Couldn’t help noticing the parallel.
    Another Murdoch stuff-up in announcing winners.
    1) Abbott and the 2PP.
    2) Sarah Murdoch, realises she had announced the wrong winner of Australia’s Next Top Model:

  25. Cuppa

    A low act by the OO. But I suppose it’s not surprising when you consider they support somebody like Abbott. Surely one of the most unprincipled louts that’s ever dragged his knuckles into parliament. Looks like the OO is sensitive to criticism and differing opinions. Well, they’re on a road to nowhere there. They can throw as much poo as they want but they’re going to be increasingly ignored and irrelevant.

  26. Tweets that mention Gibbons throwing poo – Pollytics --

    […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Jeff Waugh, Peter Martin, meika, Tammi Jonas, RSColley and others. RSColley said: "Gibbons throwing poo – Pollytics" ( ) […]

  27. Rocket Rocket

    Surely the hypocrisy at “The Australian” is laughable. Their editorial defending the “outing” of Grog was, of course, anonymous.

    I tried to point this out in various comments sections, but (amazingly!) they didn’t get past their moderator!

  28. John Ryan

    Nor as far as I know have the NEWS LTD suck holes said a word about the phone taps in the UK, and remember given the quality of the scum they employ check your phones,don’t put anything past this load of LIARS

  29. shepherdmarilyn

    A couple of weeks ago the lead BER hate journo for the past year “heard” from someone trolling Crikey that I had called him a liar because he was still using Craig Mayne as a source when he knew Mayne was a [snip] shonk.

    He threatened to sue me for defamation.

    If that is all these clowns have got to do with their time they need to get a life.

    I note that they have not said a single word about the two private independent schools in NSW who actually did steal $100,000’s from the BER to pay wages for their staff.

    Not a dicky bird.

  30. Thomas Paine

    If a blogger wanted to increase his viewer ship the best thing would be to try and provoke a fight with the big boys. And if you are offering a quality site you get more business plus their friends.

    Just look at Zerohedge in the USA. In about a year it has gone from Zero to the number one Business/Economy site in the US, because it has real attitude and offers up a plethora of interesting no nonsense stuff.

  31. Thomas Paine

    The MSM are fools in getting spiteful with the blogosphere. All they achieve is to promote it, make people and aware of it. Free advertising.

    The best thing is to get into an ongoing fight with them. If the big boys want to mention you or fight with you then it gives you legitimacy.

    That some in the MSM couldn’t resist a hissy fit, or spiteful snipe at the blog would just shows how shallow their egos are and limited their talent.

  32. harrybelbarry

    Glad you came back Poss , Bloggergate has arrived , we need to ” Stop feeding the BiG Troll” and have a Ban on Murdoch Sites and papers, mags, movies etc etc. Repeat after me ” I will not click on Murdochs shit “

  33. Kinkajou

    just laughing at the punch (the murdockrikey site) where they don’t even appear to have noticed this story.One wonders how safe the anonymity of any of their contributors is there. One could hardly feel sympathy…they have been warned…

  34. Andos

    As I’ve said before today, this is just ‘The Australian’ and News Ltd. punishing a progressive blogger for being successful.

    Maybe they’re trying to kill another ‘Possum’ before he gets any bolder.

    Looking forward to many more insightful analyses, Scott.

  35. Scarpat

    [The hypocrisy of an organisation which waged a war against Atkinson’s laws in SA to protect the ability of political bloggers to post anonymously is amazing. To then turn around and out someone because they are blogging anonymously shows what a morally and intellectually bankrupt organisation they are.]

    It shouldn’t be forgotten that The Australian comes from the same stable as News of the World. The News Ltd publications all feed at the same lack of ethics bowl.

  36. Lee

    Welcome back. You were missed.

  37. Radguy

    Hey Poss, they might be able to spray a little poo, but we can bury them in poo, which is precisely what we will do.

    Frank C, you got some of your special sangas to deliver. Reception quantities please.

  38. Diogenes


    The hypocrisy of an organisation which waged a war against Atkinson’s laws in SA to protect the ability of political bloggers to post anonymously is amazing. To then turn around and out someone because they are blogging anonymously shows what a morally and intellectually bankrupt organisation they are.

    I’d like to see a Walkleys type award for bloggers and an ad blocker which works only on Murdoch publications.

  39. Keith is not my real name

    I said it at the time on twitter… unfollow @jamesmassola and don’t click on ANY link to ANY article he rights…

  40. Dee

    Good onya poss! 🙂

  41. 2353

    Welcome back Poss and I’m happy your break was good for you.

    Grog’s outing didn’t even seem to be picked up in the Curious Snail let alone other (Fairfax) media outlets. The ABC actually published his version of the story on the Drum.

    You’re right about the Australian. I suspect that collateral damage in the quest for eyeballs prior to the paywall being erected – driving advertising rates up – is thought to be ok by the goons at News. Hopefully Grog’s supervisors either knew about his outside working hours activities or take a reasonable view of them and he feels safe in his employment as well as a blogger.

    I guess the big lesson here is if you want to be any form of political blogger and an media employee – most of them aren’t journalists (especially from Newscorp) contacts you – tell them literally to f&*k off 🙂

  42. steve

    I recently went and saw a great movie:”Tomorrow Before the War Began” a very enjoyable movie. I saw it because Grog wrote a paragraph about it. My partner was very suspicious about the movie because she had read the Ltd News reviews that rated the movie as not worth watching. She was very impressed with the movie and thankful for Grog for the honest view of the movie.

  43. Gusface

    glad you didnt mention us Lemurs


  44. confessions

    [These clowns are trolling the internet.]

    Another strange thing happened today. A Dennis Shanahan article from a few months back titled ‘None so blind as bloggers’ (where he highlighted a couple of comments left at PollBludger “political websites”) mysteriously disappeared during the election campaign with an unusual error message coming up instead.

    Today it resurfaced.

  45. djsnow

    Like many others I was distraught when you hinted that your blogging was going to go by the wayside.

    The fire in the belly was never lost; that is clear, nor was your prediction of the great unhinging reaching the heights it now has.

    The Australian’s recent and future spits may well define the new media environment. But not for long. Succinct comment on where we sit today. Well done.

  46. PoliticalTarot

    Totally agree Possum, ‘The Australian’ is indeed a “declining newspaper desperate for attention.” They are an utter disgrace and I look forward to the day when they are gone.

    Their behaviour has been an embarrassment and I feel sad for those poor souls with no access to any other papers, TV or radio other than those owned by News Limited – of which there are many, I hear. Bring on the NBN I say – and allow everyone access to news and blogs that don’t share News Limited and The Australian’s moronic view of the world.

    And don’t even get me started on Janet Albrechtsen….

  47. Rod Hagen

    Some bloggers choose different names from their own to make it clear that they are NOT speaking in any official capacity, and that is a good thing, though News Ltd aren’t prepared to recognise its importance.

    Some other bloggers, however, use names other than their own because their very lives depend on it. I wonder how long it will be before The Oz, or another News Ltd paper, manages to fail to recognise the difference . Given their general level of sensitivity, and their apparent current predilection for “outing”, I doubt it will be long.

    Some slopes really are very slippery. I fear that The Oz might take out more than Grog, and with far more serious consequences, as it fervently cheers its own path down this particular one.

  48. paddy

    Another vote for welcome back Possum and I too am sad, that the “Nostradamus” moment was killed off so abruptly at media140.
    Never mind. After today’s excitement in parliament, politics just might get truly interesting again.


    Good to see you back Possum, and hey, not that guy with the cap at the social media pow-wow!

    (Although I must add a comment about my disappointment that you didn’t get to slap Turnbull over the NBN. I put it up there with the great lost moments in history, like say Handel and Bach being briefly in the same city but never meeting! Well, maybe not quite on that scale of momentous, but sheesh, fancy shutting down that discussion!!!!)

    Yeah, the Great Unhinging is proceeding apace, as predicted, and the Orcs of Oz are really massing for a full-on assault of the citadel.

    It’s gonna be a really interesting time…and yes, don’t feed the trolls.

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