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Tim Blair

Feb 24, 2009

The Australian can't be wrong forever

Fellow Crikey blogger (and

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Fellow Crikey blogger (and supportive friend of this site in its first days) Mark Bahnisch has been mocked by both Tim Blair and The Australian for failing to predict the calling of the Queensland election.

Bahnisch remained skeptical long after the Australian had decided, weeks ago, that an early election was about to be called and resolved to repeat that prediction relentlessly until it happened. Instead he insisted on highlighting the flimsiness of the paper’s arguments right up until the prediction (not the argument) eventually came true. Which it did, since obviously Bligh did have to call an election at some point…

So News Ltd is happily crowing over what it’s trying to portray as its victory, mocking Bahnisch simply because he didn’t adopt – and was openly cynical regarding – their “repeat prediction over and over until it becomes true” soothsaying strategy. (By the way, I predict that Kevin Rudd will call an early election some time between now and 2011. You heard it here first.) Sure, Bahnisch was wrong in the specifics of what Bligh subsequently decided to do – but no more so than anyone else who tries their hand at predicting the future. And his criticisms of the flimsy basis for The Australian‘s predictions were quite reasonable, as anyone can see by following the links.

Speaking of which, do you think The Australian’s editors intended to send a whole lot of web traffic Bahnisch’s way on the very day he launched a competing Crikey election blog?

5 comments

5 thoughts on “The Australian can’t be wrong forever

  1. AR

    Even a broken clock is right twice in 24 hours. It’s difficult to know what alternative universe the polemicists at News inhabit but, fortunately, I don’t live there.
    Nor would I pay the outrageous new price for their budgie cage lining.

  2. Mark Bahnisch

    Appreciate the post, Jeremy. Perhaps I spoke too soon with my criticism of blogwars – obviously there’s a different motivation when you’re on the receiving end of attacks! Ah, well, that’s meant to be the point of this internetty caper, isn’t it? Admitting you can be wrong and changing your view!

    Sure, Bahnisch was wrong in the specifics of what Bligh subsequently decided to do – but no more so than anyone else who tries their hand at predicting the future. And his criticisms of the flimsy basis for The Australian’s predictions were quite reasonable, as anyone can see by following the links.

    I’d disagree slightly with that characterisation though. The salient thing (aside from the selected quotation) from Blair/The Oz was the way the chronology was collapsed, and something written 3 weeks ago was made to appear as if it had been published more recently. I was keeping my ears open, and making the effort to find out what was actually going on as it became clearer that something was – though not the sorts of things the News Ltd mob were claiming were the important factors. The reason for the qualifications in the most recent posts (the only bits the Australian misleadingly quoted) was that I’m genuinely convinced Bligh hadn’t made up her mind until just before the final decision was taken.

    As I said in my post at LP, it was and is open for the pundits/journos concerned to actually try their hand at some old fashioned cultivation of sources and investigation rather than the way they in fact “reported” the election speculation.

  3. toiletboss

    “So News Ltd is happily crowing over what it’s trying to portray as its victory, mocking Bahnisch simply because he didn’t adopt – and was openly cynical regarding – their “repeat prediction over and over until it becomes true” soothsaying strategy.”

    That strategy didn’t help them much in their strident efforts to prolong the reign of Herr Howard prior to the Nov 2007 Downfall; not for lack of trying.
    Law of averages says that they’re gonna be correct every now & again. Not sure why that would have them patting themselves on the back.

    Independent analysis portrays a threat to the information monopoly coveted by news.com.
    Fuck them & the horse they rode in on.

  4. Scott Bridges

    Blog wars are so boring. Oh, hang on…

  5. monkeywrench

    The Awflstralian will always be wrong, for ever. That’s what they do.

https://www.crikey.com.au/2009/02/24/the-australian-cant-be-wrong-forever/ == https://www.crikey.com.au/free-trial/==https://www.crikey.com.au/subscribe/

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