News Ltd.

Jan 17, 2011

The Australian mistakes satire for the real thing: perhaps its readers do, too.

I suppose if you're constantly portraying the other side of an argument - or political perspective - via extreme strawmen, it's not all that surprising that you might eventually come to

I suppose if you’re constantly portraying the other side of an argument – or political perspective – via extreme strawmen, it’s not all that surprising that you might eventually come to believe that that’s who they really are.

Hence The Australian this week apparently mistaking a right-winger’s “satirical” impression of a lefty for the real thing:

I am divine, but not in an elitist way. Derek Sapphire on his blog Sapphirical Reflections, January 5:

ONE thing I always find particularly annoying about right-wingers and conservatives is how oblivious they are to the presence of Gaia. Take this vicious diatribe from the always offensive Tim Blair. In it, he mocks our beloved fellow traveller Tim Flannery for saying: “I think that within this century the concept of the strong Gaia will actually become physically manifest.” Well, actually Gaia is already manifest — or should I say womanifest — to many of us already. Take the recent unexplained deaths of thousands of fish and birds, for example. Gaia is just working through some issues now. And it’s really sad that the recent casualties of this process happen to be non-human people (animals) who’ve committed no wrong. But just wait until She’s ready to deal with who’s really to blame. That’s why I suggest that anyone who doesn’t already worship the Earth Goddess should start doing so with gusto pretty soon. Because eventually it’s going to get down to a pretty simple choice: you are either for Gaia, or against Her. And frankly, I wouldn’t recommend being in that latter category. No, I wouldn’t recommend it at all.

Yeah, real lefties refer to themselves as “fellow travellers”, and try to append “wo” to any word beginning with “man”. Just what kind of drivel has the editor who thought this could be real been reading?

The Sapphire blog (“Fight Fire With Sapphire!”), filled with clunky, decade-old undergraduate stereotypes and obvious jokes, makes it even more obvious (hardly the best example of Poe’s Law) – and, if even you failed to notice the sarcastic disclaimer at the bottom that all but admits that conservative blogger Matt Hayden is behind the site, a simple Google search should clear it up for you:


Matt appears to mainly use his creation to “argue” with fellow conservatives at their own blogs, people dumb enough to believe in their own imaginary version of lefties to actually seriously debate with a parody. Now it looks like some of the professional journalists at The Australian are no more cluey than the most obtuse denizens of circle-jerk blogs on the internet.

We’re not going to have to go back to the very beginning, are we? “Hi, News Ltd. I’m a lefty. This is what we look like. This is what… no, hang on a second while I say it, don’t assume… this is what I’m actually arguing. Yes! It is quite different from what you’ve been telling people, isn’t it?”

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12 thoughts on “The Australian mistakes satire for the real thing: perhaps its readers do, too.

  1. PeeBee

    Rad, Have you thought that it could be the other way around? Bob is right and the climatechange people of two years ago were wrong?

    (Actually, reading through the piece, I don’t think Bob contradicts it. You can have both drier periods for longer, and also have extreme wet weather on a lesser frequency – but obviously not at the same time, and I think that is your mistake)

  2. Blackgold

    Keep repeating that post Rad. You’re obviously on a winner with that one aren’t you?

  3. radpipper

    Here is more evidence that Climate Change fanatics are re-inventing their claims of the impacts of AGW now that major flooding has contradicted their climate modeling.

    This is what the Queensland Office of Climate Change was saying 2 years ago.

    significant decline in the frequency of extreme rainfall events has been observed along Australia’s east coast. However, the proportion of total rain falling as extreme events has increased slightly. While these trends are due in part to the natural variability of the global climate system, in particular the fluctuations in the frequency of El Niño and La Niña events, anthropogenic influences are also contributing factors…

    As a result of global warming, droughts in Australia are likely to be more severe— not only due to rising temperature, but also due to increased evaporation…

    Rainfall has decreased across large areas of Queensland … Rainfall is projected to decline up to 10 per cent by 2050 under the influence of climate change…

    In addition to projected changes to the average rainfall over time, the frequency of wet days will decrease and the frequency of dry days will increase… In the north of the state, extreme rainfall events are projected to increase in all seasons, with the
    largest increase in the far north in autumn (six per cent increase). Along the southern Queensland coast, the projected changes in extreme precipitation are small …

    This adds to the weight that Bob Brown has lost ALL credibility now that he is blaming the current floods on Climate change.

  4. AR

    “Is that true or did you read it in a Mudorc organ?”

  5. GaryM

    “Their universal attack against Bob Brown across the blogosphere today on a wrongly quoted headline is proof of that.”

    Indeed too true. Our friends on the right, who I am sure mean well, are as gullible as the day is long. Still the broadsheets have yet to reach the dizzy heights of the electronic media for propaganda purposes. Fox being a prime example of, if any proof was needed, the right will and do believe anything.

  6. Mobius Ecko

    GaryM @6

    Their universal attack against Bob Brown across the blogosphere today on a wrongly quoted headline is proof of that.

  7. GaryM

    ” The Australian newspaper is simply beyond parody. ”

    As funny as the Australian is, conservatives still use it as their gospel of truth.

    It’s in the Australian it must be true!

  8. susan winstanley

    I have always suspected that The Australian’s “Cut and Paste” section is the handiwork of Gerard Henderson. The Sydney Institute is really just one big filing cabinet of smelly old newspaper clippings in a dusty old room, which I can see Gerard riffling through for his daily topic of interest, probably sent along to Chris Mitchell by horse and buggy each morning.

    You cannot but admire the soaring intellect, deep knowledge of history, and marvellous wit behind these collected cut and paste gems. We all roll around the floor laughing like drains each day at the witty juxtaposition of statements made yesterday, and get this, different statements made by the same person ten years ago. How hilarious is that? And we all know Gerard has such a wonderful sense of humour, don’t we?

    The Australian newspaper is simply beyond parody. And where are all the ads? The daily paper is getting thinner and thinner. We know that the circulation figures are basically fraudulent, and that Murdoch’s deep pockets are subsidising its continuing existence, but it is significant surely, that nobody in the business world seems to want to advertise in this sad joke of newspaper. Its about time the Federal Government withdrew its job ads too. Really.

  9. GaryM

    I see Iain Hall and his readers fell for Derek the Gem Sapp–hire. Ol Matt must be pissing himself with glee. I thought Hall being into Yoga would have spotted it a mile away.

  10. Bloods05

    It’s all an illusion anyway man.

  11. Matthew of Canberra

    Something like this has been doing the rounds on wingnut sites in the US.

    Advance copy of Jeremiah Wright sermon for January 16, 2011:

    Brothers and sisters, as we gather here today, we must consider the cancer of hatred that consumes this country, we must face the cancer of hatred that consumes this country and we must defeat the cancer of hatred that eats away at this country! Now, you may be asking yourselves, how can we defeat the hatred that is festering like an infected boil stuck on the end of your nose? There is only one way, my brothers and sisters, that we can defeat hatred, and that is with MORE HATRED! That’s right, you heard me, we have got to OUT-HATE THE HATERS!

    … and so on, in increasingly ridiculous terms.

    It’s being eagerly passed on, too. And it’s a fake:

    Even worse, it’s an OBVIOUS fake. Right at the top of the page it basically says “this is fake”. Just too good to check out, I guess.

  12. Ravenred

    Pfff… well lefties will argue as if Sarah Palin wasn’t just an elaborate Tina Fey hoax…

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