Tim Blair


New Criterion



Saturday, April 05, 2003
MAX is now the most-chosen name for dogs. Take Uncle's word for it or I'll bite your bloody head off.

Max-weird is a red-trend-setter. Auntie pays him to yap at unwelcome visitors.

WHAT IS A SIEGE if the besieged are not kept in by the attackers but by the defenders. And supplies are not kept out by the attackers, but by the defenders.

Do we have a hostage situation here, chaps? Let's see how our favourite journalists and commentators call it.

BLAINEY REVIEWS WINDSCHUTTLE, and his fellow "professional" historians.

Choosing the US-published New Criterion as his vehicle, Professor Geoffrey Blainey has reviewed Keith Windschuttle's book, The Fabrication of Aboriginal History. Blainey has written the only book that might be called a history of Australia's Aborigines, The Triumph of the Nomads.

Blainey's review is, like the man, moderate in tone, almost forgiving of the peccadilloes of his colleagues, but scathing about their main thesis and its basis in lousy scholarship and sheer dishonesty. Not that Blainey would ever use such words. His words:I felt an initial sympathy towards the Australian and overseas historians who were under such intense scrutiny.

He presses on: But many of their errors, made on crucial matters, beggared belief.

With impressive thoroughness, Windschuttle inspects the diaries, newspapers, and official letters and reports cited by historians as their evidence, and often he sees that evidence wither or change shape. The Hobart Town Courier of 1826 is twice cited by a historian as providing the evidence for killings, but the newspaper turns out not to have been in existence that year! An Anglican clergyman’s diary, confidently said to report the deaths of probably one hundred Aborigines and twenty Europeans in conflicts, reveals a total of only six deaths, four of whom were Aboriginal.

Blainey also reports one of the errors that escaped Uncle's reading of Windschuttle. It's a beauty.

Brian Plomley, regarded by some as the most scholarly historian examining the fate of the Aborigines, is tripped by some of his own evidence. In listing the specific clashes between blacks and whites for November 1828, Plomley at one point added to his somber list the words “more killed,” meaning that additional Aborigines were the victims of white violence. Windschuttle, indefatigable, looked up the hand-written police record. It did not assert “more killed” but “mare killed.” In short a horse—described as “a valuable mare”—was the casualty. Windschuttle discovers so much mishandling of the evidence that he confines this miraculous conversion of one dead horse into several dead Aborigines to a footnote.

Unlike the other "professional" historians who have responded to Windschuttle - all but one of them have conducted personal attacks on the man - Blainey has not only read Windschuttle's book but also reviewed some of the historical work Windschuttle criticises.

While Plomley did important research on the Tasmanian Aborigines and their way of life, his emotions perhaps blinded him. Of one important group of white settlers he wrote indignantly that they believed in extirpating the Aborigines—indeed they were “extirpationists almost to a man.” Windschuttle examines the views of each of these settlers at great length. In the end he is forced to expose Plomley for defaming twelve of the fourteen settlers. I myself wondered whether Plomley, usually so painstaking, could have made such an error. I consulted the relevant pages of his published work. Clearly he had not digested some of his own major sources.

Lloyd Robson, the author of the largest history of Tasmania, also overrides crucial evidence. He confidently described an episode in which twenty-two Aborigines were killed on the one day at Oyster Bay. The sole “witness” turns out to have been living in India when the alleged massacre took place! After reading this section of the book I turned again to Robson’s own narrative, thinking that perhaps he had been misunderstood, but the case against him is powerful. Even the witness himself denies that he was present.

On the totally-discredited Lyndall Ryan, Blainey merely reports her "quarter-confession" in conceding some "minor" errors, and notes that she fails to recognise that Windschuttle has destroyed the entire thesis of her book Aboriginal Tasmanians, a book that has polluted the secondary and tertiary curricula of a generation of Australian students, and may continue to do so.

Like many informed readers of Windschuttle, Blainey finds Windschuttle's own interpretation of the causes of the decline of Aboriginal Tasmanians less convincing, but more right than wrong.

Blainey's conclusion?

In a year or so, a counterattack will undoubtedly be launched. Flaws, major or minor, will probably be found in Windschuttle’s book, as in any large exploratory or detective-like work. Even so, his book will ultimately be recognized as one of the most important and devastating written on Australian history in recent decades.

Uncle can also do predictions. In about five minutes the alienated historians of the Australian left - and there are crowds of them - will begin the same kind of personal attack on Blainey that constituted their response to Windschuttle.

Friday, April 04, 2003
I am dead keen to get a petition and/or action happening after the dust has settled to get a fair dinkum review of the ABC's performance over Iraq. I am an old ABC fan but have become seriously nauseated by the almost treasonous (and certainly anti-Australian) behavior of our once great national broadcaster in recent weeks. I can't do it alone but if there are others of like mind, I'd be very willing to help , writes reader Dan, who has also noted the acid tone of Robert Fisk's fellow Saddam songbird, Paul McGeough on tonight's PM.

I know where you're coming from, Dan. It's these moments of when the communards are in full cry that fill us reasonable people with disgust and drive us to our keyboard.

As to where you want to go, can I offer this piece of advice.

Don't get bogged down in an energy-absorbing dispute about just how the ABC has run the ALP left line on Iraq. Leave that to the ALP right, who will be extremely irritated that it helped mislead their hapless leader into losing the next election for them.

Look ahead. We don't need to prove that Auntie's communards are biased. They do that for us.

Every one of their serial commentators is either left ALP or further left. Every one. Even Henny Herald knows it must do some window-dressing. Auntie thinks she can get away with it.

Take Auntie at face value. Now, let's do something about it. And that means some fundamental change to the public broadcasting system in this country, since it clearly won't reform itself.

Biffer Balding, who will never reform anything, wants the government to give him more of our money.

Send your emails to Minister Alston, the Minister for Finance and the Treasurer. Point out that it is a disgrace to spend your money on political campaigners with no professional standards. And on managements that are unwilling or unable to manage for a professional public broadcaster.

Tell them, I humbly suggest, that if the managers they pay can't manage, then it's time to start afresh.

How about letting Radio National join News Radio and fish for their own funds from the ALP left. Then they could make honest employees of the communards whose hearts and minds are already in mortage to them.

Tax-payers money could be made available for fixed-term contracts for one or more operators of high-quality public service broadcasting, by public tender. They could take advertising or not; let the listeners sort them out.

You can't say that advertising has trivialised SBS. It's programming is still of a higher order of seriousness than the ABC's.

Unlce's prepared to put some of his pension behind good, informative and professional broadcasting.

We are entering the age of digital broadcasting, and monopolies like the ABC sit like incubuses on the possibilites of future services.

Get Auntie off our back. Especially, get her off my back. She's sold her professional soul into political whoring, and she no longer cares.

Uncle will soon climb down off his stump, but reform of the public broadcasting system is one of the biggest of the reform tasks left in the too-hard basket by both parties.

Let's keep reminding them. Before the next generation of mindless anti-Yank pacifists starts marching.

DESPITE WHAT MARK STEYN says, those Canadians really are war-mongers. Just like all the other anglophones who don't fuck sheep.

In Calgary, a whopping 72.5 per cent said they wanted Canada to fight in the war.

I WONDER WHAT AIRPORT the Iraqi propaganda department took their tame journalists to. No Americans in sight. Not even on the horizon.

Uncle's glad that Auntie's not paying $500 a day for that kind of help.

THE INDEPENDENT is defending to the political death the right of its Iraq correspondent, Robert Fisk, to be a credulous dill.

Geoff Hoon, the Defence Secretary, is a smooth politician who relies on nuance to do his dirty work. He did not say, in plain terms, that he disbelieves The Independent's accounts of civilian casualties sustained in Iraq. He did not say that Robert Fisk, our award-winning reporter, is a willing dupe of Saddam Hussein's regime. He simply allowed those suggestions to hang, unspoken, in the House of Commons chamber yesterday. thundered its leader writer today.

Robert Fisk has a proud record of reporting what he sees. He has travelled to dangerous places and described unflinchingly what is happening. He prefers to speak to the people caught up in conflicts rather than report what the generals, politicians and spokesmen are saying.

Or what his fellow journalists in Baghdad are saying.

On the first edition of this evening's PM on Radio National, the correspondent for the Herald-Age of Sydbourne, Paul McGeough, was asked ot comment on Fisk's report that he had seen tanks massing for a counter-attack.

Yeah, well, Robert Fisk gets a bit windy, said Paul, in Uncle's close paraphrase. I was on the same bus as Fisk, and there were two or three tanks. And half a dozen troops getting a drink from a creek.

A bit windy! How about downright, mendaciously delusional.

Could such a journalist be duped by a piece of rocket with a serial number?

Would you abuse your country's defence minister to defend Fisk's judgement?

Thursday, April 03, 2003
IN THE MIDDLE OF LAST WEEK Uncle drove past a State politicians' palace. The usual suspects, about 20 of them, stood at the kerb with signs demanding we all "Honk for peace". Absolutely no-one did.

ONE OF ANALYST COBB'S wilder assertions on tonight's ATB was this. Saddam's goons fighting out of uniform and from behind civilian cover are guilty of no offence against the morality or legality of war.

It is, after all, their country they're defending.

Only problem with that argument is that it destroys your moral basis for criticising the killing of civilians by the Coalition forces.

Whatever Cobb is an analyst of, it's not defence.

"FREE-FIND", the site searcher on the ABCwatch side-bar, is not working.

AS UNCLE PREDICTED some months ago, a couple of weeks of the Iraq campaign have made old Max-weird McCutcheon an expert on the military, legal and technical aspects of the campaign.

So much so that he's finding it harder and harder to make time for the communards' stroke-pals out in Auntie land.

Tonight Max jumped enthusiastically down the throat of one caller who was stupid enough to see no alternative means of unseating Saddam. Hans Blix has stated categorically, barked Max, that with more time he could disarm Saddam. And cut the mug off.

That'll teach those war-mongers to ring my program.

Still, callers can be useful. When you have just asserted that cluster bombs are Weapons of Mass Destruction, as Max had, it is handy to be able to pass to a caller before one of your guest talents can start to fret.

Or, suppose you've told the world that the Americans were shocked to find that they had advanced a few hundred Ks into Iraq and had captured nothing but desert. I suppose they had to start looking for the signposts on the road to find their real targets. It would be intolerable if someone who isn't Max tried to muddy the water by pointing out that all that useless desert ended at Baghdad. Which is where the US forces had reached several hours before.

And no-one did.

He may be ignorant, bigoted, intolerant, manipulative, unprofessional and insulting to the reputation of his country, and he is, but Max is not stupid.

You never see Max make the mistake of publishing a column in the national press, like the Gastropod, who weekly shows himself to be ignorant, hateful, bigoted, intolerant, unprofessional and very, very boring.

TALENT ADAM COBB acquitted himself satisfactorily on SBS the other night. He must have, since Max-weird had him along as one of his expert contributors on Australia Talks Back tonight.

I reckon any defence analyst who wants our troops withdrawn at this point must be a person of remarkable talents.

At least for self-promotion.

Max-weird's other talent was a professor of peace studies from the UK. Just the chap for a discussion of the progress of the war in Iraq. He seemed to have more to say about why it should never have happened in the first place and should be stopped. Right now.

AMERICAN STUDENTS in Australia are "an easy target" for schoolyard abuse, according to a school psychologist interviewed on tonight's 7.30 report. Why should that be so?

Because the schools have made it clear, quite correctly, that Muslim students should not be abused. And because the students hear their teachers calling the US the kind of foul names you can hear any day of the week on Auntie's overt and covert commentaries. And they see their teachers supporting anti-US demos at which ethnic vilification of Yankees is the norm.

Who knows, perhaps some of them accidentally read Phillip Gastropod Adams.

Here's an urgent case for battling Bill Jonas of the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission. Based on his campaign against critics of Australian supporters of Islamic totalitarianism, here's what Bill is likely to do next:

- launch a campaign through the media to warn the population against the vilification of our US citizens and guests;

- establish nation-wide counselling sessions for teachers and students who engage in vilification;

- see whether or not he can define US citizenship as a religion, since they're such an inconveniently diverse mob ethnically and therefore may be judged beyond the reach of Bill's protection;

- give a big contract to some scientific research organisation to work out how they can automate the task of sniffing out and suppressing hateful remarks about Yanks on the internet.

- take legal action against publishers like Auntie and the Australian that insist on giving space and money to purveyors of ethnic hatred and prejudice.

You've done it all before, Bill.

Monday, March 31, 2003
AUNTIE'S POOR ETHNIC COUSIN, the Special Broadcasting Service, has a tame commentator for its nightly TV news. His name is Adam Cobb, and he has the approval of New York-based correspondent Jonathan Holmes whose advice is sought by Max-weird McCutcheon of Australia Talks Back.

Adam Cobb is described as a "Defence Analyst".

Cobb has had a remarkable series of appointments for a young man who has also served in the Royal Navy. Among the previous assignments and competencies he claims, we find no reference to Middle East Affairs, Arab studies, or indeed military strategy generally. His field is cyber security.

And the skill to talk himself into a commentatorship with Auntie's extended family. Perhaps over-extended.

Mr Cobb may have other qualifications that make him attractive to the ethnic jihadis.

According to his own Web puff, he is: Considered a leading national security expert in Australia, Cobb has written for, and has been interviewed by, most major newspaper and radio programs in the country, and several international media organisations.

Unfortunately, a meagre response from Google fails to support the claim. although Auntie and the Age have made use of his talents before. His agility is attested to by the speed with which he jumped on the East Timor waggon.

Following an unhappy experience as a visitor to the Commonwealth Parliament's research service, which might repay enquiry, Cobb operates from "Australia's first private defence think tank".

This organisation claims offices in Sydney, Canberra and Washington, but only one employee, Cobb.

Interesting talent selection.

TONIGHT ON THE 7.30 REPORT, that notable journalist Kerry O'Brien continues to spearhead the communards' jihad on the US with a stinging attack on the Prime Minister, John Howard.

The fact of civilian casualties - by all the evidence few in number to date - gives Kerry the licence to accuse the PM, in the form of a question of course, of killing civilians, "children dead in ditches", as a means to a political end.
I doubt if even the leader of the Australian Greens, the cadaverous Bob Brown, has stooped so low in defaming his countrymen and women.

You'll have to wait for the transcript.

SLICK CHICKS. How do they do it?

The Dixie Chicks got a big endorsement from the Golden Tonsils last Friday. John Laws had just finished a torrid lambasting of the anti-war brigade. He loves these chicks; they are "real ladies".

Next day Auntie's Andrew Ford gave a warm reception to the one who slagged President Bush in London recently.

I call that versatile.

A CACKHANDED BALANCE observes reader Bernard M of this piece of serial commentary from his local ABC:

Tuned into 774 just a minute before the 6:00pm news tonight, but in time to hear the presenter say, in respect of Al Jazeera, that "It balances out Fox News, with the BBC in the middle". Unbelievable. These fools wouldn't know one-sided reporting if they fell over it.

Not true, Bernard. The communards know one-sided reporting like the back of their minds. After all they demonstrate it daily with a practised ease.

Uncle almost spat his cornflakes one morning last week when morning presenter and serial commentator Peter Thomson described the Coalition's liberation of Iraq as an "adventure".

That's the thing about serial commentary as practised by Auntie's communards.

They don't have to justify or even explain their preaching.

Their bigotry is just dropped into the national conversation like pigeon shit in a Sydney street. Only you're paying for it.

Later. This on al Jazeera from Paul Sheehan in today's Henny Herald:

Fouad Ajami, professor of Middle Eastern studies at Johns Hopkins University, analysed Al-Jazeera's coverage for The New York Times in 2001 and what he wrote then holds true even more so now: "On Al-Jazeera (which means "The Peninsula"), the Hollywoodisation of news is indulged with an abandon that would make the Fox News channel blush ...

"Al-Jazeera's reporters are similarly adept at riling up the viewer. A fiercely opinionated group, most are either pan-Arabists - nationalists of a leftist bent committed to the idea of a single nation across the many frontiers of the Arab world - or Islamists who draw their inspiration from the primacy of the Muslim faith in political life ... The dark side of the pan-Arab world view is an aggressive mix of anti-Americanism and anti-Zionism, and these hostilities drive the station's coverage ...

"Day in and day out, Al-Jazeera deliberately fans the flames of Muslim outrage ... Top American officials have begun appearing on the station's talk shows. But my view suggests that it won't be easy to dampen the fiery tone of Al-Jazeera. The enmity runs too deep."

ANOTHER COMMUNARD falls victim to momentitis as he rushes to join the jihad against the Yankees.

Presenter of Poetica, Mike Ladd, introduces his program of Sufi poetry from ancient Persia; ie, as Mike puts it, from the place we are currently bombing.

Iraq and Iran may share a rhythm, Mike, but they're not the same place.

AREN'T YOU GLAD that Auntie's program selection is never tainted by commercial considerations and self -interest?

You are? Right now an ABC staffer is reading her travel diary on Radio National's First Person slot, the Chairman of the Board is presenting a program of his selections from the Boyer Lectures , a source of mixed quality, another retired long-term staffer has a regular slot on the Health Report, and the writer-presenter of All in the Mind has just completed a series of programs in India, supported by Australia-India Council funding.