Tim Blair


New Criterion



Saturday, July 12, 2003
HAVE WE GOT THE GOODS on the bin Laden-Saddam connection? (via MCJ)

ONLY FEELING SOME of the world's pain, that's a diagnostic feature of the hard left's politics.

ANSWER [Act Now to Stop War and End Racism, a US version of the hard left], you may remember, coordinated this winter's protest against the Iraq war. But its agenda is far broader than that. As the preeminent umbrella organization of the hard left, ANSWER directs its outrage across the globe. This September, for instance, it plans "International Days of Protest against Occupation and Empire, from Palestine to Iraq to the Philippines to Cuba and Everywhere.

..."everywhere" does not include Congo. In fact, it doesn't include Africa at all. answer has organized no protests and issued no statements on Africa's four most ravaged countries--Congo, Liberia, Sudan, and Zimbabwe--although they contain exponentially more oppression and suffering than the four targeted by the group's "International Days of Protest."

A LexisNexis search going back to 2000 finds not a single reference to the crises in Congo, Liberia, Sudan, or Zimbabwe from Noam Chomsky, Arundhati Roy, Michael Moore, Michael Lerner, Gore Vidal, Cornel West, or Howard Zinn.

Or, I bet, Robert Fisk or John Pilger.

Perhaps the left is really not interested in the world at all. Perhaps they're just looking out to find energy for their inner demons.

Here is the view of Peter Beinart of The New Republic:

The answer, I think, is that the left isn't galvanized by victims; it's galvanized by victimizers ... if the greatest injustice in the world is U.S. imperialism, the world's greatest injustices must be found where U.S. imperialism is strongest. And, here, Africa poses a problem. Africa, after all, has less contact with the United States than any other part of the world.

We can agree on that.

The British and European liberal left are certainly more interested in Africa, but find it hard to support effective action to alleviate Africans' suffering. Why? Because it involves military force and poltical intervention, and that, if it's done by the wrong race, is what imperialists do.

Friday, July 11, 2003
GREAT-AUNTIE UNDER ANALYSIS by BBC Watch, which has used the scalpel rather than the couch for the Beeb's treatment of the liberation of Iraq.

Thursday, July 10, 2003

No sooner has the Australia Institute released its anti-work balloon for the ACTU, to be ignored by everyone except Auntie, than a reputable researcher, the Australian Institute of Family Studies, steamrolls the whole exercise.

While fathers working very long hours (more than 60 a week) were more likely than those working a standard 35-44 hour week to say they would prefer to reduce their hours, most said they were highly satisfied.

"Contrary to the discussions in the literature about the negative impact of long working hours . . . very few significant differences emerged in the average wellbeing scores of fathers working 35-44 hours and those working longer hours," the study concluded

Significantly, partners of happy marathon men reported they were also satisfied with their family relationships, discounting the possibility that the men were simply work-obsessed and unaware of the effects their long working hours had on their home life.

Can this mean that Australian families can make the right choices about their work and family lives, and that employers can offer appropriate opportunities, all without the guidance of a shop-steward backed by government legislation?

FOLLOWING HER LASHING by Minister Alston, presenter Linda Mottram is learning deviousness, as in the following example of displaced responsibility for commentary (via Glenn):

LINDA MOTTRAM: The Prime Minister's decision to exclude ATSIC Chairman Geoff Clark from a meeting of indigenous leaders on domestic violence may be read by some as a further attempt to erode the flailing organisation,

Others may think there are good reasons to do with the credibility of the campaign to prevent Aboriginal women and kids being battered and raped.

ANOTHER NORTH AMERICAN AUTHOR plugging a book is noted by reader Douglas. This time on SBS, Auntie's ethnic cousin (no link available).

On another tack, SBS news and current affairs seems to be no different to ABC. Last night SBS screened what amounted to as nothing but an exercise in hagiography on Gueverra. No mention the man was a brutal killer whose enlistment in communism with Castro came, therefore, as a natural thing to do.His daughter was allowed to wax lyrical on the affectionate father who so tragically trite the sentiments she expressed were. How could it be otherwise, given also her involvement in the savage government of Cuba.

Whatever the case for the ABC in the past, noting SBS wins much of its revenue on its own bat, it is surely finished. The choice which should be put to ABC is , the funds are now to be cut, it is sink or swim time.


As a reformed leftie, I can see what they are doing, and now I find
that I am deeply offended by these has-beens. This is pure crap, and it
is about time that these scandalous programs masquerading as 'current
affairs' or some other tripe in the 'public interest' are terminated.

says reader Dan about last night's Radio National performance by Auntie's serial commentators.

If I were Biffer Balding trying to save a $500 mill public investment, I'd be listening.

Wednesday, July 09, 2003
SOME OPTIONS FOR A PUBLIC BROADCASTER gone berserk. These are from Barbara Amiel of the UK Telegraph, on July 7th, via Bernard.

I can think of five options. The first approach is to continue complaining and do nothing. The BBC might occasionally be sued for defamation; there could be blow-ups and reconciliation at Downing Street. Viewers could write letters to the editor. In essence, we would all accept the fact that the Left has captured the BBC. As this is the most humiliating and easiest approach, it is likely to be the one chosen. It has the inert momentum of stupidity.

The second way is to decide unequivocally that the hijacking of the BBC by any ideology must end. It is time to clean house. This means a radical purge in order to re-establish the objectivity that is the BBC's mandate and is practised only in the breach.

A purge involves pensioning people off and replacing them not with "Right-wingers" - which would only change the disease's complexion - but with people dedicated to even-handedness. The problem is that such people would not be easy to find. So a draconian approach - for an end that, even with the best will in the world, may not be attainable - might not be worth the candle.

A third option would be to accept that our attempt to establish objective journalism has been a failure and should be replaced by the parti pris system. French television and radio have some excellent programming and so long as everyone understands that the national broadcaster will parrot the views of the government of the day, this approach would have the virtue of honesty. The BBC would slant its views as the government changes.

Four: we could adopt the American system. America doesn't have a public broadcaster, only the Public Broadcasting System, which depends almost entirely on voluntary subscriptions. It produces some high-end cultural and entertainment programming, as well as one good news show. It also screens a lot of the best of the BBC's situation comedies and dramas.

If we copied this system, we would abolish the BBC licence fee and tax subsidy. In one sense, the reasons for a national broadcasting system are obsolete anyway. When the airwaves were restricted, it made sense, but with today's technology and multiplicity of channels, it has far less rationale.

I could see a fifth option, in which we maintained the BBC without its news and public affairs. The corporation would do the intelligent comedy, drama and music that it has always handled well. These options could be refined, but my preference would be for one of the last two.

No doubt many people at BBC news and public affairs believe themselves to be quite apolitical, and some might be. But those departments suffer from a world view that is now infecting a new generation of viewers. Like other nasty viruses, this one requires swift containment.


In the course of this afternoon, ignoring the usual editorialising of Philip Adams, we have a "journalist" on PM characterising the current discussion on North Korean criminality as President Bush "corralling" support for his "posse" against North Korea, followed by old Max-weird McCutcheon cheer-leading a discussion on the impending trial of David Hicks ("David" to Max and his stroke-pals), with editorial comment between every call, all of them anti-US.

This adds up to three hours of one-eyed editorialising, unprofessional sloppiness and serial commentary between 4pm and 7pm.

How dare Minister Alston criticise these people!

STOP PRESS! A caller to Max-weird's Australia Talks Back opposes the party line! He thinks Hicks might have been fighting for a pretty grubby cause. 'That's not the point!' snaps our welcoming host.

Tuesday, July 08, 2003

It was a very fond farewell the BBC gave to its romantic traitors, Philby, Burgess, Maclean and Blunt last Sunday.

With Burgess and MacLean packed off to Moscow to retire in privileged luxury (by Soviet standards) the script takes Blunt back to Cambridge.

Here he tells the faithful old drudge who welcomes him that the others 'went on to great things', then walks away through the cloisters to the strains of Parry's setting of William Blake's magnificent Jerusalem.

Two new gripes.

How can anyone have sunk so low as to pervert the only beautiful hymn ever produced by the English for such a base political purpose? Would even a Goebbels have been so insensitive?

We see nothing of the comfort and privilege of the lives of Philby and Maclean in retirement. Of their continuing collaboration with the Soviet regime. Since the scriptwriter was so free with the facts, perhaps he could have kept them alive to see the Berlin Wall come down, and had them face the enquiries of writers more interested in the truth than he was.

I think I know why the left is in love with the idea of treachery, even more than its practice. It is the higher moral ground the hoi-polloi can never share with you, since they don't even know you're there.

THE AUSTRALIA INSTITUTE is 'a Canberra-based think-tank that describes itself as progressive' according to this morning's Radio National Law Report.

So, Auntie has a right-wing (used for the Institute of Public Affairs) but no left-wing in her vocabulary.

No wonder she's politically unbalanced.

I think she needs our help. I feel a deliberative poll coming on.

Monday, July 07, 2003
BBC on defensive over dodgy dossier claim.

And so they should be.

Journalists are entitled to use confidential sources for stories. They should use them.

But are writers who use confidential spinners, out of ignorance or wilfully, entitled to be called journalists?

Are editors who publish pretend-reports on real events worth trusting?


John Sweeney writes for the UK Observer and - this is true - the BBC. He got into all sorts of strife last year for not wearing the UNICEF line about Iraqi child mortality and economic sanctions.

Now, according to an item by Sweeney carried by the Weekend Australian (no web location) the rank and file Iraqi doctors are starting to come out of the woodwork.

Then two surgeons at Al Kindi teaching hospital in Baghdad, Rahim Ismael and Dlair Omar, agreed to go public. They damned the health ministtry under Hussein as a corrupt and brutal instrument of oppression. They said that many medicines had been held back in warehouses.

UNICEF will be surprised. No-one else will be.

John Pilger will ignore them.

Auntie already has.