Tim Blair


New Criterion



Friday, July 18, 2003
JONATHAN MILLER, the multi-talent only ABCWatch's ancient readers will recall, is going to court rather than pay the UK Communard Tax.

At least, if you can see it, you can fight it. Unlike the dole our Auntie gets straight from the Treasury.

via Ombudsgod etc.


Help him fill in the blanks in Auntie's regurgitated BBC output.


In the twelve months before he was appointed to chair the review of the National Museum, and thereby outed as someone trusted by the Government, sociologist John Carroll was used by Auntie ten times.

In the six months since, until he presented his report earlier this week, Carroll was used - how many times?



FASCIST ENEMY OF CULTURE, Andrew Bolt, finds one egregious example from the National Museum's display that escaped attention from the Review that reported on Wednesday.

The panel fails to pick up one other flaw in the National Museum that betrays its bias -- the display on political milestones that is dominated by Left icons such as Bob Brown's life jacket, a Gough Whitlam poster and a peace protester's hat.

It shows the arrogance of the communards in control of our cultural commanding heights that even when such ludicrous and indefensible cases of bias are pointed out, they refuse to make even a tactical retreat.

IS ALSTON PRECIOUS, or is Auntie dragging its feet on the Iraq AM bias dossier?

Auntie's rules give her eight weeks to respond, and she's going to take every day of it. Question is, does she need to, or is just one in the eye for the Minister?

Let's see, a couple of days to hear what the AM operatives have to say, another couple to hear the managers who claim to manage the editorial side of the programme, two days to write a report, one day for a committee meeting, allow a week for sick days, and to talk to the Chairman if you want to. It couldn't possibly take longer than three weeks.

Looks to me that the communards want to prove to Alston, and the rest of us, just how powerless the Government is. No matter how many Board memberrs they appoint, or MDs they sack, Government has no role in making our public broadcaster accountable.

Good one, communards. Now, if only you could put your own fingers in the taxpayers' pockets, like Great-Auntie Beeb.

IF YOU THINK THE UNITING CHURCH is in trouble over ordaining homosexual ministers, you should listen to its retiring head, Haire.

The problem's much deeper.

You may recall that Haire left the church's national conference with a resounding denunciation of the "political depravity" of both (all?) sides of Australian politics. And he wasn't talking religion, of course, he was referring to our foreign policies, especially Iraq, and our bipartisan approach to irregular immigrants.

Stephen Crittenden: In other words, you’re saying that there is an increasing climate of lying going on?

James Haire: Effectively that’s what it is. Harold Wilson in Britain once said that public relations was simply “organised lying”,

You can see that the pollies Haire disagrees with are not just wrong, they're immoral.

Uncle has often wondered at the imprudent boldness of clerics who enter arenas of political debate that may well involve deep moral issues, but where your Faith is about as useful as wishing for your dinner.

Auntie's God-botherer, Stephen Crittenden, is no slouch.

Stephen Crittenden: A lot of church leaders these days have spin doctors working for them.

James Haire: That’s true.

Stephen Crittenden: Public relations firms, even.

James Haire: Yes, that’s certainly true, but not to the amount that the government has at its disposal.

He's only five minutes in the political arena, and already Haire is in deep trouble. But too righteous to recognise it.

So what is his political program?

James Haire: The primary responsibility lies with all of us. That is to say it lies with government, it lies with opposition in being an effective opposition, and it lies with the community in allowing such governments to exist. I simply am calling on our church and the wider community to declare truth. We’re good at declaring war, we’re great at declaring peace, but what about declaring truth?

What indeed!

It seems things are so hopeless with religion that to Haire politics is the best hope for holding the warring factions of his church together: we have to relate mission and social justice. Young people today will not buy Christianity if it is not grounded in the issues of the day.

Meanwhile, on one of those social issues of the day, the role of practising homosexuals in church ministries, Haire's own church is right now tearing itself apart.

Perhaps Haire should have listened to what those politicians know about holding factions and nations together.


This is the true adventure story of three young girls who were taken from their Aboriginal families at Jigalong, on the edge of the Little Sandy Desert, in 1931.

So reads the blurb for next Radio National book-reading, Doris Pilkington's great yarn, The Rabbit-Proof fence.

The radio on-air promotion goes further. The girls were "stolen" from their mother.

This isnot the truth, but after Philip Noyce's factoid-fabricating film of the book it is what you will find on about 72 000 of the 74 000 websites Google indexes under the title.

Auntie appears determined to continue the calumny.

Never let the truth stand in the way of defaming your shareholders.

If you really want a laugh, remind yourself of keeper of the national conscience Noyce's compulsory detention of the child actors he used in the film.

Furthermore: If you want to read a passionate and informed case for why all this matters, read this, by Andrew Bolt.

Wednesday, July 16, 2003
IS THERE NO END to this beast's industry? That Bunyip of the Melbourne swamp has documented another crude example of the kind of media misbehaviour that Media Watch routinely misses. And, yet again, it involves that master-duster-off of other people's ideas, Auntie's favourite talent, Philip Gastopod Adams.

And you thought Bunyips were disgusting!

By the way, we now have a way of distinguishing the Bunyip from the general population of dripping creatures who trail weed as they emerge from the dirty puddle that is Melbourne.

He's the one with the ring of dirty oil around his mouth.

ALREADY DISQUALIFIED AS 'CONTROVERSIAL' by the ABC national television news service, the report of the panel reviewing the National Museum of Australia is far from that.

Considering how much Auntie used to love the panel's Chair, Professor John Carroll, at least when he was in his flakier, intuitive sociologist mode, you have to remember that it greeted the panel's establishment with barely disguised loathing, its commentators, especially Philip Adams, portraying the exercise as a political witch-hunt. Perhaps because someone told them that Carroll was a friend of arch-demon and Coalition front-bencher, David Kemp.

Most of the report is a sober discussion of how best to represent Australia's history, and if you're interested in that you should read the report. It gives convincing praise of the Museum's major achievements.

The report doesn't shy away from the politics, but puts it in perspective as a relatively minor blemish, and easily remedied. It refrains from asking the obvious question of why the grosser blemishes weren't corrected voluntarily, and within months.

Here is the review at its most Solomonaic:

The Panel ’s sixth criterion specifies that the NMA should ‘cover darker historical episodes,and with a gravity that opens the possibility of collective self-accounting.The role here is in helping the nation to examine fully its own past,and the dynamic of its history —with truthfulness, sobriety and balance....The theme of Aboriginal/European frontier relations —specifically,the implication that Aboriginal people were significantly mistreated on the frontier and the consequences of this mistreatment — has lain at the base of a succession of contested issues which unfolded during the decade
preceding the NMA ’s opening,and which continue to resonate.They include Aboriginal land rights and the native title issue,Aboriginal deaths in custody,and the Stolen Generations.

The NMA has taken up several of these issues.It has addressed the frontier conflict controversy — in ‘Contested Frontiers ’,a module situated downstairs in the First Australians .This exhibit presents an issue which goes to the heart of one of the key themes of the NMA,relating to the interaction between Aboriginal and European cultures,against the background of the Australian environment. In response to criticism of the module as biased,the NMA hosted a conference
entitled Frontier Conflict:The Australian Experience.It led to a book of that title based on the proceedings.

The Panel regards the NMA ’s method in relation to this issue,in both the overall conception of the exhibition and the scholarly conference that followed,as a model for approaching such controversies....

While acknowledging the value of ‘Contested Frontiers ’,the Panel has a range of detailed criticisms of the module,ones which it hopes will be generically useful to the strategic planning of future exhibitions on contentious topics.

Because of the background to ‘Contested Frontiers ’,and the likelihood that the exhibit would attract significant attention from critics,the visitor might expect it to contain a selection of carefully researched themes,and well-chosen graphics and objects reflecting the subject matter.

In the Panel ’s view this expectation has not been met.

In an era of rising scepticism about the veracity of various forms of media,museums have established themselves as authentic sources of knowledge.This authenticity is founded upon the perception that the objects they contain are not only real,but are connected directly to the events or processes that they represent.The curatorial onus on museums to deliver authentic objects, text and graphics,tightly connected both to each other and to the exhibition theme,is obviously
greater when that theme is controversial. In ‘Contested Frontiers ’neither the objects, text, nor graphics provide the level of authenticity demanded by this weighty and complex subject. While this exhibit contains more than 40 artefacts,only two of these can be said to have an authentic connection with the subject of frontier violence. These two objects are handcuffs and chains used in the restraint of Aboriginal prisoners.None of the guns or swords included,nor any of the Aboriginal spears,clubs and shields,has apparent connection with any situation of frontier violence.

There are a number of well-documented ‘frontier collisions ’and massacres of Aboriginal people on the Australian frontier.The NMA has chosen to focus on two events that have assumed an importance in the oral record,but for which there is very little in the way of tangible evidence.It has a duty to present an exhibit that deals with an occurrence about which there is not such historical uncertainty.
and it proceeds to point out a couple of cases.

If the Museum, under its new Director, makes good use of this review, the Museum and all of us will benefit.

Monday, July 14, 2003
CAN'T STAY LONG. I've just dropped in before taking my seat in front of the box for tonight's Media Watch.

I mustn't be late, because tonight David Marr and the Gruesome Crew just have to be doing a follow up on their job on Sally Loane of Auntie's popular 702 local radio in Sydney. Sally, you may recall, thought there was a bunch of fiery terrorists in Indonesia called 'Laksar Jihad'.

Well, on Saturday, Henny Herald's senior commentator Alan Ramsey thought just the same thing. Or, rather, he thought that an ONA report had found "an Islamic group known as Laksar jihad" (11th paragraph in).

I just can't wait to see Brave Dave pick a stoush with Ramsay.

Where are those peanuts?

Sunday, July 13, 2003

A former controller of ABC News Services, Keith Fraser, died recently, and has received an obit. in Friday's Henny Herald (no link, page 30).

Fraser's views were formed in the days when news and commentary were clearly demarcated.

He was present at the birth of ABC Current Affairs, which proceeded to make News look boring by introducing the personality of the presenter between the story and the viewer.

Under Fraser, News bulletins reporters were required to seek balance in stories based on a debatable viewpoint. Public Affairs argued that an insistence on balance within every story made for dull programming... Fraser remained adamant that news reporters must be imparital and not voice their own opinions. He would not allow editorial comment by reporters...

Fraser lost. Now many of Auntie's, and our, employees cannot tell the difference.

Wish you could read it. Check your nearest fish and chip shop.

WHEN OUR MORAL LEADERS slander public officials without citing evidence, reject their Saviour's advice as to what is appropriately Caesar's and what is God's, is it any wonder their supporters can be found only among those of their former followers who share their political opinions?

The Reverend Professor James Haire says information that is emerging casting doubts on the existence of Iraq's weapons of mass destruction points to a self created serial ignorance among the nation's political leaders.

When WMD evidence is found, does Professor Haire become an atheist? Or is his politics inspired by nothing more than the kind of reporting you get on Auntie?

Professor Haire says what is emerging from the lead up to the Iraq war demonstrates yet again the abysmal moral standards within the United States, United Kingdom and Australia.

And the high standards applying everywhere else.

IF I HAD READ James Delingpole's review of The Cambridge Spies in the Spectator of May 10th, I wouldn't have bothered to blog on it. 10/10.

Unfortunately, you can't read it on-line, although you get most of the magazine for nothing, so no complaining.

Here's a sample:

Cambridge Spies isn't just bad. It's collectibly bad - one of those rare TV gems so shimmeringly dire that it fills you with joy. Joy at all the fun you're going to have with friends dissecting its monumental awfulness. Joy at the sure knowledge that never in your own life will you be responsible for such a spectacular disaster.

As to the fabrications introduced by scriptwriter Moffat, and endorsed by the BBC, how could you improve on this:

But when you're dealing with historical events, surely your first duty is to truth. Otherwise, why bother writing about real people at all? Why not just call them Bunce, Boggis and Bean...?

Unless, of course, falsifying history to serve your own ideology is part of the project.

IT IS UNDERSTANDABLE that the opposition parties in Australia and the US, and the Tories and Labour left in the UK, should pursue this question of the quality of the intelligence advice on Iraq's nuclear weapon program. That's politics.

There's a Presidential election in the US next year, and Australian Labor, and the UK left, are chronically desperate.

The emphasis that Auntie gives to the matter is another questionIt constantly leads the news bulletins, as in the case of last night's national television news, although it is clear that it was a minor component of concerns about Saddam's WMD capacity, and what he might do with it.

Just how far the ABC has lost its mind on this became clear last night in the news item that followed the latest on Iraqi nuclear ambitions.

It was reported that the situation in Iraq was "extremely brittle". The evidence that followed this headline judgment was a report of one - or a few - mortar shells landing on - or near - US military positions in Baghdad.

Now the word "brittle" means 'liable to break'. This definition is not problematic.

If the US occupation of Iraq is liable to break, it must follow that the level of violence on the part of the Baathists, or any other political force, has reached a very high pitch of intensity, such that the US government is unlikely to sustain the effort of opposing it.

Is this true? It seems to Uncle that one or a few mortar shells are unlikely to make the US occupation 'brittle'.

Has there been other news that would make the ABC doctrine credible?

Haven't seen it.

Is it just wishful thinking?