ABCwatch

Tim Blair

Ombudsgod

New Criterion

 

 

Saturday, July 26, 2003
 
LEAD ON, ALSTON!

Dear Richard Alston

By now it may have occurred to you that there is no prospect of achieving anything from pursuing complaints against the serial commentary on Radio National's AM program.

Biffer Balding has given your dossier to his legal minds to have fun with.

As far as the public is concerned, unless they take the trouble to read the dossier themselves, all they are going to hear is the reaction of the Australian Union of Journalists Attacked by Ministers. Now there, with the exception of Gerald Stone, is the kind of solidarity the Marxists could only dream of.

ABC Board members are going to be watching their political backs. Who wants to be seen as the Minister's catspaw?

In any case, it's a waste of Ministerial time and potential to engage in such trench warfare. Leave it to others who don't have your opportunity. What is that opportunity, you ask?

To lead, Minister, to lead.

The ABC's performance over recent years makes it obvious that they are beyond reform. Far from seeking to improve their balance, they reinforce their biases. Among the communard classes there is little capacity to even perceive their biases. They believe that, post-Tampa, Afghanistan and Iraq, they live among savages (that is, the rest of us), whose racism, fascism, wilful cruelty, stupidity and short-sightedness must be fought to the bitter end.

And they have bigger political weapons than Cabinet, which is a midget in any contest of political credibility. How many broadcast channels do you run, Minister? With the assistance of public assets, Philip Adams can play like Berlusconi and never have to risk a dollar of his own fortune.

You are going to have to work with your strengths, and I don't mean simply the power of the purse-strings. It's a start, but do you really want the people who tell Biffer what to do to make the decisions about Auntie's future? And to spend the rest of the Coalition's term in office highlighting the consequences of financial attrition, consequences which they have chosen?

Time to take the initiative, in Uncle's humble submission.

What's that? Another Telstra-like millstone, you think?

Here are some suggestions for a strategy to make an honest woman out of Auntie without looking like a wowser yourself.

Establish the local radio network with a clear community-support charter and a ratings-based test of success. You can rely on their audiences to keep them honest most of the time. Most of their audience just want entertainment without advertising. Give them more money in RARA land, to keep the National Party happy. Ditto Auntie TV, minus current affairs, which it does little of anyway.

Put news and current affairs on its own feet, financially speaking. They can offer their services to the ABC network and others. They compete with other providers for government subsidy to do the jobs that revenues don't justify.

Turn Radio National into a subscription-based service focussed on information programming, and make it compete for generous government subsidies with other content providers.

All of the tax-payers' largesse should be based, of course, on much clearer guidelines than old Auntie has to contend with, and decisions about allocation of funds must be made by reputable people at arms length from government, and two arms length from political agitators.

Make sure that the digital radio spectrum is also available to the subsidised content providers, and digital TV spectrum too, if there is any left over after your free feed to the free-to-air broadcasters.

All in the interests of DIVERSITY, and FREEDOM of expression. Who could object?

Have it ready to announce at the first budget after the next election, and to implement immediately.

And find some leaders from outside Parliament to promote it.

What have you got to lose?

Cheers,

Uncle.


Friday, July 25, 2003
 
BOLT ON MARR ON BOLT

David Marr presented his response to Andrew Bolt's reply to the highly-privileged attack on him on Media Watch, by means of a somewhat less privileged "exclusive" on Crikey.com. You can find it there.

Andrew Bolt's response to that Marr dismissal is reproduced below. The earlier Bolt volley against the Media Watch cannonade has been deleted from this website and replaced with a link to Bolt's Herald Sun site.

David,

Your ungracious "apology" is not accepted. You admit to one error, but still defend - against all the evidence - seven others you made about me, some of which are libellous. Further, in defending yourself you make several additional false claims about me. Your conduct is immoral and outrageous. Your respect for the truth seems to me to be close to non-existent. Lastly, you accuse me of not being able to take criticism. Wrong again. I can and silently do take criticism - lots of it. Every week. What I can't tolerate, however, is criticisms such as you made on national television - damaging criticism based on obvious and offensive falsehoods and seemingly inspired by personal malice.

So I repeat. You must apologise on next Monday's program for each and every falsehood you stated to my detriment in your previous program. I have in earlier correspondence demonstrated what those errors were and given my proofs. I will not repeat all those proofs here, but I will repeat what your errors were, in the same order, and how your reply not only fails to offer a plausible defence of them, but relies on what seems to me to be deceitful evasions, gross errors and false logic.

1: You now admit that you were wrong - that I had not in fact erred in saying Alison Broinowski had received three Australia Council grants. But in your program you didn't just say I'd made a simple mistake about those
grants. You in fact suggested I had lied about them - that I was "not the kind of man to let the truth stand in the way of an insult". But if my claim about those grants was correct, I clearly had not "let truth stand in the way of an insult".

Your "proof" of my having lied is gone. In fact, I strongly deny having told any lies in that column, or in any other, and
demand you publicly apologise for your libellous allegation.

2. You deny you made a mistake in claiming on your show that I was "hell bent on denouncing her (Ms Broinowski) as a traitor". As you know, I deny saying or even thinking any such thing of her. Indeed, in your response you concede that I did not make such a claim directly (something that your viewers would nevertheless have believed from your show), but you misstate several other far milder criticisms I made of her and claim that these "amount to" a "claim of betrayal".
You must, I'm sure, see how shoddy - perhaps even dishonest - your defence is. You falsely accused me of believing Ms Broinowski to be a "traitor". I deny it. Then you defend your false allegation by citing "evidence" you say proves I think her guilty of "betrayal" - which actually far less serious than calling her a "traitor". Let me illustrate your faulty logic: It
would be wrong to defend a false claim that David Marr is a drunken pub brawler, by simply proving he gets drunk. Nor can you provide evidence even for your new and equally false claim that I "repeatedly accused her in the Herald Sun
of betraying her country". Accusing Ms Broinowski of telling untruths about her country is not the same as accusing her of betraying it. So this latest allegation of yours is false, too. Your defence is absurd, and seems to me dishonest. You owe me an apology for this allegation.

3. You deny you made a mistake in claiming on your show that I said Ms Broinowski believes "we deserved this atrocity" in Bali. Now you admit that "sure, you quote (in the article) her disclaimer - "I don't say the tourists deserved their fate but, with hindsight, what happened to them is predictable". That is not a concession you made on your program, and it is a concession that destroys your allegation. By quoting Ms Broinowski, I made clear - as the context confirms - that the question of whether Ms Broinowski thinks we "deserved" the Bali bombing does not arise.

It is dismissed. Further, you fail to come up with any quote from my article containing words remotely similar to your inaccurate paraphrasing of it - that Ms Broinowski says "we deserved this atrocity". As I said in the article, my problem is that Ms Broinowski suggests we "invite the region's contempt" and implies that we must take responsibility for the wildest anti-Australian beliefs of some Malaysian xenophobe and others. I disagree with her analysis, and her apportioning of responsibility. But the main point is, as I wrote to you earlier, that there is a difference between saying we "invite" a dangerous contempt, and that we "deserve" what atrocities may follow, and it is a difference I
respected in my article, but which you seemingly fail to grasp.

As for Ms Broinowski not endorsing, as you now put it, "a number of (unspecified) racist and extremist statements by Asians hostile to Australia", that is not necessarily open to you to conclude. I draw your attention, for instance, not only to the quotes I have provided in my earlier email, but to Ms Broinowski's comments in her recent interview with
Terry Lane on Radio National, in which she indeed made clear her sympathies with the views of Asian commentators and politicians who hold, in my judgement, xenophobic if not racist views of Australia and its foreign policy for which we should not be held morally responsible.

For further discussion of this point, see my earlier email.

Again, you fail to prove my "mistake" or - in so far as it relates to this point - my "dishonesty", and I demand an apology.

4. You refuse to apologise for falsely accusing me on Media Watch of having "dishonestly" misrepresented Ms Broinowski's views - as in knowingly having twisted the truth. Indeed, you specifically repeat your false claim
that I acted "dishonestly". You repeat the allegation that I dishonestly ignored the difference between Ms Broinowski reporting allegations and endorsing them.

First, I deny - as I explain in point 3 - having ignored any such difference in my article. Nevertheless, as Ms Broinowski has herself made clear in several interviews, she indeed endorses some of the allegations against Australia that I find so absurd and offensive. Again, see her interview with Terry Lane, which I append. In truth, there seems little reason to
believe that Ms Broinowski herself makes any distinction between reporting and endorsing some of the objectionable views she mentions.

But you still fail to prove that even if there was a difference that I ignored, and wrongly so, that I did so "dishonestly", rather than through an honest error. Indeed, your reply indicates you do not understand this
important legal distinction.

5. You fail to apologise for having falsely accused me of being "not a man to let the truth stand in the way of an insult" - that is, of being a liar. Indeed, you again accuse me - and publically, by first having your reply posted on the Crikey webpage before I received it myself - of dishonesty. It is in fact telling that your reply does not give any defence at all
for your libellous claim, or offer any evidence, despite my demand for you to produce it. Indeed, the only "evidence" on your TV show you gave in evident proof of my lying in order to insult - the number of Arts Council grants Ms Broinowski in fact received - you now admit was false. I insist on an apology.

6. You refuse to apologise for falsely saying I accused Ms Broinowski of receiving Australia Council funding for her latest book. In fact, you insist this is precisely what I did mean and that "no other interpretation of (my) opening attack on Broinowski is possible". Not only do I deny that, but I point to the very next sentence in your defence, in which you state that I had first "complained about her getting 'so much help from the Australia Council to write books you've never
heard of' and then ... (had) moved straight into an attack on her latest book." How you put it in that sentence is precisely how I assumed moderately educated readers would understand my plain words, too - that Ms Broinowski,
as you say, had received grants to "write books you've never heard of" and had now produced "her latest book". That is the precise truth. That is the whole truth. First grants and obscure books. Now this one. And if there was any confusion about this history of Ms Broinowski's grants in anyone's mind, it is a confusion of utter inconsequence to the argument I was making.

But you didn't just accuse me on television, falsely, of making a mistake about this, but of lying about it, too. Of "not letting the truth stand in the way". Again, your response offers no proof of my intention to deceive. Nor do you suggest any possible motive or gain I might have had in doing so. You just make a false allegation without any proof of my having told an untruth, let alone a deliberate one. For this, too, I demand an apology.


7. You refuse to apologise for falsely accusing me of having stated that Ms Broinowski committed the "worst crime of all" in being an academic. You unequivocally attributed that opinion to me on your show as a fact. In your reply you now dismiss this alleged statement of fact as a mere "Media Watch quip", and even have the gall to declare it "encouraging" that I in fact believe the very opposite. So if you were wrong about this, why don't you apologise? In fact, I demand that you do.

It is not surprising to me, now knowing you, how you try to justify your unjustifiable inference. You say in your defence that you had asked me to back up my description of Ms Broinowski as a "grant-fed artist". In response, I provided you with a long but incomplete list of grants and other examples of public funding Ms Broinowski had received in her
career that would justify the description of her having been "grant-fed", or maintained by the public purse, just as you requested. For you to then interpret that list as "some philistine rhetoric about 'taxpayer-funded universities' which reeked of prejudice against her in particular and academics in general" is a grotesque stretching of interpretative
licence.

It is to present the answer to one question as the answer to another - and very different - one. It is, in other words, intellectually dishonest or incompetent.

8. You fail to apologise for falsely claiming as fact that what "really rankles" with me is Ms Broinowski's "ingratitude". I denied your claim, and in response you offer no defence of it of any kind. Instead, you simply repeat your false claim of my being irked by Ms Broinowski's "betrayal" - which is a very different motive to the one of "ingratitude". You are
defending a different allegation than the one you actually made. So for this false claim, too, I insist on an apology.

May I add, that for a commentator so used to dishing out abuse, you seem remarkably uncomfortable in the face of criticism. I note that in your anxiety, for instance, you have falsely claimed that I "threatened a defamation suit", "protested to ... the managing director and a number of senior executives of the ABC" and "viciously abused and misrepresented me in your column". None of those things are true, and I wonder why you said them. Nor need any of them be true, if you do the honourable thing and apologise for telling untruths. Telling untruths - isn't that what your own program is supposed to expose, not perpetrate?

I note in conclusion that you have failed to respond to my more important concerns about the way you have hijacked Media Watch and turned it into what seems a $1.4 million taxpayer-funded vehicle for attacking your ideological
enemies, and those against whom you seem to have a personal grudge. Are you aware, for instance, that you have attacked on your show some 69 media figures of the non-Left, usually with great venom, but no more than 17
of the far more numerous Left, and then only to flog them with a feather?

This, I believe, and not any "errors" on my part, lies behind the vicious, libellous and totally false allegations you made against me last Monday. And this is why I demand an apology. On Monday. In full.

Andrew Bolt


 
WHO'S THE VICTIM HERE?

two of the Cold War’s most infamous victims, Ethel and Julius Rosenberg have their case put to us by one of their sons, Robert Meeropol, on Auntie's Deep End last Wednesday night.

The Rosenbergs were "killed" agrees host Francis Leach. Victims of McCarthyist hysteria. Just like the situation in George W Bush's America, both host and guest agree.

Host Francis Leach is probably best known in Australia for his work as a Triple J presenter in the 1990s ...[and] has a strong social conscience and is a passionate supporter for the things he believes in, from Aboriginal reconciliation and youth issues .

And he has a license to misinform on Auntie's Radio National, the "Specialist arts and journalism network".

The Rosenbergs were important spies for Stalin.

They were convicted after trial and executed.

Since then the hard left has denied their guilt and treated them as martyrs. We are the first victims of American fascism the Rosenbergs claimed, and good leftists have always taken them at their word.

The latest edition of the Trotskyite International Socialist Review repeats the view that the Rosenbergs were not tried and executed because they were spies, but because the U.S. government needed a political show trial, and the Rosenbergs fit the bill.

The Age gave this line a run last month in the form of an apologia for his parents from Robert Meeropol.

Unfortunately for the friends of the Soviet Union, the service the Rosenbergs gave to Stalin is now established beyond reasonable doubt. Transcripts of Soviet radio traffic have been released, the so-called Venona transcripts. They were not available at the trial, of course. The post-Soviet KGB and its officers have confirmed it.

As Saul Bellow once said, “a great deal of intelligence can be invested in ignorance when the need for illusion is deep.”

Thank you, Auntie.


 
INEDUCABLE

Today's chat show for the stay-at-homes, Life Matters, takes on the issue of the death of Dr David Kelly. It's in the first hour if you're reading this within four weeks and have the bandwidth for audio.

The bubbly hostess, Julie McCrossin, mouths her minders' intro. To the effect that this is a matter of the objective scientist being crushed by the merciless Blair government.

She has a panel of three, two academics and one Graham Richardson. None of them suppports the communard view.

For a determined and serial background briefer like Kelly, political exposure is hardly a surprise, and not inherently unjust.

The two academics remind us of the general view that the Beeb sexed-up Kelly's comments (since he was not in a position to know what went in the intelligence advice to government, or who did what with it thereafter) and deliberately misinformed their Governors and Parliament about what they had done. One of the academics thinks that the relationship of the media to their leakers is the main issue now.

Towards the end of this long discussion, McCrossin puts Kelly's fate again as the responsibility of the Blair Government. As if she has heard not a word of what her guests have said.

It is Uncle's surmise that future scripts on the Kelly affair uttered by Radio National mouthpieces, from Breakfast to Late Night Live, will continue the "Blair killed him" line. A free blog to anyone who can prove me wrong.


 
SYLLOGISM FOR THE DAY

Sport detracts from thought according to Philip Appropriator Adams.

Philip Adams does not like sport.

Therefore Philip Adams is wrong.


Wednesday, July 23, 2003
 
WHEN THE COMMUNARDS at Auntie want to promote a cause, the calendar becomes as elastic as my great-aunt Gertie's garters.

You see, there needs to be some occasion for giving a plug to the thoughts of some ideological ally whose talents might not justify promotion through Radio National Breakfast.

What better occasion than the launch of a book? The internet is cluttered with blurb, and there is always the helpful publicity department if you're too lazy or stupid to work out the take-home message for yourself.

If the cause is good, and the actual launch passed you by, well, just invent one. It's better than saying "we picked this one because we like its politics."

For example, when Breakfast decided to plug this excellent book they pretended it had just been launched. Which, if your mindspace is delimited by what turns up on Auntie, is true enough for a post-modernist.

Or take today's case, a book on the inexpressible cruelty that is the mandatory detention of those who weren't invited to Australia and refuse to leave, titled Desert Sorrow. It may be a great book, or it may just be another stroking of the communards' political G-spots, you won't know unless you read it.

But you can't, according to Breakfast, because it comes out next month. From Wakefield Press. Which lists the title, and nothing else, on its website.

Trouble is, it's already been self-published, and you can buy it on-line.

Uncle, with his five readers, can't spoil Wakefield's marketing plan. Our nationally-networked and publicly-funded Auntie can sure help it.


Tuesday, July 22, 2003
 
LIKE ANY POWERFUL MONOPOLY, Auntie is not disposed to compromise, least of all with her shareholders.

Time for Minister Alston to get busy with alt-ABC.

I hope that [British] Ofcom and whatever inquiry team the government sets up to consider the renewal of the BBC charter will lift their eyes to the digital horizon, and not think only about the past few years of analogue broadcasting.

according to Barry Cox in the Guardian, with some relevant thoughts on promoting quality broadcasting in the digital age.

By the time the government switches off analogue television - say, in 10 years' time, though it could happen sooner - the majority of homes in Britain will effectively be electronic retail outlets...

[French channel] M6 has, in 15 years, turned itself into the second largest commercial broadcaster in France. It has a strong appeal to the 16-34 age group, and uses a significant number of its programmes to promote and support its own record label, its cinema and DVD distribution, its magazines, its merchandising, its home shopping and its events.

Programmes that don't fit these criteria - expensive drama, comedy and documentaries - will, in my view, rarely find a place on free channels in the digital era.

The choice in future will be either to let expensive TV shows tap into that pay market on a commercial basis - or see them confined to the BBC. This is what the BBC both expects and wants.


But the BBC chairman, Gavyn Davies, argued three years ago that in the kind of market I described at the beginning it would be difficult to justify the current position of the BBC. ..."If the broadcasting market were ever to approach the condition of the book publishing market it would be much more dubious whether the BBC and the licence fee could be justified in their present role."

In short, the BBC is, in its current form, a cultural tyranny - a largely benevolent one, admittedly, but a tyranny none the less. ...the BBC has great creative strength across the whole range of programmes, and understands the tastes of many different audiences. And that strength is precisely why it can and should afford, in the digital world, to rely on our willingness to pay for it voluntarily.

In Australia's case Auntie should give up her ambition to build a dominant role in digital channels on tax-payer funding.


 
LAST FRIDAY (yes, ABCWatch is keeping up as usual) Radio National Breakfast had an interview with scary climate man Stephen Schneider, who is here for a week to promote something or other. Might even be a book.

By the way, why does Auntie keep giving her US stroke-pals the following introduction: an advisor to former US administrations. She's old enough to know that half the US population have been advisers to former, or current US administrations, and most of them were ignored or are currently being ignored.

One of ABCWatch's most industrious readers, Jim T, recalls Schneider saying, in the October 1989 issue of Discover magazine:

"To capture the public imagination, we have to offer up some scary scenarios, make simplified dramatic statements and little mention of any doubts one might have. Each of us has to decide the right balance between being effective,
and being honest."


Set it to music and you have the communards' anthem.

This seems to be the full score:

"On the one hand, as scientists we are ethically bound to the scientific method, in effect promising to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but - which means that we must include all the doubts, the caveats, the ifs, ands, and buts. On the other hand, we are not just scientists but human beings as well. And like most people we'd like to see the world a better place, which in this context translates into our working to reduce the risk of potentially disastrous climatic change. To do that we need to get some broadbased support, to capture the public's imagination. That, of course, entails getting loads of media coverage. So we have to offer up scary scenarios, make simplified, dramatic statements, and make little mention of any doubts we might have. This 'double ethical bind' we frequently find ourselves in cannot be solved by any formula. Each of us has to decide what the right balance is between being effective and being honest. I hope that means being both."

No doubt it has made him famous. Good enough for Radio National.



 
DAVID MARR HAS OUTED MEDIA WATCH

Its game is now blogging.

While its in-tray spills out instances of misbehaviour of both the serious (Philip "Appropriator" Adams and Ken "Xerox" Davidson, Henny "never let a deadline stand in the way of a good story" Herald) and the ludicrous (Alan Ramsay, Max-weird McCutcheon) kinds, the Gruesome Crew are on holiday.

The only matters of substance last night were two low-grade fiskings.

Who did they deal with?

Andrew Bolt and Miranda Devine.

Not for misbehaviour, but for having opinions not favoured by Media Watch.

Will they deal with Adams and Davidson and Ramsay and Burchill and Auntie's numerous serial commentators later?

Go back to sleep.

If Auntie's formal response to Alston's complaints is the polite way of saying "piss off", this is her two-finger salute.

Later: Here is Andrew Bolt's response to Media Watch's hatchet.


 
IT AIN'T EASY BEING SEEN

David Kelly has topped himself after being exposed as the source claimed by the Beeb's Andrew Gilligan for his story that Blair's minders rigged an intelligence report.

Who's to blame?

Blair, shouts Henny Herald.

The BBC, rants the (UK) Sun.

The Australian thinks they're both in trouble.

If, as Kelly indicated, he didn't provide Gilligan with the story, or with the kind of evidence that could justify Gilligan attributing his story to an informed source rather than to speculation from whatever source, then the Beeb was indeed highly unprofessional. And unkind to Kelly, whose reputation he has now left entirely in their hands.

Henny is worried the same might happen to our own Andrew Wilkie. You recall Andrew was an intelligence insider who came out, but without bringing anything in the way of information with him. His field was housekeeping, but he "was on call to work on any war that came along". But not actually and in fact, apparently, Iraq.

Andrew is not happy.

"The bottom line is, I'm exhausted. I haven't had a chance to get a job. I don't know what the prospects there are. I want to get on with my life, but I don't have that opportunity."

Before Andrew does anything silly, Uncle wants to clarify his earlier comments. I may have mislead you.

I did not realise that Andrew was subpoenaed to London where the Parliamentary Select Committe, with not a little help from Andrew, made him look like a clot. That was not fair, and I hope our laws will be changed so that it never happens again.

And now it appears the US army has kidnapped him, just like David Hicks, because he is in Washington. "I certainly didn't expect that ... I would be standing here in Washington" he told Henny, presumably after escaping his captors.

While Andrew has been shackled by those anglophonic bastards overseas, the local bastard Howard has been saying unkind things about him: "somebody in the PM's office leaked to the media that I am having family problems, and that I was mentally unstable." Henny, and Uncle, can disprove that in Andrew's own words: "I think I'm holding up pretty well, no more than that." Better than being dead.

So let's all work together to repatriate Andrew Wilkie and provide him with a respite from the unwelcome attention that threatens his peace of mind.

Especially you, Henny.

(Andrew spoke to us by courtesy of Henny's page 9 yesterday, but her website is helping him forget).



Monday, July 21, 2003
 
AUNTIE SCORES ALSTON

2/68

Could have been worse.


 
NEVER GO OFF THE GROG

See what happens to you? Deep, deep bitterness.

Unc, I write to stridently dispute your suggestion that Australia's finest historian, Prof Manning Clark, is a "Duffer".

Back in 1979 I was fortunate enough to be doing my HSC at a school that, on occasion, was proud to operate under the lustrous sobriquet of "Manning Clark's Alma Mater". During that final school year we were honoured to be graced by the great man's presence. This momentous occasion was a passing out speech night where he was to extol to/for us the doubtless virtues of Australia's lush historical history. And old things.

It was a long and considered address. And entirely deserving of the passing out label. I therefore suggest to you that Prof M.C is not, in fact, a "Duffer" as you suggest, but a plain and simple, "Boring Old C**t"

Cheers
Tony the Teacher - a presently grogless blogger.



 
UNCLE WRONG?

Sorry, but you've got the wrong Jonathan Miller. One - Dr, now Sir, Jonathan - is indeed a multi-talented medic and director of opera (whom you don't have to be that ancient to have heard of: he was on ABC TV twice last week).

You mean Jonathan Miller was on Auntie TV last week and she didn't promote it? Bastards!

Or did you mean Kentucky State Treasury Jonathan Miller

The other is a commentator on matters relating to the media who used to work for Murdoch but who now, apparently, is a Conrad Black man. (The clue in the article is that he says he's 51; the more operatic medic is pushing 70.)

Two real Jonathan Millers is inconceivable. There's not enough space in the universe.


It is unlikely that more famous Miller, a veteran of BBC arts broadcasting in its great days under Huw Wheldon, feels any hostility to the license fee.

Don't see why not. He is intelligent.

If you mean the Jonathan Miller who's boss of AOL/Time Warner"I bet he hates the license fee.

I should say, though, that the less famous Miller mounts a good case: unusually for him, since his tone is often more loutish than the one he employs here. And any organisation that shouts Polly Toynbee a chicken diner - even at so ridiculous an establishment as Quo Vadis - obviously needs to have its charter examined.

If he's not the real Jonathan Miller, Alan, I don't give a stuff.



Sunday, July 20, 2003
 
I KNOW SHE LIED, but she's a poor weak old thing and someone told her to.

On Friday's news services Auntie told the nation that (using Uncle's close paraphrase generator) 'For the first time one of the leaders of the coalition of the willing has admitted that weapons of mass destruction might never be found.'

She was referring to Prime Minister Blair's address to the US Congress.

In which he said:

"Can we be sure that terrorism and wapons of mass destruction will join together? Let us say one thing: if we are wrong, we will have destroyed a threat that is at its least responsible for human carnage and suffering."

Can you see the difference?

Auntie's on-line news gives the matter a different spin entirely, but just as false:

British Prime Minister Tony Blair says history will forgive the current actions and policies of the "coalition of the willing" if terrorists do not obtain weapons of mass destruction. ... He obliquely addressed the mounting concerns that weapons of mass destruction are not going to be found in Iraq.

Well, that's your view Auntie. After Friday's blatant falsehood, you could be said to covering up your own mendaciousness.

The Australian could report what Blair said, without imagining what the Saddamites would like him to have said. So could the Financial Review (but you will have to pay to find out).

Not so the Canberra Times, which gave its reprint of the Guardian's story the sub head "Even if weapons of mass destruction are not found, British leader confident he'll be vindicated".

Ah, the Guardian.

If they lied, how could we expect Auntie not to?


 
WHO'S GREAT? wonders reader Jeremy. No problem for a communard.

I was just now flicking through the ABC website when I came across this
passage at the 'Big Ideas: Australia Forums' site:

"The first series of four programs, broadcast in July 2002, talked
about water, population, Indigenous issues and class. The second series,
broadcast in early 2003, tackled Australia's defence issues and the
legacy of our two great post war political leaders, Robert Menzies and Gough
Whitlam. In the final program, Michael Cathcart and Don Watson
discussed Australian historian Manning Clark."


By any objective standard little Johnny would have to rank higher than the Goof.

For that matter, who thinks the old duffer Clark a "great" historian? Not even Cathcart and Watson, but they've actually read him.