Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Andrew Bolt has acquired a time machine.

Every now and then Andrew Bolt does something so amazingly stupid it makes your head spin.
Here is his latest effort.
Back in October 2004 I posted this entry about Andrew Bolt shamelessly misrepresenting a scientific opinion regarding global warming from the Max Planck Institute.
Bolt's total lack of credibility on this matter was raised again yesterday by Clay Sampson in the August 22 forum.
Sampson highlighted how Bolt claimed, “...much recent warming may have been caused by a brighter sun, Germany's Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research says?” while the Max Planck Institute’s press release (dated August 2, 2004) stated, “solar activity affects the climate but plays only a minor role in the current global warming."
Clay then asked the misrepresenter to explain his discrepancy.
Bolt responded by saying, “My article appeared last year, in the month the institute put out a press release which put its (sic) position a little differently than it did in the older article you quote.”
But here is the big rub.
Bolta's article about global warming first appeared on October 3 2004 whereas the press statement he selectively quoted to defend his article was released on October 28.
So Bolt has defended his misrepresentation with information that did not exist at the time of writing.
Stunning. He must have access to a time machine which allows him to travel into the future, or, maybe he is just a classic bullshit artist who is in a hole, won't admit a mistake, and just keeps digging.
I sent the Bolt forum an email about this matter, highlighting Bolt's totally inadequate, and painfully wrong excuse, but it hasn't got a run. Guess who moderates the forum?
"Pathetic" is a good word.

Saturday, June 11, 2005

A big can of worms.

A few months ago Rupert Murdoch stressed the need for newspapers to adapt to new technologies to survive. Rupert is spot on here, and he shows good understanding of a younger more technically savy audience, who log on rather than visit their local newsagent to get their fix.
The Bolt Forum may well be part of Rupert's push into cyberspace, but it seems Andrew Bolt is so far out of his depth when it comes to this new medium.
As many postees to the Bolt Forum already know, Andrew shamelessly edits any well-constructed criticism of his work. If he doesn't use his "snips", Bolt responds by attacking his critics with childish abuse rather than answering any of their claims.
It is just like this awful site where people get banned at the drop of a hat. In fact it is worse.
So in other words the Bolt Forum is a sham, and somewhat of an intellectual wasteland because of the actions of the moderator. It is a shame really, because his forum could be a real marketplace of ideas rather than an internet version of commercial talk back radio.
But this post isn't about censorship or a new direction for the old media. And it isn't about Bolt's petty abuse or his sixth grade debating style. It is about honesty, or more specifically Bolt's lack of it.
On May 18 I sent this post to the Bolt Forum and Boltwatch.
The following day I received two emails form Bolt claiming he would not be running the critique because of "standards".
At 9.54 pm on May 19 I accused Bolt of censorship on Boltwatch and expressed a wish that one day his forum would be a true celebration of free speech. (See previous link just below the original post).
The following day, perhaps after Andrew had understood that the concept of universal free speech, Bolt published my critique on his forum. At the bottom of the page. He chose to answer the critique with petty abuse but, hey, if he has every right to debate in a childish manner.
When Bolt published my post, my accusations of censorship had become dated but on May 19 when I made those accusations they were 100% accurate, and I have emails in my in-box to prove it.
On June 7 in an unprovoked and fundamentally wrong attack, Bolt claimed I had accused him of, "refusing to run two of (my) turgid postings, both of which, to the great dismay of readers, I did indeed publish here." Sorry but on May 19 he had flatly refused to run two of my posts.
In response, I sent Andrew an email requesting an apology and correction because my accusations were accurate at the time of writing. At this stage he knew the score, but did he set the record straight? Was he honest with the forum participants?
Of course not, because being a conservative columnist means you never have to admit mistakes.
The following day, Bolt again (near the bottom) inferred that I was dishonest and had made false claims about censorship.
It is pretty obvious Bolt chose to censor my critique on May 19, changed his mind on May 20, and then attacks me for making false (eventhough they were true) allegations on June 7 and 8.
In other words his forum is just like his columns. An ethics free zone.
The ultimate irony is that on June 7 Bolt (a "champion" of free speech) wrote that he would censor posts for the "sheer pleasure of it". At least, for once in his life he was being honest.
But the truly great thing about this forum is that this goldmine of pettiness, hypocracy, and contradictions is all cached and waiting to be thrown back at him.

Monday, March 28, 2005

McManus and Hun lose appeal.

Well it is official. Gerard McManus and the Hun (in particular their editor Peter Blunders) are still fucking disgraces.
Greens Senator Bob Brown claimed McManus' reporting just before the 2004 Federal election about the Greens' policies was a grotesque beatup. And the Australian Press Council agreed with him.
Did the Herald Sun apologize? No they appealed the decision because being a journalist these days means never having to admit you are wrong.
Well the appeal failed and the Greens sent out this press release.
I've googled this, but nobody seems to care about our democracy being undermined by an out of control media anymore.

Saturday, March 05, 2005

I told you ages ago!

This just in, Gerard McManus is officially a fucking disgrace.
Here in all it's glory the Press Council's view of the reporting of the "Hack of 2004".
Does this mean he gets a promotion at the Herald Sun?



The Press Council has upheld a complaint by Senator Bob Brown against The Herald Sun, Melbourne, for an article, headed Greens back illegal drugs, published on 31 August 2004 in the lead-up to the 2004 federal election.
The Council views this article as irresponsible journalism.
In the article a number of false claims were made about Greens Party policies. The article was accompanied by a graphic entitled ‘What they stand for’. The graphic listed 20 broad proposals claimed to be advocated by the Greens.
Sen. Brown said a number of claims made by the paper in the article or graphic were wrong, including:
? an alleged policy of a 33% hike in company tax to at least 49 cents in the dollar (which did not reflect current Greens policy);
? suggestions that people would be forced to ride bicycles more often and eat less meat and business people to use alternatives such as rail, boat and teleconferencing (no coercion is advocated in the policies);
? existence of policies to keep out business immigrants, introduce taxes on family homes, drive farmers from their land and reduce infrastructure to 1995 levels (no such policies exists, Sen. Brown says); and
? a desire to cut the population by 2 million (Sen. Brown says there is no such policy and the claim is based on a Liberal Party paper).
Additionally, regarding the headline on the article, Sen. Brown said that it was ‘manifestly wrong’ and that Greens policy was a call for ‘a study of options’.
Given the sweeping and unqualified nature of the claims, the newspaper ought to have checked the veracity and currency of the policy claims. Prior to the publication of the article, the reporter rang Sen. Brown’s office asking for the Greens’ policies. He was informed ‘that all current policies were available on the website’. There is evidence that, as well as any use made of the Party’s website in writing the article, the reporter preferred other statements of Greens’ policies, some erroneous and hostile to the Greens.
In the context of an approaching election, the potential damage was considerable. The actual electoral impact cannot be known but readers were seriously misled. On the day of publication, Senator Brown addressed his concerns with the article to the bylined journalist during a press conference, but no redress was forthcoming. In fact, a follow-up article, published the next day, was described by Sen. Brown as “derogatory”.
An article by Sen. Brown, which responded to some points in the 31 August article, as well as comments by Treasurer Costello in a subsequent article, was published by the paper a month later.
The claims made in the original article were seriously inaccurate and breached the Council’s guiding principles of checking the accuracy of what is reported, taking prompt measures to counter the effects of harmfully inaccurate reporting, ensuring that the facts are not distorted, and being fair and balanced in reports on matters of public concern.

Friday, October 08, 2004

McManus Wins

After a six week campaign it is finally time to award the "Hack of 2004" trophy to the journalist who has done the least for fair and balanced coverage.

Firstly to a couple of preliminary awards.

Worst story of the campaign goes to Steven Wardell for his hack job on Labor candidate Ivan Molloy. Wardell was up against some stiff competition but his ability to add a totally inacurate context to a photo to back up his story, was the decisive factor. Congratulations Steven.

Most disgraceful editor of the campaign goes to Peter Blunden in a landslide. Not only did he allow reporters in his paper to shamelessly misrepresent the Greens policies, he defended the stories on ABC radio, and backed them up with a series of editorials. I haven't seen a greater series of political lies since the children overboard affair.

Worst opinion piece of the campaign. I could have given this to a hard news story in the Herald Sun or Daily Telegraph because the lines are now so blurred it is hard to tell where news starts and comment ends. But the winner is Andrew Bolt for shamelessly misrepresenting scientific data in this article. Bolt claims, "much recent warming may have been caused by a brighter sun, Germany's Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research says", but have a look at the Institute's press release.

Worst editorial goes to the Herald Sunday Sun for insulting the intelligence of their readers beyond what is humanly possible.

The "God is a conservative award" is a dead heat with Andrew Bolt and Janet Albrechtsen leading the way.

The Dutch Reform Church award for divisive journalism goes to Andrew Bolt and he wonders why people think he is a racist.

Worst headline. It was "Greens Grab for Widow's Millions" in the Herald Sun's paper edition, but for legal reasons it has been changed on their web site to Anger over grab for widow's millions. I seriously hope the Herald Sun gets sued.

Second prize for "The Hack of 2004" goes to Glenn Milne for repeated pro-Liberal beatups. No doubt Milne is in line for a promotion at News Ltd.

And now the big one. Drum roll please. The winner of the "Hack of 2004" award for doing the least for fair and balanced journalism goes to Gerard McManus.
McManus got off to a strong start misrepresenting the Greens drug policy and just would not give up.
Perhaps it was the public humiliation McManus recieved at the hands of Bob Brown in front of the entire press gallery that made the "Hack of 2004" award winner so determined to destroy the Greens. McManus just didn't care how low his credibility sunk.
McManus attacked the Greens economic credentials with a pathetic analysis of business investment during the "recession we had to have".

He then gave the Molloy beatup a kick along, before sealing "The Hack" with another pathetically partisan attack on the Greens tax policy.
Congratulations Gerard, Perhaps a holiday in North Korea may do you some good. You may learn to respect democracy a little more.

Bury that damn Fourth Estate. It's bad for business.

October 8 2004, is the day the Fourth Estate official died in Australia with The Age endorsing a serial liar.
Those who want to see a little bit of the back room shenanigans behind the editorial can visit Crikey.
The Age endorsed Labor in 2001 because of Mr Howard’s handling of the Tampa. We now know the whole Liberal campaign in 2001 was based on a series of bold political lies. The government’s dishonesty spectacularly continued with WMDs in Iraq and spurned web sites like this one. The Age, weakly argues, “Given our involvement (in Iraq), surely Mr Howard owes us more than silence on these questions (about absence of WMDs).”
Meanwhile most of their readers would be arguing going to war for WMDs that did not exist, and the current shambles in Iraq is enough justification to kick the conservative’s out.
No wonder moral at The Age is “at an all time low” and circulations continue to stumble along.
Up in Sydney, the Morning Herald sat on the fence and their editorial was all about themselves. Some brilliant navel gazing going on up in the harbour city.
Meanwhile the Green bashing continues at the Herald Sun with this story about prisoners rights. Welcome to the brave new world of Rupert’s Australian press where journos just join the campaign. At least this election it is the Greens rather than defenceless asylum seekers being demonised. More about this later.
No surprise that the Daily Telegraph argues Howard deserves another term in their editorial.
The editorial forgave Howard for no WMDs but excused his actions because of the intelligence he received.
The rest of the editorial could have been written by Liberal Party spin doctors.
Crikey slams the rest of the media as well as Howard in their pre-election editorial. Thankyou Crikey for offering something other than gutteral self interest. No doubt Crikey.com will pick up plenty of ex-Age readers.
It was a convincing clean sweep for Howard in the News Ltd rags, with The Australian, Courier Mail, and Adelaide Advertiser all supporting Rupert's champion.
In what can only be described as the most staggering omission in newspaper history in this country, the words "wmds" and "weapons of mass destruction" were totally absent from every News Ltd editorial bar one.
The media was once the lifeblood of democracy in Australia. It has been drained for commercial interests.
Farewell Democracy. RIP.

Thursday, October 07, 2004

McManus and Drugs.

If Gerard McManus wasn’t already a clear cut favourite for the “Hack of 2004” award, he certainly is after this effort in the Herald Sun.

It is truly staggering that this dickhead, and I don’t use that word very often, can still misrepresent the Green’s drug policy. McManus knows the Greens want to investigate the effectiveness of the controlled use of so-called party drugs, yet he continues to claim the Greens want to “regulate the supply of ecstasy”. Absolute disgrace and he knows it, and so does editor Peter Blunden, who defended the paper’s reporting of Green’s drug policy on 774 ABC yesterday.

McManus then slams the Greens for wanting to introduce or increase 40 taxes. In an article designed to do as much damage as possible, he fails to mention the Green’s policies of reducing taxes on some things (e.g. wages below the poverty line) and ending other taxes entirely (e.g. GST on public transport).

Of course McManus would not dream on mentioning the Liberal’s alleged 144 new or increased taxes since 1996.

McManus then gets some quotes from a Neo-con pin head from the IPA to fill out the story.

I just love his last paragraph,”The Greens also have a social policy with an approach to welfare that guarantees a minimum income regardless of whether people work.” Gerard you dickhead, every party has this policy in some form or another. Have you heard about the dole, old age pension, Austudy, disability pensions, retired servemen’s pensions. They have been around for a while.

McManus looks like he may have the “Hack of 2004” trophy in the bag and it would take something pretty special to knock him off.

Speaking of things pretty special, I actually agreed with Alan Jones the other day. In a moment of rare clarity, Jonesy argued, “Bring it (The Anglican Church) up to date and ordain women as Bishops.” A couple of days later it was business as usual with Jones telling his audience to do what he was doing and put the Greens last. Even behind Family first who don’t allow gay marriage eh Alan?

Why don’t you just give the PM a big kiss Michael Harvey? More Green bashing at the end of the story without a reply.

The Greens were clubbed like baby seals again in the Herald Sun editorial.

Terry McCrann continued the sycophantic coverage by attacking anyone critical of his beloved PM.

The Herald Sun certainly had a big day out.

Here is my prediction for their final editorial. John Howard will be portrayed as a God-like figure in a turbulent world while Latham will have to do a deal with the devil (the Greens) to get into office. That of course would spell doom for the entire nation. Vote Liberal or we are all going to die horrible deaths.

It wasn’t all bad for Rupert’s tabloids with Simon Benson cutting through Howard’s spin to produce this excellent story about the Liberal’s forest package. Please Simon, go down to Melbourne to teach McManus how to investigate, rather than peddle spin.

On to the Daily Telegraph.

Malcolm Farr donned the tutu and grabbed some pom poms to cheer Peter Costello while the PM scored the glamour shot on page one getting a pat on the shoulder from 'Joe Lunch Box'. The headline “Closing In” certainly wasn’t about WMDs.

Over at Rupert’s “quality” paper, Paul Kelly argues Latham’s problem is people don’t know him as a leader, while David Uren has blown all his chances of winning “The Hack” with this fine effort.

Matt Price must be a Faulty Towers fan judging from his piece about not mentioning the war. Price has been been a good read this election.

On a non-journalism matter, Corangamite challenger Peter McMullin has just released what is probably the most brutal and personnel election material I have ever seen. Cards are now floating around the electorate with a “photo-shopped” road sign saying, $14,000 of Federal funding used to seal driveway of sitting MP Stewart McArthur. The other side of the card is an arial photo of McArthur’s 35 room country estate. Very Nasty, but having said that, Liberal member has just called our troops in Iraq “peace keepers” and claims WMDs may still be found in Iraq, so I can’t say I have much sympathy for someone so deluded.

Nuff said, will award the Hack tomorrow night.

Wednesday, October 06, 2004

Midweek Drugs and Booze session.

The Greens got another kicking for their “harm minimisation” drugs policy with zero-tolerance Howard appointee, Major Brian Watters teeing off to Neil Wilson from the Herald Sun.

Just a thought Neil, printing a Green response would make the story a little more balanced. Their Victorian number is 96021141. They may have pointed you to this story in the very same edition.

To keep the mind altering drugs theme going, the Herald Sun published this article about pisshead Andrew Bartlett. Michael Harvey managed to give both minor parties a good kicking.

If Latham knew the Herald Sun was going to go nuts on drugs and booze, perhaps he would have revised his steady and sober reference.

Have a look at their front page on their web site. Yes the paper is a comic.

Are we seeing the Herald Sun going back to the “Labor about to seize power” tactic? In my opinion they are portraying Latham as an arrogant person about to get something he doesn’t deserve.

To prove I’m not a rampant anti-Murdoch “dude”, the Daily Telegraph produced an excellent editorial re costings. In another plus for the Murdoch press, Michael McKinnon is a dead set legend. More please.

Meanwhile Janet Albretchsen’s article can be summed up in one quick phrase. Lefty God-botherers should stay the hell out of politics, while conservative Christians are fine. The double standards are truly fantastic.

Tuesday, October 05, 2004

Iraq; The Sleeper that will hurt Labor, and a front page chop.

Today’s Herald Sun went the hack over Labor’s forest policy with this front page story under the massive headline “LATHAM REVOLT”.
Don’t you just love the language used by Gerard McManus, John Ferguson and Geraldine Mitchell. There was a “stinging backlash” and “The plan was... savaged by key union...”. Latham “was locked in talks to try to placate Tasmanian Premier Paul Lennon and industry representatives.” but there was $800mil “To cut the pain of major (job) losses.” With reporting like this no wonder “The proposal sparked seething resentment”.
Votes for all three journos.

The Herald Sun editorial has turned the “sleeper” issue of Iraq into an election liability for Latham. Surely after going to war for WMDs that did not exist, Iraq would be a liability for the government. Not according to Rupert.

At least his papers are consistent. Melbourne’s Herald Sun Sunday produced this editorial on Iraq which was described by Crikey as the worst editorial in the country. Rupert's other Sunday rags were all pro-Howard.

And if anyone doubted Terry McCrann wasn’t a Liberal lackey have a look at this.