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 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.

Sunday, October 03, 2004

Bolt and global warming science.

I love reading Andrew Bolt especially when he does naughty things.

In his latest column about global warming Bolta claims, “In fact, much recent warming may have been caused by a brighter sun, Germany's Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research says.”

But do they really say that?

Have a look here, here, here, and the big one here.

I just love the Max Planck Institute’s press release that says “Studies at the Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research reveal: solar activity affects the climate but plays only a minor role in the current global warming.”

Kind of makes a mockery of Bolt’s claims.

Andrew, it isn’t nice misrepresenting scientists, and it is against the journalist's code of ethics. Yes you are an embarrassment to the profession.

2 votes for the "Hack of 2004".

The first Pro-Howard editorial, Milne

Well Surprise, surprise, surprise. The Sunday Herald Sun has launched the first of Rupert’s pro Liberal editorials.

It was a classic “good vs evil” piece that dragged up recent terrorist attacks around the world. The editorial then claimed “Mark Latham, an ill-disciplined man, who as Labor leader is still to fully take shape, heedlessly said he wanted the troops ‘home by Christmas’”. It then brought out the ANZAC spirit from the battlefields of Turkey and Europe.

In a stunning 572-word editorial, the word “Iraq” was not used once. Coincidence, I think not.

Glenn Milne has again put himself in the running for “Hack of 2004” with this article about “Latham’s Tax Evasion”.

Milne’s article claimed Latham refused to rule out increasing taxes if he was elected, and then told readers the “Prime Minister John Howard has already made such a pledge (not to increase taxes)”.

And here lies the problem of politics in Australia today.

When asked if Labor would rule out increased taxes, Latham should just say, “I cannot rule that out because economic conditions do change and a we may be forced to raise taxes to keep the budget in surplus”. The only problem with that logical and truthful approach is hacks like Milne start to scream like little girls.

When Howard makes pledges not to increase taxes (a la Bush senior’s “read my lips” crap) there is very little scrutiny of the promise. In this article, Milne treats the pledge as something holier than the Ten Commandments.

Milne then goes on to slam Labor about not putting their promises in to Treasury to be costed. Sure they should be all be officially costed and Milne has a point, but the fact he doesn’t even mention the Liberals are doing exactly the same thing, is more than a little disturbing. Is Milne Australia's most shameless pro-Liberal hack?

Lincoln Wright gave the Libs a free kick with the report about School Ratings. Gee Lincoln, Why couldn’t you quote someone from the teachers union, state governments, or even parents?

Having said that, Gerard McManus returned the favour for Labor’s dental announcement.

Sportsbet are offering $2.35 that the Daily Telegraph and Herald Sun do not put the word "Iraq" into their editorials. They are also offering 20,000 to one that Rupert's tabloids will endorse Labor. Sorry that isn't true, but you guys know what I mean.

Friday, October 01, 2004

Iraq and editorials

Well this editorial just cracks me up. I didn't know if the Daily Telegraph editorial was an ad for Rupert's Sky news, was an ABC bashing exercise, or was just someone having a laugh.

I particularly love this bit.

"DURING election campaigns, the public depends on the news media for a thorough account of party offerings so that on the day of the ballot, voters feel they have had access to the information they have needed to help them decide their vote.

And that's a responsibility which media outlets are obliged to take very seriously because at election time, it's their work only which makes a critical element of democracy – the ability to make a free and informed choice – possible."

So true Daily Telegraph, just a shame last election you reported every lie told by the Liberal Party as a gospel truth. I'll never forget your front page that screamed "Children Overboard; Water Torture". But I digress.

With Iraq and honesty in government set to become the key issue in the last week of the campaign, Rupert's rags have launched a pre-emptive strike on Labor's bring them home by Christmas policy.

"Standing Firm..." is the best option in The Australian and Dennis Shanahan has a go at the troops home by Christmas policy. He also managed to make the biggest understatement of the campaign by declaring, "Howard's credibility has suffered as a result of the absence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq".

The Australian's editorial paints the "it-aint-that-bad" picture and claims
"Polls have consistently shown a "silent majority" of Iraqis who believe life is better now than under Saddam Hussein, and who believe democracy can succeed." In an optimistic mood the editorial then argue, "The January election will be a major step towards bringing renegade Sunni and Shia groups, including the army of Shia cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, to the negotiating table."

Perhaps Stutchy should have actually read his paper before telling us all will be fine.

With the Ivan Malloy beatup dying a natural death, the tabloids are most likely to paint Latham as the bad guy in Iraq and, dare I say it, "soft on terrorism" over the next week.