May 4, 2007
Murdoch on owning the Wall Street Journal
So Rupert Murdoch wants to buy the Wall Street Journal for $5 billion, but admits he never reads or understands every article. In an interview with the International Herald Tribune, Murdoch went to great lengths to promote his love of journalism.
While Murdoch went to great pains to explain that he sees himself as a lifelong newspaperman who learned journalism from his father in Australia, he also tried to say that his reputation as an interloper owner was overstated. He said he was not involved with the news operations of the higher-end newspapers, although he takes a closer role in tabloids like The Sun in London and The New York Post.
But his denials about interfering in the editorial work of his many media assets are hollow, to say the least. In Australia, the UK and the US, Murdoch has a long and well-documented history of doing the opposite. His senior editors are all handpicked loyalists and who could forget that every one of Murdoch’s papers and the Fox network have been strong supporters of the Bush-Blair-Howard axle of weevils in Iraq from day one.
Nice joke Mr Murdoch, but try pulling the other one.
Interestingly, the Journal itself is reporting this story with a fairly positive spin, even suggesting that Murdoch’s lieutenants are keen to win over staff reporters as well as the Bancroft family which currently owns most of the shares in the parent company.
This is not so unusual, the reporting of ‘business’ news, when the media property itself is part of the story, is often done this way. It’s one way of signaling to share holders that the deal is perhaps in their best interests. I’m sure, though, that the union members at the WSJ will not be so easily fooled by the snake oil merchants promising them the moon.
BTW: you can actually watch the great documentary about Fox News, Outfoxed, on YouTube. If you haven’t seen it, it’s not a bad way to spend a couple of hours in front of the computer not downloading you know what.
May 4, 2007
OK! wins Zeta Jones picture battle
A British magazine has won a House of Lords appeal against a rival publication that published photos as a way of ‘spoiling’ its exclusive deal with Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta-Jones to print images from their wedding.
The judges’ ruling is interesting. They decided that OK! magazine had paid for the right to impose a confidentiality agreement on wedding guests, one of whom is presumed to have taken the secret photos and sold them to rival Hello magazine.
So let’s put this in perspective:
Two rich bums decide they want to make money by selling pictures of their celebrity-splashed wedding to a magazine. They sign an exclusive and then impose a confidentiality agreement on their guests (are you following this Aunty Beryl?). A court agrees that because money has changed hands, the guests are bound by this dubious contract.
It seems to me that the rights of the wedding guests to attend said celebration, get pissed and behave like idiots have been infringed here.
A word of warning. If you’re planning a wedding, make sure you sign a confidentiality agreement with the photographer and ban your guests from taking happy snaps. Your exclusive with the Woman’s Weekly could be at risk.
If the worst happens, you could always take the guest’s cameras and feed them to that big sloppy dog on television who seems to like chowing down on the odd Canon sure-shot.
May 4, 2007
Obama in website battle with blogger
Well at least the phony American presidential election campaign period promises to be interesting. Last week I mentioned how Republican candidate John McCain had become a reluctant download star on the YouTube website. Now it seems that Democratic hopeful Barak Obama has got himself into a fight with a former fan.
Joe Anthony had set up a ‘tribute’ page for Barak on MySpace, but now the candidate has wrestled control away, with the help of the MySpace spat-sorters.
Mr Anthony was demanding tens of millions of dollars to hand over the site, but Barak’s team got it for free.
Nice one Mr Presidential-hopeful. You need the votes of the young and black Americans who hate George Bush, but you can’t keep your hands of the kids’ toys. Shame on you. A bit of trust would be a useful character trait for a controversial candidate. Now you just look like a suit from Sony.
Seriously though, if the US presidential campaign was based on popularity, in the same way as MySpace page rankings, some 12-year-old from Butte, Montana would be the perfect choice. She couldn’t do a worse job than the incumbent and the candidates are all looking greedy and ungrateful, just like in every other presidential election since… When? Well, way before the Vietnam war anyway.
Who was the last American president who wasn’t a rich, white and almost-dead male? Yep, tough question.
Ok, ok, I know you want to check out Barak’s pages. Just how cool can this guy get, click through here to find out.
May 4, 2007
Campbell: ‘I’m allergic to alcohol’ – Digital Spy:
This must be a day for dumbduck celebrities to make amends – not quite apologies mind. Alan Jones claim to be ‘sincere’ [see below] and now a supermodel who’s renowned for her tantrums when imbibing too much of the happy juice (in liquid and powder form) says it’s her ‘allergies’.
Take a bow, Naomi Campbell.
“According to BreakingNews.ie, Campbell has decided to give up drinking. She explained: ‘I choose not to drink today in my life because I find that I’m allergic to alcohol. I’m not someone that’s in denial of my problems and I’m not going to lie about my problems and I’m not hiding my problems.”
Denial? Naomi, you’re positively gushing! She hasn’t been in the news much since she finished her uber-fashionable gig as a cleaning lady – to atone for previous sins.
This is a blog about journalism and alcohol, but I’ve never stooped so low as to blame my love of martinis on a medical condition. Though I have been known to have one or two for purely ‘medicinal’ purposes.
In fact, I’m going to buy a bottle of reasonable gin and some olives on the way home. I’ve had a tough week here in the blogosphere, spent most of it at home in mi sick bed.
Now’s the time to live a little, before the allergies kick in.
May 4, 2007
Palestinians know whereabouts of kidnapped BBC man: Abbas. 03/05/2007. ABC News Online
Agence France Press reported this week that kidnapped BBC reporter Alan Johnston is being held in Gaza and that the Palestinian authorities know where he is. Apparently they haven’t launched a rescue operation because they are worried he’ll be killed.
There’s been no official or verifiable information about Alan since it was reported in mid-April that he was being held, or had already been killed by a little-known group called Tawheed & Jihad.
May 4, 2007
Whitlam called to Balibo Five inquest. 03/05/2007. ABC News Online
This is a story that just won’t go away. Thirty years ago, on October 16 1975, two Australians, two Britons and a
a New Zealander were murdered by Indonesian soldiers during that country’s invasion of East Timor. The five, reporter Greg Shackleton, 27, sound recordist Tony Stewart, 21, cameraman Gary Cunningham, 27, cameraman Brian Peters, 29, and reporter Malcolm Rennie, 28 were in the town of Balibo when the Indonesians attacked. They were shot in cold blood.
There’s always been a suggestion that the then Labor government, led by PM Gough Whitlam, was complicit in the Indonesians’ bloody take-over.
I wonder if Gough can remember what happened back in 1975. He’ll certainly never forget November the 11th,the day he was sacked by the Governor General, but will he be able to recall any meetings with Indonesian and American officials at which the decision to chop off any chance of East Timorese independence was relayed to him?
If I was Gough, I’d be claiming Altzeimer’s has finally taken its toll. That would be consistent with the various memoirs he’s written and his constant denials of Australian knowledge.
Read more at the SMH Online
and this background piece at Scoop which covers some of the ‘untold’ story about a high-level cover-up. the case has been in and out of the spotlight for many years. Reporters Without Borders recently reported on secrecy surrounding the coronial inquest when it began in February 2007.
Greg Shackleton’s wife, Shirley, has fought tirelessly for the true story of her husband’s murder to be told. Here’s a grab of a story from the Dart Center for journalism and trauma, from October last year:
Shirley Shackleton—whose husband, Australian journalist Greg Shackleton, was murdered in East Timor in 1975—has been asking the same question for 30 years: “I want to know what happened to my husband and his colleagues,” she says. “Why were these people murdered in cold blood?”
A very good question, it’s about time someone was held responsible.
Photo by Cait McMahon
May 4, 2007
Jones comments on Coates were ‘honestly held’ opinion. 04/05/2007. ABC News Online
Ah, Alan Jones, love him or hate him you’ve got to give the guy credit for two massive balls.
As the broadcaster of choice for a range of conservative causes he’s never short of a topic to blag about, or a strawdog to kick.
Now he’s in trouble for defaming one of Australia’s leading sports administrators. He’s going the “honest Al” route here claiming the comments were based on his sincere beliefs.
I’m sure the jury won’t be fooled, this man had a sincerity bypass as a young man, the sincerity sac was replaced with giant money bags.
May 4, 2007
Te Waha Nui Online – AUT
My colleague, Associate Professor David Robie, has posted some interesting student work on ethical dilemmas on the Te Waha Nui website.The commentaries are from an assignment set in the AUT journalism paper Public Affairs Reporting.
Students have tackled some interesting topics:
- When pictures may be lying: Adnan Hajj digitally altered a dramatic photo of destruction in Beirut during last year’s attacks by Israeli jets. He added extra smoke to a picture, but the crudeness of the digital manipulation meant he got caught – by bloggers.
- Celebrity in the media: The death of Anna Nicole Smith and images of her body being manhandled into an ambulance created a media feeding frenzy that resembled the world-wide reaction to the death of Princess Diana in 1996. Why are we so fascinated with the horribly delicious aspects of celebrity drug and booze scandals?
- Mental health and media responsibility: When privacy and the public’s right to know collide there’s always heated debate. But where is the line in the sand when the media’s exposure of a mental health patient’s work history causes him to be sacked from a job he loves?
- Cash-for-comment Kiwi-style: If a journalist receives a grant to produce a series of stories, is their independence compromised? Does this blur the line between public relations and journalism?
- Bloody Mary: How an episode of South Park has upset New Zealand’s Catholic Bishops and stirred the free speech debate.
Congratulations to Spike, Sarah G, Charlotte, Pricscilla, Eleanor, Todd and Sarah L.
It’s good to see that journalism students don’t lose their sense of ethics and their idealism when confronted with some of the less seemly aspects of their chosen profession. Let’s hope that as the new generation comes into its own in the newsrooms of the future that these lessons are not forgotten.