Rupert Rinehart: Australia’s new fair and balanced (free) news media

June 24, 2012

Let’s drop the pretence that there is freedom of the press in Australia.

Let’s also recognise that the Rupert Rinehart media future is anti-democratic and a threat to our collective rights as citizens to have freedom of speech and freedom of expression.

Make no mistake, the Rupert Rinehart media want it all for themselves. Their freedom of the press comes at the expense of our freedom of thought and our freedom of action.

It is a nonsense to pretend that a Gina Rinehart controlled Fairfax represents the exercise of free speech just as it is bullshit to argue that New Limited is a paradigm example of freedom of expression in action.

Tx: Road less travelled – click for link

Murdoch sets the tone at News Limited and it is he alone who has freedom of speech across his newspaper titles. His minions either carry out his wishes or find themselves another job.

If Rinehart gets her way – and she will – then it is she who will set the editorial tone across the Fairfax titles. Her interest in Fairfax is not commercial, its political. The idea that she is a white knight who will turn around the fortunes of the failing company is a fairy tale.

‘What’s the problem?’ the free speech fundamentalists will ask. They will answer for themselves. The owner of the business, or in Gina’s case, the major shareholder, has the right to set the editorial line.

‘After all, it is their paper to command.’ The fundamentalists will then cross their arms with a smug smile of the self-satisfying undergraduate mass debater plastered across their chops.

Unfortunately, this argument is jibber jabber of the worst order.

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Talking Points: The Australian’s cosy little club of groupthinkers

May 25, 2012

If you get to the bottom there is a topical easter egg surprise for loyal readers.

Over recent months many of my colleagues in the Journalism Education Association of Australia (JEAA) have attempted to get responses to The Australian’s attacks on us (over many months) published. We have had very little luck. One open letter that was sent from the association with more than 50 signatures was made available as a PDF from a deep recess of The Australian’s website,but not easily searchable and just last week I received this response from editor of Media Diary Nick Leys.

A right-of-reply @leysie style

Some of the attacks have centred on Dr Matthew Ricketson who was engaged to assist with the Independent Media Inquiry. The Australian‘s coverage of this issue has been appalling and one-sided, but when Matthew tried to defend himself he was not given space, instead Nick Leys cobbled together a piece from second-hand sources. It is what The Australian‘s editor-in-chief Chris Mitchell would call “four or five out of 10” journalism.

Editor in chief of The Australian Chris Mitchell questions the journalistic credentials of those passing judgment on the industry. “Ricketson, Simons and their mate Andrew Dodd (Crikey contributor and Swinburne University of Technology journalism course convener) all worked for The Australian and you would give them barely a pass mark as journalists,” he says.

“Seriously. People who I would score four or five out of 10 are trying to determine the future of media regulation in Australia. Everyone in the business knows it is a self-serving joke and these people are dupes for Conroy.”

Chris Mitchell quoted approvingly and at length in his own newspaper. A cosy club Chris – you’re the patron

As the national association representing journalism educators and academics, you might think that the JEAA would be given some space to respond to criticisms and abuse hurled at us. For some reason, we are not considered worthy of space in the paper’s letters pages, let alone to write a column.

We have been accused of being a “cosy club” prone to  “groupthink” even though there are many disagreements among us. It is a puzzling charge and one that The Australian rejects when it is levelled against them.

It is puzzling because the op-ed pages of The Australian display a remarkable and consistent commitment to groupthink. Its columnists all sing off the same conservative songsheet with the libertarian soloists taking center stage all too often.

However, it might come as a surprise to readers of our national broadsheet that this same groupthink is also displayed in the letters pages.

For example, Mr Brenton Minge, of suburban Bulimba in Brisbane, must be one of the luckiest writers of letters to the editor in Australia. A Google search shows up a Brenton Minge who it seems has a  bent for letter writing, particularly on topics of religion, science and the “Leftist” ABC.  Maybe this is why he so popular with The Australian‘s letters editor.

Mr Minge has had nine letters published in The Australian’s Talking Points column since May 2011, for a total of around 1400 words. He is not the only one.

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The rhetoric of chattering classes disguises anti-worker bias in limited news

August 30, 2011

When the ruling class feels strong and the political leadership of the labour movement is corrupt to the core, a political paralysis descends on the parliamentary wing of the working class intelligentsia.
The constant chattering about the so-called “chattering classes” deafens us to the hardline surge now underway in Australian public life.

One of the worst offenders is the new enfante terrible in the Murdoch stable – imported stable bully-boy Brendan O’Neill. He is a serial offender when it comes to to trash-mouthing the so-called chattering classes. In harness with the dreadful Bolter, O’Neill is gung-ho for intellectual-bashing, public sector trashing, culture wars scorched-earth pollicy-wielding plonker.

O’Neill is even described as an “ex-Trotskyist” on The Australian’s website. Fuck-that-for-a-fucking-joke. The Murdoch mandarins love to dress up their tame spouters as ex-lefities. It plays to their prejudice and their perceived audience. It also silences any idea that the op-ed pages are not Foxified – that is “fair and balanced”.

The Australian's new "ex-left" attack dog

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Michael Laws’ manifesto: hang’em high and let me “ogle”

August 15, 2010

As a former merchant of the mendacious, one knows that if one is to lie in public, the lie must always be maintained in private. There it does its most useful work – convincing friends and allies to spread the falsehood as truth.

[Michael Laws, Sunday Star Times, 8 August 2008]

The mouth of Whanganui is madly scrambling to retain any credibility in the aftermath of revelations he’s been having some kind of relationship with an Auckland woman who used to be a prostitute and a P addict.

I can’t help but be mildly nauseated by Laws’ fake contrition and hypocrisy. As the story oozed out this weekend Laws was clearly on the backfoot, but I don’t think we can believe a word he says.

Last night Laws, a Star-Times columnist and RadioLive talkback host, confirmed he was aware of Sperling’s house arrest and that she was wearing an electronically monitored anklet during their encounters.

Despite his strong views on law and order, Laws was not fazed by the anklet.

“Why would I be? Here was somebody who had plunged to the depths of a P addiction and enormous depravation, who had got absolutely on the wrong side of the law,” he said.

“I’m very supportive of the idea of people making amends for things they have done wrong in their lives.”

[Laws, lover together again to mend friendship]

Really Michael?  Do you really believe in second chances for P-addicts and women who can’t look after their kids adequately? Are you sure?

Then whey over the last few years have you continuously written rubbish like this in your weekly column?

Cue mad mothers of the week: Mary Joachim and Rachael Brown. That they ever bred is two of life’s tragedies. The former failed to prevent the murder of her seven-year-old son, Duwayne Pailegutu, and the latter is an alcoholic and recidivist drink-driver.

Rachael Brown is the notorious soak who turned up at her sentencing last week in the Rotorua District Court drunk.

She also has made outstanding choices in her relationships.

It’s time for some straight talking around child abuse in this country and the link with ethnicity rather than poverty. And the link with blasted parents who consume themselves with drinks, drugs and the wrong partners.

[ A champion of common sense, 17 May 2009]

And there’s another angle on this particular column in which Laws defends footballers who sexually assault young women, which is a theme he repeated more recently in the case of dsigraced rugby ambassador Andy Haden:

There can be no doubt in my mind that the complainant “Clare” anonymous, voice disguised, pixilated has embarked upon a course of cool revenge.

But spare me the historic bleats of a young woman who, according to work colleagues, bragged of the encounter and then discovered remorse. That the media then fed on Johns’ commercial corpse proof that they eat their own. But also that PC is alive and well.

The target of this column–as it often is with Laws–is the shibboleth of “political correctness”. The only people who actually believe in this myth and talk about it are right-wing asshole columnists like Laws. It’s a convenient myth to disguise their racism, sexism and homophobia.

It is the dog whistle used to mobilise their supporters who fear the deluge of single-mums, crack-hos and other unsavoury types conjoured up from the febrile imaginings of Laws and his mates.

South Auckland is the badlands of New Zealand. It is a place that has been created by both neglect and liberal handwringing good parts of it hostage to gangs, drugs and nihilism. It is not a place that you choose to live. It is a place that you end up.

[Is the thin blue line yellow? 14 June, 2008]

And this in a column attacking the cops (see Thin blue line below) which just goes to show Laws’ total inconsistency.

This inconsistency is clear from Laws’ other obsession – Laura Norder. No wonder his new Auckland lover was a bit jealous and threatened to smash his watch.

Sunday News was provided with a copy of Facebook conversations between the pair from August 6-10.

It included a message from Sperling on August 10 saying: “An iphone for all my `hard work’ would have been lovely … but I am not a whore”.

She taunted Laws she would destroy a watch he left at her Auckland home.

“Oops, my hammer just landed on your watch. LEAVE ME ALONE YOU… SLEAZE,” she wrote.

[Laws’ girl tells of fling with cop]

Laws is besotted with Laura Norder and he has succumbed to her charms without the least resistance.

He is now so feeble that he does her bidding. Michael Laws is Laura’s bitch:

Evil has found us. Be they created by negligent or narcissist parenting, by drink or methamphetamine, by avarice or the anti-social malaise, we are now a country fearful of the dark. And fearful of people and places that we don’t know.

We are in the most violent times since the Maori Wars. It is a fact that most of us resist rather than find unpalatable. We cling to the superstition that New Zealand is the best and safest place on earth.

The police know differently. They deal with our scum, our detritus, our drifters, the desperate and dangerous, every day.

[Thin blue line 17 July 2010]

This is a classic in the Laws genre: it manages to combine his pet themes:

  • fear of criminals and drug addicts
  • anti-Maori racism of the most virulent sort
  • political correctness is destroying our society

In this case, the rot of PC has even infected police headquarters:

Now even our police commissioner, the broad Howard, is conceding that the Police Association may just be right. Although he is still trapped within his headquarters’ political correctness.

What? This is just a sprinkling of magic dust from Michael here. The incantation of the PC spell is enough to make it so. Laws is a warrior for Laura. He never lets an opportunity to champion her cause pass his grasping hands.

He is so intoxicated by her attentions that he is willing to die for her; or at least to advocate that others die in her honour:

BURN IN hell, Antonie Dixon. And, how on earth can we convince the Curtis brothers to similarly depart this mortal existence?

I had opined the previous day that the only appropriate sentence for Michael and Wiremu Curtis was a death sentence. Anything less would be less than justice.

New Zealand’s justice system is a joke. A charade created by lawyers not one of whom is publicly electable or accountable. It is a corrupt system, stifled by the arcane and the archaic, that glories in its unique perversion.

The law does not recognise evil. Instead it trades in the obscenity that is precedent sentencing.

But the wider nonsense is that the death penalty was not available as appropriate retribution.

[So this is justice? 3 March, 2009]

I won’t make much of it here, but there’s also a strain of virulence in Laws’ support for Israel too. He seems to find a groove and stick to it. Laura Norder, bad Maori, trollopy women and nasty Arabs.

The truth is that Islamic fundamentalism exists in this country. It has arrived with the migrants and refugees and it is as evil and myopic here as it was over there.

So a word to Mustafa Tekinkaya: if you don’t like the idea that your prejudice cannot be allowed to flourish in New Zealand, then do us all a favour. Leave. And take your racist mates with you.

[No place for old hatreds, 17 January, 2009]

There’s no end to his bigotry and plenty of room in New Zealand, it seems, for his hatreds, old and new. Laws is a crusader, we should not pretend he’s just a harmless nutter. I have read about 30 of his columns this morning and the themes, prejudices and ideological positions are consistently focused on good versus evil:

For the past year I have repeatedly asked the question whether those guilty of Nia’s torment are really members of the human race. Or simply evil strained into inadequate vessels.

[The liberal shame, 22 November, 2008]

His populism is centred around issues such as Maori gangs and child abuse, but he puts a very significant racial edge on these issues. He’s also running a very strong political message, particularly around crime and his hobby horse – reintroducing the death penallty:

First, let’s reintroduce the death penalty for child murder and life sentences for child abusers. Not as a deterrent, but as the appropriate punishment for these people.

Second, let’s admit that child abuse cannot be resolved by letting Maori find Maori solutions. Any more than Pakeha can solely be relied on to deal with white-collar crime.

Third, let’s admit that most of the underclass cannot be trusted with children. Ever. They may have the ability to procreate, but possess no sensibility to accept the responsibility. They are the underclass for a reason

Fourth, make it a criminal offence for persons who notice and witness child abuse to then turn the other way.

Fifth, if you’re a gang member, a gang associate, a recidivist criminal (generally the same thing) or an addict, you automatically lose your child. There are no good gang members – they are all reprobates, white or brown.

Sixth, stop buying the liberal excuses. Every blame-shifter, every apologist, every politically correct naysayer is, in reality, part of the problem

And last, but definitely not least – excise these modern shibboleths of political correctness and cultural sensitivity.

[The liberal shame, 22 November, 2008]

There you have it, the Laws’ manifesto: the seven answers to New Zealand’s problems. A proposal of eternal fealty to darling Laura Norder.

Is this what the good folk of Whanganui voted for when he was elected mayor? And Dog help New Zealand if this rabid zealot ever stands for office higher than he already holds.

The only “honest-Mike” opinion from this sad parade of venom and cliche is this piece from March 2009:

READERS WILL appreciate that I’m not a particularly “deep” person. I am my gender, and despite the occasional philosopher or mystic, we males are a superficial lot. Which explains the eternal attraction of the bimbo with boobs.

[Organ strife dead wrong]

Was it this “eternal attraction” Michael that got you into this most recent bout of “organ strife”? No doubt, because you are very fond of this particular trope:

We also don’t get the highbrow dismissal of Boobs on Bikes an absolutely harmless display of fantasy and fantastic proportions. Men like to look it is our instinctive nature.

…spare us the rapt divinity of NZ Fashion Week: the excited twitter of kids, barely out of journalism school, trying to preach profound. It was entertainment and as divorced from the average wardrobe as Chelsea Charms is from your wife.We would never be seen dead with either: the clothes or the porn actress.

Jeans, a tight T-shirt and a sportive embrace from your lover. Does it get any better?

[27 September, 2009]

Maybe not Michael, maybe not. It seems though, that you are obsessed with “ogling” “boobs” as you so quaintly call breasts and you are positively obsessed with Auckland’s annual sleazefest, Boobs on Bikes. Is this your one chance to live out some repressed fantasy?

It is sleazy, noisy and attracts every adolescent oink within 50km. But, gee, it’s fun. Heterosexual men love it because it allows a man to do what a man does best – to ogle the unobtainable.

In the main, they’re not particularly beautiful women. Not the classic beauties who grace catwalks or the front covers of Vogue. But they are dirty – and dirty trollops titillate men precisely because they are everything that our spouse, partner or girlfriend is not.

I have not been in any relationship with any woman – sexual, social or standard – that did not involve me abasing myself simply because I was male.

[15 August, 2008]

This sexually-charged and submissive self-delusion  is another recurring theme in Laws’ columns. Maybe the Sunday Star Times should retire him, he’s getting boring.

ALL MEN have fantasies. I’d like to write “all men and women”, but I’m being PC this week. I am excluding any satire/humour/mocking of any group that is not white, middle-aged, male and middle-class.

We also like bad girls. I suspect this is because we dated a whole lot of good girls who rejected us. Men like me like directness. Is there any point to my taking you out for dinner, or not? Not? Then I’ll spend the money on some mag wheels and a magazine.

[Every weak man, 11 October, 2009]

And this in a column about his partner of the time and the mother of his children. Uggh, Michael, too much information…until today at least. We now have a whole lot more information.

Yep, this is the Mayor of Whanganui. I am not going to psychoanalyse this psycho, but others have tried:

The official website of the mayor of Wanganui is a fascinating monument to a man who simply cannot get enough of himself. It is a site absolutely awash in self-love.

[Narcissm least of Michael Laws’ sins, Dom Post 7 Septmber, 2009]


Let’s not get too hysterical over Hide/Hitler cartoon

April 2, 2010

Oh, the outrage. Oh, the horror. Oh, the insensitivity of that beastly man.

Poor old Andrew Williams can’t take a trick at the moment.

First, a quite moment of reflection in a leafy North Shore grotto leads to a front page splash and Rottweiler Rodney’s calls for a dumping.

Comes with useful female attachment

Perhaps if Wee Willie had one of these handy portable urinals with him, he would have been safe from the prying eyes of the SST.

Then a cartoon posted to the mayor’s Facebook page causes an even greater outpouring of angst and hand-wringing among people who should know better.

Whaleoil describes the actions of the North Shore mayor as “filthy” and “foul beyond belief”.

Rottweiller Rodney "Doh! Fuhrer?"

A little OTT IMHO.

Let’s not get too hysterical here.

Some perspective is required; rather than just a Wee Willie gangbang. For a start, Williams posted the image (he says) after it was sent to him by a supporter.

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Waihopai jury – I’m on your side.

March 20, 2010

The next tinpot “security expert”, armchair jurist or newspaper columnist who farts on about how the jury in the Waihopai sickle-slash case “got it wrong” is in for a big surprise.

I am [note to dribblejaws],” metaphorically”, not literally, going to ride my bike over to their place and slash them a new wingnut with my scythe.

The jury made a decision based on the evidence and the arguments presented. A not guilty verdict is still a verdict.

Leave it at that, but no…this is political, so the jury’s fucked and the law’s an ass. At least that’s true if you think the war in Iraq and the presence of Kiwi SAS troops in Afghanistan is a good thing.

Well I don’t. I think the jury got it right and I think that the verdict shows that ordinary New Zealanders are sick and fucking tired of the lies about “freedom” and “defending” our way of life while we [the major western powers] casually murder women and children “over there”. al Qaeda is not coming to the rugby world cup, so we should leave the Afghan people alone too.

Waihopai jury: congratulations on a sane and honourable verdict.

[Sunday morning update: I know I’m right, Michael Laws takes a reasonable stand:

12 completely mad Wellingtonians staged their own protest and found three guilty “peace” activists not guilty. Lord knows why. A protest at the food, or the rate of pay? A sick St Patrick’s Day joke? Whatever the spite, it was a perverse finding. (Deluded jury lets greenies plant seeds of terrorism)

Blame the jury Michael, that’s the ticket]

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Court case reveals racist FBI

March 7, 2010

A court case in Brooklyn NY has shown up the FBI’s misguided (putting it mildly) support of a well-known American neo-Nazi hate-merchant.

A right-wing blogger charged with threatening federal judges told a jury Thursday that his racist Internet rants were an FBI-sanctioned ruse to “flush out” dangerous neo-Nazi and white supremacist members of his audience.

“I’m not a white supremacist,” Hal Turner testified at a retrial in Brooklyn. “Never have been.”

[Blogger claims racist rants sanctioned by FBI]

That’s a beautiful line from the defendant: “I’m not a white supremacist,”

“Never have been,”…but…

Turner rants about a “Portable Nigger Lyncher” machine, “faggots,” “savage Negro beasts,” “bull-dyke lesbians” and “lazy-ass Latinos … slithering across the border.” And that is just the beginning. If you have a strong stomach, the link below will take you to quotes, Turner’s own words, from his radio show: http://www.adl.org/main_Extremism/turner_own_words.htm

[Chasing Evil]

Barks like a rabid dog, probably is one.

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