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sydney alternative media - non-profit community independent trustworthy
Friday, 25 May 2012
Assange as publisher/reporter, not leaker, of diplomatic cables?
Mood:  sharp
Topic: big media

The ABC Radio News channel has a story line for most of this morning in words to the effect "Assange does not regret leaking diplomatic cables". Bold added.

This is wrong and the ABC should know better. Allegedly the cables were leaked to Wikileaks/Assange, which then published and reported on the cables. At least as we understand the stated position of Wikileaks, the organisation didn't leak, just as a journalist and a newspaper do not leak, rather they are leaked to.

There is much speculation that Bradley Manning did the leaking to Wikileaks and is in jail in the USA facing related charges. By contrast we are not aware of any facts in the public arena that Assange or Wikileaks solicited or facilitated that leak so as to have conspired in the leaking. Like any modern news organisation Wikileaks published the news leaked to them which is quite different.

We look forward to the correction by ABC Radio News, but we won't hold our breath either.


Posted by editor at 5:10 PM NZT
Updated: Sunday, 27 May 2012 11:45 AM NZT
Richo and those alleged hookers, News Ltd and those brothels
Mood:  accident prone
Topic: big media

The Harper Valley Hypocrites are out in force in the big news media today over alleged use of prostitutes by an MP.

Here is a comment which may or may not be allowed through on today's crikey.com.au editorial where they suggest Craig Thomson MP should chuck it all in. 

Let me recall that chicken dinner in company with Graham Richardson in 1994.

It was down at the take away tables in front of what is now the Swiss Grand Hotel. It was the end of a fundraising walk along the scenic eastern suburbs cliff line in aid of The Wilderness Society. The former federal MP, former environment minister, was in need of some pro bono PR kudos. He had fallen on hard times and needed the non aligned cred of a high profile organisation that was busy ramping up tens of thousands of submissions in favour of environmental heritage in the lead up to the critical state election in March 1995.

As NSW campaigns coordinator I chose to lead that walk to mix with the fallen fixer. You see he was implicated in a scandal involving … hookers. The tabloids were burning him alive in reputational terms. He needed some charity in his PR sails. I had no doubt he wanted to use us for his own ends.

Ironic to read his pontificating in The Australian today to feed off the big media employment in light of the above.

As the wikipedia entry notes:

Four weeks later, on 25 March 1994, Richardson resigned both positions and retired from parliament, citing ill-health. However, at the same time, allegations were mounting that Richardson was involved in acquiring prostitutes for his personal use, supplied by Robert Burgess and Nick Karlos. Karlos reportedly had been accused of having serious criminal connections; meanwhile Richardson had signed a letter of support on Ministerail letthead for Burgess which was then used to set up a meeting between Richardson and the senior executive of a US defence company, where Richardson discussed Burgess’ interests. Richardson denied the allegations.” [Refer “The fixer in a fix”. The Sydney Morning Herald (Fairfax Media). 13 December 2003. Retrieved 30 December 2010.]

Even more ironic to read Simon Benson reference another scandal involving the Touch of Class brothel … located opposite Forresters Hotel in Surry Hills Sydney about 200 metres from … News Ltd headquarters (innocently noticed from my bushwalking club meeting at Forresters Hotel the other day). A quick google indicates at least another ten in the Surry Hills area with News Ltd the biggest employer presence in the suburb. Coincidence? I wonder if the shareholders are briefed on News Ltd corporate credit card use at that and other close by brothels?

 


Posted by editor at 4:20 PM NZT
Updated: Friday, 25 May 2012 5:13 PM NZT
Friday, 18 May 2012
Rumoured finding into ABC staffers fatal crash near William Creek
Mood:  blue
Topic: big media

 

Picture - dawn over Lake Eyre South from the public car park off Oodnadatta Track about 100 km east of William Creek, South Australia, taken 17 May 2012.

 

 

The rumour along the Oodnadatta Track near Coober Pedy, and William Creek is that an official investigation report is now in for the fatal helicopter crash of Gary Ticehurst, Paul Lockyer, and John Bean. 

The rumour, right or wrong, is that flying at night there is precious little orientation regarding elevation and sand dunes are deceptively high, claiming pilot error flying into a sand dune. 

Whether this is the content of the report cannot be confirmed. The rumour is sourced to a roustabout with experience of gyrocopter flying over long distances but strictly at daytime, and another character who worked for a decade on the Ghan, and local home steads, as told to a grey nomad tourist from NSW, and passed onto this writer at the Coober Pedy Stuart Ranges caravan park.

We take a skeptical legal view. We note the experience of the helicopter pilot and the unconfirmed nature of the rumour as well as the predeliction at times for remote areas with an economic dependence on tourism to play down dangers and mishaps including via blame the victim type stories. Whether this is the case time will tell.

Certainly tourist flights to Lake Eyre are advertised in every road stop and town centre in the region with numerous small town airstrips at Marree, Hawker, Wilpena, William Creek and no doubt more.

In any case the above rumour is running.

Our photo album of our outback road tour is here Outback road trip South Australia tour via the ubiquitous facebook. One beautiful location is here called Blanches Cup which is a mound spring in the desert near Oodnadatta Track 100 km or so east of William Creek:

 

 

May they rest in peace.


Posted by editor at 11:24 AM NZT
Thursday, 3 May 2012
Investors lured by value post Rupert?
Mood:  bright
Topic: big media

News Corporation apparently are holding or improving their share value despite the huge reputational damage to the Murdoch regime at the top from the UK Leveson Parliamentary Inquiry. 

We are wondering if serious investor groups, ironically, agree with the view that Rupert is not a fit and proper person to run an international company, and that the prospect finally of having him removed against all previous experience, will finally release the value in the company massively constrained by nepotistic share structures and appointments. 

In short the creative destruction of capitalism at the expense of the Murdoch brand to the benefit of his Corporation? Or to put it another way - Murdoch bad, News Corp good?

We are actively googling for those Stephen Mayne stories of yesteryear say pre 2010 verifying hundreds of millions if not billioins of dollars of value in News Corp lost by Rupert Murdoch's bad commercial judgement - things like purchase of MySpace, forays into China and no doubt a host of other disastrous frolics by the Grand Old Man, all the while maintaining the ascendancy of his children.

 

Postscript:

Here is a useful list from Stephen Mayne via the website of the public library of Victoria (Australia) with bold added by moi, dated 13 October 2011:

"Seventy per cent of the News Corp shares on issue don’t get a vote. Let’s have democracy in Iraq, but not at News Corp. When I ran for the News Corp board in 2002, Rupert completely censored the platform. So it was the only one of my 40 tilts where shareholders weren’t even told how old I was or that I had a degree. That was free speech for you, Rupert-style. So when Rupert does colossally stuff up, it’s hard to do anything about it because whilst the Murdoch family only own 13 per cent of News Corp, this gerrymander gives them about 40 per cent of the vote and the ability to dominate appointments to the supine board, where power ultimately resides. Rupert really should’ve retired in 2006, when he turned 75. It’s been all downhill since then. One billion lost on MySpace, three billion lost on Dow Jones. And now suddenly News Corp has gone from being the most valuable media company in the world in 2007 to being $20 billion behind Disney. And then, of course, there’s phone hacking. With a compliant board and Rupert entrenched as executive chairman, there simply hasn’t been a mechanism available to impose regime change on a control freak who does have dictatorial tendencies and an unfortunate tendency to hire, promote and support rogues, which is something he has done around the world.

Representing the Australian Shareholders’ Association, I had lunch two weeks ago with Sir Rod Eddington and Peter Barnes, the two Australian-based independent directors of News Corp. Whilst I can’t reveal what they said, my comments can be openly discussed. And I really enjoyed talking truth to their power for two hours at the Kenzan Japanese restaurant just opposite the old Herald Sun building. At one point, I said, quote, ‘Guys, it must be hard holding the most powerful family in the world to account, representing us non-Murdoch shareholders. But are you up for the job of regime change?’. I’m not confident. When a majority of the independent shareholders vote to remove the Murdochs from the News Corp board next Friday, which they will, it will be very interesting to see how the independent directors react."

 


Posted by editor at 9:08 AM NZT
Updated: Thursday, 3 May 2012 9:20 AM NZT
Wednesday, 2 May 2012
Murdoch culture from the top of limited biased News on the way out?
Mood:  chatty
Topic: big media

Official findings of the big Leveson UK parliamentary inquiry that Rupert Murdoch is not a fit and proper person to run an international company.

Significant as the UK is the template for Australia's system of law and dominant western European culture albeit it highly multicultural. Also influential as both the leader of the Australian Government and leader of the loyal Opposition here in Australia were both born in the UK.

The Washington Post reports this way:

LONDON — Rupert Murdoch “is not a fit person to exercise the stewardship of a major international company,” a British parliamentary committee said Tuesday in a scathing report on News Corp.’s handling of the phone hacking scandal.

The report, which culminates months of investigation by a select committee, was far more condemning of the 81-year-old media titan than expected, saying the chairman and chief executive of News Corp. had “turned a blind eye and exhibited wilful blindness” over the widespread malpractice at his now-closed News of the World tabloid.

It appears the Inquiry report findings split along political lines of 6 to 4 regarding the Murdoch finding. The Post link is here. We go to that source because it may preface the huge media gorillas in USA and indeed in the government turning on Murdoch. Time will tell.

 


Posted by editor at 10:55 AM NZT
Friday, 27 April 2012
Andrew Bolt, Anders Behring Breivik art mash up
Mood:  don't ask
Topic: big media

 

Do Bolt's views echo those of Norway's mass murderer, without actually doing the deed? Certainly there seems to be some common beliefs against multiculturalism.

If there are common traits, we wonder if Bolt possibly inherited aryan dutch intolerance from the colonial East Indies network in south east Asia of past centuries? Apparently some of these white colonialists arrived in Australia after the collapse of the Netherlands empire in now Indonesia and Papua New Guinea.

And it seems more than a coincidence that high profile Bolt attacks renewable energy initiatives which most thinking people understand to be addressing the science of climate change. One thing is clear - the institution Bolt writes for - the Murdoch press in Victoria and NSW - is raking in big advertising dollars from the mining industry via a sister newspaper broadsheet as pictured here in today's edition.

 


 


Posted by editor at 12:19 PM NZT
Tuesday, 27 March 2012
Sydney Daily Smog left naked by false skyline front page image?
Mood:  accident prone
Topic: big media

 

Pictures above and below taken by the author today 27 March 2012 at about 8.00 am from Eastwood looking south over Parramatta River to Strathfield and beyond.

 

Mmm, funny how the front page today of the Murdoch owned Sydney Daily Telegraph has sanitised the Sydney skyline by airbrushing the typical brown smudge of smog.

 


 

Could it be the smog is an inconvenient truth about promoting more motorways and hence more traffic on said tarmac? The fact that literally 1/4 to 1/3 of the Sydney landscape is already dedicated to motorised transport whether it be roads, garages, carparks, and probably other land tenure doesn't seem to rate. But the truth is that's alot of valuable real estate quarantined for cars and trucks and arguably quite excessive already.

 

 

Indeed we recently went to NSW Dept of Health website and noticed  their figure up to about 2009 or so that premature deaths from smog in Sydney is now running at 640 to 1,400 people a year. Putting aside the rather large statistical spread of those figures, it is clear that smog is a killer "right here, right now" as one federal politician Greg Hunt is prone to say.

The Sydney Daily Telegraph articles today are prominent in their support for the M4 East and M5 road expansions, but NO ONE believes they won't just choke up like Parramatta Road in a few years unless there is substitution off the roads. 

 

 

We understand Australians buy 1 million cars a year, and a great many of them are in Sydney right here, right now. 

There is token reference to the North West rail line in the SDT package of stories but it's a left over really. It seems the package is all about building the next road. And given head of infrastructure Nick Greiner is a road builder one doesn't have to be a genius to know who the Coalition aligned newspaper is barracking for.

No wonder the public are cynical about the Murdoch media, not just politicians. How about addressing the smog Mr Editor? Like supporting conversion to bicycle based transport for short trips? 

It seems to us fundamental change to transport in Sydney is just too big an ideological problem for an editor who is prone to bashing the current Mayor of Sydney who actually supports bicycle based infrastructure. 


Posted by editor at 12:00 PM NZT
Updated: Tuesday, 27 March 2012 12:05 PM NZT
Wednesday, 7 March 2012
Thoughtlines on those shallow big media reviews of Bob Carr
Mood:  lyrical
Topic: big media

 

 Picture: [Above] The author in tie and scruffy beard alongside then MP Richard Jones and others in 1994 in a spirited campaign for change in government policy away from high impact woodchipping of natural forests.The speaker on the tray truck is Karenne Jurd then director of The Wilderness Society removed soon after in a Keaing PM inspired coup in the TWS. [Below] is a massive banner on the cliff line opposite the Sydney Opera House - again involving the author as it snagged part way down and required some cliff hanging to release back in our rock climbing days. Alot of work went into electing Bob Carr on 25 March 1995 to save forests but the results were disappointing.

First the good before the ugly. We did enjoy this article about Carr's contradictory postures and indeed cunning by the ABC's Jim Middleton:

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2012-03-05/middleton-carr-foreign-policy-commentary/3868252?section=nsw

We note this text from our own web archive on Carr's time at the helm of NSW as the public went back to the polls in 1999:

Apart from deliberately and dishonestly conflating the notion of "forest protection" with "new national park", the other variation on Carr's boasting was that his government had created one million hectares of reservations in NSW and this was a "world record". The Wilderness Society as quoted in Parliament by Ian Cohen MLC has shown convincingly using World Conservation Monitoring Centre figures that NSW as a unit is still behind 74 other countries in terms of terrestrial protected areas, and just below the 6. 29% of land area conserved on average per country. For the 4 year term of office Carr has made less significant conservation decisions than

  • Brazil (3.5 million ha in 1990, 6 million ha in 1979-82),
  • Indonesia (3 million ha in 1978-81, 2.5 million ha in 1980-82),
  • Columbia (2 million ha, 1977).
  • Even in Queensland in one year 1977 a million hectares of national park was created, and in NT nearly a million hectares in 1990.

There is not space here to list other protection decisions in China, USA (4 different states) or Venezuela that outstrip or equal Bob Carr's "world record" fantasy.

We also note that Carr was a gifted thespian on the floor of NSW Parliament - that is, he was acting, and relying on comedy to avoid substance. The general message is therefore - cross check Bob Carr before you believe his stentorian voice.

We note Carr stated on live abc radio in about 2006 that the internet was irrelevant to mainstream politics just before Obama used the web to fundraise his way to the presidency of the United States. Gore Vidal on a visit here, in the studio with Carr almost choked when he heard Carr's ignorant pronouncement more to do, perhaps, with Carr's edict banning government press releases being archived on the web for the public to access.

Here is more on the grim statistics of green Bob Carr on the environment:

  • Carr ALP dodges 1999-2003
  • Carr ALP dodges 1995-99
  • and also here:

    NSW forests & woodland natural heritage

    Our understanding is that Carr sold out 50% of the unprotected publicly owned forest to private logging interests, that is forest that wasn't already in national park that he couldn't get his hands on. To avoid accountability on that Carr hoodwinked the public and the media with expensive tv advertising about 'trees and jobs living together'.This is the factual context of the huge price paid for Carr's PR boast of 300 odd new national parks patchworked across the eastern division of NSW. In our view way too high a price being paid every day now in 2012.

    (Consider this - risk of bushfire, as wildfire, as megafire, can only increase with destruction of natural forest canopy with it's naturally wet micro climate  and high humidity - that is, bushfire resistant. A logged landsape by comparison soon returns as dry schlerophyll regrowth and a dusty dry  flammable landscape. A landscape of kindling for megafire is one potential outcome of Bob Carr's 20 years of woodchipper resource security.)

    In addition to forests proper east of the dividing range, our understanding is that Carr presided over between one and 1.5 million hectares of woodlands in agricultural areas west of the ranges being cleared over about 10 years. (Stephanie Peatling of the Sydney Morning Herald wrote several stories with the official figures which were horrifying when extrapolated over years.) These woodlands would be crucial to moderating record floods today. But at that time in 1995 to 2005 we in NSW were at the end of a 20 year period of mostly drought - the huge loss of nature was arguably even more devastating.

    Given NSW is mostly arid (or was until the most recent ephemeral floods) and a total of 80 million hectares in size with a humble fringe of coastal green, the loss of nature under Carr was grim. The sensible elements of the green movement today mostly refer to that period of alliance with Bob Carr as delusional.

    The significance for modern politics is that it is the Carr political PR strategy on the morality of environmentally sustainable forests that is being applied by the federal ALP on climate. It's all tactics for the ALP rather than conviction, to wedge the liberal national party, which admittedly are even more evil on conservation of the environment and therefore easy to wedge. Compare say the Tories in the UK who actually have a strong climate protection policy in unison with their opponents - presumably out of a conviction their little island in the North Sea will be doomed by climate change - which it may well be. 

    Such are the contradictions of Bob Carr, thespian and gifted comic of NSW politics, quite well expressed by Jim Middleton in his article referenced above.  

    koalacartoons3.jpg

     


    Posted by editor at 9:30 AM EADT
    Updated: Wednesday, 7 March 2012 11:33 PM EADT
    Thursday, 20 October 2011
    Uhlmann fails the apprehended bias and common sense test
    Mood:  down
    Topic: big media

    Chris Uhlmann's spouse is an ALP politician which is well known in the belt way of insiders, but not to the general ABC public audience. 

    Here is a beltway report of same:

    http://www.crikey.com.au/2010/05/06/chris-uhlmann-a-pro-says-abbott-but-is-there-an-abc-double-standard/

    Uhlmann runs his pompous jaded cynicism against The Greens tonight on the 7.30 Report. We think it's projection of his own flaws.

    His concluding punchline is that the Greens are just like any other political party by failing to criticise Asher, who has quit the C'th Ombudsman role. 

    Wrong.

    Wrong for failing to disclose his own ALP family connection.

    Wrong on the merits because anyone in said beltway knows that no one else at the Senate Select Committee from the major parties was ever going to pursue the questions that needed to be asked, other than the Greens, regarding the desperate plight of asylum seekers and broken detention policy.

    Asher in effect voted with his morality and his heart to save peoples' lives, which both major parties have abrogated with extended mandatory detention, not least in the face of Dept of Immigration senior bureaucrates saying the system is broken.

    Which by definition makes the Greens a political party, granted, by cooperating in asking critical questions the answers of which the public has every Right to Know.

    But it also makes the Greens a very different kind of political party to the lazy, arrogant born to rule characters in the two major parties. Including said ALP spouse.

    And Uhlmann appears to have deliberately airbrushed out the role the Greens played in embarrassing Gillard on her failed Malaysian solution as an obvious grounds for subjective bias in the quotes from Senator Faulkner. The only real news indeed in the story was that the two major parties are bullies against the Greens and free speech. Nothing new about that. 

    What Asher has done is basically verified what most thinking voters already know. That the two major parties stink with inflated self interest and have no ideals or convictions and only the Greens fight against injustice. Because if Asher had given the dorothy dixer questions to other parties to ask you can be sure the chair of the committee would have shut him down real quick.

    But Uhlmann prefes sophistry to reporting the obvious real politik? Conflict of interest have anything to do with that Chris?


    Posted by editor at 9:17 PM NZT
    Updated: Thursday, 20 October 2011 9:20 PM NZT
    Sunday, 16 October 2011
    Richo's definition of mad is a bit ... mad?
    Mood:  quizzical
    Topic: big media

    Unreasonable people change the world and society. Lee Rhiannon is such a person, no doubt. I find her unreasonable no doubt.

    But then we have puffer fish (they are poisonous too) Graham Richardson pontificating on talent pool and sanity of elected officials. 

    Which might play pre GFC but a wise person said: The definition of madness is doing the same thing - read doing the same kind of politics and business - and expecting a different result.

    That's Richo in the frame there. A dinosaur mendicant to big media and corporate interests including the business donation base of the ALP and broader corporate interests.

    One notes that Rhiannon's greatest achievement is the promotion of the Democracy4Sale research of such assistance to journalism. 

    Even to the extent of a backlash on herself regarding donation to Survey by a foreign nominally hostile power under Gorbachev. The irony.

    Mmm. What could Richo tell us about cash in brown bags I wonder? The man has a vested interest. Even if it is ovetaken by the parental career instinct nowdays.

    As for talent pool of the Greens 'dropping off' after Brown and Milne'. Not according to reports (Crikey) of the green think tank behind the climate change committee. 

    And the WA green senators are superb speakers and thinkers. No problem with talent there. Hanson Young will mature and is already a raw beauty in the political talent stakes that any major party would be proud to annexe, but won't.

    Qld practicising lawyer. Medical doctor from Victoria. 

    Indeed how deep is the talent in Richo's old mates network, you know, deeper than self interest and Keating's most cynical of philosophy that ushered in the dregs of the middle class?

    People in glass houses Richo, will not prove to be a sustainable provider. Understand?

    Secondly the deification of leader Bob Brown, admirable as he is, and courage beyond measure, has his human failings. Failing to publicly stand up for Alec Marr would have to be a big one, duly noted. Especially with Garrett's mates behind the unravelling of Marr. More irony.


    Posted by editor at 9:21 AM NZT
    Updated: Sunday, 16 October 2011 9:33 AM NZT

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