Monday 17th of June 2024

sun shines...


It was about 10 minutes to 10 on Tuesday night that mobile phones across Brighton started bleeping. They belonged to the members of the Cabinet and caused many to abandon their dinners and hunch over their Blackberrys, urgently discussing what to do next.

Britain's brashest and biggest-selling tabloid newspaper, which likes to sometimes make news rather than merely report it, was at it again. After 12 years of supporting the Labour Party, The Sun was filling its front page the next morning with the headline "Labour's lost it".

As the news spread like bushfire around the sealed-off part of Brighton where Labour is holding its annual conference, the doors opened on a suite in the Grand Hotel where News International, which owns The Sun, was holding a party.


If there were conspiracies, this is would be one of the most audacious... But it is in the open, in the fresh air for all to see... from the media that got in bed with Bushit over the illegal war in Iraq and foxed-up news of WMDs all over the world ... The list of porkies is long, subtle and long ones in the teeth ... or is it a symptom of our stupidy that we buy anything that moves from this Berlusconesque character in disguise?

fluffing the cushions

Gordon Brown has shrugged off the Sun's decision to back the Conservatives at the next election by insisting "it is people that decide elections".

The newspaper's front page on Wednesday is headlined "Labour's Lost it".

The tabloid backed Labour in the 1997, 2001 and 2005 elections but the prime minister said: "It's the British people's views I'm interested in."

The Sun's declaration came hours after Mr Brown's party conference speech insisted Labour was "not done yet".

The BBC's political editor Nick Robinson said the paper had "timed its big political switch... for maximum impact both in terms of gaining attention for the paper and taking the gloss off Mr Brown's big day".

Labour had known the move was coming, he added.


I will have to improve my caricature of Gordon Brown sometimes... I did it one day in five seconds just before spilling a full glass of red ned over the keyboard. It never recovered and is now in the defunct electronic gizmos paradise in the attic...

A few months ago it was most British media that were predicting Brown's demise. But he's been hanging in there, not gloriously but sternly, extinghuising fires, here and there, that his predecessor, "Aussie" Tony, had lit...

There is a good chance the conservatives would sleep in the same bed as the banks' and be asked to turn over for spooning... Who knows. Murdoch is already fluffing the cushions...

a dog in woop-woop...

From the ABC

News Corporation chairman Rupert Murdoch has used the unlikely stage of Beijing's Great Hall of the People to attack online companies like Google.

To some it may seem a little odd that a country that engages in such widespread and all-powerful press control could host an international media summit and still keep a straight face, but it does not seem that way to China's President Hu Jintao.

Bosses of the major media organisations from all over the world - including the BBC World Service, Reuters, CNN, Associated Press and the ABC - have gathered in Beijing for the conference, which will continue over the weekend.

Also in attendance was one man who also knows a thing or two about media control - Mr Murdoch.

The surprise guest was China's president.

Mr Hu told the high-powered gathering that his country would "continue to safeguard the legitimate rights and interests of foreign news organisations and reporters and to facilitate foreign media coverage of China".

Associated Press chief executive Tom Curley seemed impressed.


But the News Corporation chief had one clear target in sight. He sees online entities like Google as parasites.

His argument is that they take their material for free from traditional media companies and make money from it. Mr Murdoch thinks the time has come to put an end to this.

"The philistine phase of the digital age is almost over," he said.

"The aggregators and plagiarists will soon have to pay a price for the co-opting of our content."


One of the problems faced by all — including Google, Murdoch and a small website such as this one (YD) — is the collection of raw news. Then there is the editorialisation which is most powerful in the streamlined media, trained to convey the important news — not the accidental bits, such as a dog run over by a car in woop-woop, but the staged managed press-released political waffle and the important scientific data that map the history and the future of this planet — in a particular slant... For example 120 people die in Pakistan, from our "brave" drones, we don't mourn much the innocents, but one old person dies from H1N1 flu and we panic as if the sky had fallen.

In the 1930s most important scientific organisation were public enterprises that shared information as best they could in order to promote science. These days, most of the scientific information coming your way in the media is from fiercely private organisation, even "sponsored" university research, mostly looking for funds. They disclose enough hope and sufficient general info about their research to make the public aware of their "future" success (often mapped in five or ten years' time by which time things might be proven problematic still), while being very secretive about what they really have. Thus the power of the press release is to sow seeds of interests, making the populace dream of longevity or of painless death.

There are exception and, for example, the work of some scientists is published in full with peer review in specialised papers. In order for the complex information be transmitted to the populace, "science" reporters sometimes distil the information from the published paper, but more than likely, as pure science is hard work, the journos will use the pre-digested press release to media-lise the information, with a slant that will favour a point of view, especially when "industry and developments" are involved versus a clear protection message. Often in such cases, the information and the article will present "both" (or several) points of view, editorialising about a compromise — a compromise which often goes against the science.


The same digesting apply in some finance magazine. Problem occur when "finance" journos have no clue say about Keynes nor any idea about what a Ponzi scheme is. And believe me this is mind-bogglingly occurring. There are a few journos out-there, especially young ones, who have no clue about how the system works nor how they could be manipulated by the press-release. Some of them, eager to place their by-line on an article will rewrite the press release and get it wrong. Concepts are muddled, facts are not checked, names are misspelt, wrong photographs are used. But the worst part of this does not reside in the grammar nor the spelling but in the streamlined editorialisation that is designed to convey a point of view that often is in conflict with the reality of events. This is evident in the way the war in Iraq was spruiked before the first rocket was fired.

And Murdoch's media was one of the culprits. One of the philistines pumping the need for war — an illegal war.  He can't escape this. And I believe he knows it.

And there are photographs... Paparazzi are the scourge of celebrities, yet they are their bread and butter tickets at the same time. Without exposure, there is no status... So, why should we pay attention to the tits and bum of this celeb or another, I ask you? Well, the media, its advertisers and its distribution networks — especially magazines — pay big bux to get exclusive titillating photographs, say of one celeb on holidays, especially in a more than relax mode, were the tummy is not tucked or the thighs are cellulitised... And when I say big bux, it's in the thousands of dollars per shot. And the next shot taken on high speed cameras can be sold to another rag somewhere else in the world or to a direct competitor... Is this journalism? I remember in the 1970s, some down-market rags would make up fanciful (harmless) stories to match the photographs, yet presently some "good mags" fall in that trap and end up in hot water, such as with the Bec Hewitt story. Sure one can claim journos are under tight deadlines and they often are, but it does not excuse the process...

Thus we all can be victims of misinformation and victims of our eagerness to let fly our opinion on this or that. There is an accepted rule that one can quote a certain amount of copy as long as the source is mentioned. These days it's easier to do this than ever and it's safer. One cannot be accused of plagiarism.

Another point too is the proliferation of cameras and video in our hands — the populace. And we're more educated,we can string a few good words together, unless we've been only TXTing 4 our shrt lfe. By being there at the right time in the right place we can record a massive event such as a dust storm in Sydney, a car crash or a warehouse fire... Other events need expensive equipment such as helicopters to capture say, the smashing of a well-known yacht on rocks offshore from Wollongong... But then we end up seeing flotsam and jetsam of boat smashing against the rocks, way after the event. The currency is the press conference of the organisers of the race and of the families who need to grieve their dead in peace... This will be followed by an investigation of the accident by experts, who may publish their results in three or four months time, meantime the "media" might indulge in speculations...

I don't know how Murdoch and the rest of the existing media can solve their grievances with the way the internet is run, in regard to media availability... The internet has helped the media survive beyond its manipulative intent. The media needs to be more critical of itself. Does the news of the dog-run-over-by-a-car belong to the dog or to the media? Raw news or expensive managed lies? that is one of the many questions.

At least the Chinese do the propaganda with a dove in hand.


In China, Mr Hu's catchcry is to promote a harmonious society. He seemed to want the world's media to spread this philosophy around the globe.

"The media should use their distinctive assets and advantages to convey messages of peace, development, cooperation mutual benefit and tolerance," he said.


No tits and bums there.... see toon at top.

the story was fabricated

A court has found there could be legitimate grounds to argue that celebrity magazine New Idea should reveal the source of a false Bec Hewitt story.

Hewitt is suing New Idea for defamation over an article published in April claiming she had a new man in her life.

The magazine published photographs of Hewitt, her children and a man.

The accompanying article suggested the man was a former fitness instructor from Texas.

Hewitt's lawyer previously told the South Australia Supreme Court that the man in the photos is the former soap star's brother and that the story was fabricated.


I have a really good idea about who did the deed and how this happened, but my lips (my keyboard that is) shall remain silent... But read the comment above this one in full to see what I am getting at, by this mention... and see toon at top...

greased up to news corp's boss...

From the Guardian

Murdoch v the PM? It's what we call asymmetric warfare

Many incumbents before Brown have greased up to News Corp's boss. And none have known when he'll pull the rug away

At last, the perfect motto to place above the lintel of No 10. This week, the prime minister's official spokesman made a little speech which should be hewn into that central London terrace, the better to remind us of the hamstrung nature of the country of which he is nominally in charge. "He has regular communications with Rupert Murdoch, as you would imagine, and he has the most enormous personal regard for Rupert Murdoch … There is nothing unusual in the prime minister talking to Rupert Murdoch."

The inscription would keep a stonemason busy for a while, certainly, and we'd have to change the "he" to "(s)he" for equality's sake, but how much more grownup it would be to foreground this aspect of British politics that has long seemed axiomatic. The degree to which successive prime ministers have greased up to our foremost unelected foreign tax exile is perhaps their worst-kept dirty little secret – or rather, dirty great one.


Some media moguls have ways to manipulate public opinion (or as they refer to it sometimes to "provide the news the masses want to hear"). Basically it works on supplying fodder to the most common low denominator, like hay to cattle. It does not encourage proper knowledge to develop — with general news and article that just maintain the illusion of knowingness. Sure there are some hard news, but they are already digested and somehow "subtly" opinionated to suit the low level narrative and designed to support the political views of the proprietor.

See also power list... Murdoch makes the cut at mumber seven... Not bad for a former Aussie... And see toon at top for good measure. and why not visit the ghost of Thatcher too...

fighting the climate change deniers...

from the Guardian

Gordon Brown tonight led a chorus of condemnation against "flat-earth" climate change sceptics who have tried to derail the Copenhagen summit by casting doubt on the evidence for global warming.

Sceptics in the UK and the US have moved to capitalise on a series of hacked emails from climate change scientists at the University of East Anglia, claiming they show attempts to hide information that does not support the case for human activity causing rising temperatures.

On the eve of the Copenhagen summit, Saudi Arabia and Republican members of the US Congress have used the emails to claim the need for urgent action to cut carbon emissions has been undermined.

But tonight the prime minister, his environment secretary, Ed Miliband, and Ed Markey, the man who co-authored the US climate change bill, joined forces to condemn the sceptics.

"With only days to go before Copenhagen we mustn't be distracted by the behind-the-times, anti-science, flat-earth climate sceptics," Brown told the Guardian. "We know the science. We know what we must do. We must now act and close the 5bn-tonne gap. That will seal the deal."

According to the government adviser Sir Nicholas Stern, 10bn tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions must be taken out of the atmosphere by 2020. So far agreement is in place for only half of that amount.

Ed Miliband gave his most damning assessment of the sceptics yet, describing them as "dangerous and deceitful".


Good on them...

see toon at top and comments re climate change on this site...

cloud over the Sun

"[My] heart went out to Gordon Brown," said Goldsmith, "and I was repulsed by the Sun and I thought 'My God, I did not want this newspaper to be backing my campaign.' It is immoral and unethical and wrong. The Conservative party by default got caught up by this which is a shame."

A spokesman for Cameron, asked for a comment yesterday, snapped: "Zac is a candidate, not a frontbencher. He does not have influence over policy."

And never will do, if he goes on like this.

There is, however, one point in Zac's favour - he could actually be right about the Sun's support harming Tory chances. Opinion polls show that since the Murdoch paper came out for Dave, the gap between the Tories and Labour has narrowed.

see toon on top....

spin out of control of the uberspinner...

The News of the World phone-hacking scandal is spinning out of control. The damage it will cause seems likely to spread far wider than News International, the newspaper's parent company controlled by Rupert Murdoch, though obviously it lies at the centre of the storm.

David Cameron's political reputation is at risk for having hired as his spin doctor Andy Coulson, the editor of the News of the World when phone hacking took place. If Mr Coulson should be implicated – seemingly an increasingly likely outcome now that its former news editor Ian Edmondson is helping police with their inquiries – the Prime Minister's judgement and good sense will be seriously questioned.

Others also face devastating criticism. The Metropolitan Police stands accused of conniving in a cover-up. The apparent feebleness of the Press Complaints Commission will probably lead to calls for the statutory regulation of newspapers. Inquiries into telephone hacking may spread to other titles. In fact, it is not too much to say that some sort of sea change may be taking place, with some politicians, resentful that they have been in the dock over expenses, turning not just on the delinquent News of the World but on newspapers in general.

How on earth did this happen? How did a phone-hacking scandal on a Sunday "red top" become so big a story that it threatens to engulf people who must have imagined they were mere bystanders? The main answer to that question is that News International has handled this affair abominably. Whether its senior executives have merely been devious and short-sighted, or whether they have actually colluded in criminality, remains to be seen.

see toon at top...