Category Archives: How our media sucks.

Eureka! Andrew Bolt explained. :-)

One of my favourite blogs is a Crikey blog called Pure Poison. With it’s name taken from a quote, “Intellectual dishonesty is pure poison…”, and with a stated purpose of exposing ‘the intellectual dishonesty, the flimsy arguments and the distorted data wherever they appear in the mainstream media….’ it is probably little wonder that I visit it quite a bit, what with me being such a fan of the quality of our media n all. 🙂 Anyway, I was reading a post today which showed another example of how Andrew Bolt chooses to either mis-represent, cherry pick, or just totally ignore, facts in making an argument and it go me to wondering how and why he does this.  And, not only that, but how he manages to attract so many followers with arguments that anyone with a modicom of sense could see the holes in.

For a while I was working on a theory that he was doing it deliberately and cynically to build a media career. Glen Beck is a US example of this kind of right-wing media personality but he seemes a little unhinged, even to the point where I think he might have a mental illness. I can understand why his arguments are both irrational and poorly supported. But Andrew Bolt appears sane enough and, I would have thought, intelligent enough to know that he is peddling nonsense. This is why I was leaning toward the idea of him doing it as part of a long-term strategy.

But George Monbiot at the Guardian in the UK may have provided the answer on his blog. I don’t want to spoil it for you but it gets really interesting in the second and third paragraphs. It appears I have over-estimated both Andrew and his faithful followers. 🙂


How our media sucks : Pt. Something

I read a really interesting article in the Daily Telegraph yesterday about how 54 children have nearly drowned in NSW (I think, it’s not totally clear from the article) since New Years. This is amazingly awful but I found it really interesting how the article was slanted. Have a read of it and see if you can spot the problem. Answers on the back of a postcard to …. 🙂

By the way, the New Years resolutions are going  swimmingly. This might normally have had me ranting and frothing at the mouth, but not so now. Makes for more boring reading for you maybe but a lot less stress for me! 🙂

We aren’t doing too badly it seems.

Have a read of this. It is not the whole story I don’t think, and the number of commments suggesting there are other things to consider would back this up, but, over-all,  it does paint a pretty good picture that Australians, by and large, are doing pretty well. Which is good to hear because for a while (about a nano-second) I was really beginning to feel for the ‘battlers’ on $150,00 with the spectre of a $500 for the Carbon Tax hanging over their heads. But apparently, bleeding heart articles about how people on high incomes are struggling because of decision they made to buy f*&k-off big houses are just another way our media sucks.

As I said I don’t think the article is the whole story. I don’t think the difference between the growth in income between the richest 10%  and poor 10% has been handled well for instance. It’s  all very well to talk about there only being 1% difference, in favour of the richest 10%, in the growth of incomes but it glosses over the fact that 4% of a large salary is a lot more than 4% of a small salary. And it also doesn’t cover the idea that the biggest problem is the top 1% versus the rest of us, a problem whose size is show here. And, as a large number of commenters  have indicated, it is a bit hazy how the issue of private debt it dealt with. It seems that we Australians have taken the chance while things are good to put ourselves in to debt up to our eyeballs. I would also have liked to have seen something on the disparity between mining and no-mining incomes as well. I imagine that if you are working in a non-mining job in a place like Karratha then life might be a bit tougher for you. It also, as some commenters have indicated, skates around any other measures of succes such as happiness, quality of environment, over-all  social equality etc.

But, over-all, I think it is a thought provoking article. Hopefully it will make more people think twice before complaining about how bad their lot is.

We’ve still got a little way to go haven’t we.

Check this out. And who says we don’t need to look our journalistic standards? 🙂

The EU vs Facebook

When I decided to quit Facebook one of the reasons I gave was that a mate who works in IT alluded to how much data Facebook was collecting on users. Well it appears it is an awful lot, regardless of how tight you have your security buttoned down. All that does is stop random strangers looking at your most intimate details, it doesn’t stop Facebook. Have a look at this article from The Daily Telegraph in the UK. If you read right down the bottom you will see that ‘the sheer volume of personal data accumulated by the company was hinted at earlier this year when a 24-year-old Austrian student, Max Schrems, asked it what information it held on him. The request led to the site sending him a CD containing 1,222 pages of data. He complained to data watchdogs because the disclosures were incomplete and made clear the social networking site retained further information about him which it had not handed over. ”

F*&k me, 1222 pages and that’s still not all!

But the giste of article is that the European Union is cracking down on Facebook doing this without telling you. They are trying to bring privacy laws up-to-date with technology. Which I think is right. I don’t have any problem with Facebook collecting as much information about you as they like, as long as they tell you what they are collecting and how it is going to be used. And they tell you clearly  and make it easy for you to opt out.

Just to give you the heads-up, according the article “the information analysed and stored by the company is not limited to users’ personal details, and “likes” and “dislikes” that they input on their “walls”. The firm also gathers details about their friends, family and educational background and detects subtle changes to their lifestyle, enabling it, for example, to target a bride-to-be with advertising for wedding photographers. Other commercially valuable information, such as what music people are listening to via the site, is also available to advertisers. Everything people share with their friends on Facebook is being tracked by the firm, retained, and can be used for commercial purposes. It can even harvest information by performing keyword searches on behalf of advertisers. In this way, it can find out, for instance, details about people’s political beliefs or their sexual preferences. Facebook stores messages and “chats” sent via the site and keeps them on its database even after they are deleted by those involved in the private online conversations.”

I know I  have said it before but I am still amused that we are happy to let a corporation, whose sole reason for collecting this information is to make money from it, get away with this but we go ape-shit when the Government wants to know how many people live in an area so they can do sinister things like plan for schools, medical care etc.:-) When did we all decide that big corporations have our best interests at heart and government is our enemy? Didn’t WorldCom, Enron and the Global Financial Crisis teach us anything? Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think corporations are all evil but I also don’t lose sight of the fact that they aren’t here to look after mine, or the community in general’s, best interests either. They exist for one thing, and that is to make money.

How our media sucks – Pt ‘I’ve lost count’.

Quality journalists must shake their heads in wonder at what some of their colleagues are doing to their noble and essential profession. First there was the News of the World hacking peoples phones, including murder victims, families of murder victim and bereaved families of soldiers killed in Iraq and Afghanistan. Then Andrew Bolt, a man with his own TV show, a widely read blog and columns in 3 (I think) newspapers, tries to play the victim when he is found guilty of having breached anti-discrimination laws, not because of the subject he wrote on but because he lied. And now this.

How is on this f*&king earth is Julia Gillard’s praise tempered by the fact that they spelled her name wrong in a list? If you look at the picture of the article itself, they have spelled it right at least twice. And if anything, the praise is tempered by statements like  ‘The magazine notes Ms Gillard may have been forced into her energy policy by the need to form a minority government with the Greens, but by doing so she “risked her political life”. “Whether you see the move as politically expedient or as a principled course correction, there’s no denying the risk that it entails in a country where climate change is a wildly contentious issue,” the magazine says.’

But apparently a typo is more a reflection on the praise given. Well Jeremy Thompson might not have a single typo in his article but that doesn’t make his argument any less of a poorly written piece of crap. Too harsh? Look at it this way; I wouldn’t accept an argument like that from one of my Master students and they don’t claim to be journalists with an audience of thousands.

Seriously??? I mean, SERIOUSLY??

I’m actually a bit speechless about this one so I’ll leave it to you to see if you can work out why this is in my ‘How our media sucks’ category. I  mean, seroiusly???:-)