Saturday, February 27, 2010

Who would do a deal with this guy?

"The Prince" reports in this weekend's 'Australian Financial Review' [27-28/2/10]:

... For the next decade, [Kerry Packer's] Valassis and Murdoch's News America Marketing dominated the hugely profitable inserts market, deftly seeing off challengers. But relations cooled after Packer sold out of Valassis in 1997.

It's a tough market that got a lot tougher last year. It began when NAM lost its final appeal against a $US6.8 million ($7.7 million) damages award in 2005 to rival Floorgraphics for anti-competitive behaviour.

Last March, Floorgraphics claimed in a New Jersey court that NAM ran a dirty tricks campaign to force it out of business, including hacking into its computers 11 times in four years.

Three days into the trial, News Corp settled the case by buying Floorgraphics for an undisclosed sum. Unconfirmed speculation puts the cost at around $US200 million.

Floorgraphics' star witness was a former NAM employee, Robert Emmel, who had turned whistleblower, giving a copy of his computer's hard drive to US regulators. NAM sued Emmel for breach of confidence. ...

It's not the first time News has settled with a struggling company.

In 2002 it settled a $US1 billion industrial espionage case brought by the near-insolvent Canal Plus against News Corp's NDS arm, by agreeing to buy Canal Plus's Telepiu Italian pay TV operation, which held $US1 billion in debt..."

The whole story is well worth a read, considering who else he does deals with.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Not grilling Gillard

Deputy Prime Minister Julia Gillard addressing the National Press Club today [24/2/10]

She may be wearing a teal ribbon for Ovarian Cancer awareness, but like all the other politicians wearing one of these ribbons today, she is a robotic tool, and her government's actions tend to prove that they don't give a flying fuck about Australians, their health, the education of their children, or the future of the planet.

What's worse than a Minister for Education declaring war on teachers and education professionals?

A bunch of Australia's supposedly finest journalists unquestioningly accepting the declaration.

Whatever happened to journalists asking questions in order to craft a story that informed the majority of their readers?

Questions like:

"But Minister, didn't we have school inspectors in the past?"

"Minister, doesn't the collapse of ABC Learning indicate to you that the free market model for provision of education doesn't work?"

"Minister, isn't this just a big fucking joke?"

"Minister, has it occurred to you that Rudd made you announce this bogus policy to make you look like a real bitch?"
Fourteen journalists asked questions following Gillard's address. Only Scott Hanford (Canberra Times) and David Harrison (The Age) made any attempt to speak truth to power. Six of the journalists were from News Ltd. - they always turn up en masse for the National Press Club talks when Murdoch has an ideological barrow to push, and they are conspicuously absent on serious topics on which he has pre-determined their anti-reality position, wankers! - and today's turn out reflected Murdoch's special interest in education:

... Speaking at a session titled 'Advice to the US President on Competitiveness', Mr Murdoch blamed the teachers' union in America, which he said was very rich and the number one donor to the Democratic party.

He told the audience of international business leaders and politicians that it would take courage and strength for President Barack Obama to fight them....

The 'Courier-Mail's' Emma "Rupert wants to know if you will implement a Naplan test for everything every day" Chalmers

Gillard's announcement today is not about kids, equity or improving education - it's not an education revolution - unless you consider bringing the 'free market' into all of Australia's schools a revolution.

What's happening to our country? Seems like every day one of our politicians decrees some bogus policy plucked straight from the arsehold of neocon central's storeroom of talking points and ideas, to be dictated to Australians.

Are you going to let the neocons continue to have their way?

2010 is an election year.

Ignore the Murdoch press, switch off the telly and the radio when the obvious Murdoch bumlickers at the ABC appear, and Vote 1 for The Greens.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

He is everywhere

Even if you don't buy Murdoch's publications, his propaganda is everywhere ...

Bernard Keane writes [17/2/10]:

When Tony Abbott was attacking Kevin Rudd yesterday over the Government’s despicable $500m handout to free-to-air television, suggesting “it looks like an election-year bribe”, he neglected to mention his own recent dealings with media moguls.

Crikey understands that Abbott had a secret meeting with News Ltd supremo Rupert Murdoch on Sunday morning and had breakfast with him. Murdoch was in Australia to celebrate his mother Elisabeth’s 101st birthday last week.

“I think there’s nothing wrong with ministers and moguls having meetings,” Abbott told talkback radio this morning. “That is probably a natural part of life and it’s probably a good thing that they meet from time to time and I don’t think it’s necessary that there be a tape recorder going that we all get access to, but I guess it’s not a great look when it looks more like a social encounter than a business meeting.” ...
If you think there is something wrong with this, tell your local politicians.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Everybody hates Barnaby!

"... When shall I hear the banjo strumming?
Down by my good old home"

'Old Folks at Home', Stephen Foster [1851]

Government's "Murdoch's Law" moment of the week (from Parliament House Hansard 11/2/10):

... Mr SWAN—It just shows you what little priority those opposite give to jobs. Those sorts of interjections just demonstrate the fundamental misjudgments and misrepresentations that are coming from those opposite, particularly when it comes to economic policy. That comment just demonstrates how wrong the Liberal Party got its response to this global recession by because, if it had not been for the stimulus that was put in place, this country would be in recession. Instead of growing by 0.6 per cent in the year through to September we would have gone backwards by two per cent and we would be standing here today talking about far higher unemployment.

But, of course, those opposite have so misunderstood the economy, so misunderstood the global economy, that they are a threat to future employment and investment in this country. As the Prime Minister said before, we had the Leader of the Opposition out saying on radio that saving jobs was a waste of money. Well, go and tell that to all of the Australians who are in jobs as a result of the stimulus. Go and tell that to all of the small businesses whose stores are still open as a result of the stimulus. But of course those opposite are masters of misrepresentation and masters of misjudgment, and no misjudgment is more fundamental than the misjudgment that the Leader of the Opposition made when he appointed Barnaby Joyce to the role of shadow finance spokesman. This was summed up in an article in the Courier Mail on 8 February by Tim Hughes, who writes a regular economic column. I do not think he is normally a friend to the government, but this is what he had to say:

What does it say about Abbott when he puts Joyce into the second-most unsuited portfolio for him? … To me it suggests that Abbott thinks the economy is a joke. Either that or he simply does not understand the serious responsibilities of government.
He went on to say:

Abbott made the appointment and, in so doing, has effectively disqualified himself from running our economy. Australia’s long-term future depends on a strong rate of investment and much of the funding for that investment comes from offshore.

That brings me back to Mr Joyce, because Mr Joyce has been out there campaigning against foreign investment— campaigning against the arrangements the government has put in place to make sure that we protect the national interests of this country through the Foreign Investment Review Board. It is a fact that one in four jobs in mining in regional Australia depend on foreign investment, and Mr Joyce has been campaigning right around this country against that foreign investment.

But, of course, he let the cat out of the bag at the Press Club earlier this week, when he admitted that he had been flying around the country with Clive Palmer, the biggest recipient of the foreign investment in this country that is creating jobs. What that says is that Mr Joyce has one standard when he is in the front bar of the pub in Roma or somewhere like that and entirely another when he is in the plane with Clive Palmer at 30,000 feet, sipping a scotch. What that shows is just how short-term—how opportunistic— these people are. There is not a principle that they adhere to, and that is why they are such a massive risk to our economy. ...

Oh dear, oh dear. As we've mentioned before: "In Australia the Government is a wholly owned subsidiary of News Corporation".

Wayne, they are not your friends, as you note at the outset, so starve them of oxygen. Trust us, they will die if you do that.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Murdoch clarifies position on environment: Keith Johnson and Graham Readfearn stop green blogging

"... And now the times are changin'
Look at everything that's come and gone
Sometimes when I play that old six-string
I think about you, wonder what went wrong ..."

'Summer of '69', Bryan Adams and Jim Vallance [1984]

The 'Columbia Journalism Review' reports:

After a mere two-year run, The Wall Street Journal has, for some inexplicable reason—or, rather, for some reason it refuses to explain—canceled its highly regarded energy blog, Environmental Capital.

Three weeks ago, the blog’s lead author, Keith Johnson, unexpectedly posted a short entry announcing that Environmental Capital was “closing its virtual doors” after more than 2,000 posts. The decision apparently came as a surprise to Journal staffers.

“As a matter of policy we don’t discuss editorial decisions, but we remain committed to covering environmental business issues in our news pages,” Dow Jones spokesman Robert Christie told CJR in an e-mail. ...

Co-incidentally, the Brisbane Murdoch's "green blogger", who recently participated in a debate against Lord Monckton, posted on February 3 that he had resigned.

One could speculate for hours why a local wasn't hired by the 'Courier-Mail' to blog on environmental issues, but what would that do?

In Queensand, coal is king and anthropogenic climate change no longer exists.

Murdoch has made his position clear.

Therefore, instead of journalism which uncovers the machinations and dirty business behind the world's largest coal exporter, expect to see more headlines like this:

Job Job Job: Palmer, Bligh in 69 deal

or this:

LNP may have lost the war, but in opposition they've won the peace!

Will you allow this rubbish to continue unchallenged?

Thursday, February 4, 2010

You are not alone

" ... I was all out of fight
Then the dark came down but no cavalry arrived
And those ne’er-do-wells love a sacrifice
But you don’t scare me ... "

'You Don't Scare Me', Josh Pyke [2008]

Professor Ove Hoegh-Guldberg refutes the latest Murdoch lies at his blog 'Climate Shifts', and commenters hit the nail on the head:
“Next time, let’s stick to fact over fearmongering and keep the science objective” but they won’t, Ove. Your inconvenient facts about the reef are in the way of Rupert Murdoch’s crusade for not just business as usual but ever increasing business as usual. If he has to destroy science in the process of keeping the public misinformed about what is happening to the world we all have to live in then that’s exactly what he will do without losing a moment’s sleep. The hacked email saga, and the resultant second wave of masses of denialism hitting every blog and letters to editor and newspaper column and shock jock radio programme, is achieving its purpose very nicely. You are being targeted as part of cleaning up the details of environmental damage reports, and preventing the public realising what the outcomes of climate change are going to be in practical terms.

I have no doubt that the Australian’s war on science is just part of a general war, and we are losing, our side. And I don’t know how to turn it around.
2010 is an election year.

Preference The Greens in The Senate. If you really want to vote Labor (inc. TM, Pty. Ltd.) just put "GREENS" first and "Labor Whoever", second.

The universe will not explode if you vote Greens first. Do you have any idea who your local Labor candidate is? Do you have any idea whether they will do anything for your area or for the environment?

Who is your local Labor candidate, anyway? Who are these people?

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

The Emporer can talk all he wants about content but it's still a shit sandwich

What's he waiting for? Don't you just wish he'd hurry up and do it?
... RUPERT MURDOCH: We'll be charging for online wherever we have publications, certainly be doing that in Australia and Britain and this country.

REPORTER: Okay, and anymore precise plans for Australia? Any specific online publications you'll be looking at next?

RUPERT MURDOCH: It'll certainly be all of our publications and you know, we'll see how it develops and it wouldn't surprise me if Australia's, you know, a couple of months behind the other countries. ...
PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE, Rupert - put your crap excuse for journalism behind a pay-wall now.

Action: Whenever possible, spread the idea that everyone would love Murdoch's output to be behind a pay-wall. The sooner the better!