Saturday, 2 June 2012

Let’s Buggerup Rupert’s Firewall

Remember Buga-up? This crew used to alter billboards in very constructive ways.

I’m not sure if they’re still in operation – they should be.

I’ve always found subversion of the corporate world appealing, although never have I personally been involved in it.

Given the liberating effect of semi-retirement, and more time available these days, its appeal looms large.

Guerrilla tactics – asymmetric warfare – whatever label you care to apply, is almost always effective when it targets large unwieldy conventionally organised structures. It worked well for the Vietnamese forty years ago.

One structure that is begging to be buggered up is Rupert’s firewall. Given the crap that’s daily posted on the Fart of the Nation, it really deserves its comeuppance.

The irony in this is, of course, that said crap becomes free to browsers. I comfort myself with the thought that much of what is posted is so biased that it deserves to be held up as an example of the depths to which our print media in this country has descended.

The method is simple.

We would need seven bloggers – one for each day of the week. Each would buy a copy of TFOTN* on a different day. Blogger 1 would buy the Weekend edition, blogger 2, Monday’s, blogger 3 Tuesday’s and so on.

Each would post their daily list of stories. To give you an example, the weekend FOTN list would look something like this:

Page 1 – 2nd June 2012

PM told: migrants or the mine – Dennis Shanahan and Joe Kelly
Secret ‘war’ with China uncovered – Brendan Nicholson
Bonita Mabo’s call to women – Greg Callaghan
Cabinet split as Crean lashes ‘hasty’cattle ban – Hedley Thomas

The list could be posted page by page. You then do a Google search with the whole title including the by-line. Try it with the list above.

The whole article (including pics) is available – no firewall. The firewall does operate if you link from a blog, but the Google search circumvents this.

So who out there wants to volunteer to be responsible for a day? I’ll do the weekend edition – I buy it for Phillip Adam’s article in the magazine anyway. Pick your day and let me know. You can then email the list of titles and by-lines and I'll post daily on this blog, or maybe set up a different website for the purpose.

Today’s front page is true to form, by the way – three out of four stories biased against the government.

It’s about time the monopoly power and bias of News Limited was targeted.

*The Fart of the Nation


Anonymous said...

Ok Robert.

News limited provide a service and you want to steal it. And you want others to steal it.

Who called you a baby killer at Teachers College?

Your fellow lefties.

No wonder you are still a tea leaf.

1735099 said...

Not stealing - sharing.
Nobody called me a baby killer at Teachers' College, probably because I hadn't yet been to Vietnam when I was at college.
Unsurprisingly, you've got it arse-backwards.

cav said...

I'm not sure what you are getting at here 1735099.

Do you think the Australian is biased?

Well I do.

As is the SMH, The Age and the ABC.

Any dill knows that.

The question is should these institutions be allowed to prosper if you don't agree with what they are saying?

1735099 said...

I don't have a problem with bias, or because I disagree with what is printed.
What concerns me is the concentration of media ownership in fewer and fewer hands.
This is toxic for any democracy. We are pretty close now to the oligarchic model of media power seen in Russia and the UK. News Limited is particularly dangerous because it is multinational. It has obviously held the law in contempt in the UK, and this trend will continue - all power corrupts - absolute power corrupts absolutely.
The remedy is to break down each corporate media conglomerate (including the ABC) to a size which doesn't threaten elected governments. We elect our government - we don't elect our media. No one media organisation should own more than one Australian daily, and more than one style of media. Newspapers should be separated from television and radio. Corporate ownership of electronic outlets should be limited to one state only. National media ownership is dangerous to democracy and free expression.
Bloggers - it they have any guts - can help.

cav said...

Well one could argue that it is the market that determines who is successful in the print world, not the owner who, it seems, will be successful if he gives the market what it wants.

Editorial content for our local paper in Wollongong is being shifted to NZ. Is this reason enough for me to stop buying it? Rather if I don't like what it produces then I won't buy it.

Readers are not stupid - if they don't like the material or opinions, or slants on a story, or whatever - it is their right not to buy, irrespective of who owns the paper.

1735099 said...

"if he gives the market what it wants"
This is OK if you believe that the only purpose of journalism is to make money. I harbour the old-fashioned view that it is too important a social function to be seen simply as a marketing exercise. Other considerations, relating to journalistic ethics, are at least equally important.
Consider the AJA code of ethics -
1. Report and interpret honestly, striving for accuracy, fairness and disclosure of all essential facts. Do not suppress relevant available facts, or give distorting emphasis. Do your utmost to give a fair opportunity for reply.

2. Do not place unnecessary emphasis on personal characteristics, including race, ethnicity, nationality, gender, age, sexual orientation, family relationships, religious belief, or physical or intellectual disability.

3. Aim to attribute information to its source. Where a source seeks anonymity, do not agree without first considering the source’s motives and any alternative attributable source. Where confidences are accepted, respect them in all circumstances.

4. Do not allow personal interest, or any belief, commitment, payment, gift or benefit, to undermine your accuracy, fairness or independence.

5. Disclose conflicts of interest that affect, or could be seen to affect, the accuracy, fairness or independence of your journalism. Do not improperly use a journalistic position for personal gain.

6. Do not allow advertising or other commercial considerations to undermine accuracy, fairness or independence.

7. Do your utmost to ensure disclosure of any direct or indirect payment made for interviews, pictures, information or stories.

8. Use fair, responsible and honest means to obtain material. Identify yourself and your employer before obtaining any interview for publication or broadcast. Never exploit a person’s vulnerability or ignorance of media practice.

9. Present pictures and sound which are true and accurate. Any manipulation likely to mislead should be disclosed.

10. Do not plagiarise.

11. Respect private grief and personal privacy. Journalists have the right to resist compulsion to intrude.

12. Do your utmost to achieve fair correction of errors.
An interesting exercise is to sit down with the Fart of the Nation and test each story against this code.

A Pinch of Common Sense

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