Tuesday, 14 September 2010

The lady doth protest too much

The lady in this case is The Australian.
The Fart of the Nation has come out all defensive.
This is a reaction, apparently, to being called for bias in recent reporting about the Greens.
It's nothing new, of course. The Australian has to be the most openly biased newspaper in the country. I don't have a problem with bias; it's the prerogative of the editor.
I do have an issue, however with hypocrisy, and the paper's reaction is both hysterical and hypocritical.
The Australian's habit of grinding away at the same issue ad nauseam after a time resembles the print equivalent of a bunch of soccer fans blowing vuvuzelas. The result is weariness and boredom on the part of the reader and loss of valuable column space which could be used to convey something representing news.
It is called a newspaper, I understand.
People blowing vuvuzelas have the excuse of spontaneity. There is nothing spontaneous about the Oz's editorialising - it's orchestrated to the nth degree.
But even in their day to day compilation of news and opinion, the bias is still there. It's more haphazard, of course, when compared with the orchestrated anti-Labor bias of the last campaign, but it's starkly obvious.
Take today's home page, for example.
I counted 20 story headings. Anti-government (or anti-Labor) sentiment is expressed in every story, with the exception of the football piece and Lomborg's article. It's almost as if this is a requirement of publication
Stutchbury - Despite the heading about Abbott's populism, he's having a go at the government.
Hendrickx - Looks like a dig at the ABC, for sloppy reporting, but the flavour is denial.
Savva - Again, looks superficially like she's having a go at Abbott, but the content smears the ALP.
Rodan - An extract - "one could be forgiven for concluding that government views international education as a liability"
Callick - An extract - "Not that Canberra appears to have noticed" when describing trends in trade.
Shanahan - It's difficult to show bias in reporting a poll, but he goes close.
Smith - Irrelevant - It's about aerial ping-pong after all.
The cut and paste is a very good example of variations on a theme. The theme is criticism of anyone who dares to disagree with the Oz's editorial position, and an attempt to smear the ABC.
Lomborg - The exception that proves the rule. The only piece on this page worth a read. Guess what - it contains no smears. There's a connection there somewhere.
Hewett - Synopsis - The government is responsible for Telstra's shares going South.
I could go on. I won't. The pattern is clear. The bias in the Oz is built-in. It's embedded as a requirement placed on contributors by editorial policy. It's remarkably clear and consistent

Hugh White - Without America

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