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#OzFail #5

February 22nd, 2011

In the wake of the revolt against the Gaddafi regime, various deals done with Gaddafi by Western governments, particularly those of the US and UK, have come under scrutiny. Among many dubious deals, the release of Lockerbie bomber Abdel Baset Megrahi stands out as a betrayal of the British justice system, one strongly opposed by the Obama Administration[1]. But last year, the Murdoch Sunday Times managed to find a way to blame Obama, accusing him, in its headline, of ‘double-talk‘. This was amplified even further by the amazing Oz subeditorial team, which managed a headline directly contradicted by its own report.

The Sunday Times piece is a bizarre spin on a letter written by the Obama administration opposing Megrahi’s release, and saying that, if he were released, it would be better to keep him in Scotland than to allow him to return to Libya. The British government ignored this and sent Megrahi back to a hero’s welcome (I wonder where he is now).

In the hands of beatup merchants Jason Allardyce and Tony Allen-Mills this becomes “THE US government secretly advised Scottish ministers it would be “far preferable” to free the Lockerbie bomber than jail him in Libya”

But what’s really starting is the Oz decision to run this piece of nonsense under the headline “White House backed release of Lockerbie bomber Abdel Baset al-Megrahi” and this has naturally been picked up by the rightwing blogosphere, most of which is as fact-challenged as the Oz itself.. To quote directly from the letter in question

“The United States maintains its view that in light of the scope of Megrahi’s crime, its heinous nature, and its continuing and devastating impact on the victims and their families, it would be most appropriate for Megrahi to remain imprisoned for the entirety of his sentence,”

As can be expected with the Oz, the headline is the exact opposite of the truth. In fact, if it weren’t for the fact that it often runs relatively accurate AP and Reuters material, and weather forecasts from the Bureau of Meteorology (while denouncing the Bureau in its opinion pages), the Oz would be a reliable paper – we could just assume the opposite of whatever it reports. #Ozfail #Ausfail (hat tip Gary Lord)

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  1. may
    February 22nd, 2011 at 18:04 | #1

    the tax that has to be paid in ACT.
    the sports team payments fiasco.
    the questions being asked about the daughters business buyout.
    the ex employees (?)in the top echelons of “our” ABC.
    the illegal intrusions into private phone calls of an unspecified number of well known people in UK.
    the unequivocal agnotology concerning global climate data on the USA fox network.

    that’s just off the top of my head.

    what’s the point of it all?

    maybe it’s all a run up for the

    dirty digger political party

    we demand a fair go for foxes
    (what blood and feathers?what ripped up chooks?)
    (oh you mean these ones?)
    (well fair go!you know it’s what we do)
    apply to join at your nearest tax haven—-we look after you

    *unmonied with need not apply

  2. Andrew c
    February 22nd, 2011 at 21:33 | #2

    I think you are selling The Australian a little short. It does reprint the Times crossword and that guy who does short-cuts can be pretty funny.

    Sadly the op-ed and the letters pages are just nuts. I had over 100 letters published in the Oz in the Australian because the letters page was a bit loony but had a reasonable cross-section of views. Now it is only the insane triumphantly cut-and-pasting dumb comments off internet threads.

    Curse you Rupert! Why won’t you just die or otherwise give up your increasingly dotty grip on the world?

  3. Andrew c
    February 22nd, 2011 at 21:34 | #3

    I think you are selling The Australian a little short. It does reprint the Times crossword and that guy who does short-cuts can be pretty funny.

    Sadly the op-ed and the letters pages are just nuts. I had over 100 letters published in the Oz in the 90s because the letters page was a bit loony but had a reasonable cross-section of views. Now it is only the insane triumphantly cut-and-pasting dumb comments off internet threads.

    Curse you Rupert! Why won’t you just die or otherwise give up your increasingly dotty grip on the world?

  4. melanie
    February 22nd, 2011 at 21:37 | #4

    The solution is simple. Don’t read it.

  5. jquiggin
    February 22nd, 2011 at 22:46 | #5

    @melanie
    To paraphrase Trotsky, even if I weren’t interested in the Oz, the Oz would be interested in me.

  6. frankis
    February 23rd, 2011 at 08:54 | #6

    To paraphrase HG, too much opprobrium heaped on Rupert and his minions at the Oz would be barely enough. You feel dirty, not in a good way, just thinking about what Fox and the Oz represent in the world today.

  7. Fred Argy
    February 23rd, 2011 at 09:52 | #7

    John, I ceased buying the Australian a long time ago because of its persistent bias. I do occasionally refer to it on the Internet (note today yet another attack on the NBN, with more than a whiff of self-interest).

    Although the Fairfax press can at times be just as bad with its beat up on spin, I applaud what you are doing . You are trying to make The Australian more honest and transparent – that’s what good journalism is about.

  8. John C
    February 23rd, 2011 at 11:16 | #8

    Fairfax are in the same game Fred — owners of 2UE and competing with 2GB
    for One Nation listeners

  9. John C
    February 23rd, 2011 at 11:49 | #9

    Morrison and Abbott are criticised in the OpEd pages of SMH on Saturday for playing the race card while David Oldfield and others on 2GB reckon the Opposition is the only safeguard against the introduction of sharia law
    It’s time to cancel my subsription to SMH.

  10. Freelander
    February 23rd, 2011 at 13:03 | #10

    @may

    Yes, “our” ABC is increasingly “Rupert’s” ABC but we are still paying for it.

  11. February 23rd, 2011 at 13:23 | #11

    May, it’s not as hopeless as it seems.

    There is something concrete which can be done. Everyone who cares about this problem simply needs to lobby their federal member. Find them via ‘google’ and send them an e-mail.

    “Make foreign ownership or effective control of any of our media illegal.”

    If anyone has ever complained about this dire situation but refuses to take this simple step, they just aren’t serious.

  12. may
    February 23rd, 2011 at 14:07 | #12

    foreign ownership or not.

    the continuing refusal to give credit where credit is due or at best damnation by faint praise, is an ideological given.

    and refusal to

    report on things like the lehman bankruptcy losses of councils throughout Aust?
    which councils ?how much?
    there has been a glimmer of report legal action is being taken?really? by whom?

    the report of things like what kind of energy sources will be replacing fossil fuels?
    wave power?(see,if you can find it,reports outside the financial pages of what is happening here in the west.) sun and win? wind and geothermal?
    projections are something used quite often as a means for people to get there heads around a concept.
    where are they?the silence is deafening,although i won’t be surprised to see the big bad baseline bogey rolled out to prove it can’t happen.

    they bring to mind the old saying’stick to the horses son,these new fangles petrol things will never happen”

    won’t go on…..i’m feeling a bit ratty.

  13. Jill Rush
    February 24th, 2011 at 09:51 | #13

    What is alarming about the OZ is that Government Departments subscribe to it and it informs their policy positions in many instances. How many problems could have been avoided if the government officials weren’t spooked by the kind of reporting that the Oz epitomises?

  14. Jill Rush
    February 24th, 2011 at 10:03 | #14

    It is appalling that this kind of media manipulation is occurring with the free press – it should not mean free to make it up. Thanks for creating a way for some kind of acountability Prof Q with details. The rehabilitiation of Gaddafi as a reasonable person in the world had a lot of support from people in the press as it really is to do with arms and oil sales.

    It is hard to believe that on the one hand we have PM Cameron commenting on the movement to democracy in Bahrain while on the other hand encouraging the sale of arms and counter insurgency instruments to the government. The Oz hasn’t bothered to publicise the dirty deals by the military industrial complex in the middle east.

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