Home > #NewsCorpFail, #Ozfail > Oz meltdown continues

Oz meltdown continues

August 16th, 2011

After Michael Stutchbury’s full-length hit piece, and at least two Cut&Paste snark items in the last week, I would have thought the Oz would have had enough of sliming me for a while. But no, it’s back with yet more.

This time, it has delved into the primordial and come up with Graham Young, last seen scoring a double Godwin with pike, making both Nazi and Communist analogies in a single post.Young pushes the now-standard Oz “help, I’m being oppressed line”, naming me and Clive Hamilton as the enforcers of orthodoxy.

I’m starting feel guilty turning the full power of my blog against a mere national newspaper, backed only by a multi-billion dollar corporation. I’ll talk it over with Clive at the next meeting of the central committee.

Categories: #NewsCorpFail, #Ozfail Tags:
  1. sam
    August 16th, 2011 at 14:57 | #1

    Does anyone still read that paper anymore? How do you even know what they write JQ?

  2. John Quiggin
    August 16th, 2011 at 15:09 | #2

    I get a lot of links from Twitter and blog comments, but in this case I have to confess to self-Googlng :-).

  3. Jarrah
    August 16th, 2011 at 15:16 | #3

    Matt Telos in the comments nails it.

  4. Freelander
    August 16th, 2011 at 15:42 | #4

    Graham Young’s Oz piece dripping with unintended irony. “Oh the oppression, of little me and my friends, with 70 per cent of the market.” “Dissent and freedom of speech should be valued, but only me and my friends free speech and what we call dissent.” “Don’t use the harsh word denier on any of us. That is the moral equivalent of incarceration.”

    The Oz as the bastion of freedom where dissent is highly valued. Only don’t dissent from the company line if you expect to make it to next pay day.

    Like those ‘radicals’ and ‘dissenters’, thinking the brave ‘new ideas’ over at QuadRant. Give me a break!

  5. Red
    August 16th, 2011 at 15:44 | #5

    I just don’t get an economist that would argue a should go against its own comparative advantage. I don’t know of one school of “mainstream” economic theory that advances such theory. A moral issue, and an economic issue, aren’t one and the same thing.

    From a pure economic stand point, it’s idocy for Australia to devalue its comparative advantage in energy. The one and only remaining advantage it has over its Asian neighbours. Total unabashed idocy.

  6. Freelander
    August 16th, 2011 at 15:49 | #6

    Unfortunately we all have to suffer those who have a comparative (and absolute) advantage in stupidity.

    But back on topic, one particularly amusing bit of Young’s Oz piece was his ‘one person’s crap is another person fertiliser’, given that the subject matter is reality, facts, and truth, this piece of rather extreme relativism is very amusing. Sometimes you wonder whether some of these people are even conscious when they write their stuff for The Australian.

  7. anthony
    August 16th, 2011 at 16:15 | #7

    “and win more Olympic gold per capita than anyone else.”


    The googles, how do they work?

  8. hc
    August 16th, 2011 at 16:38 | #8


    “while Quiggin spends some of his time altering the Wikipedia entries of opponents to imply they are tobacco lobbyists”.

  9. Mick Peel
    August 16th, 2011 at 16:43 | #9

    Whether we like it or not, it is becoming ever more apparent (at an increasing rate) that postmodernism is taking on a social democratic hue of political communitarianism… it’s still early days, but this is yet to be acknowledged by the dogged right (neoliberals, libertarians and conservatives alike). They are resorting to their own brand of quasi-faux-postmodernism – one based purely on absurdities.

  10. August 16th, 2011 at 16:45 | #10

    You’re a federation scholar John? And do you really spend all your time on wikipedia altering entries of ‘opponents’ implying they’re tabacco lobbyists?

    Sounds like Young has lost the plot.

  11. Fran Barlow
    August 16th, 2011 at 16:46 | #11

    Gosh but I am tired at hearing that mere adverse commentary is an attempt to “silence” someone or “shut down debate”. Almost invariably, it’s the right who claims this to be so. Apparently, for them, free speech, amounts not merely to the right to speak as one sees fit, but to be immune from the critical speech of others.

    This is an astonishing position, particularly for those who are so enamoured of the idea of people taking personal responsibility for their conduct. Then again, when you are waging culture war, I guess the opportunity to play the victim card can be irresistable.

    Interestingly, when people accuse them of “hate speech” they demand that others refrain from being precious. When they libel and verbal Bob Brown, that’s not impinging on his free speech — no sirree Bob — that’s just “scrutiny”. They can dish it out, but if you’re to take them at their word, they can’t take it and want immunity, because you know, freedom of the press and all that.

    Longtime liberal gadfly, Mungo McCallum was on the receiving end of some verballing just the other day.

    His slogan for the OZ? The Australian – the paper that invents the news.

  12. Freelander
    August 16th, 2011 at 17:10 | #12

    The Oz is probably on an efficiency drive. The opinion writers probably don’t even get paid any more. In fact maybe they pay? Anyway, so many of the opinion writers seem to be being paid by someone else, often a think-tank, to write their pieces maybe they have an auction to get in? Or maybe the bid for the topics?

    Who wants to write X number of words sliming Quiggin, for example? Wonder what they start the bidding at?

    I hear that long-time fans of the WSJ are cancelling because its no longer worth the coin.

  13. Freelander
    August 16th, 2011 at 17:11 | #13

    How about? The Australian – the paper that vents its views.

  14. Tim Macknay
    August 16th, 2011 at 17:43 | #14

    Now that he’s writing for the Oz, long before Graham Young starts attacking the blogosphere?

  15. AndrewD
    August 16th, 2011 at 18:35 | #15

    Ha! I tried to comment on Young’s article but it has not made it through moderation.
    To whom do I cry “censorship” and “my dissent has been stifled”?
    BTW does his reference to “brownshirts” invoke Godwin’s Law?

  16. kevin1
    August 16th, 2011 at 18:43 | #16

    We have so few right wing commentators capable of serving up an argument without making an embarrassment of themselves! The “sliming” merchants probably have the following effects 1) damage to their own reputation through their shrill bleating and ad hominem attacks, 2) a new audience interested to find your writings through the halo effect of being damned by the Australian, and 3) a “hear hear” from the “relaxed and comfortable” set who like being reminded of their certainties. Overall, two pluses and a no change: a net gain I reckon.

    You provide a great blog of challenging ideas and policies, and respect for your work is a given, do you need to respond to these small fry? I suppose Stephen Williamson is different, as an economist reviewing your book you don’t expect gratuitous insults, but he got a decent serve from your peers as a reward. More of the same please.

  17. A non eMouse
    August 16th, 2011 at 18:46 | #17

    Googling finds the answer to the Wikipedia claim. Used his real name and backed up his claims, though the compromise seemed to be inclusion with an admittance of unresolved controversy.


    I don’t get how the original claim of “imply[ing] they are tobacco lobbyists” was intended to use “coercive techniques to intimidate, silence and suppress”?

    Seems like relevant information to me, backed up with sources.

    (btw, the footnote in wikipedia doesn’t work, so here’s the docuemnt http://legacy.library.ucsf.edu/tid/vvp83c00/pdf;jsessionid=65602DC974722B1EAF9FEC559F05386E.tobacco03)

  18. PB
    August 16th, 2011 at 18:59 | #18

    Ah. That Graham Young. He never forgave JQ for saying (wtte) that Young had trashed the reputation of Online Opinion by letting the denialists take over his site.

    I have to say I gave up on Online Opinion long ago. The slew of denialist idiocy just got too much for me. I remember thinking it was time to go when it published an article by some accountant who had put a spreadsheet together “proving” that global warming had stopped. The thoughts “My life” and “better things to do with” crystalised in my mind. I don’t think I’ve been back since.

  19. Mulga Mumblebrain
    August 16th, 2011 at 19:00 | #19

    The prime purpose of ‘The Fundament’, like the rest of the Murdoch Evil Empire, is to shape society by distorting public consciousness. Of course those who have the brains, are informed as to the facts and who do not feel ‘incentivised’ by appeals to raw hatred and inchoate fear, find the Rightwing MSM distasteful and pernicious. But for the Rightwing true believers, their daily immersion in ‘The Fundament’s’ cess-pool of lies, distortions, character assassination and appeals to xenophobia, racism, misogyny, homophobia and class hatred, is a pseudo-religious act. The get to see the ‘eternal truths’ recited like mantras, and have their own greedy, hyper-individualistic, atomised and authoritarian psychology reinforced by the relentless groupthink. This group is growing ever more extreme and demanding, endlessly egged on by propaganda like this. Who in their right mind would have envisaged thirty years ago that the Right would have led an anti-scientific, obscurantist and utterly mendacious assault on post-Enlightenment rationality like the anthropogenic climate destabilisation denial jihad? Who would have imagined that the Rightwing MSM would relentlessly target teachers for vilification, or allowed the homicidal ranting that often appears on blog comments to be published? The Right’s global system, the one that they have ruthlessly imposed over the last forty years or so, the neo-liberal ‘consensus’, is collapsing with a rapidity that reflects the rapidity of climate destabilisation. And the Right is suffering an existential crisis as the spectre of mass revolt grows larger. They are reacting in typical fashion, by ramping up the rhetoric of hatred and paranoia. After that comes violence, as Breivik showed us. Expect ugly scenes when the truckies cavalcade reaches Canberra, hopefully only in terms of pulchritude.

  20. rog
    August 16th, 2011 at 19:18 | #20

    Having lost and now conveniently forgotten the war on Iraq the conservative’s conversation now moves on to the alleged war on freedom of speech (ie freedom of their speech). Will they lose this war too, thereby maintaining the current laws on sedition, slander and libel?

  21. Donald Oats
    August 16th, 2011 at 19:40 | #21

    And while the Oz gurgles down its own drain of ideological filth, the Institute of Public Affairs (a neo-con free-marketeer sort of place) has been resorting to the tactic of foimming its self-declared enemy of the righteous, the government Department of Climate Change. Roughly 750 FOI’s (Freedom of Information requests) sent, Tim Wilson must be keen to smash the WUWT previous record for the practice.

    Tactics like this are lower than a snake’s belly…

  22. sam
    August 16th, 2011 at 20:20 | #22

    Mister Quiggin,

    Are you now, or have you ever been a Wikipedia vandal?

    Surely some of these smears are legally actionable.

  23. John Quiggin
    August 16th, 2011 at 21:44 | #23

    @A non eMouse

    Actually, the main Wikifight was over DDT and attacks on Rachel Carson, used by Bate and also Steven Milloy as a flank attack on (among others) WHO, with the idea of derailing their attacks on tobacco. As you’d expect both Bate and Milloy are also climate delusionists, but that was a secondary factor.

    This piece I wrote with Tim Lambert for Prospect has the details


  24. Ernestine Gross
    August 16th, 2011 at 22:19 | #24

    JQ, good to see you keep up your sense of humour as indicated in the last paragraph of your post.

    Young writes a lot of words. Among it, I found:

    “They’ve even invented a new type of science called “sustainability science” where if you can think of a threat large enough you are justified in dealing with it as a fact before you have experimental evidence to prove it.”

    Is Young confusing the notion of sustainability in ecology and in economics with the well established notion of ‘pre-emptive strike’ in strategic war games?

  25. Tim Macknay
    August 16th, 2011 at 23:23 | #25

    @Ernestine Gross

    Sounds like he’s misrepresenting the precautionary principle. Another hobby horse of rightwing anti-environmental campaigners.

  26. Ernestine Gross
    August 17th, 2011 at 08:16 | #26

    @Tim Macknay

    It seems anybody can read into the quote from Young what they want. As such, Young is saying nothing.

  27. Tim Macknay
    August 17th, 2011 at 11:34 | #27
  28. August 17th, 2011 at 11:50 | #28

    The Guardian has a handy ‘hacking’ live thread.

    They also have a fascinating timeline showing the series of News lies about ‘the one bad apple’ defence they were running. Bear in mind that Clive Goodman’s letter says hacking was discussed at editorial level including Coulson. What did News do? They ‘slimed’ the Guardian’s reporting.

    This is from 2009 in the time-line:

    ‘News International statement after publication of first Guardian hacking story by Nick Davies: “All of these irresponsible and unsubstantiated allegations against News of the World and other News International titles and its journalists are false.”

    Letter from Rebekah Brooks, then editor of the Sun, to John Whittingdale, chairman of the culture and media committee, in response to Guardian allegations: “The Guardian coverage has, we believe, substantially and likely deliberately misled the British public.”

    Andy Coulson, former editor of the News of the World, to the culture and media committee: “I have never condoned the use of phone hacking and nor do I have any recollection of incidences where phone hacking took place … I took full responsibility at the time for what happened but without my knowledge and resigned.”‘

  29. August 17th, 2011 at 17:58 | #29

    Fran, beautifully put, well done. Well said PB – I considered contributing to OO in its early days, thinking it was a middle of the road site, then quickly refused when I saw their first denialism given credibility. Donald – the IPA is gaining enormous influence in the public conversation, following the lead of its clones in the US. This is not a positive development for Australian democracy.

  30. Tim Macknay
    August 17th, 2011 at 18:08 | #30

    @David Horton

    the IPA is gaining enormous influence in the public conversation, following the lead of its clones in the US.

    It’s being enabled in this by the ABC as much as anyone, with its tendency to use IPA spokespeople as convenient filler for its growing stable of ‘political’ talk shows.

  31. August 17th, 2011 at 19:10 | #31

    Absolutely agree – it is something the Senate enquiry should examine thoroughly. @Tim Macknay

  32. Freelander
    August 17th, 2011 at 19:26 | #32

    @David Horton

    The IPA are probably a very cheap way of filling the pages of the Australian. Doesn’t hurt either that their prejudices seem to resemble the proprietor’s. More disturbing is that they have increasingly become the staple diet of the ABC and, to not quite as bad an extent, SBS.

  33. August 17th, 2011 at 19:36 | #33

    The Oz and IPA are natural bedfellows, and good luck to them. Their domination of The Drum contributions, and increasingly on ABC TV, is very disturbing. Imagine if that much time and space was given to The Australia Institute, or, a more accurate equivalent (in terms of both numerical importance and position at each end of political spectrum) on the Left, the “Socialist Alliance”?@Freelander

  34. August 17th, 2011 at 19:44 | #34

    It’s not called ‘their ABC’ for nothing!

    Mark Scott is a particularly interesting fundamentalist.

  35. Fran Barlow
    August 17th, 2011 at 20:10 | #35

    HT Pure Poison:

    The Australian, where too much information is never enough

    Readers might remember back in April, when The Australian was whinging about government departments releasing too much information.

    Well, now that it’s the IPA’s voluminous demands for information, they’re suddenly big fans of it:

    Transparency is about putting as much information in the public domain as possible, not about limiting the flow. The WikiLeaks exercise shows that volume alone does not make a free and open society. But it demonstrated citizens can never have too much information about the operations of governments.To suggest otherwise abrogates the compact between the state and the people.

    Yeah, take that, The Australian in April.

  36. Mulga Mumblebrain
    August 17th, 2011 at 20:14 | #36

    David Horton, the total dominance of the ABC by the IPA and News Corpse droogs (and let us not forget the Centre for Pre-Determined Research or CIS for short)doesn’t stop Albrechtsen screeching abuse at the ‘Leftwing’ ABC, as she does, yet again, today. Leaving aside the propriety or not of an ABC Board member launching such abuse (and it was, as ever, abuse) at the organisation, the sheer delusionary quality of it all is, in my opinion, pathological. Anyone who can accuse the current ABC of being ‘Leftwing’ in any sense of the word, meaningful or not, has, in my opinion, lost touch with reality. And the undisguised totalitarianism of demanding that the ABC mimic the Rightwing diatribes (in regard to the riots in the UK)that filled the pages of ‘The Fundament’ is breathtaking in its arrogant audacity and its absolute insistence on ideological conformity across all the media. And these on the Right are the blowhards who claim to believe in ‘freedom’ and ‘liberty’. Sadly, as ever, this is the Right’s ‘negative liberty’, the liberty to do as you are told by your betters who themselves retain the liberty to totally dominate society and shape it to fit their psychopathology.

  37. August 18th, 2011 at 08:45 | #37

    Summed up beautifully Mulga, good to see you still in fine form. @Mulga Mumblebrain

  38. Freelander
    August 18th, 2011 at 08:59 | #38

    Mulga Mumblebrain :
    … Albrechtsen (and let us not forget the Centre for Pre-Determined Research or CIS for short) screeching abuse at the ‘Leftwing’ ABC, as she does, …

    Albrechtsen’s screeching at the ‘Leftwing’ ABC is probably explained by the same process that caused Pavlov’s dogs to salivate. Old habits die hard. Similiarly for the battery hens clucking away at the CIS and the IPA. If they were monkeys at least their activities would have the potential of a useful output. Left long enough we might get the complete works of Shakespeare, and maybe a few extra plays, that he could have written, if he had lived longer.

  39. Freelander
    August 18th, 2011 at 09:16 | #39

    @David Horton

    Yes. Drawing an equivalence to “Socialist Alliance” is getting it just about right. Painting the IPA (or CIS) as ‘center right’, and therefore worthy of a free soapbox, is laughable. Although, unfortunately, the centre increasingly is developing pockets of craziness.

  40. Mulga Mumblebrain
    August 19th, 2011 at 08:09 | #40

    ‘The Fundament’ had an ‘article’ by the (in my opinion at least) repellent Gary Johns yesterday, concerning the ‘Motorised March of the Morons’, the wannabe Tea Party Mad Hatters approaching Canberra from all directions. Johns had plainly, titled the diatribe, ‘Convoy the Work of Revolting People’, but the News Corpse subs got it mixed up, and it was printed as ‘Convoy the Revolt of Working People’. Standards are slipping!

  41. Mulga Mumblebrain
    August 19th, 2011 at 08:45 | #41

    I see that ‘The Fundament’ has another Howardite ABC Board saboteur, Judith Sloan, slagging the ABC off for its non-existent ‘Leftism’ Followed by the usual suspects, including uber-denialists Marc Hendrickx and Art Raiche, in their bathetic ‘Letters’ page. It seems that ‘The Fundament’ has about thirty pet letter writers who have the Right approach . The hate campaign against the ABC is approaching the intensity of ‘The Fundament’s’ trade-mark deranged hysteria, as are numerous other carefully fomented and cultivated outbursts of mass lunacy by the Dunning-Kruger-Joyce mob. This country is being deliberately driven towards a social divisiveness the likes of which we have never seen, by a Right that, seeing its world project crumbling before their eyes, is acting more and more like a rabid dog in the last throes of hydrophobia.

  42. Freelander
    August 19th, 2011 at 09:57 | #42

    Well known comedian, Judy Sloan, has followed the ‘rave’ reviews of her hold over performances at the “Productivity Commission, by penciling a riotously funny piece for The Australian. With deadpan humour, which she is increasingly become renowned for, and the playful title “Their ABC is just ungovernable”, Judy floats the thesis of a left-wing ABC that is completely independent of its John Howard stacked board. LoL.


    Elliot Goblet and Henry Ergas are gone; Australia welcomes a new comedy artiste, Judy Sloan, new icon of straight-faced absurdist humour!

    Let’s hope Judy continues to entertain the masses for my years to come with her Right-wing ninny “its far to good for them” persona. (Judy can be seen at the IPA, CIS and other good standup comedy venues throughout Australia.)

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