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ACMA fails again

December 10th, 2012

Following the tragic suicide of a British nurse, the victim of a cruel and unfunny practical joke by an Australian radio station 2DAYFM, what action can we expect from the Australian Communications and Media Authority which is supposed to regulate such matters? Following the most recent of many such breaches of license conditions, in May last year, ACMA warned 2DAY-FM that it could lose its license if such behavior continued. But ACMA has never cancelled a license, and clearly never will. So, we can expect another warning, or perhaps some meaningless, and unenforceable, license conditions.

ACMAs total failure contrasts with the success of the Facebook backlash against Alan Jones, which has cost him and his employers millions in lost advertising revenue, and greatly reduced his power and influence.

At this point, it’s clear that licensing has failed. Rather than continuing with this farce, we should auction the spectrum currently allocated to commercial radio, and let the winners do what they want with it, subject to the ordinary law of the land (which prohibits recording deceptive calls, though this law is never enforced against radio stations). As a community, we should continue to punish the corporations that sponsor the likes of Jones, Kyle Sandilands, and their latest imitators.

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  1. December 12th, 2012 at 11:08 | #1

    Yeah, sounds like bad training doesn’t it and how John can get cruel out of that is beyond commonsense.

  2. Mel
    December 12th, 2012 at 17:01 | #2

    Bad training? Are you an idiot? The prank was given the thumbs up by the radio station’s lawyers and management before it went to air. If the end result of wasn’t so tragic, the two otherwise forgettable hosts would have been backslapped and lauded by management for earning the station valuable exposure, extra ratings and revenue.

  3. Mel
    December 12th, 2012 at 17:13 | #3

    Another point- what sort of moron (Fran Barlow aside) thinks it is ever OK to make a prank call to a hospital? Hospitals are busy places where life and death decisions are made. The lawyers and managers who agreed to put this prank to air should be dripped in honey and tied down over a bullant’s nest. The presenters, on the other hand, have been punished enough.

  4. Mel
    December 12th, 2012 at 17:28 | #4

    Oh my gawd, nottrampis is Homer Paxton, who must by now be getting close to his one hundredth nom de plume ;)

  5. TerjeP
    December 12th, 2012 at 18:27 | #5

    I’m not at all sure that ‘decisions’ as such exist.

    I long ago decided to believe in free will. If it turns out that I’m wrong in that belief then I can’t be held responsible. ;-)

  6. December 12th, 2012 at 18:37 | #6

    Mel,

    If you perhaps stopped to think it was training at the hospital end.

    If the nurse has been provided with sufficient training there would have been no prank call.

    you really didn’t think before you wrote did you.

  7. Jim Rose
    December 12th, 2012 at 19:30 | #7

    do people need training to remember the manners their mother taught them?

  8. kevin1
    December 12th, 2012 at 20:42 | #8

    @Geoff Andrews
    I agree Geoff, the point of this blog is political economy not moralising based on half-baked info. This blog acknowledges that facts trump chatter doesn’t it? The discussion has been extensive and is exhausted for now, sleep on it till we get some more info re the suicide note, the internal dynamics in the hospital and the radio station, the fragility or otherwise of the nurse, whether she was infected by the trauma of letting down the Earthly Gods (I’ve heard their sh** stinks too) etc. etc.
    When we start hearing that “long ago I decided to believe in free will”, ” “remember the manners their mother taught them?”, “when is it ever OK to make a prank call to a hospital”, it shows that quality discussion has left the building.

    If the practice is so serious, where have the campaigners been? It seems agreed that much of the radio media has been doing this for yonks, this time it went horribly wrong.

  9. John Quiggin
    December 12th, 2012 at 20:56 | #9

    ” the point of this blog is political economy”

    In particular, if you would RTFOP, you would see that the political economy of spectrum allocation was the subject. It’s the defenders of 2DAY-FM who’ve persistently sought to focus on chatter and speculation.

    “If the practice is so serious, where have the campaigners been? ”

    Umm, here?

    http://johnquiggin.com/2012/10/09/boycotting-hate-radio/

    Seriously, I have no idea what is motivating so many commenters to defend radio stations like 2GB and 2DAY whose business model depends on hate and humiliation

  10. Kym Durance
    December 12th, 2012 at 21:00 | #10

    with the exception of the tragic and apparent suicide this is a non event that has turned into a train wreck for the two media gossips and the station for whom they gossip – if the privacy of an ordinary punter was compromised by a nurse few other than those affected would care – and even then some would not – however the absurd defference offered by some to the monarchy underpins the nurses response and the subsequent media fun fest -

  11. December 12th, 2012 at 23:58 | #11

    This is NOT an aside:

    Today we had the judgment of the Federal Court throwing out the ‘Ashby v Slipper’ case as an abuse of the Court process.

    If you read the judgment you will see that Steve Lewis ‘collaborates’ with Ashby in Ashby’s political purpose (ie: to damage Slipper – which really is designed to help Brough and alter things on the national level – it’s all there in the judgment. Read it rather than trust your lying media).

    The explanation before the court about Steve Lewis’ “We’ll Get Him!!!” text to Ashby was rejected. It was found to be a reference to Slipper, in other words: News Ltd looks an awful lot like it has conspired yet again to corrupt our democratic process using its usual tricks which we know include lies and crimes – if you look at the behaviour of the organistaion internationally, of course.

    What do we get in our non-Murdoch media? “Lewis Cleared In Slipper Case”???!!!

    We have to stop these News Ltd people before they completely destroy what remains of our democracy.

    Any idea why Murdoch’s factotae here are a protected species?

  12. kevin1
    December 13th, 2012 at 05:49 | #12

    @John Quiggin
    JQ, you said “auction the spectrum currently allocated to commercial radio, and let the winners do what they want with it”. Hardly an antidote to hate and humiliation – the weak-kneed regulator is the constant over many years and, as you say, the social media was the bright spot in chasing down Alan Jones. You’re resting your case here on a very mild example of a couple of pranksters taking the p***. I don’t see any hate and humiliation in their comments – their irreverence is a breath of fresh air. The nurse’s apparent inability to deal with her embarrassment is in the social context of media and monarchist veneration of royals; exactly what the pranksters’ are undermining. Sorry if you distort this to be a defence of the radio stations – what a long bow you draw.

    Megan’s comment is on the money – the serious media is where the corruption of democracy is, not the inane entertainment end, which is the radio equivalent of New Idea.

  13. Fran Barlow
    December 13th, 2012 at 06:10 | #13

    Moving away from the hook for this story, the broader question is what (if any) changes to media regulation are needed if the allocation of public spectrum is to maximise the kinds of goods that people want. It might be of course that the kinds of goods people want cannot be reliably obtained through policies framing spectrum allocation because the goods are too difficult to define with the specificity that a legal model would require.

    Motherhood-style statements don’t really get us very far. I daresay that if one attempted some sort of survey people would say they wanted something like “high quality entertainment and news” and that people “be of good character” or some such thing. I know of now precise way to prescribe the first, and ruling out bankrupts and those guilty of indictable offences and the more serious torts, I’m not sure what the second would mean.

    One may conclude from the audiences that current radio stations have that whatever it is that they are delivering is approximately what audiences want, but we don’t really know if they are merely adapting to what is there rather than merely preferring this to nothing at all. And of course, tastes change. What was popular in 1950 is very different from what is apparently popular now.

    More broadly, there is a community interest in a diverse range of content being readily available — which is of course the argument for publicly-funded broadcasting but that says very little about how to allocate spectrum.

    So absent measures that on cultural grounds, neither of the major parties is likely to consider (making broadcasting entirely a public service by perhaps allocating resources and spectrum to various community groups on a share basis) we are left with the possibility of a set of legally enforceable “don’t go there” rules. You would have to have a regulator not merely with the power to cancel or suspend a licence, but the will to do so. This power, called “the nuclear option” is unlikely ever to be exercised in practice. Large sums of money are invested in staff and equipment and the state is understandably reluctant to impose crippling losses on investments that are held, in part, by major institutional investors, including super funds.

    Perhaps what is needed is something between a slap on the wrist (“training courses”) and licence cancellation. Perhaps being forced off air for limited periods of time during the times when revenue is high would be one way of exercising pressure on outlets to comply with whatever standards they think apt. Perhaps making the regulatory code to which the staions pay lip service enforceable through sanctions is about as good as it gets.

  14. John Quiggin
    December 13th, 2012 at 06:41 | #14

    I’m obviously a bit slow on the uptake, but I’ve finally worked out that the primary motivation for the 2DAY defenders here is the fact that the prank was notionally aimed at the British Royal Family. For those inclined to take this line, I recommend

    http://overland.org.au/blogs/left-flank/2012/12/prank-calls-the-media-and-the-politics-of-class-humiliation/

  15. John Quiggin
    December 13th, 2012 at 06:52 | #15

    @Fran. As I read the evidence, there’s no middle ground of the kind we might like. That’s why the pretence of having standards is harmful, and why we would be better off auctioning the commercial spectrum.

    As you say, the only positive response is to fund a high-quality public broadcaster, and despite consistent attacks and tight funding ABC & SBS are still doing a pretty good job overall.

  16. kevin1
    December 13th, 2012 at 08:53 | #16

    When Dr Tad at Overland.org.au says that “capitalist media creates entertainment from a culture of humiliation in which ordinary people are invited to laugh at the misfortune of the weak and vulnerable”, it’s hard to disagree; but given the amalgam of base and noble elements of which we are made what can/should be done about it. There doesn’t seem to be a silver bullet answer: the precedent of David Flint is a sober warning about ceding power to a bureaucrat, but who would expect a different regulator to take on Tad’s issue? To vacate the regulatory space to social media gives ambiguous results: either the wisdom of crowds (response to Alan Jones) or the madness of crowds (the hang ‘em high brigade). High-minded leadership at the media companies helps, but the ABC and the Age/Fairfax have had dud leaders or owners at times. Perhaps a multi-pronged response is the best to hope for, with an expanded space for quality media rather than too much suppression of the opposite.

    I don’t know what the answer is for commercial radio, but the public good case for funding a daily newspaper is surely as strong as it’s ever been, as depth in news media must include newspaper(s), but their revenue decline can’t be matched by cost decline, so are dumbing down to chase the “money shot”. By now it should be clear to all except those who have not seen ABC news TV channels (and The Australian newspaper who desire the market niche) that the publicly funded broadcaster in Australia takes pride in not being a govt stooge. This may have been discussed before, but what are the prospects for a campaign for an publicly funded independent rival to the Murdoch press?

  17. December 13th, 2012 at 09:02 | #17

    It is the market which decides such things.

    Jones is addicted to hate radio but so are a lot of people hence his ratings.

    As yet no-one has provided any proof of a station indulging in humiliation.

    It certainly didn’t happen here as Kevin1 states.

    But again it is the market via ratings which will determine whether this succeeds or not.

  18. Katz
    December 13th, 2012 at 09:19 | #18

    @John Quiggin

    @Fran. As I read the evidence, there’s no middle ground of the kind we might like. That’s why the pretence of having standards is harmful, and why we would be better off auctioning the commercial spectrum.

    I don’t understand how auctioning the spectrum will prevent the crimes and misdemeanours we currently hear on the radio.

    But perhaps that is your point.

  19. December 13th, 2012 at 10:18 | #19

    I reckon a commenter referring to another commenter as a “moron” should attract the Mallet of Loving Correction(TM), but that’s just me.

  20. Jeff Rankin
    December 13th, 2012 at 10:42 | #20

    @John Quiggin

    I’ve finally worked out that the primary motivation for the 2DAY defenders here …

    As I’ve made clear that I’m unsympathetic to the interests of 2DAYFM, I’m assuming this remark doesn’t refer to me. I am troubled by your boolean though — the idea that anyone who doesn’t share your concern that the action of the announcers was “cruel” and “reckless” and warranted some regulatory response, is by definition a “2DAYFM” defender. I continue to be troubled at your readiness to shrug your shoulders both at the British media and the hospital’s role in this tragedy in the absence of any obvious reason for acquitting them. That impulse, in an avowed social democrat, strikes me as more perplexing than any question that the attitude of those not sharing your impulses here might raise. It is interesting that on Tuesday, when ‘the Mail Online’ said that Ms Saldanha had ‘died of shame’ the bulk even of their correspondents, were inclined to seek cause in celbrity culture, the obsession with the royals and the private hospital.

    despite consistent attacks and tight funding ABC & SBS are still doing a pretty good job overall.

    Outside of News & Current Affairs, I’m inclined to agree. News & Current Affairs though is a bit of a mess — often derivative, banal and vacuous — a follower of the lead of the Murdochracy — and inlined to blend with light entertainment, presumably in the search for ratings. That obviously, isn’t the principal issue here though.

  21. Jeff Rankin
    December 13th, 2012 at 10:46 | #21

    Oops … apologies … I’ve had a bit of a problem lately with some spam, and I’ve been trying to source it by using another nym — hence the “Jeff Rankin” for me above.

    Fran

  22. Mel
    December 13th, 2012 at 11:52 | #22

    Helen: “I reckon a commenter referring to another commenter as a “moron” should attract the Mallet of Loving Correction(TM), but that’s just me.”

    Moron noun

    1. Informal. a person who is notably stupid or lacking in good judgment. *

    Someone who thinks it is ethical to make prank calls to hospitals and to distract nursing staff from patient care is, objectively speaking, lacking in good judgement and thus a moron. Let’s not mince words. I also note that over the years you’ve employed much harsher language, so I don’t think you are in a position to caste stones.

    * http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/moron

    Let’s be clear about this, one can oppose the institution of monarchy (FTR I oppose it) while still recognising the humanity of the persons, who for historical reasons, occupy roles within that institution.

  23. December 13th, 2012 at 12:22 | #23

    I don’t recall any commenter making that point. Mel was I thought simply making a general point.

    however it would be inaccurate.

    nurses who answer the phones are not doing patient care at that time.

    If they were then the Management would have a a number of questions to answer

  24. Fran Barlow
    December 13th, 2012 at 13:44 | #24

    @Mel

    Someone who thinks it is ethical to make prank calls to hospitals and to distract nursing staff from patient care is, objectively speaking, lacking in good judgement and thus a moron.

    I expressed no view on whether the prank was ‘ethical’. It seems to me though that no nurse ought to prioritise answering the phone over patient care, particularly when as in this case, the number being dialled was the publicly advertised phone number, so one can assume that answering the phone was not in conflict with any pressing duty being carried out. King Edward VII is a very well-resourced private hospital and was in charge of one of the most privileged patients in the world. The prospect that even a hair on the patient’s head might have been left out of palce as a consequence of this call would seem to be small.

    I regarded the prank as banal and crass, and thus suited to the 2DAYFM audience, who, I’m given to understand, are partial to that sort of thing. If there is an ethical question here it is surely whether the wants of those amused by the banal and crass should be served. I’m unsure about that, though I’m sure I’d be uninterested in delivering the service.

    You’ve called me a moron and in your case, that merely reflects your view that boss class rule is the best of all possible worlds, and that those like me who see it otherwise ought to be pilloried and marginalised. You are fighting your side of the culture war. I’m OK with that.

  25. Katz
    December 13th, 2012 at 14:21 | #25

    OK, for the sake of argument, let us grant that the prank was unethical.

    Then what?

    I have already argued that the prank probably broke ACMA codes and a number of state and federal laws.

    Breaches of law would appear to be more serious than mere ethical failings. Yet, it appears that no one is in any hurry to prosecute these breaches.

    Under these conditions, the final arbiters of ethics in these cases are the listeners. If their ennui or outrage cause enough of them to switch channels, then it would be true to say that such humour breaches community standards. It will be interesting to see whether the suicide that many have attributed to this prank will provoke the cultural change that is essential to induce large numbers of people to decide that pranks are unacceptable.

    This was the fate of the more blatant varieties of racist and sexist humour, though modified versions of both continue to thrive.

  26. Mel
    December 13th, 2012 at 16:11 | #26

    Katz, I agree. The radio station should be prosecuted. Actually, maybe we could extradite the 2DAY execs and lawyers to England for prosecution in exchange for Julian Assange ;)

    Fran, stop babbling. In reply to PrQ’s “I’m at a total loss to understand your eagerness to defend 2DAY-FM, a station with a long history of appalling behavior” you said:

    “I don’t suppose it is possible that in this particular instance, they might have no case to answer.”

    The prank was illegal, deceptive, unethical and a breach of both the law and the relevant media code. It is also not unusual for stupid radio pranks to go horribly wrong- for example Kyle Sandilands inadvertently inducing a 14 year old to admit to being raped in a less than supportive setting and last years death of a woman who died almost immediately after winning a prize for drinking a (dealy as it turns out) quantity of water.

    This particular stunt also had the 2DAY management tick of approval. If you can’t understand why 2DAY has a case to answer, you are obviously (cough, splutter) bereft of good judgement.

    I also note this slimey piece of nastiness that emanated from your poison keyboard:

    “She [Duchess Kate] was in a private hospital bed for something working class (and even middle class) women endure with equanimity. This woman was of course, carrying the royal seed, which is obviously different.”

    You have no basis at all for this seedy comment. What an irrational and malign creature you are.

  27. Jim Rose
    December 13th, 2012 at 16:49 | #27

    @John Quiggin the gutter press has been around for hundreds of years. they got a piece of the action in radio and cable TV now.

    the US and UK has more gutter press and trash TV because a larger population can support niches larger enough for every bad taste.

    the laws on listening devices should such as in NSW should have stopped the worst pranks. those laws should be enforced.

  28. Geoff Andrews
    December 14th, 2012 at 01:06 | #28

    I’m rather surprised that there has been no comment, apart from that of J=D, on Steve at the Pub’s threat to JQ’s academic career (see comments #40 and #41 on 11th December).

    Our host, no doubt exasperated by the diversion of comment from ACMA and broadcasting licences to a subject about which all the facts are still unknown, asked Steve rhetorically when he first logged in to this blog if he was still “pedalling kooky conspiracy theories”.

    One such theory to which John was probably referring is Steve’s belief that burning the equivalent of 60 billion barrels of fossil fuels a year would have only a minor, possibly no effect on temperature of a closed system.

    I would imagine that a blog site such as this attracts it’s fair share of cyber bullies but Steve’s threat appears to me to be a lot more sinister because Steve (if that is his/her name) infers he has the power and influence to carry out his threats: he is not a tattooed builder’s labourer in a Jacky Howe singlet, shorts and muddy boots overflowing a bar stool as his pseudonym suggests but Sir Stephen, a senior university administrator or academic in pin-stripped suit and pointy shoes or maybe a company CEO with Liberal party connections.

    But he’s certainly a sensitive little flower who has threatened to stalk John who should seek legal advice.

  29. December 14th, 2012 at 01:29 | #29

    @Geoff Andrews

    Can’t speak for JQ or others,

    but I just assumed Steve was blowing off – and embarrassing himself in the process.

  30. MG42
    December 14th, 2012 at 06:01 | #30

    @ Geoff, Megan

    My first reaction to SatP’s little outburst was to roll my eyes and repress the urge to tell him to get over himself. As it stands he is a classic counterpoint to the adage that age brings wisdom.

  31. Julie Thomas
    December 14th, 2012 at 06:02 | #31

    Geoff, I was ‘threatened’ by Steve also – he likes to give people ‘tips’ about what they should or shouldn’t do and he remarkably thin skinned about the abuse he receives and thick skinned about the ones he hands out.

    Steve is a relic of the Joh era. A damaged men who are not coping with the 21 st Century and as such deserves some leeway as he is not responsible for the awful things he says when throwing a tantrum.

    I suspect that he doesn’t have a good relationship with his grandchildren.

    Perhaps Steve is not yet an adult who can take responsibility for himself in social situations where his ‘wealth creator’ status counts for FA.

  32. J-D
    December 14th, 2012 at 09:36 | #32

    Geoff Andrews :
    I’m rather surprised that there has been no comment, apart from that of J=D, on Steve at the Pub’s threat to JQ’s academic career (see comments #40 and #41 on 11th December).
    Our host, no doubt exasperated by the diversion of comment from ACMA and broadcasting licences to a subject about which all the facts are still unknown, asked Steve rhetorically when he first logged in to this blog if he was still “pedalling kooky conspiracy theories”.
    One such theory to which John was probably referring is Steve’s belief that burning the equivalent of 60 billion barrels of fossil fuels a year would have only a minor, possibly no effect on temperature of a closed system.
    I would imagine that a blog site such as this attracts it’s fair share of cyber bullies but Steve’s threat appears to me to be a lot more sinister because Steve (if that is his/her name) infers he has the power and influence to carry out his threats: he is not a tattooed builder’s labourer in a Jacky Howe singlet, shorts and muddy boots overflowing a bar stool as his pseudonym suggests but Sir Stephen, a senior university administrator or academic in pin-stripped suit and pointy shoes or maybe a company CEO with Liberal party connections.
    But he’s certainly a sensitive little flower who has threatened to stalk John who should seek legal advice.

    If Steve were really a figure with the connections and influence to harm John Quiggin’s career, he’d hardly be wasting his time on blowhard pomposity here. I am confident that John Quiggin has as little reason to fear the consequences Steve threatened as a nineteenth-century Czar of Russia would have to fear the minatory editorialising of a provincial New Zealand newspaper with a circulation of a hundred. Hence my amused reaction and the reference I made, perhaps a too esoteric one, but of sentimental value to me because of my father’s fondness for it.

    Returning to a more important aspect of the discussion, I think this is worth reading and reflecting on:
    http://freethoughtblogs.com/brutereason/2012/12/12/who-is-to-blame-for-a-suicide/

  33. Geoff Andrews
    December 14th, 2012 at 14:14 | #33

    @Julie Thomas
    Steve’s over reaction to what was a somewhat gentle gibe makes me think that there is history between these two(?) academics.
    I hope so because the worst thing that could happen for John would be a sudden string of rejected publications and applications for research grants and the only clue that Steve’s abusive threat was being implemented was that one of the panellists was wearing a tie over the Jacky Howe.

  34. Fran Barlow
    December 14th, 2012 at 15:23 | #34

    @Geoff Andrews

    Having read quite a bit of SATP’s material, I can’t recall him going quite this far. Indeed, it surprises me that he would be in a position to reflect at all in a professional sense on PrQ’s output. I assume that this is mere bluster. AIUI, he runs a pub up in northern NSW somewhere.

    Plainly, the jibe got under his skin, and this is his response. On the internet, it’s sometimes hard to get a read on people but I’d be surprised if this is anything more than SATP behaving like the proverbial bullfrog.

  35. Ikonoclast
    December 14th, 2012 at 17:18 | #35

    @John Quiggin

    Exactly. That is why I said earlier (I quote in part);

    “Ordinary workers were put in jeopardy of official and/or employer criticism, sanction and/or dismissal by an idiotic, juvenile stunt. It is the anti-worker aspect of the stunt that really riles me. In our overly hiearchical and exploitative society you should never give ammunition to the “powers that be” to scapegoat individual workers.”

  36. Katz
    December 14th, 2012 at 17:26 | #36

    I guess that rules out JQ ever winning SATP’s pub’s wet t-shirt competition.

  37. John Quiggin
    December 14th, 2012 at 18:49 | #37

    @Katz

    A pity. I’ve been working out in the hope of winning.

    But, it does seem that Steve is a bit flummoxed by the problem of distinguishing between his tinfoil hat theory on climate science, and the identical theories of anti-vaxers, anti-fluoridationists, AIDS revisionists, birthers, poll-unskewers and so on. He might find things easier at Catallaxy, where no conspiracy theory is too crazy to get a run, as long as it passes the ideological sniff test.

    As regards his threats to my career, I’m just about to start a 5-year Laureate Fellowship, and I’m sure he will have cooled down when 2017 rolls around

  38. Jim Rose
    December 14th, 2012 at 19:25 | #38

    see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prank_call
    there are multiple internet radio stations dedicated to prank calls

    both Hugo Chávez and Fidel Castro have suffered prank calls. no one is safe from these time wasters.

  39. December 14th, 2012 at 19:41 | #39

    On the apparent suicide of the nurse,

    Apparently the inquest has heard there were three notes found. According to The Guardian, ‘sources’ say one contained references to the hospital and staff (‘critical’ of the staff), one was to do with her funeral wishes and one was concerned with 2DayFM.

    Given the circumstances, you might expect headlines mentioning that, apparently, she devoted a suicide note to the ‘prank’ incident everyone is interested in – you’d be wrong. All the media I’ve seen blares about the one mentioning the staff.

    As an aside, just saw that a senior Vic copper has pleaded guilty to leaking details of a terrrst raid to the Oz. That was, presumably, the info Cameron Stewart and the Oz used to essentially extort more info and an inside exclusive running on the story from the AFP in return for holding back on what they had.

    That was the terrrst raid News Ltd famously reported a few hours before it happened. People who pretend to take all this terrrst stuff seriously should be calling for indefinite detention without trial for everyone at News Ltd involved in this outrageous endangerment of our national security. But, of course, they won’t.

    Eagerly awaiting some headlines like: “ENTIRE MURDOCH STAFF ARRESTED UNDER TOUGH LAWS FOR AIDING TERRRSTS”.

    But that’s not how it works for our double-standard loving media.

  40. Geoff Andrews
    December 14th, 2012 at 19:52 | #40

    @Fran Barlow

    Fran
    Not disputing with you, but STATP’s assertion that

    “I cannot say if our blog host has sought, or is under, the care of mental health professionals, but I can say that no person will ever, in my presence, quote him or any research/work of his, as a reliable source. Neither will any committee I am a member of accept any report/recommendation that is authored in whole or in part by him.”

    clearly threatens that Steve will exert any influence to block any publication to which John has any attachment, no matter how small; as well as any “recommendation” (for a grant, for example).

    If, as you think, he is a regional pub owner, MY conspiracy theory falls apart.

  41. Geoff Andrews
    December 14th, 2012 at 20:31 | #41

    @J-D
    Thanks for the reference to the Czar, J-D. I didn’t know of it but googled it after I read your comment.

  42. December 14th, 2012 at 21:24 | #42

    Geoff, I’m pretty certain Steve really is just a grumpy regional publican (sorry Fran, I had the idea he was out in peanut country around Kingaroy or somewhere – the XXXX is a bit of a giveaway also).

    J-D, I got the ‘Czar’ reference immediately and had a little chuckle. When we’re surrounded by stupid it gets very hard to remember that the wall of stupid is deliberately built and isn’t actually representative of the majority of our fellow citizens.

  43. Ikonoclast
    December 15th, 2012 at 05:26 | #43

    SATP’s own blog can be read through the link on his moniker (or “tag” or “nom de plume”).

    It makes for a repugnant litany of ingrained prejudice and loony right wing mythology. It’s sort of what you would expect if Robert Bolt and Alan Jones ran a pub together and wrote a blog about it.

  44. Ikonoclast
    December 15th, 2012 at 05:36 | #44

    @John Quiggin

    I am sure SATP’s threats to JQ’s career amount to regaling the local barfly with tales of how bad John Quiggin is. The un-educated barfly would be thinking “John who? Dang, this beer tastes flat and the bartender down the road talks less. I’m off.”

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