Another meltdown at the Oz

As I’ve mentioned a few times, the Oz is extremely sensitive to blogospheric criticism. In response, its typical MO has been an unsigned editorial, or a piece by a ‘staff writer’, in which unnamed and unlinked (but easily identifiable) bloggers are castigated for their sins. Typically, the piece ends with a flourish of bravado, in which the brave, though anonymous, editorialist, backed only by the multi-billion dollar resources of News Corporation, pledges to carry on in defiance of the powerful, but unnamed, bloggers arrayed against it.

The script has been reversed, however, in the case of Grog’s Gamut, a pseudonymous political blog which made some useful contributions during the election campaign. Apparently acting under the misconception that public servants aren’t allowed to engage in political activity, Oz journalist James Massola took on himself to out the blogger concerned. He works in the film section of what was the Department of Environment, Heritage, Water and the Arts, which suggests that the potential for political activity to compromise his public service role is, shall we say, limited.

There are still some decent journalists working for the Oz, but the paper itself is a sad joke. On the other hand, as Steve Hind observes, the downmarket spiral of the Age and SMH (at least in their online versions) means that there is not much competition.

35 thoughts on “Another meltdown at the Oz

  1. It turns out that the NSW Deptartment of Health is backing the OO.

    Dianne Eggins
    Statewide Major Projects Branch
    Centre for Health Advancement
    NSW Department of Health
    Ph: 9391 9620
    Fax: 9391 9579
    Email: EGGINS, Dianne [deggi@doh.health.nsw.gov.au]

    Who would have thought that the NSW government was using public funds to subvert … the Commonwealth and State governments and the public policy they advocate?

    Strange days indeed …

  2. Fran, Perhaps insane was too strong a word. Perhaps even “out of your mind” isn’t all that accurate.

    You don’t like articles in some newspaper? Join the club, there are plenty of rags around. Eg. try Green Left Weekly sometime for some really unhinged stuff (opinion not even masquerading as journalism, but each issue is cheaper than dunny paper, so has a useful function).

    You can’t live with people having opinions different to your own? (Who decreed YOUR opinions – unhinged impractical rantings – are worthwhile anyway?)

    You can’t stand the thought that a significant chunk of the population are interested enough by what is written in a newspaper to keep buying it?

    You won’t be able to convince the consumers of this broadsheet’s articles to stop buying it, so you advocate brownshirt tactics to cut off economic support for a newspaper.

    Free speech offends you that much? Oh dearie me!

  3. @Steve at the Pub
    Its not free speech at issue here Steve. Did you read the thread? Its the OOs attempts to “out” and castigate an innocent citizen writing under a nom de plume in the blogosphere.
    Thats an attempt by OO to shut down free speech and only because it doesnt align with their usually biased rantings.
    A significant chunk of the population think OO stinks btw.

  4. @Steve at the Pub

    Understandably, SATP, you want this to be about “free speech” but to the extent that it is, I’m the one favouring it and you, by your implicit endorsement of the monoply traders in public discourse, are the one opposing it. News Ltd has an absolutely dominant position in the major cities and even regional centres and rather than being driven by “what the public needs to know” or even “what the public thinks” it is entirely about “what advertisers want”. Advertisers are entitled to a POV, but they aren’t the same as the public, and certainly, media of that type does not underpin a pluralist society.

    If I were a “brownshirt” (Godwins anyone?) I’d be advocating forming gangs of thugs to beat up journalists, so your comparison fails. What I advocate falls entirely within “market mechanisms” — the very thing the OO claims to support. People can choose how to spend their money and if the advertisers learn that consumers want intellectually honest reporting, then they may come to support it more often.

    You say:

    You can’t live with people having opinions different to your own? (Who decreed YOUR opinions – unhinged impractical rantings – are worthwhile anyway?)

    On the contrary, I’ve lived for 36 of my 52 years knowing full well that the majority of the world — the vast majority — would not agree with me much more often than not, and that this would likely persist until the day I would draw my last breath. I’m OK with that, though I’d prefer they did of course. My problem is that most of them will be deprived of the facts and ideas that might cause them to reflect on what they think and wonder if what they thought was common sense was actually common nonsense.

    As it stands, News Ltd is part of the problem rather than part of the solution.

  5. STeve writes:

    You can’t stand the thought that a significant chunk of the population are interested enough by what is written in a newspaper to keep buying it?

    the Oz is run at a loss by it foreign owner to try and influence Australian policy. Said foreign owner is a political activist with plutocratic (anti-democratic) and monopolistic power. (See barriers to entry for background on why monopoly status continues). Said plutocrat control 70% of the press in Australia, hence is influence on national politics.

    You won’t be able to convince the consumers of this broadsheet’s articles to stop buying it, so you advocate brownshirt tactics to cut off economic support for a newspaper.

    Actually the brown shirt tactics was to bully dissenting voices (see the Oz attack on the Greens, and Murdoch’s attempt to snuff any attempt at press competition).

    Fran’s tactic is in keeping with the ‘freedom loving’ moves employed to attack Apartheid South Africa.

  6. The last time I actually bought a copy of The Australian – which wasn’t that many months ago (I almost never buy newspapers anyway, whatever their political complexion) – the allegedly political commentary consisted almost entirely of quotes from, yes, you guessed it, unnamed sources.

    “A senior Liberal Party figure …” “An ALP backbencher who did not want to be named …” “A former colleague of Tony Abbott …” and so forth. Paragraph after paragraph after paragraph.

    Unless and until reporters at The Oz and other newspapers overcome their addiction to such anonymous tip-offs, they have an almighty nerve slagging off at the hapless “Grog”‘s reluctance to “out” himself.

  7. @robert (not from UK)
    Exactly robert – they get some innocent who doesnt toe the “opinion line” they want to push and they “out” him like the rabid mind security dogs they are.
    Well I dont agree with the OX not naming the sources they “choose’ To protect in politics (which does matter) and I dont agree with them outing an innocent free thinker in the general public who has nothing whatsoever to do with politics.
    Its party politics courtesy of the Oz…and we know which party that is. Same as the media in the US ramping up the Obama attacks. Same old same old Murdoch. How old is the old bastard? Isnt it time he dropped off?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

w

Connecting to %s