Like Catallaxy on a bad day

Journalism academic Julie Posetti has just announced a move from the University of Canberra to the University of Wollongong. This represents a small step up in the status hierarchy, but not exactly front-page news. Except of course, at the Oz, where Posetti ranks high on the enemies list, having induced editor Chris Mitchell to issue absurd threats of a defamation action, based on a tweeted report of statements by a former Oz journalist. So, this story gets the full Oz treatment with references to Posetti’s “notoriety” her “ducking of questions” about the possible move (standard practice when you are in negotiation, AFAIK) and “incidents” that have “rocked” the UC journalism school.

This is pathetic, but typical of what happens when you give a third-rate group blog like The Oz the resources that allow it to pose as a national newspaper.

45 thoughts on “Like Catallaxy on a bad day

  1. Maybe the thing to do is wait until the Oz-failure has an “Alan Jones moment”. Then pounce and mount a full campaign to boycott it just as was done to AJ and his station.

    Most of these extreme-right neocon corporations and individuals have their “Alan Jones moment” sooner or later. Look at Tony Abbott. He has them all the time. Some might even contend such moments should be called “Tony Abbott moments”. The Heartland Institute had one such moment when it stuck up ads that said only people like the Unabomber still believe in global warming.

  2. The trouble is, it took quite a lot of phone hacking to get rid of NOTW. How many people will have to be bashed by Jones/Hadley motivated racist mobs before we can get them off the air? How many dead football fans will have to be defamed for the Sun to stop printing? How much propoganda can be printed by the Oz before people see it for what it is?

  3. I bought and read the Oz daily for about eight years, but as soon as I got a modern phone, then tablet, I barely looked at it again.

    I seek out right-wing media online in order to have my assumptions challenged (sadly rare), but the Murdoch media seem to be somewhere at the back of the room, ranting and raving for attention and seeming less newsworthy by the day.

  4. The major difference between the Oz and the NOTW is that the denizens of Murdoch’s Oz sheltered workshop are too lazy and shiftless to break any laws.

  5. Mike Steketee and George Megalogenis have jumped from Murdoch’s flagship of fools in recent times. It would be good to see Matthew Denholm make the same decision.

  6. @Katz Leigh and Gans in How Partisan is the Press? Multiple Measures of Media Slant, ECONOMIC RECORD, MARCH, 2012, 127–147 employed several approaches to find the Australian media was quite centrist, with very few outlets statistically distinguishable from the middle of Australian politics. The minor exceptions were the ABC 2 and perhaps the Melbourne Age in 2004 but their slants were small.

    Australian newspapers tended to endorse the coalition in the federal elections from 1996 to 2007 although The Australian, right-wing rag that it is, backed the ALP in 2007! I agree that this was a serious lapse of judgement.

    Leigh and Gans’ editorial endorsements series should have been longer. Some newspapers back winners just before they become winners and oppose the re-election of tired and smelly governments that have being there too long no matter what the party.

    Murdoch makes making himself the new best friend of the next Prime Minister his business strategy. He is always been prepared to back winners just before they win, and to shift allegiances on non-ideological grounds.

    Another lapse is the editorial of April 6, 1995 where the Australian said: “The scientific consensus that global warming is occurring unnaturally, primarily as a result of industrial development and deforestation, is no longer seriously disputed in the world.” Murdoch’s flagship paper has supported global action on climate change based on science for a long time.

  7. Of course Murdoch backed the ALP in 2007 (he is many repugnant things, but stupid he isn’t! That was a drover’s dog election if ever we had one, Howard got the sack in his own electorate to a vapid celebrity blow-in remember) – the current government is the most reactionary this country has ever seen, and it is to Rupert’s liking.

    Since when was Posetti an enemy of ‘The Australian’? As far as I can tell, they are on the same side.

    You teach the orthodoxy you get rewarded by the establishment. (see Prof Steve Keen for the reverse example).

    Meanwhile, the rest of us in the real word carry on.

    The last exchange I had with Posetti was when she was lecturing the internet about how it should leave “real” journalism to the (corporate) “professionals” because we are apparently dangerous (it was that ridiculous meme doing the rounds that ‘social media’ and ‘bloggers’ would endanger proper legal process in the Meagher murder case – curious, because only Bolt had done anything along those lines at that time).

    After implying that we of the net are endangering the fabric of justice and society, and I pointed out that the worst examples of interference with court processes all came from the corporate media, she declared that it was all the future examples (from we all-powerful internetters) she was worried about.

    MSM apologist IMHO.

  8. @Jim Rose The mentioned editorial and subsequent publication of untruthful contrary opinions makes for a nett loss of credibility. As Warren Buffetts mate Charlie Munger colourfully said “If you mix raisins and turds, they’re still turds.”

  9. Stablemates Fox and WSJ come into criticism from UCS

    “Over a recent six-month period, Fox News Channel representations of climate science were misleading 93 percent of the time (37 out of 40 citations).

    Over the past year, the Wall Street Journal opinion section’s representations of climate science were misleading 81 percent of the time (39 out of 48 citations).”

  10. Mitchell comes across as being a puny dunce. For starters taking exception over a relatively trivial claim which he virtually confirms in the course of denying it. Mitchel attempts to limit standover conversations as direct spoken conversations, and yet his first reaction is to send an email. Fail point one.
    Mitchell claims that for the past ….2 years…. the Australian has “accepted” climate change to be real. So for the previous decade and a half this bunch of “geniusses” have assumed that the world’s scientists were all deluded liars??? ….and politicians and journalists are the keepers of absolute truth? Fail point two.
    Mitchell then goes on to say that….now… his journalist, Graham Lloyd, will get a fair run at publication. Fail point three. In so saying he admits to very selective content publication, which confirms a practice of standover tactics, and substantiates Posetti’s claims. In my opinion.
    That leaves only the suggestion that Mitchell specifically directed the “journalist”, Asa Wahlquist, what she should write, whether by direct conversation, email, text message, secretarial delegation, owl, body language, or by direct thought transfer. You judge for yourself.
    Extracts from the Australian article:
    also saying in an email to her that he had “never spoken” to her about climate change and “have never stood over you about ANY of your stories
    He said The Australian’s editorials on climate change “would make it clear that for several years the paper has accepted man-made climate change as fact”.
    but would suggest my environment writer, Graham Lloyd, who is a passionate environmentalist, gets a very good run in the paper.”

  11. Jim Rose, it seems you read a very different edition of The Australian from the rest of us (well, alright, I haven’t read the wretched thing in years, but never mind). I suggest you look at Tim Lambert’s most excellent series on The Australian’s War on Science – recently re-invigorated with Episode 78.

  12. rog, global warming is yesterday’s news. see

    Not one mention in the 3 debates. Neither Romney nor Obama – with the exception of one throwaway line each – have mentioned climate change in the wake of hurricane Sandy.

    Global warming is part of political theatre made up of the symbols we boo and cheer. People gain pleasure, excitement and self-definition for cheering for particular parties and worthy causes in the same way as they cheer and boo for sports teams.

    Geoffrey Brennan in ‘Climate Change: A Rational Choice Politics View’, Australian Journal of Agricultural and Resource Economics, Vol. 53, Issue 3, pp. 309-326, July 2009 argues that we see many countries acting unilaterally to introduce carbon emission policies because expressive voters cheer for such policies.

    Brennan argues that the nature of expressive concerns is such that significant reductions in real GDP are probably not politically sustainable in the long term. Much of the CO reduction action will be limited to modest reductions of a largely token character.

    There are many expressive voting concerns that politicians must balance to stay in office and the environment is but one of these. Once climate change policies start to actually become costly, expressive voting support for these policies will fall away, as they have.

    Abbott’s big bad new tax rhetoric split away the working class and lower-middle class labour voters who worry more about bread and butter issues.

  13. Well the oz does have excellent rugby coverage. OK so I can’t think of another reason to read it.

  14. @rog wendy bacon had no theory to explain why a biased news media survives, much less why newspapers ignore the needs and preferences of their readers in an era when newspapers are in major decline and losing money big-time.

    Gan and Leigh showed that Australian news media were not biased.

    one measure of bias by bacon was referring to the carbon tax as a tax and not a price! data mining

  15. Jim’s using “yesterday’s news” to describe a topic that was made toxic by years of right-wing whining about socialism every time science was mentioned.

    Far from yesterday’s news, climate change denialism is the new creationism, which is probably why so many Intelligent Design promoters seamlessly moved over into being professional “skeptics” when they smelled some money.

  16. That is a very patronising view on peoples motives towards Climate Change Action, Jim R. The problem with it is that Climate Change has an ever increasing habit of reminding people that their opinions, and their lifes achievements mean squat when they are in the way of energetic natural forces. And our changing climate is ever more energetic.

    And I know that it is a little early to bring this up, but there is a very good chance that Mit Romney will have an awful lot to say about the Climate Change that “stole” the presidency from him, even if all of his invective is reserved for those private moments.

    And as for Toxic Tony he is yet to discover that pulling back the rising tide of environmental awarenes is a futile pursuit bringing only momentary success until the next climate driven wave of public awareness drives determination to act ever higher.

    Remember, there is only one climate reality, and opinions have absolutely no influence on the outcome, it is only our actions that can have any bearing on the future. I think that New Yorkers will be joining New Orleansians, Mid Western Farmers, Canadian forresters, Texans, Pacific Islanders, Pakistanis, Toowoombans and Brisbainers, and an ever larger army of Climate Change victims in voting yes to Climate Change Action, with feeling for the pain,….not Cheers.

  17. @Hal9000 was climate change mentioned in the US presidential debates?

    Obama did not comment on Climate Change because it was not an important issue anymore to those who decide elections:
    • The 2008 Republican Party presidential nominee supported cap-and-trade.
    • In January 2010, the Pew Research Center asked Americans to rank the importance of twenty-one issues: climate change came in last.
    • After winning the fight over health care, another issue for which polling showed lukewarm support on climate change, Obama moved on safer issues.
    • Many including McCain soften or reversed positions as voter support waned.

    p.s. there were 5 republican senators who would have voted for cap and trade in April 2010: Lindsey Graham, Susan Collins, Olympia Snowe, Scott Brown, and George LeMieux. Obama could have fought harder to get a Bill though but he did not. Blame Obama, no one else. He is supposed to make change happen. He lacked the political skills to build the coalitions even within his own party to deliver.

  18. @Jim Rose
    I don’t see what any of this has to do with the impending problems created by AGW. I find this statement particularly ridiculous:
    “Global warming is part of political theatre made up of the symbols we boo and cheer”. Because AGW has been the subject of considerable scholarly effort, the results of which strongly support a theory of AGW. This is real research, not the idle speculations of unqualified hacks, be they at “The Australian” or the “Australian Journal of Agricultural and Resource Economics”. You really need to ease up on the smug blustering and do some reading … on science.

  19. Careful, the troll will get fat if you overfeed it.

    There is a scary youtube (easy to find) from a very recent – post Sandy flooding NYC – Mitt Romney appearance where a guy in the crowd yelled out something like “what about climate change??”

    He was hauled away and the GOP crowd dealt with his negativity by chanting: “USA! USA! USA!”


  20. Just by coincidence I was browsing both here and the Paul Krugman blog. This is what Krugman had to say a little over a week ago:

    “[The cries of bias from the right-wing towards a mathematical modeller who predicts a clear Obama victory] is. of course, reminiscent of the attack on the Bureau of Labor Statistics — not to mention the attacks on climate science and much more. On the right, apparently, there is no such thing as an objective calculation. Everything must have a political motive.

    This is really scary. It means that if these people triumph, science — or any kind of scholarship — will become impossible. Everything must pass a political test; if it isn’t what the right wants to hear, the messenger is subjected to a smear campaign.”

  21. Are there actually any other “national” newspapers in Australia. I thought The Australian was the only one.

  22. @Patrickb My point was about the theory of expressive voting. people vote this way or that because they gain pleasure, excitement and self-definition for cheering for particular parties and worthy causes in the same way they cheer and boo for sports teams.

    Let climate science be settled.

    How much will global warming cost is the correct question for policy debate. Global warming is not apt to be severe. It will lower the level of GDP by maybe 2% – the loss of one year’s growth!

    The chances of India, China and the rest of the Third world agreeing for forego or even slow economic development to fight global warming is zero even before you consider the international collective action, verification and free rider problems.

    Adaptation and richer is safer are the only games in town.

    I found the best writer on global warming to be Thomas Schelling. he has been involved with the global warming debate since chairing a commission on the subject for Carter in 1980.

    He is an economist who specialises in strategy so he focuses on climate change as a bargaining problem. Schelling drew in his experiences with the negotiation of the Marshall Plan and NATO.

    International agreements rarely work if they talk in terms of results. They work better if signatories promise to supply specific inputs – to perform specific actions now. Individual NATO members did not, for example, promise to slow the Soviet invasion by 90 minutes if it happened after 1955.

    NATO members promised to raise and train troops, procure equipment and supplies, and deploy these assets geographically. All of these actions can be observed, estimated and compared quickly. The NATO treaty was a few pages long.

    The Kyoto Protocol commitments were made not about actions but to results that were to be measured after more than a decade.

    Climate treaties should promise to do certain actions now such as invest in R&D and develop carbon taxes that return the revenue as tax cuts. If the carbon tax revenue is fully refunded as tax cuts, less reliable countries, in particular, have a additional incentive to collect the carbon tax properly to keep their budget deficits under control.

    The only case for even a token carbon tax is to avoid EU green tariffs on exports. We may as well collect the revenue for ourselves rather than let the EU get it. It is safe to say that green tariffs are more likely in the USA than carbon trading.

  23. @David Irving (no relation) Gittyins cited Herman Daly! Has Gittins no standards?

    The Earth’s carrying capacity is a central issue in ecological economics.

    Daly (1991) and his fellow travellers in ecological economics put forward birth credits as the solution to population bomb. A “choice-based, marketable, birth license plan” or “birth credits” for population control. The credits are like individually transferable catch quotas in fisheries.

    These birth credits would allow any woman to have as many children as she wants, as long as she buys a license for any children beyond an average allotment of that would result in zero population growth.

    men and women get allotments of 1.1 each which are tradeable in units of 1/10 of an allotment. the market would determine the cost of these allotments for an additional child.

    Being nice members of the middle class, the penalty proposed for an illegal baby would be community service. Obviously, none of the proponents of birth credits know the length to which most will go to have children. 200 hours community service with child care provided would be a heavy penalty indeed!

    Daly and his followers were smug enough to think they could see the future better than the less enlightened others and they were concerned about the population bomb.

    Plainly, Daly and co. got the sign of the demographic crisis wrong. a few years later sub-replacement fertility is now the demographic crisis.

  24. Jim Rose, you are attempting to play the game with a very old point of view. Your big fear that europe is going to suck money out of Australia, and more specifically your pocket, does not stand up to scrutiny at any level. But for quick analysis all you should need to know is that each European has just 1.3 hectares over which to spread their carbon foot print. Each Australian has 27 hectares for the same, much of that less suitable for lush carbon sucking growth, granted, but more scope by a huge margin. Russia with 12 hectares per person is a more likely prospect, but their net carbon sink capacity is being hugely eroded with methane releases from the tundra.

    Will Russia invade Europe? 140 million people with huge natural resources attempting to dominate 750 million people with no resurces? Hahahaha, not at all likely.

  25. @Jim Rose
    Your argument is circular: You are essentially arguing that climate change policies don’t work if no one does them. This should be bleedin’ obvious. The converse, that they will work if enough jurisdictions enact them should also be obvious. Your choice is ideological, not the result of some startling insight. Getting agreement on *either* option is going to be difficult. Unfortunately, a lot of people need to be hit by a hurricane before they’ll move out of habitual though patterns.

    Cost of global warming abatement isn’t a matter for policy debate. The cost benefit calculation is a job for experts. Then you can debate policy. The problem at the moment, as always, is that a lot of people are assuming that can make this stuff up. Then other people select positions based on what is cognitively easy to incorporate. From what I’ve read, your 2% figure fits right into this category. There’s some substantive work on abatement cost/benefit and I’m sure that you haven’t refuted it.

  26. @David Irving (no relation) the Cost of global warming abatement is a matter for policy debate. We live in a democracy where the costs and benefits of all policy choices are the subject of elections.

    cost benefit studies involve issues such as choice of the discount rates that weigh issues of intergenerational justice. that is not a technical issue. Green voters supposedly have very low discount rates; others have different views.

    By 2009, only 14 estimates of the total damage cost of climate change had been published

  27. By 2009, only 14 estimates of the total damage cost of climate change had been published

    If only.

  28. @haiku
    Yeah, watching the Catallaxians talk about US politics is gut-bustingly funny.

    The Democrats are slightly to the right of the Liberals, but at Catallaxy you get to see rusted-on Liberal voters accuse Barack Obama of being a Marxist.

  29. “Maybe the thing to do is wait until the Oz-failure has an “Alan Jones moment”. Then pounce and mount a full campaign to boycott it just as was done to AJ and his station.”

    Sorry that I’m late to the party on this. Crikey has been doing an analysis over the last couple of months or so on ads in the Oz. The boycott has already happened. Ads in the Oz have fallen away to almost nothing.

    Terje, of course, flaunts his ignorance as if it was some kind of badge of honor by asking: “Are there actually any other “national” newspapers in Australia. I thought The Australian was the only one.”

    The other one is the AFR. And its ad revenue has also dropped to close to zero, a trend which apparently started when they poached Michael Stutchbury from the Oz to be editor.

    Yay wingnuts! Own goal!

  30. @SJ

    The Fin is still a “news” paper. Their climate-denialism and anti-worker rhetoric, at the editorial level, has cranked up a notch or so under such’n’such but as a rule you will still get infinitely better journalism and news across Australia from the Fin than that horrid yellow loss-maker masquerading as a paper.

    Neil Chenoweth’s stuff on News Ltd has been excellent over the last few years.

    Bernard Keane hilariously managed to place the Oz as the ‘most influential’ paper in Australia at the same time acknowledging its circulation was zero in the real world.

  31. I’m sorry, Megan, but I disagree.

    Before Stutchbury arrived, the AFR contained loads of obvious bullsh*t, but it was confined within the editorial and letters pages. You could ignore that stuff entirely if you wanted to. The WSJ used to be like that too.

    It’s not like that anymore. The news pages are now filled with bullsh*t as well. There might be some useful stuff in there, but once you start mixing in obvious bullsh*t with the news, the news becomes useless. It can’t be trusted.

    But all of that is irrelevant. I cancelled my subscription a few months ago, not to “protest” in any way, but simply because the thing had become useless as a source of information and analysis. From the Crikey ad analysis, it’s apparent that the advertisers have come to similar conclusions about the uselessness of the AFR.

  32. @SJ

    I probably agree with all of that.

    My point was more one of degree and comparison. In precis: Yes, the Fin is crappier than it was but it is still less crap than News Ltd.

    And Fairfax absolutely disgraced itself today with that rubbish by Kinnimoth and Carter.

    It’s as if there is a grand conspiracy involving ABC/Fairfax/News Ltd to deprive us of journalism.

  33. @Bring back Birdy at Catallaxy Bring back Birdy at Catallaxy, are you aware of when they left, ie. in terms of the timing of when that happened and/or the circumstances, eg. is George writing another book? I see that Mike Steketee did a guest piece for The Global Mail back in August.

  34. George leaves today to write books. Farewell column today or Saturday I think.

    He’s keeping the Insiders gig.

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