Sunday, April 1, 2012

What The Age Leaves Out...

THE SUN came up this morning so The Age felt obliged to publish another story about wind generators. This time it was one of those quality journalism investigations, the object being to identify Liberals who dislike the bloody things and want them nowhere near their homes. The conclusion to be drawn from the article is of a silvertail network working its clubby influence on Premier Baillieu, who has implemented restrictions on their construction. Miffed that Gaia has been cheated of her sustainable wattage, authors RoyceMillar and Adam Morton then draw bows long and longer to insinuate how this injustice was done.

Wind-power foe Lady Marigold Southey is “Premier Ted Baillieu’s second cousin”. The Waubra Foundation, which believes turbines may cause health problems, has “Liberal Party links through its creator, Peter Mitchell” whose son “once ran for the party”. Brace yourself, it gets worse because “director Michael Wooldridge is a former health minister in the Howard government”.

The Phage sleuths dig deeper to uncover the web of conservative intrigue. The Woolridges actually own property in an area where turbines have been proposed. How dare they object! Who do they think they are? Inner-city Greens, perhaps, opposing a tunnel under Melbourne Cemetery?

Then there is “former BHP bank chief Don Argus, a major Liberal party backer and personal friend of John Howard” whose opinion of turbines is not quoted but who is said to reside somewhere near a potential wind-farm site. As for the Mornington Peninsula, where turbines also have been banned, it is a known location “where several Liberal party (sic) heavyweights either reside or holiday.”

What more proof could anyone need? Especially when those with a kind word for turbines seem so reasonable, so rational, such honest citizens without an axe to grind.

One supporter is introduced as Bendigo City Councillor Keith Reynard, who thinks it is a really sad thing some local generators won’t be erected. Perhaps exhausted after tracing all those tenuous Liberal connections, Millar and Morton somehow neglect to mention that Reynard is an environmental scientist and, as his official biography notes, “the chair of the Central Victorian Greenhouse Alliance (CVGA)”.

Then there is the article’s other voice of reason, Paul Dettmann, who is introduced as “a sixth-generation Baynton boy” and nothing more. Well he is a bit more than that. Dettman is a principal in Greenhouse Balanced, a company that “pioneered the development of ecological credits, carbon offsets delivering a range of ecosystem services.” Naturally Dettman subscribes to the notion that “global warming has no boundaries and will impact the entire planet. It is everyone's problem and therefore everyone's responsibility.”

The Phage gives us none of this background on the two key witnesses for the turbines' defence.

And in neither case does it name the second cousins of either Dettman or Reynard.

What a devious and dishonest newspaper the Age has become.

UPDATE: The Sunday Age, which has just now gone online, reprints as an opinion item the bizarre speech Greens leader Bob Brown delivered a full seven days ago.With any other newspaper if would be safe to assume the "dear eathians" address was presented as confirmationthat Senator Treebeard is seriously touched. In The Age, however, it can only be read as an endorsement. How very, very sad.


  1. PhillipGeorge(c)2012April 1, 2012 at 7:14 AM

    Professor, Prophet, and profit - make a happy mental image in my mind. The Bolt question diverts people from investigating a bigger one:

    What, for f......'s sake, do people want the atmospheric content of CO2 to be?

    A. 150 ppm -- all life on earth becomes extinct.
    B. 1000 ppm -- deserts everywhere shrink, all farm lands become more producive, feral cats have more to eat because all forest animals do too
    C. Where it is going to climb to anyway because the Chinese, Indians, Africans, South Americans don't give a Kevin Rudd rats arse what the Greens think.

    Given the world was lush, green and replete with forests from pole to pole - nearly - when the CO2 content was 4 times what it is now no-one has anything to worry about except for the Stephen King scenario of Labour getting re-elected and the Greens retaining any balance of power influence in any future Australian parliaments - would give King nightmares.

    Prof - hammer them while you have breath.

    [Please cut and post]

  2. In the States new media has done a good job of highlighting the bias in media reporting, all furthering their narrative of course, but it also does the task of highlighting their sins of OMISSION and this was a piece worthy of that campaign. Even with the vast majority of news media twing the Democrat/Progressive line new media has kept a good score on the Age-like dishonesty as you so rightly put it. Time is coming that those who are not held in thrall to the ‘progressive’ worldview will have to collate al this and call them on it – to the media organisations, themselves. I wonder what a letters editor would say to this obvious example.
    M Ryutin Sydney

  3. The Old and Unimproved DaveApril 1, 2012 at 10:52 AM

    I'm convinced that 'The Sunday Age' should be rechristened 'The Seventh Age'.

    "All the world's a stage,
    And all the men and women merely players,
    They have their exits and entrances,
    And one man in his time plays many parts,
    His acts being seven ages. At first the infant,
    Mewling and puking in the nurse's arms.
    Then, the whining schoolboy with his satchel
    And shining morning face, creeping like snail
    Unwillingly to school. And then the lover,
    Sighing like furnace, with a woeful ballad
    Made to his mistress' eyebrow. Then a soldier,
    Full of strange oaths, and bearded like the pard,
    Jealous in honour, sudden, and quick in quarrel,
    Seeking the bubble reputation
    Even in the cannon's mouth. And then the justice
    In fair round belly, with good capon lin'd,
    With eyes severe, and beard of formal cut,
    Full of wise saws, and modern instances,
    And so he plays his part. The sixth age shifts
    Into the lean and slipper'd pantaloon,
    With spectacles on nose, and pouch on side,
    His youthful hose well sav'd, a world too wide,
    For his shrunk shank, and his big manly voice,
    Turning again towards childish treble, pipes
    And whistles in his sound. Last scene of all,
    That ends this strange eventful history,
    Is second childishness and mere oblivion,
    Sans teeth, sans eyes, sans taste, sans everything."

  4. Wow - never new BHP was a bank.

    I had to check for myself just to make sure this wasn't a Bunyipian typo, and yes it's there in the original article - "former BHP bank chief Don Argus".

    I suppose we shouldn't be surprised at how low standards have slipped at Fairfax, but there you go.

    1. Yes, Ian, I noticed that too, as one daily spies in the Fairfax press dreadful turns of phrase, mis-spellings, inept punctuation and flat, tendentious or borrowed writing masquerading as wit and insight.

      Fairfax stock closed at 72.5 cents on Friday. As the accuracy and the presentation of fact is the company's purported stock in trade, might the its financial performance be brighter if greater attention were devoted to those matters?

      It is a question Gina Rinehart might want to put to the Fairfax board -- that, and whether or not CEO Greg Hywood feels the slightest guilt at taking home a weekly salary of $50,000.

    2. That's funny. I read this morning and didn't even notice, one of those things you gloss over.

      On the bright side it does give Judy Prisk another opportunity to be seen as a unabashed whipcracker.

  5. Elizabeth (Lizzie) B.April 1, 2012 at 7:47 PM

    Cher Bunyip Professor, back only a day or so and you already have done the investigative work of five men (or women) who would draw a goodly salary. I do not know how you manage it on your own, inbetween the golf and fishing, with only a few volunteer souls sending you info. One day I hope you will get due recognition. Until then, salute, from your loyal readers. What deliberately blind ideologues your Socratic needles show these
    'quality journalists' to be. If the Pinky Finky review gets going, they should know that WE will hold THEM to account as well.

  6. Oops - that should be "knew", not "new", of course.

    Off to the Fairfax cadet induction course for yours truly.

  7. This is classic Mike Moore fast-n-loose type stuff.
    An example goes something like this ….. “Why does GW Bush hide his connection with the bin Laden family? [cue dramatic music and unflattering shot of Bush] …… Well, what he doesn’t want you to know is that they were both investors in XYZ Co in the 1990’s. Did this have anything to do with his Bush’s failure to pursue bin Laden immediately after 9/11?”
    It may transpire that XYZ Co is a merchant bank accepting funds from hundreds of thousands of investors, and that Bush invested at a different time to the bin Ladens, but that doesn’t stop a breathless join-the-dots from Moore that this tenuous ‘connection’ equates to conspiracy.
    (I once filled up at a petrol station pump which Julia Gillard had just used but that doesn’t make me a duplicitous shifty ranga).
    When challenged on the veracity of the claims, Moore/Age/AFR types will say “well, I am not asserting anything …. These are just questions which are entitled to be asked”

    the Irish Lion

  8. Re post above.
    Can I recommend David T. Hardy and Jason Clarke's book "Michael Moore Is a Big Fat Stupid White Man"
    Some of the material is a litle out-of-date but the description of Moore's technique (now adopted by Fewfacts Meeja) in manipulating material, drawing tenuous connections and creating an air of conspiracy out of nothing is quite instructive.