Saturday, June 30, 2012

Tell Him You're Indigenous, Gina

BACK in March, Martin Flanagan of The Age churned out 1,000 words or so on the prickly matter of Indigenous footballers and some of the problems – alleged involvement in axe attacks, for example – that have set a few footy club officials to quietly wondering if snatching talented kids from the back of nowhere and dropping them in front of the goal at the MCG is worth the culture shock and complications. That is what happens when you prefer to think of individuals only as members of groups – after all, who would not want Harry O’Brien in their team?

Flanagan, who is ranting today about the threat Gina Rinehart poses to his newspaper, should re-visit that March epistle and consider what he wrote then:
In my experience, when there are rising tensions between different groups, whether they be racial or religious, there is really only one remedy. Engagement. The alternative to engagement is a cycle of rumour and speculation that eventually finds expression through media types who mistake valuable opinion for saying the first thing that comes into their head, as opposed to arriving at a final judgment based on the best information available.
The is no shortage of rising tensions between Mrs Rinehart and Fairfax Chairman Dodgey Rodgey Corbett, but Flanagan is no  longer quite so sure about the efficacy of “arriving at a final judgment based on the best information available.” No pausing to consider Fairfax's dire financial straits or the palpable animosity many former readers now feel toward the newspapers they grew up with. Rather, it is his moment to become of those very same “media types who mistake valuable opinion for saying the first thing that comes into their head.”

The first thing that came into Flanagan’s today was to assert, without reference or citation, “hyperbole of this sort is on a par with saying all journalists are communists, which Gina Rinehart is said to do. (When did you last meet a communist? Seriously. I'd have to go back 30 years.)” Then he is off and defending the ABC from reform. That "engagement" he writes about, it seems to be a remarkably selective exercise.

If only Mrs Rinehart had just the slightest touch of tribal blood, Flanagan might be prepared to at least give her grievances a hearing. But no such consistency from this columnist. 

UPDATE: The source of Flanagan's claim that Mrs Rinehart believes all journalists to be communists has been revealed. He is quoting, without attribution, fellow Fairfaxista Adele Ferguson, who says on this video that unnamed people told her that is what the subject of her newly published biography believes.

There's your quality journalism right there, folks. No wonder they don't want adults running the company.

The Measure Of The Man

IT IS peculiar what gets into the heads of Fairfax columnists – or, rather, the curious notions that took root years ago and refuse to be dislodged. Geoff Strong, one of the reasons the Age sells so well, is at it this morning with a dribble of nonsense about how proud he is that Australia moved to the metric system. When crusty conservatives, like the one who lives at the Billabong, insist on thinking of, say, Buddy Franklin as 6’5” rather than 196cm, be assured that it has everything to do with the imperial system providing a better and more accurate mental image of the Hawk forward’s imposing physicality. Not according to Strong, however, who fingers the United States’ pernicious influence on non-progressive minds:
Perhaps it is the adulation for all things American that makes some cling to the old illogical measures.
After that, and still having a few inches of newsprint to fill, Strong does what Fairfax’s six-figure sit-abouts do better than anything else, which is fail to notice the contradictions of their own prose. He was off in Austria, Strong tells readers, where he basked in the praise of a Sound of Music tour guide chuffed that her English-speaking visitor understood metrics. “I felt a tinge of pride,” he writes, “that she saw us alone among the Anglosphere as being comfortable with the measurements used by nearly everyone else.”

So, Australians are “alone” in grooving to kilos and kilometres. Except…except…. in the very next paragraph Strong writes that “metrics are used by America's neighbours, Canada”.  One can be alone, apparently, but still have company. Then comes another passing and pointless shot at the United States:
Is it part of the Yank mythology of them being different to the rest of us?
Finally, the mystery of the column’s purpose is revealed. In the very last paragraph, he addresses the matter of the Strong schlong:
Let's face it, when it comes to being a normal average bloke, 150 millimetres doesn't stand out as much as six inches … or five, or even four.
That’s the thing about wankers. Sooner or later they always return to what fascinates them the most.

Occupy The Age

MRS Rinehart has given Fairfax CEO, Dodgy Rodgy Corbett, his riding instructions and received the predictable response that the publisher is a wonderful company and doing just fine without her advice. If Rinehart can endure the insults for a few more months it will all come to a head  at the AGM, at which she will call on Corbett to find himself another $400,000 a year job.

When the motion to dismiss the board is made, it might be worth the while of institutional investors to bear in mind just what sort of people have been framing editorial policies. Here is one of them from October last year:

You see, if Rinehart were to get her seats, senior editors of the Age might no longer feel quite so free to side with unwashed anarchist filth.

UPDATE: She has yet to exert her will on Fairfax, but already the Rinehart influence is improving things. It must be at least three weeks since the Saturday Age's Martin Flanagan has penned a  patronising column hailing Indigenous footballers for the instinctive skills he believes only they can bring to the game. Today he's going on about his soon-to-be new boss, which makes a pleasant change from the The Noble Savage With The Sherrin.

Back From The Mooring

APOLOGIES for the two-day absence from the Billabong, the reason for which stems from the Rufous Bird's recent ultimatum that kindred spirits need to share the same roof. This may be true in life's earlier stages, when pro-creation is important and two make a more solid economic unit than one, but there is precious little justification for ruffling routines when snow settles on the brow and the novelty of being excoriated night after night for snoring has paled. The result four weeks ago was a flurry of aggrieved red feathers and not a tweet since.

If not for the Wattle Bird's solicitude over the past 48 hours, a poor Bunyip's heart would have been broken.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

The Kororoit Creek Solution

PERHAPS it was the slight weight gain stemming from the recent addition to the Billabong’s library of a book chocka with American barbecue recipes and marinades. Or it may be that the desk chair, like the bottom it has cradled for so long, simply fell victim to time’s wear and ravages. Whatever the reason, there was an explosive crack when a poor Bunyip sat down last week to tickle the keyboard and ended up sprawled on the study’s axminister. This turned out to be a blessing, as the skirting-board perspective revealed an unopened packet of Silk Cut under the desk drawers, bringing back happy memories of the last passage through an airport duty-free shop.

The smokes were still tasty and the chair, now fixed, brought its own blessing en route to the repair shop, which is in an industrial estate on the border between Williamstown and Altona. To get there one needs to drive along Kororoit Creek Road, where a maze of town houses is under construction beside the bird refuge, which looks a lot like a tidal swamp. They made quite a sight, those units, so striking that the Bunyipmobile came to a stop while memories consumed its driver. Once, in a different Australia, the address had been the site of a migrant hostel, where New Australians were housed while finding jobs and coming to terms with their new homeland. Some remained in residence for three or four years.

How different things are today. Earlier, on Melbourne Road en route to the upholsterer, one of the most arresting sights was the spectacle of three tented women, veiled from head to toe and escorting a posse of nippers, near Newport railway station. Perhaps their husbands -- mind you, it could be but a single hubby for all -- are productive new arrivals, and perhaps there is not a penny of public subsidies supporting their homes. Perhaps, but not likely.

How much better would it be, rather than arguing about Nauru or sending children to the waiting procurers in Malaysia, if Australia turned back the clock and re-introduced the hostel system? The message would be that you are welcome to come, but the only taxpayer largesse you can expect will be a bed in a hostel’s Spartan accommodation and free meals at its cafeteria. Other than that, you will need to learn English, pick a footy team to support and build your own future.

It would blunt UN criticism of Australian inhumanity and, one suspects, diminish the appeal of the land of milk and welfare cheques those people smugglers have found so easy to sell. One suspects the number of illegal aliens arriving by leaky boat would see a precipitous decline. Those who did arrive, however, might be precisely the sort of fresh citizens we need – the sort who are grateful for the chance to get ahead in a new land, expect no public charity, and won’t mind a little discomfort while finding their feet.

It’s just an idea, and. these folks’ recollections, testaments to how well the hostel system worked, suggest it is a good one.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Comments Gobbled

JUST SO everyone will know: While the Professor was off on sabunyipbatical, Blogger re-did its publishing software. There is no great improvement over the former back end, with one or two things being decidedly more cumbersome. Comments, for example, leave much to be desired -- valid ones get gobbled by the spam filter, and unless one goes back to the publishing system's dashboard page, there are no notations to indicate fresh observations have arrived.

Apologies to readers whose comments have not appeared. A trove of lost words has just turned up in the spam bin and all have been published. With any luck things will settle down soonish.

Who's Buying?

IT IS happening again with Fairfax stock. As noted earlier, once again FXJ slumped at the start of  trading, then clawed its way northward. And again, it's the volume that is fascinating -- almost 30 million shares changing hands as of 3.45pm, well over twice the three-month average.

Is Mrs. Rinehart churning stock to let Corbett & Co. know she can dump the lot and ruin them at a moment's notice?

Is someone else taking a position, perhaps buy-out artists or a Rinehart ally?

Whatever the truth, it must be obvious by now to Roger Corbett that he and his board are, to all intents purposes, thoroughly stuffed. The market doesn't trust him to lift his company from the mire of so many years' poor stewardship. Nor does it understand how a push to digital will generate profits when online ad prices continue to decline and, even with the closure of its prime printing plants, most of the costly Old Media infrastructure remains by necessity in place. So what can Corbett hope to gain by delaying capitulation?

Well, there is one possible explanation: Could it be that Corbett & Co are hoping a staff revolt in defence of, ahem, quality journalism will prompt the Gillardian rabble to fling a poultice of public monies their way? Quite apart from the delicious irony of staffers being the potential salvation of a management that will sack large numbers in any case, there is Prime Minister Yabby's* proven record of squandering billions on everything from web sites for monitoring grocery rices to pouring additional funds into TV-WOG. While she is most definitely sly, the Yabby is far from smart, so there might just be enough wit behind that Mr Squiggle nose to realise her party is going to be out of power for a long, long time, so why not fund a trust or somesuch to support a permanent mouthpiece for everything that moistens a Bunswick bicycle with righteous excitement?

The end is coming, and here is another irony. When they sacked Larry, Curly and Mo-ette yesterday from the editors' offices of the Silly and the Phage, Fairfax finally did the right and sensible thing. Same with the announced switch to tabloid format, tardy as its implementation may be. As for Greg Hywood, well he can't actually believe, as he told Neil Mitchell, that an unyielding diet of warmism, common room cant, apologies for a favoured government's incompetence and a selective eye for corruption has had nothing to do with the Age's alienation from the city and readership it once served.

Gillard's boys -- "man" ill-suits the snivelling likes of Combet, Burke, Conroy --  have variously said there will be no Fairfax bailout. Then again, didn't the Yabby say something similar about a carbon tax?

* Yabby: A creature mostly red, happiest in the muck, with the meat in its tail and the crap in its head.

Planet Fairfax

ON 3AW at the moment:

Neil Mitchell: The circulation of your papers has dropped dramatically. How much does the content of your papers have to do with that drop?

Greg Hywood, Fairfax CEO: Absolutely nothing!

Drive vs. Driver

GLOBAL warming has returned at last to grey old Melbourne, so it is off to the golf club with Doctor Yowie, who needs a break from his latest fascination with Twitter, where he has cultivated all sorts of interesting new friends. If less fortunate readers find themselves chained by duty and mortgage to capitalism's mighty engines, this little video may lift the spirits:

If golf featured more exercises of this sort it would almost be possible to get Tim Blair out for a round.

(Thanks to JMH for the clip)

A Guide For Asylum Seekers

IT HAS been apparent for a number of years that senior Phage editors neither know nor understand Melbourne. With that deficiency in mind, this map may help some of those responsible for their newspaper's sad decline to reach safe haven at the ABC's Southbank HQ, where Mark Scott must even now be fluffing the pillows on fresh desks and installing comfy sofas in senior executive offices.

Just follow the red line, comrades, as you have been doing for years.

No Laughing Matter

IT WAS a long time ago, but unless memory deceives, Max Gillies once had some ability to amuse. Why he lost it, well anyone who saw last night's Q&A would not want for an explanation.

Gillies is married to panelist Louise Adler.

UPDATE: That was a most unfair remark, so apologies from the Billabong to shrews and empty vessels everywhere. And also to Max Gillies, who may yet prove that, in the right house and before the perfect crowd, he can still raise a titter. That audience will be the one at the inevitable variety benefit to save Fairfax and raise awareness of the evil that is Gina Rinehart. And what a constellation of Australian stars those ticket-buying Age readers will get to see. Perhaps to be called Stand Up for Fairfax, can't you just imagine the cavalcade of wits and wags.

Why, our Premier will surely volunteer to serve as master of ceremonies, seeing the evening as an encore opportunity to ingratiate himself with Greens voters, Occupists and other of the Age's current audience. He has been working up his act at the Premier's Literary Awards, where aides assure him there wasn't a straight face in the house when he had finished handing the proceeds of so many revenue-camera fines to writer-practioners of advanced Indigenous victimology, abrasive feminism and innovative sexuality.

Expect Baillieu to introduce as the first act of the night Circus Oz's current harangue about the injustice done to Aborigines. When you're in the mood for jugglers and acrobats, nothing quite beats being lectured about unwashable white guilt. And it is good for the environment, too. At the latest Circus Oz, which also enjoys the taxpayers' sponsorship courtesy of Mr Baillieu's hobby portfolio as Minister for the Arts, the house has been half empty after intermission, thus staggering the departing crowd and easing the burden on our public transport system.

And who else would we be likely to see? Rod Quantock, of course, and perhaps Catherine Deveny too. Now that Paul Ramadge, the editor who sacked her has himself been sacked., the Disabilities Ambassador will tap that rich vein of humour to be found in the spaz jokes her caring and exquisitely  compassionate audiences so love and enjoy.

Into his heady mix, inject Andrew Jaspan in his little car and giant shoes, plus an apparent drag act that will, to the embarrassment of some, turn out to be Michelle Grattan.

Visiting from his Fairfax-paid digs in Washington, Paul McGeough and his activist spouse will lead the audience in a chorus of those peculiar ululations so popular at suicide bomber funerals, after which  expect a door prize for the first person to spot a wolfish Zionist. As Leunig's most celebrated cartoon -- celebrated by the Iranians, no less -- significantly diminished readership in East St Kilda and Caulfield, expect to find very few sons of Abraham in such an assembly of Age readers. Funny how some folks just don't get that Auschwitz humour.

And finally, in a burst of song, anticipate the Age's 93 full-time environmental reporters joining as one to bid the night adieu in massed chorus.

The Murray's dry
We're about to die
So goodnight all
Farewell, goodbye

They say Adam Morton is a wonderful tenor.

Monday, June 25, 2012

FXJ Stock Watch

AS OF 11.30 this morning Fairfax shares were down another tick, to 57 cents.  Watch the volume through the remainder of the session. If previous patterns repeat themselves, the volume of shares changing hands will rise in the late afternoon and the price will return to somewhere near where it started.

Someone is buying on the dips, or so it appears. Given that Mrs Rinehart is very close to her 19.9% threshold, can they all be going to her?

Wouldn't it be interesting if she has an ally or two taking positions in FXJ. By the way, what has Clive Palmer been up to lately?

UPDATE: According to a news flash on 3AW, Phage editor Paul Ramadge is just now informing staff that he is standing down. It must gratify the newspaper's anti-Rinehart activists to see their captain  first into the lifeboat.

UPDATE II: Heads rolling at the Silly as well. 

A Kind Word For Possums

AS READERS will be aware, Andrew Bolt is a great favourite at the Billabong, but even the most enlightened and decent folk can sometimes succumb to irrational and impractical prejudices, which the columnist has done today with an update in regard to his loathing of possums. Now it is true that possums are annoying creatures, forever fornicating on the tin roof of the Billabong’s garage and rousing a poor Bunyip from his slumber. But they were also here before us and, in their own way, a reminder of just how silly greenish sorts can be. Anyone who reads the Phage, for example, will be aware of those regular reports on mankind’s damage to an allegedly pristine Australian environment, which is a very black-and-white affair according to the advocates of environmental abstraction. What those sorts fail recognise – and Andrew falls into the same trap – is that our environment is a dynamic affair and that humans are very much  a part of it, as we have been since the first dusky migrants arrived on the continent 70,000 years ago and clubbed into extinction all those wombats the size of Volkswagens.  New eco balances were struck, species faded and others bloomed, and urban possums are but the latest example.

Andrew laments the damage to his roses and bulbs, but it is those same tasty plants that have so boosted possum populations. Much the same thing can be said of flying foxes, seldom seen in Melbourne in the Sixties but now ubiquitous. Andrew’s real problem is not possums but the romanticism that has produced laws and regulation forbidding their sensible management. According to the prevailing green nostrums, possum mischief must be tolerated because their booming populations are “natural”.  It is the obverse of that same philosophy which says cows must not set hoof on the High Country because it, too, is “natural”, despite having been altered and transformed by more than a century and half of white intervention. Until the prejudice against humans is stripped from environmental laws, their purpose will remain the hopeless pursuit of an idealised state of nature.

As to Andrew’s problems, there are several solutions. First, he should get himself a fox terrier. If possums invade his ceiling, popping the dog into the roof space will see a mass exodus. The dog will enjoy it too.

Second, get an eager cat. Your average moggy will find a full-grown possum just a bit too much to handle, but possum kittens are short work for any semi-competent cat. Every day for a week last breeding season, the Billabong’s recreational killer left another dead possum baby on the kitchen floor. The local possum population seems a bit smaller this year and the murderous moggy now slumbering beside the Billabong computer is the likely cause.

One thing Andrew shouldn’t do is trap the little buggers and release them far away. Apart from being illegal – and wouldn’t The Age just love to report that the columnist luvvies fear may soon be running things at Fairfax is a tormenter of wildlife -- possums are quite territorial and deal severely with intruders. Moving them means death and neighbouring populations will only expand into the vacated territory.

Full disclosure: Possums are a favourite at the Billabong, where several have been nursed back to health during heatwaves, which they do not like at all. A restorative diet of Monte Carlo biscuits and condensed milk does the trick.


A Fairfax Whisper

A PROFESSIONAL journalist whispers via email that Gina Rinehart may not find herself quite so unloved as the rallies of aggrieved journalists outside the Silly and Phage suggest. While asking not to be quoted directly, the Billabong’s correspondent makes the following points:

1/ Cronyism is rife. He cites as one example the fact that, while the Age has recruited very few faces over the past five years, one of those was an individual whose misadventures on assignment saw him fall out of favour. After a period of well-paid exile at Fairfax, during which time his contributions to the paper were negligible, the blow-in returned to his former home.

2/ Editors don’t edit. To use the correspondent’s term, editors “are arbitrators not leaders”. When Bob Carter was permitted to appear in The Age, the resident warmists demanded that the skeptic’s contribution to the carbon-tax debate be mitigated by an immediate blitz of alarmist reports. Through impotence or indifference, the counter-assault was given “run of paper” by editors who preferred an easy life to the effort of striving for balance.

3/  Opposition to Rinehart is most fervent amongst those with the most to lose. By the correspondent’s reckoning, the dominant cliques at The Age and Sunday Age are well paid and have come to regard financial security as no less than their august due. When Gina arrives, their days will be numbered, so why not lash out?

As the ABC continues to serve as a megaphone for Fairfax’s anti-Gina faction, the correspondent suggests taking assertions of a unified opposition with a large bag of salt. The thing to notice, the writer advises, is not the number of people waving placards and sizzling their sausages outside Media House but the number of Age employees who stay away from those demonstrations. The recent protest during Fairfax’s 36-hour strike brought out no more than a third of the editorial staff, he says. The others voted with unmoving feet for both change and Mrs Rinehart by staying home.

If true, it is encouraging news for Melbournians who would like to see a newspaper with the potential to once again serve the truth and its community. Oh, and one other thing worth noting: the correspondent insists that plans to re-make the Age and Silly as tabloids be brought forward, giving the Herald Sun and Telegraph no opportunity to mount their defences.


Sunday, June 24, 2012

Saturday, June 23, 2012

The Fyfe And Dumb Corps

UNLESS Mrs Rinehart happened to be in Victoria last night and in sore need of an emetic, there is little chance she caught the weekly Victorian edition of 7.30. This is a great pity, as any slight temptation she might entertain to sign that fabled Fairfax charter of editorial independence would have vanished faster than China-bound cargoes of Gaia-raped ore dip beneath the horizon. The segment on Fairfax was ABC-predictable, especially in the unintended irony of its juxtaposition. First, a dignified older gentleman, Mr Malcolm Schmidtke, was called upon to reference the Phage’s glory days and also to recall the public outcry that met Conrad Black’s brief dalliance with the company in the 1980s. Public support was intense, Schmidtke recalled, adding that money “arrived in buckets” to fund a rebel staff’s ads against the incoming owner.

That was the Phage of then. The ABC’s next source of journalistic rectitude was enviro-crusader Melissa Fyfe, whose tax returns list her occupation as “journalist”. One of her first utterances was very good news indeed: If Mrs Rinehart declines to sign away editorial control of the company she is buying and hoping to save, Ms Fyfe let it be known that she would quit, most likely – her use of the conditional perhaps reflecting the tardiness of ABC mates in coming through with firm offers of future employment.

But the fascinating part of the interview, the one Mrs Rinehart should not miss, came at the 4:30 mark, when Fyfe was asked about the importance of the charter. Here is her response:
“What we don’t know about Gina Rinehart is her true intentions with Fairfax. She hasn’t really said very much, she has, obviously, got particular views about mining, about climate change.”
Fyfe then went on on to explain exactly what her variety of “quality journalism” entails:
“I’ve been committed to doing journalism, a lot of journalism, around climate change, for example, and I would find it quite disturbing, for example, if I was told we couldn’t do that anymore. That would be very disturbing for me and, I’m sure, for our readers.”
So what sort of journalism does Fyfe believe to be in so much need of editorial protection? Why, advocacy journalism, of course, as the introduction to the compendium of paeans to wind and solar investment she penned while jogging down the east coast to raise awareness of climate change leaves no doubt. Yes, when it comes to pushing the catastropharian creed, Fyfe goes that extra mile (or thousand):
In the lead-up to December's Copenhagen climate talks, 35 emergency services workers are running from one end of Australia to the other. Sunday Age politics reporter Melissa Fyfe joins their journey, supported by The Age, as they meet the nation's leading climate experts and explore the latest developments in clean energy.
Here are just two examples of the work Fyfe believes readers of a Rinehart-controlled Fairfax may not see in quite so much gushing profusion. There are plenty of others, but the footy is about start and first things come first at the Billabong:

This technique, said [ANU’s Dr Keith Lovegrove], could see Australia use its massive solar resource to export clean fuel to countries such as Japan … "what we need to do is shift the Australian economy so that we get an equivalent income from an export to what coal gives us at the moment."

Well, Fyfe gets her wish on July 1, when the carbon tax comes in. We’ll all pay more for everything in order to make the blue-sky technology she favours somewhat more competitive. As for the Mildura solar array that so impressed Fyfe, it continues to burn public monies without, so far, producing a solitary volt.

When coral scientists first looked at the impact of global warming on reefs, they focused on rising sea temperatures and bleaching. This is still a concern and likely to impact large parts of the Great Barrier Reef, but the scientists now believe ocean acidification could be the process that will push the world's reefs to the edge. 

That edge may be quite some distance from the present if Townsville’s Institute of Marine Science is to be believed. It seems the reef is doing quite nicely, as James Delingpole recently confirmed.
Schmidtke observed that public support for the Age luvvies’ campaign against the one person who might preserve their newspaper seems not to be much in evidence. The activism of Melissa Fyfe and others may have something to do with that.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

How To Get Published in The Age

EARLIER THIS YEAR, the energetic warmist John Cook left the rear door ajar at his Skeptical Science, allowing the uninvited to slip through and peruse a wealth of archived and formerly private correspondence between the site’s proprietor and the more ardent and intimate catastropharians who wring their hankies at his select invitation. Links to several now-dead .zip files were posted on the web, and several kind readers passed along all those notes and letters to the Billabong, where they provoked quite a few chuckles but no posts. At the time it seemed other than the act of a gentleman to read another’s mail and talk about it, so the archive’s many illustrative opportunities to cite fevered minds in action went untapped.

That is still the attitude at the Billabong, although this column by Jo Chandler and Ian Munro in today’s Phage has prompted a bit of a re-think. As you might expect, and as we will see repeatedly over the weeks to come, it is all about the hallowed Fairfax manifesto of editorial independence and how vital it is to the quality journalism people like Chandler and Munro produce.  There is one little section, though, that justifies hiking the hem just a bit on Cook’s archive. It is Article Three of the Age and Sunday charter (apparently the Silly and other papers have their own) and re-produced at the foot of the Chandler-Munro article. Here it is:
3. The board of directors acknowledges the responsibility of journalists, artists and photographers to report and comment on the affairs of the city, state, nation and the world fairly and accurately and regardless of any commercial, personal or political interests including those of any shareholder, manager, editor or staff member.
What brings this to mind is Cook’s archived note to a fellow warmist -- a note in which he explains how, when the Phage wandered off the reservation and allowed Bob Carter to decry warmism on the paper’s opinion page, he succeeded in having  a rebuttal published in the same space and on the very next day. There is no link to what follows, but take a Bunyip’s word that everything below is as it is in the original. Cook wrote:
“What I have learned so far is to build relationships. I got the Age piece because I knew Jo Chandler at The Age. She was the one who advocated for me to the opinion editor that I should respond to the Carter article. So schmoozing is something we all have to work at. Try to build the relationships with local journalists and editors. How? Beats me but if you figure it out, let us all know!”
So, just to recap, Article Three of The Phage’s Mingy Carta avows that journalists will eschew influencing editorial content “regardless of any commercial, personal or political interests.” Yet Chandler, who is a warmist to her boot heels and just happened to have a newly released alarmist tome in the shops, used her influence to make sure her mate Cook was given the final word. And just for good measure, Chandler administered a follow-up wallop to Carter a couple of days later. All of that would seem to be at odds with each of Article Three’s stipulations against reporters advancing their personal, political and commercial interests.

But there is more than that, and it behoves Mrs Rinehart’s incoming editors to think about, for example, the apparent ease with which eager reporters can be schmoozed, to use Cook’s term, by activists pushing agendas that those journalists find congenial.  If the Age had a few resident sceptics for balance, people who might also have leaned on the opinion editor, it might not matter so much. But one gathers that they and their potential advocacy have been driven off in much the same way that a favoured propagandist was ushered in.

It also helps to explain why The Age has shed so many readers and so much credibility.  According to Chandler, who chairs the House Independence Committee, the charter is vital – vital, apparently, for suppressing dissent from the views prevailing two floors above the corner of Collins and Spencer streets.

It will be interesting to see how Mrs Rinehart sets about changing all that.

UPDATE: Go a'googling for Carter's Age article and look at the headline that shows up in the search results: "Climate change denialist Bob Carter -- The Age". As this headline is not the one on the story, would it be a fair guess to assume it has been tagged like this score google links?