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.


  1. I just love the smell of burning newsprint (Fairfax) early in the morning.
    ( I hope this is not too obtuse for numbers ).

  2. I suppose we could use our "massive solar resource" to charge up batteries and then export the batteries to Japan on a ship. Is there any other way to go about it?

    1. Good idea they could use those same batteries to power the ships and the Japs could have whats left in them , but how would the ships get back to Aus. Thank goodness its down hill all the way back.

    2. What about a really big mirror?

    3. There is a startup mining company in WA which has found a mountain of lithium. They intend to export this lithium to Japan for the electric car business. Perhaps they could make the batteries here and sell them fully charged in Tokyo?

      Alternatively, they could bounce the concentrated solar light off a mirrored satellite. If that doesn't work we would at least have a stunning disco ball in the night sky.

      That's the shot, I'll have to dig out my old Donna Summer records down in the garage.

    4. A really long extension cord

  3. The way things are going, Gina's is the only offer this motley greenish crew are likely to get.
    Let's see how highly "principle" is prized when it's that and no job versus toeing a littlr more median line in their reporting, should Gina's 3/4 board seats materialise this year while there are still SOME buyers of the Pravda[ on [the[ Yarra and the Siddie Moaning Herald rags!

  4. Fyfe is an excellent example of the deliquent children who have been allowed to rampage through The Age without adult supervision since the late 1990s as a result of the slashing of the editorial budget to cut costs -- a disaster of unforseen consequences.

  5. Kamikaze raids on the good ship Reinhart also seem to be the order of the day at the Fairfax owned Canberra Times (and it not surprising given it's poor quality to hear little wailing about it's prospective demise). I was gifted one this morning at a booksale and noted that it contained several pieces dealing with the good lady. The one I bothered (and it was a bother) to read was devoted to pointing out that the late Mr Reinhart was a ratbag. There seemed to be no point to this exercise other than, perhaps, to annoy Gina and to somehow expect the reader to conclude that she must be a ratbag too.

    Are the Fairfax hacks working on a theory that if they are rude and nasty towards Gina she will bail out? It's stupid enough to be plausible. Or is it that if they stay on and then face redundancy it can be argued that this is vindictive and that 'Fair Work' can somehow protect them? Strange days indeed.

    1. The irony here is that any rational person of any political pursuation contemplating a reform of Fairfax, let alone Reinhart, would be paying particular attention to the Canberra Times, which hasn't just fallen apart in the last few years but has had a steady and steep decline in circulation over a decade in a city that has had the highest population growth of any capital except Perth and well above that of Sydney or Melbourne. The CT's audited circulation is now below 30,000 per day.

      This is hardly surprising. The CT has a combination of provincial dullness and progressive earnestness that's out of a previous era. To be seen reading or even carrying the CT times in public marks you down as badly ecucated and/or elderly and/or working in some low level job in the 'community sector' or the Tax Office.

      Consuela Potez.

    2. There is no steed with a higher elevation than the High Horse being ridden by the staff of the Canberra Times.
      One of the headlines last week was "Questions Gina Reinhart Must Answer"

      I think those questions might include:-
      "Why am I investing money in a sheltered workshop?"
      "Will I tolerate opinionated left-wingers on the payroll who trash my mast-heads by defaming people on Twitter?"
      "Do Fairfax employees think they are World-Vision sponsor children?"
      "Should I sack Jane Zadcow immediately for the unsubstantiated hatchet job she did on me in the Good Weekend, or should I make her sweat?"

      The Irish Lion

  6. Export solar electricity to Japan.

    Wow. Just wow.

    I think we've reached Saturation Stupid.

  7. One of the problems with the age is that it promotes journos who have never done bread and butter rounds, instead preferring to fast track those from rounds like environment that are more easily captured by lobby groups.
    The age's slide is such a shame - and entirely due to its fashion prone editors who are convinced they will reinvent the wheel by promoting poseurs posing as journos instead of hard reporters who chase yarns.
    It's stupid charter of editorial independence should be turfed, reporters told they're there to gather news and nothing else, and the deadwood faux intellectual editors who've overseen its fall dispatched
    It's too late of course, but a strong age should have been a pillar of Melbourne. Those ex editors crawling out of the woodwork this week to blame everybody else should be seen for what they are - weak.

  8. A very large mirror pointed in their general direction?

  9. Ah quality journalism at qulity is an o9dd word to use in connection with the Canberra Times.. a paper usually at least a day behind even the Silly with articles written by children. It often reads as tho the man bit the dog rather than the reverse.
    Please Gina buy the lot and turn the children out, even the ABC will not have a home big enough for them all.

  10. Elizabeth (Lizzie) B.June 24, 2012 at 10:58 AM

    The new Board member may just get some new talent in to diversify the offering. Fyfe may have less space in which to bang her drum. Dear me. Thankfully, it has a obvious and gaping hole in it and doesn't thump as well as it did a few years ago anyway.

  11. Bruce Guthrie in the Sunday Age today bemoaning the impending flurry of pink-slips about to be dished out to the scribblers at Fewfacts and News Limited (although one gets the impression he feels the pain of the Fewfacts cuts more keenly than he does those at News). Bruce puts the argument that reductions in numbers will necessarily damage journalistic standards. Well, no it won’t Bruce. Here’s a tip … save the good ones who work hard and discard the duds, the indolent piss-artists and ‘activists’ and the net quality will improve. Bruce seems to be arguing for “Quantity Journalism” rather than “Quality Journalism”.
    However, Bruce seems to have a safety-net plan for those about to awarded the DCM …..
    Says Bruce …… “There could be 400 of them gone from Fairfax, and I wouldn't mind betting it will be about the same at News. Each is capable of becoming a publisher - these days all that's needed is a good idea, a keyboard and an internet connection.
    Surely it's time to encourage more entrants into the digital space. Governments have a role to play here by offering tax breaks, seed capital, whatever it takes to get a good idea to market and turn sacked journalists into online entrepreneurs and publishers, reporting the hell out of their chosen field.”

    Seed capital Bruce? If all it takes is a “good idea and a keyboard” why the need for “seed capital”? And “tax breaks”? If they aren’t making money, a tax break won’t help. If they are making money, they won’t need one.
    Oh …. And most of them will receive a monster redundancy package, taxed concessionally. There is your seed capital and tax concession all rolled into one Bruce.

    The Irish Lion