Please ex-Lane?   31/7/2006

At this moment, I suspect there is much wringing of hands, tearing of hair and thumping of desks at Left News Central, aka The Age.
Opinion codger Terry Lane would be getting an overdue lesson in Google after convincing his Sunday Age editors to publish a report on the revelations of US Ranger Jesse Macbeth and the unspeakable atrocities service personnel were forced to carry out in Iraq.
The only problem, as revealed in the first link to pop up after a Google for “Jesse Macbeth”, is that the whole account is completely untrue and “Macbeth” is a hoax.
Questions remain:
How will The Age explain its massive blunder?
Will Media Watch mention it tonight?
Is the Pastor to be put out to paddock?
How long before an Age apologist uses the phrase “fake but accurate”?
Much chortling and wise-acre commentary over at Tim Blair’s where the dupe was revealed.

UPDATE:
Well, the answer to the second question is NO!!!! Anyone surprised?
Media Watch, however, took the Herald Sun to task for seemingly sloppy subbing which resulted in publication of the image of a notorious British extremist instead of a Melbourne Muslim leader. Fair enough, a regrettable blunder.
But that’s all it is, a simple mistake made well into the production cycle that did not otherwise challenge the article’s credibility. Nevertheless, it should not have occurred.
Lane’s editorial howler is far worse. There was not even the most basic check for veracity of everything that underpinned the story. It seems the whole exercise was driven by ideological wish-fulfilment and is even more disgraceful for being embellished with references to the Private Jake Kovco tragedy.

UPDATE:
Lane has resigned. With dignity and full responsibility.

There are no excuses. No extenuating circumstances. Opinion writers are not expected to be objective and disinterested but that doesn’t give licence to be indifferent to facts. I should have checked.

UPDATE:
Lane’s erstwhile colleague, Jon Fairne, stuck with “offered resignation” this morning on 774 as he defended the Pastor and in the process resembled nothing so much as a sand dune trench digger.
Discussing the issue with Crikey proprietor Eric Beecher, whose web site carried Lane’s resignation, Faine revealed astonishing ignorance by declaring “There by the grace of God goes I” in suggesting how easy it is to be duped by Internet sources. Faine also opined that it was inevitable some commentators could be conned because of the tsunami of information available and there wasn’t the time or means to check everything.
Beecher was having none of it, suggesting that while old media referred to the Net as “a sewer” of misinformation, he regarded it as an “ocean” of information. And that information was available to Lane with a 20 second Google exercise.
Callers in the main backed Beecher and Faine was left looking an out of touch fool. For once he was wordless when a caller focused on Lane’s astonishingly honest “I fell for it because I wanted to believe it”.
For if nothing else is gained from this sorry affair, it will be the widespread revelation that “wanna believe” is the MO for the vast majority of ABC commentators.

UPDATE:
Tim Blair, whose site originally exposed Lane’s folly, reports that Sunday Age editor Peter Fray has refused to accept Lane’s resignation.
This is infuriating. In decades of newspaper employment, I’ve seen journalists sacked and disciplined for far less serious offences.
What message is Fray sending to his young charges? Or indeed to the vast majority of professional, responsible scribes who check their facts repeatedly before venturing into print?
As Blair says: pathetic.
Ah well, that’s one paper I won’t be shelling out for again. The Sunday Herald Sun has better footy and racing reports anyway.

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Latest NEWS   

It’s not a beat-up by an unimaginative, lazy Canberra hack; it’s not speculation posing as inevitability; and it’s not the contrivance of a mini media man hoping for a coat-tail ride to glory.
It’s news:
Mr Howard told government MPs in a letter faxed to their offices this morning that he had made his decision after consulting widely with his colleagues over the parliamentary winter break.

UPDATE:
Agreement between bespectacled, bearded, bulge-bellied barkers.

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Something Mel’s rotten   30/7/2006

Mel Gibson has a thing for dead languages so he might wish to ponder the meaning of in vino veritas.
Gibson is in deep strife for drunk driving, abusing a female police officer and railing about “f****** Jews” .
He’s apologised but it won’t make him any more popular with the moguls of Tinsel Town.
It will be interesting to see the reaction of Left Coast mouth-offs who have been quick to side with the enemies of their enemy, the Bush administration.
After all, their equals in Bush-hate are fanatically anti-Jewish extremist Muslims, who’ll no doubt endorse Gibson’s imbecilic rant.
Whatever, likely to be wafting over Beverly Hills is the smell of hypocrisy in the morning.

UPDATE:
Well, I was on the money about the extremists. No sooner had I posted then a demonstration by pro-Hezbollah forces in Melbourne produced this delightful piece of signage.

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No news is THE news   29/7/2006

We’re on the verge of world war in the Middle East, everyman needs a clear explanation of inflation driving a possible interest rate hike, world trade talks have collapsed with significant ramifications for Australian farmers, and shameless state governments are giving their employees double the pay rises earned by their real employers, workers in the private sector. So now that local non-issues like Peter Costello moving soon and seamlessly into the PM spot are off the radar, what do Canberra correspondents dish up to a public starved of real political news? Same old same old:
Leadership issue will not just go away

Boy, oh boy, that’ll be the hot topic of conversation down at the local tonight, I’m sure. Fair dinks, these gallery dickheads could bore for Australia.

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Footy codes explain it all   

News Corp’s chief RWDB attack hounds illustrate powerfully, via the company’s excellent new blogs, the contrast in Sydney and Melbourne popular media commentary:
Piers Akerman’s column in the Daily Telegraph last week:

While this bunch of insufferable ingrates whinge and whine, the stressed and overworked team at the hard-pressed Australian Embassy in Beirut is pulling out all stops to arrange evacuation aboard a ferry chartered at extortionate cost to all Australian taxpayers.
That it is absolutely unreasonable in such circumstances to expect the Government to be able to organise a sea-lift overnight seems to have escaped the Constantines and Moselmanes, just as their obligations to this nation seem to have slipped their attention.

Contributions to Akerman’s comments:

Piers, you must be a Jew! Therefore it it is not worth putting sense into you.
Piers replies: You’re right, if I were a Jew, according to the statistics, I would be smarter than you and wouldn’t have any need for your sort of “non”-sense.

You’re a disgrace to mankind, but a typical Australian
Piers replies: I would be proud to be counted as a typical Aussie, a digger, an innovator, an independent person.

Andrew Bolt’s a little more circumspect in his blog at the Herald Sun:

So ask these critics what Israel should do instead against an Islamist terror statelet next door that is astonishingly well-armed with missiles, and which hides among civilians.
Ask, and these same critics shrug. Instead of fighting like this, Israel should … No, it should … Oh, I don’t know.

Bolta gets crazies commenting, too. But they’re from Melbourne and pretend to be intellectuals. Hell, some are that stupid they’re probably not pretending. Charles Reledante, for instance, who believes the game’s almost over:

1.8 Billion Muslims who give more importance to death than life itself. Muslims who will defend their honour before anything else. Who can easily be diplomatically reasoned with, with a give-take situation. And you want to try and take them on violently? You’ve got to be kidding me…
Suicidal maniacs and diplomatic rationalists!!! Nice line in unintended bigotry, too.

Warwick A from Perth elicited a nod of wry agreement:
It’s a little surprising that the Jews who control the media and the world through their proxy the US are able to get so much bad press. For omnipotent, devilish, puppet masters they’re doing a terrible job.
Good to see some new conspiracy theories getting off the ground too. Maybe some of you creative types can link this to a gentile blood for oil scam.

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Able seaman   28/7/2006

The punchline dates this excellent jest from my brother in the West, so don’t bother telling me it was doing the rounds when Ron Todd transferred from Collingwood. But I’m sure it will resonate with bayside historian and illuminating luncheon company Charles Murton.

A young woman in Melbourne was so depressed that she decided to end her life by throwing herself into the Yarra River.
She went down to the docks and was contemplating leaping into the freezing water when a handsome young sailor saw her. She was tottering on the edge of the pier, crying. He approached her carefully and said, “Look, you have to much to live for. I’m off to America in the morning and, if you like, I can stow you away on my ship. I’ll take good care of you and bring you food every day.”
Moving closer, he slipped his arm round her shoulder and added,
“I’ll keep you happy and you’ll keep me happy.”
The girl nodded in agreement. After all, what did she have to lose? Perhaps a fresh start in America would give her life new meaning.
That night, the Sailor brought her aboard and hid her in a lifeboat. From then on, every night he brought her three sandwiches and a piece of fruit and they made passionate love until dawn.
Two weeks later, during a routine inspection, she was discovered by the captain.
“What are you doing here?” the captain asked.
“I have an arrangement with one of the sailors,” she explained.
“I get food and a trip to America and in return he is screwing me.”
“He certainly is,” the captain said. “This is the Williamstown Ferry!”

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Pumps provide inflation   

Like in most households, around here there are few economic geniuses. If it were any different it would be bloody more comfortable type of household, that’s for sure.
But we always thought we understood the basics. Such as inflation being caused by too much money swishing around in the economy, requiring a brake on spending to stop prices from spiralling. With inflation touching 4 per cent, experts say we need an interest hike to curb that inflation rate.
They cite the soaring price of petrol and the cyclone-induced explosion in banana prices as fuelling this inflation. Thus, the banks should be permitted to lift interest rates taking some of inflation-feeding cash from us.
But I would have thought that a 30 per cent increase in petrol prices in the past year and subsequent increases in the cost of fuel-dependent goods and services would have already syphoned off much of that excess cash.
Should an economic genius, or journeyman for that matter, happen to stroll past this site, perhaps they can explain this apparent conundrum. In economic simpleton terms, please.

UPDATE:
The learned Gerry Jackson wrote lucidly on this subject last year. Worth a read and a ponder. Hat-tip to Landers.

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Imminent ego collision   26/7/2006

Last week the obnoxious Phillip Adams projected his vast insecurities for all to see in a savage attack on the two Johns — Howard and Laws.
Phatty had this to say about the Golden Tonsil:

Without the golden mike Laws would dread the silence. He’s the sort of bloke who knows everybody but has few friends. Off air he’s lonely and insecure. He may be immensely wealthy, but I doubt Laws’s inner life is rich enough to sustain him.

Well Lawsie wasn’t content to sit back and revel in what is plain to all: Adams revealing more about his own pathetic self than anyone else.
In an extraordinary response in The Australian today Laws fills in the gaps, particularly chronological gaps, to demonstrate that Phattie’s savaging of Laws’ character is drawn from skimpy and ancient research.
And Laws doesn’t let the opportunity pass to mention the notorious Christmas banning of a granny from the Paddington Imperialist’s dunny lane. Or Adams’ ineptitude at the talk-back mike.
We can only hope this is:
GAME ON!!!

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Yes, there is Marxist humour   25/7/2006

Crazy chronicler Jack Marx is in the Lenny Lower mould of Sydney hacks: Much to say about many matters with a smirk or a chuckle often bringing up the rear.
Last week, Marx pointed out the droll nomenclature associated with two scratchings in Race 3 at the Kilmore gallops, nos 11 and 12.
As a couple of eagle-eyed posters pointed out, No.10 would have belonged in a trifecta, too.

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Sisterly silence   24/7/2006

Paul Sheehan questions the silence on one issue from a sector that normally can’t keep their gobs shut:
In the midst of this cultural and moral struggle one element has been conspicuously missing – the feminists – the authors, academics and commentators who rose to prominence as advocates of women’s rights. In Australia and Europe, their response to the growing levels of sexual intimidation, harassment or suppression of women by Muslim men has either been a deafening chorus of silence, or denial and blame-shifting.

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Bakri where he belongs   23/7/2006

It must be embarrassing to be a lefty siding with creeps like this:
You might have thought Bakri Mohammed would have been delighted that here he was, at last, in a position to act in perfect accord with his relentlessly stated beliefs; a chance to gird the loins, strap on the old Semtex and make haste for the Israeli border. Bang! But no; what he did instead was plead, quite piteously, with the British government to airlift him (at our expense) to safety. It is all very well to cheer on the suicide bombers and the struggle to expunge Israel from the face of the earth — but one shouldn’t really be expected to take part in such dangerous activities oneself. Suddenly the British way of doing things seemed awfully attractive as the shells rained down. Far better to pontificate about Armageddon from a semi in Edmonton.

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Oops!   

As the racing results indicate, not every punt is a winner.
The Sunday Herald Sun’s print edition front page lead in big, bold type: AUSSIE BOYS LOST IN WAR — Dad fears sons killed in attack on Lebanese town
No sign of the story on the HS’s website.

The Sunday Age reports: Missing boys alive in Lebanon.

The Standard Gauge rarely beats the Hun when it comes to real news, so you can understand the Spencer Street Pravda rubbing it in:
“There was a story of two boys having been killed but we’ve been able to confirm that they’re both safe,” Mr Downer told ABC television today.

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Insanity   22/7/2006

And learned folk bow before these bewigged buffoons:

THE NSW Government was ordered yesterday to pay $175,000 in criminal compensation to a convicted pedophile who was bashed in jail.

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Elusive truth   21/7/2006

They say if you want to be an effective liar you must have a good memory.
Seems strong retention of facts is just as essential when you present a liar as a truth-teller.
Laurie Oakes in The Bulletin this week:

JOHN Howard is exposed as a purveyor of porkies and his support grows. Peter Costello tells the truth and gets the thumbs-down from voters. Should we be surprised? Sadly, no.

So Laurie believes Costello was telling the truth about a succession deal with Howard. Yet, the Daily Telegraph of July 10 declares:

In two Costello biographies, authors Shaun Carney (Peter Costello – the New Liberal, Allen and Unwin 2001) and Tracey Aubin (Peter Costello: a biography, HarperCollins 1999) made it clear that there never was a Kirribilli-style agreement between Howard and Costello.
Carney wrote that exchanges between the two had never gone to specifics. The author was heavily briefed by Costello.
Aubin wrote that there was no hard and fast agreement and quoted Costello saying: “We certainly haven’t entered into any plan to divide up the future of the Liberal Party. I’ve never been anointed by anyone.”
Costello in fact repeated the no-deal statement to Nine’s Sunday program compere Laurie Oakes in October 2001.

Looks like Laurie’s had a memory lapse.
Perhaps he can clarify matters and tell us just when Cossie was telling the truth.

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Carrying the line   19/7/2006

Sons of guns, Jordan Zevon and Jakob Dylan with Dylan’s band The Wallflowers, pay tribute to the late great Warren Zevon. Thanks to legendary pedal steeler Brendan Mitchell for the link. Gotta watch it, getting a mite hooked on this YouTube. Remember going through the same phase when MP3s first hit cyberspace.

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Calling the shots   18/7/2006

New Zealand farmers chief Charlie Pedersen would be causing much wailing and gnashing of teeth over the ditch:
“Environmentalists and historic missionaries both look upon mankind and our achievements as a negative that needs to be curbed and defeated.
“Environmentalism talks of humans failings and is scathing of its influences and the changes made to the natural world, and seeks to wind the clock back.”

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Another view   

Here’s an illuminating article that gives a Lebanese Christian take on the latest Middle East conflict:
The once-dominant Lebanese Christians – responsible for giving the world “the Paris of the Middle East”, as Lebanon used to be known – were killed, massacred, driven out of their homes and scattered around the world as radical Islam declared its holy war in the 1970s and took hold of the country.

The piece, by Brigette Gabriel, provides answers, fills in backgrounds and clarifies situations:

The Lebanese army has less than 10,000 military troops. Hizbullah has over 4,000 trained militia forces and there are approximately 700 Iranian Revolutionary Guards in Southern Lebanon and the Bekaa Valley. So, why can’t the army do the job? Because the majority of Lebanese Muslims making up the army will split and unite along religious lines with the Islamic forces, just as happened in 1976 at the start of the Lebanese civil war.

Behind this is the vision that drives the Iranian President Ahmadinejad, who believes he is Allah’s “tool and facilitator,” bringing the end of the world as we know it and the ushering in of the era of the Mahdi. He has a blind messianic belief in the Shi’ite tradition of the 12th or “hidden” Islamic savior, who will emerge from a well in the holy city of Qom in Iran after global chaos, catastrophes and mass death, and establish an era of Islamic justice and everlasting peace.

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Rumblings   

Expect some global cooling, er warming, um dimming, ah whatever, with all this greenhouse gas spewing forth:
18/07/2006)
Mount Etna, the largest active volcano in Europe, threw fire and rocks more than 800ft into the air yesterday.

Mon Jul 17, 4:11 PM ET
QUITO (AFP) – Tungurahua, a volcano in southern Ecuador, erupted for a fourth day, burying thousands of farms in ash and threatening to “boil over” and dump lava on a nearby town, officials said.

07/17/2006
Manila: Local officials prepared to evacuate 7,000 farmers from seven towns in southern Luzon as big burning rocks accompanied fast rolling lava flow from the restive Mayon Volcano.

Posted at 8:24am on 15 Jul 2006
Hundreds of people have been evacuated from villages near a Papua New Guinea volcano following strong tremors that scientists warn could mean an eruption is near.

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Harbouring desires   

Beloved and I plan a week in Sydney from August 9. Can anyone recommend apartment-style accommodation that is not cockroach heaven but won’t leave one limb-challenged? Any must-experience tips welcome, too.

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