Problems always loom larger when close at hand, so there is perverse reassurance to be drawn from the fact that The Age, SMH and ABC have not been alone in surrendering their news and opinion pages to ideologues and the moral arrogance of green-left activism. On the other side of the world it seems The New York Times, which fancies itself as a journal of record, is every bit as prey to close-minded arrogance as its antipodean counterparts.
Here is the Times latest environmental editor, Adam Bryant, explaining that it will be a long time between drinks before he allows climate sceptics to make their case in any story that he oversees:
"Claims that the entire field of climate science is some kind of giant hoax do not hold water, and we have made a conscious decision that we are not going to take that point of view seriously."
That doesn't mean he is opposed to debates of the approved, science-is-settled variety:
"...there is a huge amount of legitimate debate and uncertainty within mainstream science. Scientists are pretty open about not being sure how bad things will get, or how quickly."
That would seem a case of dumb arrogance, rather than blinkered bias, if not for Timesman Bryant's cited example of what, exactly, represents respectable, solid, unimpeachable science: Australia's very own catastropharian David Karoly!
If Bryant was on the ball as a reporter, rather than a bawler of warmist refrains in the climate-catastrophe chorus, he might have come across the odd mention of Karoly-style settled science -- settled, that is, in that it his paper claiming Australia has never been hotter in the past 1000 years had to be withdrawn and has since sunk without trace, along with the $300,000 of taxpayer money that paid for it.
Bryant's views on the way, ahem, serious journalism must report warmism and other topics can be read via the link below.
Some four weeks from now, on November 29, Victorians will install their next state government, with polls and bookies giving the edge to Opposition Leader Dan Andrews and his Labor Party. If the portents prove correct and Liberal Premier Denis Napthine's team is turfed, his will be the first government in 60 years ejected after a single term. How could this be? Former Labor leaders Steve Bracks and John Brumby left a legacy of red ink and ruinously expensive public works, an unused desalination plant leading that herd of white elephants and union-friendly feather beds. Four years would seem an inadequate period to forgive and forget such gold-plated incompetence, yet here is the Garden State facing the prospect of Labor's return to power.
If Napthine & Co., do go down for the count -- the betting market's trends suggest the race is tightening, by the way -- two stories in today's Age might help ousted members grasp why the electorate turned against them.
The first is an article that quotes "Monash University's governance research unit director Ken Coghill" on the probity, or his perceived lack thereof, in senior public servants being treated to dinner and afternoons at the races and footy by contractors on the East-West Tunnel project, which Andrews says he will scrap before work can begin. He may well have a point, but the thing about Coghill, which the Age neglects to mention, is that he is a former Labor speaker of the Legislative Assembly and, just to put his opposition to freeways and tunnels in perspective, an ardent advocate of bicycles, public transport and all things green.
If the Sunday morning after votes are tallied proves as bleak as polling suggests, former Liberal and National members may well conclude their side should have been more pro-active in confronting and correcting the inaccuracies and omissions of adverse press coverage. Along with "Carn' the 'Pies", the line "the minister was unavailable for comment" has become part of the state's soundscape.
Then there is this story detailing the vast sums being extracted from motorists by speed cameras, which the Coalition vowed to review when it came to office. From The Age:
"Justice Department data reveals that five of the 10 most prolific cameras in the state are new cameras in 40 or 50km/h speed zones. Between them they have caught caught 90,000 drivers, generating $20.5 million in fines, despite all being switched on for less than four months."
That's 90,000 voters slugged at the rate of $170 apiece for being, in most cases, just a few clicks over the posted speed limit. No doubt some will remember that when the time comes to fill in their ballots.
For the latest betting odds on the election -- Liberals $3.70 / Labor $1.25, as of October 28 -- follow the link below.
One of the disadvantages to replacing experienced staff with cheaper-to-hire youngsters is the free rein it can give to galloping ignorance. A story about three men who attempted to enter Parliament while wearing, respectively, a motorcycle helmet, a niqab and a Ku Klux Klan hood would seem to make that point. Appearing beneath the byline of Fairfax Media's Latika Burke, the account of that protest includes this paragraph:
"The Ku Klux Klan is a secretive, far-right organisation that has been responsible for violence against black Americans."
Good heavens but our education system needs an overhaul! Whichever wet-behind the-ears subeditor inserted that paragraph -- Burke could not possibly be so stupid and still find her way to work every day -- has made mincemeat of fact and history.
The Klan is secretive? No, in its heyday tens of thousands attended its rallies and did so quite openly.
The Klan is a "far-right organisation"? This would have come as a surprise to Harry Truman, who later had the good grace to admit he joined only because so many of his fellow Democrats were members and he needed their votes to win his first primary. The late Senator Robert Byrd, a Democrat, was a keen member, and fellow Democrat Strom Thurmond, while never a card-carrier, was an enthusiastic supporter on Capitol Hill, where he and his cross-burning colleagues fought bitterly against any and all efforts to desegregate the US. Only by the most stretched and distorted definition could so-called Dixiecrats, like George Wallace, be described as coming from the right.
The Klan is responsible for "violence against black Americans? Well, yes it has been and lots of it, but African-Americans were far from its only victims. Blacks, Jews and Catholics also saw their share of burning crosses, especially during the Twenties, when Truman signed his pledge to defend the white race.
If they taught a better, more accurate history in our schools, the person responsible for that paragraph would have understood that almost every prominent supporter of the Klan was a Democrat, that Abraham "The Great Emancipator" Lincoln was a Republican, and that not a single Republican governor was elected in the Klan's southern home turf for more than one hundred years after the Civil War.
An educated writer or sub would know all that. Then again, an educated writer or sub would never have been hired by Fairfax in the first place.
To read more of the Canberra protest follow the link below.
Columnist Mark Steyn, who posted the thoughts below on his blog, also found time yesterday to speak with Alan Jones:
"...apropos Muslim 'reverts' who want to engage in what the Premier of Quebec calls 'spontaneous acts of extremism', I'm tired of being told that we have to change to accommodate them. They are the ones who have to change, or have change forced upon them.
"And, rather than confiscating passports and preventing these guys from leaving to fight for ISIS, I think we should wait till they get there to cancel their passports: If they prefer to be citizens of Headhackistan, so be it. But, if they attempt to return to Canada (or America, Britain, Australia, Europe), they should be charged with treason."
Follow the link below to hear the full interview
The lineage of the Islamist killed while attempting to shoot-up Canada's parliament represents at least two of multiculturalism's twisted strands:
Mr. Zehaf-Bibeau was born in 1982 and was the son of Bulgasem Zehaf, a Quebec businessman who appears to have fought in 2011 in Libya, and Susan Bibeau, the deputy chairperson of a division of Canada’s Immigration and Refugee Board.
That's according to the Globe & Mail, whose headline takes understatement to new heights.
What a particular coy tagline at the foot of the Opinion piece in today's SMH by Jennifer Dougherty, who sings the praises of "young adult fiction" and the authors whose books variously explore "privilege and gender", the joys of bisexuality for amorously ambidextrous adolescents and "coming out" as gay for those who kick only with one foot. Poor old Biggles, one gathers, might reclaim some bookstore shelf space if, and only if, he were to address his concern about weight problems by forging a deep and loving relationship with his tail gunner.
Which titles get added to school reading lists and why is not, however, the intriguing aspect of Dougherty's gush about the books teenagers are encouraged to absorb. Far more intriguing is that tag line, which describes the column's author only as "a book editor with a major independent publishing house."
Indeed she is, the major publishing house being Allen & Unwin, where Dougherty is the "children's and YA editor."
And golly gosh, what a coincidence that is! Of the seven titles hailed as masterworks, she just happens to publish five of them.
Good for Dougherty and good for Allen & Unwin, who get the sort of publicity and promotion that money just can't buy.
But pity Fairfax shareholders (even more than usual) , who have foregone the revenue they might have received from a paid ad.
And pity, too, the unfortunate Fairfax functionary who must now square the circle of the tag line's curious lack of candour with the SMH Code of Ethics, especially the last bit about disclosing "all relevant circumstances under which a story has been written or edited or any other conflicts."