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Essential Reading

Frisbees against racism

Tim Soutphommosane, the Labor historian and Labor Party member who was slipped into a lovely $300,000-a-year job at the Human Rights Commission during the last days of the Rudd-Gillard-Rudd era must be a very busy man. The Sydney Morning Herald invokes the big-nose Jew stereotype popular with certain German publications 80-or-so years ago (see the item below) but it has yet to hear from the man whose brief is to combat racism.

Nor has Commissioner Tim uttered a peep about some of the signs being brandished at pro-Hamas rallies in our capital cities. Signs like like this one depicting Tony Abbott in Hasidic garb , for example:

abbott jew

Commissioner Tim will probably get around to saying something about the eruption of Jew hatred sooner or later. It's just that he has more pressing business, like playing with frisbees. The slogan says "racism doesn't fly here"

tim south

Victorians will be interested to know the frisbees are the work of the Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission. Their taxes are at work, sort of. Commissioner Tim may start his shift any day now.

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Der Sturmer Morning Herald

der sturmer 3Originality has long been in short supply at The Sydney Morning Herald and its Melbourne stablemate, The Age, but who would have thought those publications so bereft of inspiration that they could embrace a caricature popular in another country some 80 years ago.

Below, the illustration the SMH editor chose to run with columnist Mike Carlton’s weekly squirt of spleen — “Israel’s Rank and Rotten Fruit Is Being Called Fascism” –  on July 26, 2014:

der sturmer

Does that big-nosed fellow, the gent ordering mass slaughter from the safety of his armchair, seem just a bit familiar? Anyone who has picked through Der Sturmer's archives from 1934 would surely think so.

der sturmer2

One can perhaps understand that a washed-up radio host is prepared to publish just about anything if it gains him even a smidgin' of attention, but the editor of a once-serious newspaper?



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Blonde journalism

bairdThere is, or was supposed to be, a quaint convention that ABC news comperes keep their opinions to themselves in order to serve as fulcrums on which the arguments of those more directly involved in the debates of the day might hinge and swing. Those who have heard 774 radio's Jon Faine get all huffy with climate sceptics, not to mention anyone who dares raise an eyebrow about the funds that underwrote Julia Gillard's home renovations,will know that is not true. So, too, those masochists who tune in to Q&A, where the fun for those at home is in predicting the number of times during a single hour that moderator Tony Jones will interrupt. Somehow, it always seems that the token conservative guest suffers most from the snow-haired buttinski's contributions, but that, sadly, is to be expected of an organisation overseen by an "editor-in-chief" who declines to, you know, actually edit, which should mean holding underlings to standards of relative neutrality. With all those tweets to send every day, poor Mark Scott probably just cannot find a spare minute.

Julia Baird, who hosts The Drum's TV incarnation must be a better manager of her time because she has penned a little op-ed for The New York Times that begins thus:

SYDNEY, Australia — It will be remembered as one of the most ignoble moments in our history: On July 17, Australia became the first country to repeal a carbon tax.

"Ignoble"? There is ABC-style impartiality for you, and on stilts no less.

Baird's screed invokes all Labor's recent talking points: Gillard came to grief because she is a woman, not as a consequene of gender-neutral incompetence and habitual deceptions, and she also tosses in references to "shock-jocks" and their pernicious influence on public opinion. Inevitably, the evil incarnate that goes by the name of Rupert Murdoch gets a mention. And just for good measure she sources to Tony Abbott's lips the predicted $550 to be saved by a typical household from the carbon tax's repeal when the fact of the matter is that the figure comes from a Treasury analysis.

Even by ABC standards, such as they are, Ms Baird's airing of her convictions sets a new high-water mark for partisan candour. If only Mark Scott was not so busy in his counting house -- $800,000 a year requires no small degree of financial planning -- he might have noticed Baird's moonlighting and perhaps issued a stern, editor-style memo.

Alas, good management at the ABC, like unbiased comperes, is even more scarce than conservative voices.

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Quadrant hosts Roger Kimball

kimballThe editor of The New Criterion has watched with alarm and dismay as President Obama fulfilled his pledge to set about “fundamentally transforming the United States of America.”

Six years on, notes Kimball, this presidency has indeed been devoted to constructing institutional challenges to American self-understanding and American power. Endeavoring to weaken America’s connection to the Anglosphere and its commitment to limited government, free markets, and individual liberty, Obama has embraced a European-style top-down, centralized style of bureaucratic rule-by-elites.

Kimball will address and discuss those changes and much more at the next Quadrant dinner on August 6. Follow the link below to reserve your place at the table


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How to be an 'Economics Editor'

gittins grimThe Age and Sydney Morning Herald are ardent advocates of sustainable living, placing a heavy emphasis on re-cycling, amongst other green virtues.

Going by his latest column, Ross Gittins is the poster boy for making sure other people's words get a second airing

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Of two minds at the SMH

crazy authorThe lead paragraph of today's Sydney Morning Herald editorial:

"Taxpayer-subsidised childcare will be cheaper, easier to find and more flexible for those who need it most if proposals from the Productivity Commission are implemented."

Clear on that? You won't be after wading a few column inches deeper into the leader writer's chaotic prose:

"Granted, parents of babies in care are likely to face higher fees and high-income earners will be out of pocket thanks to a means-tested single payment called the Early Care and Learning Subsidy. Some may even lose their fringe benefits tax breaks for childcare.

Then there's an activity test that stops payments to most stay-at-home parents. That will slug certain religious groups and people without stable employment or access to skills programs. In addition, a tough-love requirement will link family benefit part A to preschool attendance."

Come on, Ms Rinehart, no more shilly-shallying. Dig out some loose change from the crack in the sofa, buy Fairfax outright and a save a venerable publisher from the embarrassment of its current stewards.

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