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Essential Reading

The nobility of the ABC's elite

couch parasiteWriting at The Monthly blog, two-day a week Radio National music guru Andrew Ford swears blind that no sacrifice has been too much in order to make the national broadcaster what it is today:

"If you ask my colleagues – Geraldine Doogue, Robyn Williams, Natasha Mitchell, Norman Swan, Phillip Adams – they will all be able to tell you similar stories and regale you with details of flea-pit hotels or nights spent on friends’ sofa beds so as to save the ABC money."

Can't you just imagine it: Trying to get to sleep as Adams, tucked up on your night'n'day in another room, serenades the darkness with outbursts of name-dropping, complaints about his father, how Americans deserved 9/11 and, at greater length than any other topic, how he single-handedly gave birth to the Australian film industry.

One night of that and you would burn the sofa.


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Another ABC humourist

pobjeThe prayers of all decent people who follow the great game of cricket are with Phil Hughes, felled yesterday at the SCG by a one-in-a-million ball from bowler Sean Abbott.

And then there is alleged humourist Ben Pobjie (above), who supplies half measures of wit to The Age and, because Mark Scott's ABC finds the bad taste of luvvie "comedians" irresistible, The Drum, where the joke is always on taxpayers. As Hughes was being taken to hospital, where he remained in a coma until his death was announced this afternoon (Nov 27), Pobjie tweeted:

Sean Abbott hits Phil Hughes in the head, continuing the tradition of Abbotts f*****g up Australia

Having slashed the ABC's classical music content and shuttered regional news bureaux, Scott might finally get around to having a serious look at what his organisation thinks is funny.

He might do that. And, yes, pigs might fly.

(This item was updated upon news of Hughes' passing)

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Shrill Bill's friend in need

zeg shrill bill smallIt must be a great comfort to ABC Managing Director Mark Scott to know that the national broadcaster has such loyal supporters when all is dark and woe is the order of the day. Over the weekend, the Socialist Alliance, assorted Greens and representatives of our more bellicose unions took to the streets to avow just how much they like Mr Scott and what his underlings put to air.

And then there is Opposition leader Bill Shorten, who might have asked the “editor-in-chief” why one-person news bureaux in Morwell and Gladstone are being shut down as part of the drive to trim 5% from the ABC’s budget. Surely they could not cost that much to operate, and it’s not as if both towns haven’t produced their share of hot stories of late. In Morwell, the locals have been coughing and spluttering and signing up with class-action lawyers after a pit fire that burned for months in the town’s open-cut coal mine. And up in Queensland, well there has been that kerfuffle about dumping sludge onto the Great Barrier Reef, plus the massive port expansion to handle all the CO2-rich coal being shipped to foreign furnaces.

But does Shrill Bill put those questions to his public broadcasting cobber? Does he wonder why his mate is cutting classical music while continuing to indulge The Chaser's and writing big cheques to a couple of gnarled journalists formerly employed as mouthpieces for Labor PMs.

Not a word of it! Not, as Zeg observes, when there is someone else to blame ....

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Modesty is no virtue

victoria smallVictorians go to the polls on November 29 and the auguries are not good for Premier Denis Napthine and his Coalition. Quadrant contributor Steve Kates, writing at Catallaxy Files, sees a lesson for Abbott & Co., also lagging in the polls:

"...in Victoria and federally, the Coalition has run rings around their Labor predecessors. Here in Victoria we have had three years of ultra-boring but very competent government. No dramas, no screw-ups just no-frills governance. Labor left behind its desal plant and Myki ticketing which are billions of dollars forms of waste for which no serious explanation for the expenditure has ever been forthcoming .... but in about ten days they will apparently become the former government of Victoria, the first in more than sixty years to lose after only one term....

....here’s the thing. In the modern era – probably in every era – a government must campaign throughout its entire period in office. Labor, in the same way as Obama, never stopped campaigning even if the product was useless and only did harm. The Coalition, on the other hand, is slowly but surely putting things right across a very broad front. Yet just doing the right thing is clearly not enough. Putting your case before the public ... is a crucial part of governance. No whinging, no whining, just explaining is what is required."

If Napthine does indeed go belly-up, Liberals at the federal level might wish to pay particular attention to the autopsy.

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Fairfax goes digital

hot copy

There are all sorts of smutty jokes one could make about an Opinion page column devoted to a survey's finding that women are less inclined than men to pleasure themselves.

"...nearly 45 years after Germaine Greer railed against the sexual repression of women in The Female Eunuch is this what passes for liberation? Does this underperformance in onanism tally with women being more 'assertive' about their sexual needs?"

Apparently this is news. In The Age, at any rate.

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Journalism as she is taught

priceThe craft of journalism once expected of what academics these days like to call "its practitioners" a few basic skills. One of those inky educators is Canberra Times columnist Jenna Price, who teaches at the University of Technology, Sydney. If her own writing is an indication, any UTS student with a weakness for tautology, an imprecise grasp of grammar and language, a compulsion to repeat the previously stated and, above all, a tendency to elevate florid rhetoric to dizzy heights can expect those shortcomings to pass unnoticed.

Here are the first few paragraphs of her latest effort, which argues on the basis of no named or identifiably sourced evidence the existence of an ongoing campaign of genocide against Aborigines. Allowing that the corrections below were made, Ms Price might earn a D+ :

Don't ever sit comfortably in your armchair and describe the sStolen gGenerations as a thing of the past. Don't do that.

At this moment, there are 14,000 Aboriginal babies and children in foster care, out-of-home care, or and residential care. The attempted annihilation of the First Peoples continues.

Karen, a Kuku Yalanji woman, was the proud grandmother to a new baby. Her daughter delivered the baby infant in hospital. Three days later, while the baby breastfed, Karen says,  child welfare staff came into entered the hospital ward and removed the baby from the breast, from the mother, who The baby's mother suffered terrible postnatal depression. Two years later, - never again having set eyes on her darling child ever again, - the mother hung hanged herself.

The Canberra Times now sells a paltry 27,000 copies per day. No wonder.

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