Essential Reading

Insights from Quadrant
Insights from Quadrant

Bitter Harvest gets
the silent treatment

One of the most interesting things about the Dark Emu affair is the fact that a story of genuine public interest — a book of fractured scholarship lionised by the ABC and whose gross misrepresentations are being foisted on schoolchildren — has incited so little curiosity on the part of the mainstream press. You can understand, perhaps, why the national broadcaster would have its attention drawn to a disgrace and yet prefer to look the other way. It has made a substantial investment of faith and money in Emu author Bruce Pascoe and his book’s purported bona fides, and who likes to admit having been played for a sucker?

But from the Age and SMH, not a shred of interest. Likewise the TV free-to-air networks and radio stations. Peter O’Brien, whose page-by-page nailing in Bitter Harvest of Pascoe’s misrepresentations, misquoting and misbegotten notions of Aboriginal “civilisation”, would seem to have a story to tell.

Yet not once has a journalist made contact to discuss his book.

To the extent that any mainstream media attention has been directed at Peter’s prosecutorial brief against Dark Emu, it has been to give the fauxboriginal author a chance to deny he plays fast and loose with primary sources or, when the spirit is upon him, simply makes stuff up. Just such a story appeared on January 19 in the former Fairfax comics, now owned by Nine. Written by the chain’s Melbourne editrix, Jewel Topsfield, as PR release it reads just fine. As journalism, which is supposed to be animated by the obligation to lay all relevant information before readers, it doesn’t even make it into the starting gate.

Order Bitter Harvest here

Still, Ms Topsfield might have been too busy, too distracted to present the full picture. These things happen in modern newsrooms, which are both short-staffed and over-supplied with cheap-to-hire recently graduated J-school alumni. As the Nine papers’ Melbourne chief there must be many moments when she feels less editor than babysitter. So I dashed off a quick note, reproduced below, offering Ms Topsfield the opportunity to chat with Peter O’Brien and get a good yarn out of the encounter:

Dear Ms Topsfield,
I enjoyed your piece this morning on Pascoe, but feel compelled to note that there was a glaring omission: any reference to Peter O’Brien, whose book “Bitter Harvest” systematically and page by page exposes Dark Emu’s shoddy scholarship and outright lies.

Peter is one of my authors at Quadrant Online. I can put you in touch at a moment’s notice and, I assure you, there is an interesting story to be had.

That is, of course, if you actually want such a story.

If the object is to focus on the tertiary issue of Pascoe’s “aboriginality”, thereby avoiding the key issue — lying for fun and profit — then you’ll no doubt ignore this.

For my part, speaking as a journalist, a story is a story — and this is a ripper.

Regards,

Roger Franklin
Editor, Quadrant Online

So far, not a peep by way of response from Ms Topsfield. Silence, as they say, speaks volumes.

Nine years ago in Quadrant, Shelley Gare explored how writers not in accord  with prevailing newsroom sentiments, which is to say green-left ones, are simply ignored. For those at a loss to understand how a monumental fantasy of a book can continue to receive fawning treatment while ill-deserved royalty cheques flow to its author, Death by Silence in the Authors’ Combat Zone will explain a lot.

Insights from Quadrant

The ABC’s
24/7 climate of fear

Who says the ABC doesn’t do comedy anymore?

Here’s an experiment, the result of which ABC viewers will know in advance: Switch the telly to the national broadcaster and count the seconds until the words “climate change” are uttered. If five minutes pass without mention being made, check your remote controller, as it won’t be the ABC you’re watching.

Yesterday, in the space of just 24 hours, the ABC promoted all the following catastropharian memes, as listed by its website search engine. Worth noting is that these results do not include, comperes’ incidental asides or the carbon phobia manifested by callers and guests.

Godfather’ of bushfire science says time is running out to address climate change

Greta Thunberg says simply planting trees is not enough to address climate change

Global economic woes due to climate change

The economics of climate change; the danger of coronaviruses; and getting ready to go back to school

Reserve Bank urged to battle ‘green swan’ risks of climate change

IMF cuts global economic forecasts, gives climate change warning

The politics and future of the bushfires and the climate

Climate scientists say the Australian Open could become too dangerous to play in the peak of Melbourne’s summer

The issue of climate change is expected to dominate this year’s World Economic Forum at Davos in Switzerland

Suspect the ABC has an agenda? It becomes much more than a suspicion when the ABC’s description of Finance Minister Mathias Cormann’s remarks at Davos, as broadcast on Radio National’s 8am news, are compared by The Australian‘s reporting of the same comments:

8am ABC News, Radio National, January 22 (as transcribed by Geoffrey Luck):

“Australia is represented a Davos by Senator Matthias Cormann. He told the gathering Australia accepted the climate change was responsible for Australia’s bushfires.”

The Australian, January 22:

Senator Cormann also stressed the huge size of the Australian continent and its history of extreme weather events in any global discussion of the bushfires.

“’Yes, climate change is making things worse … But we have also got to keep it in perspective. In a sense, Australia has always been a country that has suffered extreme weather events,” he said.”

If only the Morrison Cabinet included someone with ministerial responsibility for the ABC, something might be done. Rumours abound that such an individual has been sighted, but there is as yet no firm proof of his existence.

— roger franklin

Insights from Quadrant

Bitter Harvest
now on sale

After months battling bushfires, Jamberoo RFS Brigade deputy captain Lindsay “Mongo” Delamont puts a cold beer to good use as he settles into his hammock and Quadrant author Peter O’Brien’s exposé of Dark Emu‘s faux history.

The highly readable vivisection of author Bruce Pascoe’s compendium of errors, misrepresentations and misquoted sources depicting Aborigines as sedentary agriculturalists with ‘skills superior to those of the white colonisers who took their land and despoiled it’ is available from Quadrant Books.

With the ABC pointedly ignoring any and all critiques of Dark Emu’s fantasies as it peddles and promotes his shoddy scholarship, Bitter Harvest is essential reading for those who still believe truth matters.

Order your copy here

Insights from Quadrant

Science, fast and loose

Dave Pellowe, whose blog is always worth a visit, has put up an interesting post on peer review, scientific fraud and papers whose findings defy replication.  A sample:

…People who consider “peer-reviewed science” alone or give it disproportionate weight when considering public policy are unhelpfully naive about the dynamic nature of science. They pour scorn on anyone questioning “peer-reviewed science” as a solid foundation for public policies with far-reaching social and economic ramifications.

How reliable is ‘peer-reviewed’ science?

Research suggests more than 70% of scientists have tried and failed to reproduce another scientist’s experiments, which are supposed to be replicable.

Professor Frances Arnold may be one of the honest scientists. She was awarded the Nobel Prize for chemistry in 2018 but three days ago announced she and her co-authors have retracted their subsequent paper as the ‘peer-reviewed (necessary for publication let alone a Nobel Prize) science’ has not been reproducible. Good on them…

Dave’s thoughts can be read in full here

Essential Reading

Insights from Quadrant
Insights from Quadrant

Bitter Harvest gets
the silent treatment

One of the most interesting things about the Dark Emu affair is the fact that a story of genuine public interest — a book of fractured scholarship lionised by the ABC and whose gross misrepresentations are being foisted on schoolchildren — has incited so little curiosity on the part of the mainstream press. You can understand, perhaps, why the national broadcaster would have its attention drawn to a disgrace and yet prefer to look the other way. It has made a substantial investment of faith and money in Emu author Bruce Pascoe and his book’s purported bona fides, and who likes to admit having been played for a sucker?

But from the Age and SMH, not a shred of interest. Likewise the TV free-to-air networks and radio stations. Peter O’Brien, whose page-by-page nailing in Bitter Harvest of Pascoe’s misrepresentations, misquoting and misbegotten notions of Aboriginal “civilisation”, would seem to have a story to tell.

Yet not once has a journalist made contact to discuss his book.

To the extent that any mainstream media attention has been directed at Peter’s prosecutorial brief against Dark Emu, it has been to give the fauxboriginal author a chance to deny he plays fast and loose with primary sources or, when the spirit is upon him, simply makes stuff up. Just such a story appeared on January 19 in the former Fairfax comics, now owned by Nine. Written by the chain’s Melbourne editrix, Jewel Topsfield, as PR release it reads just fine. As journalism, which is supposed to be animated by the obligation to lay all relevant information before readers, it doesn’t even make it into the starting gate.

Order Bitter Harvest here

Still, Ms Topsfield might have been too busy, too distracted to present the full picture. These things happen in modern newsrooms, which are both short-staffed and over-supplied with cheap-to-hire recently graduated J-school alumni. As the Nine papers’ Melbourne chief there must be many moments when she feels less editor than babysitter. So I dashed off a quick note, reproduced below, offering Ms Topsfield the opportunity to chat with Peter O’Brien and get a good yarn out of the encounter:

Dear Ms Topsfield,
I enjoyed your piece this morning on Pascoe, but feel compelled to note that there was a glaring omission: any reference to Peter O’Brien, whose book “Bitter Harvest” systematically and page by page exposes Dark Emu’s shoddy scholarship and outright lies.

Peter is one of my authors at Quadrant Online. I can put you in touch at a moment’s notice and, I assure you, there is an interesting story to be had.

That is, of course, if you actually want such a story.

If the object is to focus on the tertiary issue of Pascoe’s “aboriginality”, thereby avoiding the key issue — lying for fun and profit — then you’ll no doubt ignore this.

For my part, speaking as a journalist, a story is a story — and this is a ripper.

Regards,

Roger Franklin
Editor, Quadrant Online

So far, not a peep by way of response from Ms Topsfield. Silence, as they say, speaks volumes.

Nine years ago in Quadrant, Shelley Gare explored how writers not in accord  with prevailing newsroom sentiments, which is to say green-left ones, are simply ignored. For those at a loss to understand how a monumental fantasy of a book can continue to receive fawning treatment while ill-deserved royalty cheques flow to its author, Death by Silence in the Authors’ Combat Zone will explain a lot.

Insights from Quadrant

The ABC’s
24/7 climate of fear

Who says the ABC doesn’t do comedy anymore?

Here’s an experiment, the result of which ABC viewers will know in advance: Switch the telly to the national broadcaster and count the seconds until the words “climate change” are uttered. If five minutes pass without mention being made, check your remote controller, as it won’t be the ABC you’re watching.

Yesterday, in the space of just 24 hours, the ABC promoted all the following catastropharian memes, as listed by its website search engine. Worth noting is that these results do not include, comperes’ incidental asides or the carbon phobia manifested by callers and guests.

Godfather’ of bushfire science says time is running out to address climate change

Greta Thunberg says simply planting trees is not enough to address climate change

Global economic woes due to climate change

The economics of climate change; the danger of coronaviruses; and getting ready to go back to school

Reserve Bank urged to battle ‘green swan’ risks of climate change

IMF cuts global economic forecasts, gives climate change warning

The politics and future of the bushfires and the climate

Climate scientists say the Australian Open could become too dangerous to play in the peak of Melbourne’s summer

The issue of climate change is expected to dominate this year’s World Economic Forum at Davos in Switzerland

Suspect the ABC has an agenda? It becomes much more than a suspicion when the ABC’s description of Finance Minister Mathias Cormann’s remarks at Davos, as broadcast on Radio National’s 8am news, are compared by The Australian‘s reporting of the same comments:

8am ABC News, Radio National, January 22 (as transcribed by Geoffrey Luck):

“Australia is represented a Davos by Senator Matthias Cormann. He told the gathering Australia accepted the climate change was responsible for Australia’s bushfires.”

The Australian, January 22:

Senator Cormann also stressed the huge size of the Australian continent and its history of extreme weather events in any global discussion of the bushfires.

“’Yes, climate change is making things worse … But we have also got to keep it in perspective. In a sense, Australia has always been a country that has suffered extreme weather events,” he said.”

If only the Morrison Cabinet included someone with ministerial responsibility for the ABC, something might be done. Rumours abound that such an individual has been sighted, but there is as yet no firm proof of his existence.

— roger franklin

Insights from Quadrant

Bitter Harvest
now on sale

After months battling bushfires, Jamberoo RFS Brigade deputy captain Lindsay “Mongo” Delamont puts a cold beer to good use as he settles into his hammock and Quadrant author Peter O’Brien’s exposé of Dark Emu‘s faux history.

The highly readable vivisection of author Bruce Pascoe’s compendium of errors, misrepresentations and misquoted sources depicting Aborigines as sedentary agriculturalists with ‘skills superior to those of the white colonisers who took their land and despoiled it’ is available from Quadrant Books.

With the ABC pointedly ignoring any and all critiques of Dark Emu’s fantasies as it peddles and promotes his shoddy scholarship, Bitter Harvest is essential reading for those who still believe truth matters.

Order your copy here

Insights from Quadrant

Science, fast and loose

Dave Pellowe, whose blog is always worth a visit, has put up an interesting post on peer review, scientific fraud and papers whose findings defy replication.  A sample:

…People who consider “peer-reviewed science” alone or give it disproportionate weight when considering public policy are unhelpfully naive about the dynamic nature of science. They pour scorn on anyone questioning “peer-reviewed science” as a solid foundation for public policies with far-reaching social and economic ramifications.

How reliable is ‘peer-reviewed’ science?

Research suggests more than 70% of scientists have tried and failed to reproduce another scientist’s experiments, which are supposed to be replicable.

Professor Frances Arnold may be one of the honest scientists. She was awarded the Nobel Prize for chemistry in 2018 but three days ago announced she and her co-authors have retracted their subsequent paper as the ‘peer-reviewed (necessary for publication let alone a Nobel Prize) science’ has not been reproducible. Good on them…

Dave’s thoughts can be read in full here