Media briefs: Cater too shonky? ... Paul Kelly's escalator of decline ... Majak Daw ...
Cater rides again. Following the Australian's anti-plain-packaging propaganda extravaganza, readers might wonder if there is any piece of right-wing pseudo-science that
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Cater rides again. Following the Australian’s anti-plain-packaging propaganda extravaganza, readers might wonder if there is any piece of right-wing pseudo-science that News Ltd won’t run. Nick Cater has the answer. The former executive editor, now being put out to grass at the Menzies Research Centre, has a piece in Spiked, attacking the calumny heaped on … plastic bags! Despite a vast body of work showing the effects of waste plastic on complex ecosystems, Nick has an alternative source:
“The Productivity Commission, the Australian government’s independent policy research body, considered the case for regulating plastic bags in 2006 and concluded: “The case for proceeding with the phase out of plastic bags appears particularly weak.”
Yes, noted scientific body the Productivity Commission, whose bias is registered in the title. It’s the only source for the effects of plastic bags cited in the article. Has Cater found the holy grail — an article so shonky even The Oz won’t publish it? Is that why it was exiled to a site run by the UK Revolutionary Communist Party?
Meanwhile in the Oz proper, resident eeyore Paul Kelly gets himself in a tizz over Australia’s political decline. “Any nation that has lost the art of self-improvement has stepped on the escalator of decline.” Oh no, not the Escalator of Decline! As the name suggests, escalators are all about going up (yes, they go down too, but only back to somewhere they’ve already gone up from). It gets worse: “Australia is on that escalator. Its politics are so noisy, destructive etc, it does not know where the escalator is going”. That silly is. How not know where escalator go? It right there in front of you. It go to menswear. Poor old Paul. The only marxist he sounds like is Groucho.
Double-edged swords. Wonder why you’re reading about Majak Daw? For those who don’t follow AFL, the 23-year-old North Melbourne player has been charged with three counts of rape and has been (temporarily) suspended from the team. It’s received blanket coverage, but Daw has only played 12 senior games in his AFL career. Before the allegations, Daw, who is a refugee from Sudan’s civil war, was widely feted in the media for his story. Both The Age and the Herald Sun, along with Melbourne talk radio, have done much to raise his media profile. For example, this May Herald Sun piece describes him as a “potential million-dollar man if his star rises as expected”, noting that while he didn’t at that point have any sponsorship deal, many organisations would love to be associated with his inspirational story.
At least they saved Everybody Dance Now. Ten’s outgoing Europe correspondent has simultaneous thanked and taken a swipe at his former employer, writing on his blog that while he was offered a job at Ten HQ, he’d rather stay in London as “there are too many interesting stories to tell”.
For twelve months, I got to live that dream. Many people never get to do what they love, I was fortunate enough to do it for a year. I’m desperately disappointed Ten’s Europe bureau has closed and I’m incredibly saddened by the number of wonderful staff being laid off in Australia. But I have had some amazing experiences in this job which I will never forget and for that I am thankful.
Ten has been very good to me. Giving me a job at age 22 when I looked like a 13 year old; sending me to the Olympics, the Royal Wedding and what seemed like endless trips to Bali; and finally, appointing me as Europe Correspondent. It has been a great place to work, full of great people.
This job has been hard. Really, really hard. The bureau consisted of me. I honestly think it’s the toughest gig in TV journalism. Shooting your own stories, editing your own stories and working sixteen hour days is draining on anyone. But despite the many challenges, I loved it. I really did. And every so often, I thought I made a decent go of it.
The nice folk at Ten offered me a role back in Australia, but I feel my time in London isn’t done yet. There are too many interesting stories still to tell, too many places to go.”
Lewis says he’ll be embarking on “a new adventure shortly”, and adds that it’s not all bad news. “In saving my salary, there’s a chance Everybody Dance Now will get a much anticipated second season.”
ABC does its bit. The ABC has copped its share of criticism over its wavering devotion to the arts in recent years, but three films that have recently aired on ABC1 show the national broadcaster’s ability to innovate and support some of the country’s best artists in novel artistic endeavours.
The HIVE production fund, launched in 2011, provided $670,000 for three Australian films which fuse film and art. It resulted from Adelaide Film Festival initiative, the HIVE LAB, which draws together artists and filmmakers for four days to encourage cross-art form collaborations and commission new ideas for film projects. The HIVE fund went towards three films which went on to have their premieres at the Adelaide Film Festival in 2013 before making their way to television.