Cross-media ownership musings, Harry’s Nazi photo saga, Latham, Howard, Iraq and more…

The media merry-go-round

Talk about the more things change the more they stay the same. Who of us over 40 do not remember that in the 1960’s the television media was carved up between the then owners of the Fairfax Press and the Packer press with Seven being owned by Fairfax and Nine by the Packers!

Initially there was no Channel Ten. Of course there are some minor changes, but it’s really all a merry-go-round isn’t it? The funny part is the breathless way that media folk announce these things. I guess that it could be that most media companies have about two journalists that remember anything older than last week. You know, folks, if you get old enough, everything happens again and again and again.

Penelope Toltz

Harry’s Nazi photo saga

Just some thoughts on ‘that’ photo. It certainly doesn’t surprise that Prince Harry saw fit to wear a swastika – it’s well documented that his great, great (?) uncle Edward was a Nazi sympathiser. And despite the House of Winsdor’s long term PR project, they were German in any case!

People around me have been saying that this story is a beat up – ‘it was just a fancy dress party and there are so many things important to report about, etc, etc’. And yes there are more important things to worry about than the antics of the progeny of a Sloane Ranger and inbred aristocrat, but a few things have got to be said about it.

If anything, that picture is great PR for the Australian Republican Movement (who?) – or any other republican movement for that matter. What does it convey to the Commonwealth – all your diggers fought and died for King and Country against the Nazis and this is gratitude shown a few generations down the royal track? Up yours, colonies, I’m all right!

Also, the reaction about there are better things to report about brings to mind ‘those who don’t learn from history are doomed to repeat it’. I’m assuming history wasn’t Harry’s strong point (or else he truly is stupid to believe that this wouldn’t get a reaction). Apart from all the arguments regarding the rise of Fascism in Europe between the World Wars and the sentiment that ‘this should never be allowed to happen again’ (which sadly hasn’t been realised in many countries since), it’s just plan insulting for the many who are still living and either fought against and/or survived the Nazi regime.

If this is trivial, does that mean I can dress as a Ku Klux Klansman at my next fancy dress foray? It ties in very neatly with the opinion pieces recently in the SMH about communist thugs/dictators being made into stylish icons for a new generation. Maybe Harry wanted to start a new trend …

And in the interests of openness, yes I am a Republican.

That’s all folks …


Media – hooray for Australia

Having been overseas for the last 5 weeks and occasionally reading the Australian media it became so clear to me that the Australian media is very insular, inward looking, prone to exaggerating Australia’s place in the world and doesn’t seem to report a great deal of what happens overseas. Of course, this is in addition to it being interested in things that don’t really matter.

For example: last Friday (?) the Aus had a headline “PM gives $1Bill to Tsunami” or words to that effect, with a table giving the promised amounts side by side to the relevant country’s population. The implication being, of course “hooray for Australia – aren’t we generous”. An ugly aspect of the Aus media. I didn’t see a comparison of population versus promised donations anywhere else on my travels. Maybe elsewhere people think that it doesn’t really matter.

Secondly, upon arriving back there’s all this hoorah about Mark Latham – please – if he’s sick he’s sick, and he can be sick at a resort. What’s wrong with that? Does it matter? No! And the latest item/opinion piece on Crikey has him as potentially Labor’s worst leader ever… and this man was only a few months ago feted as brilliant. Methinks this is mostly opinion written by people without anything else to write.

Sacha Blumen

Some perspective please

Latham’s failure to provide a statement on the tsunami tragedy is not a story. It’s a beat up by bored journos, and frankly, their inference from this “story” is insulting.

Australian’s do not need their hand held by the Leader of the Opposition. We do not need to hear his words. We are mature enough to recognise that Mark, just like the rest of us, feels sympathy to the victims, and would support a prompt and substantial Government’s response to the tragedy. We are also mature enough to accept that whilst on leave (especially when severely ill) he is entitled to withdraw from public life.

There would be reason for complaint if the Labor Party made no comment, but course they did, and it was done just as it should have been, by the Acting Leader, Chris Evans.

Sideshow Bob

Ps. I’m waiting for media analysis on the history of Aceh, its people, and the story behind their separatist movement. My reading on wikipedia was an eye-opener, and left me hoping that the media would put pressure on the Australian and Indonesian Government for an ongoing media presence in Aceh after the departure of the aid teams. The history behind the Aceh separatist movement is a real untold story that deserves telling.

Beating up on Latham’s no-show

Crikey of all outlets beating up on sick Iron Mark for not making a cameo performance in his PJs or putting out a droll press release after the tsunami.

Remember, he is after all the leader of the opposition and it’s difficult to see how he could constructively criticise how the government has responded to the disaster.

Given he will shortly face his own political tsunami not feeding the chooks seems an eminently sensible thing to do.

Your cub reporters should be encouraged to walk the streets in search of a good meaty story rather than manufacturing one from the leanest of gruels.

Howard’s billions

With the reporting the way it is about Howard’s billion dollar pledge, I thought it must have been coming out of his own pocket or something. Imagine my disappointment to discover that it was just the half-donation, half-loan of public funds widely anticipated. It would have been remarkably stupid to not take this rather obvious opportunity to support our neighbour, yet it is being touted as some kind of genius stroke.

Still, it struck me immediately how different this new, human-sided Mr Howard was from the man who lied about helpless refugees so cruelly, not so long ago. It is almost as if his own morality is a changeling; based merely upon the anticipated, perceived or surveyed opinion of the Australian people on whatever issue.

(Am I becoming cynical? Maybe, but one does have to admire a master politician at work.)

I never heard or saw much about the Thai-Australia Free Trade Agreement btw. It came in on January 1st with AUSFTA & I guess, points the way for Australia’s sweatshop industries. Both AUSFTA & TAFTA are offsprings of APEC & since Indonesia is also a member, I believe this loan/donation will lead to deals like the IMF’s Structural Adjustment Programs & so on; plus a stronger push for a Free Trade deal with Indonesia. (Probably a broadening of TAFTA, like the way CUFTA became NAFTA).

Anyway, I drive a Liberty wagon & it screws me how that bloke managed to roll his; even if it was only 2 times, instead of 3.

And about Mr Mathews & the SAS, Joel Balkan says it well in his book, The Corporation…

“The corporation’s legally defined mandate is to pursue, relentlessly & without exception, its own self-interest, regardless of the often harmful consequences it might cause to others.”

They are hardly charities; the law prohibits such unprofitable activity. The outrage at what was said is justified but Mr Mathews’s word are merely indicative of the terminal condition of corporate ethics. The term itself is an oxymoron; corporations have to be unethical by law, so long as profit outweighs consequence.

Thanks for the rave. I really like your site, even if it isn’t any more accurate than the Telegraph.

Calling off the WMD search

I’m surprised at the US now seemingly on the verge of declaring that there are no WMDs in Iraq and that Saddam Hussein didn’t develop them (see for example this story).

It seems to be a tactical error on two counts. Firstly, surely it seems foolish to make such a declaration before you have tried Saddam (which, I seem to recall is due to begin in May or so). Now when Saddam faces court, he will be viewed by the public more through the perception that he was captured as the result of a war that was ultimately unjustified. While he is, I believe, being tried for other alleged crimes, he will not be seen to the rest of the world as absolutely evil as the previously perceived threat to other nations is significantly reduced by the admission that he was not harbouring or intending to harbour WMDs. Surely you would have a skeleton staff still nominally looking for WMD’s – even if only so Dubya can say that they’re still looking.

That said, if could be that the US have already delayed the announcement until Dubya’s 2nd term was formally approved (which officially occurred last week when the electoral vote was verified/ratified by Congress … I think). Either that or they have such contempt for the public that they think this will be forgotten by the time Saddam’s trial begins.

Secondly, it seems unusual that they would make such a declaration given that they have already said “they may exist but we may never find them.” To now draw attention to calling off the search seems like a significant step down from a previously robust position virtually unable to be disproved (however spurious) seems to be a huge backward step. Then again, it may have been difficult to completely conceal winding up the search – while the vast majority of the world’s media are pro-war, there are still some (probably the most dogged and determined) outlets that are (rightly) skeptical.

I’d be interested in your thoughts.


Scottish football

Walker Watt makes many valid points about the sad state of Scottish football. What happened to McGeady and Lennon is very sad and is partly why Scottish football is in such a pathetic state today.

However in the interests of fairness, one must point out that Celtic fans are not angels either.

Watch any game at Parkhead (their home ground) and you will see a sea of Irish flags… This is Britain. What point do Irish flags serve, except deliberately stir up trouble? And just ask Mo Johnstone about the treatment he received from Celtic fans after he signed for Rangers (he was a former Celtic star – and a Catholic).

Unfortunately the thuggery isn’t just limited to the traditional issues cited. Shortly after 11 Sept 2001, a Celtic fan infamously abused Rangers’ Claudio Reyna by pretending he was a crashing aeroplane. The fact that Reyna is a Catholic American meant the insult had absolutely nothing to do with politics or religion… Reyna was not a player who ever incited the Celtic fans – his only crime was to wear a blue shirt.

The problems with the Old Firm rivalry has existed for over a century. The thuggery is neither new nor unexpected. However it should have been stamped out long ago. Both Rangers and Celtic give ample lip-service to ended the thuggery, but in the end actually do very little about it.


Finn talk, not so unique

Please alert Ms Catanzariti that contrary to what she writes: “Finnish is its own language group.”

The Finnish language does belong to a distinctive language group, namely the ‘Finn-Ugrish’ language group. In this, the Finns share the basic set-up of their language with the Hungarians (hence the ‘Ugrish’). There is nothing similar between those two languages, bar their roots – both tribes and languages originally came from the same area: the planes behind the Ural Mountains (today’s Russia) approx. 1,600-1,700 hundred years ago.

Andrew Decker

Jurlique and the Packers

Your Jurlique Item spurs me to suggest Crikey could start digging deeper into the PBL relationships with the Packers – if in fact there is something untoward maybe someone might blow a whistle?

  1. What is PBL’s policy when considering deals with any of the Packers private interests?
  2. What are all the commercial relationships between PBL and the Packers interests?
  3. Have any commercial opportunities been offered to PBL ultimately been taken up by the Packers for their personal gain without any commission or finders fee being paid to PBL?
  4. Is any preferential treatment given to the Packers for commercial opportunities – if the answer is no, what is the procedure that is applied to support this?
  5. In the case of the Jurlique item, what evidence exists to ensure PBL shareholders that the lease between Crown (PBL) is the same as any other tenant in the complex?


Peter Fray

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Peter Fray
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