Australians could be “eating themselves to an early death,” reports the SMH, citing new research in the New England Journal of Medicine that predicts “life expectancy will decline for the first time in 1,000 years due to the obesity epidemic.”

But if obesity doesn’t get you, there’s always another media perennial – the cane toad. Exactly 63 years after it was introduced to the Queensland sugarcane fields, the cane toad has made it to Western Australia’s pristine Kimberley, reports The West Australian, and locals want to stop the pest’s progress by building a 350km toad-proof “fence” at a cost of $7 million.

Another media perennial, PP McGuinness, has made it to The Australian, where he tries to make a meal of left wing journalists in general and one in particular – former Media Watch host David Marr, who stands as “an indictment of the ABC and the kind of journalism it breeds.” McGuinness says it’s up to The Sydney Morning Herald – where Marr works as a staff writer – to “introduce some balance into its own pages, something that it has made only token gestures towards so far.”

Also in The Australian,Michael Costello says that John Howard’s backbench has “woken up” to the PM, they’re “having the temerity to raise questions – in public,” and “when told to shut up, they don’t any more.”

In Melbourne, another perennial Derryn Hinch – the man who told the world about the late David Hookes’s girlfriend – is at it again, reports the Herald Sun. Hinch has labelled one of his top-rating 3AW colleague as a “hypocrite” for spreading gossip about people in his popular Rumour File segment, but failing to report the real story about his marriage breakdown.

And in Britain, the place is full of “twitchers,” writes The Economist. But the pastime of twitching appeals mostly white British males (there are few female or ethnic-minority twitchers). Is this due to the “Protestant work ethic”, “Freudian psychology” or even men’s “type-S brains” asks the magazine which calls itself a newspaper?

Finally, Kurt Anderson in New Yorkmagazine says the world of media has a new paradigm. History, he says, unfolds dialectically “with each era containing the seeds of its own eventual destruction,” and “media history is no different.”

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
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