The Gold Coast lynch mob. The law of the lynch mob has come to the Gold Coast and being urged on by the Murdoch tabloid the Gold Coast Bulletin. “EVERYONE should remember this man’s face,” the paper urged its readers this morning. “Burn it into your memory, because it’s up to the public to protect the children of Queensland from pedophile Dennis Ferguson.”

Don’t count on the authorities for help. The police did their best by bringing convicted pedophile Dennis Ferguson to court, but yesterday a judge set him free. The judge said Ferguson couldn’t get a fair trial because of his notoriety. A jury of right-thinking citizens could not be trusted to make their own decision, and besides, the judge had doubts about the evidence of the alleged five-year-old victim. So Ferguson walked, and the next time he pops up it could be in a house near you.

That’s about as close as you can get to urging people to take the law into their own hands.

At the risk of being accused of an advertorial. I’ll take the risk involved in giving a plug to the ABC’s news radio (let me declare in true John Laws style that they are a sponsor, if not of me, of my breakfast media watch) because the station has certainly changed for the better and it is not just the arrival of Jennifer Byrne as the drive time spruiker. News Radio is no longer a tear and read program with a collation of sound grabs from assorted other programs. There is now an increasing amount of original current affairs material. It was listening this morning to an interview by the program presenter (whose name I regret to say I did not catch) with Queensland civil liberties head Terry O’Gorman that made me aware of the outrageous nature of the Gold Coast Bulletin coverage of the pedophile “set free.” Perhaps more importantly there was an attempt to give an understanding of the logic applied by the judge in making the decision. The coverage was in stark contrast to the hysteria being generated by most of the media.

To bomb or not to bomb? Those players of the market on international events must be reading The Australian’s Paul Kelly or, more likely, listening to the same people he met in Washington during the Australian-American Leadership Dialogue before writing his column this morning previewed on page one as Will Bush Bomb Iran? “Every sign is that Bush will shun the option of a military strike against Iran in the twilight of his term,” writes Kelly. “This is the assessment of Americans close to the Bush administration and the view of US allies such as Australia. The Rudd Government would face a horrific shock as alliance partner if Bush ordered the bombing as a farewell operation.” And over at the Intrade betting exchange the probability of either the USA and/or Israel executing an overt Air Strike against Iran by 30 Sep 2008 fell by 2.8 percentage points to 16.7 from the previous night’s close of 19.5%.

Driving up the figures in an Audi. Fiddling with the circulation figures by the major newspapers is a game that Crikey has referred to on several occasions with the lads and lasses in the promotion departments always on the look out for new ways of getting the numbers up without breaching the rules of the auditing bodies.

Having Audi pay for subscriptions to the Saturday Herald and the Sunday Sun Herald instead of for an advertisement is the latest ruse from which I am a happy beneficiary.

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
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