News Ltd’s Fairfax hypocrisy. It can get pretty offensive when the assembled gang of hacks at News Ltd papers report on Fairfax results, without mentioning their own employer’s trials and tribulations.

Take the stories this morning in The Australian , News Ltd’s chief anti-Fairfax battering ram. This one talks of a management shakeup at Fairfax, but never mentions the plunge in revenue and profits at News Ltd papers in the December quarter and half that News Corp referred to in its profit statement earlier this month, nor did it refer to the ongoing job cutting at News in Australia. Likewise this commentary made no mention of what News Ltd is doing.

And, for all its faults, so far Fairfax is yet to own up to a 50% write-down in the value of its biggest ever investment (Rural Press) that Murdoch and News Corp did in an SEC filing a day after releasing the half year and quarterly report. That was a $US2.8 billion halving in the cost of the takeover of the Dow Jones Company, which owns the Wall Street Journal . If that had been Fairfax, News Ltd’s hacks would have been all over the company. — Glenn Dyer

It isn’t just News Ltd lawyers who should attend anti-discrimination seminars. Right now, lawyers across New South Wales are scurrying to complete their 10 mandatory points of Continuing Legal Education (CLE) before the cut-off date. That includes complying to reg 176 of the NSW Legal Profession Regulation 2005, requiring completion of at least one CLE point on OH&S and “the law relating to discrimination and harassment”. NSW lawyers have had to learn this stuff at least once every three years since April 2004, so you’d think they’d know this stuff inside-out and back-to-front.

That includes in-house lawyers at Nationwide News, publishers of the Daily Telegraph. The in-house legal team at the Tele must appreciate the serious consequences they and their employers could face if found to be engaging in breaches of NSW and Federal Anti-Discrimination and Human Rights legislation.

These lawyers were almost certainly involved in drafting the Publication Guidelines that govern posting comments on Tele blogs. Which raises this pressing question: Why on earth does the Tele allow Tim Blair, its Opinion Editor, to moderate and allow grossly xenophobic and racist comments on his blog?

For instance, on Friday 13 February, 2009, Blair posted on his blog some comment on the arrest of a man charged with arson that resulted in one of the recent destructive bushfires in Victoria. Blair then allowed this comment to survive his moderation procedures:

Just tell the mob he’s a Palestinian. That’ll justify any amount of murder.

It took almost eight hours for a further comment to be posted condemning this xenophobic, racist and anti-Semitic remark. But why was it allowed on the Tele blog in the first place? Why did Blair deem it within the Publication Guidelines? And why is it still there?

Indeed, this is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to racist and bigoted comments left by Blair’s regular online cheer-squad. It’s a bit late for Blair to now claim that anonymous leftists are leaving offensive messages on his blog. Indeed, even before Blair’s blog made its way onto the Tele‘s website, he moderated comments from racist nutbags on his blog. Blair was also happy to allow one of his regulars, a certain Infidel Tiger, to address this pleasant remark to former Liberal MP Jackie Kelly:

What is it with thick as sh-t sports ministers named Kelly? And what part of shut the f-ck up, you stupid f-cking bint, apologise and then f-ck off from whence you came, doesn’t this sun damaged harridan understand?

If in-house lawyers at Nationwide News haven’t yet advised their client/employer of the serious consequences of allowing racist and s-xist comments onto blogs they host, it’s probably time the lawyers took along Tele editors and bloggers to their next reg 176 seminar. — Irfan Yusuf

Slumdogs on Seven. The Sunday Night show on Channel Seven featured an cross to the Mumbai slums to visit the family and friends of child actors in Slumdog Millionaire. In the background, I noticed a man walk up and without saying a word smack a kid on the back of the head! 

Anonymous Crikey reader

ABC News award themselves an Oscar. Hoorah for ABC News Online! I didn’t think the ABC’s coverage of the Oscars was that good… [Crikey ‘s bigger question: would Kate Winslet accept an Academy Award for the ABC?]

— Crikey reader Richard Edwards

Playboy looks for buyers. The chief executive of Playboy Enterprises says the company is open to selling itself or restructuring its flagship adult entertainment magazine. Playboy Magazine faces declines in circulation and advertising. It has cut more than a fifth of its staff. — NPR

Washington Post earnings preview. Washington Post likely benefited in the final quarter of an otherwise abysmal year from the traditional advertising blitz during the holiday shopping season and an influx of readers looking for news about the presidential election and transition to the Obama administration. But profit will probably slide from the year-ago period. That would mark the Washington-based company’s ninth consecutive quarter of declining profit. — Editor & Publisher

It’s not newspapers in peril; it’s their owners. For all the apocalyptic news about newspapers, there’s a distinction worth making: Newspaper owners are far more endangered than the medium itself. Even as they take blow after blow from recession and digital media, newspapers themselves still earn decent profits. — AdvertisingAge

Better sales for Women’s Health. Recent research from Pacific Magazines indicates that when Women’s Health is positioned next to marie claire or Madison it sells on average 17% more than if left in the more traditional health and fitness area. — Australian Newsagency Blog

The end of Second Life. Those who can’t do, teach. Second Life, the most overhyped virtual world, has been abandoned even by its most fervent journalistic promoters, like Reuters and Wired . It’s now pitching itself as an online schoolhouse. — Valleywag

Murdoch’s soft spot for print slows News Corp. Mr. Murdoch, as much old-fashioned press baron as 21st century multimedia mogul, faces a depressing reality: his lifelong fondness for newspapers has become a significant drag on the fortunes of his company, the News Corporation. The company recently took $8.4 billion in write-downs, including $3 billion on its newspaper unit, which includes The Journal’s publisher, Dow Jones & Company. — New York Times

Peter Fray

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