No redundancies at News:

Greg Baxter, Director, Corporate Affairs at News Ltd, writes: Re. “Tips and rumours” (yesterday, item 8). Yesterday Crikey published: “News is offering 50 redundancies at the Herald Sun as part of plan to combine all of News features under newly appointed national features boss Alan Oakley. Also Herald Sun and Sunday Herald Sun sports staff to go on seven-day roster.”

News is NOT offering 50 redundancies at the Herald Sun as part of a plan to combine features under new national features editor Alan Oakley. Nor is News planning to produce all its features from Sydney. And nor are all features going to be the same around the country. Etc etc.

Big coal:

Peter Logue, Director, External Communications at the Australian Coal Association, writes: Re. “Democracy and science vs. Big Coal: the final round?” (Yesterday, item 16). Dan Cass is wrong and should do his job a bit better. The Australian Coal Association is not “lobbying Kevin Rudd to do nothing on Climate Change”. He just has to go to the ACA’s climate change website to see that industry fully accepts, and has done for many years, that it has a responsibility to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the burning of coal for electricity.

That’s why it’s spending over a billion dollars on getting low emissions coal technology to commercial stage. The ACA is lobbying the Government for fair treatment as an emissions intensive, trade exposed industry; Dan, this is not the same is denying the impact of coal on climate change and you should be honest about this. I’m pretty sure Greenpeace is also lobbying the Government, as it has every right to do in a democratic country.

We are on the record many times as supporting a well developed and efficient Emissions Trading Scheme. That hasn’t changed. They distort the position of the ACA by tying it to some comment by someone in the United States is disingenuous nonsense.

It’s also risky to predict what will be in a television program that hasn’t been aired yet.

Dennis Ferguson:

Denise Marcos writes: Re. “How the media menaced Dennis Ferguson” (yesterday, item 19). Queensland parents please take note: following Dennis Ferguson’s acquittal Police Commissioner Atkinson pointed out that his modus operandi was not to abduct minors but, instead, to befriend unwary parents in order to gain entree to the family. Prior to the trial relentless media focus ensured mass hysteria; redneck vigilantes formed an around-the-clock ranting posse in the street fronting Ferguson’s lodging.

From the torrent of media coverage all residents of Queensland now recognise the beleaguered Ferguson with the ease and familiarity equal to identifying their next of kin. His visual profile surmounts that of Anna Bligh or Kevin Rudd or Wally ‘The King’ Lewis.

Greg Barns is right, it’s the perfect irony: by baying for Ferguson’s incarceration the media have freed him.

Rundle on Churchill and gift giving:

Ken Lambert writes: Re. “Rundle: What do you give the fuzzy wuzzy who has everything?” (Yesterday, item 4). Guy Rundle’s latest rant against my favourite imperialist Winston Churchill is a bit rich. Had Winston not put up his hand in May 1940, Guy’s folks might have ended up with bad haircuts, teetotal and flatulent. Adolf Hitler had a decidedly dimmer view of the darker races than Winston. He advised the British to shoot Gandhi and the top Congress leaders to put a stop to their nonsense.

Rubbing out the pink bits on the world map has produced two generations of charming beneficent African leaders such as Field Marshall Idi Amin (late of Jeddah); Emperor Bokassa (who served parts of his enemies from the fridge); Mobutu, who rumbled his jungle and Robert Mugabe. Places and events also come to mind which seem to dwarf Winston’s puny efforts at shooting Sudanese or bombing Kurds. How about Biafra, the Congo, Sudan, Somalia, Sierra Leone, Zimbabwe, and the daddy of all — Rwanda. Perhaps Guy could explain the logistics of killing 800,000 humans with machetes.

Oh Guy, while you are at it, that other black iconic President — Nelson Mandela looks to have lucked out in having a brutal white regime imprison him for 26 years. Brutal black regimes don’t usually muck about with formalities such as food and health care for their enemies. I doubt if too many have ever released their chief prisoner, allowed him to be elected President, and seen him honoured and revered around the world at the healthy old age of 90.

Jenny Morris writes: Right on Guy Rundle, some strange gifts in there. But in the midst of a global financial meltdown — or whatever it’s called this week — I rather like the $2 shop gifts exchanged. If we’re all cutting down (but still spending at the same time – still not sure how that works), why shouldn’t the Gifts and Protocol departments of nations tighten their belts? They can’t afford gilt figurines anymore. Bring on the DVD boxed sets — or something made by a local crafty type. Our taxes in action!

Printing money:

Kirk Broadhurst writes: Re. Andy Cole (yesterday, comments). Printing money and hyper inflation suit me perfectly, with my enormous mortgage and long working life ahead of me. But you stand to lose out if your allocated pension is not indexed, or if the value of your superannuation doesn’t keep up with the inflation. Printing money will definitely increase inflation (and decrease the value of your money) but it will not guarantee that the value of your investment increases, at least in the short term.

The Olympics:

Michael Fraser writes: Re. “Media briefs: GFC TV … Nine shifts ads … Sky appoints Twitter correspondent” (yesterday, item 20). Glenn Dyer certainly has Olympians in for a big year 2010, according to his article “Recession bites Olympic rights”. Glenn, the Winter Olympics will be held in 2010 in Vancouver, and the Summer Olympics in London in 2012, not next year.The Winter and Summer Games have not been held in the same year for 20 years.

Also, a quick Google search will tell you that the city of Sochi in Russia will host the 2014 Winter Olympics, having been awarded the Games in July 2007 — so we will not “find out in a year”…. we have known for nearly two … and the 2016 Summer Games city will be announced in October of this year.

Single-issue obsessives:

Justin Templer writes: Re. “Media briefs: GFC TV … Nine shifts ads … Sky appoints Twitter correspondent” (yesterday, item 20). In the usual over-the-top response from a “socially worthy” single issue quango, ASCA (Adult Survivors of Child Abuse) has accused the Nine Network of contributing to a “conspiracy of silence” by moving its confrontational ad to a late night slot.

Cathy Kezelman of ACSA tells us that “the ads need to be confronting because there is a lot of resistance around this issue”.

Well, Cathy, I have a lot of resistance around this issue — I do not feel like being confronted by father-daughter s-x while sitting in my living room with my wife and children. Frankly I am sick of single-issue obsessives upping the ante under the shibboleth that my discomfort is a small price to pay if just one more … child, tree, wombat, victim … is saved.

Why not live coverage of real dead road accident and drowning victims or smokers breathing their last?

Climate change:

John Bushell writes: Re. “GetUp: laying our climate strategy on the table” (yesterday, item 15). The UK’s MetOffice has a particularly interesting recent report on just how close we are to failing on combating climate change.

The article contains a link to a very good summary of the scenarios which will be particularly useful in the forthcoming discussions regarding the Government’s very weak Emissions Trading Scheme.

Please keep up the good work on climate change — there are a few of us listening!

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