When art imitates life at The Age. Here at Crikey , we’re huge fans of US series The Wire, especially season five where the action shifts intermittently from the streets to a fictional Baltimore Sun newsroom. The man behind The Wire is former real-life Sun reporter David Simon and the series provides an intimate look at the bitchiness of a metro paper from someone once caught up in the maelstrom. But what particularly piqued our interest was the stunning visual parallels between the fictional Sun ’s managing editor, Thomas Klebanow, and former Age editor Andrew Jaspan:

Thomas Klebanow

Andrew Jaspan

The (fictional) Sun and the (real-life) Age have another thing in common — an obsession with campaigning journalism backed by marginal public support. In The Wire , The Sun pursues a campaign against the city’s homelessness problem, while The Age under Jaspan was notorious for prosecuting a long-running salvo against channel deepening in Port Phillip Bay. Jaspan was replaced as Age editor in August last year, his term coinciding with the Simon’s season five writing window. Spooky stuff indeed. — Andrew Crook

@overingtonc on The Monthly . “The Australian understands the writers on Mr Rudd in next week’s issue [of The Monthly] include John N. Gray, formerly of the London School of Economics and now a writer for The Guardian newspaper, who is a critic of the free market….”

In another piece on The Monthly, Overington spends the last half implying that Manne was politically censoring departed editor Sally Warhaft by resisting a piece from Peter Costello, a piece that would have made Rudd’s “social capitalism” essay look like a hitherto undiscovered extra three chapters of Hunter S Thompson’s Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas . Overington begins with a rundown of the people replying to Rudd, with this apparent guardianista tech school John N Gray bloke. Who’s he?

Could he possibly be John Gray, former professor of European Thought at the LSE, former student of Hayek, a man of whom Hayek said “he is the only one who has actually extended my work”, a strong supporter of Thatcher and a man who began an intellectual transition in the 90s to a position best described as “critical conservatism”, author of False Dawn, Straw Dogs, Black Mass and others, critical of neoliberalism for being too much like the old left, not from the left, and, above all, a man who doesn’t use his middle initial?

Why yes it is! Where did the “N” come from? From Wikipedia of course, which uses the initial to distinguish him from the plethora of other John Grays. If it’s too much to ask CO to know the author, could she at least ask an adult? Mind you, the other three on Overington’s list are all UK or American figures — which either indicates a dearth of Australian commentators, or the desire to portray it as such. We shall see. — Guy Rundle

Monthly fall out does not apply to book launches. It appears the savage fallout between Morry Schwartz and sacked Monthly editor Sally Warhaft doesn’t extend to pre-arranged Black Inc book launches. In what is looming as a must-attend event for Melbourne skivvy-wearers, Black and Monthly chief Schwartz sent out a email this morning spruiking the launch of regular Monthly contributor Nicolas Rothwell’s new book, The Red Highway , at Readings bookstore in leafy Carlton on 14 May. Rothwell and Warhaft will “discuss” the novel, an “hypnotic, haunting story of death, friendship, travel and art.” But the mood could be tense if Schwartz’s take on Warhaft from Wednesday’s Crikey is any indication:

“There were issues with Sally. Sally was very difficult to work with. She was controlling, inflexible. She refused to discuss, that was the problem. She became brittle about it.”

Evening book launches at Readings are notorious for rowdy kick-ons after the complimentary cab sav has been drained with Jimmy Watson’s Wine Bar, where former friends Warhaft and Schwartz used to bounce around editorial ideas with Robert Manne, looming as a potential venue to revisit the trio’s glory days. — Andrew Crook

Rioting Indonesian military spark fears for journos in Papua. Wednesday night the International Federation of Journalists reported that a team of journalists working in the Indonesian province of Papua’s capital Japaura had been threatened by rioting soldiers:

Aliansi Jurnalis Independen (AJI), an IFJ affiliate, reports that the journalists were reporting on a military event in Jayapura today when they observed soldiers attacking an army camp. One of the team took photos of the attack. While the details are unclear, it is reported that a large group of border patrol soldiers of Battalion 751 Sentani then turned on the journalists. After soldiers seized the journalists’ bags and cameras, the media team sought refuge in a nearby community. Four journalists are reportedly hiding in a local police station. Another is sheltering in a local home and has reported hearing many gunshots. Local people provided the journalists with different clothes to disguise their identities.

AFP later reported that 200 soldiers had rioted, but that no civilians had been hurt. The IFJ say the journalists were not specifically targeted and that they just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. Papua is largely shut off from the global media, with foreign journalists rarely granted visas to report from the troubled province. — Eleri Harris

Swine influenza mutates into deadly zombie virus! The Aporkolyse has arrived… or not. Some clever person has put together this fake BBC page:

No such thing as too much violence. The auto-playing graphic of a small child being hit (and possibly killed) by a car in the original version of  this story morning from News.com.au, about the attack on the Dutch Royal family, could potentially be a little too much blood and guts for your average reader. Here at Crikey we found it pretty disturbing. Someone at news.com must agree because the video has now been altered, cutting straight from footage of smiling Royals on a bus to dead people all over the ground.

If you’re from a suburb called Berserker… will you go berserk? Is this story from the Courier Mail an example of man being a product of their environment?

Man with sword charged with attempted murder of police officer

A MAN has been charged with the attempted murder of a police officer in Berserker, North Rockhampton, after he went on a rampage with a samurai sword last night.

Police were called to Dean and Elphinstone streets in Berserker about 8.45pm yestreday, where residents had reported a man armed with a sword walking up and down the street, slashing at cars and trees.

On arrival, a police officer from the dog squad found the 21-year-old Berserker man attacking a car with the sword, but after calling on him to put the weapon down, the man allegedly moved towards the officer and started swinging the samurai sword above his head in a threatening manner, and also making verbal threats to kill the officer.

When he kept moving towards them, police said the officer shot the man with a Taser, “causing the man to comply with directions”.

It’s official — working in media or advertising is more stressful than being a GP. Ad agency execs, reporters and news photographers have some of the world’s most stressful jobs, according to a survey by a recruitment site. Careercast, which ranked 200 jobs, says that after surgeons and airline pilots, photographers are the most stressed, followed by advertising account executives. Newspaper reporters are in the seventh most stressful occupation, says the survey. — Mumbrella

Canada: the Somalia of internet piracy. The Obama administration added Canada Thursday to a notorious blacklist of countries where Internet piracy flourishes, reflecting a new, tougher line in Washington over the Harper government’s chronic failure to deliver on promises of new copyright laws. Canada now joins a group of countries designated as being especially lax in protecting intellectual property, including Algeria, China, Russia, Pakistan, Indonesia and Venezuela. No other advanced Western democracy is on the list and Canada is regarded as a lawless hub for bootleg movies, ripped-off software and pirated chips that bypass copyright protections. — Reportonbusiness

Fox show beats Obama in battle for primetime TV slotT. It appears US television network Fox made the right move when they opted not to air Barack Obama’s press conference last night. The network won the primetime 8pm time slot, drawing 7.88 million viewers to their show Lie To Me. The show snagged more viewers at that time slot than any other network. However, 19 million people tuned in to Obama’s White House press conference from the combined ratings of NBC, ABC and CBS. — Guardian

New USA Today Editor: “Innovate Like Hell”. With nearly 27 years at USA Today — dating back to its first issue — John Hillkirk has put in his time in order to become editor, a post he formally took on Tuesday. But Hillkirk, who served most recently as executive editor under former newsroom boss Ken Paulson, says he sees few changes ahead, despite the fact that the newspaper industry is in its most uncertain time in decades. “I think USA Today is in better shape than a lot of papers,” Hillkirk told E&P Wednesday. “I don’t see radical new changes.” — Editor and Publisher

Peter Fray

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Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey