Steve Fielding:

Mark Brickles writes: Re. “Steve Fielding is just a media torte. Sorry, tart.“, Wednesday, item 3. I was rather shocked to read about the kind of arguments you have been trying to justify against someone with dyslexia. I have experienced this first hand throughout my schooling and university studies. Even now I am teased by people who confuse it with being “loopy”. However, I have completed 4 university degrees, winning a scholarship for my MBA. I also have a successful career and a happy life and I am as capable of performing in a job as anyone.

To me, this is just out there. You clearly do not know what you are talking about. You should be ashamed of yourselves for trying to get mileage out of this. Your focus should be all of the incompetence, cronyism and the transformation of governments into spin machines. Not picking on people with dyslexia!

And then you use the grammatically challenged Bernard to attack him? What the? Am I in the twilight zone here?? His argument is that Steve should not be a senator because he has dyslexia. Yet Bernard, clearly grammatically challenged, has somehow slinked into a Journo job.. Now that is loopy!

Just as you argued against Steve, “if Crikey has some kind of condition, where it cannot even hold to basic moral standards in reporting, it should not be in journalism”.

Shape up team or ship out to ACA or Today Tonight.

P.S. I do not know Steve, I don’t go to church and I have never voted for him… Yet I feel compelled to complain… Not good.

Richard Lawson writes: I am myself burdened with something of a spelling disability, so I have been following the Fielding debate with some interest, however are you aware that there is a lower order relative to Godwin’s Law I call Devine law, whereby as soon as Ms Devine is mentioned, a debate becomes worthless (oh look, like now!).

As you have quoted yourselves in the past: “don’t wrestle with swine, you both end up covered in muck and the swine enjoy it”. As for putting in a link to her article, have you no compassion? Someone might accidentally click on it.

Personally I’m convinced his disability is primarily media tartyness, I quickly learnt never to spell out a word in public unless I actually want people to laugh — something I no long mind in most circumstances, excluding national media.

Regarding potential dyslexia, someone really needs to ask him if he believes in dog, that should close the case.

David Lenihan writes: Perhaps Cathy Bannister (yesterday, comments) you should have read all the comments relating to Fielding’s “supposed” dyslexia, the Senator has never admitted to suffer from it, it’s a rumour, a presumption by those who try and excuse his cockups for something more sinister. No one in that article or in response has ever decried those who do have the condition.

If you do in fact know he has, then why not say so, I presume you do not. Bernard Keane’s article was a comment on the Senators inability to grasp the reason he is in that place and why he is incapable of being anything than a Liberal stooge.

Nice try, but no points. Good article Bernard.

Myer float:

Another retail insider writes: Re. “What’s going on with the Myer float? Time for some analysis” (yesterday, item 25). Time for some analysis? Yes please. Problem is your retail insider of yesterday sounds like they haven’t even seen a tent — let alone been inside one.

Where to begin in correcting the errors? How about the first line? Let’s start with the fact that TPG still own Neiman Marcus and haven’t floated it. And as for the float of Debenhams — anyone who does any basic analysis can see that the return on investment in the IPO is basically double that of the relevant index.

The rest of the analysis could be demolished line by line.


Jim Cooper, Media Relations Manager, Corporate Affairs, Coles, writes: Re. “Tips and rumours” (yesterday, item 7). I have noticed the following snippet on your “Tips and rumours” section:

Rumour has it that an influx of British immigrants is about to hit Australian shores. Wesfarmers (Coles) in conjunction with the Federal government is putting the finishing touches to employing and importing 200 retail store managers from Britain for Coles Supermarkets.

It’s fantasy-land on all fronts.

Concept Economics:

Henry Ergas, Chairman, Concept Economics, writes: Re. “Concept Economics goes bust, appoints administrators” (yesterday, item 2). Your claim with respect to Concept Economics that “a tranche of overseas clients have refused to pay their bills, with several large creditors believed to be stalking the firm” are completely incorrect.

Kyle and the meeja:

David Hand writes: Re. Yesterday’s editorial. Your comments regarding bogan newspapers, TV and radio is really about a medium in a death spiral, as illustrated by the recent dramatic shifts in media ownership.

Call it what you like but the daily diet of voyeurism, gossip, infomercials, programme cross-promotions and outright fiction, dished up by the evening “If it bleeds it leads” news, TT, ACA, the morning fluff, the “we show you the tears” Sunday evening offerings and of course the “specials” made available by the TV company chequebooks, is not news and current affairs any more. It’s light entertainment, not much removed from reality TV and America’s craziest police chases et al.

Laurie Oakes has been left high and dry. Commercial TV and FM radio is simply giving us what we want to watch and hear, as good accountant-driven sellers of advertising space would. In chasing viewers and ratings, probably without realising it, commercial TV has evolved from news to light entertainment where bogans reign supreme. We are watching for diversion, not to be informed.

This is not all bad news but more a manifestation of a sea change in media power and I’m optimistic serious news and current affairs will survive and prosper, just not on commercial TV and radio and probably not daily print.

Matthew Brennan writes: Re. “Will Godwin’s Law finally bring down Kyle Sandilands?” (yesterday, item 3). In the media kerfuffle about the latest Kyle mot, I read a comment from one Anthony McClellan, of media strategy company AMC Media, who said “censoring or banning Sandilands was the wrong move, and that the free market would handle the situation”.

Really? In most business enterprises, a deemed inappropriate comment that lead to a major commercial client of the organisation cancelling commercial arrangements would lead to immediate termination of employment.

Deary me, but which part of the universe is Mr McClellan strategising from?

Pamela Papadopoulos writes: My heart goes out to Renee Geyer and her emotional response to the reprehensible antics of Kyle Sandilands. For a prominent artist like herself to wear her heart on her sleeve and expose her parents as Auschwitz survivors is to be applauded . You’re a true lady Renee…

Unemployment data:

Les Heimann writes: Re. “Four million reasons to doubt the jobless data” (yesterday, item 1). What a great day for the ABS — and Roy Morgan. Many, many of us have been constantly carping about how Australia is quickly drifting into a black economic hole. We have said it is bad. Now the ABS tells the truth (or at least some of the truth) about underemployment.

40,000,000 employment hours lost in a year. Add to this 488,000 additional people looking for full time work and add to this another 175,000 looking for part time work (at say 15 hours a week) — that’s about $13billion we are not pouring into our economy in one year!

How about telling us how much we spend getting things done overseas. How about addressing all the spare capacity draining our country. But we are, are we not? When we are over employed then let new workers descend upon us. Until then it has to be “ban the 457”. Or are our pollies that stupid?

Joe Hockey:

David Mendelssohn writes: Re. “Hockey’s economic bombast will hurt him” (yesterday, item 10). Bernard Keane said: “Hockey must have been in an expansive mood — on Twitter, he had suggested everyone at the G20 Finance Ministers’ meeting from which Wayne Swan had just returned was left-wing. Angela Merkel and Nicolas Sarkozy might have been alarmed to discover the true leanings of their finance ministers.”

The sad reality is that, in the Anglophone world, the political spectrum has become so radically skewed to the Right that even European right-wingers such as Merkel and Sarkozy are more progressive than many even in the Rudd Labor Government.

Food advertising:

Michael James writes: Re. “All this nagging, Nicola, isn’t making us thin” (yesterday, item 15). David Gillespie does not want Nicola Roxon to nag us about our bad food habits. Yet he points out that study after study shows “if we drink less sugar we lose weight”. Perhaps it is the nature of the nagging that matters as he also shows how information delivered just four times a year to school children can have a measurable effect.

Considering that our bad habits have been acquired at least partly, if not mostly, from billions and billions of dollars of advertising by “Big Food” it stands to reason that informative advertising on the dangers of certain kinds of food should be able to have a measurable effect — in the same way that anti-smoking advertising has. Well, even though most of these bad habits have come from America and from American Big Food companies, they have also suffered the most and are becoming a test bed for ideas to combat the obesity/health costs problem.

In the current New York Times there is a description of how “One of the leading products of the American food industry has become patients for the American health care industry” and how sugar, especially in soft drinks plays a leading role. New York City has even considered a tax on soda, but for the moment has opted for the less contentious advertising route. The city is sponsoring new ads to run for three months on all subway trains. (The bloody gunk pouring out of the cola bottle and filling the glass is actually human fat.)

It is a relatively cheap program: about $300k to develop and about $100k to run the ads. It would also seem sensible to somehow encourage the supermarkets and fast food outlets to improve their stockage of diet versions of soft drinks.

First Dog on the Moon and Julia Gillard:

Kerri Worthington writes: In response to Nadia (yesterday, comments), I’m a female reader (not a writer — does it matter) and think the Julia Gillard T-shirt is a compliment to the deputy PM. She’s feisty, foxy and looks better and better. It’s not sexist to say that. I plan to buy a t-shirt for a male colleague who has a bit of a crush on her.

Stephen Darragh writes: But Nadia, Julia IS totally hot and she DOES rule. I fail to see where the problem lies with this t-shirt.

The unforgiven:

Penny Sword writes: One must always be careful to slag off at another’s grammar … Brian Mitchell (yesterday, comments), self-titled “grammar Nazi”, yesterday said that the use of the phrase “effects his ability” while going on about the importance of spelling and grammar was “an unforgiveable”. At the risk of being third-guessed, might I point out that the Oxford Dictionary does not seem to endorse the use of “unforgivable” as a noun…