That scream you heard over the weekend was from UK motoring journalist Jeremy Clarkson as he straddled the conflict of interest barbed wire fence in the debate over making people pay for using internet news websites. In a typical Clarkson rant in The Times, he nodded to one employer, News Corp’s News International and its Times and Sun newspapers, and then to the other, the BBC, and Top Gear, all which made Clarkson what he is, a media star with an ego bigger than a Roller.

Clarkson was to accommodate the conflicting objectives of one owner, Rupert Murdoch (make them pay) and the other, the BBC (it will be free). And how did he solve this Gordian knot of conflicting interests? Not by chopping it in half, but by blaming the internet:

”I’ve decided that the biggest issue in all of this is the internet. It’s a monster. An invisible machine over which mankind has absolutely no control. We can’t even turn it off.”

“Companies can build in as many electronic safeguards as they like but the fact is this: somewhere out there in cyberland there is a geek who can pick his way through the electronic locks and steal the booty.

“The debate, then, is not whether the BBC should be allowed to peddle its warnings of global doom on the internet. It’s how you control a monster that seemingly cannot be controlled at all.”

So rather than blame either of his employers, he’s in effect blaming the messenger (or the medium, if you think about it). How juvenile. The man is horribly conflicted. On the comments section under the story, a Times reader summed up Clarkson’s effort in a way that can’t be topped. “Gezza – nothing wrong is playing both sides. Bankers do this all the time & they get bonuses.” — Glenn Dyer

Seven wins ratings… again. The Seven Network has won the 2009 ratings year, its third consecutive win. It won the year on the back of sustained success for drama Packed To The Rafters, which maintained the same audience average as last year (1.9 million viewers) and its news and current affairs slate as well as dominance of the observational documentary genre. – The Australian.

Obama gate crashers shop their story. The couple who infamously crashed President Barack Obama’s first state dinner are peddling their story to broadcast networks for hundreds of thousands of dollars, a television executive says. Michaele Salahis is a reality TV hopeful trying to get on Bravo’s The Real Housewives of DC. — Newser

Annabel Crabb beats her own drum. There is something madly splendid about the grown-up Turnbull, this past weekend. Having absorbed the sort of assault that would utterly devastate most political leaders (the wholesale resignation of numerous colleagues, and public attacks from some of the most powerful members of his parliamentary team), he remained astonishingly blithe throughout. The Drum

Tiger goes public on “a private matter”. In a statement posted on his Web site Sunday, Tiger Woods accepted responsibility for what he deemed an “embarrassing” car accident just outside of his driveway at 2:25am. Friday. He said his wife acted “courageously” to help him, but declined to provide further details, calling the incident a “private matter.” The Washington Post

SBS to launch digital arts channel in 2010. SBS will launch a new Arts and Entertainment channel on Foxtel and Austar in the first half of 2010. SBS says programming will include “exclusive broadcasts of selected major Australian arts and entertainment events; the best international arts content across a range of genres and forms; showcases of major arts events from Australia and around the world; original commissioned programming to engage audiences with the contemporary arts and entertainment scene; and information and reviews about performances and events throughout Australia.” Media Spy

Is Glenn Beck leading the Obama opposition? Glenn Beck is a TV host, bestselling author and the most influential voice on the rightwing Fox channel. Now, even some Republicans worry that the extreme and maverick views of Beck and his supporters will make their party unelectable. Is the TV tail wagging the political dog? — The Guardian

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
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