Foreign Policy falls for US earthquake weapon hoax. You’ve got your hands on a juicy piece of lunacy by one of your enemies. You not only publish it, but build a whole case on it. Then you find out it’s a hoax. What do you do? If you’re Foreign Policy magazine, close to bugger all.

Thus the house journal of Hegemony Inc couldn’t believe its luck when it heard that Venezuelen Presidente Hugo Chavez had blamed the earthquake on a secret US earthquake ‘weapon’. FP built a whole article on this ‘meme’ which looked too good to be true – because it was. Someone on Venezuelan state TV had aired the idea, and right-wing bloggers the world over had attributed it to Chavez. FP, whose spine-bound editions will set you back twenty bucks couldn’t afford to do any fact checking. Nor did they remove the story, simply adding an ‘update’ to clarify that in fact it, err, wasn’t true. Just part of the self-Murdochisation of the media right – the point at which even their serious outlets turn to junk.

Interestingly, another figure to fall for the hoax was Norm Geras, author of the high-hit Normblog. But then Norm’s a gullible type. Chief theorist of the ultra-Trot International Marxist Group in the 70s (during their ‘support the IRA’ phase), he ended up as a fervent supporter of the Iraq war. His update on the hoax apologises for his gullibility. For his 30 years of self-cancelling politics, not so much. — Kim Serca

How much is an ABC Journalist worth? Seems there’s a couple of ABC jobs up for grabs at the moment. I wonder which one MD Mark Scott considers more important in the brave new world of “continuous news”? Here’s the first ad for a gig in the Harbour City.

Mail Room Supervisor, Business Services, Ultimo
(Administrative/Professional, Band 5, Schedule A)
$59,784 – $64,063

Then there’s this appointment (internal only) in Brisbane:

Bi Media Journalist, News, Brisbane
(Program Maker, Band 3, Schedule B)
$48,968 – $53,413

It appears Aunty reckons taxpayer dollars are better spent ensuring Kerry O’Brien’s fan mail arrives than creating the content O’Brien reports on. Crikey understands a flurry of outraged internal emails have been doing the rounds complaining about the ads this week. ABC insiders report that a “Bi Media Journo” on Schedule B has a higher rate of pay for the same band, meaning you get six weeks annual leave — but only because you’re forced to work public holidays. — Andrew Crook

NT News strikes again. It could be innocent, but the headline on this article describing the tirade of abuse launched by a 17 year-old at his bail appearance is just a little too representative of the words he uttered in court.  If the picture doesn’t give it away, have a think about how you would text the first two words of the headline and go from there. –Flint Duxfield


Dick Smith’s new political party: Apparently Dick Smith does not really want to start his own political party. What a shame.


Please find below an amended media alert on the Dick Smith Book Launch of Overloading Australia, to be held at Dymocks Bookstore George St, Sydney on February 1.

Please note that Dick Smith is not proposing starting a new political party as previously stated, but asks the questions is it time Australia had a political party dedicated to reducing and containing growth of its population.



MEDIA ALERT                                                                                                       February 2010



Book Launch:  Overloading Australia (Second Edition)


WHAT: Australian businessman Dick Smith believes Australia’s rapid population growth has become a major threat to the nation’s future; and asks if it’s time Australia had a political party dedicated to reducing and containing growth of its population.

“It is evident that our cities and our environments are not coping with the increasing population. Everywhere you see crowding, the loss of backyards and personal space, traffic jams, and sky-high house prices that make people mortgage slaves,” says Dick Smith.

Dick will speak further on this issue when he launches a second edition version of the book Overloading Australia at Dymocks City Bookstore on Monday 1st February.

Don Grover, Chief Executive Officer of Dymocks, will be joined by Dick Smith and author Mark O’Connor to officially launch the second edition of Overloading Australia.

“Dymocks proudly supports Australian authors and we are pleased to host the book launch of the second edition of Overloading Australia and welcome Dick Smith to our George Street store,” says Don Grover.

NYT Top Israel correspondent may have a son in the Israeli Defense Force. The New York Times refuses to confirm or deny a report that its Jerusalem bureau chief, Ethan Bronner, has a child who is an enlisted member of the Israeli Defense Force–even though such a relationship would pose a serious conflict of interest. What the Times needs to ask itself is whether it expects that its bureau chief has the normal human feelings about matters of life or death concerning one’s child. — Fair

Oscar ads going cheap. The price for a 30-second ad in ABC’s vaunted telecast of the Academy Awards is running between $1.3 million and $1.5 million, according to media buyers, a range that tracks even with last year’s prices even as a newly expanded pool of best-picture nominees might bring broader audiences. Last year’s Oscar telecast cost advertisers around $1.4 million for a 30-second ad, down significantly from 2008, when a 30-second spot commanded as much as $1.82 million. — AdvertisingAge

Fox the only trusted TV news in the US. Americans do not trust the major tv news operations in the country- except for Fox News. Our newest survey looking at perceptions of ABC News, CBS News, CNN, Fox News, and NBC News finds Fox as the only one that more people say they trust than distrust. 49% say they trust it to 37% who do not. — Public Pollicy Polling

Peter Fray

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