CLARIFICATION: Yesterday, in the story “We’re not selling to Fairfax: Kohler” (yesterday, Item 16), we included a theoretical revenue figure for Eureka Report and Business Spectator of $4.5 million. We have since been told that figure is closer to $10 million.

Rundle on the Assange trial:

Louise Bettison writes: Re. “Rundle: sneaking past security with Bianca and the Wikikids” (yesterday, item 1). Guy Rundle is usually great, but this is ridiculous: “… largely consisted of answering the question “are you a member of the press” with the word “no”. Obvious you may think, but it defeated other excluded journos trying to get in…”

Yes, because that lie contravenes the journalism code of ethics — in Australia, at least:

1) Report and interpret honestly…

8) Use fair, responsible and honest means to obtain material. Identify yourself and your employer before obtaining any interview for publication or broadcast. Never exploit a person’s vulnerability or ignorance of media practice.

Brian Mitchell writes: Loved it. Every word of it. Guy Rundle could transform stodgy courtroom reporting single-handedly. Bianca Jagger…rrrowwrr!

Gillard:

Denise Marcos writes: Re. “Richard Farmer’s chunky bits” (yesterday, item 12). Another revelation from ABC’s Four Corners is that Julia Gillard has not changed her accent, contrary to what some of her more imaginative critics claim. In the dated footage of her addressing fellow union students at Adelaide University her accent matched today’s.

Gillard’s delivery has since altered (i.e.: become drawn-out, repetitive, tiresome) but her vowels and general pronunciation have remained constant. Proof she did not contrive the Kath and Kim effect, it was ever natural.

Cambodia:

Benjamin Lee writes: Re. “Tips and rumours” (yesterday, item 6). I must say I was deeply put off by your source’s remarks with respect to Cambodians. He or she refers to Cambodians as “apathetic and cowed people” and “people who are as apathetic as they are lazy”.

While I agree that Hun Sen’s regime is as odious as any of its neighbours, I do not think it is justifiable to blame its continued authority on the alleged deficiencies of the people whom it rules. Perhaps your source is correct in stating that ordinary Cambodians have been beaten into submission through years of war followed by decades of oppression and poverty, but he or she almost seems to revel in this fact, like the poor proletariat fools deserve it.

These comments smack of the same casual racism indulged in by the hosts of Top Gear, recently castigated for their on-air use of stereotypes of “lazy Mexicans”. These insults may not be directed at ethnic groups with a great deal of power in our society or Britain’s, but their makers should be called out and opposed as vehemently as if they had made racist remarks against Jewish or Arab people. I understand that this “tip” might have been newsworthy enough for you to print, but I am disappointed at the nonchalant bigotry of it.

While we celebrate and admire those, such as the Egyptians and Tunisians, who have the courage to stand up to their oppressors, let us not denigrate those who do not have such strength.

Australian geography:

Shaun Cronin writes: Re. “Sub-hub hubbub as staff braces for mind-numbing NewsCentral” (yesterday, item 17). I noticed that Andrew Cook in his article on News Ltd bemoans the fate of sub editors from the Central Coast Advocate now forced to travel “hundreds of kilometers” to the dark “heart of the Sydney CBD.

The distance is actually about 65 kilometers. And while I am not sure where Mr Cook lives, up here on the Central Coast we have a method of transportation called trains that, most of the time, take you directly into the heart of the CBD.

While I sympathise with the plight of Central Coast News Ltd staff, they would not be the first to make the 1 hour 20 minute journey from Gosford to the CBD on a daily basis.

News…

Justin Templer writes: My daughter has a brilliant expression — “that just made me throw up a little bit in my mouth”. In today’s news these are a few items in that category:

  • A national road safety report proposes banning the use of hands-free mobile phones in cars
  • The same report recommends reducing the alcohol limit to 0.02 or even zero for drivers under 26
  • Crikey correspondents get in a lather because irresponsible cricketers promote KFC.

What a pathetic whining bunch are we, our beige society needing every little societal blemish to be smoothed out with a legislatory bludgeon. We have reached the point where it would be dangerous for any social commentator to venture the concept of personal responsibility.

Q&A and climate change:

Brendan Donohoe writes: In the effort to achieve “balance” the ABC has thrown out the baby with the bathwater. This week’s Q&A was a travesty.

We endured the spectacle of Gerard Henderson — apologist for and beneficiary of  the mining lobby — denying climate change and never brought to account.

Richo blathered on about pensioner’s heating that could be easily be supplied by alternative energy. Again he wasn’t challenged on this.

Ms Deveny, waaaay out of her depth, and bullied by Hendo on Christian bashing, was reduced to enacting a flaccid flirt piece with the “Deputy Dawg”.

Amanda Vanstone … er … couldn’t concentrate but I recollect some pro-forma smoke-up-John Howard’s-arse-action and, by default, the shambolic David Williamson almost made sense.

The report in today’s Crikey from Prof. Garnault that Australia is the world’s laggard on climate change couldn’t be more timely. We are laggards in terms of domestic co2 output.We are international vandals when one takes into account co2 we are profiting from in coal exports!

As far as I can see, Mark Scott has reduced the ABC to a hapless polar bear.

I recall that the polar bear’s baby died in her epic and tragic swim to find solid ground. So too is the future of the nation’s broadcaster doomed to sink and flounder in a sea of irrelevancy while Scott is at the helm.

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
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