Well, there was this:

And who doesn’t like a novelty sponge, right? It’s up there with the famed Women’s Weekly train cake that some of us lusted over as primary school kids.

After all, Senator Nigel Scullion told The NT News, “…the croc wasn’t eating Julia — she was just taking her new pet, Porosus Carbontaxiae, for a walk … I matched her emerald shoes with her lime tunic and got her hair just right. Everybody thought it was very tasteful.”

Yes, there’s nothing at all perturbing about an elected official baking away in his kitchen, cooking up a confectionery concept that involves a crocodile that if not kills, then at the very least, maims the Prime Minister in the process of eating her arm. Sorry, gently nibbling. That, or locking her in a death roll.

Not so sugar sweet. Even if Senator Scullion did do an outstanding job of sculpting  Gillard’s head from marzipan.

Then there was the Alan Jones’ defence. In a rare interview with Mumbrella in aid of shilling for corporate sponsorship one year out of the 2012 London Olympics, Jones was asked about his claims around climate change and the ABC’s Media Watch taking him to task for his comments:

“It’s called the Alan Jones show. Much of my stuff is opinion. I’m a broadcaster. I don’t pretend to be a journalist and I don’t know what that means anyway — they’ve got a certificate or something.

“If those opinions lack validity or if those opinions are extreme or if they are overly provocative, they won’t listen. I’ve stood the test of time.”

That line sound familiar? It’s a handy one. Can be trotted out for anything from defending outlandish claims about climate science, to hey, cash for comment.

Mind you, Jones didn’t mind besmirching the practitioners who do “have a certificate” in the same interview. Asked whether he’d be surprised to see News of the World-style phone hacking happening in Australia, he said:

“No I wouldn’t. I’m afraid I don’t have a very high regard of some. There’s a clamouring for what’s on the front page. I’ve never understood that.”

Clamouring for attention with sensational sentiments and untested assertions? No, never understood that. Now excuse us while we toss JuLiar and Prime Minister Bob Brown in a chaff bag and throw them out to sea.

And then there’s today …

Joe Hildebrand’s press release for The Daily Telegraph, set against the Dick Smith ad that the paper accepted the fee for.

News Limited’s carbon reduction team respond to ad from Dick Smith

News Limited’s carbon reduction team has responded to an ad placed in The Daily Telegraph by millionaire businessman Dick Smith, claiming it has forced up prices. In fact the opposite is true.

Under an ad headed “What this newspaper will never tell you” Mr Smith claims: “Every cost in this newspaper would have been increased because of Rupert Murdoch’s decision to make News Ltd, which owns this newspaper, carbon neutral.”

It claims that readers “are most likely already paying extra”.

In fact, The Daily Telegraph‘s cover price has not changed since the One Degree climate change scheme began in 2007 and News Limited became completely carbon-neutral last year. It was then — and remains — only $1.

But why was Smith running an ad slamming News Ltd’s carbon reduction team in the first place? The story didn’t really make sense, given his stance on the carbon tax in the past.

Until you actually read the ad:

Ah, context. It’s underrated.

We salute these valid contributions to dumbing down and misleading the public and commend them to the public — with extra points to Scullion for simultaneously making politics more stupid and slightly threatening with the wave of a piping bag.

*Each week Sideshow Alley will nominate the latest offerings to the service of dumbing down politics by journalists and/or politicians, and at the end of each month we’ll be asking former finance minister and author of Sideshow Lindsay Tanner to write through his pick of the best/worst example. But we need your help — send your picks to [email protected] with “Sideshow Alley” in the subject line.

Peter Fray

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