Miranda Devine can’t pick ’em. Former Fairfax columnist Miranda Devine has always been a fan of the free market. But last week’s hearings of the NSW Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) suggest some of her more recent Hayekian love notes been horribly off the mark.

The truth has begun to emerge at the hearings about former NSW education department bureaucrat David Johnson, who allegedly recruited staff from a company — of which he was a director and shareholder — as part of a massive $376,000 rort. Johnson, who has admitted to receiving taxpayer cash, worked as a project manager for the NSW Department of Education and Training and is alleged to have exploited his autonomy for financial gain.

Unfortunately for Devine, this is exactly the same Johnson she lionised in May last year as a glowing example of “how private enterprise can solve problems more efficiently than bureaucracies”. “We’re just a small software business trying to make a dollar,” Devine quoted Johnson as saying, without detailing his past. A quick check of her hero’s resume would have revealed troubling inconsistencies. — Andrew Crook

MP memo: don’t bother, News Ltd. A memo to the media — or specifically, News Limited journalists — from retiring Labor MP Steve Gibbons:

Front page of the day. Today’s I commuter newspaper keeps tabs of Gaddafi’s family, who are believed to have fled to Algeria:

The Department of Corrections. So the All Blacks lost 25-20 to the Wallabies in Saturday night’s Tri-Nations decider. Perhaps the New Zealand Herald had an inkling this was to happen? Why else then would it direct its readers on Saturday to the game being at the wrong time in the wrong continent? And what’s with the apology yesterday? Why not mention the result? It’s not like there’s another Rugby World Cup around the corner. Oh wait …

Murdochs back in the dock on phone hacking

“Rupert Murdoch and his son, James, are to be questioned about the phone hacking scandal under oath in the High Court. Lord Justice Leveson, the man who prosecuted Rose West, will hold his inquiry at the Royal Courts of Justice.” — The Telegraph

How The NY Times is taking Twitter reporting faster and deeper

“After 346 tweets and 22,000 followers in three days, @NYTLive has gone dormant — for now. The Times’ new Twitter megaphone for in-depth, real-time curation of big news stories got its first test run this weekend for Hurricane Irene. What did the Times staff learn?” — Poynter

New Zealand Press Association to close

“New Zealand’s national news agency is to close this week, marking the end of a 132-year-old institution that has helped shape the identity of the country. The New Zealand Press Association (NZPA) is a victim of changing technology and media ownership.” — The Guardian

Five things a smartphone can’t replace for a journalist

“A survey released in July found that many consumers are using their smartphones and tablets to replace ‘older’ technology, like alarm clocks, GPS devices, and digital cameras. Newsrooms have also felt this shift, to the point where it seems odd when a reporter comes to a meeting not tapping away on a Blackberry or iPhone.” — 10,000 Words

New economics rewrite book business.

“The economics of the book business are changing so rapidly the industry barely looks like it did just six months ago. The era of the book superstores, with their big windows and welcoming tables stacked high with books, has gone into decline. Many of the country’s most enthusiastic readers have already switched to less-costly digital books. Amazon customers now buy more Kindle titles than hardcovers and paperbacks.” — The Wall Street Journal

Peter Fray

Save 50% on a year of Crikey and The Atlantic.

The US election is in a little over a month. It seems that there’s a ridiculous twist in the story, almost every day.

Luckily for new Crikey subscribers, we’ve teamed up with one of America’s best publications, The Atlantic for the election race. Subscribe now to make sense of it all, and you’ll get a year of Crikey (usually $199) and a year’s digital subscription to The Atlantic (usually $70AUD), BOTH for just $129.

Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey