Clarification:

BBC Worldwide has pointed out that while it sold its magazine business in the UK during the last year, this has not meant the end of its joint partnership with ACP magazines in Australia, which continues, not ended as reported in Crikey (media briefs, July 20). In the press released at the time of the sale it stated that “sale excludes the BBC Worldwide joint venture with ACP Publishing in Australia, Park Publishing.”

ABC election coverage:

Peter Smith writes: Re: “ABC to unleash citizen’s agenda at 2013 election” (Friday, item 3). While “The public is entitled to know what is actually happening on the ground each day”, this is only what the politicians want us to see and hear.

What the electorate wants to know is what they are really going to get for their vote. This requires analysis of what is said and what is not said; how past performance has differed from expectations; what pressures a new government are likely to be subjected to and how they are likely to respond.

What the ABC, Crikey and the rest of the media need to keep in mind is that they are not merely reporting to an audience of spectators who need entertaining; they are communicating to the voters, who need accurate and trustworthy information to perform the central function in this process — voting to select a new government.

This requires a totally different mindset from reporting sporting dramas and court cases. Let us hope there are minds in the system capable of being reset.

NDIS debate:

Martin Gordon writes: Re. “Ineffectual COAG grinds to a full stop with partisanship” (July 26, item 2). With the National Disability Insurance Scheme something has gone seriously wrong. The Productivity Commission, all the disability organisations that matter, plus all the state and territory governments all support a levy to fund this scheme. Yet Gillard’s political antennae seems to be completely disconnected as she alone seems to oppose such a levy, and then has gone on this partisan frolic where she is talking purely about pilot schemes.

Queensland Premier Campbell Newman supports the levy, and if you want to seriously pursue the NDIS you need revenue and you need years to build it up. Tony Abbott is supportive of the NDIS and Gillard rejected his support. If Gillard believes there are votes in disability, she seems to be mis-stepping all the way, alienating supporters, and approaching it from the wrong direction.

There is a serious chance that the NDIS could become a great opportunity for Abbott, because his predecessor was not a leader but a dunderhead in dissipating the widespread support for reform.

Angela Rubin writes: I would like to see greater scrutiny of Abbott’s policies. Much of what his ministers are suggesting has not been profiled or indeed examined by popular media. Where does he stand on teaching ethics or religion in schools. What’s his positions on Gonski? Parental leave? Pensioners? What his position on RU 486?

Coming from Queensland, I well remember Newman telling the public that there was nothing to fear of a LNP victory, now many thousands have lost their jobs. And where are the local press when it comes to holding him to task?

Olympic reporting:

Keith Thomas writes: We now face two weeks of lazy reporters demonstrating their ignorance of elite sports performance by asking competitors their stock question “How did you feel when ….?”

Crikey gets carried away:

Kim Lockwood, Editing Services Australia Pty Ltd, writes: While Crikey‘s commentary team usually provides food for thought, the attempt by some to appear “literary” often makes for eye-rolling reading.

Bernard Keane’s FOI piece “Govt’s enthusiastic Assange redactions appear unjustified” (Friday, item 1) is an example. He uses “redact” (“redaction” etc) no fewer than eight times. Whatever happened to “edit”? What’s wrong with “revise”?

We have recently been given “swingeing” (try “forcible”, “strong” or even “large”) and “ukase” (“order” or “proclamation”).

Mark Twain famously said he never wrote “metropolis” when “city” would do. And Fowler (and his predecessors and successors) admonished writers to use short, simple words that ordinary readers could understand.

Should I hold my breath waiting for the redaction of a swingeing ukase from Crikey?

Peter Fray

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