Jan 29, 2014

Media briefs: Planet Janet speaks … People axed … dancing cop …

Neocon Janet Albrechtsen has helpfully drafted President Barack Obama's state of the union speech for him -- by telling him to do exactly what he's doing. Plus other media tidbits.

Janet knows best. There is no op-ed style more risky than the drafted speech, wherein the hack advises the great and good what to say to calm the ravening masses. It tends to work when the purported speech-giver is so addled that almost anything would be better than what he or she is doing -- i.e. it almost always works for the ALP -- and the greater the distance between supplier and recipient, the more mawkish it seems. Witness Planet Janet Albrechtsen's words of advice to President Barack Obama. Planet suggests that Obama should stay out of the Syrian civil war and let the Arabs sort their own problems out, rather than pursuing his current strategy of staying out of the Syrian civil war and letting the Arabs sort their own problems out.

Janet Albrechtsen

For sheer Australian Idol levels of cringe, you can't go past a neocon hawk giving handy hints to someone who has steered the country clear of an Iraq-style disaster by ignoring everything the neocons thought and did. Add in an asinine misunderstanding of the conflict (Sunni-Shia rivalries ancient as the moon rising over the camel-trodden dunes sort of thing) and you have the perfect know-nothing op-ed. The purpose is, as always, a retrospective justification of the disaster of Iraq. Planet paints it as a triumph and a liberation and rolls Afghanistan and Libya in with it. That's a different strategy to the usual hard-Right take on Libya -- for a while the Bolter and others were singing from the same hymn sheet as John Pilger and others as to how the toppling of Gaddafi had revived anti-black racism in the country. But of course, Libya is not like Iraq. Why? Because in Libya's case, the US President supported a revolution that was underway, with a judicious use of force, and minimal post-war involvement (whatever skullduggery is no doubt going on behind the scenes). The result? No US casualties, and fewer than 300 civilian casualties. Libya today is no picnic, but it's getting along a lot better than Iraq -- where everyday life is still lethal and the government is torturing and detaining without trial. It is also better than Syria, and it is worth considering -- though I'm not a fan of consequentialist arguments -- that Libya would be more like Syria today were it not for the judicious assistance supplied by the US to win the struggle decisively and relatively rapidly. Cautious, judicious, minimal ... what does that sound like? Ah yes, Edmund Burke. What the neocons really really can't stand is that the man they championed, George W. Bush, was an inept know-nothing, gulled by a radical agenda of US imperial dominance and nation-building, supplied by a gang of militarist liberals, ex-Trotskyites, ultra-Zionists and anti-democratic Straussians. Since Planet and the rest of her crew were willingly gulled as well, they must work hard at rewriting history. The logical ad absurdum of this process is to instruct the President to do what he's already doing and pretend that it's in continuity with what they were doing, which is precisely what he's rejected. They lack the key ability of their leader, John Howard -- his awe-inspiring ability to wrap himself in total self-delusion when required. None of them can face the fact that the conservative president they wanted appeared -- and it was Barack Obama (a designation that includes his amoral, appalling drone war -- another no-US-casualty operation that relieves him of any significant domestic opposition). Hence the helpful letters. If you really want an extra, David Brent level of squirm read the coy kickoff (and weird, too -- "direct physical contact"?) to the piece:
"MEMO to US ambassador to Australia John Berry. When next in direct physical contact with President Barack Obama, please slip this speech into his hand ... Mr Ambassador, your President, a gifted orator, has said this is a 'year of action'. With depressingly low approval ratings, what has he got to lose by delivering this speech ..."
Gifted orator ... ah, but the boy sure can sing! They can't help themselves, can they? Thanks for the advice -- Guy Rundle Sunday People website killed two months in. The great digital adventure planned by the Trinity Mirror media group (The Daily Mirror and others) for its Sunday People title has been killed off -- only two months after the website started. The Guardian reported:
 "Sue Douglas, hired seven months ago to take charge of Trinity Mirror's Sunday People, is leaving the company, and the website she launched in November is being scrapped. Trinity Mirror is closing with 'immediate effect' and Douglas and her team of four will leave the company at the end of January."
The website started on November 5, and although the reports didn't provide any detail on traffic levels, they did say the site didn't hit the forecast audience numbers. was a late entrant into an already super-crowded field dominated by the Mail online website (which is dropping the and just going .com to try to build up US traffic), with The Guardian's website, the BBC and other sites dominating online news reporting. -- Glenn Dyer Video of the day. Who says cops can't have fun on the job? One police officer busted out some excellent dance moves at the Big Day Out gig on Australia Day. Festival-goers had a great time boogieing with the fuzz, and Victoria Police has backed her moves, all in  the name of "engaging with the community" ... 

Free Trial

You've hit members-only content.

Sign up for a FREE 21-day trial to keep reading and get the best of Crikey straight to your inbox

By starting a free trial, you agree to accept Crikey’s terms and conditions


Leave a comment

13 thoughts on “Media briefs: Planet Janet speaks … People axed … dancing cop …

  1. klewso

    Planet Janet’s out of her tree, because Obama chose not to screw up a war like the Bush-Blair-Howard-Murdoch(PR) “Coalition of the Shilling” did Iraq?
    And thinks she can tell elected leaders what to do just because Rupert does?

  2. extra

    The good thing about telling someone to do what they are already doing is that a couple of opinion pieces down the line, you can claim credit for persuading them to do it.

    Startrek fans will be familiar with the Ferengi Rules of Acquisition. I suspect that Murdoch journos have a similar set of guidelines, that include something like ‘advise a powerful figure to do what they are already doing- then claim credit’ Two articles for negligible effort!!

  3. John Crowe

    Janet German-Name makes me want to empty the contents of my stomach. The arrogance and presumption of the troglodyte is amazing. JC

  4. Richard

    oh planet, you laughable lightweight hack.

  5. Dogs breakfast

    Being otherwise busy with family and a job that doesn’t allow time to read Janet and other neocons, it’s a boon to have someone as erudite and incisive as GR to nail them.

    Their hypocrisy knows no bounds. For some reason the phrase ‘the banality of evil’ is popping into my head.

  6. Electric Lardyland

    Yes, the strange fantasy world of the rightard opinionista. It seems that by ignoring all the comprehensive evidence, that the invasion of Iraq was one of the great foreign policy disasters of all time, it seems that ten years of almost constant bloodshed, can be converted to a shining light on the hill, for every one of the vaguely Middle Eastern rebellions that meets their approval. Strangely, not the rebellions that supply leadership that’s a bit too Islamic, nor the ones that end up with a military coup, or the ones that involve years of increasingly grim, anarchic violence; but, you know, the nice ones that comfortably support the rightard view of the world.
    Of course, just how the bloody chaos of recent Iraqi history, acts as an inspiration to anyone, is never actually explained.
    Oh well, perhaps we can all chip in and send Janet on a nice expenses paid holiday to Baghdad. A year or two might even start to make a dent on the psyche.

  7. AR

    LeccyLardy – I’ll contribute to Planet’s ticket to the ME (anywhere is OK) as long as it is a ONE WAY ticket.

  8. Electric Lardyland

    Hmmm, maybe we should start our own charity; on behalf of the millions of Australians, who for years have suffered the views of Albrechtsen, Bolt, Jones, Akerman, etc, etc, etc.
    Ozscram? Planet Reality? Scare Australia? Chroniqueuers Sans Passeport?

  9. DiddyWrote

    You are all so cruel to the delightful Janet. She isn’t just an opinionated blowhard she is an actual investigative journalist.
    I have always loved when she returns from one of her numerous overseas trips. She is able to explain the political and social concerns in these countries by use of her rigorous investigative technique, which consists of talking to the taxi driver on her journey from the airport to her hotel.
    Its quite amazing what she learns.

  10. klewso

    “Flossy” Albrechtsen?

Share this article with a friend

Just fill out the fields below and we'll send your friend a link to this article along with a message from you.

Your details

Your friend's details