Apr 8, 2014

Media briefs: Ten on Schapelle … Oz polling … Gillard on GoT …

Julia Gillard has turned her hand to film reviewing... and other media tidbits of the day.

Ten milks Schapelle saga. Channel Ten aired an interesting item last night about Schapelle Corby. The crux of the story was cellphone footage of Corby's former cellmate, fellow Australian convicted drug smuggler Renae Lawrence, saying that Corby had told Lawrence she was guilty of bringing drugs into Bali, and that Corby had admitted she had done the same three times before without getting caught. Lawrence also said Corby "played crazy" in order to be let off earlier. The footage was sold to the network for a "small fee" by a third party, who represented the person who took the video. It's not clear whether Lawrence gave permission for the footage to be used -- Crikey didn't hear back from Ten on that question this morning -- but she did speak to Ten's reporter off-camera to say she stood by what she had said in the video. It's understood the story was shopped around to other networks, which rejected it. Corby's family released a statement last night denying the allegations and saying their airing was "extremely hurtful". In terms of ratings, Ten's Eyewitness News (where the allegations were aired) did lift its ratings to 768,000 viewers last night (last Monday Eyewitness News had 661,000 viewers). It was still half a million viewers behind both Seven and Nine news. -- Myriam Robin The Oz on form on WA. As soon as the Western Australian Senate results became clear, one thought ran through Australian progressives with equal parts trepidation and joy: my god, what will The Australian say? With Abbott down 7%, Labor down 6%, the Greens up 6% ... wow. It's like knowing that the ultimate Collingwood tragic owns a gun and a bottle of gin, and it's 10 minutes before another losing grand final. Cometh the hour, cometh the man. The Oz did not disappoint, with an "exclusive" from the polling company it owns (when will the Oz start claiming TV listings? "Exclusive: free-to-air channels to broadcast a variety of programs, The Australian can reveal ...") to claim -- pre WA vote -- that the Coalition was in its "best position since September 2013". The figures? The Coalition/Labor two-party preferred had flipped within the margin of error to 51-49 Coalition. Better was to come with Nick Cater, the sage of Surry Hills. Cater's book The Lucky Culture argued that "sophisticates" were stifling the voices of good god-fearing, plain-speaking Aussies, etc, etc. Cater's thesis about a silent conservative majority never matched the stats -- Australians are liberal-minded, irreligious, unconservative -- and the WA result tended to prove that, with votes flowing away from Labor, when it was revealed the party's No. 1 candidate was a cranky religious reactionary. How to square that? It was Labor that had let down Joe Bullock -- hence his magnificent 22% primary result! If the party couldn't support a man who effectively told voters not to vote for the Labor Party, well, that was bad news for, um, Labor. You follow? Of course not. Because it's asinine. The sole purpose is to avoid the obvious truth, as noted by your correspondent last week -- that Labor now has within its higher reaches so many right-wingers who would prefer that the Liberals be in government than that the Greens have access to power that it cannot function effectively. Opposition Leader Bill Shorten says he's going to sort it out. He sounds like a bloke with arthritis promising to clean out the garage -- Guy Rundle Julia Gillard on Game of Thrones. This was an inspired piece of commissioning. Over at The Guardian, someone suggested Julia Gillard use her occasional column to review the first episode of the new series of Game of Thrones. While this was as cringe-worthy as you'd expect, it certainly got everyone talking, which, we suppose, was the point. Gillard's made the front page of UK's print edition of The Guardian with her review, which makes us wonder, what political leaders could The Guardian commission to review television next? John Howard on the Gallipoli miniseries airing next year? Kevin Rudd on House of Cards? Or Paul Keating on The West Wing (just kidding -- Keating would never do it ...) -- Myriam Robin Pedant's corner. We can almost excuse the typo in this morning's Australian. Subeditors are busy, there are never enough of them, and things get overlooked ...

We're more concerned about using "less tha[n]" for something that can be counted, when it should be fewer. What's more, the Oz subs know it should be fewer, as evidenced by the first paragraph of the story ...

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12 thoughts on “Media briefs: Ten on Schapelle … Oz polling … Gillard on GoT …

  1. zut alors

    Re the Renae Lawrence revelations: while Network Ten persists in airing this type of low rent reporting it will solidify their lack of credibility in news.

  2. Bill Hilliger

    zut. Low rent reporting works well, as we know there is an increasing market for it in this country. Look at the fux news network another murdork low rent operation it does quite well for the market it is part of. However it looks as if 10 is getting more desperate each day.

  3. TheFamousEccles

    “It’s like knowing that the ultimate Collingwood tragic owns a gun and a bottle of gin, and it’s 10 minutes before another losing grand final.”

    Ha! Beautiful 😀

  4. Gavin Moodie

    Yes, it is orthodox trad grammar to insist that fewer is for number and less for volume, but less for number is now so ubiquitous in current English usage that it should now be accepted as correct.

  5. AR

    Lawrence has admitted making her heroin run to OZ several times so has nothing to lose, having been caught with bricks strapped to her body, by making up stuff. As to why, think of the extra treats from outside Kerobokan that such crap will buy.
    GavinM – you must be choking?

  6. Gavin Moodie

    Peters (2004: 205) notes that less has been used as a determiner of count nouns for thousands of years, while the preference for fewer didn’t emerge until 1770. She notes that the prescription is asymmetrical since more is used for both count and mass nouns. Peters notes many other inconsistencies in the preference for fewer. She concludes:

    ‘The pressure to substitute fewer for less seems to have developed out of all proportion to the ambiguity it may create in noun phrases like less promising results. That aside, it was and is essentially a stylistic choice, between the more formal fewer and the more spontaneous less. Fewer draws attention to itself whereas less shifts the focus onto its more significant neighbours.

    Peters, Pam (2004) The Cambridge guide to English usage.

  7. zut alors

    Gavin Moodie, but isn’t it a treat these days to hear someone speak formal English?

  8. Gavin Moodie

    Yes, zut, I appreciate good English, but I dislike stilted English, abhor pretentious English and reject anachronistic prescriptivism.

  9. AR

    GavM ..and utterly dismissive, contemptuous and/or uncomprehending of precision.

  10. Gavin Moodie

    ‘Precision’ in grammar without any improvement in comprehension wastes everyone’s time.

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