On surveillance and terrorism

John Richardson writes: Re. “Crikey says: Western govts the enemy of free speech” (yesterday). Golly Batman, Crikey has discovered that western political leaders are hypocrites, liars, manipulators of freedom and truth and wholly untrustworthy and that they can deceive innocent citizens whilst smiling engagingly but not moving their lips. Quelle horreur! In the wake of this revelation, it must surely be only a matter of time before Crikey realises that the theatre that western liberal democracies have become is owned and run by the very same interests who pull the strings on those same politicians? And so, what then Crikey? How many people in this great, proud, wide brown land down-under really want to change it and of those tiny few, how many know how to? Too late she cried, as the populace clamours to participate in yet another grand self-delusional selfie, rapturously wrapping themselves in the same vainglorious national tea-towel at midday on January 26th to chant “Je suis team Australie”!

Right-wingers making up the numbers on Radio National

Paul Montgomery writes: Re. “On Tom Switzer’s new show” (yesterday). I was amused by Bev Maunsell’s letter to Crikey about Tom Switzer joining the ABC as a regular radio broadcaster — particularly by her postscript: “Amanda Vanstone is boring beyond belief, as are her guests.” I couldn’t agree more. Has anyone actually listened to her stuff on Radio National? Talk about the ultimate in lazy radio; get a few low level regulars —  mostly silver spooned poms — and chat on endlessly about not very much at all. And then do it all again with the next “show”. Presumably Vanstone gets paid for this, but how much? I’d like to know. I reckon she’d spend less than ten minutes preparing for each show. And I guess there is production support team there somewhere too. God knows what they do? And as for the producer, he/ she must spend the day playing ABC politics or finding regular time for golf. I can understand the ABC’s attitude to this “must include more right-wing content” mantra. For them, they probably couldn’t care less about the low quality of this crap because it’s what the conservative pollies want. But really, must we, the ABC audience have to lose valuable air time to these space fillers?

The Oz v The ABC

Barbara McGarity writes: Re. “ABC TV director slams Oz’s ‘error-filled’, ‘pro-Ten’ report” (yesterday). The political and funding attacks by the government on ABC and SBS, supported by The Australian, are trumped up and appalling. If the ABC ratings were as high as those of the commercial networks it would be truly alarming and might mean that the ABC was not being true to its charter. The ABC charter was always intended to have the ABC fill the gaps in supply of documentaries, information and high quality music and drama that are neglected by commercial networks because they might not appeal to the the masses. Intellectual people need services too, and it seems that in the 21st century intellectual activity is still not universal. Ratings can therefore be expected to be lower for the ABC and SBS, even though we don’t see classical music concerts and opera on ABC TV any more. Standards have actually dropped because of the constant government hassling supported by The Australian. There are still many of us who do not want to watch the rubbish and ads that cram the commercial networks, and that is why the ABC and SBS must remain true to their charters and provide services for the large minority of citizens who want them.

Peter Fray

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