Gautam Adani Carmichael mine
Adani Group chairman Gautam Adani (Image: AAP/Cameron Laird)

Dog bites man Yesterday Adani Australia lashed out at ABC journalist Stephen Long over a story that hadn’t even been published.

“Stephen has often omitted facts provided to him by Adani to create a negative perception of our business,” Adani said via Twitter. A statement then shared responses to questions Long asked about its planned Godda power plant.

Long, a veteran investigative reporter, told Crikey: “It’s pretty outrageous to essentially try to gaslight an organisation and undermine a story by publicly releasing a response before the story has even been published.”

It’s not the first time Adani has attacked Long and his ABC colleagues for doing their job. In 2017, while reporting in Adani’s home state of Gujarat, Long and a Four Corners team were questioned by local police who deleted some of their footage.

Adani has also attempted to use Freedom of Information laws to access documents on the ABC’s reporting on the company, one element of the “attack dog” legal strategy employed by its law firm AJ & Co. Adani’s media team, led by long-term mining industry spinner Kate Campbell, seems to be playing attack dog too.

News Corp word salad News Corp global CEO Robert Thomson has appeared on the Fox News website to outline, in clear, simple terms how his company expects to be paid for its journalism content from tech giants like Facebook and Google.

A general understanding amongst savvy media companies that some of our credulous colleagues have in the past been digital dilettantes. And this confluence of consciousness, actually, as you say, one would not have happened without Rupert, or Lachlan, frankly, and the astute activism of a feisty few at News Corp over more than a decade — because we’ve been contending with literally battalions of lawyers and legions of lobbyists dragooned by big digital … And there are as well the mindless myrmidons in the pay of Silicon Valley who are themselves exasperated that justice is a little closer to being done, i.e. content being paid for. And that the solipsistic sophistry of the past has been revealed as more vacuous than virtuous.

Thomson had a long and distinguished career reporting for publications like The Sydney Morning Herald and Financial Times. We can’t find any record of his use of “confluence of consciousness” or “mindless myrmidons” in his journalism.

The anti-vax goldmine The anti-vax movement is growing and Silicon Valley is profiting off it, a new report from the Centre for Countering Digital Hate says. Anti-vaxxer social media accounts collectively have 58 million followers, a net increase of nearly 20% since 2019.

Despite promises from people like Mark Zuckerberg to curb online disinformation, tech companies are both enabling and monetising the trend. Facebook has refused to remove anti-vax pages, YouTube and Twitter allow targeted ads for anti-vaxxers. Big Tech reportedly makes $1 billion in advertising and other revenue from anti-vaxxers.

All this could have disastrous public health consequences — 31% of British and 41% of American respondents to the Centre’s survey won’t get a COVID-19 vaccine.

UTS Academic gets reprieve The University of Technology Sydney has lost an appeal over a Fair Work Commission ruling that it unfairly dismissed an academic for not publish enough.

Lucy Zhao, a business school lecturer was sacked by UTS last year for not getting published in top academic journals. Zhao won reinstatement in March, after the FWC upheld her unfair dismissal claim.

UTS appealed, arguing the tribunal made errors and took into consideration irrelevant considerations, including observations about academia’s “ruthless” obsession with research output.

The full bench found these observations were “inconsequential musings” which did not influence its final decision.

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
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