Friday, May 30, 2014

The Orstrahyun: Double The Readership Of Murdoch's Telegraph

Based on figures from this Murdoch media puff piece on its 'success', The Orstrahyun recently had a bigger readership than one of the most popular Murdoch Sunday newspapers, The Sunday Telegraph:
 “Our Sunday metro papers (all Sunday papers combined) are read by 4.7 million people each Sunday,” Mr Tonagh said.
‘‘To put that in perspective, last month’s finale of My Kitchen Rules attracted 2.3 million metro viewers. The Block got 2.2 million.

‘‘Last season’s AFL grand final averaged 2.7 million.”

Oztam figures reveal this was well in excess of the average audience for television evening news bulletins on Sunday night in Sydney — with Nine News pulling the top audience of 386,030.
The Sunday Telegraph’s ­average weekly audience was 1.316 million in the 12 months to March.

1.3 million readers for The Sunday Telegraph? Big deal, The Orstrahyun clocked up a readership of more than 2 million people, and that was in less than one week:

And that was back in mid-April. By late April, The Orstrahyun readership for that AC/DC story had reached 2.5 million, it's now closing in on 3 million. And these figures aren't from a few hundred thousand readers returning multiple times to comment, or read comments, or reactions to their comments. These were nearly all unique hits, or views.

This means The Orstrahyun completely flogged Murdoch media's 'most popular Australian blogger' Andrew Bolt for readership:

And I won't even go into the stupidity of the Murdoch media big-noting itself by claiming it has more readers worldwide (and every Murdoch news site is available worlwide, and its stories are archived by Google, so they come up in Google subject and name searches) in one month than a state-based TV show has on a given night.

 Look at this NewsCorp graphic about the hilarious Telegraph's readership:

It all seems incredibly desperate. Which makes you wonder why they'd be so deceptive about their readership if it was as big as they claim.

What the Murdoch media fluffing stories (and there's been more than two dozen across its Australian websites in the past week, some even paywalled as 'premium content') don't tell you about their claimed readership is this - the total weekly audience they claim for websites like the Daily Telegraph, for example, is based on how many Telegraph online pages are viewed in a given period.

It's not how many people actually go to the website to read it specifically everyday, but how many clicks/views all the Telegraph online web pages get in a given period. This total includes all the links shared on Facebook and Twitter and other social media, all the clicks they get because some old celebrity story still on the website turns up in Google searches, and Google Image searches, and all the clicks they get from other Murdoch media websites linking to old stories housed at the Sunday Telegraph homepage because a celebrity previously covered, or 'More Here' links.

If from all that, Murdoch's NewsCorp can claim a readership of 1.3 million for one publication based on alleged weekly averages, why can't The Orstrahyun claim it has a readership of 2.5 million?

Can, and will.

The Orstrahyun - Readership: 2.5 million.

OK, The Orstrahyun clearly doesn't always get that level of readership action, but that's hardly the point when it comes to fudging readership numbers for big-noting purposes. And the Murdoch media are Yodas when it comes to doing that.

From out of the blue, an online story can attract attention and go completely viral, and that's what happened to this AC/DC story. It got picked up by international media, music sites, new sites, was linked to, and circulated heavily on Facebook, all over the world. It went completely ballistic.

Of course The Orstrahyun doesn't get a million or two online readers a day, but neither do any of Murdoch's news sites. They have huge spikes in traffic, like The Orstrahyun did, and then they use the total numbers (spikes and more mundane daily readership) to average out weekly traffic numbers that look far more impressive than they actually are. Online readership numbers for nearly all news sites, not just the Murdoch ones, are completely elastic.

In case you were wondering, an actual average day at The Orstrahyun draws a few thousand readers (without comment action) and a chunk of those hits is people finding archive stories through Google searches, just like the online Murdoch media gets a fat chunk of traffic from old stories. That's why Rupert Murdoch never lived up to his threat to stop Google from archiving and adding Murdoch media stories to search results. It would have been a huge, unhideable loss of daily web traffic.

Thanks to regular readers for sticking with The Orstrahyun over the past seven years. And hello to all the via Google tourists. We miss you already.

From The Orstrahyun's Archive...

Stop The Hysteria, Demands Hysterical Daily Telegraph

Daily Telegraph Exploits War Heroes To Demonise The Disabled

Daily Telegraph: Anyone Opposed To Abbott Is A Revolting Feral 

Peak Rudd - Daily Telegraph Couldn't Fit Anymore 'Get Rudd' Stories On Front Page 

Daily Telegraph 'Staff Writers' Demand Destruction Of Greens, Yet Again

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Andrew Bolt Abandoned: Abbott Government Has Bigger Things To Worry About

Andrew Bolt in happier days

By Darryl Mason

Rupert Murdoch's local dickhead-in-chief, Andrew Bolt, has used his blog and the opinion pages of numerous Murdoch papers to argue, since September 2011, that he should be free to declare some Aboriginals are white and are only pretending to be black, even when his facts are wrong. He thinks he should be free to smear and attack and publicly humiliate anyone he wants, even when he doesn't know what he's talking about. And they should suck up the bile unleashed on them by his attacks.

Andrew Bolt was convicted in September 2011 for contravening Section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act. He was found guilty after he claimed Aboriginals were trying to get professional advantage by identifying as Aboriginal.

This is one of the newspaper articles that saw 9 Aboriginals take Andrew Bolt to court, and score a win:

Claiming these people were faking being of Aboriginal descent, to gain "advantages" was a grotesque claim to make, and Bolt made it more than than once, causing immense hurt and harm, for no good reason, to the people he 'named and shamed' in his newspaper columns and blog posts. Comments he allowed about these Aboriginal underneath his blog were often even worse, rantings of hatred and malice, absolutely despicable stuff.

In his verdict, Justice Mordecai Bromberg said: "fair-skinned Aboriginal people were reasonably likely, in all the circumstances, to have been offended, insulted, humiliated or intimidated by the imputations conveyed in the newspaper articles." The conviction led to this ridiculous Herald Sun front page which portrayed Andrew Bolt as the victim of people he had purposely vilified.

Almost immediately upon winning the 2013 election, the Abbott government announced it was seeking to change the law Andrew Bolt was convicted under.

Practically the first order of business for new Governor General George Brandis was to announce the Abbott government were hoping to abolish the law that saw Andrew Bolt convicted. He named Andrew Bolt's 'freedom of speech' in Parliament as one of the key reasons why 18c had to be altered, and grabbed international headlines when he declared, "Everyone has the right to be a big, you know."

But that was when the Abbott government weren't losing popularity and support by the day. And that was before protests against the law changes erupted, and members of Australia's Muslim, Jewish, Christian, Hindu and Aboriginal communities united to voice their opposition, and demand the Attorney General guarantee they will have some protection from empowered racists and bigots.

In short, the public responded:
Attorney-General George Brandis is preparing to water down a controversial plan to scrap sections of the Racial Discrimination Act that restrict racist insults and hate speech after an avalanche of submissions flagged concerns over the changes.

And two Liberal MPs who had supported scrapping section 18C of the act have spoken out, admitting the government needs to rethink its proposed changes.

Several MPs confirmed that, as one put it, ''there hasn't been a word whispered about it'' in recent weeks, while several speculated the law changes could be ''parked'' for months to come and as the government grapples with a fierce budget backlash and a big drop in popular support.

Fairfax Media has learnt that Senator Brandis is working on a further winding back of the proposed law changes, amid a ferocious grassroots community campaign that Labor MPs have quickly tapped into.

The move comes after the Attorney-General was forced by the cabinet in March to soften his original plans amid a welter of protest from Coalition MPs in marginal electorates, some of whom represent large ethnic communities.

Attorney General George Brandis was swamped by more than 5300 submissions to his draft paper on the 18c changes, nearly all of them opposed to making it easier for people like Andrew Bolt to attack and vilify and smear them because of their race.

There is also the fact that indigenous MP Ken Wyatt made it very clear indeed he would cross the floor of Parliament to vote with the Opposition and Greens against the changes to 'Bolt's Law', as it has come to be known.

The Abbott government have a lot more to worry about right now than taking care of Bolt, a friend of PM Abbott, and one of the government's most ardent supporters in the media.

Expect Bolt to fly into a poopsy rage at this news. And write another 20 blog posts and newspaper columns about himself and how mean everybody is being to him for not doing what he demands.

From The Orstrahyun archive:

Andrew Bolt: I Don't Know How Twitter Works, But It's Freedom Scares Me

Andrew Bolt's Reality Meltdown Over Fukushima

Andrew Bolt: My Readers Are A Pack Of Homophobic Arseholes

Will Bolt Boycott His Own Paper Over Global Warming Hypocrisy?

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Stop The Hysteria, Demands Hysterical Murdoch Media

By Darryl Mason

Across Rupert Murdoch's Australian newspaper and online news empire, panic is taking hold.

After campaigning so hard, so furiously, so absurdly for the Abbott government to win last September's election - to the point where even Liberal voters were saying, "I've had enough of this biased crap" - many of Murdoch's political commentators are now desperately trying to stem the terminal decline of the Abbott government in order to salvage what's left of their own reputations.

There's so many examples to choose from....

First, a quick refresher. After shredding prime ministers Julia Gillard and Kevin Rudd for almost 30 straight months on every mistake, misstep and triviality they could find,  or invent, most of Murdoch's newspapers ran front pages like the one below just before polling day:

Considering this front page was also a poster on display outside of hundreds of newspapers, it was more like Liberal Party bunting.

Now, as PM Abbott racks up popularity poll numbers below that of Toronto's crack smoking mayor, Rob Ford (this is actually true), Murdoch political commentators are screeching foul because other journalists are exposing all manner of apparently dodgy dealings and 'thanks for your support' favours and questionable fundraising adventures from the Liberal Party.

And Abbott critics and non-Murdoch media also have the damn hide to republish the endless quotes of Tony Abbott proclaiming variations of 'No New Taxes' and 'No Cuts To Pensions' and every other grinning lie he told to help get himself over the line, and win just that little bit of extra support he needed in a handful of electorates to become prime minister.

How dare they! How bloody dare they hold him to account.

And Murdoch columnists, or Liberal Party support team members, or whatever they're called now days, are plenty outraged that anyone would even think to ask if Tony Abbott's daughters might have somehow benefited from their father's Murdoch media-sponsored rise to The Lodge.

'Don't bring my family into politics,' Tony Abbott responded to claims one daughter may have scored a choice $60,000 design study scholarship, and job, thanks to a key supporter, and friendly donor, of the prime minister.

Do not bring Tony's family into politics.

Only he may he do that. As we saw for countless days during the 2013 election campaign when his daughters became almost permanent fixtures by his side.

All this being held to account stuff, and being asked the tough questions, and trivia-based mockery, has gone too far. Not to mention the Budget 2014 disaster. No, really, don't mention it. A budget bonanza of cruelty and misery so extreme that even Clive Palmer's suggestion to junk the whole thing and start again is looking like a smart move.

All in all, Sunday 'Australia Needs Tony' Telegraph political columnist Samantha Maiden has had just about enough, thank you very much:

image via @NewsAustralia
Let's take a closer look at that 'story':
“The question is, is everyone contributing equally,” Emma Alberici kept asking on ABC Lateline Friday night.

Who says that’s the question?

The budget is not meant to be a utopian wealth redistribution program.
Well, certainly not a conservative party budget anyway.
“Poorest families pay most in budget,” screamed the headlines. “How the budget pain is unfairly shared.” “Abbott budget to make Australia more unequal.”

Never mind how fatuous the idea of a budget of “equality” when the aim is to rescue the economy from a death spiral which includes $1billion a month in interest payments.
A 'Budget Of Equality'. Where the hell did Australians get that stupid idea? Time to come clean:
Admittedly, the equality meme was fuelled by the government’s own claim that its deficit reduction levy on high income earners was an “equity” measure, to “share the pain”.
So it was the Abbott government's fault. Abbott and Hockey talked about equality and equity and sharing the pain. They did it.
It was a threadbare argument, and opened a savage line of attack
OK, so the Abbott government is to blame for Australians thinking the budget would be about equality and 'sharing the pain', plus they're also responsible for 'opening the savage line of attack' they're now drowning in and which Maiden is so outraged by.

What these Murdoch columnists are bleating, in short, is:
And we all know that isn't going to happen.

The Murdoch media made its mission to obliterate any remaining respect the general public might have bad for the office of prime minister when Gillard and Rudd were taking turns as PM, and they set the new rules for just how petty and absurd and ridiculous media attacks on a prime minister could be. Just how low they could sink.

Like raising holy hell because Julia Gillard was photographed knitting, for a feature in a women's magazine. That hysteria-tinged knitting coverage in the Murdoch media lasted for days.

Now they want everyone to lay off.

They want the rest of the media to turn down the heat on Abbott and Hockey and their miserable budget.

It's not going to happen.

They know it's not going to happen.

So they'll just whine and plead, presumably, for what remains of Abbott's time as prime minister (gone by August, 2014 perhaps?), and haughtily demand everyone else stop stooping to the levels they did. On a daily basis. For years.

There's a lot of pressure on Murdoch's Sydney Daily Telegraph and Sunday Telegraph these days, let alone the rest of the shuddering empire. Advertisers are jumping ship, and they've been forced to plug all-too-obvious ad gaps in the newspapers with double page spreads advertising their own online news subscription offerings. Not just here and there, almost every single day.

The fact is, many Murdoch columnists, besides the obvious ones like Andrew Bolt, have trashed their reputations barracking openly for Abbott for the past two years. And now they're paying the price. And their newspapers are paying the price, literally. Sales of the Daily Telegraph have plunged by some 60,000 copies a day since they became Abbott's support team.

And now their hero is going down in flames.

This Newspoll box sits on the front page of The Australian's website like a flaming bag of turds.

And tweets like this shocker, showing Labor's Bill Shorten leading Abbott as preferred prime minister....

....are distributed heavily across Twitter and Facebook and other social media. Even people who voted Liberal at the 2013 election share this info with their friends as they rail furiously in Facebook updates against Abbott, laugh bitterly over #MorePopularThanAbbott memes and tweets and sigh, bitterly, about how betrayed by the budget they now feel. The vast majority of Australians clearly feel betrayed:
The Murdoch media can't hide this stuff, they can't write it off as "polling trivia" or make it go away anymore.

It simply won't go away.

They are not "in control of the narrative" anymore.

Facebook and Twitter is. And these forums can't be controlled. Or tamed.
Hard times.

I'll leave it at that for now, but I just want to include two more images that billboard just how quickly the Abbott government has self-immolated.

First the 'We Won!' front page from Murdoch's Courier Mail front page after Election Day, Sept 2013.

And this image from today's Murdoch Adelaide Advertiser:

The political Circus Isn't Over after all, it would seem, there's just a bunch of different clowns in control of the careening clown car. For a short while anyway.

Talk of who could replace Tony Abbott as leader of the Liberal Party, and prime minister of Australia, has already begun to filter through the Australian media. Only eight months into his prime ministership. It's hard to think of another prime minister who has fallen so fast and so hard.

Does anyone really believe Tony Abbott will still be prime minister when Federal Election 2016 hurls into view?
Didn't think so.


Recently on The Orstrahyun...

Murdoch's Tabloids Exploit Our War Heroes To Demonise The Disabled

Student Protests Erupt: 3 Police Needed To Haul Away One Schoolgirl Protester

 Barnaby Joyce: Tony Abbott Is Like Kennedy, Churchill

Friday, May 23, 2014

Barnaby Joyce: Abbott Is Like Churchill, Kennedy

Nationals comedy relief Barnaby Joyce has claimed prime minister Tony Abbott is a lot like Winston Churchill and John F Kennedy. Sorry if that made you spit coffee all over your screen.

The Australian Financial Review treats this claim by Joyce with the respect it deserves, by running the Winky Abbott pic on the story:

From the Australian Financial Review:
"I'm not going to get too grandiose about the budgetary situation, but if you look back through history to the people we admire, they're not the ones who were initially popular but the ones who foresaw a problem and dealt with it," Mr Joyce said.

"You look at the Churchills or if you look at the Kennedys, you look at the people ... as people of great worth.

"They're the people who made hard decisions ... not the people who sort of oscillated and sort of rolled around in the paddock like political tumbleweed."
A 'political tumbleweed'. He's probably going to regret putting that image in peoples' minds when they think of Tony Abbott.

'Abbott like Kennedy' is almost as absurd as the time Andrew Bolt declared Peter Costello was "the people's Messiah".


Meanwhile, Abbott has demanded Liberal Party MPs get out there and do a better job of selling the most hated Budget in four decades. Good luck with that:
Prime Minister Tony Abbott has called on his coalition colleagues to step up their defence of the budget.

The government has faced public demonstrations, angry talkback callers and a drop in opinion poll support since the release of its first budget last week.
Coalition MPs have also publicly and privately expressed concerns about aspects of it.

"It is the job of every coalition member and senator to level with the Australian people and listen to them," Mr Abbott told reporters in Sydney on Friday.
Rumours abound that Treasurer Joe Hockey hates his own budget, and that many of the harsher financial attacks on pensioners, the elderly, the disabled and the unemployed were 'forced on him.' Well, of course he would want people to think that. He still believes he could be Liberal Party leader, or even prime minister, one day.

But it is interesting that most Australians, and the media in general, seem to refer to Budget 2014, as 'Abbott's Budget' not 'Hockey's Budget'.

Hockey is no doubt very happy that is the case.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Murdoch's Daily Telegraph Exploits War Heroes To Demonise Disabled

By Darryl Mason

So desperate is Rupert Murdoch's Daily Telegraph to distract from the chaos and madness of their beloved Abbott prime ministership, they're now willing to insult thousands of disability support pensioners, and use injured war veterans to do so.

The tactic is old, cliched and dangerous in the extreme: try to turn public anger on the poor and helpless so they have less energy to rage against a government that's already plummeting in the polls.

Here's the disgusting front page of Rupert Murdoch's Daily Telegraph today:

It should be noted that the WW2 image on the right is copyrighted by the Australian War Memorial, so it can't be used in political campaigns or advertising. A more gruesomely foul commercial use of this image (to sell papers) has never been seen in Australia. The image on the left of people queuing is a stock image, and it's of able-bodied Americans, not 'disabled slackers'. The inherent deceit is jaw-dropping.

Incredibly, this 'More Disabled Pensioners Than Veterans Injured In War' bullshit isn't a new story. It's completely recycled from this Daily Telegraph 2011 story:

It also happens to be a complete lie. Of the most disgusting kind. The numbers of people signing onto the disability pension, as a percentage of population is not rising. Proof:

Graph via @TomWestland

Seriously, what kind of fucked-up people use injured war veterans to demonise disabled people? It's incomprehensible.

Also interesting that PM Abbott has defunded the disability discrimination commissioner, allowing the Daily Telegraph to viciously target disabled pensioners with appalling front pages like the above, and face far less retribution or accountability:
Five members of the Australian Human Rights Commission have lashed the government for ripping $1.7 million out of the organisation and defunding the disability discrimination commissioner role.

The commissioners' show of unity came as Opposition Leader Bill Shorten personally intervened in the matter on Tuesday by writing to Prime Minister Tony Abbott urging him to reconsider the decision.

Mr Shorten accused Mr Abbott of distorted priorities for axing the disability discrimination commissioner position after appointing former Liberal Party member Tim Wilson to a new $389,000-a-year ''freedom commissioner'' post last year.

Daily Telegraph editor Paul Whittaker is ultimately responsible for that gruesome and lie-soaked front page. He also happens to be a good friend of PM Abbott. Here they are laughing it up over drinks on the night of the 2014 Budget, which Whittaker's Telegraph has given stunningly-biased levels of support and spin:

Prime Minister Tony Abbott and close friend Paul Whittaker, editor of the Daily Telegraph

The DT's shit-kicking of the poor has been ramping up since Abbott was elected PM last September. This is a recent example of what they think of their readership:

A tweep has today altered the Daily Telegraph's masthead for accuracy purposes:

The Daily Telegraph's ongoing attacks on the poor, 'dole bludgers' and the disabled has come at a great cost. The DT's circulation has plunged by more than 60,000 in just two years. It is losing thousands of readers a week. People are literally abandoning the newspaper, which used to be the second most read in Australia.

They can hardly be blamed for doing so.

And on a personal note, my older sister is on the disability support pension, she's also been employed at a disabled workshop for four decades, working full-time, earning a tiny income to supplement her pension. SHE IS NO SLACKER  She also buys the Daily Telegraph for the train ride to work. Well, she did.

The Daily Telegraph has insulted her and all the disabled people who work so hard alongside her. Plus war veterans! What the hell is wrong with these people. It's just appalling, absolutely appalling.

As a former journalist, and newspaper editor, I can't believe I'm saying this, but I hope it's true that Western Sydney is boycotting the Daily Telegraph and its advertisers. Hopefully the financial punishment will wake them up they will will treat people with respect and stop this vicious, ongoing  demonisation of the poor and disabled of Sydney and NSW.\

UPDATE: That lie-soaked Daily Telegraph front page has been updated on Twitter. Much better, and far more truthful:
Image via

Great job.

Student Protests Erupt Over 'Pay To Learn' - 3 Police Needed To Carry Away One High School Girl

Headline altered/improved by @SpuriousReasons
 Thousands of students took to the streets of Australian cities yesterday to protest Budget 2014 education cuts and deregulation of universities that will result in many of them paying $10,000s, or in some cases, more than $100,000 for university degrees.

Nearly all student protesters were non-violent, there were scuffles with police, but they were in the vast minority. In some cities, there were no confrontations with the police at all. PM Abbott predicted "a riot" and it didn't happen.

The Daily Telegraph is its usual balanced self:

Meanwhile, the Herald Sun served up some outrage at female high school protesters, but gave them the chance to speak, which they did well:
Teenage schoolgirls were carried away by police and more than a dozen people were arrested when a rowdy city protest against the Federal Government’s Budget changes to higher education turned nasty.

Thousands of angry demonstrators choked city streets, blocking traffic and forcing the suspension of tram services for several hours on Wednesday.
Police had to move in and remove a group of protesters - some teenage schoolgirls in uniform - from tram tracks outside State Parliament.

The group had defied several police warnings to leave the Spring Street sit-in before officers acted.
Fellow protesters had also urged them to leave.

Victoria Police’s Inspector Paul Binyon ­expressed his disappointment at the clash, saying protesters hadn’t kept to an agreement about how they would behave.

“I was surprised at the age of some of them,’’ said Insp Binyon.

“One demonstrator’s parents actually turned up and took their child home.”
Probably this one, from the Herald Sun front page:

 Education Minister Christopher Pyne did his best to mock and insult the students, and stir them up even more:
“They (the protesters) should be buying a big bunch of flowers and a box of Roses chocolates, and finding a household near where they live where there’s nobody there with a university degree, and knocking on the front door, giving them the flowers and the chocolates, and saying, ‘Thank you for paying for 60 per cent of my university degree, so I can earn 75 per cent more than you over my lifetime’,”

“I take all their protests with a pinch of salt,” he said.
What an idiot.

The students speak.

Camberwell High School student Tallulah, 15:
“The budget cuts are wrong, I want to go to university and I don’t want to pay through the nose for it. If these fees get too high, I may not be able to go to university, which I want to do for my future and for my family’s future.”

One said there were as many as 30 students from her Footscray school at the protest.
“By the time we go to university, how are we going to pay for it?” she said.

Williamstown High School student Simona, 16, turned up with several schoolfriends.

“I think that whatever university a student decides to turn to should be purely based on their entrance (score), should be purely reliant on their score, as opposed to how much money they have,” she said.
“Education is a right. It’s not a privilege, it’s a right.”

Her friend Alice, 17, said: “I am here today because currently we are under the reign of an oppressive, ignorant, idiotic government.”

The Abbott government changes are hardcore. Universities can charge what they like for degrees, and graduated students will have to pay their government loan debts sooner, and with rising interest. Abbott and Pyne will also slash funds the universities get towards paying for certain courses.

It's the long road, of short steps, towards greater privatisation of Australia's education system, and the students know it.

La Trobe University student union president Rose Steele:
“I think it’s really important that secondary students are here, because secondary students are going to bear the ­absolute brunt of the deregulated system,’’ Miss Steele said.
“They are going to be the ones who will be paying hundreds of thousands of dollars in fees.

“We will be coming out again and again.”
Reaction from student protesters on social media after the protests was jubilation, excitement and empowerment. They'd also had a lot of fun. They felt they had achieved something, the protests were mostly non-violent, in videos the police came across as rougher than the protesters, and they have what seems like the vast majority of the public on their side. Comments pouring onto news sites through the night were about 90% in favour of the students taking action to protest the Abbott government changes to the price of getting a decent education in Australia.

Melbourne #May21Protest, image via @RedDragon1917
And to close, Never Ask A Studio Protestor In A Live TV Interview What Her T-Shirt Says

15 year old student protester Tallulah, quoted above, gets targeted by Murdoch's Herald Sun. They're going after teenage girls who criticise Abbott now? Despicable.

The Herald Sun's frantic attempts to disparage the student protesters reaches a new level of absurdity. They are utterly gormless:

The students were protesting because they want to get degrees, and believe Abbott and Pyne's changes to university fees and deregulation will make it much harder for them to do so.

Murdoch sure employs some morons these days.

More To Come

Treasurer Hockey Sues Fairfax Media - 'Freedom Of The Press' Storm Doesn't Erupt

Flashback: Hockey was so close to winning Liberal Party leadership, this story was published online, a bit early
By Darryl Mason

Treasurer Joe Hockey wants people to know that just because he attends dinners at the North Sydney Forum, where 'regular people' can pay $5,000, $10,000, $20,000 or even $50,000 to get varying levels of access to the man who controls the nation's purse strings....

 ....that doesn't mean that decisions made by him are in any way affected by the demands of those who've paid big money to get his attention, or that he is 'For Sale.'

Of course not.

That would be an outrageous level of corruption. And would demand Hockey immediately resign.

So of course he's upset by this Sydney Morning Herald front page:

And he's upset by this image box that went with the stories in the Sydney Morning Herald and The Age that go into detail on how the North Sydney Forum and those 'fees' work:

 So upset, he's launched defamation proceedings against the Herald publisher Fairfax:
Federal Treasurer Joe Hockey is suing Fairfax Media for defamation over a series of articles about a fund-raising forum that offered access to the Treasurer in exchange for donations of thousands of dollars.

Mr Hockey claims that, as a result of the articles, published on May 5, he has been "greatly injured, shunned and avoided and his reputation has been and will be brought into disrepute, odium, ridicule and contempt".

He says Fairfax Media's "over sensational, extravagant and unfair presentation" of the articles indicated an "intent to injure" him.

He is claiming damages, including aggravated damages, interest and costs, although the amount of damages is not specified.
So aggrieved by Fairfax's claims is Hockey, he even tweeted that Kevin Rudd was known for doing the same. Or not the same, because Hockey says he doesn't do that. And to tweet something like that about his old mate Rudd, if he was actually doing the same, would be intensely, insanely, hypocritical:

Get the feeling Hockey is going to really, really, really regret tweeting that when, or more precisely, if, the defamation case gets to court, and is pursued to the end.

Anyway, that's for later. Right now, Treasurer Joe Hockey is facing a monumental public backlash, from all strands of Australian society, over the brutal Budget 2014, which leaves pensioners, students, the disabled, the unemployed, all worse off than the wealthy. Oh but, says Joe, we've introduced a 'debt levy' that will mean the wealthy will have to pay up as well. Yeah, not exactly....

One immediate problem for Hockey is he doesn't even know detail of his Budget 2014 you'd expect to be front and centre in his mind. He keeps making mistakes, "bloopers" or is simply 'lying through his fucking teeth' if you want to use the general opinion of many on Twitter:
Embarrassing bloopers by Prime Minister Tony Abbott and Treasurer Joe Hockey have revealed they don’t understand who will be forced to pay their controversial new $7 GP fee.

And their mistakes have undermined the government’s attempt to sell a tough budget to angry voters.

Prime Minister Tony Abbott told Melbourne radio listeners yesterday an average person would only have to pay the $7 GP fee ten times and then they would be bulk billed.

In fact the government has put no limit on the number of times an ordinary worker will pay the $7 charge, however, there is a ten visit safety net just for pensioners and children.

The Australian Medical Association accused Treasurer Joe Hockey of also getting it wrong when he says the chronically ill won’t be hit by the $7 GP fee.

The Treasurer told Korey Gunnis who suffers from eight chronic illnesses on Monday: “You wouldn’t be hit by the so-called Medicare co-payment. You wouldn’t be affected.”

Mr Hockey, on the ABC’s Q&A program, went on to say: “No, you wouldn’t, because you’d be on a care plan with your doctor. Obviously you’ve got a number of chronic diseases. In that situation you are not affected by the co-payment,”
And he was wrong.

Hockey, and his fellow politicians are meanwhile copping it in the throat because after all the talk of 'The Age Of Entitlement' being over and everyone having to "do the heavy lifting" it keeps looking like the only heavy thing Joe Hockey is lifting is silver cutlery:

But oh, says Joe, pay rises for politicians have been frozen (after across the board pay rises in recent years of up to 40%)...for a while. Nobody really buys it, or cares.

What is odd, though, is just how quiet the Liberal-allied, or conservative-focused, media and columnists and radio hosts have been about Hockey suing Fairfax.

Isn't this an attack on the Freedom Of The Press?

Doesn't that make them outraged and angry and disgusted?

Apparently not. It's tumbleweeds out there on this lawsuit.

Couldn't this be seen as Hockey using lawyers to have stories he doesn't like, or disagrees with, disappeared from the internet?

Of course.

Funny, our 'Freedom Commission' and the usual chanters for press freedom have been curiously quiet on their favourite subject of 'Let Media Freedom Reign!' since Hockey launched his lawsuit.

Very quiet indeed.

And on the subject of Joe Hockey, dug up this piece of 2009 gold from Andrew "I'm Usually Wrong On Nearly Everything" Bolt, where he predicted Hockey would win the Liberal Party leadership because, in his words, Tony Abbott was "unelectable."

From the archive:

December 3, 2008: Joe Vs Julia - Hockey Smells Blood In The Water

Does Joe Hockey Mean Wilson Tuckey Is About To Drop His Pants And Start Singing Cold Chisel Songs?

Feb 13, 2010: The Joe Hockey Experience

Stop Laughing At Joe, This is Serious

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Murdoch's Australian Admits Defeat In War On Twitter

How galling it must be for The Australian's editor Chris Mitchell to finally have to admit that the newspaper and its online website cannot survive without Twitter action and attention, links and new readership from social media.

Here's excerpts from The Australian's new ad for a Social Media Editor:

As we approach our 50th birthday, we continue to look for ways to build a wider audience for our journalism.

We seek an experienced professional to lead The Australian into the next stage of our engagement with social media platforms.

Situated at the heart of the newsroom, the Social Media Editor will help drive our news coverage, sourcing stories from social media and engaging with our audience.

You will promote the use of social media throughout the newsroom and keep your colleagues up to date with latest techniques to help develop stories.

Your previous roles will have equipped you to source and develop stories through social media news gathering and build positive and active social communities with consumers of The Australian's journalism on social media.

Chris Mitchell used to think social media, like Twitter, was the worst thing to happen in pretty much the entire history of media:
Like swine influenza, technologies such as Twitter race around the world before spluttering out. And when they do, the news is reported via a technology that is robust and portable, one that is information rich and never crashes - the platform for the online information age you are reading now.

And the story it tells about the latest online fad is always the same.

Like diseases that must mutate to infect ever more hosts, transitory technologies have an enormous impact until people build up resistance - which is what is happening to free social messaging service Twitter now. Certainly Twitter has generated a pandemic of popularity, but it appears many people quickly decide Twitter is tedious, with 60 per cent of new users becoming ex-users in a month.

Anybody who has used it knows why. Twitters in the information industry - journalists, political staffers, publicly funded issues activists - think Twitter is terrific because it allows them to all but instantaneously agree with each other on the issues of the hour. But in their enthusiasm, they confuse the medium for the message.

Twitter's 140-character message format is a content-killer, leaving most tweets with the compelling content of those "I'm on the bus" mobile phone conversations impossible to avoid on public transport.
The same obsession with the instantaneously ordinary occurs in mass market entertainment.

While Twitter may be fun, it is free. Online video site YouTube chews through vast amounts of bandwidth and more money because advertisers understand people do not pay attention to low-involvement media. Nor is there any evidence anybody wants to pay to watch those YouTube staples, videos of garage bands practising.

And the cassandras at website Crikey, who predict the end of print, perhaps because they see it as the only way to attract an audience and advertisers, miss the point about newspapers - they create and maintain communities. 

Now The Australian needs, is all but begging, for a social media enthusiast to maintain an online community for the newspaper, now the print edition can no longer do so.

August 14, 2013: The Australian's Obsession With Twitter Gets Plain Stupid

Andrew Bolt - I Don't Know How Twitter Works, But It's Freedom Scares Me

The Great Twitter Myth - Working Class People Don't Tweet

Howard Faced Gun Owners, Abbott Hides From Students

Foreign minister Julie Bishop confronted by student protestors in Sydney last week
 When prime minister John Howard introduced new laws to restrict ownership of certain firearms, in the wake of the Port Phillip massacre, he at least had the guts to stand his ground and face down protestors. Even if he did wear a bullet proof vest at a public event where protestors converged.

John Howard faces protestors in 1996, pic by Ray Strange

Prime minister Tony Abbott is pushing a budget that will force students to incur huge debts (with compounded interest) for even the most basic degrees, laying the ground for the eventual near full privatisation of Australia's universities. But Abbott cuts and runs when he has to face students unhappy with this decision.
The Prime Minister cancelling his trip to Geelong over security fears was a ploy to make students look like spoiled brats, the National Union of Students said.

Tony Abbott and Education Minister Christopher Pyne were due to visit a research facility at Deakin University today -- but cancelled on advice from the Australian Federal Police.
“I think the Prime Minister and Minister Pyne are trying to make it look like students are violent rabble rousers who are out to cause trouble and that’s absolutely not the case at all,” said NUS president Deanna Taylor.

Ms Taylor said Mr Abbott was “obviously scared of facing up to students” over the Budget.
A tiny minority of allegedly violent protestors is the excuse for Abbott and Pyne cutting and running. 
Ms Taylor said students protesting today did not have access to the corridors of power and were making it clear they were upset and fearful over the government’s plans.

She said Mr Abbott and Mr Pyne had a “hidden agenda and vested interest in making (students) look like spoiled brats who don’t know how good they’ve got it”.

Greens senator Richard Di Natale said the security fears were a furphy.

“He was a bully in opposition and now he has shown himself to be a coward in government,” he said last night.

“If you’re going to wield the axe so brutally you owe it to the people to front up and explain yourself. The least he can do is put up with a few noisy protesters.”
Abbott claims he didn't want to be part of "a riot":
Prime Minister Tony Abbott says he cancelled a visit to a university to avoid what he predicted would be a riot on national television...
Mr Abbott told Fairfax Radio it was about not giving the protesters what they wanted, “which is a riot on national television”.

He played down the protests pointing to his days as a student activist at Sydney University when protests and counter-protests were regarded as sport.
“I think they were looking forward to a big rumble today,” he said.

Labor frontbencher Richard Marles, whose electorate covers Geelong:

“security measures can always be managed”.

“At the end of the day this was a decision by the Prime Minister and it is a really disappointing decision that he is not taking up the opportunity of coming to Geelong today in order to tell the people of our city — the people at Deakin University — why he’s deregulated the university system, why he’s going to make fees higher for Geelong students who want to study at their university.”

The Prime Minister was advised by the Australian Federal Police to ditch his planned university visit today after other high-profile Coalition figures were targeted by protesters opposed to the deregulation of university fees.

“The visit to Deakin University has been postponed, based on security advice,” the Prime Minister’s office said in a rare statement about security matters.

Liberal frontbenchers scorned student protests as driven by “socialists” who are “intent on shutting down democracy in Australia”.

Education Minister Christopher Pyne told ABC’s Lateline last night: “The Prime Minister made the decision and his office that it would be wiser to not go and to create that tumult at Deakin University so students can get on with their studies unmolested by the Socialist Alternative, which seem quite intent on shutting down democracy in Australia.”

Deputy Leader of the federal Opposition Tanya Plibersek said students had a reason to protest.
The deregulation of university fees would mean poor kids wouldn’t make it to university and would be denied a successful career, she said.

“This will take us to a two-tier American-style university system where the best courses and the best universities are completely unaffordable to ordinary people,” she told ABC radio. But she condemned the protests against Ms Mirabella and Ms Bishop and said students should rally in a peaceful and democratic manner.
If PM Abbott is going to duck and run from every protest or public opposition to his extreme policies over the next few years, he won't be appearing at many public events.

Meanwhile, former popular Murdoch blogger Andrew Bolt first labels those exercising their democratic right to protest as "totalitarian", then suggests women who don't sympathise with Julie Bishop after she was confronted by students might need be more sympathetic if they were roughed up themselves. Astounding:


 Andrew Bolt is out of control.

Mass protest movements against de-funding of schools, universities, hospitals, and cutting incomes of families and elderly pensioners - protests that kicked off with 100,000 attending the peaceful national March In March, and grabbed media headlines with last Sunday's March In May -  are only just beginning.

Many are already likening the protests, that are bringing together Australians from almost every social and economic background, to something like the start of an 'Australia Spring.'

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Daily Telegraph: "Revolting Ferals" Are Anyone Opposed To Abbott, Apparently


 By Darryl Mason
I find it absolutely bizarre that the Daily Telegraph would slam March In May protesters in Sydney as "revolting ferals." It's very clear what the headline and image is implying. Protest against PM Abbott, and you're nothing more than a Feral.

Uni students, and 'anarchists', or ferals if you want to go that far, made up a tiny percentage of the 15,000 to 20,000 marchers in Sydney last Sunday. 5 per cent at most, probably less.

I stood near the entrance to Victoria Park at the conclusion of the march and watched more than 10,000 people walk by over an hour. Families, elderly people, disabled people, 'Mosman Mum's', lots of people from western Sydney, it was more like a crowd at the Royal Easter Show than a traditional 'Lefty Students' protest. There were at least 1000 kids, many with signs they'd made themselves. And most of the protest signs I saw were funny, or heartbreaking, very few were insulting to Abbott in any way. Most just asked variations of 'Why Did You Lie To Us? Why Are You Punishing Us? What Did We Do?'

The Daily Telegraph's "Revolting Ferals" front page seems to have pissed off and disgusted many of the families who turned out for March In May. Not surprisingly.
Image via @NewsAustralia
And some more of the "ferals", as claimed by the Daily Telegraph:

Reaction on Facebook and Twitter is absolute disbelief, and disgust, and strong feelings of betrayal, that the Daily Telegraph would brand them as "revolting ferals" simply because they are opposed to Abbott government lies, budget cuts and backflips on very clear election promises. People were carrying copies of the Telegraph under their arm to read in the park. Then they get called "Ferals" on the front page the next day?

Seriously, talk about burning your readership.

Who does the Daily Telegraph think will buy the paper when they trash families from Western Sydney?

Just bizarre. But it does show just how out of touch the Daily Telegraph's editor Paul Whittaker is with his dwindling readership.

Here's Whittaker laughing it up with Tony Abbott on Budget Night, before his newspaper gave Budget 2014 mostly glowing coverage and headlines:

Prime Minister Tony Abbott and Daily Telegraph editor Paul Whittaker, Budget night 2014

Perhaps sucking up to the prime minister is more important to Daily Telegraph editor Paul Whittaker than fairly representing his readership? Or putting into print their overwhelming shock and disgust at the deceptive way Abbott ran his election campaign, and the brutal punishment of families in his first budget.

More At Mumbrella

Tuesday, May 06, 2014

Why Did Police Suddenly Change Their Mind About Investigating Bondi Brawl By Packer And Gyngell?

Australia's richest man and the CEO of a top-rating TV channel shame themselves

By Darryl Mason

UPDATE: Australia's richest man James Packer and Channel 9 boss David Gyngell want their ugly Bondi Bash to go away, fade from view, but it won't. As an example of how international this story now is, Taiwanese animators have immortalised the brutal street violence and police investigation:

For someone trying to maintain casino licences in Asia, and score new ones, this is about the worst headline you could get on the BBC, short of being accused of murder:

Headlines and opinion pieces in Asian business media are unanimously negative about James Packer, it doesn't seem to matter that he may not have started the fight. Anti-casino campaigners couldn't have dreamed of a better way to attack Packer's character and ability to control himself.

Police investigations are underway in Sydney, and the pressure is on.

Previously, May 6:

Last night, police were not going to investigate the brutal street brawl between Australia's richest man James Packer and Channel 9 boss David Gyngell. The following screengrab is of a NSW Police message to a Twitter account that tweets on media issues, there were a number of others who asked why police had not launched an investigation and police responded with the same tweet:

NSW Police: "As we have not received any reports regarding this specific incident there is no current investigation,"

It seemed odd that after all the media and police campaigns to stop Sydney street violence, they weren't going to do anything about two men violently smashing the shit out of each other on a Bondi street on a Sunday morning, an event captured on cameras, and blasted across the media.

But procedures are procedures.

Someone had to call it in.

So what happened overnight?

Australians on Twitter learned that the street brawl had to be officially reported to police, Bondi police station's phone number appeared on Twitter and people started calling in reports, and tweeting reports, of the street fight to Bondi police and the official NSW Police Twitter account. The disgust from a handful was palpable. Why should these two get away with it? Why shouldn't they have to live by the same laws as the rest of us?

This morning, while Ray Hadley on 2GB, Karl Stefanovic on The Today Show, and virtually every other friend or associate of Packer and Gyngell in the Australia media tried to dismiss and talk down the seriousness of this street violence - "just two mates biffing" "just a bit of slap and tickle" - police dramatically announced they were investigating the incident and went out and started doorknocking in Bondi,

Some media commentators could hardly disguise their disbelief. But the police said last night they weren't investigating!

Yeah, that was last night.

I know all this because I was following Twitter accounts that were talking about it, and posting under #PackerGyngell. There was anger, people expressing disgust that Packer and Gyngell "were going to get away with it:". Should rich people brawling in Bondi be treated differently to suburban kids fighting in the streets of Penrith or Kings Cross? Most of what was posted was true. So they took action, and began encouraging each other to report the Bondi street fight. I saw a whole series of such reactions unfold on Twitter late last night, and early this morning, and it was remarkable.

This was the real power of Twitter in action. People saw what they believed was an injustice, they learned what they had to do to try and set it right and they moved into action.

And by 9am, with police officially investigating, suddenly the media couldn't pretend this street brawling wasn't a big deal and the whole thrust of coverage changed. Well, some of it. Panelists on morning breakfast shows, including formerly avid campaigners against street violence, were still cracking jokes and trying to convince viewers Packer and Gyngell's Bondi Brawl was "no big deal."

But it was clear, once police began investigating, and once the possible repercussions for Packer and Gyngell's business interests, and their jobs, started to be examined, the Bondi Brawl began to look very, very serious indeed. And it was serious, it is serious. The tweeters were right. If it was Aboriginal youth videod brawling on a Bondi street, or Muslim teenagers, radio shock jocks would have demanded their community leaders denounce their appalling behaviour.

If the same media personalities who shed tears on TV over coward punches and ugly street violence earlier this year weren't shocked and disgusted by these two men punching each other out in broad daylight, then, seriously, what the hell was the whole anti-street violence campaign about?

But be sure of this one thing - if people on Twitter hadn't rallied and taken action to make sure even James Packer and David Gyngell are dealt with by police the same as the rest of us, and have to live by the same laws, their media pals, and employees, who were talking down this brutal act of street violence and pretending it was meaningless and "no big deal" would have won, and no police investigation would have begun today. Or at least, it would have been far less likely to have begun.

The prominent media identities who used to determine what events the mass public should be outraged about, and which events should be quickly forgotten, would have beaten down any and all opposition to calls for police action this morning. We probably would have seen Packer and Gyngell's political mates hitting the airwaves to hose down any public anger.

The script would have been shaped and set. Those demanding something had to be done about an ugly, offensive street brawl, by two men who should know better, would have been dismissed as "whingers" and "haters" and "jealous of rich people" and all the other garbage lines used to try and steer people without power and influence from making sure those with power and influence have to play by the same rules.

This story has a long way left to run, and serious implications for both men seem to be piling up by the minute. But there are only two people to blame for what is now happening to James Packer and David Gyngell, themselves.

They did what they did, and now they have to live with the results of their actions.

Just like you and I have to.

A detailed timeline of the Bondi Brawl and its repercussions will be posted here later tonight