« profile & posts archive

This author has written 619 posts for Larvatus Prodeo.

Return to: Homepage | Blog Index

30 responses to “Spotlight the Spin”

  1. Cuppa

    The Prime Minister announced last week that Labor will spend the coming year campaigning on the economy.

    Given that, it can surely be no coincidence that #TheirABC greeted its audience this morning with the story:

    The Leader of the Opposition Tony Abbott has overtaken the Prime Minister Julia Gillard as preferred . . . . economic manager

    Their ABC getting in at ground level to blow wind into the Liberal sails for the coming campaign.

    And the source for the “news” TheirABC so eagerly headlines? News Limited of course.

  2. Ootz

    Don’t worry Cuppa, it is just your world unfolding!

    Perhaps ‘unfolding’ is the new spin on spin.

  3. Nickws

    Newscorp pushing a story about how the federal Cabinet are all private customers with the big four banks, despite all ministers being critics of said institutions, http://www.adelaidenow.com.au/pm-labor-ministers-stick-with-big-four-banks/story-e6frea6u-1226269209379

    At first I assumed this was being pushed by the Coalition, seeing as the radio news told me in their summation of this article that Abbott had switched his personal banking to something called the Adelaide Bank, but it appears he did that long ago in 2010.

    Must be a peak-finance-industry-group seeded story?

  4. Chris

    Nickws @ 3 – most reporting on banks appears to be heavily distorted because bank bashing is so popular. Its very rare to report the actual interest rates banks charge, just the changes so one bank can get criticised for raising rates even though the end result is they are charging the same or even a lower interest rate than a bank which didn’t raise their rates. And how often do you see it reported the different lending criteria that banks use? So a small bank that has very conservative lending criteria ends up with much less risky loans and so can charge lower rates.

    Missing from the article is that the cabinet members are probably all customers of the big four because it makes the most financial sense for them.

  5. pablo

    ABC TV covered a report mid week from Alice Springs of an attack on a film crew and liquor off licence staff by two indigenous customers who allegedly objected to being filmed. The film crew which included an Australian newspaper rep fronting camera denied they were filming but the customers went on a rampage anyway.
    I have not found any print media report in The Australian on this incident and I am left wondering why. Anyone know anything?

  6. Fran Barlow

    Their ABC getting in at ground level to blow wind into the Liberal sails for the coming campaign.

    The story was introduced by #theirABC as follows:

    The Prime Minister’s economic credibility has taken a hit with …

    and so I’m expecting some damning piece of economic news that was not anticipated by the government, largely endogenous in its provenance, and that could be have been fopreclosed by some wise economic management …

    Silly me. Instead it continues:

    a new newspoll result …

    Apparently most people (43%-34%) saw the opposition as better on the economy.

    Oh dear …

    Luckily, they decided to pre-qualify respondents with some questions, including

    a) To one decimal place, what is the ratio of deficit/GDP projected by the Coalition in their first full-year of office after winning the election in 2013?
    b) How does this compare with what the corresponding period under ALP projections?
    c) What is the size of the Federal budget like to be in 2013-14 and 2014-15?
    d) Approximately how many (and which) program items is the coalition likely to cut (and by how much) in the event they achieve office in 2013?
    e) Over what timelines can these cuts be made and what net savings are likely to follow? On which modelling do you base this opinion?

    Due to the complexity of these questions, hardly anyone was able to answer. Indeed, in half a dozen cases people were found to have fallen asleep before the questions had been fully declared. Several people made up answers to avoid looking ignorant but these were later ruled invalid. Sadly, this group included the entire LNP front bench who eventually said they’d have the answers when the time was right, with costings verified by a catering company.

    So really, it’s all good.

  7. marks

    tt, since we have been hearing about this challenge for a long time now, I figured that 4 Corners was itself spinning that there was going to be anything new in this well tilled, furrowed, and ploughed heap of compost.

    On that basis, I felt that it would have been a waste of my time to watch.

    If anyone did watch, can they let us know whether there was anything new in the 4 Corners piece, or whether it was indeed just high speed recycling.

    To that point, I shall add that over the weekend, I did watch “Insiders”. Barrie Cassidy made the grave pronouncement that Gillard would have to bring this to a head because it was debilitating the Labor Party the longer it went on. Of course the spin in this was that it is in fact debilitating the media the longer it goes on. The Canberra press garrulous needs to have a challenge or showdown soon, because the longer this (non) story goes on, the sillier they look. Or even worse, the more that ordinary people are going to zone out and there will be just one more thing that will not be read/watched/heard out there. From that pov, the longer it all goes on, the better it is for the government.

  8. adrian

    Nothing new. A few bit players plus (or including) Graham Richardson and nothing much we didn’t know already.
    It would have all blown over and been seen as just another chapter in the continuing decline of 4 Corners, had it not been for Gillard’s weird decision to appear, in full refuse to answer the question guise.

  9. CMMC

    Andrew Fowler is an ex-Australian scribe, hence the hyperbole about the Labor caucus “frightened and cowed like a Soviet era politburo before the omnipotent leader” and the Articles Of Faith; that the “pink batts” and BER schemes were total disasters.

    A curious spectacle, all this badgering by tabloid hacks, reminds me of the Aboriginal custom of “singing” a curse to someone remotely.

  10. FFranklin

    I’m sorry marks @9 I did not bother with 4 Corners last night either. I no longer trust the(ir) ABC to present issues on federal politics in a fair and balanced way and only watch such shows if nothing else interests and try and get the gist of it from the blogosphere. I’ve a feeling I’m part of a growing crowd. Last night I chose instead to watch some he-man hero rollicking around a post apocalyptic scene partly in the hope he might drink some of his own urine. A bit like the feeling you get when watching much of the ABC these days.
    Reading on PBludger to get the gist it appears the reporter last night slipped in/trotted out that old gem the Pink Batts and BER disaster. The Political Sword has an excellent post at the moment which summarises the reality of the PB scheme which was far from a disaster. I suppose the reality for the ABC these days is what they read on the front page of a Murdoch rag. We should be grateful I suppose that disaster was all they used. I remember watching the 7pm ABC news here in Adelaide when Dominique Schwartz began “ even though the government has shelved it’s deadly insulation program…etc”. I posted here on LP that with Easter approaching we should all donate a dollar for every time we remember the ABC referring to John Howards deadly Iraq “program”. Wouldn’t have fed a cat!!
    I think it’s going to be interesting this year to see if 4C turns their scrutinizing eye onto Abbott and his policies. I would have thought 4C would be a perfect vehicle to analyse in depth his multi-billion dollar Direct Action plan. I’ve seen posts here and abroad which suggest he’s out by tens if not hundreds in terms of how much land is necessary to achieve its goals as well as how much farmers will need to be paid to set aside land. Episodes like this and I might start watching again. However given the ABC’s performance over the Audit-Gate scandal before Christmas and the Nauru costings by a catering firm previously busted by the UN I’m not holding my breath. I’ve a feeling it might be a bloke drinking his own urine for me.

  11. AT

    Pablo at 5, there have been two or three articles in the Australian on this incident in the last four days.

  12. joe2

    I came across this video of Abbott desperately trying to spin himself out of responsibility for the words he spoke the day before on the tent embassy. He is caught out with a very obvious porky and then pulls the plug. And apparently it juliar who has the problem.

  13. Chris

    joe2 @ 14 – have you seen the video footage of the information that the protesters we given and how they were directed? It was on the 7:30 report tonight.

    The ACT Unions secretary is recorded on the video telling Barbara Shaw that Abbott had said that the tent embassy should be pulled down and tells her that Abbott is nearby. Shaw then immediately passes on the message to the crowd, though elevates Abbott to Deputy Prime Minister, and via a 3rd person tells the crowd to move over to the restaurant. The crowd was also directed to protest against Gillard as well as Abbott, although it seems most of the anger was at what they thought Abbott had said.

  14. joe2

    Yes, Chris, I did see it. I noticed how 7.30 had helpfully airbrushed out the initial question, from a female ABC journalist, that Mr Abbott was asked about the tent embassy, which is fundamental to how we might understand his reply.

    Also, in the report, the union secretary Kim Sattler is heard to clearly comment, in a recorded interview, that Julia Gillard staffer, Tony Hodges, had passed on to her Abbott’s earlier and publicly expressed opinion, that it was time for the tent embassy to “move on”.

    And I suppose it would be too much to ask of Chris Uhlmann to let us know that at least 3 media reports had run with the conclusion, from the Abbott press conference , at the time that Sattler was spreading her word, that Tone wanted the tent embassy pulled down.

    Sattler would appear, however, to have denied her words from the day of the ruckus. Not unlike the leader of the opposition, who I still maintain, was the main match lighter. Given the sensitivity of the day, it would have been nice if he had left his dog whistle in his pocket.

  15. Chris

    Also, in the report, the union secretary Kim Sattler is heard to clearly comment, in a recorded interview, that Julia Gillard staffer, Tony Hodges, had passed on to her Abbott’s earlier and publicly expressed opinion, that it was time for the tent embassy to “move on”.

    She also claimed that she never had said that Abbott wanted to pull down the tent embassy when on the video that is exactly what she told Shaw. So its pretty clear she has said things which are not true about what occurred. And if I recall correctly was reported to have said something different about what Hodges had told her, prior to her having had a chat with the PM’s office.

    Sky News reported that Abbott said that the tent embassy should be moved on (but hey its Sky News – do you want politicans held reponsible for what Sky News reports!) , but the other report only said that the tent embassy should fold, not that it should be forced to fold, again quite different things.

    Whether it was the Hodges or Sattler, I think one of them deliberately interpreted Abbott’s message in a way that would rile up the protesters as much as possible for political gain.

  16. joe2

    And Abbott made his incendiary comments other than for “political gain”, Chris? I think not.

    Sattler does not come out of this well, though, I agree. She was carried away by the moment.

    Hodges, on the other hand, has paid a high price for passing on the public words of Tone, which are apparently always subject to a sensitivity embargo.

  17. Ootz

    Yes Chris, I forgot that we should only take serious what Abbott writes down in ink, or blood for that matter.

    Since the media has changed their focus in this wholesome sorry affair, you tell me then what Abbott’s “move on” in his summing up is meant to convey in relation to the tent embassy question, which coincidently on that day, Australia/Invasion day, was celebrating 4 decades of existence?

    Doesn’t matter what spin you put on it, in reality it means one thing only. The sad thing is, I have not heard one representative of the msm asking the question “where to?”, as the fundamental issues, brought on by the initial ‘move on’, have not been addressed sofar.

  18. Chris

    joe2 – while I disagree with Abbott, I don’t think his comments were incendiary. And he was explicitly asked what his views were. If blame for the violent protest flows upstream like that then the reporter has to shoulder a large amount of blame for asking an “incendiary” question in the first place.

    Sattler does not come out of this well, though, I agree. She was carried away by the moment.

    If Sattler’s claims of it not being Hodges fault turn out to be true (and its already been showed she has misled the public about what she has said) then she didn’t just get carried away. She was more interested in revving the crowd up than communicating what Abbott had actually said. When you do that to a crowd there’s always going to be a risk things get out of control – for example can be pretty sure she didn’t intend for Shaw to explicitly send the crowd after Gillard as well as Abbott.

  19. Ootz


    “I don’t think his comments were incendiary. And he was explicitly asked what his views were. If blame for the violent protest flows upstream like that then the reporter has to shoulder a large amount of blame for asking an “incendiary” question in the first place.”

    There was one hot chilli in that blancmange of Abbott – MOVE ON. Usually when you counsel people, they will tell you when they are ready to move on, not you! As for the lame excuse to blame the reporter, come on off it! Where have you been the last few years? Why do you do you think they have quarantined Abbott from appearing on msm apart from his cardboard cut-out appearances with hard hat and all that.

    Well I say, make Abbott PM, send him on a trade commission to China, wait for the predictable foot in mouth and then blame the reporter for asking about Tibet or Tienanmen.

  20. adrian

    Well said, Ootz.
    One of the few things that Abbott is the master of is plausible deniability.

    Anyway MSM distraction from the real issues #3568925.
    You certainly can fool most of the people most of the time…

  21. faustusnotes

    The Guardian is reporting a leak of documents from the Heartland Institute that reveal who is funding it and who it in turn is funding. One particularly enlightening paragraph from the report:

    Heartland is anxious to retain its hold over mainstream media outlets, fretting in the documents about how Forbes magazine is publishing prominent climate scientists such as Peter Gleick. “This influential audience has usually been reliably anti-climate and it is important to keep opposing voices out,” Heartland documents warn.

    Remember the brou-haha about how climate scientists were apparently trying to influence the peer review process to keep out skeptics? Here, for example, we have Fred Singer complaining about how the climategate emails show that climate scientists were trying to prevent skeptics from publishing. Shocking!

    Well, it turns out (according to the Guardian) that Fred Singer is paid $5,000 a month by Heartland Institute, which is simultaneously trying to ensure that he and his allies get preferential media treatment. Who has egg on their face now?

  22. Chris

    Ootz @ 19 said

    Since the media has changed their focus in this wholesome sorry affair, you tell me then what Abbott’s “move on” in his summing up is meant to convey in relation to the tent embassy question, which coincidently on that day, Australia/Invasion day, was celebrating 4 decades of existence?

    I interpreted Abbott’s “move on” comment to mean that he didn’t think the tent embassy was necessary any more as there are other avenues through which the indigenous community negotiate with the government which are more productive. Especially compared to the situation when the tent embassy was established. Not that they should be “moved on” or even that he was even telling them they should “move on”. Just his opinion on the current state.

    I think a lot of people have been projecting what they think Abbott believes onto his answer rather than what he actually said – thus the conversion of “move on” to “pull down”.

    Now I agree with you that its up to the indigenous community to decide whether or not they want to keep the tent embassy staffed. I think its now historically significant enough that it should be kept in some form permanently even if/when the indigenous community don’t believe its necessary in the future.

  23. Lefty E

    The grossly inefficient private health system: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2012-02-15/police-experts-size-up-health-rebate-changes/3832588

    “But Ian McAuley, who is an adjunct lecturer in public sector finance at the University of Canberra, says the biggest barrier to cost-efficient healthcare delivery in Australia is the health insurance industry itself.

    “It’s not part of the healthcare system, it’s just part of the financial sector. It’s a very large, costly, financial intermediary standing between the community and the healthcare system,” he said.

    Research by Mr McAuley and John Menadue published by the Centre for Policy Development reveals that Australians paid $16 billion into private health insurance funds and only got $13.2 billion back in benefits.

    The balance went into administration, advertising and profit.

    After factoring in tax, the report estimates that 16 per cent of premiums do not go back into healthcare provision, whereas Medicare’s running costs amount to less than 6 per cent.”

    As I would have expected , the public health system is far more economically efficient.

    Hey. Neoliberal economics really is a pile of old toss, isn’t it? :)

  24. Fran Barlow

    Either I was having a waking dream or perhaps the work experience kids were on #theirABC (and interpreted the brief to produce accurate news literally) but I managed to catch what seemed to be something like a response to Gemma Jones DT troll on refugee entitlements this morning.

    The story did no more than point to the obvious errors of fact — for example, with the exception of a small TV the items were bare essentials and they didn’t belong to the people living in community housing. There were no computers or internet or game consoles or mobile phones. There was no red carpet — just “industrial brown lino”. Both the refugees featured preferred the idea of getting a job to their $433 per fortnight. They are not permitted to work, however. Horror of horrors, one even volunteered that he was OK with paying taxes (perhaps he’ll see it differently if he starts making $258,000 pa and complain about losing his health care rebate because the incentive is gone) but for the moment, he wasn’t.

    Plainly, heads will roll at #theirABC over their failure to simply repeat the #Murdochratic troll.

  25. Fran Barlow

    Vacuous claim alert

    I was listening to #theirABC‘s Newsradio yesterday and rather than letting it wash over me and pass I paid attention when, presumably advocating the value of their service, they claimed:

    News moves fast.

    The more I reflected on the phrase on the way in to work, the less convinced I was that I knew what it meant. News moves fast compared to what? I began thinking of things that do not move fast — snails, three-toed sloths, glaciers, those first day back whole school development days. It was fair to say that snails, three-toed sloths, glaciers and whole school development days rarely made the news — and perhaps the speed of news explained why, but it told me little about the pace of news. It’s quite difficult imagining a situation in which, for example, one could measure the relative speed of news and glaciers. Perhaps if we want news to examine glaciers or three-toed sloths, we will have to find ways of slowing it down. Either that, or the environment, for example, will need to move a lot faster.

    I began imagining what tools one would need to catch something moving as fast as news. Perhaps one would need something like the equipment used by big game hunters or extreme fisher folk. Landrovers, power boats, helicopters filled with reporters equipped with tranquilizer darts or spear guns with explosive projectiles. Perhaps a really large butterfly net might suffice for small news.

    I almost felt sorry for the news.

  26. Fran Barlow

    Honourable mention in the vacuous claims alert column: Pru Goward, Minister for Community Services in the NSW Coalition regime.

    Speaking of provision of financial support for foster carers of late teens in full time education she said that education “would stop them repeating the cycle they were born into“.


  27. Fran Barlow

    I liked this piece from The Onion — America’s fFnest News Source

    Iran Worried U.S. Might Be Building 8,500th Nuclear Weapon

    TEHRAN—Amidst mounting geopolitical tensions, Iranian officials said Wednesday they were increasingly concerned about the United States of America’s uranium-enrichment program, fearing the Western nation may soon be capable of producing its 8,500th nuclear weapon.

    “Our intelligence estimates indicate that, if it is allowed to progress with its aggressive nuclear program, the United States may soon possess its 8,500th atomic weapon capable of reaching Iran,” said Iranian foreign minister Ali Akbar Salehi, adding that Americans have the fuel, the facilities, and “everything they need” to manufacture even more weapons-grade fissile material.

    “Obviously, the prospect of this happening is very distressing to Iran and all countries like Iran. After all, the United States is a volatile nation that’s proven it needs little provocation to attack anyone anywhere in the world whom it perceives to be a threat.” Iranian intelligence experts also warned of the very real, and very frightening, possibility of the U.S. providing weapons and resources to a rogue third-party state such as Israel

    Personally, I hate those who spin the news. Can’t they see that there are two sides to every story? Surely this should have been balanced with the the US point–of-view, because I’m sure there is one.