Sunday, August 08, 2010

Commercial TV network crawls on its belly to the Labor Party

After all the mockery that the media poured out at John Howard, this is a joke. Since when did Howard get treated with anything more than the bare minimum of respect?

And the fact that it was Latham who was deemed as being too offensive is a real joke. Compared to the bile he used to pour out at Howard, he was on his best behaviour.

He certainly made two suggestions that may or may not have been true but that is routine for TV journalists. It looks like the TV boss concerned does not want suggestions adverse to the Labor party to be aired -- the usual media subservience to the Left

Latham's manner is certainly aggressive but that didn't stop him from being elected as leader of the Federal parliamentary Labor party at one stage. The video is here. Judge for yourself

The Nine Network has apologised to Prime Minister Julia Gillard over her treatment by former Labor leader-turned-journalist Mark Latham on assignment for its flagship current affairs program.

Nine Network CEO David Gyngell told AAP last night he had personally apologised to Ms Gillard for the approach by Mr Latham while she was campaigning in Brisbane. Mr Gyngell said the approach lacked proper respect.

After seeing the vision of Mr Latham's questioning of the Prime Minister while representing the 60 Minutes program, the network boss said he believed the conduct of the interview was inappropriate. "I'm all for freedom of speech and robust scrutiny of our public figures, but my strong view of today's exchange is that it crossed the line," he said.

"The Prime Minister of Australia, whomever that might be and whatever their political stripe, deserves to be treated with a due level of respect. "I think that was missing today."

Mr Gyngell said he had made his opinion "clearly understood" at 60 Minutes and had apologised to Ms Gillard on behalf of the network.

The confrontation occurred as Ms Gillard was doing the rounds and meeting patrons at Brisbane's Ekka show yesterday. Mr Latham, who is producing a segment for 60 Minutes, asked why Labor had complained to the network about his presence.

A smiling Ms Gillard responded: "I don't know anything about that, Mark." "If you want to work for Channel Nine, that's a matter for you."

Mr Latham then suggested Ms Gillard, his one-time Labor ally, should speak out against former prime minister Kevin Rudd for trying to sabotage her campaign. "Have a dig at him," he told her.

But Ms Gillard merely laughed and wished Mr Latham well with his journalistic endeavours.

An ALP spokesman later denied the party had made any complaint to the Nine Network.

A Nine spokesman said a decision about the footage, including if and when it will go to air, had not yet been made.


An absurd and ignorant immigration bureaucracy

THEY know the Migration Act chapter and verse, but members of the Refugee Review Tribunal may need to brush up on their Bible studies if a recent case is anything to go by.

The tribunal questioned the religious credentials of a Chinese man applying for a protection visa after he was allegedly persecuted in his homeland for his Catholic beliefs. His cousin vouched for their Catholic upbringing and regular attendance at a Sydney church but the tribunal, unimpressed by the cousin's biblical knowledge, found neither was a true believer and refused to grant the visa.

The cousin's explanation of how Jesus was born - that "they stayed in a stable and that night Maria gave birth to Jesus Christ and an angel and a shepherd were around" - was, according to the tribunal, "very vague for someone who claims to have been a practising Catholic since birth and who attends church every Sunday".

As for the story he nominated as his favourite biblical tale, the tribunal declared it was "not familiar with this as a genuine story from the Bible".

In the cousin's version, when Jesus was 12 he disappeared on a visit to his home town. His parents found him in the church, where people "said he spoke very well".

Based on this supposedly inauthentic Bible story offered by his "vague and evasive" cousin, the tribunal found the would-be refugee lacked a true belief in Catholicism.

It was the tribunal, however, whose knowledge of the Bible proved a little rusty, with a federal magistrate who reviewed the case, Kenneth Raphael, describing it as a "very reasonable paraphrase" of Luke 2:41-47.

The passage in Luke describes 12-year-old Jesus staying behind in Jerusalem after spending Passover there with his parents.

He was found in the temple courts, questioning the teachers, and everyone who heard him was amazed at his understanding and answers.

The Chinese national, who cannot be named, sought a review of the decision in the Federal Magistrates Court, arguing the tribunal had "exceeded its jurisdiction by taking upon itself the role of arbiter of minimum religious knowledge to be a Catholic".

The tribunal "set itself up as an arbiter of religious knowledge", Mr Raphael said. In fact, the cousin's story was not vague or inaccurate but "a very reasonable paraphrase". He ordered the case back to the tribunal for determination.


Has the Labor Party suddenly discovered an uncharacteristic love of Christianity?

Labor promises more school chaplains but it will be interesting to see how they define "chaplain". Let me guess that there will be NO Exclusive Brethren chaplains but quite a few "humanist" chaplains.

Amusing, though, to think how this promise will p*** off their urban sophisticate base

UP to 1000 additional schools, including those in remote or disadvantaged areas, will get a chaplain service under a re-elected Labor government. The National School Chaplaincy Program already provides the service to 2700 schools.

If Labor wins the August 21 election, the program would get $222 million to reach more schools, and secure existing chaplains for a further three years. Labor last year committed funding to run the program for the full school year in 2011.

A national consultation process will consider the scheme's effectiveness and how it fits with other student support activities, with a discussion paper to be released by October.

In a statement, the Labor party said it recognised that some schools in rural, remote and disadvantaged locations had so far missed out. They would be better considered in the new round, and in rural areas, funding could be pooled so chaplains could service a number of schools. Labor says funding for the policy would be offset over the forward estimates.


The false front of the political Left

The parlous state of Labor this election is a direct reflection of the tin ear of the progressive left. Again and again, smugly, arrogantly, patronisingly, progressives declare themselves to be moderates, claiming to represent a reasonable ideological middle ground, while showering the real moderates, who they dub "right-wing", "conservative" or "extremist", with abuse - subtle and not so subtle.

The writer Shelley Gare has delved into the subtle method of abuse in a series of essays and a fine lecture to the Sydney Institute on Tuesday night on totschweigtaktik - the Austro-German word for "death by silence" which she describes as "an astonishingly effective tactic for killing off creative work or fresh ideas or even news stories. You don't criticise or engage with what's being said or produced or expressed; instead you deprive someone and their work or opinion of the oxygen of attention".

Progressives keep trying to redefine the centre in their own image, instead of adjusting their expectations and accepting the reality of a public far more entrenched in conservatism and commonsense than they can imagine.

Their attitude, based as it is on a fundamental dishonesty, leads them to all sorts of self-delusion, fakery and spin that works - because it's done well - but only temporarily. It has infected Labor's election campaign and has led it to the profound mistake of underestimating Tony Abbott, fundamentally misunderstanding who he is, and dismissing him for too long as a right-wing extremist, Neanderthal and religious zealot.

A symptom of the dripping contempt of the progressive left for people who don't think like them is typified by a letter to the editor yesterday from Wayne Duncombe of Glebe, blasting the "boganocracy" - "selfish, narrow-minded, grasping" voters, unlike his enlightened, sophisticated self. Cough. He obviously wants a Glebocracy where everyone drinks chai, wears tie-dye and rides a bike. What a way to win friends and influence people!

Progressives really believe that by willing something into being, by talking it up and writing about it and employing their combined brilliance they can somehow engineer a mass change in social sentiment. It is a core belief. But more and more the arguments run away from them.

They can belittle and shun people who refuse to accept the genius of their world view but they just make their enemies stronger because all the energy they expend on maintaining the charade that they represent the reasonable middle ground means they fail competently to perform their day jobs - say, running a democratic country.

Of course, an election campaign is the moment of unpalatable truth, and the way progressives have dealt with this one has been amusing. First, as the polls started blossoming for the "unelectable" Abbott, progressives began saying what a boring, dreary campaign it was when, in fact, it's the most startling campaign in living memory, what with Kevin Rudd being deposed by our first female prime minister, who was quickly replaced by Real Julia, now to be joined by the resurrected Rudd.

Rudd, by the way, seems none the worse for wear after his gutting and gall bladder removal, other than the fact he now refers to himself in the third person, as "K Rudd" or "KM Rudd" or "myself" as in "the rolling political controversy about myself".

But do the new generation of faceless men and women, the Arbibs, Bitars, Shortens and Feeneys, read no Shakespeare? If they had any literary or spiritual leanings they might have known that the overthrow of a first-term prime minister for no clear reason was rife with bad karma. Now, belatedly, they've figured it out by looking at the polls, which are really a lagging moral indicator. What they did was wrong. The electorate knows it and some people care enough to change their vote. It's no good whirling out Banquo now and saying, "He's OK, really. It's only a flesh wound."

Another amusing progressive approach has been to embrace the sniffy complaints from visiting British intellectuals that the quality of Australian political debate is dismal, low-rent, and no better than a "Strathclyde regional council" meeting. This became a favourite topic of chattering-class dinner parties last week, justification for the fact the promised golden age of progressive politics had been an illusion, and the death warrant for the dreaded neo-conservatism premature.


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