How not to report a rally…

The Murdoch press have a problem (well, many, but let’s stick to the climate one). I’m not talking about the irony that NewsCorp is keen – in other countries – to boast about its “zero carbon” credentials. I’m talking about its hysterical attacks on the Greens and its grotesquely slanted news “stories,” endless fact-free opinion pieces by the Andrew Bolts and David Penberthies of this world, and the publishing of every denialist letter (usually spouting stuff that has already been disproved a thousand times over) that gets sent in, while ignoring letters sent in that correct the published lies.

Reality does have a nasty habit of impinging, and a recent university-based research project shows that only 5.8% of the Australian population can be described as denialists (reported here). This despite the best efforts of Rupert’s minions. People aren’t as stupid as he wants them to be.

Yesterday, as readers will know, tens of thousands of Australians rallied for a carbon tax. What to do?? You can’t just do a straight news report… Fortunately there are some tried and trusted methods to use,and today’s Advertiser puts them on display.

It’s a useful lesson for anyone who wants to climb the greasy pole… On page 3 you run a story based on a poll of 500 people (not many, is it. I thought most polls needed to be a thou?)

[UPDATE: And you spin it as an “Advertiser poll”, when it was actually commissioned by the (Murdoch-owned) Daily Telegraph in Sydney! For more on this, and the dodginess of these polls, see Crikey’s “taxing credulity” post here.]

You ask some classic ‘hip-pocket’ questions and get the results you were hoping for. Do NOT frame the questions along the lines of “Do you believe that man-made climate change is happening?” “If other countries are taking action, should Australia” The results will come out differently, and will not be reportable, on page 3 or anywhere else.
[The other advantage of a poll like this is climate trolls who are too stupid to know the difference between a poll about the carbon tax and a poll about climate change causation can parade it as ‘proof’ that acceptance of man-made climate change is collapsing. (Either too stupid or completely lacking a basic respect for facts and science; I neither know nor care.)]

So, once you’ve got your page 3 anti-carbon tax story done, you can then bury the report of the local rally on, oh, I don’t know… page 19?

And you can write inaccurate gibberish like “Australia trails more than 30 European countries in pollution.” And you can call the rally “peaceful” – planting the idea in readers’ heads that other rallies have involved greenies smashing windows and bringing down Western Civilisation.

Simples. From the simple-minded, who have a responsibility to report on the reality, but are too busy serving the ideological whims of a gerontocrat. What a species.


3 Comments to “How not to report a rally…”

  1. From lunch time figures, about 10,000 people turned out in Sydney, 10,000 in Melbourne, and perhaps 3000 here!
    A lot of young and vital people evident with a notable 17 yo keynote speaker here.

    We all got letter box drops for our neighbours with the aim of contacting 1,000,000, 000 today.

    The sad thing in all of this is that it is not bipartisan, that Tony Abbott has backed himself into a corner by saying Julia Gillard is a turn coat and has changed her mind – now he cannot (or will not)change his.

    We don’t have to be stuck with Tony Abbott. He has done his damage, let’s not have him stand in the way of necessary change in the face of disaster.

    Australia is 8th on the list of the big polluters per capita around the world, 50% of the sea borne coal hails from here.

    We must put a price on pollution, the only way to start to make changes to what we do.

    The scare mongering of what a carbon Tax will cost – 31 other countries or states have one, including NZ – will be nothing like the cost of doing nothing. Abbott’s direct action is laughable.

    I have sent this before, but if you did not have a look, do take the time..

    In the meantime don’t listen to the lies of the big polluters. And let’s give Abbott the arse – all it needs is lousy media polls and he is gone!
    That was my take on yesterday – appalled at The Advertiser today.
    So impressed with your comments

  2. Even my sheep dog, Border Collie, Annie Laurie is up to speed:

    “Dad,” I asked, “What is global warming.”
    He looked at me in a serious way and began an amazing story:
    “Once upon a time there was Adam and Eve, just two people on earth. Eve ate an apple and just by doing that was able to have some children with Adam. The children fell upon each other and had more – for a long while they were inbred and started to get deformities, like two heads, but Mungo man came along and married one of the daughters, with one head, who had several other children, one of them called Abram. God stepped in and told her she could not spell, that it was Abraham.
    They were living around the Red Sea at the time and God came to Abraham, himself, and said, “Count the stars and have that many children.”
    He got to about 150 before he stopped counting to get on about the job at hand, thinking he could always come back and count some more if he needed to.
    He and his wife were still at it when she was ninety, and he ninety nine. Of course Abraham knocked off a few maids to make all this come true. Only a few women could have more than ninety children – he had counted to 150, they needed hundreds, by God!
    Moses was next on the scene and he could see, by then, that the place was getting overcrowded so he yelled out to God, “This place is getting into a stuffing mess, what do you want me to do?”
    He said, “Gather up as many children of pubescent age as you can and get to hell out of there before there is mass starvation and Mrs. God sees it and gets stuck into me about the mess – cross the Red sea and do some multiplying there.”
    ”What, on a calculator?” I asked. “No, you silly noong, they could hardly count in those days – multiplying was meant to mean ‘have tonnes of babies.’”
    “That was a bit after the time of the real start of the planet and all things big, bright and beautiful arrived – the of the big bang time – about 10,000 years ago when God said, “lets design something intelligently.” That was really when everything first happened, when God plonked our species and all the others on earth. He said it was to be called, or Gaia if you were a bit smart,
    He could not have been that intelligent himself for, as you can see, soon there were people everywhere, begetting and begating and not dying off as fast as they were begating.
    They became the hordes and quickly infested the planet, using things like fire and taming horses to rule the land. They developed agriculture to become strong, bows and arrows so they could kill each other, but still the begating was faster than the killing, the more they killed the more they begat – they even invented rape so that they could begat even better.
    They got so out of hand that around 1400 AD God sent down the Black Death to sort a few of them out and it knocked a hole in about 50% of the population. The planet got a breather and took about 150 years to catch up to about 450 million people before the plague.
    By the turn of the 1900 century there were around 2 billion people on earth – that’s more than apples you can fit in a bag.
    Things were looking grim as they all had horses that left behind mountains of manure.
    We would have long ago perished under it but, I will try to keep this short, one day a chap called Eric the Red found some black stuff coming out of the ground and tossed a fire stick into it, it caught alight. God said to him, “That is oil, I put it there for you to use, it will never run out if you are prudent. It will stop you dying under the horse shit, and by the way, I am sorry for sending down the Black Plague, Mrs. God was on my back to do something, and I just did the first thing that came into my mind, it is not as though Earth is the only place I have to look after, I should have used the pox, or chook flu, or pig’s disease. I will know better next time.”
    Eric the Red thought prudent meant to tell everyone about it, did, and they all began digging holes trying to find it. And they did, almost everywhere, and they got stuck about using it flat out.
    Especially a Mr. Ford who got a message from God, too, to make a motor car and smarter than Mr. Watt, who only made steam engines, used some oil to get it going. It went like the clappers and men were now free. It was a lucky move as they could also make tanks to kill each other by blowing them to smithereens: still they out begated the killing machines.
    The people had a couple vicious wars in the first half of the century and wiped out more than a few, but the exercise was largely a failure as the humans bred on, getting more and more and eventually there were no new frontiers on earth, people were everywhere, farming, deforesting, fishing, up the mountains, down the valleys, in the rivers, crapping in them, tossing out waste that was made in big factories that spewed out CO2. They drove around in ever bigger and bigger cars all spewing out the same stuff and had a phrase that said, “Go for Growth, and cut down the trees,” and did.
    Slowly the planet started kicking up a stink, the ice caps began to melt, there was less and less run off from the mountains, big cities began to have water shortages, there were rainy days when it should have been fine and snow fell in the wrong places. Bushfires burnt out houses built where forests once stood, but no one minded as they thought it was only a hiccup and not a catastrophe that I could see.
    The scientists did start to worry and sent out smoke signals but were called idiots, dreamers and parasites. The governments also tried to do something about it but could not make up their minds what they wanted to do, for if they upset the coal industry, for example, those people would not give money for them to fight their political wars. Taxes were thought the way to go, get into the little people, don’t go to the cause of the thing, the little people, the you and me’s are accustomed to being the brunt of bad decision making and will welcome it?
    Nearly all the countries in the world got together in a place called Copenhagen, a bit north of where all this started, the Dead Sea, to make out they would try to fix it – stop this pollution thing, pull back on the population, get rid of cars and wars.
    It was a farce for the poorer countries, those with the bigger populations, like India where 67,000,000 live in slums, or China where 150,000,000 live below the poverty line said, “Bugger that, we want cars, the eccentricity connected to our house, we want a McDonald Hamburger joint on every corner, so you can all go and get stuffed.”
    “Bloody Hell, Dad, that is frightening, isn’t there something we can do before we all turn on ourselves or God has to send down the chicken’s pox?” I asked.
    There is and it is simple, we have to stop breeding for awhile and let the old ones like me, and you drop off the twig – I know our age group (not dogs) is largely responsible for this mess so we should die, and we will, but in the meantime, first thing I would cut down all the apple trees, then I would put a contraceptive, that works on both males and females, in bottled water. That would have a blunting affect, and before they wake up to that I would put it in the main water supplies, spread it on the snow peaks. That way, only those smart enough to be independent, not to drink bottled water, to have their own water supplies could breed, as we still need some breeding.
    Once the population drops to about what it was in 1900 AD, around 2 billion and not head for the 9,000,000,000 expected mid this century will we be safe.
    “Well,” I said to Dad, “How do you want me to help?”
    “Thank you Annie for being so caring, I want you to spread the message, for if we don’t pull our heads in we will be cactused.”
    I will, I have just told Schooner (Scott and Freddie’s dog), who is out here to stay and I am writing to you at the close of 2009 for your help, too.”
    Annie Laurie
    ©K.D, Afford Dec 27 / 2009

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