Media Circus: Heatwave edition

Discussion starters for 2013’s first media circus:

  • approx 100 people missing in Tasmania’s bushfire emergency; not-quite-record high temperatures are causing spot fires around the nation. Stay safe, everybody.
  • Andrew Elder is unimpressed by some efforts to gee up the left:

    Abbott cannot convince anyone that any policy area would be better managed by him and his crew than by the incumbents. That’s why they can’t and won’t win. It’s in the media’s interests to pretend it’s a tight race and that there is intense political competition, but there isn’t really. The competition isn’t there – people who follow politics see it now, and those who don’t follow politics closely will see it when they choose to look, which will most likely happen closer to the election.

  • Don’t piss off John McAfee.
  • Kudos to Belvoir Street Theatre for their Peter Pan giveaway for single parents who’ve just been moved on to Newstart:

    At Belvoir we think theatre is a necessity, but we know that for a lot of families it is a luxury, especially for single parent families. With over 80,000 single parents moved from a parenting payment to Newstart on 1 January things are that little bit harder.

    We’d like to share the joy of theatre with some of these families. We’re offering a complimentary ticket for one adult and one child to see Peter Pan for families who have been moved onto Newstart. We have limited availability for a small number of performances so get in touch as soon as you can.

What’s piqued your media interests lately?

As usual for media circus threads, please share your bouquets and brickbats for particular items in the mass media, or highlight cogent analysis or pointed twitterstorms etc in new media. Discuss any current sociopolitical issue (the theme of each edition is merely for discussion-starter purposes – all current news items are on topic!).

Categories: culture wars, economics, media, parties and factions

Tags: , ,

11 replies

  1. Pam Spaulding reminds the US that it’s not just India which has a toxic rape culture: Our homegrown pro-rape culture is out and proud – from Steubenville to the expiration of VAWA
    I know when I was attending high school in two different parts of NSW, there were rumours about girls who had “taken part in gang-bangs” with football teams. Those girls were shunned and slut-shamed. In retrospect I deduce that they were almost certainly group-raped after being stupefied with alcohol, but nobody used that word (at least not in front of me) at the time.
    I sadly don’t think that those attitudes have changed much, or at least not enough.

  2. Most of the MSM is leading its heatwave coverage with footage of coastal capitals, especially Sydney and Melbourne. Inland areas, i.e. those which will have the highest temperatures and which are at most risk of catastrophic bushfires are getting hardly a mention. Not even Canberra is getting much of a mention, I guess because the Press Gallery season has yet to get back into full swing.
    I’m not looking forward to a 43C day here in Sydney, but I’m in the inner west, so the worst thing that is likely to happen to me is a power outage as everybody runs their A/C at full bore. One of my sibs also lives and works in the inner-west, the other works in the heart of Newcastle and lives well away from the bushy fringe, as do my parents. I have a niece in the Blue Mountains and many family friends there, and the Blue Mountains historically has an appalling record for bushfires – those communities are the ones who are far more likely to be affected than any of us here on the urban coast.
    I’m not asking reporters to put themselves at unnecessary risk by going into fire zones just to report a story. I just don’t see why the editorial choices on graphics and stock footage accompanying these stories can’t be more representative of who is actually facing the worst risk.

  3. I find it fascinating that there’s all this coverage of the heatwave over east… we had it over here in WA in the week between Christmas and New Year (indeed, it was bracketed by those days – started Christmas Day, ended New Year’s Day) and got approximately one small note on the ABC. Same heatwave, but it’s reached the east coast, and now there’s a “live” weather update ”heatwave tracker” on the ABC, and loads of media panic.
    Meanwhile, it’s forecast to hit 40C here in Perth again, and this time it’s humid with it (which is unusual on this coast). So I’m going to be back to my usual routine – up well before the worst of the heat (it’s only about a quarter to seven at the moment) to close all the east-facing windows and blinds, had a nice cool shower and dressed in my lightest possible clothing (sarong and underwear), then settling in with a lot of cold water and the fan going.

    • I was certainly looking for news about Perth and the heatwave during that week, Meg, and I did see mention of it fairly frequently but almost always only as an item within the general weather forecast segment (brief exception for some of your fires, but they seemed to being managed too effectively to be bumped up to a major segment of their own).
      The disparity is at least partly down to last week’s western heatwave being eclipsed by the usual Xmas/NYE suspects which are now behind us, but of course there’s also the traditional overlooking of the west by the eastern media.
      I plan to test my gym’s A/C out once I finish the draft site I’m setting up, but otherwise it will be a quiet exercise in puddling.

  4. We get the same thing in Adelaide all the time. The news trumpets about ‘oh the horror’ it’s 40C in Melbourne today, but never seems to notice that the day before it was actually hotter in Adelaide.
    Apparently Oodnadatta, which is a small town in the far north of SA (and holds the most reliable record for hottest maximum temperature anywhere in the country ever), had its seventh straight day above 45C yesterday. I’d like to know how they’re coping with that.

  5. I saw a newsclip last night of the lady mayor of a place in Tassie which has been impacted by fires asking people who were tourists (just waiting for cars was her phrase) to please catch the ferry to the mainland (?) so that the community could get on with dealing with the fire threat and destruction. She pointed out that they had to worry about themselves now and that they had opened their homes and their freezers to help the tourists but now many of their own homes were in danger of burning down.
    Of course the newsclip then went on to show people surrounding her abusing her for her request, calling for her to be sacked and telling her ‘it’s not your personal tradgedy’ (she pointed out that in fact, it was [since it impacted her much more than the tourists whose holidays were cut short – my words]).
    I couldn’t help but think that she was being abused for not being the caring sharing person she was expected to be. I strongly suspect that a male mayor would not have copped the same abuse.

  6. I’m not asking reporters to put themselves at unnecessary risk by going into fire zones just to report a story. I just don’t see why the editorial choices on graphics and stock footage accompanying these stories can’t be more representative of who is actually facing the worst risk.

    IIRC even during the very bad Victorian bush fires far more people died of heat related stress/illness during the heat wave in city/urban areas than died from the fires in the outer suburbs and rural areas. It’s just that fire related deaths and damage get a lot more press. The warnings and advice for city dwellers are very important – it’s good to hear a lot more coverage around encouraging people to check in on elderly/vulnerable people.

  7. Mint the Coin | Slate
    By Matthew Yglesias
    The silly but totally legitimate loophole that lets the Obama administration avert the debt-ceiling showdown with a $1 trillion platinum coin.

  8. Re: heatwave footage, I think it’s mostly to do with trying to look at the most common experience for the target viewing audience. Most of them aren’t going to be fleeing their homes or fighting a bushfire, most will be in cities or at beaches, complaining about how hot it is, and so that’s what is shown.
    Brickbats to Joel Fitzgibbon, for going with the dole bludgers line on welfare.


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