Media Circus: Silly Season edition

So, Federal Parliament in Australia has gone into the year-end hiatus following the summer sittings. They’ll be back for the autumn sittings in February/March.

For those of us not living in Queensland, antics in Canberra overshadowed some truly extraordinary shenanigans in Brisbane’s state parliament, and now they’ve gone into hiatus until February as well.

In the USA’s 2nd session of the 112th Congress, there’s still two more weeks of scheduled sessions for the HoR before their winter holiday recess. Obviously, the fiscal cliff debates are casting a pall over Washington. The 1st session of the 113th Congress will convene briefly on January 3rd-4th, then return to their constituencies for a week, then return to DC for a 2-week work session bracketing the Presidential inauguration on January 21st.

In the UK, Parliament is in session until December 20th and returns on January 7th. Responses to the Leveson Report are likely to continue to feature prominently, and the child s*x abuse investigations associated with Jimmy Savile are marching on.

Around the world, various other legislative bodies are going into either a short winter or a long summer hiatus over the year-end. The media in countries where the summer recess has already begun can look forward to a break from relentless partisan spin for a good month or more (there’ll still be some rumblings, of course); the media in countries where the winter recess has yet to begin will be lucky to get a quieter week or so between the solstice and the New Year.

Depending on what happens over the next few weeks, this particular Media Circus thread could well see us through until January.

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 elsewhere, on 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, media, parties and factions

Tags: , ,

21 replies

  1. Detainee condemns ‘slaughterhouse’ Nauru

    Australian Human Rights Commissioner Professor Gillian Triggs, who has been granted permission to visit the Nauru detention centre, says Mehdi’s comments are “very, very disturbing”.
    “If the facts are anything close to the way they’re described, then we really are in very serious breach of our obligations,” she said.
    Professor Triggs plans to film conditions inside the facility to provide objective evidence of what it is like and to avoid suggestions her impressions of the centre are inaccurate.
    Her main concerns are two-fold – that asylum seekers are not having their refugee claims processed, and that there is now a significant difference in how people are being treated in offshore centres as opposed to those released into the Australian community on bridging visas.

  2. tigtog @ 1 – It’s such an appalling situation. No doubt like before though that the government will hide behind rules around privacy of detainees to deny the request to do any filming. They don’t want to risk humanising them in the eyes of the public.

    • There’s an astonishing beat-up in the Terrorgraph, if you haven’t seen it already: ’Party time’ as PM called a ‘hero’ over asylum-seeker detention policies

      ASYLUM seekers in Indonesia have swung into party mode and labelled Julia Gillard a “hero” after learning they will receive welfare payments and rent assistance should they make it to Australia by boat.
      The wannabe citizens are ecstatic the government has conceded detention centres are beyond maximum capacity and that asylum seekers would need to be released into the community while their applications for refugee status were processed.
      They would be given financial and housing support – as well as free basic health care – a massive boost from their current financial status in Indonesia where many are struggling to afford food.
      However the asylum seekers, based in Puncak, 80km from Jakarta, said they feared Liberal leader Tony Abbott would be successful in his bid to become prime minister.

  3. This is weird, listening to Alan Jones apologise for his comments re Barbara Ramjan,who is not “some lady from far away places and distant times” (how odd) “but is indeed a woman of distinction”, married to a former supreme court judge no less…. Reminds me of that scene in A Fish Called Wanda where John Cleese is hung by his feet out a window and gives a fulsome apology for any offense…
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  4. Certain elderly members of the U.S. Democrats and Republicans clinging to Congressional leadership well into their seventies and eighties is far too reminiscent of the early 1980s Soviet gerontocracy where no one who hadn’t fought in WWII was considered good enough for a leadership spot so you had the [redacted] position of elderly pensioners on dialysis commanding a superpower.

  5. Well, many many media folk in the UK and around the world will be extremely happy to learn the news that the Duchess of Cambridge really is pregnant at last. That’s their business plan for the next few years sorted out, pretty much.

  6. I object to newspapers trying to tell me how to think – even though it’s much more attuned to my political leanings, I don’t even like it when The Guardian does it. I feel very strongly that a good newspaper should be presenting you with the information to make up your own mind, not pushing their own particular agenda. The Daily Mail masquerades as something more upmarket than the tabloids, but the only real difference is its appearance and an increased word count.

  7. Speaking of the Daily Mail, The New Statesman weighs in with ’11 Surprising Revelations in the Daily Mail’s anti-Leveson hatchet job’. I defy you to get to the end without giggling.

  8. Suzanne Venker’s nostalgia piece is risible.

  9. Heard on the radio this morning

    Congratulations to Prince William whose wife Kate is pregnant.

    Not to the happy couple, but to the royal sperm provider. FFS.
    Also this talk of a ‘wheelchair bound’ woman who interrupted the PM. I complained that unless she was actually tied into the wheelchair they shouldn’t be calling her wheelchair bound.

  10. The whole Kate is pregnant thing is making me feel slightly queasy, in that it’s another reminder that the bodies of pregnant women are widely perceived as public property; this whole effect is dialled up to ten when the pregnant person happens to also be part of the royal family. I’m sure that if I was vomiting my guts up, the LAST thing I’d want is all the international media talking about it — alongside all the “helpful” polls about what she and William should name the baby. Also, if it happens that she loses the pregnancy, she’ll not be allowed to process it privately; she’ll be obliged to engage in public grieving — and unlike other women in the UK, she won’t have the option of terminating the pregnancy on account of her health.

  11. Presuming that all goes well with the pregnancy and also the monarchy continues, Wills & Catherine’s sprog will be the first person who is in the direct line of succession that I am unlikely to see become our monarch.

  12. @Tom, except for Charles?

  13. Exactly. I mean that I mostly likely won’t be alive when the Prince/Princess fetus becomes King/Queen

  14. I was making a joke about the unlikeliness of Charles ever attaining the hollow crown.

    • I guess I failed to see it because I can’t see a single reason why he won’t succeed his mother. She comes from long-lived stock, but so does Charles. On a purely statistical basis, and with a few weighting factors given his dedication to an organic healthy life of outdoorsing whenever possible, I’d expect to see him on the throne for at least a decade.

  15. From this article about The Pregnancy and hyperemesis gravidarum in the West Australian:

    The only upside to this natural phenomenon is that it shows the mother’s hormones have gone into overdrive preparing for the baby.

    What? Be grateful for your constant vomiting because it just shows your body is trying really hard to be pregnant?

  16. Mr Denmore has summed up the year in Australian political media coverage:

    [E]very story is beaten up to within an inch of its life to attract straying eyeballs and every Opposition press release is treated as headline news without an inch of scrutiny. And it’s not just the Death Star (News Ltd) doing this. The ABC is among the worst culprits, treating as news the most self-serving spin from the party machine.
    Social media can’t replace journalism as we knew it. But journalism as we knew it can’t exist anymore because there isn’t a business model to support it. That means journalists have to get smarter and work with the new communications technologies not against them. And that means more collaboration and curation and less of the assumption that they are the voice of god. It means they are going to have fall out of love with the idea of One or Two Big Narratives (Left vs Right) and realise there are millions of them. Finally, they are going to have stop trying to force every event into a prestructured view of the world that suits the ideological and commercial interests of their publisher.

    Read the whole thing – it’s a corker.

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