Media Circus: Abbott’s got nothing to hide edition

Discussion starters for this edition of the circus:

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: , ,

27 replies

  1. I think this might be one of those weeks where I mainly drop links here so I can find them later.
    Salon: The NRA’s War on Gun Science

  2. I was thinking this morning that he is becoming a bit Teflon Tony. Is it because we don’t really believe that he could become PM, that White Knight Turnbull will come and save us from an Abbot PMship?

    • Piers Akerman is trolling for feminist hate-links with his latest column. Not linking, although I note his rather clumsy elision footwork in this portion:

      Female labour force participation rate has stagnated, he found. Between April 1996 and November 2007, it increased from 53.8 per cent to 58.5 per cent. But Labor’s election basically stopped that rise, and five years on it still sits at 58.7 per cent.

      November 2007 you say, Piers? And what happened in December 2007? Something that Labor, and Gillard, had no control over, wasn’t it? And since the worst recession in a generation began, under this Labor government women’s labour force participation rate is now back up to the pre-GFC level? Fancy that.

  3. It’s called ‘truncating the y axis’, Tigtog, and it’s a classic misleading data presentation technique. There’s some very disturbing examples of this and others from Fox News on the Simply Statistics blog.
    Also on the subject of Tony Abbott, an interesting discussion which for some reason has ended up on the ABC religion page

  4. Alan Jones has been forced to issue a fauxpology for comments made in 2005 about Lebanese Muslims. I’m calling it a fauxpology because the only thing he acknowledges about what he said is that the comments weren’t lawful to say – no expression of contrition beyond “I’m sorry I got caught”, no mention of making amends, no mention of making an effort to avoid further such mistakes.
    Plus, of course, with the apology coming a whole seven years after the original comments were made, there’s really not much point to it.

  5. I was thinking this morning that he is becoming a bit Teflon Tony.

    The polls seem pretty clear that the public don’t like him much. It’s just that they hate Gillard/ALP more.

  6. And unlike the Australian Democrats, the Greens won’t be taking Senate seats from the LNP so there’s a higher chance of Tony winning control of the Australian Senate at some point.

  7. I know quite a bit of statistics, and that example isn’t truncating the y axis. It might be neglecting to label important events on the x axis (I’ve never seen years on a y axis).
    Not quite media circus, but very apropos “Abbott’s got nothing to hide”:

  8. @Aqua, you’re right, that is what we would commonly call the x axis. I clearly wasn’t thinking too carefully about that! But it’s definitely truncation. A very similar strategy is used in climate change denial. The idea is to find a period of time when something is happening that supports your argument and completely neglect to present the rest of the data which might show an entirely different story over the longer term or more recently.

  9. I’m delighted that Wayne Swan has finally confirmed that the next federal Budget will be a deficit and not a surplus. Evidence-based economic policy has prevailed. Of course, the ham-fisted handling of how Labor fell into the surplus-sacred-cow framing of the Opposition is now coming to bite them in the arse.

  10. Scott Ludlum and the Australian Greens whining about “U.S. copyright interests” is really starting to get on my male non-breasts.
    The Australian Greens do know that that the 1990s and ’00s copyright acts also helped lots of little people that had managed to stay independent of the majors, right?
    A lot of my main income comes from royalties from my copyrighted works and I have little to no tolerance for internet and offline users who wish to freeload off my and others’ work with no consequences.

    • It would help if you could provide a link so that others can see exactly what it is you’re referencing, Tom.
      There’s a very strong argument that copyright law has long since passed the point of substantive protection of independent intellectual property and moved into the arena of corporate appropriation of the common cultural heritage to the point where innovative creativity is being stifled. This is exactly why the Greens are seeking reform, so that the creators of today are more free to create new works for us to enjoy without being sued by monopolistic entertainment monoliths.
      The extension of copyright for ever more decades after the creator’s death helps only the corporations, do you not agree?

  11. You talk as if copyright only benefits the rich and powerful.
    The problem is that the rules of copyright don’t just protect George Lucas and Disney. They protect everyone.
    If we’re talking the old U.S. length of twenty-eight years as reasonable, anyone who wrote a novel in 1984 could have their work appropriated. Let’s be clear about this. A penniless author could have a big studio, like Disney, come along and take their story and make a fortune from it without the person who came up with the idea in the first place getting a penny. When they’re still alive. Personally speaking, I’m glad Dick King-Smith will have made some money from Babe and I’m not keen on a version of this world where that isn’t the case.
    Am I wrong to think that the person who came up with the concept in the first place deserves some form of remuneration? Even George Lucas. If someone else is trying to make money out of a concept that the creator came up with, why shouldn’t they be entitled to some of it? If something literally would not exist without you, I think you deserve it.
    Equally you rely on the spurious notion that it’s only corporations that benefit after death. Not true. It’s usually the estates of the author or even, in one famous case, a children’s hospital.

    • You talk as if copyright only benefits the rich and powerful.

      Sure, that’s why I mentioned substantive protection of independent intellectual property as a baseline for what was reasonable vs what is the currently accelerating overreach.

      If something literally would not exist without you, I think you deserve it.

      Every creative work builds on aspects of our shared cultural capital. There needs to be a balance between reasonable rewards for novel formulations and protecting the cultural capital itself from erosion by having swathes of it declared no-go areas for over a century in some cases just because someone stamps their name on their particular interpretation of some parts of it.
      I don’t have a hard opinion on exactly where that balance should fall, but more than 70 years beyond the death of an author seems way beyond reasonable rewards. That one particular author left his rights to fund a hospital does not negate that most of those vastly profitable extended deceased-estate copyrights reside with megacorporations who keep on lobbying for them to be extended further.
      Your turn of phrase is sounding very familiar. Perhaps I am misjudging you, but the following paragraph is blog policy, for the record.
      If one has commented here before under a different ‘nym, it’s only courteous to at least alert the moderators that this is the case. We don’t demand that the connection to a previous nym be made clear to the readers, but the moderators need to know so that they don’t mistake one for a sockpuppet or a vexatious morpher should they detect a connection to a previous commenting identity. If there have been stoushes in the past, particularly if those stoushes have been with the moderators, then trying to sneak back into the commentariat under a new byline smacks of potential malfeasance: we expect to be asked to give one another chance, not for one’s second chance to be clandestinely attempted.

  12. I think when the control of copyright goes to the adult grandchildren it is maybe time to put a limit on it. I don’t agree with some of the ridiculous things that go on in theatre for example when the rights to hold the show can be revoked because someone doesn’t like the director’s interpretation of the play. If the author is long dead then I think people have the right to their own interpretation.

  13. Copyright sits in an old gum tree,
    Welsh folk wrote that song for free,
    Add lyrics to it,
    Some one will do it,
    It’s now property.
    Dear GOD, can you imagine if Shakespeare had copyrighted his phrases? Oh SOD, how many medical professionals would feel really STUPID if the BBC asserted their rights over a certain word? Do you KNOW what the world would be like if the inventors of WIFI actually got paid for it? I hope Tom doesn’t have a wireless router, or use wifi on his mobile, otherwise he’d be the sort of pirate who he is railing against. Does it have rounded corners? Thank SOMEONE for the person who invented rounded corners on a device, otherwise they would literally have never had existed, because rounded corners are a fixed point in time, and the echoes would have erased my dice from thirty years ago and made them angular and less pleasant, and the world would have been changed in many tiny ways, just ask the butterflies.

    Thank God coffee isn’t copywritten copywrote part of the Rite of Ash Khente
    I give up

  14. With respect to copyright I think it’s worth stepping back for a moment and considering why we have copyright laws at all. The primary reason is not actually so authors can make money. It’s not intended as a retirement plan or as something that can be bequeathed to descendants.
    But instead it’s purpose is to encourage authors to publish so the public can access them. Copyright also has downsides in terms of generation of cultural works. Whilst a work falls under copyright no one else can base their work upon it without permission (read payment). The longer that copyright lasts, the greater the damage as many works are not created because authors are either unable to get permission or unable to afford to pay.
    So it’s a balancing act between the two and the copyright term should be set to maximise the amount of material generated. These days that probably means a shorter term of copyright than we historically have had. However I’d have no problems with something around 50 years (though I think it should be much shorter like 20 years), regardless of whether the author is alive or dead. They can save up for their retirement like everyone else does.

  15. I’ll just add that it’s worth posing the question that if we had a copyright term of 30 years instead of life of author + 70 – just how many authors out there would decide NOT to continue doing what they do or not get started in the first place? I suspect very few, if any.

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