Wednesday’s Missing Link


Victorian fires – Photo: Cameron Quinten, an Age reader

The death of former Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet, Howard’s citizenship test, the DLP winning two seats in Victorian’s Upper House courtesy of ALP preferences(!!!), the latest Newspoll  and the Victorian bushfires are the most common topics of blog conversation over the last couple of days.   But there’s much more besides.   Diversity is a key feature of the Australian blogosphere, much more so than the mainstream media.

Today I’ve got a special section on mainstream media dishonesty and dodginess.   It’s not an attempt to channel the ABC’s Media Watch program, it’s just that there happen to be several current blog posts that focus on various aspects of media behaviour, ethics and competence.

I also have a section titled “Life and other weighty stuff” which focuses on serious posts raising broader political issues within the context of  bloggers’ personal lives and experiences.    It’s an attempt (however half-baked) to  deal with some cogent arguments over at Larvatus Prodeo  to the effect that consigning those sorts of posts to a section called “whimsical stuff” (or whatever) was devaluing their importance, while also  retaining a “news and politics” section for stories that equate with  the way  the mainstream media  classifies them.   I’m not out to challenge paradigms by publishing Missing Link, just make the blogosphere accessible to a general audience that  hasn’t realised that the blogosphere really does present a genuine and wide-ranging alternative source of news, comment and analysis to the MSM.

Incidentally, David ‘Barista’  Tiley covers the  Murdoch group’s  outrageously self-interested  copyright terms governing photos submitted by readers (see below).   Missing Link would welcome any original  news-related photos that  readers might wish to submit  which could illustrate stories here.   Unlike  some parts of the MSM, we promise to acknowledge you and you will retain copyright (we only need a non-exclusive licence to reproduce your photo here with acknowledgment).  


News and politics stuff

Howard’s citizenship test

Pinochet’s death

  • James Farrell  and Eric Martin (here and here  – the latter focuses on retrospective spin doctoring of US assistance to Pinochet), all have posts on the subject that are worth taking the time to read.   Eric also leads one of his posts with a quote that merits contemplation:

1evisionists are like”¦insurgents: they don’t need to disprove the truth, they need only to make you think that the truth and a lie are equal possibilities-they just need to stop the truth from winning, in other words.

Spencer Ackerman

The DLP lives!

  • Courtesy of ALP preferences (have the apparatchiks learnt nothing from their role in  the unmerited accession of Steve Fielding and fundies first to sometime Senate balance of power), the DLP’s astonishing winning of two seats in Victoria’s Upper House (forewshadowed here at Missing Link a couple of days ago) is covered by The Poll Bludger, Anonymous Lefty (here and here – the latter suggests electoral reform proposals), Aaron Hewett  and  Rex Ringschott.
  • But Andrew Landeryou reports that “ALP strategists are convinced now that the VEC has made a serious error in the northern metropolitan count. It appears that there might be an issue with the calculation of Democrats preferences. VEC sources tell the OC they have hired hundreds of people for re-counting tomorrow”.

Latest Newspoll


Rudd on the campaign trail – courtesy Andrew Landeryou’s blog
  • Rudd’s honeymoon period (on top of Beazley’s ironically  strong-ish polling) is reflected in the latest Newspoll,  comprehensively analysed by Aussie Bob, Tim Dunlop and Bryan Palmer.

Blogging the bushfires

Two weeks ago I woke up to a familiar smell. Our bedroom window faces north, and I could smell gum tree logs burning – a scent I’m addicted to, of hearth fires and campfires and barbequeues outdoors.

Except it wasn’t. …

I heard about the backburning operations in the Mountains, but didn’t realise until I saw this picture at the Herald that they had actually back-burnt through the Blue Gum. This is utterly scandalous as the Blue Gum forest, while just off the escarpment at Blackheath, is a long, long, way from houses. …

Other news and politics stuff

As Andrew Bolt reminds us today, groupthink is the besetting sin of the left and the intelligentsia: people like Robert Manne. In today’s Age Manne is calling on the intelligentsia to groupthink for Rudd. Well, that’s how Andy puts it.

Some people are immune to group think, either because of personality and temperament …

I can only claim the protection conferred by personality and temperament I’m complete crap as a team player. …

Apparently the USA was just about to withdraw all its troops from Iraq, till suddenly Alexander Downer (MP) talked them out of it …

The Age reports on a new advertisement by the ambulance service, the coroner’s office and the State Government, to try to warn young Victorians away from using party drugs …

So, this is the problem: young people are apparently dying because fear of police involvement stops their friends getting help in time.

Can anyone think of an obvious and effective solution to the above problem? …

  1. Don’t run blindly after Howard in a vain attempt not to get “wedged”. No one will respect you for it. Wherever possible, drive the wedge back the other way.
  2. Never accept Howard’s characterisation of the Labor Party as poor economic managers. Did 13 years under Labor amount to nothing more than poor economic management?! How offensive is that! When Howard carps on about 17% interest rates, remind him of the vexed issue of housing affordibility and rising debt levels under his watch. Wedge him! …

… Electorally, being a “Howard-hater” is poison, as people on the left have to realise their side needs to win votes of people who currently vote for Howard. I don’t know if it has any serious Howard-hating tendencies, but the ALP needs to let go of any if it wants to win the next election. “Howard-hating” seems to have some relations with “Bush-hating” – neither are useful approaches to inform serious politics.

Every time I think the Howard government has gone too far, the whole creaky ship sails through the roiling ocean of political outrage into some lagoon of public indifference.

But this incident might be different, because it involves lawyers, it is neatly contained, it touches the public service, it affects Labor loyalists directly, and it has an untidy trail into Asian crime. … 2


Life and other weighty stuff

  • A woman’s work – Cristy continues a superb series of posts from various bloggers (see Monday’s Missing Link) on issues surrounding women and fertility, pregnancy, miscarriage etc.
  • Your gold teeth – Phil muses about Medibank Private’s dwindling reimbursement scale, co-delivery of services and (disturbingly) his dentist’s competence while getting his teeth filled.
  • System of a down – Phil muses about bureaucratic culture while bored shitless in an interminably boring work meeting.
  • Food politics – Steve Edney casts a sceptical eye over the alleged virtues of organic food, fiar trade coffee and locally grown produce.  
  • Bring in the real women – Tigtog

Repellent, it appears, is the mot-de-semaine:

I think American society would benefit greatly if we got rid of all the Sara Jessica Parker wannabe stinky swanks and sent them to the deepest arm pits of Africa. We should then bring in real women from all over the world who would know how to treat a man and let the man handle the finances. …


Media dishonesty and dodginess

  • Andrew Bolt: Measure of a man – “D.W. Griffith” comprehensively demolishes “Australia’s  most controversial  columnist” (apparently ‘controversial’ is a synonym for ‘ignorant dickhead’ in Murdoch-speak)    for a totally misconceived slag of blogging economist Andrew Leigh.   Mind you, Bolt’s own comment box contributors also did a pretty good job of demolishing his argument (such as it was).
  • Arrogance – David Tiley highlights the Murdoch Empire’s harsh and onerous (unconscionable bargain?)  copyright conditions governing reader-submited photos (essentially they own them and can do whatever they like, and the submitting reader has no rights whatever).
  • Anti-football conspiracy part 2 – Guido exposes a seeming conspiracy  between the Nine Network and Melbourne’s 3AW to denigrate the national soccer league (for which Nine doesn’t have the  broadcast rights)  by  running a derogatory interview with 3AW’s sports director masquerading as a “frightened” fan.  
  • Miranda Devine’s deafening silence – Darryl Mason reveals his so-far-futile quest to discover the  identity of  the alleged  “3 commentators 4 describe the deteriorating situation in Iraq as ‘satisfying’ …  


Mad bad sad and  glad

‘Blogging, the Nihilist Impulse’
public lecture by Geert Lovink  …

In the introduction Geert Lovink will give an overview of the Institute of Network Cultures in Amsterdam which he founded in 2004, emphasizing possible Euro-Australian collaborations. He will then present the main thesis of his upcoming book ‘No Comments’, a General Theory of Blogging that investigates the ‘nihilist impulse’ behind all the ranking, linking and commenting. Blogs should not be reduced to news. Instead, the mass drift to write online diaries should be seen as a defence mechanism to zero-out mainstream media and create a space for contemplation and confession. …

There’s a reason why people hate young drivers. Particularly young, male drivers.

It’s because so many of them drive like dickheads. …

  • Trendy names – Andrew Leigh (whose wife is  pregnant with  their first child)  conducts a semi-academic exploration of  the most popular kid’s names, including those whose popularity is increasing and comes up with the counter-cyclical  solution of choosing a name whose popularity is on the decline, presumably so there won’t be too many children at its school with the same one.   I expect Saddam or Osama should be pretty safe choices if it’s a boy.
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About Ken Parish

Ken Parish is a legal academic, with research areas in public law (constitutional and administrative law), civil procedure and teaching & learning theory and practice. He has been a legal academic for almost 20 years. Before that he ran a legal practice in Darwin for 15 years and was a Member of the NT Legislative Assembly for almost 4 years in the early 1990s.
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17 years ago

sets himself a logically tough challenge of convincing us that Australians mostly don’t even know we have a written constitution but are uninspired by it just the same.

That was the Tele article which had that poll, which was from 1987 too, prior to the Republican referendum which had a lot of public focus on the constitution. I think data was cherry picked in the tele article.

Macintyre has a point though our constitutional isn’t inspirational.

Gummo Trotsky
Gummo Trotsky
17 years ago

Heh! Thought that piece on Dorothy Dixers would get you in, Ken.

Just shows to go you what a valuable little service this is – gives us hobby satirists a bit of motivation to give the writing that little bit of an extra polish.

17 years ago

I love our Constitution. There is no doubt that I am inspired by it, and by the success it has had, as a Constitution, and engendered, in Australia.

The best piece I found on Pinochet actually came from the mainstream media (but via instapundit, which kinda gets me back in blogger-cred land). Even slightly-lefty mainstream media, to boot!

The stuff about media bias/double standards/whatever is all much of a muchness. First, you could write exactly the same series of pieces about lefty msm ‘dickheads’ (Terry Lane, Ramsey, even Colebatch when he writes about tax reform – btw, what rights does Fairfax give photo contributors?). Secondly, and relatedly, it reads to me as if the point is to demonstrate right-wing bias in the media – a theme beloved to some, I know, but one that anyone interested in productive debate ought to simply abandon. I personally think the media is hopelessly left-biased, but I have given up saying it or arguing it or making anything of it. If you think the media is incompetent, that’s fine (you will often have a good point!) but if you think they are biased, then you can just about be certain that your comments are exclusively for the converted.

17 years ago

Minor thing – the particular post of mine you’ve linked to under “Pinochet” should probably be under “Citizenship test” instead. Cheers Ken!

17 years ago

All your houses belong to us – Aaron Hewett reports on the Iemma government’s plans to make the legislative Council “more democratic”

17 years ago

I think it’s going really well. Certainly pops Crikey’s list right in the shade. I wouldn’t be surprised if they tried to “outsource” to you, the way they say they have “outsourced” their economic commentary to the Henry Thornton site.

17 years ago

And something you might like to consider for inclusion – a series of excellent recent posts by just-awarded-her-PhD-with-no-corrections dogpossum, writing about history, dance, coolness and the blues.

James Farrell
James Farrell
17 years ago

That was a good post from Andrew Elder. I tried to say so on his blog, but there is some strange password system I haven’t seen before. No wonder he gets few comments.

17 years ago

Thanks for the link, Ken. I just want to clarify that the bit about “real women” is a quote from a repellent troglodyte, not from me.

The new title for the non-news-politics section is a vast improvement too.

17 years ago

No worries, Ken. I saw your intent, but recently I’ve seen much clearer (IMO) telegraphing be entirely ignored. I’m probably overly concerned due to lurking in various Stateside blogs where hundreds-strong comment threads are regularly generated by simple misunderstandings.