The Australian as a dysfunctional group blog

After his first week of blogging back in 2002 John Quiggin observed that blogging "technology seems ideally suited for individuals and small groups, with no obvious way of scaling it up to corporate level."

Maybe he’s changed his mind. This week Quiggin suggests that The Australian makes more sense if you think of it as a right wing group blog than as a newspaper:

Looking at the Oz now, it’s easy to imagine it as a rightwing group blog that started up in the Triassic era of blogging (say 2002). Lines weren’t drawn so sharply then, so the contributors included some a bit more leftish or just less ideological than the group as a whole. Over time, some have been pushed out, and the others have been forced to demonstrate group solidarity on appropriate occasions, such as attack from the left.

By now however, a tribalist mode of groupthink has taken over the blog. Its members spend a lot of time reassuring each other that, in spite of all contrary evidence, they are right about everything. Even when they are demonstrably wrong on some particular point, they are still right in a way their opponents can never be. Conversely, no matter how bogus the argument, if it’s on the right side it has to be backed all the way.

It wasn’t always this way . Michael Stutchbury writes: "yours truly commissioned Quiggin (along with The Weekend Australian‘s Christopher Pearson) to write a column in The Australian Financial Review in the mid-1990s." As for Christopher Pearson, it’s hard to imagine him writing for the Fin now.

This entry was posted in Media, Metablogging. Bookmark the permalink.
334 Comments
Oldest
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Pedro
Pedro
10 years ago

That’s just nonsense from JQ. The Oz has the most balanced op-ed in the land. Seriously.

Lloyd
Lloyd
10 years ago

Seriously Pedro if you believe that you are as delusional as the journalists who write for the Oz.

Manne’s essay and his respoonse to Paul Kelly in The Monthly deconstruct beautifully the groupthink that applies on the Oz. The more they respond the sillier they look.

Dan
Dan
10 years ago

I think Pedro might have been kidding.

The Oz isn’t a newspaper so much as a neoliberal propoganda organ. Don’t know why people pay any attention to it (although it does run at a loss, so perhaps they don’t…)

conrad
conrad
10 years ago

“Don’t know why people pay any attention to it (although it does run at a loss, so perhaps they don’t…)”

Most people don’t — http://www.roymorgan.com/news/press-releases/2010/1205/ , and I would think a lot of that is preaching to the converted.

.
.
10 years ago

Do people take bloggers seriously now? I mean News is killing Fairfax.

Ken Parish
Admin
Ken Parish(@ken-parish)
10 years ago

“I mean News is killing Fairfax.”

Really? On the most recent circulation figures (duplicated for some years) all print newspapers are continuing to experience slowly falling circulation. However The Australian is at 129,985 weekdays while the SMH is at 209,500 and The Age is at 190,600. In other words the combined Fairfax broadsheet circulation is almost three times that of the Oz. Of course Murdoch also has lots of single city tabloids with larger circulations than any of the broadsheets, but you can’t make any comparisons in that segment because Fairfax simply don’t publish any general news tabloids.

Dan
Dan
10 years ago

“Do people take bloggers seriously now?”

Well, if you consider John Quiggin, Paul Krugman, and those types bloggers, yes.

Pedro
Pedro
10 years ago

No, not kidding. The Oz carries much more left opinion as a proportion of the op-ed pages than the SMH carries from the right.

“Well, if you consider John Quiggin, Paul Krugman, and those types bloggers, yes.”

That’s what’s lacking though, open minds.

Steve Dunera
Steve Dunera
10 years ago

The bleating about the media is over the top.

The Australian, that has published the well known ‘neo-liberal’ (whatever that means) Phillip Adams for years, supported Kevin Rudd for PM and has written numerous of op eds in favour of a C02 tax is not a right wing blog. How many right wing blogs give Tim Flannery multiple page spreads?

Compare this to The Wall Street journal and Fox News.

The Age, that publishes the well known Marxist Chris Berg and has columns by the far left Peter Costello and Amanda Vanstone is not an organ of international socialism.

Various Left Wing Bloggers have been attacking the Australian for years and the Australia will write back. What do they expect? It also seems to be good for readers. It’s surprising The Age hasn’t learnt and written something attacking Catallaxy. Mind you they do like to have a go at the IPA and CIS so perhaps they do that instead.

Similarly over Catallaxy there is regular attacks on The Guardian on the Yarra.

But who knows, maybe they’ll get their wish and Australia will be left with Metro style free newspapers and nothing else.

Ken Parish
Admin
Ken Parish(@ken-parish)
10 years ago

I certainly don’t have time to do a careful analysis of your claim pedro, but it certainly doesn’t accord with my subjective perceptions. If we simply take today’s online Oz and SMH as prima facie representative examples, here’s what we get:

The Australian

Mumble – Curse of better prime minister – Another fortnight, another terrible Newspoll for the Labor Party. (no identifiable ideological slant)

Jack The Insider – The real hunger in Australia’s food industry – The big hat loomed into view outside parliament and Bob Katter didn’t disappoint. (no identifiable ideological slant)

Dennis Shanahan – Compromise gives Gillard a bounce – THE latest Newspoll survey can fairly be seen as a referendum on political styles. (you couldn’t call Shanahan a lefty or even a centrist, but this column/blog is about as balanced as he gets).

Patrick Smith – Suns, Giants can sidestep grubbiness – sports column so not relevant

Nikki Savva – Abbott must say no to Malaysia – HIS political and moral instincts are aligned on the issue of stopping the boats, says Niki Savva. (her standard pro-Coalition schtick masquerading as sensible/moderate leftism)

Judith Sloan – AWA system saw real wage rises – UNIONS object to individual contracts because it erodes their power base. (nakedly right wing, pro-Coalition advocacy)

In summary – not a single left-leaning or centrist voice

Sydney Morning Herald

Gerard Henderson – Comedy or not, the producers are green (Hendo’s usual oen-eyed right wing spiel

Peter Hartcher – Following the US into fifth domain of warfare (no identifiable idelogical slant)

Heather Ridout – Ensuring manufacturers get a fair go (pitch by manufacturing industry shill for neo-protectionism – but no identifiable party political slant)

Jacqueline Maley – Squabbles nasty and brutish (pox on both houses shallow analysis of asylum seeker debate – no identifiable ideological/partisan slant).

Roy Billing – Keep home-grown stars ((pitch by arts industry shill for neo-protectionism – but no identifiable party political slant)

In summary – not a single left-leaning or centrist voice.

Lloyd
Lloyd
10 years ago

Paul Sheehan, Gerard Henderson, Peter Costello, Ross Cameron, Amanda Vanstone just some of the right wing types infesting my SMH.

Phillip Adams about the only person I can think of in The Oz who is predictably Liberal. Left wing opinion pieces in the Oz token at best, eventually it seems all their columnist & journalists succumb to the groupthink, Peter van Onsolen and Christian Kerr 2 examples.

Yobbo
Yobbo
10 years ago

Really Ken? You don’t see 2 articles pushing for protectionism of uncompetitive Australian industries as at all aligned with the Labor party?

rog
rog
10 years ago

“protectionism of uncompetitive Australian industries” is a National Party speciality.

Ken Parish
Admin
Ken Parish(@ken-parish)
10 years ago

Yobbo

What makes you imagine that industry protectionism is a uniquely or even predominantly Labor predisposition? In fact, as rog points out, the National Party has always been almost a synonym for protectionism and similarly with substantial parts of the Libs. It was the Hawke-Keating Labor government which mostly dismantled Australia’s protectionist structures, after Fraser had squibbed the job following Whitlam’s correct but precipitate tariff cuts in the 1970s.

Of course the ALP still has a substantial cheer squad/pressure group for neo-protectionism (some more populist and/or stupid union leaders) as does the contemporary Coalition (still the Nats plus some wet or just plain stupid Libs). You can’t blame industry spivs like Ridout or Billing for opportunistically making a case for renewed protectionist measures at a time when they no doubt assess that Gillard might just be weak and desperate enough to throw them a bone in the hope of reducing political pressure and/or assessing that Abbott currently seems prepared to say just about anything that he thinks might hasten Gillard’s demise. There’s currently no sign that either party will fall for re-embracing protectionism and hopefully it will stay that way. Hence my assessment that neither article exhibits a partisan slant. That you think otherwise really does no more than confirm your own partisan position.

Yobbo
Yobbo
10 years ago

What makes you imagine that industry protectionism is a uniquely or even predominantly Labor predisposition?

Because it’s predominantly unions who push for it, and that’s who runs the Labor party.

Also the fact that it’s Labor party policy, and it’s not Liberal Policy.

Let’s be serious, you are just trying to claim that the lefty papers have no bias by claiming that run of the mill lefty causes are in fact “centrist”. Yet, at the same time you nominate a standard right-wing by Judith Sloan (labor market flexibility) as blatant shilling for the liberal party.

In summation, one of the most dishonest comments I’ve ever seen.

John Quiggin
John Quiggin
10 years ago

I’m pretty sure van Onselen is a former Liberal staffer and I think still currently active. The fact that he appears as a relative moderate in the Oz context, is significant.

rog
rog
10 years ago

Yobbo needs to check with his minders.

jc
jc
10 years ago

I’m not so sure about the editorial, but the Oz is clearly to the right of the libs in the op-eds.

But so what?

John Quiggin
John Quiggin
10 years ago

Yobbo is being silly as regards protectionism – the AIG is at least as loud a voice as the AMWU in these matters, and views on the matter cut across the party line. But it would probably be reasonable to count support for the arts as a (very soft) left position.

So, the SMH has one hardline rightwinger and one soft left, while the Oz is rightwing all the way until Phillip Adams shows up once a week. That sounds about right, with the observation that the ABC is now somewhere between the centre and the right.

Pedro
Pedro
10 years ago

The SMH is largely soft left with a few exceptions. The Oz has a regular spread from old fashioned left through to genuine right. I’d call Paul Kelly NSW right, while Onsolen is liberal wet. The Oz certainly has more Right opinion than the SMH, but that is not group think. The even have a guy who thinks Rudd the greater FM ever!

If you take AGW as a good proxy for the divide then you regularly see a wide range of views about all aspects of the debate.

It’s probably easier to imagine group think when you don’t really listen to what your perceived opponents have to say.

Pedro
Pedro
10 years ago

John Q, if the ABC is now center-right then the centre is somewhere left of the Fabians. Perhaps we are all predisposed to see ourselves sitting in the centre and judge all opinion from that standpoint.

Marks
Marks
10 years ago

Pedro @ 21. Your last sentence is spot on. I could not agree more.

On looking at the Roy Morgan circulation figures, I was struck by the fact that TV Week had a greater circulation than the Weekend Australian. Since, I guess the W-A has a TV listing (I don’t buy it, so this is a surmise), I suspect that Australian residents are consciously choosing NOT to look at the content of the Australian newspaper or its opinions.

Perhaps the Oz could note that, drop its opinion writers and get into celebrities.

Dan
Dan
10 years ago

Pedro @ 21; Marks @ 22 – I wouldn’t consider myself a centrist, rather a realist/pragmatist social democrat a la the Northern European model (in the words of that Trotskyist PJ O’Rourke: “good socialism”). I view the historical record pointing to this position as leading to more resilient economies and better social outcomes.

So I’m unashamedly (moderate, non-ideological) left. In this context, I think it’s noteworthy that I very rarely come across anything in the mainstream media that out-lefts me.

Geoff Honnor
Geoff Honnor
10 years ago

“while the Oz is rightwing all the way until Phillip Adams shows up once a week”

I’d hardly characterise George Megalogenis, Mike Steketee and Emma Jane as “right wing” but that aside, I think the Oz Op Ed is often a stimulating read. I don’t agree with everything I read in it but I cleave to the old-fashioned notion that you form your own opinion about what you read rather than insist that everything conform to your own world view.

It’s kind of ironic that people who bang on about the Oz or the ABC being ‘biased’ (interestingly both Left and Right do this in the latter case) are apparently unaffected by it personally. I assume their concerns aren’t at all about tedious ideological pugilism and more for really stupid people incapable of exercising the sophisticated analytical discretion that informs their own impeccable judgment.

Fairfax too runs some decent Op Ed but they’re way big on ‘lifestyle’ content and if you’ve read one funky, ‘Hip Chicks are from Venus, Metrosexual Guys are from Mars’ piece, you’ve read ’em all, pretty much.

Dan
Dan
10 years ago

(Though I’m usually with Gittins in the SMH.)

John Quiggin
John Quiggin
10 years ago

@24 This was pretty much my point. The Oz used to be a lot more diverse, and there are still a few people from that era hanging on, but that’s also true of a lot of rightwing blogs.

On “It’s kind of ironic that people who bang on about the Oz or the ABC being ‘biased’ are apparently unaffected by it personally.” WTF – I am regularly defamed by the Oz, and, oddly enough, I take it personally. If you find it odd that I this defamation doesn’t lead me to agree with the Oz, I don’t think you understand human nature very well.

As regards your finding the Oz editorials “stimulating”, you must admit that you’ve long been a sucker for this style of reality-defying provocation. Back in the dark ages of blogging you were describing Steve Milloy, probably the hackiest hack ever to walk upright, as “always excellent”.

derida derider
derida derider
10 years ago

Argung about op-ed columnists utterly misses the point. I don’t object to the fact that the Oz has more rightwingers there than the Fairfax papers (though I think Yobbo et al are silly to claim otherwise).

What pisses me off is two things:

– the Murdochracy imposes this ideological orthodoxy across all its media. Not a single Murdoch publication worldwide, for example, opposed the Iraq fiasco. But even this would be OK if they didn’t have 70% of newspaper circulation in Australia.

– their NEWS coverage is slanted. They don’t generally lie (that’s left to the op-eds), but gee they spin. It’s mainly about what they choose to be news – if it puts “lefties” (including the current government) in a bad light, it is front page news. If it puts “freedom lovers” in a bad light, it gets buried. And they fiddle with the lede in stories too – if, for example, this government reaches a deal with a noisy vested interest, that’s “Gillard buckles to pressure”, whereas you know if Abbott got the same deal it would be “Abbott strikes bold bargain”.

The second is the reason I don’t give them my dollar, because it means that reading the Oz is simply not a good way to find out what is going on in the world.

rog
rog
10 years ago

For me the critical point is that the Murdoch press have consistently presented untruths and lies as the truth.

Geoff Honnor
Geoff Honnor
10 years ago

“If you find it odd that I this defamation doesn’t lead me to agree with the Oz, I don’t think you understand human nature very well.”

No, I don’t find it odd at all – and your personal experience of being written about wasn’t the point I was making. Most readers aren’t the individual subject of commentary.

You have an extraordinary memory, John. Who is Steve Milloy?

Marks
Marks
10 years ago

Additionally to the comment from DD I would say that while they omit any news good for the ALP and similarly omit news that is bad for the coalition, the total potential newsworthy column inches goes down, and there is a lot of repetition.

In other words, the Australian actually is ‘news’ poor in terms of volume. The y make up this volume by repeating the bad ALP good coalition shtick. The problem for them is that people actually do get it. So, if being read by a coalition supporter, surely it must get boring reading the same thing over and over, and for an ALP supporter, it merely serves to reinforce the opinion of bias. In neither case is that likely to increase the desire to purchase more chip wrappers.

Don Arthur
Don Arthur
10 years ago

Geoff – John is referring to a comment you made in 2003:

If you check out the always excellent “Junk science” http://www.junkscience.com/ddtfaq.htm, you’ll get more information than you ever thought possible on the DDT controversy.

There’s no doubt that “Silent Spring” made some valid points about the intersection of chemical insecticides and a myriad of life forms. There’s equally no doubt that Carson doom-loaded her scenario by a factor of 10.

Amazingly, the World Health Organisation actually expressed fears about third world overpopulation pressure resulting from the near-eradication of malaria by the late 1960’s. Thabo Mbeki and his “Health” Minister appear to have come up with the ideal solution to that….

John Quiggin wrote a post in reply:

I’m a worrier. I worry about the economy, global warming, cancer, even about whether life has any meaning. But now, thanks to the guys over at Troppo Armadillo*, most of my worries are over. Reading the ‘always excellent‘ Junk Science site run by Steven Milloy, I’ve learned that

cigarette smoke is good for you
guns don’t kill people, gun laws kill people
Global warming is a myth
Darwinism is an atheistic fraud

Ken Parish responded in the comments.

Dan
Dan
10 years ago

@27: “the Murdochracy imposes this ideological orthodoxy across all its media. Not a single Murdoch publication worldwide, for example, opposed the Iraq fiasco. But even this would be OK if they didn’t have 70% of newspaper circulation in Australia.”

Well, nope. It was wrong to cheerlead Iraq because it was an illegal war, based on false premises (as was clear from day one to anyone who bothered to read, say, Scott Ritter, or bothered to listen to what Hans Blix was saying), that was clearly going to incur more in the way of costs than benefits for the supposed “liberated” (aof course, by now it should be clear to everyone that it’s seriously damaged US strategic interests as well; so it was a stupid idea regardless of whether you’re into PNAC or not).

The fact that the Murdochracy (murder-ocracy?) cheerled this fiasco and has not offered so much as a hint of a mea culpa suggests to me that the organisational culture is completely sociopathic, systematically untrustworthy, has the memory of a goldfish, and – importantly for a news organisation! – has very limited interest in either specific or wholistic conceptions of the truth.

The phone hacking scandal, while a sideshow in comparison, bears this analysis out.

Why they have the circulation and influence they do is beyond me.

Geoff Honnor
Geoff Honnor
10 years ago

Ah! Thanks Don. I do remember now. Yep, I recall JQ greatly overestimated my enthusiasm for gun laws, creationism, the mythos of climate science and quite possibly, AIDS denialism, at the time….Still, I don’t recall ever mentioning ‘Steve Milloy’ again. A salutary lesson, clearly :)

Pedro
Pedro
10 years ago

The original proposition was that the Oz op-ed pages are an exercise in right wing group-think and mutual reinforcement.

I reckoned that the Oz has a wider variety of views put in those pages than any other paper that matters. I’m happy to agree that there is more support for the coalition in the Oz than in the other main papers, but I don’t see how that supports the original claim. As a person who thinks the current govt crap, I don’t find that support hard to understand. Still, the opposition leader is pretty hopeless and, sure enough, he gets a regular bagging from some of the regular commentators.

There either is or is not a wide variety of views on those pages. Ken P looked at yesterdays pages and found annecdotal evidence for the claim. I you look today you’ll see a wide range of views about various stuff and bugger all tribalism.

KB Keynes
KB Keynes
10 years ago

I do recall Possum having fun with the ‘facts emanating out of the OZ, Tim Lambert shows up their fight with science quite regularly, LP had an article showing how it lied shamefaced about the BER report.
Who could forget just after the last election when the Independents wanted Treasury to examine each party’s poicies.
The OZ went around looking for someone to get stuck into Treasury. Unfortunately they only ended up with Sinclair Davidson and were red faced when Treasury showed up what anyone who understands fiscal policy already knew their costings were a complete lie.
Did they criticize the Opposition for this?

Noooooooooooo

JC
JC
10 years ago

I do recall Possum having fun with the ‘facts emanating out of the OZ,

Oh yea. Possum was the dude theorizing the risk of fire reduces if you start a massive program to stick insulation into old homes by people that don’t know what they are doing and where old wires are exposed.

That’s the best example of investigative journalism I’ve seen in a while, Homer.

The OZ went around looking for someone to get stuck into Treasury. Unfortunately they only ended up with Sinclair Davidson and were red faced when Treasury showed up what anyone who understands fiscal policy already knew their costings were a complete lie.

The opposition could have ended up with you walking the corridors of power, hey homes? That would have been a sure winner.

—————

Let’s say that everything people have said here is true… The “Murderocacy” lies all the time, they spin, they stick opinion on the front page instead of news (a mortal sin Uncle Bob keeps repeating). Lets say they do all that. So what?

Dan
Dan
10 years ago

Yep, the BER’s another great example. If you only read the Oz, you’d think it had been a disaster. In fact it admirably achieved its primary objective – geographically broad-based fiscal stimulus with the express aim of keeping community economies across Australia ticking over, and at the end of it, a whole bunch of schools infrastructure that wouldn’t have otherwise been built.

Was there waste and mismanagement? Sure. Does that outweigh the program’s success? Most definitely not by the very longest of shots. Yet the Oz can’t write “BER” without prefixing “botched”. I think their keyboards must be broken.

Dan
Dan
10 years ago

JC@36: soooo… they are not a “news source” as such, ie. people shouldn’t assign any influence to them on matters of public interest or indeed factual record.

KB Keynes
KB Keynes
10 years ago

Yeah JC your ignorance is typical.

fires fell by almost a tenth. Statistics was always beyond you mind you almost anything is as you show.

Yeah you can wrote on a postage stamp sinker’s knowledge of fiscal policy. Afterall this is the joker who laughingly said the last budget was expansionary and there has been no fiscal consolidation.

say no more

JC
JC
10 years ago

Dan:

How about this novel concept? How about you read what you like and other people read what they want?

If I wish to read Da Murderocracy’s Oz I should feel perfectly free to do so. If you want to read Portnoy’s Complaint, feel free to do, as it isn’t banned.

soooo… they are not a “news source” as such, ie. people shouldn’t assign any influence to them on matters of public interest or indeed factual record.

Again, so what?

——-

Homes,

Your best best is to steer clear of economics, as you know it’s not your strongest attribute. But you know that.

Dan
Dan
10 years ago

My concern is that it seems to be exerting a corrosive influence on policy and political discourse in this country.

I know smart conservatives. I work with them. I have no problem with people getting their information from a variety of sources – heck, I’ve read some very fine writing by conservatives.

But when the policy agenda and political life is debased by special interests masquerading as news… I guess I just can’t help pointing out the fact that shit stinks.

JC
JC
10 years ago

yes Dan, i can understand all your concerns about the Murderocracy’s Oz. But you still haven’t answered my question. So what?

Frankly I don’t care what you read, so why do you care what I read. In fact what business is it of yours anyway?

Dan
Dan
10 years ago

I’ve already answered your question, and it’s, uh, not actually about you. I’d implore you to think bigger, but I have my banging-my-head-against-a-brick-wall class on now.

KB Keynes
KB Keynes
10 years ago

economics,
yeah JC the US and Germany are booming just as you predicted.

you sure like to wear a lot of egg all over your face.

JC
JC
10 years ago

Sorry Dan, but you haven’t answered my question. All I see is a bunch of complaints by you without a response to, “so what” even if every single one of your whines is correct.

So if you choose not to answer that’s fine.

Homes

Are you kidding me, Germany had a great 12 months to about March/Aril this year. It’s exports were booming and their economy the envy of Europe. I bought the ETF EWH at around 23.50, put the other toe in the water at 25 and released the whole lot in the low 28’s. it was a decent turn and stop complaining. So stop being greedy: you ought to do better.

If you’re a contrarion, which of course your not, buy 1/3 of another new position right here in the 18’s.

You have to be flexible Homer, a rather novel experience for you.

Dan
Dan
10 years ago

Ah, the old “I’ll make you point out the tediously obvious till you weep from boredom” gambit. I’ll have one more bite of this astonishingly dull cherry.

Let me propose a counterfactual, as I can see you’re struggling:

“It presents no threat to the Australian public interest, or to the quality of political discourse and decision-making in this country, that a nationally-distributed broadsheet, underwritten by a multibillion dollar international corporation, systematically takes an irresponsible, retrogressive, ideological stance.”

If you’re still baffled by my straightforward analysis, you’ve probably got a fairly good claim on that Least Imaginative Person Ever award. Or someone’s paying you.

rog
rog
10 years ago

Just to further prove that the idiot known as JC is an idiot the idiot asks “so what?” and expects an answer.

JC
JC
10 years ago

Finally we’re getting somewhere. Instead of wheeling the children you’re coming out with the old public interest chestnut. I was wondering where that went.

Well here’s my counter factual to yours.

I think the same thing about The Age or even worse, as it’s become a mouthpiece for the Greens.

What are you going to do about it, Dan? You wanna close down “Murdocracy’s” Oz if it refuses to comply with your public interest desires of what a newspaper looks like?

Perhaps you ought to try and do what I do. I don’t buy The Age or even the Fin Review as I don’t want Fairfax to get any of my money. It’s called choice and works quite well. I suppose you consider that a novel idea right?

Stick to your own reading material and I’ll stick to mine.

Dan
Dan
10 years ago

a) You, uh, don’t know the definition of counterfactual.

b) What I am going to do about it is mention as often as possible what a partisan heap of shit it is (see above). And, uh, needless to say, I don’t buy it.

c) I live in Sydney so my knowledge of the Age is limited, but I’ve gotta tell you – SMH ain’t no mouthpiece for the Greens.

d) Yes, you’re quite right, I have never heard of choice before. Thank you for making me aware of this “novel” concept. (Are you setting out to come across as an idiot?)

JC
JC
10 years ago

a) You, uh, don’t know the definition of counterfactual.

Funny because now it appears you don’t. At least you’re remaining quiet about the public interest chestnut, so we can thank God for small mercies.

b) What I am going to do about it is mention as often as possible what a partisan heap of shit it is (see above). And, uh, needless to say, I don’t buy it.

Well done. I don’t mind what you think of it, as I along with other readers don’t frankly care. I guessed you don’t buy it, but it does appear as though you read it, otherwise you wouldn’t be so angry about the paper’s partisanship. And I agree with you, incidentally it certainly is partisan in its op-eds (or just a little less in the op-eds than he two Fairfax city mastheads)

c) I live in Sydney so my knowledge of the Age is limited, but I’ve gotta tell you – SMH ain’t no mouthpiece for the Greens.

Oh, didn’t Glover write a piece recently that AGW sceptics should be tattooed? He didn’t mention a numerical system this time like some others before him. Perhaps a star on the lapel would do the trick and it wouldn’t be as messy as a tattoo. What are your thoughts Dan: Tattoo or a gold star?

d) Yes, you’re quite right, I have never heard of choice before. Thank you for making me aware of this “novel” concept. (Are you setting out to come across as an idiot?)

Well you didn’t seem to. Frankly it was very difficult to get past your whining and not disclosing what you wanted done about it. Finally you put the “public interest” chestnut in the fire and it’s more than clear what you want done.

You do realize Dan that both sides can play that game unless of course you wish to banish elections, or assume there will be an Alliance government for eternity.