||Issue No. 217||23 April 2004|
Interview: Terror Australis
Unions: Graeme Beard's Second Dig
Industrial: The Hell of Troy
Organising: Miners Strike Gold
Economics: The Accepted Wisdom
History: Vicious Old Lady
International: Out of Sight, Out of Mind
Review: War Unfogged
The Locker Room
CASH FOR TOOL?
The hopelessly conflicted Professor David Flint took time off from his Canute like effort to stop Australia becoming a republic to offer what laughably passes as a defence of his actions as head of the Australian Broadcasting Authority.
Despite what it may seem the ABA is not, in fact, a Liberal Party retirement home.
Flinty does well when he manages to keep a straight face while describing the ABA as a regulator. Who or what it regulates is not immediately clear; it certainly isn't the media.
When shock jocks around the country showed all the principle of a Deloittes marketing consultant and touted their beliefs to the highest bidder in what became known as the 'cash-for-comment' scandal, the ABA promised a severe lashing with a wet lettuce to anyone who continued the practice.
Then it emerged that the Parrot, Alan Jones, had a rather interesting arrangement with his employer, the Macquarie Network, in which it appears Jones, in a Damascus like conversion, finds Telstra is even better than sliced bread.
This happens around the time that Telstra comes to an arrangement with the Macquarie Network worth the GDP of a small African country.
The ABA reasoned that the telecommunications giant was not paying the money to Alan Jones, but to the Macquarie Network, where Alan Jones holds a significant financial interest.
So, according to the ship that the good Professor Flint runs, Telstra wasn't buying Alan Jones' opinion at all.
It remains unclear as to whether Flint also maintains equally credible belief in the Tooth Fairy.
Flint believes that this "is the normal sort of arrangement where somebody, an advertiser, decides to sponsor a program by paying the station".
The fact that the public may become misinformed about the activities of a corporation that has no qualms about running our telecommunications infrastructure into the ground, shipping jobs offshore and trying to ditch it's majority shareholders - the Australian Public - appears to sail sweetly over the head of good Professor Flint.
But this is hardly surprising from this stiff lipped son of Empire.
Flint is on the record as saying that the market is the best way to regulate media and that media owners do not dictate editorial policy - as we saw recently at the Murdoch shindig in Cancun, Mexico. That was where Rupert's editors got the line direct from Condaleeza Rice on the need to keep saving Iraqis by bombing them to bits.
No, Murdoch doesn't tell his editors what the line is, not at all. Well, not in Dave Flint's happy world.
Just because Flint is the sort of congenital moron who populates the conservative end of Australia's political spectrum doesn't mean that he can't have an opinion on the media.
It gets a bit more than dodgy though when he's left as the regulator - a bit like letting Dracula regulate the Red Cross. Luckily though, he's decided not to regulate anything.
Which is hardly surprising given that he doesn't even appear to be able to regulate his own brain. This is the inbred pseudo-aristocrat who was born with an entire silver service shoved in his mouth, who then has the temerity to write a book called The Twilight Of the Elites, where he does a pitiful job trying to savage those he calls The Elite.
The Elite, in Flint's world, appear to have only one thing in common; they disagree with one, David Flint. He would have been better off calling it The Twilight Of David Flint's Credibility.
Our Tool Of The Week would do us all a service if he not only resigned from public life, but from Australia as well.
Declaration of interest: The Tool Shed is not sponsored by any private corporations and it's only financial arrangement is with the Hurlstone Park TAB
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