|Issue No 23||23 July 1999|
Return of the Hutt
The big fella returned home from his Amsterdam junket this week with a lame attempt to lampoon the very serious issues surrounding the "pay for opinion" saga that has engulfed the country in his absence.
Making light of the John Laws controversy, the warty one attempted to extricate himself from any talk of junketing with evocative images of quaffing raw herrings and complimentary Heiniken lighters. All very witty, what?
But one disclosure he hasn't made yet is the free Piers the Hutt T-shirt we sent him. Surely he'll feel compelled to do so next time he puts his steel-caps into the union movement. If he doesn't, we'll have to interpret his inevitable negative reporting as personal payback. And that's unethical!
While we're on the topic of pay-for-favours, we reckon the notion of paid advertorial is just the tip of the iceberg. If we are serious about understanding what shapes the views of our talking heads we really require a broader inquiry into the prejudices and psychological neuroses that so obviously grip them.
Surely, we as a public should have a right to know if Piers, for example, had spent a childhood being bullied by the other kids at school. This would inevitably lead to a chip on the shoulder and sociopathic tendencies that could explain some of his darker perceptions of human nature.
And what about an inquiry into the cross promotion of commercial interest within media organisations? Indeed, Piers' home base could be a good place to start.
Where, for instance, was the criticisms of Super League in the Murdoch stables when the game was being torn apart.? Ray Chesterton gave it a go, but he was given the Police Royal Commission round quicker than he could say "Arko's me mate". And where has been the searching analysis of the corporate giant's investment in the Sydney Showground? Not in News Ltd papers, that's for sure.
And what about Piers? Why is it that the Telegraph's stable mate The Australian in its Stay in Touch wannabe 'Melba' felt the need to come to Piers defence this week by claiming that Piers the Hutt looks nothing like Piers? Why has the Telegraph issued an edict not to run any extracts from The Chaser in it's Stay in Touch wannabe, 'Page 13' ? Trivial issues? Sure. But the point is that there is no room for dissenting views within what is Australia's dominant media group.
And just why is the Telegraph's editorial line so virulently anti-union and anti-Michael Costa in particular? Why do they print editorials bagging him for not doing things he is already doing, then refuse to publish his letters in reply and then fail to report it when he actually does what they criticised him for not doing in the first place?
So many questions, an inquiry can be the only appropriate response.
At the end of the day Laws is only guilty of being more explicit in what every media whore does. The free lunch, the free flight, the secure job and the self-censorship that prevents hacks questioning the company line are all points on the same continuum.
Piers, those herrings you were tucking into in Amsterdam were red ones.
A limited number of Pierswatch T-shirts are available to readers. Send a cheque or money order for $20 to Workers Online, Level 10, 377 Sussex Street, Sydney
Interview: An Economic Wet
Dr Christopher Sheil on economic rationalism and the 1997-98 water failures in Adelaide and Sydney.
Unions: The Stench from the South
In 1997 the entire Adelaide metropolitan area was drenched in foul, sulphorous, sewerage odours, emanating from the Bolivar waste water treatment plant.
Environment: Trading into Trouble
Seattle, USA, is shaping up as demonstrator mecca in the lead up to World Trade Organisation talks.
History: Eveliegh Rail Reunion
Former workers and their families from the historic Eveleigh Railway Workshops in inner-Sydney are holding a picnic reunion and folk music festival on the site on Sunday, August 29.
International: Bosses Use Armed Gangs to Break Russian Picket
On 9 July 1999, eighty masked, uniformed gunmen accompanied by the local prosecutor and other officials tried to storm the Vyborg Pulp and Paper Mill, under occupation by workers for the past eighteen months.
Satire: New Refugee Crisis: Journalists Flee Peace Zone
The camps are once again full in the Albanian border town of Gruntiez.
Review: 10 Reasonably Interesting Moments in Film
Cultural theorist Snag Cleaver flies off the handle again..
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Last Modified: 15 Nov 2005