Weekly salon 12/1

1. Tingle drops the ‘f’ bomb

Yes she did. She commented on Twitter that ABC journo’s had been doing a good job in their coverage of the fires. Someone called YeaNah @YeaNah10 suggested that such a comment lacked balance.

Laura Tingle responded by telling the commenter to “go f**k yourself”, except she spelt it out.

Corrine Barraclough in Luvvie Laura and the(ir) ABC’s problem with abusive behaviour says you can’t do that. Abuse is abuse.

However, swearing is also shorthand way of expressing disgust and disapproval. Moreover, YeaNah is suggesting that ‘balance’ be privileged over the truth. Is Tingle unable to express the truth because she is working for the ABC, so she must demonstrate ‘balance’ at the expense of truth?

Here’s Ed Jenkins on the performance of the conservative media on the bushfires:


In this crisis, the conservative media have defended Morrison against the most benign attacks even as the death toll climbed and the fury mounted; they have dismissed experts with decades of in-field experience as “activists”; they’ve spread thoroughly debunked theories about these fires being caused by environmentalists’ opposition to preventative land clearing; even bushfire victims themselves were branded as “feral” when they had the temerity to heckle the PM during a photo opportunity in their fire-ravaged town of Cobargo. Possibly most telling of all, Craig Kelly, a member of Morrison’s government, went on UK television to deny any link between the fires and climate change, where even a wet gollum like Piers Morgan couldn’t let it pass. Back home, pundits on Sky News defended him, saying that they “didn’t know anymore more across the science than [Kelly].”

Jared Richards, who also addressed the Tingle matter, thinks The Outrage Over Tex Perkins’ One-Finger Salute To Scott Morrison Is Nothing But A Distraction.

Then Amanda Meade at the Guardian says the ABC has received overwhelming praise for its ‘vital’ emergency reporting, despite ongoing scorn from Murdoch-owned media.

To Barraclough Katharine Murphy is a far-left journalist, the ABC is guilty of “foul, extremist leftist groupthink” and the Q&A panelists

Here’s the Tingle twitter, and here is the Urban Dictionary on what it means to go the full Tingle:

To tell a climate denier to go fuck themselves. Especially impactful if coming from a respected figure known otherwise for their tact and restraint. After Australian journalist Laura Tingle who created a stir on Twitter by doing just this.

2. ‘Dangerous, misinformation’

Speaking of Newscorp’s coverage, commercial finance manager Emily Townsend said she had been filled with anxiety and disappointment over Newscorp’s coverage, which had impacted her ability to work. So she’s leaving.

Not before an email from her was circulated to staff:

“I have been severely impacted by the coverage of News Corp publications in relation to the fires, in particular the misinformation campaign that has tried to divert attention away from the real issue which is climate change to rather focus on arson (including misrepresenting facts),” she said.

“I find it unconscionable to continue working for this company, knowing I am contributing to the spread of climate change denial and lies. The reporting I have witnessed in The Australian, The Daily Telegraph and Herald Sun is not only irresponsible, but dangerous and damaging to our communities and beautiful planet that needs us more than ever to acknowledge the destruction we have caused and start doing something about it.”

3. Scotty from Marketing takes a hit in the polls

Newspoll has found:

more voters (59%) are dissatisfied with Morrison’s performance than satisfied (37%).

Satisfaction in Morrison fell eight points and dissatisfaction increased by 11 points, both movements outside the poll’s margin of error of 2.5%. Just 4% of voters were “uncommitted” when asked how Morrison is performing.

Albanese is in positive territory after a six-point increase in satisfaction from 40% to 46% and dissatisfaction falling from 41% to 37%.

He leads Morrison as preferred prime minister, 43% to 39%, the first time he has done so since taking the Labor leadership after Bill Shorten’s shock loss at the May 2019 election.

Morrison dropped nine points as preferred prime minister while Albanese increased by nine points, reversing Morrison’s lead of 14 points in the last poll, taken in the first week of December, to trail by four points.

The Coalition suffered a two-point drop in primary vote to 40% while Labor recovered by three points to 36%. In two-party-preferred terms Labor lead the Coalition 51% to 49%.

4. Roger Federer gets a serve

Roger Federer is now 38, and while he has not indicated he will retire any time soon, clearly he is thinking about it. Apart from reportedly being the first tennis billionaire, part of his plan to keep the wolf from the door is his association with the Swiss finance giant Credit Suisse.

For some time now climate activists have been targeting the company, and his support, by playing tennis inside their building and other activities. Greta Thunberg has piled on.

Federer has now issued a carefully worded statement saying he had four children and takes climate issues very seriously indeed.

Credit Suisse recently stated it is “seeking to align its loan portfolios with the objectives of the Paris Agreement and has recently announced in the context of its global climate strategy that it will no longer invest in new coal-fired power plants”.

Whether that will satisfy the #RogerWakeUpNow campaign remains to be seen.

33 thoughts on “Weekly salon 12/1”

  1. During writing this post I discovered the the ‘block editor’ mode I was using could be switched to ‘classical editor’ which is more like I’d been used to.

    However, some simple things like paragraph breaks don’t always work. For example the para beginning “Jared Richards…” was meant to be broken into three.

    I’ll just have to keep fiddling to see whether I can persuade things to work.

  2. Brian: Popularity of leaders tends to be a poor indicator of how parties perform at elections or the TPP during polls for that matter. The message I get from the polls is that Albanese is liked but that people are not sure that Labor policies justify actually voting Labor. I don’t think that this has been helped by Albanese talking about watering down unspecified policies. The Labor TPP may improve when the Labor policy review has been finished and a new set of policies accepted.
    I think “don’t like Scott Morrison” is going to persist because of the nature of the man. However, by the time the fire reviews are finished the LNP may be able to point at solid improvements in the way major fires are handled and Morrison’s “I am the leader and going to lead” may be weakened on the basis of his current performance.
    I wait with interest. Any views on who will be the next LNP leader and when this will happen?

  3. John, care for a gentleman’s wager on which major party leader will be replaced first, Albo or ScoMo ?

    I’m going Albo.

  4. Brian.
    As for the Tingle thang, I remember a commenter on this blog being admonished and censored for those very same words.

    I could be bothered trawling the archives for the exact reaction but I’m sure you remember.

    Just for the record, I’m quite at ease with what she said, if I’m to be consistent and honest.

  5. As for the Tingle thang, I remember a commenter on this blog being admonished and censored for those very same words.

    Good thing she didn’t use them here then.
    The Comments policy says (in part)

    Finally, discretion lies with the moderator. The purpose of moderation is to create and maintain a congenial and inclusive space. If necessary, action will be taken to permanently moderate or ban particular commenters. This blog is not a public place. While an element of subjectivity is unavoidable, every effort will be made to act with fairness and consistency.

  6. Jumpy: The Labor party rules make it hard to get rid of Albo quickly but he might decide to go himself if the polls are treating the party poorly or it looks like the Greens may win his seat.
    Morrison is not looking good at the moment but this is not necessarily going to last. It seems that it only takes a few too many consecutive TPP losses before the plotting accelerates.

  7. John, yes or no, Albo or ScoMo get turfed by their party first ?

    That’s the question.

    If you want to squib just be honest and say so.

  8. I don’t think either Albo or Scotty from Marketing will shift before the next election. After that, who knows?

    On swearing, there would be no point in using swear words if they were acceptable in all circumstances. So leaving aside our comments policy, it depends on the particulars.

    Tingle has no doubt reflected on this instance, and I’d be surprised if we see a repeat performance.

    Twitter is a place where swearing would be normal than most other places.

  9. John, I pretty much agree with your earlier paragraph.

    On climate change Albanese has said that he’ll follow the science, but has been suggesting that if the LNP government is slack between now and the next election it may be too large a task to make up the ground to achieve the previously promised 45% cut with only the eight years 2022-2030 to work with.

    Between now and then we have another IPCC report due.

    Also I think we’ll have an increasing number of countries declaring a climate emergency and targeting better than 50% by 2030 and net zero by 2050.

    This may both encourage and allow Labor to run with the leading pack, which is probably the best we can politically expect.

  10. Brian: My experience in both operations management and R&D is that you tend to get different results if you are looking for a 10% improvement vs a 100% improvement. For example, if we are looking for a 5% reduction in energy emissions we can probably get away with simply installing more solar panels. The risk with 5% improvements is that we will waste money on installations that won’t be needed in the longer term.
    Go for 100% ASAP and we would need to do something more than that to how we generate, manage power and/or manage demand etc. Some of this may make sense even if the initial target is not 100%.
    Resources should go into challenging plans.

  11. John, to me schemes that follow the IPCC story of roughly 50% by 2030 and 100% by 2050 are not responding to an “emergency”. Extinction Rebellion are saying zero by 2025, but no-one looks at what they are saying, because their methodology is a distraction.

    Unfortunately if Labor talks about what really needs to be done they would be subject to a huge scare campaign.

    Back in 2007 Hansen told us we had already then gone too far and we needed to get back to 350ppm ASAP.

    The IPCC 1.5C report was not investigating what was needed to produce a safe climate, it was looking at how to limit warming to 1.5C because the political policy makers at the UNFCCC asked them to. Pollies are still calling the tune, and scientists willing to bell the cat are not cutting through.

    They are also legitimising the false notion that there is burnable coal and gas compatible with a safe climate.

    It would be helpful if the discourse stepped up a level. David Spratt and Ian Dunlop have been consistent, but we need more voices. Given thew 350 ppm is part of the Greens policy I’d prefer Bandt and Di Natale to be explaining why it is important rather than talking about coal.

    So I agree with you, but we are stuck with some awkward political realities.

  12. Brian: In essence, I agree with what you say about climate, CO2 etc. trends and what it means for the future.
    Part of the problem is that world action is needed and no country including the biggest emitters can solve the problem on its own. The temptation for a country with Aus levels of emissions is to go as slow as they can get away with and put their resources into the adaption needed to reduce the impact of climate change.
    The other problem is that it is easy to con people into believing that the action required will destroy their lives even if they have nothing to do with the coal industry.
    Which brings me back to saying we have to talk about the 100% plan so at least most people and politicians might accept that it can be done and the doing will actually boost economies. That is why I like to talk about going to war on climate change. Some people understand that war can boost economies.

  13. zoot, yes, good article from Greg Jericho.

    However, I don’t think what we do or don’t do in this term of government will decide the fate of the planet.

  14. I don’t think the planet is in any danger.
    But if we do nothing humans may not survive, and this seems to be the option preferred by our (gawdhelpus) “leaders”.
    I’m on record as saying the human race is too stupid to save itself. Nothing in the last six months has given me cause to reconsider.

  15. Sadly, I think we are in furious agreement, zoot.

    I had decided that hope was not a useful emotion, but our prospects appear to be getting worse with emissions continuing to rise without missing a beat, new science showing that the effects of such emissions are greater and becoming manifest faster than expected, and the UN talks discouraging to say the least.

  16. Brian, I think your pessimism is the result of believing political solutions and force have more influence and are more dynamic than the free market.

    Every time that’s proved wrong deepens that pessimism.

    I’d recommend reading some optimistic free market material* for a bit of balance and mental help.
    Just one or two to start off with.

    (* sorry, not recommending any, the will to search is the first step in the treatment )

  17. Jumpy, it’s just that I can see the iceberg and the movement of the ship.

    I don’t need mental help, thanks, I’m fine.

  18. Why hasn’t the free market already dealt with climate change? It’s been an issue for 40 years and the invisible hand has been nowhere to be seen. Seems its thumb is stuck up the invisible bum.

  19. Yeah, ok, fossil fuel subsidies and corporate/Government collusion/corruption are Free Market are they ?
    I think not.

    The Ship will change course if the passengers choose a different destination.

  20. The Ship will change course if the passengers choose a different destination.

    Or do you mean mutiny?
    Have you ever voted against the Coalition’s fossil fuel subsidies? You had a chance for a minor rebellion when the Mining Tax was proposed. Did you vote ALP in 2010 and 2013?

    Thought not.

  21. Meanwhile, out here in the real world we are faced with unprecedented conditions brought about by our refusal to address global warming by any means (free market or other).

  22. Putting a price on carbon was a market based approach. Yeah, I know, not a free market, but it depended on market mechanisms. Did you vote for the ALP under Gillard?

    Thought not.

  23. If you really want a free market you’ll have to find a way to get rid of capitalists. From Rockefeller and Ford to Murdoch and Rinehart they all hate free markets and they work actively against them. What capitalists want is monopolies.
    The reason we have subsidies for industries like fossil fuel is because the capitalists leaned on the government to give it to them. Governments collude with corporations because that’s what the corporations want (check out Tony Blair’s pitiful reaction to Rupert Murdoch threatening him).
    But you can keep dreaming of that brightly lit upland where capitalists altruistically sacrifice themselves by welcoming the fair competition of free markets. And I’ll keep feeding my unicorn. We’ll be making identical contributions to the world.

  24. Van Badham has some thoughts on the matter. Her argument is compelling and amounts to putting the country (almost) on a war footing.

    The sad history of privatisation in this country demonstrates that the alternative of just leaving reconstruction to market forces is a logic of prioritising private profits for corporations over meeting the diverse challenges of public need, especially when it comes to climate. Nation-building, or rebuilding on a post-fire, multi-billion-dollar scale demands a governmental vehicle to realise our best ambitions.

  25. I’ve fixed it, zoot. You seem to be the only one who knows how to do it the old way. I’ll try to work out a way of telling people.

    Good piece from Van Badham. I liked this:

      I suggest if we want to see our country and our people not only served but represented than we must. Because if there’s a second optimism we can seize from the fires, it’s the example of a collective selflessness that has come to define Australians through this crisis.

      From the unpaid, relentless firefighters to the neighbourhood volunteers, the heaving instinct to charity to the painful empathy that we realise in our grief and sadness, we’ve learned a nation-building truth about ourselves.

      There may indeed be one instinct alone that culturally defines what it means to be Australian. It’s community.

  26. Thanks Brian. I like to pretend I know what I’m doing 🙂
    And yes, I think Van’s analysis is spot on. Unfortunately we have Scotty in charge and Dutton waiting in the wings, neither of whom have her perspicacity.

  27. In breaking news, the 35 year old PM of Ukraine was recorded saying of his President:
    “Zelenskiy has a very primitive understanding of the economy”.
    and has offered his resignation to the (comedian) (neophyte) political leader (the Pres.)

    Beam yourself up, Scotty.
    Ukraine needs you.

  28. Thanks, Mr z.

    I particularly liked this:

    …..the fact we don’t really know what to do with the planet’s billionaires, who are richer by several orders of magnitude than Gilded Age titans like Andrew Carnegie. The obvious answer would be to tax them, but our stunning failure to do so is forcing us to insist they’re just perfect for the role of saviours.

    Mr A

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