September 16, 2004


Bush-hating Sydney Morning Herald US correspondent Marian Wilkinson cheers for John Kerry beneath the headline: "Fired-up Kerry gives President a pounding."

Yeah, right. (Check out Kerry’s "new tough-guy stance".) Wilkinson’s job essentially involves deciding what readers in Australia shouldn’t be told. She hasn’t filed a single word on Memogate, for example (leave that to bloggers). And on the night Howard Dean went into high-decible meltdown ... nothing from Marian.

You’d think Wilkinson’s selectivity would be fine material for a site like SMH’s Counterspin, which claims to "unload the bias":

As the Australian Federal Election campaign heats up, Antony Loewenstein counter-spins the news. Looking at the views, thoughts and insights expressed by political parties and the media, he'll scrutinise the policies and pronouncements, and deliver in-depth analysis of the coverage. It's time to unload the bias.

Loewenstein would do well to unload his own bias. He’s one of Margo Kingston's brave tellers of truth assisting those who’ve chosen denial as a lifestyle over at No Thappy John. Sounds like the ideal candidate to run a bias-hunting website, don’t he?

Oh, and considering his illiterate, incompetent mentor, it’s entertaining to read Loewenstein criticising the online skills of Wentworth candidate Peter King:

King should really get somebody to edit his website, however, for allowing something like this to be published to the masses:

"Voting Early: Headed overseas or interstate and won't be here for election day then from September 20th you will be vote early at a number of locations yet to be advised, check back to for more updates."

Antony, mate ... compared to the usual standard at Margo’s Webdiary, Peter King is Shakespeare.

UPDATE. Loewenstein and Kingston clearly breach the SMH code of ethics:

Herald staff shall avoid any prominent activity in partisan public causes that compromises, or appears to compromise, the journalist or the newspaper.

Posted by Tim Blair at September 16, 2004 05:30 AM

The US media has painted Rupert Murdoch a politically right wing. I see him as a business man, who supplies a needed media product (NY Post, Fox News) that's being underserved. His politics is profits for Rupert + Co.

Who's correct?

Posted by: Jabba the Nutt at September 16, 2004 at 08:38 AM

What I want to know is when Margo & Co. will come up with hard hitting "documents" from the RSPCA proving Mr Howard is a certified rodent!

Posted by: Lofty at September 16, 2004 at 08:42 AM

Tim, you often complain about bias at the ABC. Given that you, too, have a political opinion, surely you're not in a position to complain about bias?

Posted by: Robert at September 16, 2004 at 12:50 PM

Robert, Tim is not funded by taxpayers who expect objectivity for their buck.

Posted by: slatts at September 16, 2004 at 01:37 PM

come on slatts, who are you kidding here? since when has objectivity ever existed? by virtue of the fact that we are human, objectivity is an impossibility. anyone claiming to deliver objective and unbias reporting is delusional.

Posted by: Anonymous at September 16, 2004 at 02:04 PM

Robert, don't be obtuse. The complaint isn't about the existence of bias, it's about the pretense by the various news media organs that they are free of bias. Also, the argument that someone can't complain about another person's bias because he has bias of his own is just stupid.

That's the professional media, Anonymous. And by the way, you'd be a little more credible -- make that credible at all -- if you'd at least try to come up with at least your own fake name.

Posted by: Andrea Harris at September 16, 2004 at 02:18 PM

2+2 =4.

Is that staement objectively true or not, Anonymous?

Posted by: Niobe at September 16, 2004 at 02:19 PM

Its OK to have a biased view as long as its logical. But commentators like Tim and Andrew Bolt simply spray anyone who disagrees with their right wing rants. Also, wasn't it Tim who once tried to argue that a traffic cop was just as guilty as he for speeding because the cop had to exceed the speed limit to catch him??? Duh.

Ray Sanderson

Posted by: Ray Sanderson at September 16, 2004 at 02:35 PM

Wow - I never thought that someone who ran a blogging site would be such a stickler for proper grammar (or should that be 'I didn't ever think . . . '?).

Tim's post above contains multiple references to posts in which he delights, almost obsessively, in picking up spelling and grammatical errors made by Margo Kinston, even going so far as to criticise her sentence structure. And yes, Tim, I used the word 'post' twice in that last sentence - lets call the prose police.

It's all form over substance mate - a shallow criticism of the format of your idealogical opponent's message, rather than a coherent analysis of the message itself. Pretty juvenille stuff - and intellectually lightweight by any objective standards.

I suppose that if you're going to devote your life to defending the indefensible (i.e. Bush, Cheney, the Iraq War) you need to employ every diversionary tactic you can. Anything to stop the punters actually engaging with or understanding your opponents' positions. If they did, they might see through your aggression-filled, but largely empty, rhetoric.

Grow up Tim, and lets try being a bit more substantive in our opinions shall we?

Posted by: Mondo Ellis at September 16, 2004 at 02:58 PM

This relates to the story that was run the other day about how the rest of the world would vote for Kerry...the "news" reported by the "free press" in most of the world now resembles what was shut down in the Soviet Union, and exists only in Cuba & North Korea (hint-match Kim Jung Il quotes to Michael Moore's and the fragrant Margo).

I have this vision of a few years from now, dazed people wandering around Sydney , after "the Wall" has been torn down, muttering "why did they lie to us??"...

Posted by: JoJo at September 16, 2004 at 03:30 PM

Mondo -- it's "let's".

Posted by: tim at September 16, 2004 at 03:58 PM

And "juvenile" has just the one "l".

Posted by: tim at September 16, 2004 at 04:17 PM

So Tim, after making one substance-avoiding post in reply to Mondo, it took you nineteen minutes to find a second spelling mistake?

Your second post could at least have engaged with Mondo's criticisms.

Posted by: Flashman at September 16, 2004 at 05:43 PM

Coherent, grammatical prose is the vehicle by which we express an ordered, logical and rational argument.

Margo's ungrammatical ravings are the outward sign of a disordered thinking process.

To argue that this is not important indicates a impoverished pedagogic education in English ( a characteristic of many people educated in the 1960s and '70s).

Posted by: mr magoo at September 16, 2004 at 06:10 PM

Wow, who knew Margo had so many lovers.

Posted by: Andrea Harris at September 16, 2004 at 08:08 PM

Mondo, commas are free. You don't have to pay money to use them.

Posted by: ushie at September 16, 2004 at 10:10 PM

Seems like SMH's sister newspaper The Age has a Marian Wilkinson counterpart - Michelle Grattan. She's just as awful, obsessed with trying to bring down Bush and Howard, neglecting any mention of Rathergate, and continually highlighting minor "achievements" in the Kerry and Latham campaigns... coupled with an insidiously biased pro-Arab lecture concerning the Arab-Israeli conflict by a junior sub-editor at The Age, I sure won't be paying money for that paper ever again.
As a journalism professor once said to me, "some might call The Age conservative."
Between the mainstream media and university campuses, there is just no escaping the leftist bias in this country.

Posted by: Nicki at September 17, 2004 at 12:10 AM

This is an odd blogsite.
So much rambling on about nothing much at all.

Posted by: Tim Kliendienst at September 17, 2004 at 12:39 AM

Whatever, freak.

Posted by: Andrea Harris at September 17, 2004 at 10:40 AM

Since the only person to actually engage with my argument was Mr Magoo, I'll address my reply to him. Tim and Andrea might have to keep playing in the sand pit for a few more months before they get to play with the grown-ups.

So, Mr Magoo, I agree with the logic of your position, in principle. I too believe that structured and ordered writing is a pretty good indicator that the writer's thinking process is up to scratch.

The problem, however, is that in practice there are just too many circumstances in which an exception to this rule could apply, e.g. the person is in a rush, or is angry, or hasn't had the benefit of a formal education in English. If you hold to your principle as rigidly as you and Tim seem to, you end up being unable to respect the opinions of about 98% of the population.

For example, if you really believe that 'ungrammatical ravings are the outwards sign of a disordered thinking process', as you claim, then I wonder if you could tell me what your thoughts are on the thinking processes of George W Bush?

He'd have to have the most disordered thinking process in the world by your standards, wouldn't he?

Posted by: Mondo Ellis at September 17, 2004 at 03:49 PM

"For example, if you really believe that 'ungrammatical ravings are the outwards sign of a disordered thinking process', as you claim, then I wonder if you could tell me what your thoughts are on the thinking processes of George W Bush?

He'd have to have the most disordered thinking process in the world by your standards, wouldn't he?"

Uh, based on what? The fact that he doesn't give all his addresses in iambic pentameter?

Oh excuse me, I forgot that dumb little kiddies like me aren't supposed to interefere with the "grownups" when they are talking. But since having to deal with pesky brats like me is so obviously painful to you, I'll just ban your IP address so you won't be bothered by the discussion, which is so beneath your exalted position as High Mondo Hugebrain of the Blog Comment Threads.

Posted by: Andrea Harris at September 18, 2004 at 02:07 AM