Gratuitous saltwater crocodile picture
Today’s column is dedicated to Raymond Finkelstein QC. Raymond who? Well, he’s the kind of left-leaning activist lawyer I’d normally run a mile from – especially since he’s behind a scary new report which, if implemented, will kill what’s left of freedom of speech in Australia and pretty much criminalise climate scepticism. (H/T John O’Sullivan; Peter Dun)
But as far as I’m concerned, the man’s a total bloody hero and when I come to Oz in mid-April I’d like to buy him a pint. Why? Because thanks to good old Raymond I’m going to sell loads more copies of my book Killing The Earth To Save It: How Environmentalists are Ruining the Planet, Destroying the Economy and Stealing Your Jobs (Connor Court).
Raymond – or Pinkie Finkie, as I’m sure he’d preferred it if I called him, because the Aussies do love a bit of informality, don’t they? – has produced a report on media regulation in Australia so terrifyingly authoritarian it makes the Leveson Enquiry look like a model of balance, sanity and restraint. (According to Mark Steyn – via Jo Nova – the Chinese have been eyeing Pinkie Finkie’s report with gobsmacked admiration, wondering whether they could ever get away with producing something quite so extreme…)
You can read the full 400 pages here, if you’re feeling masochistic. But Australian Climate Madness has a pretty good summary of the key issues of concern, starting with Pinkie Finkie’s proposal to create a new super-regulator called the News Media Council [missed a trick there, didn’t he? surely Ministry of Truth would have been more appropriate] which will impose its idea of fairness and balance not only on newspapers but even on blogs with as few hits as 15,000 a year.
But whose idea of fairness and balance?
It’s an astonishing fact that of the 10600 submissions received by the inquiry no fewer than 9600 were boilerplate submissions from left-wing pressure groups, led by Avaaz “a global civic organization launched in January 2007 that promotes activism on issues such as climate change, human rights, poverty and corruption.” (See Andrew Bolt for further details)
This bias is certainly evident in its attitude to climate change. It cites a December 2011 report by the left-leaning Australian Centre for Independent Journalism on media coverage of climate change policy in Australia. The report – A Sceptical Climate – had found that “negative coverage of government policy outweighed positive coverage by 73 per cent to 27 per cent” and that the preponderance of negative coverage was even greater among Murdoch-owned newspapers.
To which the only sane and sensible response is: “Yeah? And???” Of course a left-wing think tank is going to find climate scepticism objectionable. Of course it’s going to seize every opportunity to have a dig at papers owned by Rupert Murdoch. But had Pinkie Finkie been wearing his scrupulously neutral wig of blind justice – rather than his I HEART George Soros hat – it might have occurred to him that there was a much more plausible reason than media bias as to why the Gillard Government’s carbon tax got such generally negative coverage.
Maybe the carbon tax was just a bloody stupid idea and everyone with an ounce of sense could SEE it was a bloody stupid idea!
Pinkie Finkie, however, takes the view that any newspaper that takes a firm line against an iniquitous, wrong-headed, economically suicidal, unscientifically-based, activist-driven, morally bankrupt new carbon tax system must perforce be in need of stricter regulation.
4.38 However, to have an opinion and campaign for it is one thing; reporting is another, and in news reporting it is expected by the public, as well as by professional journalists, that the coverage will be fair and accurate.
4.39 Nonetheless, there is a widely-held public view that, despite industry-developed codes of practice that state this, the reporting of news is not fair, accurate and balanced.
“Widely-held public view”. Yes, well I suppose it really is “widely-held” if you ignore the fact that 86 per cent of those submissions were the result of leftist astroturfing, much of it – not unlike the Leveson Inquiry – motivated mainly by a desire to get Murdoch.
(Lest you doubt it, here’s what Avaaz said to its mob: (H/T Andrew Bolt)
The media inquiry we fought hard to win is under threat — Rupert Murdoch’s newspapers are working to discredit and limit the investigation into his stranglehold on our media. But a flood of public comments from each of us will set an ambitious agenda and save the inquiry.)
Anyway, you get the idea. Quis custodiet ipsos custodes, and all that. We’ve saw in the Andrew Bolt aborigines case that freedom of speech in Australia was already on its last legs, thanks to the way the system has been hijacked by activist judges. If Finkelstein gets his way, this could be the final nail in the coffin.
I personally don’t think it will be. I think the Carbon Tax, the Bolt trial and now this are going to lead to the mother of all political backlashes, and that when it comes to the next general election the avowedly climate sceptical Tony Abbott is going to be a shoo-in.
But let’s allow lefties like Pinkie Finkie and Gillard and Tim Flannery and Bob Brown their hour in the sun because the longer they stay there, the more damage they do and the more damage they will be seen to have done. This is important. (The same applies to Obama’s US; sadly it’s not going to work here, not with Cameron poisoning the wells for Conservatism for ever). If Australia is to get the government it needs (and deserves) it must first experience the full horror of the government it doesn’t deserve. The more easily ordinary people can see just how authoritarian, petty-minded, bullying, meddling and grotesquely biased the left can be when it holds the reins of power, the more enthusiastic they’ll be about throwing the bastards into the croc pit come 2013. (Or sooner, if we’re lucky.)