MEDIATING THE MEDIA
It’s not our fault, The Australian ($) stamps its foot this morning, that former Q+A host Stan Grant felt accosted by the media for his coronation coverage. The paper claims an “unverified figure of ‘more than 150 articles’ ” mentioning Grant and the coronation coverage in both The Australian and Sky News had been reported by the SMH, Crikey and the ABC, but it found there were just 15 articles in the Oz and 63 on Sky News. A quick Crikey site search shows none of our stories says “150 articles” but rather “150 mentions”. Searching the phrase “150 articles” on the SMH’s site doesn’t bring anything related up either. Indeed when SMH ($) columnist Jenna Price did a bit of sleuthing she found about 80 stories, and an ABC spokesperson explained it was 148 mentions when you account for all the content- sharing across platforms. The paper asked Guardian Australia, which was the first to report “150 mentions”, whether the data came from ABC but didn’t get a response.
Meanwhile News Corp Australasia executive chairman Michael Miller slammed “a raft of unsubstantiated claims” from ABC’s director of news Justin Stevens about how News Corp reported the coronation coverage. It’s not clear whether Miller read an Oz ($) column from Henry Ergas that referred to Grant’s “tirades” and “black armband” view of history. Guardian Australia reports Stevens said the slew of coverage was “amplifying and giving agency” to racist trolls, something Miller said Stevens should correct on the record. The Oz ($) also points out that it was not just News Corp that reported on the coronation coverage in a not-so-positive light — Nine’s Melbourne radio 3AW host Neil Mitchell said the ABC “misread the mood” and 2GB breakfast host Ben Fordham derided “lectures about the monarchy … from the likes of Stan Grant”. What a mess.
DON’T QUOTE ME
Independent Senator Lidia Thorpe says it’s “deceptive and underhanded” that anti-Voice group Advance used quotes from her to reach young voters on Facebook. But a spokesperson for Advance told Guardian Australia: “Inner-city voters need to hear there is a very different side to this story, one their Labor and Greens MPs are hell-bent on hiding.” So what is Advance? Crikey explains it’s a conservative lobby group behind the “Fair Australia” campaign to defeat the Voice. It set up the page “Referendum News” — categorised as a “news and media website” on Facebook even though it has an electoral authorisation in its bio — and only shares stories critical of the Voice. It’s spent somewhere between $5700 and $10,160 to show the page’s ads to more than 1,056,000 Australians over the past three weeks, Crikey’s Cam Wilson notes.
Meanwhile PwC Australia is also in hot water for using info to its advantage. The auditor-general’s report into the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry found it used secret info from meetings with the department to pitch for more work. It was only in the meetings as a strategic partner of the department, Guardian Australia explains. What does that mean? Good question. In 2021 it was announced PwC would provide advice and additional surge capacity to build “a smarter, more flexible organisation”. Speaking of a possible conflict of interest, former judges reckon Liberal MP Stuart Robert should be investigated by the federal integrity watchdog over whether he helped consultants hunting lucrative deals with the government, the SMH ($) reports.
There are more than 40,000 modern slaves in Australia, according to the latest edition of the Global Slavery Index, a figure that has doubled since 2018. The New Daily reports there are 50 million people who live in modern slavery worldwide and $26 billion worth of products imported into Australia each year are probably made using forced labour. However, the report did say Australia (and the UK and the Netherlands) had the strongest responses to stamping out modern slavery out of 170 countries. So what counts as modern slavery? Usually it involves “exploitative practices such as forced labour, forced marriage, human trafficking and debt bondage”, the Daily lists, and often happens to migrant workers in rural areas.
Speaking of: a deal on migration was top of the agenda between Prime Minister Anthony Albanese and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the AFR ($) reports. The latest census showed India had overtaken China and New Zealand to become the third largest country of birth for Aussie residents, the ABC says. Albanese and Modi will also chat about free trade, the critical minerals industry and defence during his trip Down Under this week. The pair attended a sold-out rally in Sydney last night, “though there were significant numbers of empty seats as Modi began his speech”, according to Al Jazeera. It also described Albanese’s “unusually personal show of support”, noting Modi has been accused of discrimination against India’s 200 million Muslims and other minorities.
ON A LIGHTER NOTE
A bit of healthy competition between mates — what’s the harm? Take Pasang Dawa Sherpa, a 46-year-old guy who climbed Mount Everest for the 26th time about 10 days back. It meant he tied for the record number of ascents with his pal, Kami Rita Sherpa, 53. But Kami wasn’t about to share the top spot, no siree. So he figured he’d just pop up there again. To the top of the world’s tallest mountain, that is, a mountain that is just a kilometre and a half shorter than the height you fly in a plane. Right, Pasang said, just over a week since his last ascent, I’m going back up and down then too. Oh, think you’re some big hero, do you? Kami responded. So Kami climbed it again as well, bringing them both to a tied 28 times in total.
They’re really taking “one-upmanship to an extreme on top of the world”, as The New York Times ($) puts it. How long will this go on? Kami’s people said once he reached 30 summits, he’d call it quits and retire. But Pasang’s people said he’ll keep going up until he breaks Kami’s record. It’s pretty amazing stuff, considering it’s a once-in-a-lifetime climb for almost everyone (apart from sherpas). And sherpas carry the weight of the trip — literally. Their packs can be twice their size, jammed with ropes, ladders, food, and the myriad other things needed for survival. The former head of the Nepal Mountaineering Association told the paper that when it comes to mountain climbing, “unhealthy competition should be discouraged”. But what’s a little jostling between pals?
Wishing you a little sherpa power in your Wednesday.
The last time I saw someone on the stage here was Bruce Springsteen and he didn’t get the welcome that Prime Minister Modi has got. Prime Minister Modi is the boss!
The PM got a bit swept up in the energy at Qudos Bank Arena last night as Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi fronted a 21,000-person strong rally. Modi said India and Australia had a lot of things binding them, including cricket, curry, yoga and MasterChef.
“This, after all, would be the same Daily Tele that greeted Grant’s initial announcement that he was stepping away by calling on one-woman defamation lawyer support fund Annette Sharp, to remind everyone that in the ’90s Grant changed jobs a few times, had an affair, and that colleagues had said he was ‘vulnerable’ to criticism. Her piece concluded: ‘At last his grievances have found a captive audience in an era of unquestioning modern wokeism when a good celebrity bellyache can generate enough clicks to make you believe you’re relevant again.’
“Meanwhile, The Australian‘s coverage noted that Grant had ‘expressed his “disappointment” in the lack of support offered to him by his employer after the public broadcaster received intense criticism for its coverage of King Charles III’s coronation earlier this month’. Intense criticism, the paper failed to mention, that was almost completely led by the Oz.”
“This sort of violence does not end with one generation; it lives on as intergenerational trauma. It lives on in stories we tell our children and those we were not allowed to tell. When people like Grant are silenced, and not allowed to talk about the impact the colonial past had on his people, and millions like him, this violence is repeated, the history of Indigenous peoples erased.
“It then becomes easier to assume that First Nations peoples do not still face barriers and discrimination in modern society. As Grant said in his very touching parting speech last night, an acknowledgment of history — the honest version of Australia’s past — is the only way to acknowledge Indigenous peoples’ place in the country, on the land that always has belonged to them.”
“The problem is that not all journalists sign up for a university degree or cadet training where they are provided with an education in the special rights and responsibilities that come with the job. Those special rights include getting physical access to spaces and buildings where the public is not readily permitted, and being able to benefit from certain legal defences and protections — such as for the dissemination of news as a defence to copyright infringement, and the public interest defence in defamation proceedings.
“But with those rights and special treatment, there also comes responsibility, including accountability, such as a complaints system where journalists are held to account to undertake their activities consistently with integrity, transparency, fairness and independence.”
READ ALL ABOUT IT
Victoria bites a $117 billion bullet, and begins the long march of land tax reform (The Conversation)
Attacks in Russia’s Belgorod: five key things to know (Al Jazeera)
Russian court extends detention of Evan Gershkovich to August (The Guardian)
China expels Canadian consul in Shanghai, one day after Ottawa orders Chinese diplomat out (CBC)
Vinicius Jr case opens wider racism debate in Spain (BBC)
Wall St subdued as deadlocked debt ceiling talks stoke default concerns (Reuters)
No quid pro quo to Iran’s release of French prisoners, says minister (euronews)
We stand with Stan? Give us a break. Aunty should stand for quality journalism — Janet Albrechtsen and Tom Switzer (The Australian) ($): “Not so long ago, it was mandatory for senior ABC journalists to keep their opinions to themselves. Andrew Olle, Mark Colvin, Maxine McKew, Tony Jones, even Kerry O’Brien — none would undermine their journalistic authority by campaigning for political causes. These ABC doyens may have had left-of-centre views but at least they tried to be objective when they presented leading ABC programs. Virginia Trioli even proved her ‘objectivity’ by boasting she no longer voted at elections. Never mind that personal opinions don’t start and stop at the ballot box.
“The principle of impartiality still applies abroad. Other prominent public broadcasters, such as the BBC in Britain and PBS and NPR in the US, would never allow one of their high-profile, prime-time presenters to vent their anger on their outlets. For instance, Fiona Bruce and David Dimbleby — present and past presenters of the BBC’s Question Time (on which the ABC’s Q+A is modelled) — have never aired their opinions on any political issues at the Beeb. It’s just unseemly. But things are done differently at our Aunty. Staff use Twitter to emote, campaign and criticise (mainly conservative) politicians, without consequence.”
Protecting kids from porn is simple. Why are we making it look difficult? — Chloe Shorten (The SMH) ($): “The allure of sex and porn to teenagers is undeniable, but the normalisation of often violent and degrading content poses significant dangers. Just as we openly discuss the risks of vaping and alcohol with our children, we can’t avoid addressing the harms of early exposure to porn. It is a form of abuse that can traumatise and ensnare our youth, jeopardising their emotional well-being and future relationships.
“Concerning the 13-year-old boy mentioned earlier, the judge in Ireland rightly expressed shock at the availability of such explicit material to vulnerable and impressionable young people. It is beyond disconcerting that companies profit from selling pornographic material while our children bear the consequences. We must acknowledge the need for stricter regulations and greater accountability to prevent the widespread availability of harmful material to children. It is time for public figures to speak candidly and truthfully about this issue, providing leadership without bias.”
HOLD THE FRONT PAGE
WHAT’S ON TODAY
Ngunnawal Country (also known as Canberra)
Yuggera and Turrbal Country (also known as Brisbane)
Author Annaleise Easlea will talk about her new book, Keep Swimming, at Avid Reader bookshop.
Kulin Nation Country (also known as Melbourne)
The Centre for Inclusive Design’s Manisha Amin, academic Simona Castricum, Honeycomb Access & Design’s Jenna Cohen will discuss how design can alleviate social exclusion in a talk at the Wheeler Centre.