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ABC head swipes at Murdoch

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The head of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC), Mark Scott, takes a swipe at media mogul Rupert Murdoch's moves to charge for online content.

See this report

(The ABC is modelled on the BBC, and is government funded with complete autonomy under its charter.)

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The Canadian version, the CBC, actually posts most of its material online, for free, and has lots of them as freebies through iTunes store as podcasts. That includes a lot of normal programming, and not just news.

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If Fox's audience is dumb enough to pay for what everyone else is giving away, can you blame them for cashing in?

No you can't, but you can blame Fox for trying to instigate that all providers should be paid, just so Murdoch can ensure continuation of his empire, if not a desire to acquire the Internet itself. Foxnet, yeah don't want that! :wav:

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I find it very amusing that a member of a completely government funded organization is complaining about how a private enterprise operates. I suspect that if the Australian Government would pay Mr. Murdoch 840 million dollars per year Mr. Murdoch would be more than willing to allow Australian internet users to view his contents for free.

If Mr. Murdoch's plan is as bad as Mr. Scott claims it is, it will fail of its own accord. In the meantime I seriously doubt that the Australian Government is any better at running businesses than any other government, so I would take anything said by government employees on how to operate private businesses with a large grain of salt.

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I find it very amusing that a member of a completely government funded organization is complaining about how a private enterprise operates. I suspect that if the Australian Government would pay Mr. Murdoch 840 million dollars per year Mr. Murdoch would be more than willing to allow Australian Internet users to view his contents for free.

If Mr. Murdoch's plan is as bad as Mr. Scott claims it is, it will fail of its own accord. In the meantime I seriously doubt that the Australian Government is any better at running businesses than any other government, so I would take anything said by government employees on how to operate private businesses with a large grain of salt.

Ah Fritz, I have to point out to you that you are assuming that we in Australia hold the same regard for private enterprise over government funded bodies as in the US. Whilst it is true we often do look at the US for inspiration, we also look at other systems and then adapt to our own special needs, (not always successfully.) The ABC is one of our most cherished successes.

The independence of our ABC is very dear to Australians, who I admit on the whole, do not listen to it, although it does attract a fair audience for many of its TV live to air and online programs. Nevertheless we do regard the ABC as a balancing force in the media, a commercial free promoter of the arts, sport and a source of accurate reporting of world and local events, something that I find the Murdoch media is abysmal at doing. Personally I think Mr Scott didn't go far enough in his criticism of Murdoch. (I'm a tad left.)

No private company could come anywhere near providing the quantity or quality of services that the ABC provides to such a small population spread over the wide and vast areas that comprise Australia. We can see the Murdoch answer here in Adelaide, his home town by the way, with our one and only (Murdoch) newspaper. It is generally regarded as abysmal despite being profitable due to its monopoly, in my opinion.

In addition the ABC is setup under its own charter with a board and an appointed chairman (currently Mr. Scott). In effect it is the public media arm of government, but chartered to be as unbiased and separate from direct government interference as we can make it, with accountability to the Parliament. (See the
ABC Charter
and the brochure,
All About the ABC
.) Both in pdf format.

If you will take the time to look over the
ABC site
and its offerings, you may well come to see why we are so protective of it and its independence.

The proof of the ABC's independence and integrity is perhaps seen clearly when, as often happens, both sides of politics accuse the ABC of being biased over any and all issues. On the other hand, Murdoch's media are constantly accused of right wing bias. No one to my knowledge has yet accused Murdoch of being a left wing atheist.

Mr Scott, in criticising Murdoch, is doing exactly what his role as head of the ABC demands he do, to ensure the public is informed about anything that threatens Australian's freedom to be informed though the ABC. In my view Murdoch's desire to charge for online information would be restrictive, if not an attempt to control the Net for his own purposes.

The point here is not whether Murdoch would allow free access to the Internet if the government were to give him the ABC's funding, but that there would be no one, no organisation, no ABC to offer an alternative view to the influence of Murdoch and his ilk. The free press is not free if it can be manipulated by such people and certainly not if there is no accountability.

Our ABC is a reasonably successful realisation of informing the people without government or private enterprise influence, or propaganda.

I would submit that our ABC is proof that governments can run some things competently and probably better than private companies if the time is taken, and the effort made, to keep corruptive influences minimised, and that I believe is hard to ensure once there is a profit motive involved. Fox News or ABC? There is no comparison.

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Ah Des, you misunderstand. I am not trying to defend Murdoch. I'm merely pointing out that state run enterprises do not have a good record of business management, and that it is doubtful that Mr. Scott would be as successful at running Mr. Murdoch's businesses to point of making him a fair critic of how they are operated.

I freely confess to not being as familiar with ABC as I am with say BBC. So perhaps your ABC is everything you say it is, but I would point out that BBC is far from unbiased, as is CBC. Both are slanted liberal in their reporting and accuracy.

The argument that both sides complain so that must mean that it is neutral is meaningless because there has been no impartial finding of fact as to were the complaints justified. Only after that has been determined can a study be done to determine if it is biased or not. Even then such a study needs to account for far more than are the articles factually accurate. I'll offer an example of one way news is slanted from what used to be my daily newspaper. It seems that one of their fair-haired politicians (one whom they had endorsed in elections from mayor of Portland to governor of Oregon and who was of the proper party in their eyes, ie a Democrat) had a sexual relationship with an underage young lady. The crime took place so far in the past that the statute of limitations had run out so there was no chance of prosecution, and the politician in question had retired several years previously. So the reporting followed the following line. In the first part of any article on the topic it was referred to as sexual abuse. Only many paragraphs down, and only in part of the articles did it finally say that the charge would have been rape three, which is what is commonly referred to as statutory rape.

Now it is commonly known in newspaper circles that most people only read the first few paragraphs of most news articles, so by burying the actual charge far into the article meant that instead of rape, most readers thought it was the lessor crime of sexual abuse, and understand that sexual abuse under the then current and still present law can be anything from telling off color jokes to a pat on the bottom. So in the case of the Oregonian, the newspaper I'm using as the example, they could claim that their reporting was accurate even though many readers would not have realized the severity of the crime owing to the fact that the description of the actual crime was past where most people have stopped reading. Add in that they, during the same period, offered a number of articles telling what great things former Gov. Goldschmidt( Sorry, but I got the name wrong. It was Neal Goldschmidt and not Mark Hatfield) did to help the young lady cope with the effects of her "sexual abuse," All of it was true, but the picture presented to the casual reader was far from true. As an aside, the Oregonian is not a Murdoch publication, but is owned and operated by the Newhouse group.

And there are many other ways to exert bias on news reporting, such as where the news is presented, or who is quoted and how that person is described, and probably the most important, what news is reported. No matter whether the news media is TV, newspapers, or radio, there is a finite amount of space or time to fill and editors have to make choices on what content they will use. So even if every article or report was one hundred percent accurate, there can still be a lot of bias exerted by what news is covered. To offer an example that applies to the BBC, CBC, and almost all American news media, some time back there as a piece of news regarding Israeli planes shooting rockets into Palestinian Red Cross ambulances, complete with pictures of an ambulance with a hole in its roof. It was reported on BBC, CBC, the New York Times, the Washington Post, our ABC, NBC, don't know about CBS, and most other news sources I'm familiar with. The problem is that it was reported as a big deal when the story broke, but the story was false. In fact it was so false that I took one look at the picture and knew it was false, not because I'm a genius, but because the ambulance picture could not be an accurate representation of what the story said. Anyhow, some of the media finally admitted that the story was not true, but many of them did not and even the ones who admitted it wasn't true did so in a manner that few people would notice. HERE is a link that offers both a look at what was reported and by whom, and a pretty decent explanation of why the report or pictures were false. My question to you is, did your ABC report the so called rocket destruction by the Israelis and if so, how prominent was their story admitting it was false.

As for looking over your ABC site, I find it has a definite left bias. Now that is not necessarily bad, but it is there and needs to be remembered when judging their reporting. Every news source I've seen has biases and any consumer of news needs to know the biases of the source and keep them in mind when consuming news from them. I would point out that anyone who thinks any news source impartial is very likely of the same bias that the source is. That said, some sources make more efforts to attempt to be impartial. A half hour of looking over your ABC gives me the tentative conclusion that on a number of subjects it is not particularly careful about hiding its biases. Now please understand, I am not saying that your ABC is not a good organization, only that it has its biases and you need to take them into consideration when attempting to judge how much credence to give them on various topics.

Lastly, do you honestly believe that your ABC never changes an article because that article might have an effect on their funding the way it is written? That it never worries that making your government or any politician mad might have an effect on its funding? That it has never killed a story because that story might have an impact on how your government acts towards and funds it? As I pointed out earlier, there is a finite amount of time and space for reporting and I find it highly doubtful that your ABC has not killed stories that might have embarrassed either your government or someone in it by the reasoning that the story was not that important and other stories were more important.

As for Murdoch, rail against him all you want for the way his organization covers news, but I still find it silly that your Mr. Scott thinks he is better at running Murdoch's empire than Murdoch is. If he was truly that good he would have his own news empire. And I do think it ludicrous to believe that should Mr. Murdoch be successful with his charge for content that it would, in your words, "In my view Murdoch's desire to charge for online information would be restrictive, if not an attempt to control the Net for his own purposes." Are you truly trying to make the argument that if Mr. Murdoch charges for his content it will give him control of the internet for his own purposes?

Full and fair disclosure. I get almost none of my news from Mr. Murdoch's news organizations. I get the majority of it from the Washington Post, New York Times, and the BBC, with other sources as the situation requires. I am well aware of the biases that each of those organizations have and can allow for them in judging whether or not to believe any given story or, more importantly, the conclusions reached by that story. I used to get part of it from the Los Angeles Times, but they are no longer consistent in their biases and so I no longer am able to judge whether or not to believe them, or how much to allow for their biases.

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I suspect we see things differently Fritz. I freely admitted to being left and yes our ABC is in that direction. To me that is the way it should be. Right wing conservatism is not a force for good or human compassion in my opinion and experience.

I'm afraid I cannot agree with the points you raise, including those about Mr Scott, or Mr Murdoch in your reply and that continued discussion will only have one or both of us banging our heads against a wall.

All I can say is that we disagree.

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Ah Des, you misunderstand. I am not trying to defend Murdoch. I'm merely pointing out that state run enterprises do not have a good record of business management, and that it is doubtful that Mr. Scott would be as successful at running Mr. Murdoch's businesses to point of making him a fair critic of how they are operated.

I'll also have to disagree. I've heard enough American's complaining about state run enterprises, but we've had a few quite successful state run enterprises in Australia, to the extent that the government has been able to sell them off to investors. It's just a case of making sure, like the ABC, that the government control is very loose. It is only when the politicians have a say in how things are run that things go down hill.

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It's just a case of making sure, like the ABC, that the government control is very loose. It is only when the politicians have a say in how things are run that things go down hill.

As most of you know, the United States is in a lot of trouble and what we do affects a lot of people around the world. Our government has stepped in where it traditionally has no business being in, but trying times require nontraditional responses. I just hope that when our crises are over that our government steps down from it's 'take care of everybody' role.

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Des wrote,

I suspect we see things differently Fritz. I freely admitted to being left and yes our ABC is in that direction. To me that is the way it should be. Right wing conservatism is not a force for good or human compassion in my opinion and experience.

I would agree with the right wing part provided that we can agree on a definition of right wing, but I would suggest that you paint far too broad a picture in one way, and not the other. You need to condemn not only the extreme right, but also the extreme left.

To carry this a little further, you seem to be condemning all things right of your position and it somewhat appears to me that you are very close to exhibiting classic symptoms of bigotry, in effect condemning because their beliefs do not match your own. Now understand that it is not that I am saying or think you are a bigot, but you are straying close to that line with that sort of an answer because you are not being specific enough. What does right wing conservatism mean to you? Are you saying that all people right of center lack compassion, or do you have a more restrictive view of it that might more closely approximate my own? I freely admit that there are some crackpots on the extreme right who need to be ignored because they are dangerous, but I also believe that there is a similar sized group on the extreme left who likewise need to be ignored because they are equally destructive. Both groups are small in number but loud in voice, and because they are controversial they receive far more than their share of news coverage. That leaves the rest of us to try to work out solutions to problems, but when people resort to wide ranging attacks without being specific about who those attacks are aimed at, it makes it more difficult. In short, I find the term right wing conservative too broad even though I suspect that you did not mean it as broadly as I read it. At least I hope you didn't.

When it comes to government sponsored news agencies I'm going to flatly state that I don't think it possible to have one that is not at all influenced, on what and how it covers government, by the fact that it is government funded. The only question is how much does it affect them. In the case of the CBC I would say far more than is good for the citizens of Canada. The same is true for the BBC, but as earlier stated, I've not followed your ABC enough to say about it. However, it should be easy enough for you to figure out by thinking back upon any government scandals and examining what news source broke and covered them. If it was your ABC then you are right and it is doing its job. If they were broken and initially covered by other news agencies, then your ABC is not doing its job. In the cases of both Canada and Great Britain there have been any number of fairly recent (within the last ten years or so) scandals that were not broken or initially well covered by their respective government sponsored news agencies. That those same government sponsored news agencies finally covered them, long after they initially broke, only means that they did so after the fact and when it became obvious that to not cover them would look silly. Just as an example of that, in Canada the Gomery Commission hearings illustrate what I'm referring to. Many of us in the U.S. knew more about it than did the followers of CBC.

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Fritz, I am not wanting to enter into a discussion on the extremes of the left and right.

You may see why I would rather sit this out from the following.

My opinion and it is only, opinion, is that politically, there is a balance that needs to be maintained at the middle point between the left and right. This moderate position however needs to be active, mobile and shifting on any particular issue, forged with reason and intellectual honesty. There needs to be a tension that holds either side from gaining control of the other.

An individual however may sway from that middle point on any number of issues. How far and in which direction he sways may influence how he is perceived (and indeed how he perceives himself) as a proponent of the left or the right.

I see the same motives on both sides of the political middle ground causing the same suffering to people.

I see the same greed for power and control on the left and the right.

In conjunction with the left and right is the influence of the authoritarian or of the libertine. (Libertine I here define as unrestrained by convention or morality. Authoritarian is defined as expecting unquestioning obedience.)

Neither the left nor the right is fully free from either of these influences.

Arguing over the effect of these four points, Left, Right, Authoritarian and Libertine, is somewhat a circular argument until we introduce the concept of such truths, so called self evident in the US Declaration of Independence, and also as they appear in various Charters of Human Rights. Together with the amendments of the US constitution we have a formula for freedom which could be the gift of the USA to human existence and yet the corruption of economic greed stops it from being so, the corruption of false patriotism impedes personal freedom, and the abandonment of human compassion serves only the selfish.

Yet the hope of the world is in the realization that the American experiment of truth, liberty, justice and the pursuit of happiness is something more than just an American Dream. Why is it not being realised? How can a man such as Murdoch be allowed to stand in the path of such a utopia? Why does Obama (assuming his words are his truth), have to continue to fight hypocrisy in both parties, if not as well as in his own administration?

There can be little doubt that if John Lennon sang "All we are saying is give peace a chance," in the face of the warmongers, then we should throw in the face of those who maintain that the capitalist system is wonderful because it utilises man's natural propensity for greed, that the time has come to stop serving up that rotten idea and see with clarity that man is not greedy, not evil, not sinful, but is naturally a being of love, if we just give him a chance.

According to my reckoning that little spurt of words makes me an anarchist, at least in the sense that none of the four points above are wholly acceptable to me. I'd rather love than hate any day, but the causes of human suffering often make me rebel.

Fritz, I don't doubt for one minute that no media organisation has performed flawlessly, no freely elected government run enterprise is perfect, but I can tell you that none of them are stained with anything like the amount of human suffering that corporations have caused without care for anything but profit.

Is there an answer to this circular stupidity we seem to have got ourselves into on this planet? It's always been there but the profit of love is not commercially viable.

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Des, I agree with almost all of what you wrote. The only place I differ is the placing of blame for most of the misery of the world upon corporations, and even then only in degree because I think that a fair perusal of history will show that much of it was and is caused by governments, or more specifically, corrupt or stupid individuals within governments who use their position of power and authority to impose their own agenda upon their own citizens without regards to whether or not the citizens are in favor of it or whether or not it is in the best interests of their citizens. Certainly some corporations have acted very badly, but governments have far more power to do harm than even the biggest of corporations. With the one exception I don't think we are nearly as far apart in our respective views of the world as people might believe without this discussion. You make your points eloquently as usual.

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On even that one exception (of the corporations) we may agree Fritz, because I was more trying to be prophetic (wrongly I hope), than stating the current or obvious historical situations. However, there is no doubt in my mind that certain corporations are manipulating governments to their whims for profit with no regard to any resulting suffering for others. Goodness knows Hollywood has been depicting the evil corporation ever since WWII.

I am always surprised at how easily an individual can rise to the position of dictator. I don't understand why I am surprised, it's not as if I do not understand the psychology of such people; I guess I just never expect them to be as successful as they are.

As for corrupt governments, they have been all too obvious for some of us and it is baffling that they were not seen as so, by more people.

Which leads me back to Fox News and I have to insist that from my perspective, they are manipulating the public into thinking there is a monster in the Whitehouse where none exists...yet. That is the danger of Murdoch's power as I see it.

I am certain you and I would spend a fascinating and intensely interesting evening in discussing these matters over a beverage of our choosing. In these matters, the written word is often tiring to use with any degree of accurate representation of our true position. I think we we have both been patient and most cordial in what might have been a great deal more agitated discussion.

Hugs?

:wav:

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My choice of beverage would be a good Australian Shiraz, or tea. Your countrymen make some excellent Shirazes at very reasonable prices, and American tea is a joke, both in quality and brewing. While I haven't sampled Australian tea, I find it difficult to believe that it is not much better than its American counterpart.

Take care, and yes, hugs.

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While I haven't sampled Australian tea, I find it difficult to believe that it is not much better than its American counterpart.

This took me by surprise. I didn't know we had any American tea, other than herbal crap, if you mean by that tea grown in the U.S.

So I went and looked. I found an article saying the only tea grown domestically is produced south of Charleston, S.C. Wow! Who'd have guessed it. I'd thought tea was grown in high elevations, where it isn't hot and humid.

Of course, you probably meant you have great disdain for tea brewed in America. I agree it is usually not very good, and is very weak by worldwide standards, especially in English speaking countries. When I had tea in China, it was about the same strength as we normally get it here, but had much more subtle and complex flavors.

But the question remains, why should anyone be drinking tea when we have a plethora of wine and beer to consume? Huh? Anyone?

Tick, tick, tick, tick....

Pause.

I thought not.

C

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Of course you are right Cole, and I was not thinking of the tea leaves themselves being grown in the United States, but rather the abysmal way in which it is brewed in most instances. And to be perfectly honest, had it not been for an encounter with some people of Russian heritage I would never have known how good tea could actually be. In Southeastern Alaska there are still many people who have some roots to Russia and still drink tea. I was exposed to their tea and it is altogether different in flavor and character than what we normally find, yet they used commonly available teas to brew it. To paraphrase an old saying, there is many a slip twixt the leaf and the cup.

I'm surprised to learn that some tea is grown in the U.S. Thank you for that bit of trivia which I'll file away with all that other useless knowledge I've picked up and enjoyed, but never had an use for. I don't know what my fascination is with trivia, but I love the stuff.

Take care

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From Fox news to tea. We are a diverse group, aren't we? No subject too small, none too large.

As for the wine and beer, some of us unfortunately, can't consume them anymore without risking termination.

I have a cupboard full of herbal teas from Asia. One for headaches, one for sleeping, one for activities before sleep...etc.

We have an Australian grown tea, Nerada, that is as close as I have been able to find to the (India/Ceylon) teas of my youthful years.

But I agree, tea ain't tea anymore, but then the milk is a white chemical too.

I'll settle for coffee (drip-filtered) -can't stand the brown chemical powder they flog off as instant coffee. I personally think that is a poison with which they are trying to kill us. It's a coffee conspiracy folks! :icon13:

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Rick, acting upon your suggestion I decided to see just how hard it is to find PG Tips tea. Nothing to it, even for people like me who live in rural areas. Amazon lists it 57 times under grocery, so I ordered some out.

I normally drink coffee rather than tea, but sometimes I want a change. And I'm picky enough to buy beans and grind them myself. My favorite beans are Kenya AA which can sometimes be found in supermarkets with a good coffee selection. Lately I've had to drive quite a distance to buy it (the supermarket where I discovered it changed coffee suppliers and no longer carries it), but while I was ordering the tea I checked Amazon and they have it for sale also. So you hit a two for one with me, making it easy to buy both coffee and tea. Anyhow, that's what I call being helpful even though it was not quite in the way you intended. Hopefully I'll like the tea and you'll get credit for that also.

And Des, you are so right about instant coffee. If there is any justice in the world the fellow who invented instant coffee will have to spend eternity drinking it. That'll teach him!

Oh by the way Des, do inquiring minds want to know what kind of tea you drink for those activities before sleep? :icon13:

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I normally drink coffee rather than tea, but sometimes I want a change. And I'm picky enough to buy beans and grind them myself. My favorite beans are Kenya AA

Me too. Kenyan coffee is excellent. If you haven't tried Ethiopian, you might take a chance on it. It's great as well, as is Sumatran.

I'm grinding Costa Rican beans at the moment, which are certainly acceptable.

Kona coffee from Hawaii gets rave reviews, but it's way too bland for my taste. So is a lot of Columbian coffee, though there are exceptions.

I concur with the panel. Instant coffee isn't drinkable, and shouldn't be allowed to call itself coffee.

C

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I have to stand up and defend the honour of 'Nes Cafe' (which, if I remember what a friend of mine who lived in Italy for a couple years told me, is the Italian phrase for instant coffee).

Having worked at many hospitals, I think I can state with a fair degree of certainty that I've drunk the worst instant coffee available.

However, there are much better varieties of instant coffee available than those dregs. Instant coffee is a little like wine (only a little, because I'm a wine drinker, too). There are some that are almost undrinkable, but there are some that very nice. I don't know what varieties are available in the US (not much, I suspect, given the preference for brewed coffee), but in Australia the higher price brands of instant coffee are definitely drinkable :)

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