Thanks to distractions, we've still got some hard-earned in the skyrocket. I was busy showing TONY THE TEACHER the sights of exciting Geelong when Magic Mick Manley's tips came rocketing through cyberspace. Fortunately, Mick's first tip, Storm Prince in race 2 at Caulfield, failed to make the placings and we're still financially unscarred. Which prompts confidence about investing in LETHAL LEIGH (Race 5, No.3) each-way. And according to Mick in the Blue Diamond Stakes, the Sydney horse KUSI (Race 6, No.4) might just prove too good.
Who's watching Media Watch? Well it's not the media hound dog from enterprise street, Crikey. While Steve Mayne and his merry jesters have a fine time mauling easy targets like Alan Jones and Piers Ackerman, they are reluctant to criticise David Marr and Media Watch over the disgraceful distortion of an ABC Jakarta correspondent's copy by someone in the ABC's Sydney newsroom. This had the potential to damage Australia's standing with Indonesia and made the Prime Minister furious.
I've emailed Mayne three times now over Crikey's lack of comment on this serious media issue for no reply, let alone publication of my concerns.
This letter I sent twice, to different Crikey email addresses:
I sent this letter two days ago to crikey.com.au
Presume you have not read it.
Surely, Media Watch needs a bucketing for ignoring this matter.
(For publication, if deemed worthy)
ABC news distorts a correspondent's report so drastically it threatens the national interest and sends the PM ballistic. The broadcaster is forced to take the unusual step of apologising on its national news service. In damage terms this could well be the most important media yarn in years. Yet Media Watch doesn't warrant this worth a mention, let alone finding out who is to blame. The original report and Media Watch's inaction removes any doubt that the ABC is a festering pit of incompetence, malice and political bias.
And today, after Crikey again ignores one of the worst transgressions in news delivery that I can recall, I sent this:
OK, it's your right not to publish my letter concerning the lack of interest by Media Watch in the disgraceful distortion by ABC news of a Jakarta correspondent's copy.
But I'm astonished that you, as a media watchdog, have not criticised Media Watch for shamefully ignoring such a major media matter.
I would hope that your inactivity on this issue has nothing to do with the regular spots the ABC affords you.
Here's a new disturbing twist in the countdown to conflict.
THE INDEPENDENT reports that three giant cargo ships are being tracked by US and British intelligence on suspicion they might be carrying Iraqi weapons of mass destruction.
American and British military forces are believed to be reluctant to stop and search the vessels for fear that any intervention might result in them being scuttled. If they were carrying chemical and biological weapons, or fissile nuclear material, and they were to be sunk at sea, the environmental damage could be catastrophic.
UP THAT RIVER IN EGYPT (WITHOUT A PADDLE)
Quote of the day:
Jacques Chirac is a complete fool who wouldn't know a weapon of mass destruction if it bit him in the ass. He is in denial to the point where not only does he himself sound like Saddam, he's starting to sound a lot like O.J. Simpson, too.
It's from Cowboy Bob at THE AXIS OF WEASELS. Bob is not only across all the cant and cowardice coming out of Europe. He has an impressive knack of provoking the dumbest responses since Sergeant Schultz.
FINEST OF FRIENDS
SADDAM is delighted millions of anti-American marchers came out at the weekend to side with him. This article from AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL illustrates what a pleasant little regime the peaceniks -- admittedly, many unintentionally -- have allied themselves with. Excerpt:
In October 1992, arbitrary and widespread arrests of unarmed civilians were carried out by the military and security in al-'Amara, as part of what the government called a ''punitive campaign'' against the Shi'a Muslim population in the south. Most were held at the 4th Army corps' headquarters, where they were reportedly tortured. Two Shi'a Muslims released from al-Radwaniya garrison, southwest of Baghdad, stated that they had been repeatedly beaten and subjected to electric shocks during their four months' detention. They also stated that a fellow detainee died from severe burns after being tied to skewer-like device and ''roasted'' over a flame.
In 1993, a Shi'a Muslim testified that while being detained for several days in al-Radwaniya he was suspended by an arm and a leg from the ceiling, given electric shocks to his genitals, beaten with cables and burned with cigarettes. He was released after paying 30,000 Iraqi dinars. He also said that, while he was in al-Radwaniya, two fellow detainees died as a result of torture. In an another case, a Shi'a Muslim peasant was beaten with cables and given electric shocks while in detention in al-'Amara in April 1993. He was then transferred to al-Radwaniya where several detainees allegedly suffered critical burns after being pushed into a fire during interrogation.
In 1994, seven Ba'thist government opponents detained since 1993 died in custody. It was not clear whether they died under torture or were tortured and then executed. Among them were Muhammad 'Abd al-Ta'i from Diyala, Muhammad Aiyub al-Dulaimi form Mosul and Walid Shakir al-'Ubaidi from Baghdad. Their bodies were returned to their families, in August and September 1994, reportedly disfigured by torture. The eyes of six of the victims had allegedly been gouged out. Among the detainees who were said to have died as a result of torture shortly after their arrest was Karim al-Jihari, who was arrested in April 1994 in Misan Governorate during a wave of arbitrary arrests in the south.
MEDIA LOOK THE OTHER WAY
The ABC's Media Watch, which likes to be seen as a watchdog for all matters suspect in the Oz media, has revealed itself as a partisan piece of piss and wind.
On Saturday, an ABC staffer distorted a correspondent's copy so blatantly that the rewritten bulletin threatened the national interest, sent Prime Minister John Howard ballistic and forced the national broadcaster to make a rare on-air apology.
An ABC newsreader introducing a story by ABC political correspondent Jim Middleton said: "Well, there's support for Iraq tonight from the world's largest Muslim nation. Indonesia claims a war on Iraq would be a war on Islam."
Middleton's original introduction to his story – sent from Indonesia – said the Prime Minister had lashed out at Indonesian claims that the war on Iraq would be a war on Islam. These claims were made by major Islamic organisations. But the introduction was rewritten in Sydney and not checked before it went to air.
The Prime Minister, in his Indonesian hotel some hours later, watched it via the ABC's Asian TV service.
He had just come from a meeting with the Indonesian cabinet, at which the Megawati Government made clear it would explain to the Indonesian public that a war on Iraq did not mean a war on Islam.
"The Prime Minister had concerns over a serious factual error in Saturday night's TV news," a spokesman said. "The Prime Minister spoke to the ABC managing director to express his concerns because it was such a sensitive issue."
In damage terms, the whole disgraceful episode could well be the most important media yarn in years. Yet Media Watch, aired last night, didn't think it warranted a mention, concentrating instead on horoscopes and the latest boring outrage by John Laws and Alan Jones. (As if anyone gives a). To be taken seriously, Media Watch should have been all over the Indonesian report, revealing who was responsible.
The original report and Media Watch's inaction removes any doubt that the ABC is a festering pit of incompetence, malice and political bias.
As you'd expect, UNCLE AT ABCWATCH gives Media Watch the shellacking it deserves.
Eureka! We've struck the motherlode of graphic satire. It's a site called BSNN.Net where they twist the knife viciously. Just ask permission to borrow anything. It's got some crazy writing, too.
And here's a visage guaranteed to put the wind up every errant schoolboy. Captured after a long night at the taps is bon vivant, 'groper goal-kicking legend and cricket tragic, Tony the Teacher.
More pictorial experimentation. I've found a free picture hosting site -- www.picturetrail.com -- where you can upload digital images from your hard drive. This gives them an internet address, allowing them to be loaded onto a blog. Here's the result -- daughter Erin with proud Dad.