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The ABC has lost - we have all lost...

Three amazing gatherers (and interpreters) of news – (photo) journalists, and skilled pilot (and someone who knew where the story was), all par excellence.

We are all the less for their departure.


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On the subject of Murdoch

An editorial in the Times on the subject of that ugly little gang of losers and featherweights that disrupted a performance of the IPO at the Proms in London that deserves to be reproduced in full.

"Nothing in all the world, wrote Martin Luther King, is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity. Both those characteristics were in evidence at the Proms this week, though not on the stage. A performance by the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra (IPO) on Thursday was disrupted by around thirty demonstrators purporting to assert Palestinian rights. The BBC was forced to curtail ...its broadcast of the concert.

Though the protesters were few and were speedily ejected, and the musicians completed their performance to deservedly enthusiastic applause, there is a danger of underreacting to the attempt to silence the IPO. There is no historical comparison in the threat to Jews or the nature of their antagonists, but aggressive philistinism is a stubborn historical condition that burns books as heedlessly as it shouts down orchestras.

The performance on the Albert Hall stage by the IPO was sublime; the performance in the auditorium was not protest in any legitimate sense but boneheaded bigotry and intimidation. It debased public debate, disfigured London’s cultural life and reflected unwarranted disgrace on the just claims for Palestinian statehood that the Israeli Government accepts and most Israeli Jews support.

The stupidity and offensiveness of the protests may be measured in a feeble statement by a pressure group called the Palestine Solidarity Campaign. The group insists that it called for a boycott of the concert rather than its disruption. Yet a campaign that maligns the IPO as a tool of Israeli state propaganda advances an inflammatory lie and evinces ignorance of both history and art.

The IPO was founded in 1936 to assemble the talents of Jewish musicians from Europe who had lost their livelihoods under Nazi persecution. Its work testifies not to Israeli politics but to Israeli culture, the remarkable Jewish contribution to music, the role of cultural contact in defusing conflict, and the power of music itself.

Zubin Mehta, the conductor of this week’s Prom, and the IPO hold so firmly to those aims that they have performed Wagner’s music despite the anguish that its historical associations cause. Daniel Barenboim, the Israeli pianist and conductor, has likewise united young Jews and Palestinians in the West-Eastern Divan orchestra. Concertgoers in London were fortunate to be able to listen to the IPO and be elevated from the round of daily life to the world of feeling that is created by music.

There is an ugly trend for which the London protesters acted as a megaphone. It was evident this week also in Turkey’s expulsion of the Israeli Ambassador to Ankara in protest at alleged excessive force in the Israeli raid on the Gaza flotilla last year.

Israel has a right to defend itself. How it does so and how its security can be reconciled with Palestinian national claims are legitimate issues of international politics. The Times has criticised Israeli policies on security and the settlements in the West Bank. We exposed the use of white phosphorus by the Israel Defence Forces, despite official denials, in Gaza in 2009. We support a two-state solution to a long conflict and believe that there is a real possibility of securing it.

But lasting peace will be secured through development and co-operation, exemplified in the economic initiatives of Salam Fayed, the Palestinian Prime Minister, and through negotiation. There is no place in that process for the contemptible cultural vandalism that the IPO valiantly withstood."

Also an excellent editorial in the Weekend Australian on the same subject under the heading Philistines for Palestine:

It may be that music calms the savage beast, but some of the most sublime music in the civilised world could not tame the brutish, selfish arrogance of an ill-mannered, unrepresentative minority. Their action represents a dark moment in public culture and civility and does nothing to further their cause. We have said before that, given the history of Nazi Germany, there is something deeply offensive about targeting Jewish businesses. That is equally the case for these latest attacks on an Israeli orchestra that adds to the extraordinary contribution Jewish musicians and composers have made to classical music. The terrible events of May 1933, when more than 25,000 books were burnt on huge public bonfires in Berlin, were directed at Jewish intellectuals and the culture they had helped build in Germany. That night, and the cultural "cleansing" that followed, remains a deeply distressing reminder of the collapse of the basic values that must underpin a civilised society. To see culture, which should be above partisan politics, attacked as it was in London is alarming. That it should happen at the Proms, perhaps the world's best-known classical music festival, dating back to 1895 and with broad appeal, is doubly upsetting. The Proms represent the tolerance and inclusion that are the best hope for world peace.

I've said it before and I'll say it again.

Thank God for Murdoch

And I'm not a religious man...

I am passionate about this issue because I am passionate about human rights. I always have been. But not just the human rights of the Israelis that the hard left so quickly dismiss with studied contempt. Also the human rights of the Palestinians. The hard left do these tragic people an enormous disservice and I have come to believe they do this because in their hearts they don't give a stuff about the Palestinians either.

just desserts

A couple of things have happened today that ought to give optimists a skerricky ray of hope for the future.

Firstly, the rabid dog that is the Murdoch Australian has again been caught redhanded at deceit, lying, slander and partisanship, courtesy of pathological offenders Bolt and Milne, so blatant the paper itself removed the offending piece and issued a straight apology.

Abbott must have run out of ammunition, so they had to confect something and it fell apart at the seams on a solid lie advanced in lieu of evidence

On the subject of Murdoch, we were then treated to a fortuitous 4 Corners on tabloid media industry methods in Britain over the last decade, with special attention to Murdoch and his editors and grubby private investigators, including the attempt to set up a woman, who had somehow incurred their enmity, by planting cocaine on her and then having her busted within proximity of conveniently waiting tabloid hacks, an exponentially better effort from Sarah Ferguson.

From there to yet another Media Watch expose of that sad, strange little maggot called Alan Jones, with a brief incidental comment at the end that they might be doing something on today's Murdoch, next week.

From there to a rarely excellent Q&A, rendered rational because of the quality of the panel and more subtle moderation from Tony Jones.

Finally, a far, far better Lateline, esp the segment on coal seam fracking, criticised today by mining magnate Clive Palmer, of all people, capped by the delightful sight of the world's second-most insincere minister, Tony Burke, left to the tender mercies of a revitalised Ally Brown.

And of course Business Lateline is always worth a watch, much of the real news is often hidden in finance sections of newspapers and late at night on this show, presented by another ABC strongpoint, the worthy Ticky Fullerton.

Just a glimmer, but...

cheese and chalk

It's easy to take for granted the high standard of work that developed over time at auntie, I thought, watching the 4 Corners retrospective tonight. It's a shame that broadsheet skills are not valued as important in our time, as the following Media Watch again demonstrated. Compare the likes of John Penlington, Sally Neighbour etc, to the handiwork of Jones and the Murdoch tabloids, which ought to wither away in shame in the presence of real journalism.

Professional journalists

The tabloids have always been with us. That's fine by me. I like newspapers. So have broadsheets come to think of it.  That is not to say I think all newspapers are "good" in any professional sense. The worst newspapers in Australia and across the world are broadsheets and there are quite a few very bad ones indeed.  None of them are Murdoch's.  Demagogues have always been with us as well. It is wrong to blame Murdoch for any of this.

This was sad news. Death is always a second away for all of us. That makes that second of infinite importance. That's not news but if this nasty accident reminds us of this then those guys did their job to the very last in more ways than one. 


I agree with Marilyn and Fiona on the sentiments as to a skilled journo and probably good bloke living well and dying doing the usually constructive thing he loved. I won't forgive the ABC for the appallingly self-indulgent news service, Stateline and Lateline, that dropped everything else for the one story.

Of all the things the once meticulous ABC news and current affairs has deteriorated in over recent times, sharp editing is the most pronounced.

Yeah that drives me nuts

What if they had died doing something they hated, digging out a latrine in the desert or something.

I will forever remember Lockyer and his two amazing docos this year that had me crying over my coffee cup.

RIP fellas.

What isn't a mouthful of platitudes?

Nobody wants to die, but is "doing what they love" without meaning?  It would be my first, er, second choice.

When is a platitude not a platitude?

In fairness, Richard, how many of us could have our utterances scrutinised and not have them dismissed as mere platitudes?

Context is everything: isn't the context of an individual's loving his work relevant, and worthy of respect?

Here endeth the lesson   :)

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