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Introducing the Daily Briefing

Message from Webdiary General Manager David Roffey: For a trial period starting today, we will be publishing Wayne Sanderson's The Daily Briefing. As Wayne's own description of the service states: "The Daily Briefing provides a morning round-up of the local newspapers plus selected quality articles from international publications ...  the best writing, analysis, social commentary, critical thinking and humour from around the world, drawing on newspapers, magazines, think tanks and web sites everywhere. ... It is your guide through information overload. Today, an excerpt..."


3 Pollies putty in moguls' hands
Say it ain't so! "The man of steel" becomes a grovelling, obsequious jellyback when Rupert and Kerry come calling? Too bloody right, and of course John Howard is only illustrating the pack behaviour of the political herd when it comes to dealings with the big media players (so many newspapers and television outlets, so many opportunities to say nasty things about pollies on the make). It is such a sick spectacle, national leaders throwing the national interest, good policy making considerations and the health of a democratic society overboard to add to the wealth and power of men already too rich and powerful. But that's the way it goes. Is there a chance things might change? Former Telstra chief Ziggy Switkowski has told the National Press Club the Government must "set and enforce" conversion of Australia's broadcasting to a digital environment no later than January 1, 2009, it must limit regulation and open up media ownership (that sort of talk could see Kerry having another heart attack).

Is it only us, or is there really a touch of glee to Michelle Grattan's coverage of proceedings, "Canberra bending at the knees to media moguls"? And as for Stephen Bartholomeusz (link below), well he thinks that Ziggy "made an impassioned, and compelling, case for the Federal Government to abandon its policy of appeasement in relation to media reform and make a dash for the digital age". The Herald also carries an edited version of the speech on its opinion page.

Of course, there'll be no more of that sort of rot if Packer or Murdoch gets their hands on Fairfax. And here's proof. The Australian's coverage of the speech runs to a full 11 paragraphs, total, and makes no mention of grovelling before moguls - "Former Telstra chief executive Ziggy Switkowski has strongly defended his six-year record running the telco giant, distancing himself from an extraordinary attack mounted by his successor, Sol Trujillo." (The Australian does some good things and it has some fine journos, but on balance it is a bloody disgrace.)


4 The let-down lady
Not sure how this one slipped through, but fans of liberal NYTimes columnist Maureen Dowd should enjoy it while they can. Since the Times put all its op-ed writers behind a pay-to-view wall, TDB's understanding was that all papers that subsequently bought them had to do the same thing. And it's a good thing it is freely available - it's worth reading just for the opening paragraph: "President Bush doesn't have any more office wives tucked away in the White House. There are only so many supremely powerful jobs to give to women who are not qualified to get them."

The column is about Bush's US Supreme Court nominee Harriet Miers, but also mentions Karen Hughes, appointed as Under-secretary of State for Public Diplomacy, and last seen bungling her way on a charm offensive (more offensive than charm) through Muslim states. Dowd's response to the nomination sums up reaction across the spectrum in the US. Slate dubs her the "let-down lady": "Commentators on the right as well as the left-anyone, really, who thinks a Supreme Court justice should possess a record of world-class distinction-are groaning over Harriet Miers' nomination." (And there are numerous links in the story to that reaction.)

All in all the nomination points to a President down on his luck, down on support and standing, running scared and running out of nerve. But, TDB is still yet to see him labeled a "lame duck", a hunt we began some time back. Can't be long, surely.


5 IN THE PAPERS: National, Opinion, Business round-up

Fair dinkum, The Australian has no shame. Apart from its coverage of Ziggy Switkowski's press club appearance, see item one above, consider its front page lead. The teenage sons of Australia's highest-profile asylum-seekers, the Bakhtiyari family, have apologised to the Howard Government for the "lies" they now say prompted their deportation. The story is a lift from an interview on ABC's Lateline last night (but hasn't the paper been telling us that the ABC is a dreadful den of left-wing insurgency that should be shut down?); it does not mention that their criticisms of refugee advocates and lawyers applies to only 40% (the boys figure) of the people who helped them; it plays down the fact that the boys appear to confirm Paul McGeough's recent reports that the family was in fact from Afghanistan (denied by the Government); and it buries down the bottom the responses of some of their supporters denying their suggestions. Then, there is of course just the small fact that the Bakhtiyari family is on the make, hoping to be allowed to return to Australia, so they might well indeed apologise to the Government. Expect some of the right-wing tub thumpers in the Murdoch stable to rejoin the culture wars on this one (is that Andrew Bolt we can hear rubbing his hands together with glee?). Every other day recently The Australian disgraces itself and, more importantly, journalism. And do keep in mind the paper's editorial on the proposed "revolution" in black land ownership. Let it hold whatever opinion it chooses on the issue, but watch how it might cover reporting on the subject on its news pages. Agendas, always agendas, on any newspaper edited by Chris Mitchell. Oh, and no mention of anyone being "arrested" in relation to the Bali bombings in the paper's reporting of that story this morning. For an explanation of that see feedback.

Perhaps it is best if we have a look at what is happening in Fairfax land before coming back to The Australian's news list. The Herald reports that five Islamic radicals connected to the 2002 Bali bombings and jailed for possessing explosives are among the suspects police are hunting over Saturday's suicide attacks. It also reports that nearly one in seven high-speed police car chases in NSW in the year to June ended in a crash, lifting the crash rate to its highest in six years; that a permanent military court with independence from the Australian Defence Force chain of command forms the central plank of the Federal Government's response to a damning inquiry into military justice; and that Family First senator Steve Fielding will today press for a Senate inquiry into the Federal Government's plans to scrap penalty rates in its new industrial relations legislation.

The Age hauls out the "exclusive" tag (not quite so active of late) to report that government school students in Victoria are falling behind in the competition for university places. It also reports that indigenous leaders say traditional owners will not sign away their land despite proposed land rights changes allowing businesses to lease Aboriginal land and which encourage Aborigines to buy their own houses (watch the Government turn it into an offer they can't refuse); and that embryonic stem cell research had failed to deliver on its promises, Nationals Senate leader Ron Boswell told Parliament yesterday as the political fight over the sensitive issue gained momentum.

So back to The Australian (which gives no further clues as to what is happening with Kevin Donnelly's curriculum crusade, that which was gaining all the "momentum" such a short while back). It reports that debate over John Howard's industrial relations reforms had fuelled community fears that the civilised standards of democratic society were being further eroded, Melbourne Anglican Archbishop Peter Watson said last night; that Queensland Police believe the military failed in its duty to protect a soldier who was bashed after exposing drug abuse in the Australian Defence Force; and that Victorian fraud squad detectives are investigating Department of Justice staff accused of systematically rorting the poor box at one of the state's busiest courts. (There seems to be a lot of shamelessness around this morning.

And do have a look at the yarn about the fellow who may take the High Court shop to the High Court over a pair of $50 High Court cufflinks that tarnished and chipped. (Who knew the High Court was a retailer, selling possibly shonky goods? Or is this fellow a vexatious litigant who should polish up his cufflinks and move on as suggested?) Still on matters legal, a former leading barrister, Bill Davison, recently bankrupted for the third time, appeared in the Supreme Court yesterday facing allegations that he had been giving legal advice despite not having a practising certificate.

Overseas, the story of the Unionist hardman nicknamed "Doris Day" (how can you be a "hardman" with a moniker like that?) shot dead outside his home in Belfast is a rollicking read.


The Age: Greg Barton "the present situation in Indonesia is difficult it will become truly impossible if the transition to liberal democracy stalls and fails" (so many words, so few fresh ideas); Kenneth Davidson thinks selfish, greedy interests are driving Melbourne's transport policy into the ground; Brett Bowden on the Nobel Peace Prize line-up (was in the SMH yesterday); and Maureen Dowd, see above.

The Australian: Mike Steketee explains why the concerned citizen should be worried by the prospect of machine politicians like Nick Minchin and Eric Abetz being allowed to tinker with electoral laws - political self-interest wins out every time; John Graham, congratulates Robin Warren and Barry Marshall on their Nobel Prize for medicine, and as "one of their chief scientific critics", highlights the fact that the bacteria Helicobacter pylori has never been shown producing a stomach ulcer, raising issues for Koch's postulates (yes, you'll have to read it); Greg Sheridan thinks the Bali bombings show that on balance, the war against Southeast Asian terrorism is exceptionally complex and not going so well (and for that he gets paid a lot of money); and Craig Emerson (who does seem to enjoy a dream run in The Australian - perhaps TDB should visit the history of Chris Mitchell, the paper's editor-in-chief, and his cosy relationship with the Queensland ALP right sometime) pushes the idea of a private equity scheme to finance university education.

The SMH: George Newhouse says despite the Vivian Alvarez and Cornelia Rau scandals (he is on their legal teams), moves are afoot to reduce migrants' legal rights and that nothing is being done about the Migration Litigation Reform Bill 2005; Natasha Cica looks at ethics and political correctness in the battle between animal rights supporters and supermodels, like Elle, who promote the fur trade; Miranda Devine, in a column that would look even sillier if published in the US given the political climate there, thinks poor old George Bush got an unfair mauling over Hurricane Katrina because reports of murder and mayhem turned out to be exaggerated (so much nonsense in this one, so little time to pull it apart); and Ziggy Switkowski, see item above.


Ah yes, it's all a lot of fun, until someone gets their eye poked out and then its tears before bedtime. The stock market slump is the big story of the morning, and we did notice Alan Kohler saying on ABC News last night that international comparisons suggest there could be more of that to come. The Herald's lead reports that more than $21 billion was wiped off the Australian stockmarket yesterday in its biggest single-day loss since the week after the September 11 terrorist attacks. The Australian says investors called an emphatic end to this year's 30 per cent rise in the share market yesterday as a flood of stop-loss sell orders helped fuel the biggest one-day fall in share prices for three years; while The Age puts it down to concerns about the economy, compounded by figures showing the home-building sector was nose-diving.

The Australian reports that manufacturers have confounded the doomsayers, staging a strong recovery in exports; and that Babcock & Brown's share price was again in free fall yesterday after a research report from Capital Partners suggested that the stock was worth roughly a third of the market value.

The lead in The Age says investors with seemingly worthless shares in failed public companies are being asked to fork out hundreds of dollars to have themselves registered with administrators as unsecured creditors. It also tells us that Telstra's future in the sharemarket and with its customers now hangs on the strategic review chief executive Sol Trujillo will deliver towards the end of November; and that Toyota's imported Corolla soared to the top of the sales charts in September, overtaking Holden's Commodore, the long-term market leader, in a move that mirrored what is happening in the market as a whole.

The Herald reports that Graeme Samuel was influenced by media publicity in his former role as Australian Football League commissioner, Seven Network's executive chairman, Kerry Stokes, told the Federal Court yesterday; and that two directors of Citrofresh, the company that last week announced its product could prevent HIV, took advantage of the share price spike to sell large parcels of stock.

For coverage of Ziggy Switkowski's press club appearance, see item above.


The Daily Telegraph: Motorists will be squeezed into just one traffic lane in either direction along William St in a final cynical bid by the Cross City Tunnel to force cars on to Sydney's loneliest toll road; She died of a methadone overdose more than two weeks ago, but 6-year-old Rose Villanueva-Austin has still not been laid to rest because no one can pay for her funeral.

The Herald-Sun: Secret files were used as scrap paper at a police station in another damaging security bungle. The confidential files were left on the counter of the Frankston station for the public to use as notepaper, according to the man who exposed the debacle; Nine injured Australians shed tears as they arrived home in Newcastle last night to be reunited with family and friends.

The Courier-Mail: A pandemic of deadly Asian bird flu would infect more than 500,000 Queenslanders and kill nearly 4000 under a worst-case scenario prepared by the State Government; Energex may have to fly in crews from interstate power companies to cope with major blackouts this summer.

The Advertiser: stretchers, wheelchairs and on foot, nine relieved survivors of the deadly Bali bombing arrived home in Newcastle last night to be reunited with friends and family; South Australians are the biggest bookworms in the nation, with 60 per cent members of libraries.

The West Australian: A Centrelink office in WA's north is cancelling welfare payments to local Aborigines if their children skip school, under a scheme it has set-up with the principal; An Indonesian boat with 25 fishermen on board was towed into Broome yesterday after being detected off the WA coast by a routine Customs surveillance flight.

The Mercury: The State Government yesterday announced a complete backflip over sex laws -- and will now push for a total ban on brothels; of Tasmania's top police officers has been demoted, fined and had his licence suspended after being caught drink-driving.


Australia emerged from their Ashes fog to defeat the ICC World XI by 93 runs and Shane Watson suggested he may one day answer his country's prayers and morph into Andrew Flintoff; Peter Roebuck, as always, is a good read and a good reader of the game; Lleyton Hewitt and Spanish young gun Rafael Nadal will headline the Sydney International men's field next January; Kostya Tszyu says he will decide his fighting future by the end of the year, but a rematch with his British conqueror Ricky Hatton seems unlikely.
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re: Introducing the Daily Briefing

Stuart Lord, this is why weblogs will never replace the mainstream media.

re: Introducing the Daily Briefing

Well done Wayne Sanderson.

re: Introducing the Daily Briefing

Noted very final snippet here, concerning Kosta Tszyu. Really hope this fellow who has done so well, performs the infinitely more difficult feat of judging when to leave before doing himself some damage, to complete a flawless career.

Tour de force, Wayne sanderson. The new column can only get bettter with experience, unless complacency sets in.

As to OZ and Bhaktiaris, observed said phenomena on their on-line. Definitely typical weird stuff - sick.

The writer definitely welcomes this addition to WD - "The Daily Briefing" - a summary of some comprehensivity, range and depth.

re: Introducing the Daily Briefing

This is great but please can we have a larger font. Mum told me I'd go blind.

ed Hamish: Kerri had made this tweak before I got to your comment. I hope it's improved things.

re: Introducing the Daily Briefing

Congratulations. You have combined a large chunk of the 'left wing' media or commentary and rolled it up into one small ball for easy indigestion. And for those who say we have progressed beyond 'left' or 'right', then tell me what the above article was on a political spectrum, please.

But I guess this is a good thing for most people here - an already filtered newstake on the world (anti Howard, anti 'right wing', anti media owners, mostly anti business) so that they don't have to.

Fantastic, isn't it?

re: Introducing the Daily Briefing

Why should Webdiary and ‘The Daily Briefing’ not be anti-Howard, Stuart Lord? Howard is a renowned liar and, as a direct result of his lies, is responsible for the deaths of tens of thousands of innocent people. What good is there for the world in being pro-Howard? Howard is a liar and war criminal yet you support him. What does that make you, Stuart Lord? What are we to make of those that have supported Howard in subsequent elections despite the lies and the deaths? What does it tell the rest of the world about an Australia that supports liars and war criminals?

Of course it’s anti-Howard, and quite rightly too!

re: Introducing the Daily Briefing

Hopefully this "trial" ends up where other "trials" often end up... in the bin.

What a load of left wing biased crap.

Im quite amused that what leads the front page in both the SMH and Australian, namely the Baktyaris telling the Aussie Leftoids what they think of them is not considered "news" for the Daily roundup.

re: Introducing the Daily Briefing

Paul Walter, I agree with you about Kostya Tszyu. He really is a new Australian success story.

This site really seems to be moving forward at a rapid rate. This is a very welcome addition.

re: Introducing the Daily Briefing

Is this what is known as yellow journalism? I loved it... but then I would.

re: Introducing the Daily Briefing

Stuart, I think TDB is "fair and balanced" actually, and always have.

Bias is in the eye of the beholder, even yours.

re: Introducing the Daily Briefing

Stuart Lord: “Congratulations. You have combined a large chunk of the 'left wing' media or commentary ...an already filtered newstake on the world (anti Howard, anti 'right wing', anti media owners, mostly anti business)... Fantastic, isn't it?”.

In a previous thread, and in relation to commercial talkback hosts, you said, “And with commercial talk-back hosts - you don't have a single damned right to speak what you want to, at least not when you use their services to do so. If you create your own radio station with strict guidelines and charters on being able to say fully what you wish, so be it. But since it is their radio, their business letting you call, they can do as they wish. You don't like it, that's fine. But don't expect them to compulsorily give airtime to everyone simply because you feel it is a 'democratic right'.”

So, which is it? Do those who own the outlet have the right to filter what the public gets to see or hear, or don’t they?

What do you believe is the purpose of the two large, commercial talkback stations in Sydney? Do they have any obligations to their listeners and to the wider community, if so what are they?

re: Introducing the Daily Briefing

Mark Connell, this is precisely why weblogs will replace mainstream Media. The sight of Howard grovelling at the feet of Murdoch & Packer is truly nauseating.

A very good read. Keep up the excellent work.

Now if we could only find a way to have Akerman and Bolt banned from Insiders...

re: Introducing the Daily Briefing

Stuart Lord et al - Again with the "Left wing media" slur.

What does this mean? Beyond of course - I don't agree with it!

The lazy and dishonest way this tag is bandied about, wielded like a cudgel in an attempt to sneak up behind and stun an argument or an idea without confronting it head on.

re: Introducing the Daily Briefing

WJ Wilshaw (06/10/2005 12:15:53 PM): "Hopefully this "trial" ends up where other 'trials' often end up... in the bin."

As some comments should.

"What a load of left wing biased crap."

Better to know the biases so one can filter them through one's own perspective.

"Im quite amused that what leads the front page in both the SMH and Australian, namely the Baktyaris telling the Aussie Leftoids what they think of them is not considered "news" for the Daily roundup."

Eh? TDB does have a link to this lead story - see above.

re: Introducing the Daily Briefing

Damian Lataan, I guess that makes me a right wing death beast, right Damian?

But at least I will be spared the death camps when HoWARd finally reveals his evil neocon agenda to the world and his legions of darkness (probably ATO officers) conquer the world, right? You better live it up, because the way some people talk about it, the day of judgement is tomorrow, and you will be found distinctly lacking in neo-coniness, Damian.

And you know what that means... (bad horror music insert).

James Govett, of course they have a right to say what they please, just as this place does. And if they choose to muzzle me, either one, it is entirely within their right to do so.

However, for however long Webdiary claims to not be just a left wing forum/blog, and gives me latitute to say whatever (well, almost whatever) I wish, I will continue to point out blatant bias that at least should be acknowledged. This article/media roundup is a prime example:

1 - Attack Howard, Packer and Murdoch in one go, from The Age (The Guardian of the South) (pink left - Murdoch and Packer shouldn't act so corporationy all the time)

2 - Maureen Dowd paying out the Bush administration (shock horror, I know).

3 - Attack on the Australian, a bit of a push with the Herald, a larger push with the Age (they both need the sales, I guess) and then another look at the Australian (with a bit of a sneer inserted).

4 - Another look at the big three - with a look at the Age, a whack at some of the commentators in the Australian, and a real go at the token right wing candidate at the SMH - Miranda Divine. I think if she wrote a knitting column then it would be picked apart in a nonsensical fashion (assuming people had time of course).

5 - A look at the business section, which is contrasting the two ways of looking at the fall in the stock market - an end to a golden run, or an enormous one day loss costing billions.

However, it doesn't decend into pithy judgements at this part, and it doesn't either in the State roundups, nor the sports reviews. That part I have no problem with any obvious bias.

However, that still leaves the main meat of the subject with a significant slant, no?

I have no problems with anyone writing this article, I have problems with people writing it as the 'media roundup', cherrypicking the items, adding some specious reasoning to fill in some space, and the finished product so slanted the words should almost fall off of the page, and then saying that it is balanced, or complete.

Then again, it does hit the spot with so many of the people here, I can see why it was written. I just can't see why anyone would consider it either fair, trustworthy, or complete.

re: Introducing the Daily Briefing

I must say it is all well and good for TDB to include boxers and crickers in the Sports roundup. But about about the AFL? Significantly no reference to the diabolical AFL draw - and in particular the horror draw that the Fremantle Dockers have received.

TDB bias indeed.

Is Mr Sanderson a Victorian (and dare I say a Collingwood supporter)? Enough to drive a Docker fan to the pub...

Ed. David: if you follow polly's link below, you'll find that Wayne's a Queenslander. Not sure they've ever heard of AFL up there ...

re: Introducing the Daily Briefing

Stuart Lord: "I just can't see why anyone would consider it either fair, trustworthy, or complete."

You might "see" a little more by reading Wayne's bio.

re: Introducing the Daily Briefing

Stuart Lord, “James Govett, of course they have a right to say what they please, just as this place does. And if they choose to muzzle me, either one, it is entirely within their right to do so”.

I have asked you about commercial talkback filtering what the public gets to hear and you have told me it is their right to do that.

However, is filtering what the public gets to hear the right thing to do? In other words, is it ethical?

You see, you have indicated to me that as owners, filtering is their right but you haven’t told me if you believe what they do is ethical. Is filtering ethical?

re: Introducing the Daily Briefing

Stuart Lord, "Then again, it does hit the spot with so many of the people here, I can see why it was written. I just can't see why anyone would consider it either fair, trustworthy, or complete."

More front than Mark Foy's!

Sorry, but given the regular exposure of your methods, for you to comment on what is fair, trustworthy or complete is a hoot.

"And if they choose to muzzle me, either one, it is entirely within their right to do so."

Not muzzled, just asked to comply with the principles and practices of ethical and honest debate.

As an aside, do you have any more revelations like the last one you posted? You know the one where Iraq had nuclear weapons development related material in June, 1991. That was so earth-shattering! I can see how it would, to you, justify an illegal invasion and mass murder 12 years later regardless of what happened in the meantime.

re: Introducing the Daily Briefing

If Webdiary really has aspirations of being an online newspaper then wouldn't a bit of balance be nice? Essentially this is just adding to the anti-Howard rhetoric that tends to dominate this site.

Ed David: name a balanced newspaper, Dylan. I'd name the Guardian and the Washington Post - yours would probably be different!

re: Introducing the Daily Briefing

Apologies to Stuart Lord but I found TDB to be a welcome addition to a market that is both narrow and brittle. I am getting pretty sick of 'spin' in general and remain optimistic about the potential of the internet to open up channels (such as Webdiary) that provide a forum to people who don't owe ideological or financial allegiances to anyone. If things keep going like this we might even end up having objective debates, imagine that.

re: Introducing the Daily Briefing

J Wilshaw you have to feel sorry for the young guys, they were only kids. Don’t expect an apology from any of the rabble these kids are now rightly blaming. These people will just move onto another cause like a moth to a flame.

In the end it was all about John Howard and playing politics. It was never really about these kids. The Baktyaris have paid a high price for these peoples vanity.

Like you I am always highly skeptical of any leftwing claims. I think after hearing this sorry saga the general population should and will be a lot more cautious.

As to the claims of many of these so called advocates the cat so to speak is now well truly out of the bag.

re: Introducing the Daily Briefing

Stuart , just like The Australian is predominately pro-right-wing, pro-government, pro-media owners and pro-business. It's also against the death penalty, just like Webdiary is against the detention regime. Both agenda's exist regardless of the views of the audience. That's how the media works and should work; it tailors much of its coverage to the needs of the audience, throws in dissenting voices, and then makes a stand on issues of principle. The bias is part of the appeal for right-wing types too, since most keep coming back to kick lefties. Without the daily gratification, Webdiary would lose its repeat customers and that would be bad for business.

re: Introducing the Daily Briefing

Ok. OK. Having just read Wayne's bio (thanks Polly Bush) - he probably isn't a Collingwood supporter (more likely the Brisbane Lions or the Bronco's from that other peculiar code).

re: Introducing the Daily Briefing

Stuart Lord, your childish rhetoric only leaves you open to ridicule and does not detract from the reality of what Howard is. Your support for the liar Howard and his government only reveals and highlights to the rest of the world what sort of people some Australians unfortunately are – self-righteous, bigoted, racist and warmongering.

The Daily Briefing is an excellent idea and should be encouraged to bias toward the left as much as possible. The right-wing – which represents and supports war, assassination, lying to cause wars, killing of innocent civilians by aerial and artillery bombardment, keeping the poor uneducated and without proper health cover, and ensuring that the very wealthy get even wealthier – should be discouraged entirely.

re: Introducing the Daily Briefing

For the most part I will not make it a habit to respond to posts (too busy), but in the light of the comments above, a couple of observations. Stuart Lord proves yet again that a little knowledge is a dangerous thing. He makes a loud, confident and wrong assessment of The Daily Briefing having seen extracts from one edition. It has been published daily for almost 12 months now, and changes daily.

Primarily it is a service, and fails only if it does not keep up a constant stream of quality articles from across the political spectrum, on the ideas, debates and issues that matter. If Stuart was as active doing his research on TDB as he is with his mouth, he would know that it regularly links to David Brooks, William Kristol, David Frum, Christopher Hitchens, Reuel Marc Gerecht, Mark Steyn, Boris Johnson, William Rees-Mogg, the Cato Institute and the American Enterprise Institute, among other conservatives.

TDB takes the view that intelligent people are interested to understand both sides of debates, and to test their ideas against those of their critics. (Since this does not seem to be Stuart's approach, perhaps we have all just learned something about him.)

As editor of TDB, I do inject my own thoughts and comments from time to time. Again, intelligent people would not trust me if I tried to pretend to have no opinions (the classic objective model of journalism is bunk, though a worthy discipline that all NEWS reporters should strive for - it breeds accuracy). I expect that intelligent people will naturally take or leave my thoughts and read the articles linked to for themselves.

When making comments, I strive to arrive at a judgment after weighing the evidence, rather than regurgitating tired old views that have not been revisited since the Summer of Love. I am happy to change my mind when the facts demand it. I place no great weight on traditional left-right labels, although I use them as a convenient short-hand. Personally, I have never felt that common sense or good judgment were the preserve of any one political outlook.

For the record Stuart, I am a passionate libertarian (I don't want anyone telling me how to live my life); I believe in free enterprise (I am running my own business now, as I have in the past); I die in the proverbial ditch to fight against tyranny, and to defend the 'rule of law' institutions that go to make up our civil, democratic society; I believe passionately in human dignity and human rights; I supported the invasion of Afghanistan (but wish the job had been done properly) but strongly opposed the invasion of Iraq (but now hope desperately for a good outcome for the long-suffering people of that country); and I think that global warming is THE great issue facing the planet (and that anyone who denies this simply has not been reading the respected literature and following the debate).

Perhaps that may serve as a brief, if slightly abrupt (apologies), introduction to Webdiary readers. And perhaps while Stuart is trying to put that group of positions into some tidy political pigeon-hole, he might like to ponder the wisdom of remaining quiet for a few weeks while he reads TDB on Webdiary. If he then has a substantial point to make, I'll happily engage in the debate. In fact, bring it on!

re: Introducing the Daily Briefing

Wayne, apart from the disagreement between Stuart and everyone else there are some issues you might like to consider. No doubt you have done that in testing etc but this is what I see, having not seen or heard of the DB prior to today.

I agree with Stuart generally in that the DB and WD is basically left wing, or at least most posters on WD tend to be, whatever that means to you or I. But people coming here know that is the situation once they start reading. If people visit and find they don't like that commentary then they won't return except to be annoying.

1. I appreciate how much effort must go into producing this and my comments should be read in knowledge of that. The work to gather, edit and comment on that amount of news/stories must be massive. How many people/time does it take to put together?

1a. If you are reading all the online papers/news outlets plus radio and/or TV to gather this info then you must realise most of us do that already for ourselves, selectively, and only read what we have time to read.

I guess I'm saying the amount of info may be of interest to you, but to how many others? And how do those others decide which bits they like? In reading, if it looks too big then people don't read any. I didn't after about a paragraph, just skimmed.

1b. There are so many links in the one issue of DB I wouldn't have the time to read them all, even if I were so inclined.

2. For the site I'm used to, DB covers far too much, in too little detail. If you are looking to be a daily online news site then much more info needs to be written by your team rather than just refer to or comment on already existing online news services.

Trying to cover too much only weakens the overall content. Where I have specific needs info wise I already have sites that provide that info. Unless you can do it better then you are simply reproducing.

3. I, for one, don't need you or anyone else to tell me what an article written by someone else means. If this is what you want to do then please head it up as "Opinion" or "Fact" or "News" etc. and provide the relevant link(s). Separate the areas.

In this regard the DB does have these separate headings but those headings only apply to the articles you are linking to. In other words your opinions should be marked as such where relevant rather than just have them as comments within the items.

4. When do you sleep mate? I do wish this project well as it is a step towards a fuller news site and I wish WD all the best on that front.

Best to all

re: Introducing the Daily Briefing

Ed David, Dylan Kissane and Stuart Lord have raised valid questions about the slant of Wayne Sanderson's 'Daily Briefing'. The sources are balanced, his commentary is not. If the 'Daily Briefing' involves nothing more than having a daily bash at Howard, Bush, Corporations and a selection of right-wing columnists, then maybe it would be more suited to the Green Left Weekly than Webdiary.

I'm sure there'd be the same set of concerns raisied by some of the Webdiary regulars if Tim Blair was to write the 'Daily Briefing'.

I look forward to reading tomorrow's issue.

re: Introducing the Daily Briefing

Damian Lataan, rhetoric, not meaning. But then again, nobody gets anything else.

And are you crushing the RWDB dissent here, Damian? I mean, shouldn't we all have our say? And you used 'left wing' again. How outdated of you. Don't you know that 'left wing' isn't used any more? Now it is the radical conservatives and the conservative welfare state radicals (read former radicals who find that conservatism is in, and are trying to rebrand in a desperate attempt to fool the public)?

Kevin De Bonis, if you can come up with a better tag, then do so. I said:

"And for those who say we have progressed beyond 'left' or 'right', then tell me what the above article was on a political spectrum, please."

Play the argument. If it isn't left slanted (tilted, whatever) or if left is an incorrect term, what would be the correct term for the bias in this colum?

Robynne Burchell: "Now if we could only find a way to have Akerman and Bolt banned from Insiders..." then we would be crushing dissent. Isn't that what you guys are always complaining about? Damien Lataan, isn't crushing dissent what you complain about? Oh wait, you were wanting to do it before. Something about you guys, right? It's only bad when the other guys do it?

Ed David The Guardian balanced? These are the guys who not only hired an islamofascist, they then proceeded to print his work. And not really notice anything was wrong.

All because he ragged on about Iraq and AmeriKKKa. I guess that counts for more.

James Govett It is ethical, because it is their money. Their toy to play with. People can choose to listen or not to listen, right?

And if there was a market for "talkback for as long as you like to caring, sharing people" then there would be a station like that. By the by, the Love God on MIX doesn't count.

Polly Bush, you may want to actually read the article again. The man has experience, a lot of it, but fair, balanced or complete? No.

Bob WallI suggest you read the SC resolutions leading up to the war, and especially the reports given by Hans Blix. They detail the numerous times Iraq violated the armistice.

re: Introducing the Daily Briefing

Damian Lataan: "Howard is a renowned liar."

Is that right? Seems some of his strongest opposition don't mind telling a few if the Baktyaris case is anything to go by does it?

Funny then that many of the same two bit political outfits tied up with the Baktyaris are also those the most vocal against the war on terror.

Oh and by the way Damian I am sure that I would not have to remind a person with a mind as great as yours that it would be a criminal offence to encourage or knowingly allow someone to lie on a statutory declaration or in a Court. I would not trust somebody who did this would you?

I think the Government should definitly have further words with this family. They owe it to the taxpayer and the Australian people to be transparent.

Being how you are so in favour of honesty I know you would agree?

re: Introducing the Daily Briefing

Love this idea of The Daily Briefing. I don't know why anyone worries about so-called "left wing bias" on this site. Everyone gets something you never get on other newspapers including the excellent and reasonably balanced Guardian and Washington Post - as our Ed points to - and that is the right of reply. No-one who has a perceived "right-wing" voice ever gets silenced on here and that's how it should be.

How more democratic can we get? MK's Webdiary is the on-line newspaper of the future where everyone gets to participate.

re: Introducing the Daily Briefing

Talofa All, I'm delighted that The Daily Briefing has joined forces with Webdiary.

I've known Mr Sanderson professionally and personally for many years, and have complete trust in his journalistic rectitude and professionalism, as would just about everybody with whom he has had dealings (but all good journalists also have enemies too).

I've used TDB since prior to its public inception and actually paid Real Money to receive the thing. An essential resource in my professional opinion, which I draw upon daily as an essential alert tool.

With educated filters engaged, the merger of TDB and Webdiary is a significant addition to my, and thinking Australian's, essential OnLine information sources.

All power and every success to all involved with this valuable venture. I'll be spreading the word very widely.


re: Introducing the Daily Briefing

Mark Connell: "Stuart Lord, this is why weblogs will never replace the mainstream media."

Why is that? Because mainstream media is so very balanced? Seen Fox News lately?

re: Introducing the Daily Briefing

David, in actual fact, some Queenslanders have heard of AFL, indeed the Brisbane Lions AFL team were premiers a few years running.

It's just that most of us can't see what all the fuss is about.

re: Introducing the Daily Briefing

Could someone please indicate, in the name of transparency, what the financial relationship is betweem WD and TDB?

Ed. David: It's a trial period. Financial arrangements are being finalised. Webdiary will be paying Wayne to make TDB available to Webdiary readers. As Wayne pointed out earlier, TDB has been available on subscription for the last year.

re: Introducing the Daily Briefing

Desperate stuff, Jay White. Do the lies of one justify the lies of the other?

First the obvious; two wrongs do not make a right. Secondly – and of far more significance – no lies coming out of the Bakhtyari affair ever got any one killed unlike the lies Howard told which resulted in the deaths of tens of thousands of innocent civilians.

You may squirm as much as you wish by trying to highlight the misdemeanours of others but you cannot escape the reality of Howard being a warmonger and a war criminal. If Australians deserve any transparency it would be from Howard as he explains why he lied to the Australian people and the Australian Parliament – a far, far greater crime than anything coming out of the Bakhtyari affair.

re: Introducing the Daily Briefing

Dr Mark Hayes, I think your recent post is on the money - particularly your reference to, "with educated filters engaged". Regardless of where any article stems from, and regardless of the author we all need to use our own personal filters. IMHO TDB BTW is an addition to WD worth running with (so many acronyms in one line :))

re: Introducing the Daily Briefing

Stuart Lord, you’re getting desperate in trying to arrest your descent into non-credibility. Your dismal attempt to justify the unjustifiable invasion of Iraq, once again, exposes you for what you really are – a supporter of liars and warmongers and an Australian that other Australian’s should be ashamed of.

re: Introducing the Daily Briefing

Like most sensible journos, I suspect Wayne has developed a healthy cynicism which has made him anti-government; that is, suspicious of those who have power and, of course, abuse it. Because we have a conservative Federal government his stance will inevitably be perceived by pro-government mouthpieces as 'left-wing'.

re: Introducing the Daily Briefing

Stuart Lord, “[Commercial talkback filtering what the public gets to hear] is ethical, because it is their money. Their toy to play with. People can choose to listen or not to listen, right?”.

Propaganda ( link here ) -The systematic propagation of a doctrine or cause or of information reflecting the views and interests of those advocating such a doctrine or cause.

Some believe that when propaganda becomes a marketplace commodity it also becomes unquestionably palatable, respectable, pure and desirable.

But consumers of commercial talkback are something more fundamental (and infinitely more important) than consumers; they are citizens. Individuals who vote based on the information they receive, making decisions that affect not just them but all of us.

Our society deserves better than for public discourse, essential to a democracy, to be hijacked, perverted and manipulated by free-market ideologues, propagandists and profiteers. Public discourse is not a toy. Those who have been granted the privilege to facilitate it carry enormous responsibilities and obligations far beyond their trivial personal wants and obsessions. There is no place, in a democracy, for individuals terrified of a worldview different to theirs to be facilitating public debate.

re: Introducing the Daily Briefing

So Damian Lataan “no lies coming out of the Bakhtyari affair ever got any one killed”.
Just that the Bakhtyari’s lives were put in turmoil so that people like yourself can play politics.
Is it no wonder that the people will not trust Labor at the federal level, when we have people like you pushing their cause.
As long as people like yourself, Marilyn and the various “Labor Lawyers keep playing games the longer Labor will be in opposition.
As for lies, what about the lies the Labor Party told during the last election about Mark Latham. Still as long as you are happy with the way Beazley & Co. are doing at the moment that is fine with me.

re: Introducing the Daily Briefing

Stuart Lord, "Bob Wall I suggest you read the SC resolutions leading up to the war, and especially the reports given by Hans Blix. They detail the numerous times Iraq violated the armistice."

Oh! The armistice! Is that the legal document you told me to read so that I could see where it authorised the no-fly zones?

When push came to shove you failed to produce the armistice to prove your assertion. Which was wrong.

So excuse me if I am sceptical about your claims about what documents contain. I prefer my view and that of respected, non-partisan analysts.

Not all that clever to mention the armistice again, was it?

re: Introducing the Daily Briefing

Damian Lataan, see that is the thing. Many of the people claiming Howard lies have been themselves caught out.

I do not put much faith in their words and neither should you. I think the Bakhtyari affair has still some way to play just yet.

The Australian people have always known where John Howard stands. The shadowy characters behind the anti Iraqi war effort and open borders are a little more secretive.

Perhaps it is time to shine on the spotlight. For any up comming journo this may be his or her chance to shine.

re: Introducing the Daily Briefing

Stuart Lord, OK sunshine, here's a business opportunity. Let's launch "Not The Daily Briefing", a compendium of right wing media commentary to inject a bit of balance. Are you game?

re: Introducing the Daily Briefing

I am not so sure about Webdiary moving in this direction. Most of us here read the dailies and have our own various opinions. I don't know what it adds to have someone assembling and vetting articles and opinions. There are enough intelligent and alert webdiaristsa from both political spectrums posting links etc. Maybe it saves time and money in editing , but perhaps restricts debates to matters raised specifically in TDB rather than other issues which might sneek under the radar.

Michael, your "Spin Drier" suggestion is very funny. So hot someone might think it cool.

re: Introducing the Daily Briefing

Syd Drate, I don’t know what it is that makes you think I’m an ALP or Kim Beazley supporter but I can assure you I’m not. As far as I’m concerned Beazley and much of the ALP are just Liberal Lite. It’s pretty hard to see anything that separates the ALP right and the Liberal left faction.

As for Howard’s lies; I’ll just reiterate in case you missed a few of my other posts on the subject. As a direct result of Howard’s lies tens of thousands of innocent civilians have needlessly died yet people like you continue to support him. You continue to support him regardless of his lies, regardless of the deaths he has caused, regardless of the fact that he immorally invaded a nation that was never any threat to us, and regardless of the fact that he lied to parliament. What does this tell us about you and people like you? It has brought nothing except shame on Australia as far as the rest of the world is concerned.

Your argument that the ALP lied about Latham so therefore it’s OK for Howard to have lied is a sign of the right’s pathetic desperation to justify Howard’s lies because, no matter what way you want to spin it, the right cannot escape the enormity of Howard’s war crime.

re: Introducing the Daily Briefing

David Eastwood, may I suggest an alternative name for your proposed NTDB effort? How about The Spin Drier?

re: Introducing the Daily Briefing

I'm sorry I still don't understand this business model and arrangement. How is it possible for Wayne to make a subscription service compete with a free service? Surely no customers will stay with him. Additionally, with a full time paid journalist at WD and money pouring into TDB, where is the revenue to sustain this?

Am I correct in assuming that you are selling a lot of t-shirts?

Can you enlighten us?

Ed. David. Well, duh. The reason we pay Wayne is to compensate him for the potential loss of subscriptions while the arrangement holds. On the general question of the business model, see many previous exchanges on this site, summarised in my last response to you as: "It's a trial period. Financial arrangements are being finalised." We will let all Webdiarists know of firm developments at least simultaneously with any announcement.

re: Introducing the Daily Briefing

Damian Lataan I don't know where you get the idea that the rest of the world cares about what we do in Australia. I travel the world 12 to 15 times a year and I can assure you that 98% of the people out there don't even know where we are. Unless I land in a country where they play cricket, then they have heard of us.

How come there is not much commotion about the dancer that was expelled from China for distributing books against the government. I can just imagine Kevin Rudd saying Howard should be doing something about it. When we kicked out the American activist Bob Brown was jumping out of his trees, today nothing from the hypocritical Greens.
Look I know you are not happy with the way things are run at the moment, but you are going to have to get used to it. With the state of the opposition at the moment, Howard will walk in at the next election. Also things are going to get even better with the economy once the IR legislation is passed.

re: Introducing the Daily Briefing

Bob Wall Jeez Bob, you mean that link above the other one I provided regarding nuclear material wasn't the armistice document? Dear me. Or perhaps you are blind? My apologies if it isn't there, but I specifically remember putting it in. Read it, it's in PDF format. And you tell me not to bring it up.

David Eastwood - Roy Cutts already beat you to my answer. And by your answer, are you admitting that you think that TDB (at least this one in particular) has a left slant/tilt/whatever? And that makes it less than holistic?

Margaret Morgan Fox News doesn't go around saying it is fair and balanced - correspondents and editors are on the record saying that people know what they get when they watch Fox News. And you do. They don't hide behind a wall of pretend ethical fairness.

Michael de Angelos Considering the history of this site, and its inhabitants, can you really say that WD is non partisan, or equally fair and balanced to and with both/all sides? Honestly?

Wayne Sanderson If you look at this TDB, you can see an obvious slant. Or at least I can. Gareth Eastwood said it right - the sources are balanced, the commentary is not. Whether this is just how you put it together, the slant/tilt/whatever to the left/radicals/conservative welfare state radicals/anti GWB/JH crowd/whatever damned term you choose to place here/etc is noticeable to me. But then again, I'm just a half knowledge RWDB. I guess I better go back to slaughtering Iraqi children for kicks, eh? Seems that is all us Neocon agenda driven Zionist imperialist colonialist neo-colonialist warmongering racist new-racist old-racist middle-racist side-racist spinning-racist hurricane-causing liberty-stealing dissent-crushing polluting capitalistic globalistic exploiting fear mongering scare-tactic using boat people drowning concentration camp running lying supporters of tyrants can do these days.
Terrence Ed. If Michael can't say WD is non partisan, I can. From this spot as editor, I can honestly say no one is edited for their left/right views.
Now I'm not saying that poster's views are equally balanced, and why should they be?

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