#mediabias

Fair facts about Fairfax

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Freedom of the press. A beautiful thing. By all means, the 177-yo Sydney Morning Hearld (SMH) executed full autonomy over what it published. In the end, the public didn’t buy it. For the staff to seek the union to block the Nine Network’s takeover of Fairfax Media smacks of the identical numb-skulled action that has brought them to this predicament. If the paper decided to listen to what the audience wanted to read (the mood) as opposed to telling them they “don’t get it” it might have retained its independence. Take a look at the pictograph above – 20 anti Trump articles in one day. Overkill?

Last year the SMH had to take two massive rounds of lay-offs inside of 12 months because the product wasn’t reaching. The SMH staff took a vote to strike because their evil overlords put profit ahead of people. Welcome to the free market. When one journalist at the SMH became a scab (because he admitted the paper’s journalism was the  problem) he was vilified by his fellow workers. Instead of opening their minds that they maybe the root cause, they protested. Finger on the pulse?

It certainly makes a strong case for how the diminishing readership base (i.e. the free market) viewed the content. Not very highly. It is why The Guardian now asks its readers for charity so it can stay alive? Could it be that media jobs don’t exist to serve the journalists needs but that of their audience? The Fairfax scribes might reflect on the fact that the taxpayer funded ABC – which produces identical product – was not the friendly ally it believed it was but the mortal enemy who ended it. As an audience, if we’re not offered a differentiated product where the same content  is free to consume, who would pay for the one that costs?

Yet the sale of Fairfax was obvious. Digging a bit deeper into the stats of the ABC reveals its biased left leaning journalism has dwindling popularity. Comparing 2016/17 and 2015/16 it is clear that TV audience reach for metro fell from 55.2% to 52.5% and regional slumped from 60.3% to 57.3%. If we go back to 2007/8 the figures were 60.1% and 62.4% respectively. For the 2017/18 period, the ABC targets a 50% reach. Good to see taxpayer dollars openly championed with enhanced levels of mediocrity. Yet the ABC screams for more funding.

Throwing more money won’t fix the problems. The ABC’s wage bill is 50% of revenue while its multicultural sister station SBS runs on 31% of revenue for salaries. Why hasn’t the ABC got superior economies of scale? On a global basis, the UK’s BBC spends 22.7% of its revenues on salaries. How can Nine Network survive on advertising revenues? Could it be audience numbers allow advertisers to make rational decisions to tap them?

Criticise Rupert Murdoch’s The Australian for right wing media bias but at the very least he serves a market who is willing to pay for the content. Simple. It is no difference overseas. Fox has more viewers than MSNBC and CNN combined. Don’t belt Fox viewers for following “Faux News” but question what is it about their offering that they’re missing? At what point do the likes of Fairfax or Time Warner realize the problem lies within.

In Fairfax’s case we have the answer – market forces.

Tesla Elongates Fight against ‘unfair’ media

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CM totally sympathizes with clickbait media cycle. Tesla CEO Elon Musk railed at the negative coverage surrounding the company in recent times. The memories are clearly short. The media is generally effusive with praise of Tesla. How most newspapers and magazines fawn over Musk! Dan Primack made this point well:

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Edmunds has also written a damning review of the Model 3 announcing how many problems the car has faced since it was bought.

Some things from the Edmunds long term test were as follows:

The most annoying of those issues was a repeated, uncontrollable increase in stereo volume, sometimes when we weren’t even in the car. Basically, the stereo would suddenly go to full volume without explanation. This and other issues are cataloged from our notes below:

• Would not recognize keycard in or on the console and hence would not go into gear. It did, however, unlock the car. Workaround was to force quit the app and restart the app. Then it would allow the choice of Drive or Reverse.

• The backup camera screen did not appear when reversing.

• Nav screen going haywire: zooming, scrolling, pinching, pixelating all at once.

• Audio system turning on by itself at full volume.

• Audio display randomly moving up and down the screen without any command from a human.

• Audio system came on and went to full volume all by itself while the car was off, locked and unoccupied. I heard it from 100 yards away. “Who is that joker playing his stereo so loud I can hear it from here?” Oh, it’s Elon. I turned it down, but it kept wavering up and down as I started driving, working against my repeated attempts to dial it down. Then it blasted all the way to maximum. My ears are still ringing two hours later. Fixed after reboot. Not sure about hearing damage.

• Audio page leaping up and down rapidly like the up-caret button to expand the source menu was being played with by a kid who ate too much candy. Concurrent with the volume problem above. Same reboot.

• Icons on the map screen flickering.

• The passenger vanity mirror fell off completely. Installed and held on only by double-sided tape. Reinstalled by pressing really hard on the mirror.

• The screen went completely dark on startup, no music or operation. Restarted the car. The screen worked; the backup camera did not.

• The car will not shift into Drive or Reverse upon startup. “Vehicle Systems Are Powering Up. Shift Into D or R After Message Clears.” Have to wait for it to power up. A loud click comes from the rear of the car as if a drive shaft is engaging and the message on the screen goes away.

• The car displays a new message: “Cannot Maintain Vehicle Power. Car May Stop Driving or Shut Down.” No shutdowns yet, but keeping an eye out.

• With 170 miles of range, the car displays a “Regenerative Braking Limited” message. Plenty of available space to store regen power. Logged the issue, then reset the screen with a reboot. The message has not displayed since.

• While the car was parked, the passenger sun visor was left down and the mirror fell out. Pressed back into place. Hoping it won’t fall out again.

While no one should expect reliability to be at levels of mainstream manufacturers that have been at it for decades longer, quality remains a big issue for Tesla. For Musk to slam the media will only lead to responses as this.

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When they love their children more than they hate us

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If world opinion is to be believed, the Israeli Defence Force (IDF) wants to maximize the Palestinian body count.  The reality is that there is no upside for them to set new records. As awful as such actions are, fence lines and announcements which warn of shooting those who attempt to cross are plain. It should have come as no surprise to all of those protestors what lay in store for them. It is recognized as a sovereign border but this was obviously not a deterrent. The kibbutz of Nahal Oz is less than 2km from the Gaza fenceline. Was the IDF to stand down and allow fenceline intruders to get through, what would we expect them to do once they got to Nahal Oz? Peacefully protest? Even the Washington Post reported in an interview with a 23yo protestor, “We are excited to storm and get inside [Israel]…[we will do] whatever is possible, to kill, throw stones.” If someone crossed your own sovereign border threatening to kill (no matter a veiled threat or not) your fellow citizens, what would you want your border security to do? Exactly.

Such incursions are too numerous. During a trip to Israel in 2011, Nakba Day (the day of Israel’s founding (May 14), also known as the Day of Catastrophe to Palestinians) produced similar results. Not in the numbers killed, but the open encouragement by the Palestinian Authority (PA) for people to die as martyrs. Death triggers higher pension payments to families than does injury. The numbers are not trivial either. What a sad state of affairs that life can be priced so cheaply.

Make no mistake, when the PA gladly insures and encourages loss of life to publicize its independence, the heavier the IDF response the more welcome it is to the Hamas leadership. So contrary to public opinion, Hamas is far more eager to sacrifice Palestinian life than the Israelis are to take it. After all Gaza kindergartens and children’s TV programs go to great lengths to teach hatred of Israel. When countless wars have been waged by neighbors that outnumber it 30:1 and threaten to ‘wipe Israel off the map’ forgive it for living in a state of paranoia. We should remind ourselves when Egypt made a peace treaty with Israel in 1973, President Anwar Sadat ended up getting assassinated for it.

How is that even with the 1993 Oslo peace accords, the PLO carried out 4,000 attacks in the six years that followed? The Israelis under PM Ehud Barak were so desperate for peace that they offered to give the PLO 95% of their territorial demands yet more than 1,000 Israelis were killed, a total exceeding the previous 25 years combined. Arafat never wanted peace with the State of Israel. Every time Israel has extended the branch of peace with Palestine it is rejected. What a surprise when Saudi Arabia’s crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman, said several weeks ago,

In the last several decades, the Palestinian leadership has missed one opportunity after the other and rejected all the peace proposals it was given…It is about time the Palestinians take the proposals and agree to come to the table or shut up.”

Jews have lived in the West Bank area continuously for 3,700 years, even after the destruction of Judea by the Romans in 70AD. Arabs became the dominant local population for the first time from 700AD only after Muslim invasions of the land.

What is missed on most people when bashing Israel, is that Palestinians have automatic rights to Jordanian citizenship yet they only covet Israel. There are 21 Arab nations which share a common language which openly refuse to offer asylum to Palestinian refugees which provides a convenient excuse to maintain a hostile posture toward Israel using their suffering as bait. The Jordanians don’t actively push Palestinians to take up citizenship which is their right to do so. As a side note to history, why was it that King Hussein’s Jordanian army was able to murder thousands of PLO militants in the 70s yet the PLO never called for the overthrow of the Hashemite monarchy?

At the time of the founding of the State of Israel in 1948, 90% of Palestinian Arabs lived in Transjordan. At the time there was no movement to create a Palestinian state. It is somewhat ironic that no Arab outrage ensued when Jordan annexed the West Bank (what we know as the occupied territories) in 1950 blatantly disenfranchising the Palestinian Arabs in the process. Even then they never fought for self-determination. In fact it wasn’t until the PLO was first established in 1964, a time the West Bank belonged to Jordan.

Israel remains an open, democratic and multi-ethnic society. It’s 1.3mn Arab minority have full rights and can serve in the Knesset.  On the other hand, the PA has proven itself to be an intolerant, self-serving and corrupt dictatorship.  An independent audit discovered that international aid money lined the pockets of the Palestinian leadership. Money laundering authorities in France discovered that Arafat’s wife’s bank account had amassed $3bn over 20 years. It is ironic that most of the original founders of the PLO didn’t even live in the Palestinian Mandate when the State of Israel was created. Even Arafat was born in Egypt. 

People seem to blame these unfortunate and avoidable events on the shift of the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. However that decision was made clear many months ago and many other countries have decided to follow suit. These events are only going to end when, as Golda Meir once said, “We will only have peace with the Arabs when they love their children more than they hate us.

Afterall how can Israel make peace with people who can’t even make peace with themselves? Ask the majority of Jews, Christians and Muslims who live inside Israel and you can be assured that they want an end to all this violence but the media will never want to push that agenda.

ABC goes bananas but slips up on cold truths that split the narrative

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On March 18,  CM wrote about the gross inefficiencies at the ABC, which have rapidly deteriorated over time. We said,

Since 2008, the average salary of ABC’s staff has risen 25% from $86,908 to $108,408. Total staff numbers have risen from 4499 to 4769. Therefore salaries as a percentage of the ABC revenues have risen from 37.1% of the budget to 50%. The ABC’s ability to generate sales from content has fallen from A$140mn to A$70mn last year. The multicultural SBS has seen its budget grow from A$259mn in 2008 to A$412mn in 2017. SBS staff numbers have grown from 844 to 1,466 over the same period with average salaries rising from A$82,689 to A$88,267 or 7.2%. Which begs the question why is the SBS able to operate at 31% of the budget in salaries while the ABC is at 50%? Surely the ABC’s economies of scale should work in its favour? Clearly not.

According to The Australian, in response to the budget cuts coming over the following three years,  the ABC responded today with,

The ABC says there is “no more fat to cut” following the federal government’s announcement to slash $84 million in funding from the public broadcaster…News director Gaven Morris has hit back at the three-year funding freeze announced in Tuesday’s federal budget, which maintains more than $1 billion a year for the broadcaster.

“Make no mistake, there is no more fat to cut at the ABC. Any more cuts to the ABC cut into the muscle of the organisation…We’re as efficient as we’ve ever been…We’re the most minutely scrutinised media organisation in Australia…$84 million over three years, there is simply no way we can achieve that without looking at content creation and certainly looking at jobs within the organisation.”

Well perhaps if the ABC stop airing radical feminists who demand that parents seek approval from their babies when changing nappies or called conservative politicians who served in the military as “c*nts” perhaps it might justify for more budget.

It is a pretty simple. Online media pretty much allows such a wide array of choice that we do not need a taxpayer funded media (which readily breaches its code of conduct with regards to political bias) to provide so much content.

We have multiple ABC TV & radio stations plus multiple websites. One could argue for one each. We certainly do not need to give the ABC more money to expand its platforms to make up for a shortfall in quality content to arrest declining market shares.

The unbiased ABC happily calls and treats us as c*nts

The Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) says it is strictly impartial when it comes to politics. No bias whatsoever. The point was proven beyond a shadow of a doubt when it came to one of its comedy programmes calling conservative politicians c@nts. It is not a question of humour (if one can call it that) being like cartoons addressing political satire, it is a question of the organization flagrantly violating its own charter. Australian taxpayers deserve better. The financials of the ABC reveal how out of touch it is.

The ABC was originally established to make sure even rural communities could access news. Scroll forward c.90 years and we are able to stream radio programs from Berlin or TV shows from Canada right to our mobile handset, desktop or TV screen. Media choice is everywhere. Yet the Aussie taxpayer funds multiple ABC radio and TV stations to cater to markets well covered by the commercial sector. The ABC and the SBS get over A$1.5bn a year in funding.

Let’s dig a bit deeper in the stats of the ABC. Comparing 2016/17 and 2015/16 we see that TV audience reach for metro fell from 55.2% to 52.5% and regional slumped from 60.3% to 57.3%. If we go back to 2007/8 the figures were 60.1% and 62.4% respectively. For the 2017/18 period, the ABC targets a 50% reach. Hardly a stretch.

Since 2008, the average salary of ABC’s staff has risen 25% from $86,908 to $108,408. Total staff numbers have risen from 4499 to 4769. Therefore salaries as a percentage of the ABC revenues have risen from 37.1% of the budget to 50%. The ABC’s ability to generate sales from content has fallen from A$140mn to A$70mn last year. The multicultural SBS has seen its budget grow from A$259mn in 2008 to A$412mn in 2017. SBS staff numbers have grown from 844 to 1,466 over the same period with average salaries rising from A$82,689 to A$88,267 or 7.2%. Which begs the question why is the SBS able to operate at 31% of the budget in salaries while the ABC is at 50%? Surely the ABC’s economies of scale should work in its favour? Clearly not.

Australia’s largest commercial terrestrial station, Nine Network, has 3,100 employees against revenues of $1.237bn. So to put that into context, Nine can generate c. A$400,000 per employee whereas the ABC generates A$217,236 in tax dollars per employee. In a sense the ABC could be shut down, and each employee paid $108,000 in redundancy costs annually for two years simply by selling off the land, buildings and infrastructure. The SBS generates A$281,000 in tax dollars per employee. The ABC will argue it deserves $400,000/employee revenues rather than a 46% headcount reduction to be on equal terms with the efficiency in the private sector.

On a global basis, the BBC generates GBP 4.954bn and employs 21,000 staff. 22.7% of those revenues are spent on salaries. Average salaries have grown 17% since 2007/8. Average income per employee at the BBC is now GBP236,852 (A$428,000) thanks to the generous mandatory licensing fees. Average salaries at the Beeb are now GBP 55,651 ($A100,728).

Imagine if the ABC was listed and forced to compete. If it is infinitely confident it has the right content which captures future audience trends (which by its own measures doesn’t) then it can call whoever it wants a c*nt and see whether the ratings stack up when it comes time to attract revenue and capital. Why not give the ABC staff a choice to list and say what it wants or stay government owned and tow the line of the charter? Of course the answer is stay under the protectorate of blind politicians and say what they please. The beauty of the private sector is that sunlight is the best disinfectant.

Is it really our ABC? There is no balance in content and even less balance in its accounts. It should be massively defunded.

Climate hypocrisy – go check your neighbour’s garage to gauge the fear

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When a politician fulfills a promise shouldn’t we be happy? Do we want them lie so we can live in a perpetual state of disgust? Trump walked away from the Paris Climate Accord as he said he would in the election campaign. Yet articles I read were titled “Trump to planet: Drop dead” (CNN). However if people and journalists truly examined how flimsy that the US commitment signed by the High Priest of virtue (President Obama) was with regards to Paris they would have to accept that it contained more out clauses than a pre-nuptial contract. Like an alcohol free beer it was a pretend signature. One part of it guaranteed that the US wouldn’t be held liable for any ‘damage’ to the environment claimed by other countries.

The best way to think about climate change is to start by looking in your neighbour’s driveway. I’m in Sydney at the moment and the amount of SUVs is astonishing. The five segments that have added the most volume in 2017 YTD vs 2016 are: medium SUVs, 4×4 utes, small SUVs, large SUVs and 4×2 utes, in that order. Where are the save the planet sipping hybrids and compacts? Yet Aussie governments at the state and federal level want to commit to huge renewable targets thinking its a vote winner when consumption patterns don’t reflect it.

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It seems that Americans don’t give a hoot about saving the planet either. SUVs (light trucks) are the preferred vehicle of choice. So maybe it is more Americans don’t give a stuff about climate alarmis or Paris, even during Obama’s reign. So why don’t journalists turn from moaning about Trump fulfilling election promises and examine consumption patterns of all of us.

Sure journalists could take the current line of climate alarmism and push all of the stats from the UNIPCC and NOAA again about how doomed we all are but after decades the argument of this settled science isn’t won. Yes gasoline and diesel engines maybe getting more efficient but the fact sales of larger sizes vehicles are growing overall (trend been rising over the long term) show us human nature puts self interest first. Should a sailing enthusiast be forced to ditch his passion because the V8 Land Rover required to haul his yacht is blasphemous to the environment? Should a family with four kids be forced to use public transport because a 7-seater minivan is just so unethical?

Parhaps the 50,000 climate pilgrims that fly each year to kneel at the UNIPCC altar to warn us of the pending doom if we don’t take drastic action might talk to the International Air Transport Association (IATA). “IATA expects 7.2 billion passengers to travel in 2035, a near doubling of the 3.8 billion air travelers in 2016. The prediction is based on a 3.7% annual Compound Average Growth Rate (CAGR) noted in the release of the latest update to the association’s 20-Year Air Passenger Forecast.”

So when I read CNN and other media outlets attempt to tell Trump he’s told the world to get stuffed, maybe they’d realize by past, current and future consumption patterns that the world has already told alarmists to get stuffed.

Perhaps the hypocrisy, double standards and scandals of those that preach the faith is the problem. The delivery over decades has failed to win hearts and minds. Had sensible debate, fairly reported scientific facts void of embellishment and sensible policy been put forward to address the climate then maybe humans would have taken more serious steps? As it stands Trump is in the majority not the minority. 190 countries don’t speak for 7 billion people. And if you want proof in the pudding of the sustainability of green jobs, the first chart highlights the trend of renewable jobs by state in Australia.

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Let’s not start with moral equivalence. Petulance is uncalled for at this level

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On reflection, not shaking hands in the Oval Office with Merkel was stupid. It cost nothing and despite doing at the press conference he could have shown he was above the fact he’s diametrically opposed to Merkel politically. It isn’t a surprise. Of course the media took no time in jumping down the Donald’s throat for his snub. Yet where were the same media taking such umbrage when Obama snubbed Bibi Netenyahu several times? Of course with the left it is the side not the principle.

In 2010 Obama walked out of a meeting to go have dinner at the White House, leaving Netanyahu alone with his aides.

Obama also declined to meet with Netanyahu at the UN during the Israeli prime minister’s visit to New York in September 2012. At the time, Netanyahu had been urging the United States to impose stricter sanctions against Iran, and warning of the dangers of not taking a hard line in negotiations over the regime’s nuclear program.

Republican lawmakers launched a wide-ranging investigation into the Obama administration’s alleged efforts to influence the Israeli election in 2015. It was announced after internal government reports indicated the State Department had provided hundreds of thousands of U.S. taxpayer dollars to a political organization in Israel actively working to unseat Netanyahu as prime minister.

Obama waited several days before calling Netanyahu to congratulate him on winning reelection in March 2015. Instead, Obama’s press secretary said the President  remained “deeply concerned about the rhetoric that seeks to marginalize Arab Israeli citizens,” and his reelection “undermines the values and democratic ideals that have been important to our democracy and an important part of what binds the United States and Israel together.”

Then after Trump won the election, Obama abstained from a UN vote on Israel deliberately undermining America’s long term ally.

So for all of Trump’s petulance, the media makes no attempt to show equivalence. Should we be surprised?