Shock: US MSM takes swipe at Bush!

The recent Newsweek scandal was a classic case of media manipulation. Thankfully, some journalists in the American mainstream media smelt a case of diversion when they saw it. Take the Washington Post’s Eugene Robinson: “That was an awfully neat parlour trick the Bush administration performed last week, focusing attention on the reporting and editing process…

Few mates for Alan

Norman G. Finkelstein is an American academic always guaranteed to generate debate and controversy. His insights into the Israel/Palestine issue have made him, in the words of Avi Shlaim of St Antony’s College, Oxford University: “…one of the most radical and hard-hitting critics of the official Zionist version of the Arab-Israeli conflict and of the…

Real face of aid

The foreign aid industry has become a powerful force for change in the last 20 years, though not always for good. John Pilger writes about the situation in Cambodia and the ways in which successive Western governments have failed this struggling Asian nation. “Cambodia was never allowed to recover from the trauma inflicted by Richard…

Rabbi speaks

“For only the sixth time in 127 years, the Great Synagogue, the mother church of Sydney’s Jewish community, has formally welcomed a new leader.” The Sydney Morning Herald reports today on London-born and Oxford-educated Jeremy Lawrence being welcomed into the Sydney Jewish community. Lawrence has already “pioneered Sabbath greetings via SMS and set up adult…

Still in denial

Many in the mainstream press still deny the legitimacy of blogging. Sad, really. As John Naughton writes in today’s UK Observer: “Large swathes of the journalistic profession…are still in denial about blogging. In that sense, they resemble music industry executives circa 1999, denying the significance of online file- sharing. But the claim that blogging is…

The Corby Case and Australia-Indonesia relations

The Schapelle Corby case continues to dominate headlines. Once again, the obsessive focus on this one case appears to be excessive and completely disproportionate. Scott Burchill, lecturer in international relations at Deakin University, has a few words to add: “Jolted by public outrage at Indonesian state terrorism in East Timor following the September 1999 independence…

Hold that thought

I’ll be at the Sydney’s Writer’s Festival all weekend, so posting will be minimal, at best. Read a book and ignore the web. It’ll be hard for us all.

Crime and Punishment

Clinton Fernandes is a Melbourne writer, historian and military man. His 2004 book, Reluctant Saviour, revealed Australian involvement in the 1999 East Timor massacres. In the wake of the Schapelle Corby guilty verdict today, Fernandes has a few thoughts about Indonesian justice: “Commit mass murder in East Timor = no punishment.Import marijuana = 20 years.…

Dumbing down

Does the ABC have a problem? The Age’s Gay Alcorn thinks so: “If worthy can be dull, and frivolous can be entertaining, how hard is it to be dull and frivolous at the same time? It is a challenge (Melbourne) 774 ABC radio appears to have set itself and, for this longtime listener, it is…

Taking responsibility

Australia’s treatment of asylum seekers is an issue I’ve written about previously and one that causes me great pain. Both Labor and Liberal have failed miserably on this issue. Today Immigration Minister Amanda Vanstone defended the policy of locking up children. How enlightened. The introduction of a private member’s bill by a brave Victorian Liberal…