Friday, July 15, 2011

Fact v. opinion: surely not even Tony Abbott can be that dumb

From The Age online this morning:

An IT consultant challenged Mr Abbott over bagging climate scientists and economists, asking: 'Who would you listen to out of the experts?'

'The public,' Mr Abbott said. 'In a democracy in the end the people are sovereign.'

Either he really does think science is a democracy – in which case, well, you know – or he is *gasp* LYING.

This story reminded me of something I heard on ABC radio yesterday: a baby journalist interviewing another baby journalist -- for this is what passes in these benighted days as news -- about the Prime Minister's Press Club speech. 'Ms Gillard said she thought journalists were getting facts confused with opinions,' said the young woman. 'Do you agree with that, Peter?'


firstkitten said...

baby journalists - what a lovely and accurate term.

i shall be using it if you don't mind.

wv: pledoid

elsewhere said...

Don't forget that most politicians, including the PM, are surrounded by baby advisers because the wages and hours are too appalling to attract anyone much over the age of 30.

The Elephant's Child said...

I sadly fear that Tony can indeed be that dumb. But I am also very, very scared to hear that he holds the preferred Prime Minister spot in some surveys at the moment. Aaaargh.

And Julia was right on the fact/opinion issue, but it won't help her at all. Sigh.

paul walter said...

I am glad I am not like Abbott because maybe then I would learn to tell lies, too...


He is not "dumb", he is insensitive, power-hungry and rat cunning, be very, very wary for the time this crank comes knocking on your door, ffs.

Michael S. said...

Tony is both an ardent monarchist and conservative Roman Catholic. Outside of a totalitarian state state you'd be hard pressed to find two institutions that value the input of 'the people' less. The RCC is organised on the principle that unaccountable experts need to be running the show.

Tony can has cognitive dissonance?

Frances said...

The ABC is becoming a sorry story.

Frances said...

elsewhere: Don't most politicians have departments and ministers to advise them?
You say that these are poorly paid, overworked babies? It's not how many of us regard them. Please tell us more.

persiflage said...

Well, if a journalist does not agree with something, it is obviously wrong and NO ONE has a right to contradict or think otherwise.

Anonymous said...

If the people are sovereign, unwilling to be well informed, out of touch with reality, or juvenile, ... well, what do you do when you have such a sovereign?

You appoint regents, ideally well-informed, intelligent, and personally unambitious.

Hmmm... that's the description of the archetypal scientist, the ideal public servant, ...

... and almost no politicians apart from the obvious case of Barry Jones.

Emily said...

Journalists ("baby" or otherwise) cannot question Tony Abbott too far - he simply walks away. I call this cowardly but they don't.

I also cannot fathom why so many people can see through the motives of News Ltd. here in Australia but never think to question the validity of Newspoll which is the plaything of News Ltd. The audience "captured" by this poll is reportedly based only on calls to landlines (which these days are largely the province of the aged at home voter - a very skewed sample.
Likewise any poll (eg. Galaxy this week) which only samples 500 out of the total voting population of Australia but is reported as "60% of Australians think......"

Kerryn Goldsworthy said...

'I also cannot fathom why so many people can see through the motives of News Ltd. here in Australia but never think to question the validity of Newspoll which is the plaything of News Ltd.'

Yes, this has occurred to me more than once lately.

David Irving (no relation) said...

Much as I'd like to think the Newspolls are corrupt, I don't really believe it (although their polls do have a built-in bias because they use landlines only).

The Galaxy extrapolation from a sample of 500 is actually legit. Although that seems counter-intuitive, so does most statistics.

On a bit of a tangent: I went to my uncle and aunt's joint for dinner on Friday (they're around 80), and my other uncle and his partner (late 60's) were also there, over from NSW for a few days. They've swallowed the JuLIAR meme completely, and thought that Kerry O'Brien behaved very badly by badgering that nice Mr Abbott until he admitted he just makes shit up. I attempted to put the counter view, but my aunt's smile got a bit forced and she suggested we don't talk about politics anymore. Just as well, actually, as it could've spoilt the evening.

These are intelligent and well-educated people, btw, but their sources of information are limited, and they have conservative habits of mind. It's also interesting how differently my younger uncle thinks to me, given that he's only 8 years older.

Zoe said...

I don't think that reflects how bad some Australian journalism is. But jeez, this does:

Listen and weep

JustMEinT said...

It seems whichever way you look in Australian Politics today there is consensus that we need to reduce Carbon Dioxide (which the government calls) Carbon Pollution.
So Dear friends, should the thinkable occur and Julia Gillard be thrown down as Kevin Rudd was – and (whoopee) an election be called, who would you vote for?

Kerryn Goldsworthy said...

Memo to the previous commenter and anyone else inclined to behave similarly: please do not use my blog as a bit of free advertising space for your own.

This goes double if you are a stranger, triple if you are a fundamentalist Christian, quadruple if you are a climate-change denier, quintuple if you are any sort of right-winger and sextuple if you can't spell or punctuate worth a damn.