Monday 16 June 2014

Peppa Pig out rates Andrew Bolt 2:1

Rarely, if ever, have I been happier to see something so mundane as a ratings figure.
But no, when the figures came back from the ratings website I requested them from, there it was.
On Sunday June 8, Andrew Bolt's show, The Bolt Report, achieved 100,000 viewers, with 90,000 for the same show repeated later in the day.
On the same day, our favourite cartoon pig garnered 231,000 for her first show, and 234,000 for her second episode.
I was happy beyond belief.
For those who don't know him, Andrew Bolt is a dangerous right-wing extremist.
He is racist, sexist, the lot.
He is a columnist for The Telegraph, and News Limited pay for him to do his foul show on Channel Ten.
He is rabidly, saliva-droolingly pro-Tony Abbott, and has a volcanic hatred of the Labor Party and the ABC.
Now for those of you who may think that being a journalist is even remotely glamorous, consider these words from the first host of Media Watch, Stuart Littlemore.
Said Stuart: "Many comment to me that I have  a great job, but don't forget the down side, which is that I have to watch shows like A Current Affair."
And likewise for me, to do this post, I had to actually watch Bolt's show.
It was hard believe me.
As it happens, I watched one full episode and eight minutes of another.
So the reason I only watched eight minutes in my first attempt was the subject matter, deaths of asylum seekers.
Bolt pointed out that under Labor 1100 asylum seekers had died trying to get to Australia.
Since the Abbott government had taken power, only one had died, the young Asylum seeker killed during the riots on Manus Island.
I was sick to the stomach.
I felt it too inappropriate for words to be using death numbers to make cheap political points.
Sickened beyond belief, I turned off the show and deleted it from my storage device.
I couldn't go on.
However I was successful with my second attempt, and managed to get through the whole episode.
And this is what went on.

The show opened with David Leyenhelm, newly elected independent senator.
A friend of the Abbott government, he is voting to get the budget through, our estimable host went easy on him.
Then we came to a story was the only one that could be considered in even the most minor way anti-Liberal, the purported challenge for the leadership of the Liberal Party by Malcolm Turnbull.
But here we realise that Andrew is pro-Abbott first and foremost, and pro-Liberal only in as much as everyone agrees to keep Tony Abbott as head of the party.
So Andrew spent some time demolishing Malcolm Turnbull’s intelligence, and castigating him for his temerity for doing interviews (!!!), with the ABC(!!!!!!!!), and even doing (gasp) MORE THAN ONE interview on the topic(!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!).
So Malcolm was cast out into the darkness.
His guests on the show this week were Michael Kroger, former power broker of the Victorian Liberal Party, a man so right-wing he makes Vladimir Putin look like a bong-smoking hippy, and Cassandra Wilkinson, of the Centre for Independent Studies.
I’m not sure of she was supposed to be the left-leaning token “voice-against” here, but Andrew went easy with her as well, and if she was vaguely small-L liberal, she certainly hid it well.
Together the three of them went off down a lovely path of agreement, broaching such topics as why the PM’s current overseas trip was going so well, and why the ABC, most particularly, was saying it wasn’t.
Then we got the head of the ABC, Mark Scott, should have resigned over the Chaser-Chris Kenny affair.
For those who don't know, The Chaser boys showed a picture of News Limited journalist, Chris Kenny engaged in bestiality.
Kenny sued, and the ABC didn't have enough money to defend the case, and so were forced to apologise for it.
Michael Kroger - a wedding planner would
seat him to the right of Genghis Khan.

Anyway, that was good for several minutes of attack on our national broadcaster.
“WHAT IS HAPPENING AT THE ABC?!” screamed Kroger at one point.
He also referred to “the great John Howard” at another.
The only way 'John Howard' and 'Great' should ever occur in a sentence is if it is spelled 'Grate', as in: John Howard, grate, doesn't he?
Then it was “Why is the media, particularly, and needless to say, the ABC, going easy on Clive Palmer?”
This surprised me a little as I had a general notion that Clive was a right-winger.
But then I remembered that Clive was being fractious over passing the budget through the Senate, and so thus had become an enemy, apparently.
Then Hedley Thomas from The Australian came on, and together he and Andrew rehashed “Why is Clive Palmer getting gentle treatment from the ABC?”, question.
Then we had “Why did the media refuse to cover the Gillard slush fund story?”
I thought they had, I certainly remember Julia Gillard, attending a press conference on the topic and staying for an hour until there were no more questions.
To be fair to Bolt though, even Media Watch pointed out that in some States the 7pm ABC news didn't cover the most recent doings in this case.
NSW's ABC news did, though, albeit the news was low down the running order.
There was no comment presented as to why this was the case.
Then we had Barack Obama has given the Taliban a victory by swapping five Taliban prisoners for one American deserter.
“Obama has made the US look weaker than ever”, as our host put it.
And at the show’s wrap up we had an emailer who accused Andrew of being biased himself.
To which Andrew then launched into a spray, again against the ABC, indicating, that he was a conservative, and admitted it, while the ABC was populated by Labor-loving lefties, and the problem was that they don’t admit it.
Then, thankfully, ever so thankfully, the show ended.
On looking back over that, I’m actually now convinced that Andrew sees the ABC as the enemy.
Perhaps he thinks they broke into his house, or killed his dog with their car, who knows.
Anyway, make up your own mind if the show is biased.
I agree watching one episode, and eight minutes of another is hardly an exacting study, and maybe the other episodes of the show have been rabid left-loving diatribes from Andrew Bolt, but I need to be able to keep my food down, so if you want to know more, you’ll have to watch the show yourself. (Not that I am in any way suggesting you do that, but if you do, make sure you haven't eaten first, as you'll almost certainly toss your cookies, a I nearly did on  repeated occasions)
What's more, The Bolt Report seems to me to contravene The Commercial Television Code of Practice.
I was on the FreeTV website looking something else up, when I happened across the section dealing with News and Current Affairs, in which it said this:

“4.3 In broadcasting news and current affairs programs, licensees:
4.3.1 must broadcast factual material accurately and represent viewpoints fairly”
Bolt does generally present facts accurately.
However it's the second part of that sentence that no one can possibly believe is being followed -  "represent viewpoints fairly".
I did contact Channel Ten (twice) hoping for some answers, but have had no reply.

For the record, these were the questions that I wanted to ask:
Is The Bolt Report considered by Ten as News and Current Affairs?
If so, does Ten maintain that The Bolt Report presents all viewpoints fairly? (as required by The Commercial Television Code of Practice, section 4.3.1) 
If anyone bothers to reply, I will present their side of the story, I will present their viewpoint accurately.

So why do I care?
Well unlike Bolt, and almost anyone who works at The Telegraph, I am a real journalist, and as such had it ingrained in me to present both sides of the argument, and never present a distorted story.
Bolt, and News Limited have a blatant conservative agenda, and as such are one of the reasons that Tony Abbott is Prime Minister.
This was evidenced all too clearly by the tone they took from the start of the last federal election campaign.
It irks me beyond belief that one of the main things Bolt accuses the ABC of is rabid bias, when Bolt and News Limited display exactly the same reprehensible bias in the other direction.

So if Andrew Bolt’s show is biased, and I strongly advocate that it is, at least we can be thankful that no one is watching it and twice as many Australians content themselves with the wholesome caperings of Peppa Pig.
Indeed it has been one of my long held contentions that the voting laws should be changed, and you can only vote if you're under 18.
Imagine what a world we would have then?
Kids in general have a much greater desire for a clean environment, and would vote as such.
One of the problems with the current crop of state governments, is that the environment has not only dropped off the political agenda, but certainly the Newman government (QLD), the Baird government (NSW) and the Napthine government (Vic) are actively working to destroy the little we have left in the pursuit of cheap, fast bucks from coal.
And of course if the state governments are out to stick the boot into the Australian environment, the Federal government, under Tony Abbott, are doing it better and more comprehensively.
Dumping on the Reef, removing forest that is locked up in national parks, actively helping coal mining companies like Whitehaven flout environemtal safe guards, as at the Maules Creek mine in NSW's west, and all the rest of their reprehensible environmental behaviours - the list of degradations goes on and on.

Bad as all that is, I'll finish with some good news.
Malaysian saw milling company Ta Ann have made an agreement with conservation groups in Tasmania.
They will not use old-growth forest timber in their new veneer plant.
There is still a lot of controversy about this, but it's something.
And what's more, it's another victory for environmental protest.
Ta Ann were losing money at the height of the Tasmanian forest protests.
Consumer activists had targeted Ta Ann's Japanese sales, and brought the logging company to the negotiating table.
The negotiations saw Ta Ann sign its own deal with conservation groups, recommitting the company to the agreed supply areas (AKA: timber will not be sourced from old-growth forests) in return for their support in the market. 
So well done non-violent, peaceful, consumerist protest.

In the end it comes down to this summary of our place in the world.
When China gets around to criticising Australia on human rights.
And when China gets around to criticising Australia on greenhouse gas emissions. 
And when a Malaysian logging company gets around to telling us how to look after our old-growth forests, then clearly, we've got political problems.


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