Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Damned Lies and Journalism


'The nation is drowning in debt. The federal government has lost control of public finances. The NBN is a disaster. Business is struggling because union thugs are destroying productivity growth. We are being overwhelmed with illegal boat arrivals. Refugees are living on welfare and bleeding us dry.'

If your main sources of news are the mass market Murdoch tabloids and the commercial radio shock jocks, it is a fair bet that the above statements might significantly reflect your view of the world. And it is fair bet that those beliefs will play a major role in how you vote in the federal election in September.

That's a pity, because those statements, which are ritually presented as "news" (not  opinion) by the likes of the Daily Telegraph and the Herald Sun, are not true. They are misrepresentations, they are distortions and, in some cases, they are outright lies manufactured by a media magnate seeking to deliver an election outcome which suits his commercial and ideological imperatives.

The sheer volume of this muck prompts one to ask where journalists stand. For instance, we constantly see  deceitful scare stories about public debt, devoid of context. In the case of this boogeyman, the News Ltd scribblers conveniently leave out that to ensure a liquid bond market, gross debt will rise if government  issuance is kept at a set ratio to the economy (as requested by  APRA, the RBA and other key institutions). They ignore that our net debt is among the lowest in the OECD, and they will ritually overlook that, in the eyes of bodies like the IMF, our debt is of no concern at all. These are facts. They are not 'left-wing' facts. They are facts.

The Murdoch press runs hysterical campaigns that this country is heavily taxed, that public spending is out of control or that the current government has increased the impost on consumers and business, when the truth is the Howard and Costello government was the highest taxing and spending in Australian history. But don't take Ross Gittins' word for it, ask the IMF.

On the national broadband network, the biggest public infrastructure project in Australia since the Snowy Mountains irrigation scheme, it is right and quite proper for the media to exercise scrutiny of any mismanagement or cost over-runs. That's their job. But anyone reading the daily beat-ups in the Murdoch press campaigning against  the NBN could be forgiven for concluding that News Corp has a vested commercial interest in seeing it fail.  On that score, the fact that Abbott and Turnbull chose Murdoch's Foxtel studio as the venue to unveil their alternative broadband scheme tells you everything you need to know about why the nation's most powerful media group is running such a hard line on this story.

The business press, meanwhile, manufactures "exclusives" which parrot CEOs warning of a productivity "crisis" in the economy, despite hard evidence that productivity has actually been improving in recent quarters. As the one or two sane voices remaining in the mainstream press have pointed out, these sort of pesky facts don't suit the preferred narrative of ruin and incompetence under Labor.

Debt and economy scaremongering one can live with. But it is the slanted and mischievous  coverage of boat arrivals, more than any other issue, that condemns  the state of mainstream tabloid journalism in this country. If you hadn't already noticed, no opportunity to push the buttons of fear and prejudice is wasted. If a fact can be bent sufficiently out of shape to stoke fears of an alien invasion, it will be done.

The irony is the facts about boat arrivals are freely available. As the prominent barrister, QC and human rights advocate Julian Burnside points out, it is NOT  illegal to seek asylum here. There is no queue for them to join. The number of refugees is  extremely small (1 for every 1000 Australians), most arrivals are by plane and asylum seeker numbers here are a fraction of those in other developed economies. We have about 4 million authorised arrivals a year. Boat people make up 0.2% of that. Yet we don't hear this. Why?

We don't hear this because a big chunk of the mainstream media has decided its job is to pander to ignorance, to push people's buttons, to recycle myths so as to generate emotional reactions and manufacture outrage that generates page impressions so the public looks at their paid ads.

But that's the media's problem. The media is not journalism. The media's business model is busted and it's searching for a way to bring back eyeballs to keep its declining advertising base happy. That has nothing to do with the professional obligations of journalists, which have not changed at all.

For those unfamiliar with quaint notions of professional standards, journalists are obliged by their code of ethics to "report and interpret honestly" and to strive "for accuracy, fairness and disclosure of all essential facts".  They must not suppress relevant facts or give distorting emphasis and they must do their utmost to give a fair opportunity for reply.

So ask yourself: When did journalism become defined by an ability to just make stuff up so long as it attracts sufficient eyeballs? When did success in journalism become defined as a capacity for creating click-bait that panders to prejudice, ignorance and the ambitions of flaky political carpetbaggers?

When did business journalism become about supplying unpaid PR spin for rent-seeking lobbies seeking to pass off their own commercial interests as the public interest? At what point did economic journalists decide that the facts were just too inconvenient to fit a prevailing political narrative?

Finally, when did we sit back in Australia and decide to let a US citizen who presides over an organisation that hacks phones, promotes illegal wars and trashes corporate governance to promote regime change and run our democracy by remote?

And, ladies and gentlemen, Mr Murdoch does all of this in the name of freedom .


48 comments:

  1. Awesome stuff Mr Denmore!

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    1. what right does a foreign national have to influence our politics ?

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  2. Remember! “True Liberty Is When Free-born Men Speak Free!”


    John Milton’s Areopagitica,
    Crying freedom for the press
    Back in 17th century England,
    Resisted monarchy’s excess.

    His tract was a mighty weapon
    In democracy’s progress.
    We are the beneficiaries
    Of his most eloquent address.

    But we ‘free-born’ are complicit,
    As we watch and acquiesce
    While that freedom is abused
    With a brazen shamelessness.

    We encouraged one man’s ambition
    To buy up, control, possess
    As property our thoughts in print,
    And we applauded his success.

    We shared profits with this behemoth
    Who now destroys our happiness
    And publishes news of the world,
    Writ as he commands it be expressed.

    This threat of global tyranny,
    Warns that it’s time to re-possess
    What for him is now a licence
    To break all rules and decency transgress.

    Our precious freedom so perverted
    Has caused democracy’s regress.
    Let’s use our laws while we still can,
    Redeem ourselves, and truly free the press.

    http://polliepomes.wordpress.com/2011/07/08/remember-true-liberty-is-when-free-born-men-speak-free/

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    1. Well done - Much appreciated - If our system holds up, via the senate, Abbott will be left in charge of a strong economy with a healthy progressive agenda, Not fair or justified, But well done to the government in the circumstances..

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  3. Russell HamsteadMay 22, 2013 at 12:08 AM

    So its ok that we are monstorously in debt because others are more in debt? Deficit spending is fine and justified to an extent in a recession but we are well past that, you cant spend more than you have indefinately. Just because our deficits are lower than average it will still come crashing down in the end. The NBN is a disaster, it is massively behind schedule over budget and has a much lower uptake than projected (by what other measures could we measure the project?). True, we are not drowning in refugees... YET. It is a fact though that 80% of refugees from afghanistan and a similar rate from most other Islamic nations are dependent on welfare 5 years after their applications have been approved, they are a drain on our economy even if it is not as bad as some people make out. Labour costs are monstorously high in Australia as a direct result of union activity, why do u think whenever u ring a call centre you end up speaking to someone in India?? We are fortunate that we have the mining industry to prop up our economy since its impossible to move the ground itself overseas where labour is cheaper. And of course they bring out the phone hacking, despite the fact that news ltd outlets in australia were all investigated and cleared of such practices.

    Yet another article that suggests Conservative journalists and conservatives as a whole are incapable of independent thought and That all news ltd journalists are just puppets to Murdoch, despite the fact that news ltd publishes numberous labor-friendly journalists like Laurie Oakes. What rubbish.

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    1. Own up Russell. You're really Andrew Bolt aren't you? Come on, you can be honest with us.

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    2. Russell, I appreciate you engaging with my piece. But since you have made a host of totally unsubstantiated statements, I will not waste my energy replying.

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    3. "Yet another article that suggests Conservative journalists and conservatives as a whole are incapable of independent thought "

      Yep, that pretty much sums you lot up.

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    4. Be a man of conviction Russell and take a huge wage reduction for your country.....btw you forgot to mention the daily lies, or is that OK because you support their side ?

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    5. Poor Andrew, cant recognise the truth. I imagine he will be very happy if Toknee gets in & we are in recession within 6 months & Joe eleventy Hockey has to find eleventy billion to try & make his lies come true!

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    6. I don't normally reply to rubbish like this, nor comment in general, but everything you have just said actually confirms the validity of Mr D's article. You have just spewed forth a whole heap of "facts" that you believe to be true because they fit your ideological, I was going to say belief but I think hatred is a better word, and therefore you are incapable of engaging in a debate beyond rhetoric and abuse. You are the problem, sir.

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    7. We are not monstrously in debt on a government level though. Our debt is private debt, that is mortgages, credit cards and private borrowing over which no government has any control.

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    8. Hi Russell,

      That's a heap of circular reasoning!

      If you had any evidence for your claims, it would be what someone else with your worldview said.

      You make no virtually claim that could be verified by an impartial, rational, independent observer using real world data.

      Low quality thinking son!

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  4. Mr Denmore,

    Of course Mr Murdoch does what he does in the name of freedom.

    Just remember it's hisfreedom ...

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  5. When I chose the twitter tag...Ausjournosrscum...I did so for a reason. The truth.

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  6. Excellent.
    too tired to post more but here is a link. libs want to sell abc and sbshttp://www.theage.com.au/opinion/political-news/state-liberals-propose-privatising-abc-sbs-20130521-2jz5d.html#poll

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  7. And this morning we read that the Victorian Libs are pushing to have an elected? Abbott sell off the ABC and SBS.

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  8. I have just read Russell's comments. Maybe he could seek a new career as a commentator at the privatized ABC to be renamed ARC, the Australian Rinehart Corp.

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  9. Dennis Potter, author of The Singing Detective, and Pennies from Heaven, didn't call his regrettably terminal cancer "Rupert" for little reason.

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  10. Straight to the poolroom for this one.
    A friend & I were wondering, hoping we're sufficiently nihilistic to obtain amusement when the same economic data is used by the press to congratulate a post Sept 15 Abbott government. Neither of us are sure we're up to it.

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  11. Oh ye of little faith. The game's not up yet. I would put my money on ALP to win.

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  12. I see it in the print media I see it on TV, everywhere, Tony Abbott is sanitized to the point of sainthood and Julia Gillard is Vilified at every turn, never have I seen before in my life so much personal abuse and character assassination aimed at a Politician. Brickbats to all the fools that are voting against the ALP because they are too immature to accept a woman as PM.
    Voting for Tony Abbott because you don't like Julia Gillard would be like eating shit because you don't like spinach.

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    1. You don't remember what happened to "Whitlam and Rudd then do you because they both copped it worse than Gillard has but for a good deal less reason.

      Both managed to throw out long term liberal/national governments and were brought down by rancid media for doing so.

      Gillards problem are entirely of her own making.

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    2. Er, no, anon, Rudd didn't cop it because he had a cozy little agreement with Murdoch (Sky vs ABC, anyone?). When that was trashed, Murdoch declared war on Gillard. It's all about the NBN and Murdoch's business model. Pretty simple really.

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  13. Abbott is not the problem.

    He is just the parliamentary frontman and spokesperson for the problem.
    Take him out of the picture and what would essentially change?
    Oh maybe the tone and the language might improve slightly but ... do you remember the insinuations of Howard, the incoherent rantings of Nelson, the Gretch driven hyperbole of Mal 'Rainman" Turnbull? How about the reasoned informed logic of Hockey, even more so from Barnaby, the informed and non plagiarised speeches and writings and excellent memory of Bishop ...and so on? Downer, Ruddock, Reith, Andrews ad infinitum, ad nauseum.

    Remember, these, including Abbott, are just the current spokespersons for the COALition. They reflect the party they front for. They are its leaders. They are replaceable.

    And behind them is ...da!da! ...Rupert.
    Surrounded by his mates at the IPA, the BCA, big business, the frackers, Gina and whatsisface the fella from Qld, the climate denialists, the wacko religious nuts.
    More.
    They, or their clones, won't go away if Tony implodes again, this time irretrievably.

    The problem is endemic and systemic, not personal.


    fred

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  14. Hey steady on Anonymous. I have been reliably spun in the SMH (by Mark Kenny) that my traditional (ACL like) position for marriage is now "ultra-conservative". This paints me as a fringe wacko religious nut - and yet I am unconvinced by this slur.

    I am not keen on Rupert's misuse of power via the press and think spin-tanks, not keen on large company masters (to be further unleashed by new secret global trade talks in Peru - per ABC)
    hold CSG in deep suspicion, think Clive wants to be son of Rupert and was taught in my NSW Baptist Christian High School Science class all about the Green-house effect and it's adverse man made potential in 1986 or earlier.

    Never underestimate Christians into having some simple aversion to the whole ugly truth. We live and die for this stuff - as we all should do or will do.

    I agree the on the problem, concentrated power (unfettered) does corrupt. (look at China)
    Reality checks are needed for the public good.
    Critical mass and revolution (of sorts) is needed to push the public agenda back to towards quality press and media, truth and accountability for all.

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  15. The media is the menace.

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  16. Interesting that "Russell Hamstead" gleefully tells us that Murdock journalists in Australia have been investigated and cleared of "such practices"'. That happened in the UK as well, as the recent Judicial Enquiry so entertainingly illuminated.
    I look forward to the day when the relationship of Murdock journalists and the various Police forces of Australia are forensically examined.
    An international criminal organisation and historically corrupt police forces. Whatever could they have to hide?

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  17. Mr D, great article and absolutely spot on

    I have written much myself on the Abbott/Murdoch relationship of puppet and puppet master, and sincerely believe that Murdoch should not be playing his games with our country and democracy and buying Abbott's backside but rather concentrating on protecting his own from hostile inmates in gaol.

    Keep up the good work

    Cheers

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  18. What is the ABC's excuse for playing along in this campaign?

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  19. That Rupert tweet hovers menacingly over your article Mr Denmore like a vicious Paraclete and casts its dark shadow over the comments below. If the Gillard government proves me correct and wins then I shall be mightily relieved for it will show clearly the limitations of the mass media's distortions, hyperbole and unadorned propaganda in political reporting. If Abbott's band wins then we will enter a new era in Australia. The propaganda machine will shine a benevolent light on the puppet. All will be wonderful in the Lucky Country. Don't dare say otherwise. UnAustralian. So it is more than a change of government we are facing.

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  20. PS you have to laugh at a media mogul claiming that 'people tuned out months ago'.

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  21. I completely don't get why the ABC is so complicit in its own demise.

    What the #$&@ is going on it that organisation?

    Even John Faine now, who we all defended hotly when he hauled over the coals recently, has moved to the dark side. Obviously the bollocking he got over his call for a few 'facts' has put the wind up him.

    On a brighter note, the PM and cabinet is out there engaging directly with the electorate (Community Forums and the like) and going around the media. This is a good move and people seem to appreciate it. The game is not over yet.

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    1. Only the very friendly ALP stooges are allowed to go to those forums though to show Julia in the best light.

      She is in fact backwards, racist and ignorant of most things in the real world.

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    2. I think the ABC is terrified, frankly. The risks for them are asynchronous. The ALP will tolerate them. The Tories will monster them and has armies of culture warriors frothing at the mouth for the opportunity to cut their funding or get rid of them altogether. That's why they so self-consciously pursue the dreaded "balance" and prop up every second panel with someone from the IPA, or Gerard Henderson or any number of News Ltd goons who already have their own bully pulpits in print.

      The growth of online outlets and blogs helps at the margin, but most of us are already preaching to a very small choir. Ultimately, the progressive media will have to get organised if there is going to be adequate diversity in this country.

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    3. I have seen ABC's new "balance" in action. Leigh Sales has provided us very crude and abrasive 7:30 interviews with ALP and LNP MPs getting a tongue lashing alike. It's bully "tough jorno" style and really poor form. Let civility return to debate for Australia's sake.

      The ABC in particular has pandered to their own left leaning worldview for so long its a historical given.
      As the public (for ALL broadcaster) they need to take the lead and include their counterpoint "opponents" head-on like Bolt and Henderson and others and restore balance in the process. If their position is untenable surely this will be exposed in the light of day. Bring it on.

      The ABC are however fearful of allowing non-group thought.
      It's them or the toxic IPA (group thought), sad really with the truth out there too left in the cold.

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  22. The printed media has sign its own death certificate with the continued bias and telling of the fiction as facts that eventually the readers will discover they have been lied to as we see now that the population of Australia were lied to by Howard and taken to war.
    And that lie was aided and abetted by the Murdoch media.
    But with the more diverse source of news distribution through the internet we will see the demise of the large conglomerate organisation like Murdoch lose their influence over the community.
    My hope would be that Rupert will pass by the wayside and his organisation will collapse with his passing along with his fellow travelers like Akerman,Bolte,Lewis.
    And what will speed this up will be the election of Abbott because when you change the government you change the country as Keating told the people in the 1990s. But Abbott is not Howard and will not have the collective behind him to pull off the transition to deliver the changes the conservative backers are calling for and with the precarious economies around the world now we will see Australia go into recession and the very rapid fall of conservative governments now controlling the States of Australia.
    Conservatives have relied upon a compliant media to help prop them up for as long I can remember and that has been back to the late 1940s so I believe that influence will die for ever after the lies that have been spread by the concentration of media ownership has been revealed by the fifth estate.
    So here's hoping anyway.

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  23. Mr D - thanks for a great read. Your article sums up in concentrated form many of the arguments you've been cogently making for some time, & it's all brought into focus by that eerie, blunt Murdoch quote. What hope is there left that his organs will present any semblance of a balanced view from here until 14 Sept?

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    1. I have never had any hope to abandon Martin although I was amazed by the Bolt sermon listing all Abbott's failures. Such ferocity. I know we are not talking about balanced views here. It was astonishing though that such an ardent supporter could turn tail like that. I wonder what Bolt's readership made of it all, particularly the bit about Work Choices. Those still working and feeling vulnerable may feel a bit restive about Bolt backing business calls for Abbott to revive Work Choices. Regional readers won't be too keen on Bolt agitating for Abbott to sell off the ABC either.

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    2. Yes, I've noticed that the worst elements of the radical right - Jones, Bolt - are so sure of their victory that they are already threatening the Abbott Puppet to make sure they get thier agenda implemented. He is talking about all of the things he won't do in "the first term of a Coalition government", he obviously has a strategy to ensure that he gets more than one term. But will Murdoch and his dogs of war give him the time ? after all they bankrolled and managed his win.

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  24. "There is no queue for them to join."

    There used to be, Australia used to take 12,000 people from UNHCR run refugee camps. It is true that there are no queues in Indonesia, where most of our "refugees" freely fly to, and where they are not under threat of persecution. Australia stopped taking refugees from UNHCR camps because the number arriving in leaky boats exceeds our normal humanitarian intake.

    "The number of refugees is extremely small (1 for every 1000 Australians)"
    But amazingly the refugee program costs more than 1% of the Australian federal budget.


    "most arrivals are by plane"
    That's hilarious.
    Better tell the Immigration department that the 20,000 refugees that arrived by boat in the last 9 months are nothing compared to the number you believe arrived by plane but somehow forgot to register as refugees.

    "and asylum seeker numbers here are a fraction of those in other developed economies."
    2012 USA 83,000, Australia 15,000
    Australia is 15 times less populous yet we received only 5 times less than the US.
    Japan and Korea just received 3000 between them.
    38 European countries receive 338,000. So less than 10,000 on average. In 2013 Australia has already received more than 20,000 refugees by boat.
    Your statistics don't seem to hold water.

    "We have about 4 million authorised arrivals a year.
    Boat people make up 0.2% of that. Yet we don't hear this. Why?"

    I'm guessing it's because they are authorised?? Perhaps?
    It'd be the same reason that Australians conduct millions of safe car trips and only the crashes merit reporting? Did that ever enter your mind before writing this pap?
    By the way .2% of 4m is 8000. We have already received more than 20,000 in the last 9 months, so far a perfect score for figures quoted in this article. Do you check anything before you publish?

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  25. You make a few rather astounding claims throughout this post, I note that the vast majority of responses have been unquestioning and positive, which makes me even more perplexed.

    Let's go through them:
    "we constantly see deceitful scare stories about public debt"
    The story you claim is deceitful makes the claim in its title:
    "Julia Gillard to leave Australians in $165 billion dollars worth of debt this term alone"

    According to the budget papers published just a few weeks ago, specifically Table 3 "Australian Government general government sector net debt and net interest payments" Budget paper 1.
    Australia's net debt at June 2013 will be $161.6B, it also estimates it will be $178B by June 2014. $16.4B in 12 months, so by the enf of this term in Sept 2013 $165B looks pretty much spot on. What exactly do you think is deceitful, given it matches the budget estimates so closely?

    "In the case of this boogeyman, the News Ltd scribblers conveniently leave out that to ensure a liquid bond market, gross debt will rise if government issuance is kept at a set ratio to the economy"
    This is rather curious, the article's claims were around "Net Debt", somehow you switch to "Gross Debt", to make a claim against News "scribblers" when in fact the only mention of "Gross Debt" was to describe what the Coalition is saying, not the journalist. In addition the numbers used match the budget papers.

    According to the Budget Review 2012-13 published on the government website, the value of CGS (Commonwealth Government Securities) "rose from $58 billion at 30 June 2008 to $266 billion at 30 June 2012, an increase of 355 per cent."
    Now if you can point out any reliable source to say that Australia's GDP rose 335% between 2008 and 2012, you'd have a point about "gross debt will rise if government issuance is kept at a set ratio to the economy" but since GDP only rose 60% over that period perhaps your theory about "maintaining a set ratio" looks a little askew, by a factor of around 6 ...

    "They ignore that our net debt is among the lowest in the OECD"
    No I think they recognise that the current low rate is influenced more by the starting position in 2007 rather the performance since that time.

    "in the eyes of bodies like the IMF"
    Looking at the "evidence" that you cite, it states rather plainly and early enough to have not breached your attention span:
    "This Working Paper should not be reported as representing the views of the IMF"

    "The Murdoch press runs hysterical campaigns" The link you replied was a rather bland reporting of the recent Abbott budgte reply speech, reporting a speech is now a "hysterical campaign"?

    "when the truth is the Howard and Costello government was the highest taxing and spending in Australian history"
    According to the latest budget papers (they do tend to get the past right, even when they have a recent history of getting the next few weeks wrong)
    Again, Budget paper 1 Table 1, the highest receipts as a percentage of GDP was 26.2% in 1986-1987. The highest spending as a proportion of GDP was 27.5% in 1984-85.
    In both cases Bob Hawke was PM and Paul Keating was Treasurer. Costello wasn't even elected to parliament yet.

    Normally in articles like this, many things can be argued from different perspectives and interpretations and opinions form the majority of disagreement. However this article is about lies and journalism, so you'd think the author might have spent some time ensuring that the "lies" and "distortions" are backed by objective facts. In every case the distortions and untruths are the author's. Compared to this error ridden swill the News reporting looks rather impressive.

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  26. Thanks Harry. A few points.
    1. News stories that throw around dollar figures of debt without quoting it as a proportion of GDP are dishonest.
    2. News stories that opine about debt without referencing the fact that the developed world has just been through its longest and deepest recession since the 30s are dishonest.
    3. The big picture is that every respected authority says Australian government debt is manageable and compares very favourably to most other developed economies. Do you dispute that?
    4. Receipts and taxation revenue are different things. Taxation as proportion of GDP peaked in the later Costello budgets at more than 24%. Table D4 MYEFO.
    5. I stand by every fact in this post. I have taken the time to respond to you. Do they do that in the Murdoch press?

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  27. 1. Why do you think that relating debt to GDP is useful? The government doesn't earn all of GDP, and as Swan et al have argued for quite some time, revenues seem decoupled from GDP, since they are related to profits and wages.
    2. How much repeated background does every story need in your world? Perhaps every time the Carbon tax is mention, a paragraph on Ms Gillard's broken promise?
    3. The big picture is that Australia is in a significantly worse position than it was in 2007, do you dispute that?
    Australia compared very favourably to those same developed economies in 2007 so it's hardly surprising that it does so now.
    4. An examination of that same table would reveal that tax receipts tend to fall during recessions, and rise during booms. Articles that opine about which government received the greatest tax revenue as a percentage of GDP without mentioning that this was achieved in a time of a booming economy, when receipts generally rise are dishonest.
    5. Could you tell us what the "hysterical campaign" you alluded to in that link? Could you tell us why the IMF specifically applied the direct statement "This Working Paper should not be reported as representing the views of the IMF" on the external paper hosted at in the external folder at their site and you reported it as an IMF opinion?
    Thanks for responding, but you seem somewhat confused. This is a blog, it is specifically designed for discussion. The ABC, Fairfax, Crikey, Television stations and a host of the print media don't respond, but they aren't designed to do so.

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  28. I trust that's you again Harry. I appreciate you taking the time to engage.

    1/I don't agree that GDP is irrelevant. We have to compare debt to something. If we say John has a $300,000 mortgage and Jill has a $1 million mortgage without pointing out their respective debt servicing ability it doesn't tell us much. That's called context.

    2/ Talking about the fiscal situation without reference to the GFC and subsequent developed world recession is not "repeated background". Again, it's called context. Good journalists put facts within context.

    3/ The difference between now and 2007 is the GFC. What would your side of politics have done differently?

    4/ The point about the Howard and Costello era is they used a one-off windfall (the commodity boom) and created a structural imbalance in the budget. Read Gittins on this.

    5/ You asked about News Ltd hysteria on debt. How many headlines do you need? The newspapers routinely mix opinion with fact - 'Time Bomb Ticking on National Debt' - Herald Sun, May 3, 2012 'Australian Families to Pay the Price for Wayne Swan's 2013 Budget' - Daily Telegraph, May 14, 2013. If you can't see that News Ltd uses its news pages to campaign for one side, I can't help you.

    6/ Here is the latest published opinion by the IMF of Australia:

    "The authorities’ current macroeconomic policy stance is appropriate. With The authorities’ fiscal consolidation path strikes a balance between the need to limit both public and external debt increases while containing any adverse impact on economic growth."

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  29. The IMF paper cited in the article was indeed a research paper published by the IMF under the title: “IMF Working Paper” and carries the copyright of the IMF so it is published as an IMF research paper. It has the proviso at the beginning to indicate it is a research paper which seeks comment and debate and therefore not all its results are to be taken as reflecting a definitive policy position of the IMF. Nevertheless, such a research paper has been undertaken by highly experienced researchers who contribute their research to the IMF and therefore is of considerable weight. Just as a researcher writes a paper for a reputable journal which is not necessarily the policy of the journal, nevertheless the editors allow it to be published because they regard the paper as highly credible and think it is worth publishing for its analytical, disciplined and valuable research content. To suggest that this research paper has nothing to do with the IMF is false and shows a simplistic understanding of research, the nature of the paper's purpose and the IMF's considered decision to publish it.

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  30. I agree with you Mr Denmore. But I still wonder how professional ethics gets so corrupted in a democracy. Under totalitarianism, corruption of professional ethics has been known even in the case of doctors, and not just because they are compelled, but probably for career advancement. Even so, is it merely cynical opportunism, or the power of groupthink, that enables dire compromise of standards without sanction, by or within a profession?

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