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83 responses to “Guest post by Mr Denmore: The Failed Estate IV – For Whom The Poll Tolls”

  1. grandma

    is it time Mr. Rudd stood up in parliment and ask the question at question time

    Who governs this country, The Media the Miners or the Elected government,

    Would that cause more problems Mr. Denmore would you mind commenting.

  2. grandma

    is it time Mr. Rudd stood up in parliment and ask the question at question time

    Who governs this country, The Media the Miners or the Elected government,

    Would that cause more problems Mr. Denmore would you mind commenting.

  3. Bushfire Bill

    Lucky you wrote this post here. Mr. Denmore.

    At PB you’re labelled stupid if you attack the veracity or the proprietorial chain of Newspoll.

  4. Bushfire Bill

    Lucky you wrote this post here. Mr. Denmore.

    At PB you’re labelled stupid if you attack the veracity or the proprietorial chain of Newspoll.

  5. Mr Denmore

    Bushfire Bill, I understand where William and the other psephologists are coming from. They’re defending the bonafides of the research professionals in those organisations like Newspoll, so it’s a kind of professional solidarity they’re declaring.

    But I think they’re being somewhat naive about the uses of Newspoll to drive the editorial agenda. It’s not so much the results themselves, but the way the media narrative is crafted around the polling. In that sense, being owned by a news organisation (particularly a news organisation whose US proprietor is such a meddler in the democratic process) doesn’t do much for perceptions about Newspoll’s integrity.

    Grandma, concerted attacks on the media by politicians – even under the protection of parliamentary privilege – are highly dangerous. Look what happened to Obama when his staff put a black ban on Fox. You inevitably are accused of shooting the messenger. And the stitch up becomes even more intense.

  6. Mr Denmore

    Bushfire Bill, I understand where William and the other psephologists are coming from. They’re defending the bonafides of the research professionals in those organisations like Newspoll, so it’s a kind of professional solidarity they’re declaring.

    But I think they’re being somewhat naive about the uses of Newspoll to drive the editorial agenda. It’s not so much the results themselves, but the way the media narrative is crafted around the polling. In that sense, being owned by a news organisation (particularly a news organisation whose US proprietor is such a meddler in the democratic process) doesn’t do much for perceptions about Newspoll’s integrity.

    Grandma, concerted attacks on the media by politicians – even under the protection of parliamentary privilege – are highly dangerous. Look what happened to Obama when his staff put a black ban on Fox. You inevitably are accused of shooting the messenger. And the stitch up becomes even more intense.

  7. Tosca

    The incremental process to create a monopoly over news has reached its nadir with LIMITED NEWS now creating ‘news’ out of very little as described by Mr Denmore. I often wonder if some of Mr Rudd’s problems don’t stem from his proposal to limit government advertising. Up until the recent decision to spend the $38million on explaining the RSPT the Government has been remarkably disciplined about cutting out the waste on government advertising. I feel that they are entirely justified in this particular case. I have not seen any of the advertising as yet but I gather that both TV and Newspaper ads have appeared. With Limited News providing such limited reporting of facts and with opinions rather than analysis how are governments going to disseminate their message?

    Senator Brown intends to introduce a Private Members Bill to require all government advertising to undergo a “public interest” test by the auditor-general. How effective do you think this measure could be Mr Denmore?

  8. Tosca

    The incremental process to create a monopoly over news has reached its nadir with LIMITED NEWS now creating ‘news’ out of very little as described by Mr Denmore. I often wonder if some of Mr Rudd’s problems don’t stem from his proposal to limit government advertising. Up until the recent decision to spend the $38million on explaining the RSPT the Government has been remarkably disciplined about cutting out the waste on government advertising. I feel that they are entirely justified in this particular case. I have not seen any of the advertising as yet but I gather that both TV and Newspaper ads have appeared. With Limited News providing such limited reporting of facts and with opinions rather than analysis how are governments going to disseminate their message?

    Senator Brown intends to introduce a Private Members Bill to require all government advertising to undergo a “public interest” test by the auditor-general. How effective do you think this measure could be Mr Denmore?

  9. Mr Denmore

    Tosca @4, a public interest test on government advertising sounds like a good idea, but it is easily flouted. A smart spinner could conjure a public interest justification in most cases with very little effort. And of course, the media is always happy for the revenue. I fear it’s another case of vested interests on all sides winning out over voter apathy.

  10. Mr Denmore

    Tosca @4, a public interest test on government advertising sounds like a good idea, but it is easily flouted. A smart spinner could conjure a public interest justification in most cases with very little effort. And of course, the media is always happy for the revenue. I fear it’s another case of vested interests on all sides winning out over voter apathy.

  11. Pamela

    I have been watching the mainstream media generally, and the Canberra press gallery specifically, for 20 years. Why is there an uproar now that one media outlet is blatantly conservative? The rest of the MSM – ie. Fairfax, ABC, commercial tv and radio, have been blatantly left wing for the bulk of that time. Is it just because the Aust is anti-Rudd and the rest of media are unhappy that their illusion of a popular, infallible Labor PM has been shattered?

  12. Pamela

    I have been watching the mainstream media generally, and the Canberra press gallery specifically, for 20 years. Why is there an uproar now that one media outlet is blatantly conservative? The rest of the MSM – ie. Fairfax, ABC, commercial tv and radio, have been blatantly left wing for the bulk of that time. Is it just because the Aust is anti-Rudd and the rest of media are unhappy that their illusion of a popular, infallible Labor PM has been shattered?

  13. TerjeP

    The death of Australian democracy is much exagerated. Polls tell us what the people think. They’re like little elections in a way. Neither those polled not those who vote encounter any real personal cost or accountability. In 2007 a big government run poll told us we should be lead by a small man called Kevin. Perhaps it was a rogue poll but that’s democracy for you.

  14. TerjeP

    The death of Australian democracy is much exagerated. Polls tell us what the people think. They’re like little elections in a way. Neither those polled not those who vote encounter any real personal cost or accountability. In 2007 a big government run poll told us we should be lead by a small man called Kevin. Perhaps it was a rogue poll but that’s democracy for you.

  15. Howard Cunningham

    The test for government advertising should be easy.

    If it is beneficial for the individual member of the public to have the information, then it is fine. (Train timetables, new eligibility rules at Centrelink, that sort of thing.) The advertising increases the effectiveness, not (necessarily) the popularity, of the program.

    In the case of a new tax, or changes to health funding, or promoting public education (the most stupid example, because if parents take their kids out of private education and stick them in a state school, it costs the government more to educate that child), then the public doesn’t have a choice whether to use the new program, and it doesn’t need an educated public to be effective (rather than popular). Government advertising in these situations are really party political ads that can only be paid for by private organisations (political parties, trade unions, business peak bodies, other community representative organisations).

    Problem solved.

  16. Howard Cunningham

    The test for government advertising should be easy.

    If it is beneficial for the individual member of the public to have the information, then it is fine. (Train timetables, new eligibility rules at Centrelink, that sort of thing.) The advertising increases the effectiveness, not (necessarily) the popularity, of the program.

    In the case of a new tax, or changes to health funding, or promoting public education (the most stupid example, because if parents take their kids out of private education and stick them in a state school, it costs the government more to educate that child), then the public doesn’t have a choice whether to use the new program, and it doesn’t need an educated public to be effective (rather than popular). Government advertising in these situations are really party political ads that can only be paid for by private organisations (political parties, trade unions, business peak bodies, other community representative organisations).

    Problem solved.

  17. Fran Barlow

    I agree with Mr Denmore — in theory, a public interest test sounds reasonable, but in practice it’s simply too subjective. There is a genuine problem with socially marginalised people not taking up government benefits to which they are entitled or being on the wrong benefit. Advertising through apt channels is warranted in such circumstances but it could easily be construed as self-promotion.

    A better idea might be to empanel a kind of citizen jury of, say, 25 people drawn from a diversity of walks of life, chaired by the AG ex-officio and invite them to pass or fail or recommend revision to proposed advertising by the government. The panel would be changed every year. The mere possibility that such a panel might knock back a campaign might get governments to pull their collective heads in.

  18. Fran Barlow

    I agree with Mr Denmore — in theory, a public interest test sounds reasonable, but in practice it’s simply too subjective. There is a genuine problem with socially marginalised people not taking up government benefits to which they are entitled or being on the wrong benefit. Advertising through apt channels is warranted in such circumstances but it could easily be construed as self-promotion.

    A better idea might be to empanel a kind of citizen jury of, say, 25 people drawn from a diversity of walks of life, chaired by the AG ex-officio and invite them to pass or fail or recommend revision to proposed advertising by the government. The panel would be changed every year. The mere possibility that such a panel might knock back a campaign might get governments to pull their collective heads in.

  19. grandma

    [The death of Australian democracy is much exagerated. Polls tell us what the people think. They’re like little elections in a way. Neither those polled not those who vote encounter any real personal cost or accountability. In 2007 a big government run poll told us we should be lead by a small man called Kevin. Perhaps it was a rogue poll but that’s democracy for you.]

    others may understand what your talking about but i dont.

  20. grandma

    [The death of Australian democracy is much exagerated. Polls tell us what the people think. They’re like little elections in a way. Neither those polled not those who vote encounter any real personal cost or accountability. In 2007 a big government run poll told us we should be lead by a small man called Kevin. Perhaps it was a rogue poll but that’s democracy for you.]

    others may understand what your talking about but i dont.

  21. Roy Orbison

    Forget about News Ltd. They are a lost cause. What I want to know is when is someone going to ask Tony Abbott the very direct question of whether or not he plans to keep the ABC in public hands.

    Their (the ABC) behaviour of late is pretty appalling. No need to go over the details yet again as we have all read about them ad nauseam. But with paywalls going up all over the net, wouldn’t the ABC be the only place most people would go to for some free news? However, if someone were able to buy a controlling share, then that scenario could change dramatically, n’est pas? Also, would it follow that Rupert actually WANTS something in return for his slavish and unquestioning campaign to get Abbott elected? An ABC with no stated desire to provide a free on line service would remove a very ticklish problem for the old monster.

    So can someone please ask Tone, in writing because we know he has limitations with a verbal response, exactly what he plans to with the ABC?

  22. Roy Orbison

    Forget about News Ltd. They are a lost cause. What I want to know is when is someone going to ask Tony Abbott the very direct question of whether or not he plans to keep the ABC in public hands.

    Their (the ABC) behaviour of late is pretty appalling. No need to go over the details yet again as we have all read about them ad nauseam. But with paywalls going up all over the net, wouldn’t the ABC be the only place most people would go to for some free news? However, if someone were able to buy a controlling share, then that scenario could change dramatically, n’est pas? Also, would it follow that Rupert actually WANTS something in return for his slavish and unquestioning campaign to get Abbott elected? An ABC with no stated desire to provide a free on line service would remove a very ticklish problem for the old monster.

    So can someone please ask Tone, in writing because we know he has limitations with a verbal response, exactly what he plans to with the ABC?

  23. Patrickb

    @9
    I think he means he thinks it’s he’s keeping a smug “libertarian” distance. “Libertarianism” what a joke! No responsibility with all the benefits.

  24. Patrickb

    @9
    I think he means he thinks it’s he’s keeping a smug “libertarian” distance. “Libertarianism” what a joke! No responsibility with all the benefits.

  25. hannah's dad

    I value your posts Mr. Denmore.
    Thank you for stating the bleedin’ obvious so well.
    Somebody has to.

  26. hannah's dad

    I value your posts Mr. Denmore.
    Thank you for stating the bleedin’ obvious so well.
    Somebody has to.

  27. p.a.travers

    You maybe right about Murdochs ,but the Rudd government has just put further sanctions on Iran…can you explain that from your media perspective!?

  28. p.a.travers

    You maybe right about Murdochs ,but the Rudd government has just put further sanctions on Iran…can you explain that from your media perspective!?

  29. anthony nolan

    Thanks Mr Denmore. Perhaps we need to demand a request that Newspoll poll on the public’s view of Newspoll poll credibility.

  30. anthony nolan

    Thanks Mr Denmore. Perhaps we need to demand a request that Newspoll poll on the public’s view of Newspoll poll credibility.

  31. Tyro Rex

    “further sanctions on Iran” ??? that will be because they are running a clandestine nuclear program because they are trying to build an atom bomb, p.a. travers.

    however what it has to do with this excellent article by Mr. Denmore is anybody’s guess.

  32. Tyro Rex

    “further sanctions on Iran” ??? that will be because they are running a clandestine nuclear program because they are trying to build an atom bomb, p.a. travers.

    however what it has to do with this excellent article by Mr. Denmore is anybody’s guess.

  33. William Bowe

    They’re defending the bonafides of the research professionals in those organisations like Newspoll, so it’s a kind of professional solidarity they’re declaring. But I think they’re being somewhat naive about the uses of Newspoll to drive the editorial agenda.

    I make no comment about the uses of Newspoll to drive the editorial agenda, nor about the “veracity or the proprietorial chain of Newspoll”, as Bushfire Bill puts it with regrettably characteristic dishonesty. The only point at issue is whether they rig the results or not.

  34. William Bowe

    They’re defending the bonafides of the research professionals in those organisations like Newspoll, so it’s a kind of professional solidarity they’re declaring. But I think they’re being somewhat naive about the uses of Newspoll to drive the editorial agenda.

    I make no comment about the uses of Newspoll to drive the editorial agenda, nor about the “veracity or the proprietorial chain of Newspoll”, as Bushfire Bill puts it with regrettably characteristic dishonesty. The only point at issue is whether they rig the results or not.

  35. nasking

    Great stuff Mr. Denmore. You speak as a wise individual.

    News Ltd has taken this a step further by using its own Newspoll to advance its agenda. In this sense, the polling is not so much a reactive tool, but a proactive one. It drives the news cycle in such a way that journalists, once mere spectators, become actual players in the political game.

    Indeed. It would be nice to see more “independent” polls examined by the ABC & like. Newspoll is treated like it’s the Holy Grail.

    And as ya say, the use of Newspoll by its owners exemplifies the cost cutting & general “cheapness” that permeates the Murdoch empire & many of the newspaper organisations these days.

    You’d think w/ the money Rupert’s lot made from ‘Avatar’ they could do alot better. 🙂 They certainly owe James Cameron.

    N’

  36. nasking

    Great stuff Mr. Denmore. You speak as a wise individual.

    News Ltd has taken this a step further by using its own Newspoll to advance its agenda. In this sense, the polling is not so much a reactive tool, but a proactive one. It drives the news cycle in such a way that journalists, once mere spectators, become actual players in the political game.

    Indeed. It would be nice to see more “independent” polls examined by the ABC & like. Newspoll is treated like it’s the Holy Grail.

    And as ya say, the use of Newspoll by its owners exemplifies the cost cutting & general “cheapness” that permeates the Murdoch empire & many of the newspaper organisations these days.

    You’d think w/ the money Rupert’s lot made from ‘Avatar’ they could do alot better. 🙂 They certainly owe James Cameron.

    N’

  37. nasking

    “The incremental process to create a monopoly over news has reached its nadir with LIMITED NEWS now creating ‘news’ out of very little as described by Mr Denmore.”

    Indeed Tosca. LIMITED NEWS has a CLONE sometimes too. The ABC.

    Like picking up on the silliest comments from the likes of Barnaby Joyless & making him seem like a sage.

    My latest post at Cafe Whispers:

    Barnaby hearts Rudd’s poison

    http://cafewhispers.wordpress.com/2010/06/15/barnaby-hearts-rudds-poison/

    Come Labor’s 2nd term I hope we see some change in focus by the media. There’s a world to fix out there. Including our own toxic backyard.
    N’

  38. nasking

    “The incremental process to create a monopoly over news has reached its nadir with LIMITED NEWS now creating ‘news’ out of very little as described by Mr Denmore.”

    Indeed Tosca. LIMITED NEWS has a CLONE sometimes too. The ABC.

    Like picking up on the silliest comments from the likes of Barnaby Joyless & making him seem like a sage.

    My latest post at Cafe Whispers:

    Barnaby hearts Rudd’s poison

    http://cafewhispers.wordpress.com/2010/06/15/barnaby-hearts-rudds-poison/

    Come Labor’s 2nd term I hope we see some change in focus by the media. There’s a world to fix out there. Including our own toxic backyard.
    N’

  39. Flynnboy

    concerted attacks on the media by politicians – even under the protection of parliamentary privilege – are highly dangerous. Look what happened to Obama when his staff put a black ban on Fox. You inevitably are accused of shooting the messenger. And the stitch up becomes even more intense.

    Mr Denmore, are you saying that the media are untouchable? That while if you or I slandered someone to the point of real damages resulting to them ie public reputation, job loss etc, we would find ourselves hauled before the courts, the media are free to behave in such a manner with no possibility of consequence?

  40. Flynnboy

    concerted attacks on the media by politicians – even under the protection of parliamentary privilege – are highly dangerous. Look what happened to Obama when his staff put a black ban on Fox. You inevitably are accused of shooting the messenger. And the stitch up becomes even more intense.

    Mr Denmore, are you saying that the media are untouchable? That while if you or I slandered someone to the point of real damages resulting to them ie public reputation, job loss etc, we would find ourselves hauled before the courts, the media are free to behave in such a manner with no possibility of consequence?

  41. Razor

    Of course, the Fourth Estate worked wonderfully well when it was complicit in bringing down the Howard Government and adjitating for the revolving door effect of the Leader of the Opposition.

  42. Razor

    Of course, the Fourth Estate worked wonderfully well when it was complicit in bringing down the Howard Government and adjitating for the revolving door effect of the Leader of the Opposition.

  43. mediatracker

    William [email protected]

    “The only point at issue is whether they rig the results or not”.

    Perhaps we might get the real answer to that when Sol Lebovic comes clean about why he felt he could not continue working on Newspoll?

  44. mediatracker

    William [email protected]

    “The only point at issue is whether they rig the results or not”.

    Perhaps we might get the real answer to that when Sol Lebovic comes clean about why he felt he could not continue working on Newspoll?

  45. Mr Denmore

    Mr Denmore, are you saying that the media are untouchable? That while if you or I slandered someone to the point of real damages resulting to them ie public reputation, job loss etc, we would find ourselves hauled before the courts, the media are free to behave in such a manner with no possibility of consequence?

    No, the media don’t have absolute privilege except when reporting the proceedings of parliament. They have qualified privilege in reporting the courts or public meetings, but even then the report must be fair and accurate.

    We have quite strong defamation and libel laws in Australia. Unfortunately, these are exercised mostly by the rich and powerful to suppress open discussion of their activities.

    You can criticise the media, of course, as we are doing here. But we are speaking to a very limited audience. Murdoch controls about 70 per cent of the metropolitan media in Australia, so his megaphone is comparatively louder. And his influence extends well beyond there now, with the ABC virtually an echo of his editorial line.

    While we do have global media at our fingertips now through the internet, we are woefully short on a multiplicity of local perspectives. That’s why an online prescence offered by the likes of Lavratus Prodeo – even without the resources of paid writers – is so valuable.

    In response to William above, my criticism of News Ltd is not that they “rig” Newspoll. I don’t see any evidence of that. It’s more how they are both the source of the news and the interpreter of it. That gives them the unique ability to dictate the agenda. There needs to be more of a distance between the two to give the public confidence in the integrity of the process.

    To Razor @21, my criticisms of the media’s reporting of politics applies regardless of who is in power. But Rudd gained office in 2007 virtually despite the media, rather than because of it. He was sledged to kingdom come by the News Ltd papers, who only turned at the last minute when his ascension was inevitable. Since his honeymoon period ended, Rudd has inflicted a lot of damage on himself, to be sure, but the media campaign against him (and its comparative failure to put Abbott under the same microscope that it put Rudd in 2007) is extreme by any journalistic standard.

    And it’s in my role as a former professional journalist that I am speaking.

  46. Mr Denmore

    Mr Denmore, are you saying that the media are untouchable? That while if you or I slandered someone to the point of real damages resulting to them ie public reputation, job loss etc, we would find ourselves hauled before the courts, the media are free to behave in such a manner with no possibility of consequence?

    No, the media don’t have absolute privilege except when reporting the proceedings of parliament. They have qualified privilege in reporting the courts or public meetings, but even then the report must be fair and accurate.

    We have quite strong defamation and libel laws in Australia. Unfortunately, these are exercised mostly by the rich and powerful to suppress open discussion of their activities.

    You can criticise the media, of course, as we are doing here. But we are speaking to a very limited audience. Murdoch controls about 70 per cent of the metropolitan media in Australia, so his megaphone is comparatively louder. And his influence extends well beyond there now, with the ABC virtually an echo of his editorial line.

    While we do have global media at our fingertips now through the internet, we are woefully short on a multiplicity of local perspectives. That’s why an online prescence offered by the likes of Lavratus Prodeo – even without the resources of paid writers – is so valuable.

    In response to William above, my criticism of News Ltd is not that they “rig” Newspoll. I don’t see any evidence of that. It’s more how they are both the source of the news and the interpreter of it. That gives them the unique ability to dictate the agenda. There needs to be more of a distance between the two to give the public confidence in the integrity of the process.

    To Razor @21, my criticisms of the media’s reporting of politics applies regardless of who is in power. But Rudd gained office in 2007 virtually despite the media, rather than because of it. He was sledged to kingdom come by the News Ltd papers, who only turned at the last minute when his ascension was inevitable. Since his honeymoon period ended, Rudd has inflicted a lot of damage on himself, to be sure, but the media campaign against him (and its comparative failure to put Abbott under the same microscope that it put Rudd in 2007) is extreme by any journalistic standard.

    And it’s in my role as a former professional journalist that I am speaking.

  47. zoot

    Razor, how’s the weather on your planet?

  48. zoot

    Razor, how’s the weather on your planet?

  49. Roger Jones

    And Razor,

    now they’ve got rid of the doctor and the banker, they seem quite happy with the budgie smuggler

  50. p.a.travers

    I honestly don’t know why anyone would disconnect what Denmore is suggesting… from persecuting a country, that has said a number of times and recently it isn’t interested in Nuke weapons.I think it has more to do with a 100,000 volunteers from Iran,non military security, wanting to enter Gaza,but whatever the Rudd government reasons,if and when explained by Rudd,there will be the Murdoch Press dressing itself up as the ‘amoral’ judge of all that is ‘immoral’ of that which in even the most indirect way being Iranian.

  51. p.a.travers

    I honestly don’t know why anyone would disconnect what Denmore is suggesting… from persecuting a country, that has said a number of times and recently it isn’t interested in Nuke weapons.I think it has more to do with a 100,000 volunteers from Iran,non military security, wanting to enter Gaza,but whatever the Rudd government reasons,if and when explained by Rudd,there will be the Murdoch Press dressing itself up as the ‘amoral’ judge of all that is ‘immoral’ of that which in even the most indirect way being Iranian.

  52. CMMC

    When people are polled about political outcomes they are generally being asked two questions.

    1. “What are your sentiments?”

    2. The unasked question, “Are you well-enough informed and intelligent enough to consider the above?”

    This unasked operand is an important quantity in polling, but difficult to quantify.

    If, however, you operate a media conglomerate that is determined to portray a certain narrative of politics, regardless of reality, you are well and truly in command of the popular subconscious.

  53. CMMC

    When people are polled about political outcomes they are generally being asked two questions.

    1. “What are your sentiments?”

    2. The unasked question, “Are you well-enough informed and intelligent enough to consider the above?”

    This unasked operand is an important quantity in polling, but difficult to quantify.

    If, however, you operate a media conglomerate that is determined to portray a certain narrative of politics, regardless of reality, you are well and truly in command of the popular subconscious.

  54. Razor

    good, if you like rain.

  55. Razor

    good, if you like rain.

  56. Mark

    @27 – this comment isn’t exclusive to Newspoll (though I like the way Essential Research includes a lot more questions with cross-tabs).

    All quantitative polling tells you only so much, without asking questions about strength of voting intention, or whether it is likely to change. The sense of who is moving gets lost.

    In an ideal world, it would be read together with qualitative polling which would give us an idea of what voters feel, and how important various issues or factors are to their vote (or one could ascertain something similar with a much larger, say x4, sample size in quant polls).

    Of course, this would be both more expensive and contradict the narrative, thus vitiating the motives Mr Denmore rightly identifies in his post.

  57. Mark

    @27 – this comment isn’t exclusive to Newspoll (though I like the way Essential Research includes a lot more questions with cross-tabs).

    All quantitative polling tells you only so much, without asking questions about strength of voting intention, or whether it is likely to change. The sense of who is moving gets lost.

    In an ideal world, it would be read together with qualitative polling which would give us an idea of what voters feel, and how important various issues or factors are to their vote (or one could ascertain something similar with a much larger, say x4, sample size in quant polls).

    Of course, this would be both more expensive and contradict the narrative, thus vitiating the motives Mr Denmore rightly identifies in his post.

  58. Andrew E

    Mr Denmore: traffic stats include as deaths in road accidents people who die from their injuries up to 30 days after an accident.

    Two people in a road accident this New Year’s Eve, both go to hospital: one dies on 29 January 2011 and will be counted in 2010 road death stats, the other person dies as the newspapers are being printed and distributed the following day and won’t be, only the first is recorded as a road death stat.

    I hate the whole “slow news day” thing too (subtext: we’re so lazy we wait for the news to come to us, so much for investigative journalism), but this is one occasion where a story isn’t fitted into “the news cycle” for the convenience of lazy journalists.

  59. Andrew E

    Mr Denmore: traffic stats include as deaths in road accidents people who die from their injuries up to 30 days after an accident.

    Two people in a road accident this New Year’s Eve, both go to hospital: one dies on 29 January 2011 and will be counted in 2010 road death stats, the other person dies as the newspapers are being printed and distributed the following day and won’t be, only the first is recorded as a road death stat.

    I hate the whole “slow news day” thing too (subtext: we’re so lazy we wait for the news to come to us, so much for investigative journalism), but this is one occasion where a story isn’t fitted into “the news cycle” for the convenience of lazy journalists.

  60. Marks

    Given the problems with supposedly independent ratings agencies before the GFC, I am not sure why one would inherently trust a polling organisation owned by a newspaper.

    The temptation to fiddle the numbers is there, the opportunity is there, there is no verifiable way of checking that they have not ‘sophisticated’ the results.

    All that is stopping it being corrupted is the basic honesty and honourable nature of the proprietor, Mr Rupert Murdoch.

    Nah, it’s probably ok then.

  61. Marks

    Given the problems with supposedly independent ratings agencies before the GFC, I am not sure why one would inherently trust a polling organisation owned by a newspaper.

    The temptation to fiddle the numbers is there, the opportunity is there, there is no verifiable way of checking that they have not ‘sophisticated’ the results.

    All that is stopping it being corrupted is the basic honesty and honourable nature of the proprietor, Mr Rupert Murdoch.

    Nah, it’s probably ok then.

  62. Mr Denmore

    Andrew @30, it’s funny you should say that, because I was going to include as one particular example a case where the person who was counted as a road fatality subsequently was judging as dying of a heart attack at the wheel. So there was this intense debate on the newsdesk about whether he was a traffic statistic or just a “run-of-the-mill” death.

    Of course, the answer in the real world is that it doesn’t really matter. It only mattered in our artificially constructed newsroom universe where such things as “holiday road tolls” were construed as meaning something. But that proves my point in this whole exercise here – that the media constructs an alternative reality around a count of its own making.

    It’s their story. They own it. And they decide how it is interpreted. You see my point??

  63. Mr Denmore

    Andrew @30, it’s funny you should say that, because I was going to include as one particular example a case where the person who was counted as a road fatality subsequently was judging as dying of a heart attack at the wheel. So there was this intense debate on the newsdesk about whether he was a traffic statistic or just a “run-of-the-mill” death.

    Of course, the answer in the real world is that it doesn’t really matter. It only mattered in our artificially constructed newsroom universe where such things as “holiday road tolls” were construed as meaning something. But that proves my point in this whole exercise here – that the media constructs an alternative reality around a count of its own making.

    It’s their story. They own it. And they decide how it is interpreted. You see my point??

  64. Patricia WA

    Mr. Denmore – even in my very deprived childhood world I can remember being told ‘not to believe everything you read in the papers’ – so is it possible that the MSS may believe their story because it is their story, but if that story is really out of whack with the reading public’s perceived reality aren’t they likely to reject it? Do they need to be perceptive readers able to spot subtle bias in a story to reject the downright distortions we’re getting these days.

    Isn’t there a point too at which newspaper sales start to tell a proprietor that he needs to do more than please just one sector of the public? Electronic media aside surely Murdoch’s sales are suffering at the moment? I hear so many people nowadays saying they refuse to pay for his right wing propaganda.

    And what about a picture speaking a thousand words? Kevin Rudd’s general persona conveyed to me at least through his everyday demeanour is one of of cheerful self-confidence, friendliness, good humour and calm. Does that not gainsay a lot of the rubbish in articles and even in headlines about his leadership and government being in crisis?

  65. Patricia WA

    Mr. Denmore – even in my very deprived childhood world I can remember being told ‘not to believe everything you read in the papers’ – so is it possible that the MSS may believe their story because it is their story, but if that story is really out of whack with the reading public’s perceived reality aren’t they likely to reject it? Do they need to be perceptive readers able to spot subtle bias in a story to reject the downright distortions we’re getting these days.

    Isn’t there a point too at which newspaper sales start to tell a proprietor that he needs to do more than please just one sector of the public? Electronic media aside surely Murdoch’s sales are suffering at the moment? I hear so many people nowadays saying they refuse to pay for his right wing propaganda.

    And what about a picture speaking a thousand words? Kevin Rudd’s general persona conveyed to me at least through his everyday demeanour is one of of cheerful self-confidence, friendliness, good humour and calm. Does that not gainsay a lot of the rubbish in articles and even in headlines about his leadership and government being in crisis?

  66. Mark

    @33 – Patricia WA, that’s where I think the “authenticity” narrative comes into play – people are constantly fed a contrast between Rudd’s supposed private anger and control freakery or whatever and his public persona and “inauthentic” is repeated as a constant mantra.

    In a way, it’s the media using people’s distrust of what they see in the media (on tv, radio) to its own ends.

    Incidentally, on the general topic of the thread, the media and journosphere should take no comfort from the levels of esteem and trust displayed by respondents in the latest Essential Research poll:

    http://www.essentialmedia.com.au/Media_essentialreports/Essential_Report_070610.pdf

  67. Mark

    @33 – Patricia WA, that’s where I think the “authenticity” narrative comes into play – people are constantly fed a contrast between Rudd’s supposed private anger and control freakery or whatever and his public persona and “inauthentic” is repeated as a constant mantra.

    In a way, it’s the media using people’s distrust of what they see in the media (on tv, radio) to its own ends.

    Incidentally, on the general topic of the thread, the media and journosphere should take no comfort from the levels of esteem and trust displayed by respondents in the latest Essential Research poll:

    http://www.essentialmedia.com.au/Media_essentialreports/Essential_Report_070610.pdf

  68. Jacques de Molay

    Also Mark I think News Ltd run with that narrative because they know it’s the only thing Abbott can run on. That he’s (supposedly) a knock about bloke, that you can have a beer with and talk about the footy with. We saw all that with the action man rubbish, Planet Janet telling the ladies how great Abbott looks etc.

    To quote that army store owner in the movie Falling Down, “We’re the same, you and me”. 😉

  69. Jacques de Molay

    Also Mark I think News Ltd run with that narrative because they know it’s the only thing Abbott can run on. That he’s (supposedly) a knock about bloke, that you can have a beer with and talk about the footy with. We saw all that with the action man rubbish, Planet Janet telling the ladies how great Abbott looks etc.

    To quote that army store owner in the movie Falling Down, “We’re the same, you and me”. 😉

  70. Mr Denmore

    Isn’t there a point too at which newspaper sales start to tell a proprietor that he needs to do more than please just one sector of the public?

    And what about a picture speaking a thousand words? Kevin Rudd’s general persona conveyed to me at least through his everyday demeanour is one of of cheerful self-confidence, friendliness, good humour and calm. Does that not gainsay a lot of the rubbish in articles and even in headlines about his leadership and government being in crisis?

    Patricia, on your first question, a successful media organisation aims to both please its ideological friends and outrage its natural enemies. This is why even nominally “left-leaning” outlets like the SMH (although that’s a bit of a stretch these days) employ columnists (like Miranda Devine) whose role is to get up the noses of the progressive leadership.

    Undoubtedly, The Australian has taken this to extreme lengths and, in its case, threads its ideological attack lines even through its supposedly “straight” editorial coverage. Bear in mind, they only have a circulation of about 125,000, which for a national paper is pretty paltry. The Australian loses money hand over fist. But its uses to Murdoch go beyond the purely commercial.

    On your second question, I really don’t get this sudden media obsession with Rudd’s “secret” character and the amateur Freudian analysis of his motives. No politician, or none that I have ever met, has a private personna that closely mirrors their public one. Kim Beazley might have been one, though he had much more personal warmth than he ever managed to convey publicly. Costello, from my limited experience, seemed a fairly likeable character at close range, but was blown up by the media into something else entirely.

    So why it should be such a revelation that Rudd may act differently in private to his public personna is a mystery.

  71. Mr Denmore

    Isn’t there a point too at which newspaper sales start to tell a proprietor that he needs to do more than please just one sector of the public?

    And what about a picture speaking a thousand words? Kevin Rudd’s general persona conveyed to me at least through his everyday demeanour is one of of cheerful self-confidence, friendliness, good humour and calm. Does that not gainsay a lot of the rubbish in articles and even in headlines about his leadership and government being in crisis?

    Patricia, on your first question, a successful media organisation aims to both please its ideological friends and outrage its natural enemies. This is why even nominally “left-leaning” outlets like the SMH (although that’s a bit of a stretch these days) employ columnists (like Miranda Devine) whose role is to get up the noses of the progressive leadership.

    Undoubtedly, The Australian has taken this to extreme lengths and, in its case, threads its ideological attack lines even through its supposedly “straight” editorial coverage. Bear in mind, they only have a circulation of about 125,000, which for a national paper is pretty paltry. The Australian loses money hand over fist. But its uses to Murdoch go beyond the purely commercial.

    On your second question, I really don’t get this sudden media obsession with Rudd’s “secret” character and the amateur Freudian analysis of his motives. No politician, or none that I have ever met, has a private personna that closely mirrors their public one. Kim Beazley might have been one, though he had much more personal warmth than he ever managed to convey publicly. Costello, from my limited experience, seemed a fairly likeable character at close range, but was blown up by the media into something else entirely.

    So why it should be such a revelation that Rudd may act differently in private to his public personna is a mystery.

  72. Bigbob

    I’d go further than that Mr Denmore, most of us have different personalities that we use for different situations.

    How can it be any surprise that someone who is so much in the spotlight, might be different when the lights go down?

    In fact, I’d go so far to say that the people who don’t have different ways of dealing with things are suffering some form of psychological damage.

  73. Bigbob

    I’d go further than that Mr Denmore, most of us have different personalities that we use for different situations.

    How can it be any surprise that someone who is so much in the spotlight, might be different when the lights go down?

    In fact, I’d go so far to say that the people who don’t have different ways of dealing with things are suffering some form of psychological damage.

  74. Tom C

    Typical attack dog strategy is to go for the leader and demonise him or her. It has been around as long as there has been war and hate – same goes for leaders of the opposition. You have to hate the ‘enemy’. So any personal attacks on Rudd are just part of a pack trying to go in for the kill once a drop of blood is sighted. Julia is ‘nice’ at the moment because she is no the PM. Would all change overnight once she filled the chair.

    As for polls – there are the specimen subjects meticulously selected – and professionally so – and there are the results which might be broadcast with a bit more spin.

    The hard part is that there are a lot out there with scant thought of what is going on that simply want to be on the winning team/code. If you are told that your team has faltered – then you back the other side. Case in point – a sudden rush of non-soccer supporters for the socceroos. Lose a match and they are written off and its back to watching the rugby. Yet if they win the world cup everyone but everyone would have been cheering for them at the final.

    Politics and polls are a bit like that.

  75. Tom C

    Typical attack dog strategy is to go for the leader and demonise him or her. It has been around as long as there has been war and hate – same goes for leaders of the opposition. You have to hate the ‘enemy’. So any personal attacks on Rudd are just part of a pack trying to go in for the kill once a drop of blood is sighted. Julia is ‘nice’ at the moment because she is no the PM. Would all change overnight once she filled the chair.

    As for polls – there are the specimen subjects meticulously selected – and professionally so – and there are the results which might be broadcast with a bit more spin.

    The hard part is that there are a lot out there with scant thought of what is going on that simply want to be on the winning team/code. If you are told that your team has faltered – then you back the other side. Case in point – a sudden rush of non-soccer supporters for the socceroos. Lose a match and they are written off and its back to watching the rugby. Yet if they win the world cup everyone but everyone would have been cheering for them at the final.

    Politics and polls are a bit like that.

  76. Graeme

    My brother left Australia for work in France some years back, but returns like a comet most Summers.

    He never fails to be amused by what he says is Australia’s unique obsession with its holiday ‘road toll’.

    Gruesomely, it’s reported like interstate sport scores. And it’s largely arbitrary: a fatal accident a few hours before the start of a period, like the easter week, becomes less newsworthy than one a few hours into it.

    Yet I assume, at least from the way the police adopt similar tropes, that there may be something to reminding people of the hazards of booze, heat and long hours stuck with family on the roads.

  77. Graeme

    My brother left Australia for work in France some years back, but returns like a comet most Summers.

    He never fails to be amused by what he says is Australia’s unique obsession with its holiday ‘road toll’.

    Gruesomely, it’s reported like interstate sport scores. And it’s largely arbitrary: a fatal accident a few hours before the start of a period, like the easter week, becomes less newsworthy than one a few hours into it.

    Yet I assume, at least from the way the police adopt similar tropes, that there may be something to reminding people of the hazards of booze, heat and long hours stuck with family on the roads.

  78. Thodric

    Pamela sez: “The rest of the MSM – ie. Fairfax, ABC, commercial tv and radio, have been blatantly left wing for the bulk of that time.”

    Because truth has a left-wing bias.

  79. Thodric

    Pamela sez: “The rest of the MSM – ie. Fairfax, ABC, commercial tv and radio, have been blatantly left wing for the bulk of that time.”

    Because truth has a left-wing bias.

  80. Peter Kemp

    Instead of being hostage to externally-driven events that everyone can cover, you now “own” the news itself.

    Indeed, but not a new invention methinks:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yellow_journalism

    …the apocryphal story that artist Frederic Remington telegrammed Hearst to tell him all was quiet in Cuba and “There will be no war.” Hearst responded “Please remain. You furnish the pictures and I’ll furnish the war.”

    And didn’t we all love the James Bond movie and the Elliot Carver character,a thinly disguised sendup/satire of guess who?
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elliot_Carver

    The choice of a media mogul as the Bond arch-villain serves as a warning of the power of the media and its ability to manipulate, coerce, misinform, incense and even terrorize populations. This was demonstrated during Carver’s ominous first scene as he writes the headline for the next issue of his global newspaper, ‘Tomorrow’. At first, Carver types, “BRITISH SAILORS KILLED,” only to alter it a few seconds later to read, “BRITISH SAILORS MURDERED.”

    (Rupert of course doesn’t need a stealth boat to aid and abet wars, he IS the stealth boat that floats perpetually in the effluvia of Limited News Lies & Distortions: a Pravda styled enabler and fixer for unprincipled, unscrupulous conservative politicians everywhere.)

  81. Peter Kemp

    Instead of being hostage to externally-driven events that everyone can cover, you now “own” the news itself.

    Indeed, but not a new invention methinks:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yellow_journalism

    …the apocryphal story that artist Frederic Remington telegrammed Hearst to tell him all was quiet in Cuba and “There will be no war.” Hearst responded “Please remain. You furnish the pictures and I’ll furnish the war.”

    And didn’t we all love the James Bond movie and the Elliot Carver character,a thinly disguised sendup/satire of guess who?
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elliot_Carver

    The choice of a media mogul as the Bond arch-villain serves as a warning of the power of the media and its ability to manipulate, coerce, misinform, incense and even terrorize populations. This was demonstrated during Carver’s ominous first scene as he writes the headline for the next issue of his global newspaper, ‘Tomorrow’. At first, Carver types, “BRITISH SAILORS KILLED,” only to alter it a few seconds later to read, “BRITISH SAILORS MURDERED.”

    (Rupert of course doesn’t need a stealth boat to aid and abet wars, he IS the stealth boat that floats perpetually in the effluvia of Limited News Lies & Distortions: a Pravda styled enabler and fixer for unprincipled, unscrupulous conservative politicians everywhere.)

  82. Ron

    Mr Denmore
    Jun 15th, 2010 at 12:49 pm

    “Bushfire Bill, I understand where William and the other psephologists are coming from. They’re defending the bonafides of the research professionals in those organisations like Newspoll, so it’s a kind of professional solidarity they’re declaring.

    But I think they’re being somewhat naive about the uses of Newspoll to drive the editorial agenda. It’s not so much the results themselves, but the way the media narrative is crafted around the polling. ”

    This statement is NONSENSE

    There is no ‘solidarity’ needed because Newspoll HAS a track record of polling excellence , detailing polling by Party , 2 PPT , PPM etc etc , which is why its influential

    So your statement is not suported by any facts No surprise seeing there ar none

    Reality is ‘Australian’ Newspaper which happens to own Newspoll , is anti Labor and would “present” Newspolls poll results in an anti Labor “spin” EVEN IF Newspoll was owned independantly !…and th ‘Australian’ was that independant Pollsters customer So nothing would change at all

    So if article was about how Australian ‘spins’ news for Liberals advantage , its not a new Article , we already know that…its in front of us every day

  83. Ron

    Mr Denmore
    Jun 15th, 2010 at 12:49 pm

    “Bushfire Bill, I understand where William and the other psephologists are coming from. They’re defending the bonafides of the research professionals in those organisations like Newspoll, so it’s a kind of professional solidarity they’re declaring.

    But I think they’re being somewhat naive about the uses of Newspoll to drive the editorial agenda. It’s not so much the results themselves, but the way the media narrative is crafted around the polling. ”

    This statement is NONSENSE

    There is no ‘solidarity’ needed because Newspoll HAS a track record of polling excellence , detailing polling by Party , 2 PPT , PPM etc etc , which is why its influential

    So your statement is not suported by any facts No surprise seeing there ar none

    Reality is ‘Australian’ Newspaper which happens to own Newspoll , is anti Labor and would “present” Newspolls poll results in an anti Labor “spin” EVEN IF Newspoll was owned independantly !…and th ‘Australian’ was that independant Pollsters customer So nothing would change at all

    So if article was about how Australian ‘spins’ news for Liberals advantage , its not a new Article , we already know that…its in front of us every day