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18 responses to “Checking the facts and no fibs”

  1. BilB

    Yet another good thread, Brian.

    In the interests of good information I did try to send you a definitive article on Electricity Pricing by a new business associate of mine, Dr Bruce Robins, but [email protected] doesn’t work. Dr Robins will be giving a talk on micro generation at Cancun in November.

    The fact checkers are a good reference and I like their meters. I have to say though that I am sick of this election already. I think I will lodge a postal vote and switch off for the next 4 years. If the SOI continues to strengthen on its current trend then we are in for another mega La Nina at the end of which there should be no doubt in even the thickest of minds that Global Warming is just that and we have lost the battle at the hands of political nut jobs. And that is a fact.

  2. alfred venison

    people accept facts they like and reject facts they don’t like.

    i don’t think facts carry as much weight as they used to. facts are something left wingers use to get their way.

    i think the internet is fostering a facts-free or free-for-all facts environment.

    i’m not a luddite. ask yourselves what marshall mcluhan asked in his time: what effect does a new communication technology, apart from content, have on the mentality of the people whose worldview is mediated through it. reflect on the world you know now and that from before the internet. -your friend, alfred.

  3. Mr Denmore

    The problem with fact-checking sites is they rest on the assumption that facts are all that matters.

    Facts don’t mean much without context. That is the other key role of the journalist – to provide perspective and to set the facts and figures within a frame that recognises there are other facts and figures, equally correct, that lead to other choices.

    For instance, one could put a solid fact-filled case for stop tipping billions of taxpayers dollars into supporting the local car industry. But then we could detail how many downstream manufacturing industries depend on the car makers to survive.

    Most often in politics, the fight is not over facts, the fight is over competing priorities. Facts, or more correctly appropriately chosen factoids, are used by both sides to argue for their framing.

    The media, being an institution gasping for breath in an entertainment universe crowded with other oxygen-eating options, will choose the framing that has the biggest scare factor.

    Then it will find the “facts” to fit the story.

    That’s how it works.

  4. Bolt1493

    The sites are interesting.

    I do find some of the results to be very odd though. Sometimes I think they are checking what they wished the person had said.

  5. Moz of Yaramulla

    I’ve been disappointed by “The Conversation”. I’m not sure what my initial expectations were, but from the name and intro I think it was more back-and-forth between the writers, their targets and the audience. There are no decent comment threads (they’ve never had occasion to say “300 comments, time to start a new thread”, for example). Instead we get indymedia-style articles often with no analysis at all. I appreciate that there’s a place for verbatim printing of candidate responses, but there has to be more than that. 15 years after indymedia started I hoped we would have been able to take “citizen journalism” to a higher level. Takvera in Wills is one example of a prolific indymedia contributor who’s writing for TC and not doing too badly… by indymedia standards.

  6. jules

    Mr D is right about framing. This entire election is about framing, especially the opposition campaign. In fact everything in the Australian MSM is about framing. If facts mattered Carbon pricing and direct action would face a comparison based on what they were likely to achieve. (Which is sweet f a for both policies at the moment.)

    One of my favorites at the moment is the whole “put the adults back in charge” thing the coalition are doing. Yet whenever they are questioned, for example on their costings, the response is basically “they started it” or “they did it first so we’re gonna” – a classic adult response.

    All campaign’s are about framing but this one seems to be only about framing because there are precious few facts that actually support the oppositions view that our government is as bad as they claim.

    How is this for framing:

    Media framing 101.

  7. John D

    If facts, logic and and good things done really counted, Julia would still be prime minister and be heading for a landslide win. (And Christine would be well ahead of Tea Party Tony

  8. John D

    To my mind one of the key facts on stopping the boats was that boat arrivals dropped after the Malaysian solution started and actually accelerated as soon as Labor was forced to adopt Tony’s Nauru/Manus Island system. “All you have to do Julia is pick up the phone and ring the President of Nauru…….”

  9. Matt in the Springs

    Talking of facts, I just read a paper by Bruno Latour, talking about politics in the modern age and what we demand from it (yet mostly not get) http://www.bruno-latour.fr/sites/default/files/96-DINGPOLITIK-GB.pdf In it he makes the point (as Mr Denmore does above) that it is not facts that matter. His point is that as long as we try to argue about facts we neglect to remember that we are in the midst of a “huge sea change in our conceptions of science, our grasps of facts, our understanding of objectivity”. It is the realisation that facts are not the bedrock that we think them to be that might allow us to rethink how we do politics, bringing those contested political objects back to the centre. To this end he is arguing that we need to find ways to bring the public back into politics, something that many of us would, I am sure, welcome.

  10. Hoa Minh Truong

    The humanitarian scheme has been used for the asylum seeker, people smuggling and the others. The Geneva convention 1951 has to review as soon as possible and the member of UN signed the convention need to protect the border, national security while the asylum seeker become the catastrophe world widely.
    The most western country have not recognized between the refugee and asylum seeker, so they have made the critical mistake to get the wrong people resettled into their nation.
    I am political refugee, I would like to warn every one about the recognition the asylum seeker:
    -Who came back to where they fled.
    -The refugee find the safe place to live, not for money or the other purpose, they fully accept the adopted country as the last place, so they live peaceful with the second homeland. But the asylum seeker shouldn’t respect the new place, someone intend to impose their culture, religion into the society.
    -The most refugee concern the freedom is priceless, so the refugee respect law and the adopted country the second homeland. Therefore, the most drug offenders come from the asylum seeker, who returned homeland safe and making money by the illegal business ( SBS T.V broadcast a film” Better Man” reflected a sample of asylum seeker in Australia). After Vietnam war, multiple million Vietnamese fled to find freedom, but among of them, there were asylum seeker, Vietcong espionage agent and actually the North Vietnam communist followed, of course they were not refugee, but the victors . As the evidence in Hong Kong refugee camp, every year, April 30 coming, the camp being brawled by a North Vietnamese refugee group, they celebrated as victorious day, but the south Vietnam refugee expected as the mourning day. ( If everyone want to know, my book number 3:” from laborer to author” written the details). The most drug convictions in Vietnamese community come from the North Vietnamese people’s background, the drug traffickers, cannabis plantations have became the serious social problem, not in Australia, but in UK, US, Canada. Recently 5 Vietnamese boat people escaped from the detention center in Western Australia, a new from Courier Mail, each one paid $ 16,000 USD for the people smuggle ring in Vietnam, as the experience, I recognize the rings linked to Vietcong regime and the boat people come the wealthy family.
    Australia and the western state may have the review whole the record of refugee, who claimed refugee’s status, that means they couldn’t live in their owner country by the personal security, political, religion reason as claim, but the asylum seeker came back to where they escaped without problem. All lied and misled the UN, adopted country.
    In France, the OFPRA ( Office France de Protection des Refugies et Apatrice) reviewed the period from 1988 to 2000, they discovered there was 22, 417 Vietnamese refugees returned homeland safe, then the OFPRA cancelled the benefits as job seeking, health care, the resident status…because the people above to be discovered as asylum seeker, they lied with UNHCR and France government.
    In Australia, 2005, a Hao Kiet boat carrying 54 Vietnamese boat people, they all claimed to be endangered in homeland as the opponent government, but after to be granted the resident status, the most refugee came back Vietnam safe.
    The western countries, UN have been cheated by the asylum seeker since 1951, so the woken mind could be saved the money, while the homeless, low income earner, hospital waiting list, education are the national needing, but why does government spent more than $ 12 billion tax pay for asylum seeker?.
    I embarrass when I have to tell the truth about the Vietnamese refugee turned asylum seeker as the sample of the refugee policy for the other cases, that failed, failed and failed… Even though some member of ARVN ( south Vietnam soldier), the most ARVN are the real enemy of Vietcong regime, whose have used the Entitlement act 1986 of Australia Veteran Affairs to come back Vietnam safe, someone stay in Vietnam around a year with the benefit of DVA, then they march on Anzac day…I feel shame then gave up the march, because there are the liars in the Vietnam veteran association being in the Marching bloc.
    The most Vietnamese refugee had to hide and escape from the ruthless regime, but today the people have free to leave country, they just buy the airfare, and come to Indonesia, pay for the people smuggle, then take a short trip to Australia. The UN, western country made the mistake to get so much Vietnamese asylum seeker, but the today the situation should be worsened by the human wave migrant from many part in the world.
    On the other hand, the multiple cultural policy has failed, despite everyone love to see the nation being rich the cultures from the ethnics. If you have the property, you have to pay insurance, cost maintain…in Australia, the every ethnic want to protect their own culture, they have to pay for, not tax pay, the adopted country helps the ethnics so much, so you have to contribute into the society. However, in Australia, the government funded so much money for the ethnic groups ( about 68 ethnics), indeed they have to pay themselves to maintain the culture, likely, an ethnic group wants to introduce the food, they have to pay for the restaurant business, not tax pay ( US, Europe have no funding for the ethnics, but Australia does). The government has wasted so much tax pay, so they political party has to rethink how to use the budget wisely and right thing.
    I am sorry to write about refugee, but I have to respect the truth, thank for your reading.
    Hoa Minh Truong.
    Ex-Lieut of ARVN, POW and author of 3 books.

  11. duncanm

    John @ 7:

    If facts, logic and and good things done really counted, Julia would still be prime minister and be heading for a landslide win

    I think AV nailed it @2:

    people accept facts they like and reject facts they don’t like.

  12. alfred venison

    thomas friedman describes the coming future as hot, flat & crowded.

    by flat he means info tech that compresses distance & time, past & present, and flattens the hierarchy of traditional authority structures in the process.

    the relevant hierarchy to this discussion is the hierarchy of knowledge & the authority that stems of having knowledge and being able to deploy knowledge to persude people in pursuit of your interests.

    but where challenge to authority is inherent in the communication technology all use, the currency of facts is debauched, and we come to a situation where each party refers to its own experts and the electors are ill equipped & disinclined to choose between them, if they were still inclined to take anything on authority any more anyway.

    marshall mcluhan (yes, again) said the electronic age would be acoustic in character, having a centre that is everywhere and a margin that is nowhere, which yours truly extrapolates to the present as being a situation where everyone is an expert and no one is an authority. -a.v.

  13. John D

    You can stick to the facts and be very misleading. For example, a newspaper that avoids mentioning facts that demonstrate that a leader has done a good job while publishing facts that demonstrate that a leader has made mistakes is biased, even if everything said is true.
    Equally, a statement that “boat people have risen by XXX% since the end of the Howard era would sound a lot more dramatic than quoting the actual number and relating this to annual immigration or population. Think ” Since Labor came to power boat people have added YYY% to the Australian population.
    Media can also stay with the facts while carefully avoiding talking about things that are really important to the country.

  14. Patrickb

    @9
    I would speculate that the Reformation would have felt the same in terms of a zeitgeist. I think we’re seeing the inverse of that erosion that started with that challenge to the institutions that had grown up around the church. Four hundred years later we have Monkton (a poster boy) and the rest nailing their corrosive and obfuscating edicts to the door. There doesn’t appear to be a will to to strip away the sophistry and reveal the atavistic impulse that motivates this crop of charlatans. Indeed one of the defining characteristics of the age appears to be the timidity of the those of a rational mind to take up a cudgel and put paid to these snake oil salesmen.

  15. pablo

    Facts can also go unnoticed. Yesterday on ABC Country Hour NSW segment, there was an election round table of rural/agricultural spokespeople. Senators Bill Heffernan (Libs) in closing remarks made a throw-away comment about “hairy armpits” which prompted a protest from Lee Rhianon (Greens) as the segment ended.
    The notorious Heff got in something about it being ‘all good fun’ as the wind-up credits rolled.
    The program is a scheduling oddity in the ABC line up and I don’t think transcripts are available, least of all off-the-cuff endings, but I have seen no media comment on this ‘incident’.

  16. zorronsky
  17. pablo

    Z @ 17. Too true. I’m a bit surprised the media haven’t picked up on this latest indiscretion of Heffernan, but as you say he has plenty of form in this area, so maybe it is just not worth the bother. Makes the
    ABC look a bit compromised possibly.