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Uprooting fake online activism

02 October 2011 | Fatima Measham

AstroturfMuch marketing deceives. The problem with the fake grassroots activism known as astroturfing is that it artificially inflates numbers to provide a semblance of legitimacy. This is why it has become the strategy of choice for propagating fringe views such as climate denialism.

Bolt beyond the pale

29 September 2011 | Binoy Kampmark

Dog muzzleThe Federal Court found that fair-skinned Aboriginal people were likely to have been 'offended, insulted, humiliated or intimidated' by Bolt's articles. Bolt lamented the passing of free speech in Australia. But free speech cuts both ways, and no freedom is absolute.

Media Inquiry won't go far enough

1 Comment
20 September 2011 | Tim Dwyer

NewspapersIn arriving at its negotiated position with the Greens, the Government has shied away from any explicit examination of media concentration, arguably the main reason behind the widespread calls to examine the structure of the Australian media in the first place.

Sex discrimination by the book

15 September 2011 | Ellena Savage

Power IndexWomen are prevalent among book buyers, editors and writers, yet largely absent from major literary pages and prizes. The Stella Prize, Australia's proposed new women's-only literary prize, is best viewed not as 'affirmative action' but as social mobility with a feminist face.

Steve Jobs' gift to the Church

01 September 2011 | Michael Kelly

AppleCo-founder and former CEO of Apple, Steve Jobs, played a pivotal role in the shaping of the publishing and media landscapes in recent decades. The developments initiated by Jobs and Apple are of profound significance for the Church — for better and for worse.

Reality trumps Japanese horror stories

22 August 2011 | Stephen Alomes

Japanese horrorAll too often anxiety trumps reality. In Melbourne in recent years, we received emails from friends overseas worried that we might be affected by the Queensland floods or NSW bushfires, hundreds of kilometres away. Japan has problems, but Japan it is not a disaster zone.

Abbott's budgie-smuggler blues

18 August 2011 | Moira Byrne Garton

Abbott in SpeedosPoliticians are always pitilessly represented in cartoons. Just ask Kevin 'Tintin' Rudd and Julia 'Nose' (or 'Bottom') Gillard. Portrayals of Tony Abbott in Speedos are not part of a plot to undermine him. The public is able to recognise cartoons as exaggerated political commentary.

The commercialisation of the ABC

04 August 2011 | Paul Collins

ABC1 logoIncreasingly the ABC is 'outsourcing' material to commercial production companies. Interest group Friends of the ABC describes this as 'privatisation by stealth' and is calling for a public inquiry. All who value the ABC and its role as a public broadcaster need to support this call.

Julia Gillard vs Kim Jong-il

28 July 2011 | Alan Austin

Gillard targetNorth Koreans admire their glorious leader and his visionary ministers, despite their poor economic and human rights record. By contrast, most Australians despise the current Labor Government, despite the high esteem with which it is regarded internationally. How can this be? 

Consumers rule in Murdoch's evil empire

21 July 2011 | Catherine Marshall

The public was quick to claim ignorance and condemn the theft of private information by News of the World. But ignorance is no longer an excuse, especially in these post-Princess Diana years where the role of the paparazzi, traitorous friends and dodgy journalists is well-known. 

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