Sunday, June 11, 2017

Westie being accused of being a Nazi by Adolf Hitler.

In any case, receiving a tutorial on journalistic ethics from the folks at News Limited is a bit like being accused of being a Nazi by Adolf Hitler.

It is with a deep sense of gratitude and humility that we pay homage to Rupert Murdoch’s News Ltd today and The Australian newspaper.

For yesterday, The Oz puffed a story about yours truly off its front page. A very nice picture it was too. Strangely, there was no “exclusive” tag on the story but it was terrific advertising nonetheless. The point of the story itself, “GetUp! cash behind ‘independent’ journalist” seems to be an effort to discredit yours truly as somehow in GetUp!’s pocket.

As per the clear disclaimers at the bottom of our tax coverage, GetUp! and the Tax Justice Network are funding to investigate the financial statements of 20 multinational companies and their tax affairs. It is a one-off arrangement. There is no Faustian pact.

Appreciate the publicity thanks. My questions for you:

1. Did The Australian lose $50 million last year? If not, how big were the losses?

2. Please explain the financial arrangements between The Australian, News Ltd and the oil and gas industry.

3. Would you care to provide a statement explaining why you believe the independence of your journalism is not compromised by a). News Ltd’s advertisers and other commercial arrangements and, b). the stewardship of Rupert Murdoch?

4. Is News Ltd still regarded as the ATO’s number one corporate tax “risk” in Australia?

5. I assume from the tenor of your final question that you intend to question my integrity. Are you personally comfortable to be firing the bullets for a global media organisation (whose newspaper loses money) against a small business person who has taken significant personal risk and whose journalistic enterprise is 1). well regarded, 2). engaged in important public interest journalism and 3). profitable?

In any case, receiving a tutorial on journalistic ethics from the folks at News Limited is a bit like being accused of being a Nazi by Adolf Hitler...Media minnow is grateful for swipe by foreign media gorilla News Corp

“Hardened grown-ups, when asked for information, may brazenly supply it, right or wrong; but rather seldom resort to a courageous, `I don’t know.’ The confession is something of a feat in itself, since to know we do not know is next best to knowing.”

And yet experts, when I hear them on the radio or read them online, reliably and confidently supply answers I could never supply to a vast range of questions. I’m with Guy Davenport, who said of his childhood (and adult) taste in books: “What I liked in reading was to learn things I didn’t know.” Many people, I suspect, if they read at all, do so to confirm what they already think they know. Davenport said he wrote not for critics but for “people who like to read, to look at pictures, and to know things.”

The author of the passage at the top is Walter de la Mare, and the book is Early One Morning in the Spring (1935). He continues the thought above: “Or second best, perhaps, if we remember Dr. Johnson’s habit when he found himself in a library unfamiliar to him, of quietly browsing from title page to title page. When his lynx-eyed henchman observed him so engaged, and enquired why, he replied that in future he would know where what he wanted to know would be at his disposal.”

De la Mare is recalling Boswell’s account of the visit he, Johnson and Sir Joshua Reynolds made to the home of Richard Owen Cambridge on April 18, 1775. Boswell was already acquainted with Cambridge, whom he introduced to Johnson in the library. With pleasantries out of the way, Johnson “ran eagerly to one side of the room intent on poring over the backs [spines] of the books.” Boswell quotes Reynolds as saying, “He runs to the books as I do to the pictures: but I have the advantage. I can see much more of the pictures than he can of the books.” (See Reynolds’ portrait of Johnson reading.) A cultivated and courteous man, Cambridge says to Johnson:

“Dr. Johnson, I am going with your pardon, to accuse myself, for I have the same custom which I perceive you have. But it seems odd that one should have such a desire to look at the back of books.” Boswell observes that Johnson, “ever ready for contest, instantly started from his reverie, wheeled about and answered”:

“Knowledge is of two kinds. We know a subject ourselves, or we know where we can find information upon it. When we enquire into any subject, the first thing we have to do is to know what books have treated of it. This leads us to look at catalogues, and at the backs of books in libraries.”

In my head I carry around maps of a dozen libraries and bookstores, some of which no longer exist.

`To Know What Books Have Treated of It'