Yellow journalism in the nuclear age

Since we are onto another mass-catastrophe issue in The Ukraine, we don’t want to leave Covid behind without remembering what an incoherent public policy disaster it has been. And here to assist is an excellent column by Adam Creighton in The Oz: Covid fears left behind in the wake of Ukraine. I will merely excerpt from his column in today’s paper with a couple of my own comments at the end.

First, fear fuelled by the media, not science, drove much of the response…. Without the media to sustain fear, the pressure to reinstate measures will fade rapidly….

In a further tribute to the power of the media, 47 per cent of those who identify as very liberal (very left-wing) said Covid-19 was still a great risk to their personal health, compared with 12 per cent for self-identified conservatives.

Unlike the Spanish flu pandemic 100 years ago, when practically everyone knew someone who had died from the virus, few people would be aware of the Covid pandemic without media reminders. This is happening around the world….

The need for humility should be the second lesson. The health establishment was spectacularly wrong on almost every aspect of the pandemic, even demonising those willing to stand up to it.

Masks, lockdowns of businesses and schools, rampant testing, mandatory social distancing – none of it stopped the virus from spreading in a systematic way, as the evidence clearly suggests.

Asymptomatic spread – a justification for locking down the healthy for months – even turned out to be grossly exaggerated. Vaccines didn’t stop transmission and they started to lose much of their effectiveness within months.

Overall, the response will go down as one of the greatest public health fiascos once a fair reckoning of the costs and benefits of measures emerge….

Not surprisingly, experts are delicately walking back their support, one measure at a time. It’s now fashionable to say closing schools was a mistake, doing particularly great harm to children from poorer families….It’s also OK to say cloth masks didn’t work, as the evidence against them becomes overwhelming even for the numerically challenged….

“The prospect of eliminating the virus in the UK had gone, certainly by the second half of February 2020…. It was already becoming very obvious (by mid-2020), not just in the UK but also across the whole world, just how extraordinarily damaging the lockdown was going to be.”…

The New York Times, a champion of tough measures, published a high-profile article this month suggesting restrictions “haven’t made a big difference”….

Calls for formal inquiries and royal commissions into our handling of Covid-19 are nevertheless premature. Only when the current generation of leaders and health experts has moved on would such a venture reach a fair conclusion.

Meanwhile, the front page at The Oz at this very moment is Russian diplomat warns of nuclear retaliation.

One of Russia’s top diplomats has warned NATO that Russia is a nuclear power, and will consider use of such weapons if they see a credible threat.

“If they see a credible threat” Russia “will consider” the use of nuclear weapons. This is yellow journalism at its absolute worst.  As for a definition of “yellow journalism”:

The use of lurid features and sensationalized news in newspaper publishing to attract readers and increase circulation. The phrase was coined in the 1890s.
Occasionally you get an Adam Creighton. As for the rest, it is a return to the 1890s when the risk was no more than the onset of the Spanish-American War

Bellicosity by Proxy

Saw a reference to Zelensky being akin to Batman in the minds of western media pundits. If he were Batman, fighting who? Could be Joker, or Riddler or Penguin etc., but given Putin’s well-publicised way of dealing with opponents, I’d plump for Poison Ivy. Farfetched? You ain’t seen nothing yet. From comic-book allusions to the Australian newspaper in a single bound.

According to Greg Sheridan (23 March), Zelensky is “the most popular man in the world…our era’s Winston Churchill.”

Sheridan has a dream, which he shared, unfortunately. Best to keep your dreams to yourself and out of movies too. It consists of Biden stepping across the Ukraine border and meeting Zelensky. “The pictures would be everything – a meeting that would be in everyone’s interests. Priceless and immortal.” At this point I admit to being close to throwing up. The evident fan worshipping was a little over the top, shall we say.

But for it to really work Sheridan avers, “Biden would have to give Zelensky something.” He doesn’t specify what this something is, though he appears to rule out a no-fly zone or Migs as being likely gifts. What else? Another sanction or two would hardly move the needle. Seemingly, it would have to be big enough to make the Ukrainians fight even harder and to draw America closer to the conflict. To provide, “a further sign that the US thinks Ukraine can win.”

Win? Win what exactly? What would it look like? How much more death and destruction would take place in Ukraine before the Russians are pushed back to their border? And, what if the Russians don’t play ball and really start to blitz Ukrainian cities?

These western commentators are complete nincompoops. Bellicosity by proxy is their game, whatever the cost to women and children being shelled and bombarded.

We need a negotiated settlement. That’s where the efforts of politicians and journalists should be primarily directed. This isn’t WWII. Churchill was the greatest of men in his time. This isn’t that time.

Biden should be pressing Zelensky to play his part in seeking seek reasonable peace terms not feeding his appetite for war. Real life and realpolitik usually come together to forestall disaster. Idealism is best left for the afterlife. Putin may have to be rewarded, to some extent, for his aggression, even if that upsets Biden and Boris et al. Lives are at stake.

It’s Hiding in Plain Sight.

On Saturday, the Marshall Government went the way of the dodo with a significant swing to Labor on the 2pp. Interestingly, both Liberal and Labor commenters, Nicolle Flint (Lib-SA) and Amanda Rishworth (Lab-SA), on the Sky News post election analysis agreed with each other that it was the loss of the V8 Supercars to Adelaide in 2020, which was the dominant and deciding factor. On his show on Sunday night, Paul Murray also agreed – “it was the Supercars wot dun it,” he asserted.

I could not help but be a tad sceptical that a car race, which in its final year (2020) had attracted only 206,000 fans over the four days made all the difference, considering what the entire country, including South Australia, had been through in the last two years.

To me, the rationale for the election loss seems all too convenient and, besides, if Marshall’s polling through the last two years could be put down to one issue, surely he would have had enough nous to do a back flip and ensure the race returned to Adelaide post pandemic? Was this issue, as Murray and those South Australian HoRs were contending, really front and centre in this election?

InDaily, an Adelaide independent on-line news site reported 7/9/21 that a statewide poll conducted by Dynata, an on-line market research company, in July, for The Australia Institute – an organisation not known for leaning “right” – had the Liberals in front 51-49 on the 2pp, with health reported as the ‘…dominant issue of the campaign’ and noted that the polling ‘…mirror[ed] the last statewide poll taken in SA, a Sunday Mail-YouGov poll published in March.’

Nowhere in the polling reported by InDaily did the V8 Supercars decision make it as a concern of electors. In fact, InDaily noted that ‘[T]he Australia Institute’s SA Director Noah Schulz-Byard said the polling suggested “voters can expect a strong campaign with a focus on health [38%], the economy [24%] and climate change [(12%] over the next six months…In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, health is shaping up as the key political battleground in South Australia.”‘

Continue reading “It’s Hiding in Plain Sight.”

WolfmanOz at the Movies #14

The Woke Oscars

Next Monday (Australian time) the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences will “honour” the “best films” released between March 1st and December 31st, 2021.

Not that long ago, say 10-15 years ago, there was a time where you could actually enjoy watching the Oscars as the films being honoured were generally well acted, excellently crafted, told an interesting story and were invariable popular or at the very least, had an audience that actually saw them.

Not anymore . . .

With rare exceptions, actors and celebrities have always been self-involved narcissists. If you think about it, in a way, the profession demands it. But what’s changed over the last 10-15 or so years, and this has coincided directly with the death of the movie star, in that celebrities now dine out on their self-involved narcissism.

What creates a long career is holding on to the public’s goodwill. And you earn that goodwill by being likeable. In real life, you might be a bastard. Plenty of movie stars during the Golden Age were bastards. But in public, they were humble, grateful, and self-deprecating.

Not anymore . . .

So the broadcasting of the Academy Awards (Oscars) has produced a rapidly declining audience every year now. An audience who no longer care about award shows that feature movies that they have not seen or even wish to see. They simply don’t give a damn anymore.

Hollywood award shows have gone from fun showcases of talented actors and movie technicians with real star power to network televised lectures, in which the most privileged and pompous people on the planet talk down to and insult the audience who helped make them rich.

If you can bear it, catch Joaquin Phoenix’s absurdly ridiculous acceptance speech back in 2020.

The way it is going, I doubt very much if we will see Oscar celebrating 100 years. Or if we do there will be no-one left to care.

For the last few years I have no longer bothered watching the Oscars as invariably the films are often of poor quality, compared to years past, the presenters are insufferably woke and humourless and the whole show is interminable in it’s self-congratulatory tone.

In Jean Cocteau’s marvellous 1950 film Orphée the poet asks what he should do. ‘Astonish me’, he is told. Today’s movies never do that, certainly not in the sense that a great work of cinema can make you wonder how its creation was ever accomplished.

But, to end on a more positive note, here are a few clips of some of my favourite Best Picture Oscar winners when outstanding quality films were made in a much better time, one which I regret to say I don’t think we’ll ever see ever again.

All Quiet On The Western Front (1930)

Casablanca (1943)

On The Waterfront (1954)

Lawrence Of Arabia (1962)

The Godfather (1972)

Amadeus (1984)


What is a woman?

If I told you in 2012 (I did) that the definitional games that liberals played with ‘marriage’ then would also be applied in areas that were as yet not controversial, like sex, I would have been called a ‘swivel-eyed loon’ (I was). A mere decade later, a nominee to SCOTUS believes that only a biologist can define or recognize what is a ‘woman’.

What was the 2014 Euromaidan Coup in Ukraine and why does it matter?


This is a comment on a post at Powerline. It highlights how little we know about anything that surround so many of the major issues of the world today.

There is evidence that the US was involved in the 2014 Maidan coup replacing the Ukrainian leader friendly to Russia with one friendly to the US. This 2014 photo shows Klobuchar, McCain and Graham in Ukraine around the time of the coup. Why Klobuchar is circled I do not know.

On the other side of Klobuchar is Ambassador to Ukraine, Marie Yovanovitch, an Obama appointee who was fired by Trump for undermining his effort to get evidence of Biden’s corrupt activity in Ukraine. She testified against Trump in the first impeachment.

The left and the media lie to us relentlessly and shamelessly. This is from a post I put up on October 21,2020: The only evidence that the left understand right from wrong is they know what they have to cover up about. So the New York Times now acknowledges that it really was Hunter Biden’s laptop. They don’t acknowledge the corruption that they have been instrumental in covering up. This was posted just before the presidential election in the US.

But at least here in Oz there is still Sky News: Story of Hunter Biden’s laptop has ‘illuminated the power of the world’s tech giants’.

Recastled Managing Director Kosha Gada says the story of Hunter Biden’s laptop has illuminated the power of the world’s tech giants. Her comments come as the world’s digital giants over the past week were censoring stories that are critical of Joe Biden, especially of his son Hunter Biden profiting from Joe Biden’s time as vice president. “The issue really is very significant and extends far beyond the Trump presidency, and far beyond election 2020,” Ms Gada told Sky News host Chris Kenny. “It’s really … for the first time in history, we have this set of four or five companies, that in the span of 20 years are now a collective net worth of $5 trillion in market cap, which makes them the most powerful companies, and the richest companies, and most influential companies ever created in history.

Is it really possible in the world today to seal off this kind of information from people who vote for parties of the left? Of course. Just depend on the ABC for your news. Ignorance is bliss, until the election is over and Biden-Harris become president.

Is it possible for the media to suppress the truth so comprehensively? There can no longer be any doubt about it whatsoever. But what remains the most astonishing part is how those who support parties of the left are pleased to be left in ignorance of anything that prevents their side from governing.



And just in from Instapundit.

SERIOUS AMERICANS ARE BEGINNING TO QUESTION THE LEGITIMACY OF THE BIDEN PRESIDENCY: Psaki: We have no idea if Hunter Biden got a ton of money from China and Russia. “We recently learned that the huge group of “intel experts” who signed a 2020 letter essentially declaring the Hunter Biden laptop story to be Russian disinformation have all come down with a sudden case of either amnesia or laryngitis. Not even an admission by the venerable New York Times that the story was legit seems to have helped jog their memories or loosen their tongues. The New York Post, who first validated and broke the Hunter Biden laptop story 17 months earlier, has been taking a well-deserved victory lap and they’re not done yet. A reporter for the Post brought a series of related and quite relevant questions to White House spokesperson Jen Psaki this week. They specifically wanted to know what she had learned about potential conflicts of interest for Joe Biden, given his son’s lucrative business dealings with China and Russia. Strangely, despite these stories showing up all across the media spectrum, Psaki didn’t appear to have any idea what the reporter was talking about.”

Actually they do have an idea whether Biden Father and Son are utterly corrupt. But if you think you have enough information to make a sensible assessment of what is going on in The Ukraine, you are completely kidding yourself. 

Leaders too Dumb to Think Deeply

Do you recall years back when Syrian president Bashar al-Assad’s and Venezuelan president Nicolás Maduro’s days were numbered? They should be well gone by now according to the luminaries that run or influence the western world. Since Russia’ invasion of Ukraine began, we have heard from numbers of quarters that Putin has already lost; that he must fail, according to Boris Johnson. Take it all with a pinch of salt.

This messaging is from the same broad ilk of people who got America and its allies into a quagmire in Iraq; who oversaw the disastrous retreat from Afghanistan in the face of the triumphant Taliban, after twenty years of spending blood and treasure for absolutely no end product.

You might think a different set of people orchestrated the grotesque response to the pandemic; locked down healthy people and children; ruined small businesses; prevented sons and daughters from seeing their dying parents; enforced useless estranging masks on children; denied sick and infirm people the opportunity to seek medical examinations and treatments; and who currently are cajoling the parents of two-year-olds to have their infants experimentally dosed against a disease, which, for them, carries no risk. Same broad set.

How about the empty-heads who seriously think that modern industrial economies, requiring reliable and affordable 24×7 power, can be reconstructed to emit net-zero carbon dioxide by 2050? Who believe in yet-undiscovered technologies that will bring the mirage into reality and who, in the meantime, are demolishing coal-power plants and replacing them (apropos Eraring) with big batteries, virtual power plants and renewable power? Same broad set.

In England we used to refer to chinless wonders running and ruining the world. Who’s ruining the world these days? I don’t rightly know, but they’re everywhere in positions of power and influence within the western world. They suffer from wokeness, that’s for certain. Wokeness tries to supplant the real world with a caricature. E.g., men in frocks are women. But that’s not all. They seem to operate on the surface, neither wanting nor having the nous to trace all of the incidental, consequential and downstream effects of their policies. Effects that French political economist Frederic Bastiat (1801-1850) called “that which is not seen.” (My take on Bastiat.) How little influence he’s had.

Back in April 2020, the London School of Economics released an occasional paper titled, “When to Release the Lockdown: A wellbeing framework for analysing cost and benefits.” One of the authors commented resignedly, “what they [the UK Government] are really on about are the number of [Covid] deaths and number of cases. They do not take account of the wider reality of this lockdown on wellbeing.” Says it all.

Boris Johnson has boasted that no country has imposed more sanctions on Russia and the oligarchs. No one asks him, what is the end game? Is it to force Russia to retreat? When you think about it, maybe Russia’s best chance now of having the sanctions removed is to win the war and use the independence of Ukraine as a bargaining chip.

Suppose it ends with a recognition of Crimea as part of Russian territory, with the territories of Luhansk and Donetsk recognised as independent (and effectively under Russia’s control), with an agreement that Ukraine will not be part of the NATO or the EU, and will not entertain NATO forces exercising on its territory? Throw in a relaxation of sanctions as part of the peace deal.

Who’s won? Seems like Putin but, apparently, Putin can’t be allowed to win. What does that mean for Ukrainian men, women and children?

What is the end game for Biden, Johnson, the EU, Morrison, et al, in imposing sanctions on Russia and supplying weapons to Ukraine? In calling Putin a thug and a war criminal, even if true? Are they primarily in the business of punishing Russia or saving Ukrainian lives and preserving as much as possible of Ukraine’s territory, freedom and independence? How many Ukrainian lives is it worth for Boris and Biden to go on talking tough?

We are being led by dolts wherever we turn; climate, Covid, war. Perhaps history says that it was ever thus. Nevertheless, I can’t help feeling things have gotten worse over the past few decades.