The Australian versus Peter Brent

A red-letter day for the psephological blogosphere, as The Australian responds with the full length of its editorial column to the barbs of the “online news commentariat”. At issue is the paper’s penchant for putting a rosy spin on the Coalition’s prospects each time Newspoll points to a big Labor win, which reached its apogee with Dennis Shanahan’s analysis on Tuesday. My eyes glazed over a number of times as I pored through the editorial’s dense thicket of self-serving assertions, but the pay-off came at the end:

A guide book recently published by one site demonstrates the extent of confused thinking on how the polls operate. A chapter by Mumble’s Peter Brent says two party preferred ratings are at the same time worthy but unreliable and that an Opposition Leader with a high satisfaction rating has no better chance of being elected than one with a low rating. He dismisses approval ratings and the preferred Prime Minister measure as “embroidery”. Yet the fact is when Mr Howard and Mr Rudd’s offices telephone The Australian to get advance warning on what the following day’s Newspoll will show they invariably want to know two things: The primary vote and preferred PM. Not properly understanding how polls work gives our critics licence to project their own bias onto analysis of our reporting. The Australian is not beholden to any one side of politics and recent election outcomes vindicate our treatment of our polls. So let’s not mince words. We just don’t think many of our critics have any real clue about polling and very little practical experience of politics.

The Australian – sober and experienced voice of reason, or craven mouthpiece of the crony capitalist military-industrial complex? I throw it in for debate.

UPDATE: Do jaws come any glassier? Yesterday, Dennis Shanahan’s blog post addressing his critics (“Cheers to all those who engage in the great, democratic and political exercise of freedom of speech – what do you think?”) was closed for discussion after 16 comments. Today, centre-left News Limited blogger Tim Dunlop’s post on the subject has mysteriously disappeared (please let there be an alternative explanation for this). Fortunately, Poll Bludger regular and occasional Greens candidate Darryl Rosin preserves it for posterity at Larvatus Prodeo:

Who says the mainstream media don’t pay attention to the blogosphere? This extraordinary story relates to this week’s Newspoll results and the way The Australian reported it. Peter Brent runs the excellent psephological blog called Mumble. It’s one of a number of blogs that run analysis and commentary of opinion polls, and others include OzPolitics, Possums Pollytics, and Poll Bludger. Yesterday, Peter Brent noted that he had fallen foul of some of those at The Australian …

The editorial is up this morning and yes, they do “go” Peter Brent. They defend themselves in the strongest possible terms and attack, specifically and generally, just about anyone who disagrees with them, particularly “Australia’s online news commentariat that has found passing endless comment on other people’s work preferable to breaking real stories and adding to society’s pool of knowledge.”

There are a number of things to say about all of this. The first is that the editorial is as much concerned about charges of bias against The Australian as anything else … If bias is in the eye of the beholder, then there are a lot of “beholders” out there who think The Australian is biased, particularly in its coverage of polling data. The evidence for this is not just to found in the blogosphere but on their own pages where their columns and articles often fill up with criticism from their own readers accusing them of spinning information in favour of the Howard Government. In attacking the “online commentariat” they are also attacking a sizeable sampling of their own readership.

The latest bout of charges of bias were prompted by this week’s Newspoll and many people, including me, were struck by the way The Australian chose to cover the story. For instance, Bryan Palmer at OzPolitics wrote:

“When I first glanced at today’s headlines — Howard checks Rudd’s march — Kevin’s sizzle not snag-free — Howard finds fertile ground for support — I was expecting to read about a polling improvement for the Howard Government. What I found was a flat line.”

What’s interesting is that The Australian seems to believe that only they are capable of objectivity and they reject entirely any charge of bias. This is odd given that Chris Mitchell himself has said:

“Can I say something about The Australian’s contribution to the national political debate. It has made, as a newspaper, a remarkable contribution, I think back over the last 10 years that this government has been in office and I think of the positions taken by The Australian newspaper. It has been broadly supportive, generously so, of the government’s economic reform agenda. And it has been a strong supporter, consistently … of industrial relations reform. Its only criticism of the government is that it might not have gone far enough … I think editorially and on the Op Ed page, we are right-of-centre. I don’t think it’s particularly far right, I think some people say that, but I think on a world kind of view you’d say we’re probably pretty much where The Wall Street Journal, or The Telegraph in London are. So, you know, centre-right.”

It is precisely that “generous” “broadly supportive” “right-of-centre” tilt that people are responding to when they see Newspoll reported the way it was this week. For the editorial to deny that any such tilt exist seems disingenuous.

So I think the editorial is ill-conceived and way off the mark in singling out Peter Brent in the way that it does. His site largely confines itself to interpretation and in doing so, provides a great service. The idea that he can’t comment without the editor of The Australian ringing him up to say they are going to “go” him is disturbing.

Still, I think it is fair to say that News Ltd, including The Australian, has opened itself to comment and criticism from its readership more so than Fairfax, the other major news organisation. They have embraced readers comments and “blogs” more fully, and this site alone is evidence of that. So while most News news stories and columns allow reader comment, the same is not true of Fairfax. You can, for instance, comment on Dennis Shanahan’s and Paul Kelly’s columns, but not Michelle Grattan’s or Gerard Henderson’s.

But having embraced such an approach, they have to accept that not everyone is going to agree with them or buy into their particular take on a given issue or, indeed, their own self-image. The Australian is, of course, completely free to defend themselves, but it might also pay them to reflect on why so many people see them as the “government gazette” rather than just dismiss nearly all such criticism as “a waste of time”.

UPDATE 2 (13/7/07): A column on the saga from Alan Ramsey in the Sydney Morning Herald.

Author: William Bowe

William Bowe is a Perth-based election analyst and occasional teacher of political science. His blog, The Poll Bludger, has existed in one form or another since 2004, and is one of the most heavily trafficked websites on Australian politics.

164 comments on “The Australian versus Peter Brent”

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  1. “They also quite clearly don’t feel the need to be consistent with their own previous (editorial) positions.”

    And as has been much remarked here, either the March 20 Newspoll was “artificially boosted” or it was a reliable marker of the beginning of a trend. It can’t be both – but the Australian has claimed it to be both and never told us which interpretation is correct.

  2. Commentators who value fair and truthful political coverage should also incensed by The Australian’s ferocious and relentless hostility to the Democrats since media mergers were blocked years ago.

  3. Both Possum Polytics and Ozpolitics have graphs showing satisfaction ratings. Regarding the 12-month stuff claim, Newspoll was not polling in 83 according to Aristotle at Ozelections, so there’s only actually been one change of govt during Newspoll’s run; that’s certainly not a reasonable sample.

    In 1996, Keating was the preferred PM near the election, but his satisfaction rating was very poor. I believe Possum has both voting intention and net satisfaction bias to PM in her model; on this Rudd is well ahead, with 60% satisfied with his performance, only 46% with Howard’s.

    See 2007 vs 1996 graphs here:

    http://www.ozpolitics.info/guide/elections/fed2007/polls2007/#tpp

  4. Voters have not just stopped listening to Howard’s anti Rudd rants, but those in The Australian as well. Indeed, the more they’re ignored the shriller they become….and the higher the polls go in Labor’s favour.

  5. What the Australian has shown is its vulnerability to blogs and bloggers’ opinions. They can’t edit what we say and that hurts.
    As a result of their editorialising, a lot more of their readers will go to the blogs and have their say.
    They are terrified they are losing control of their agenda.
    They have been used to being dominant as “Australia’s leading newspaper” and don’t like being exposed for all to see in the blogs.
    Ultimately it matters not a whit whose side the Australian comes down on, the Australian people won’t be swayed by their nonsense.
    Just take a look at the front pages of the Terror prior to the NSW State election. David and Piers and co did all they could to bring down the Iemma Government, together with the shock jocks, all to no avail.
    They have much less influence than they care to admit.
    Right now the polls are tracking towards a comfortable Rudd win.
    It would take a double Tampa plus a 9/11 equivalent to stop the currently inevitable.
    Tuckey is the only one with the courage to speak out. “The king has no clothes”.

  6. Today’s Sydney Daily Telegraph highlights John Howard losing support in Sydney, particuarly amongst the so called “Howard Battlers”.
    The Liberals said to be very vulnerable in Lindsay, Parramatta and Bennelong, Malcolm Turnball doing better in Wentworth.
    Industrial Relations, the increasing cost of living, Howard out of touch/been in power too long, time for a change – main issues with voters.

  7. That the Australian can, with a straight face, say that preferred PM 12 months out from a poll is a crucial predictor but that preferred PM 9 months or 6 months out is irrelevant is quite breathtaking.

    Shanahan has taken a correlation from a very small sample set (are there preferred PM stats for 1948-49? Is 1982-83 relevant?), ignored false positives (1993) and asserted a definitive requiement.

    Bad method.

    No opposition leader with a repeated consonant in their surname has been able to win since World War II! ALP must dump Rudd now!

    (And that’s why Fraser couldn’t just sit and wait for the next election… 😉

  8. Hi Evan,

    Does the telegraph mention Macquarie at all? I was up in the Blue Mountains last week with the family, no-one had good things to say about Howard. Kerry Bartlett must be vulnerable here.

  9. I agree with some of the comments here about the apparent fear that The Australian has with respect to the growth in the blogosphere and non-traditional media. This is obvious in having devoted their entire editorial towards painting the blogosphere as having no credibility. They feel threatened – BIG time.

    But if they were only interested in objectively reporting the news, then there would be no reason to feel threatened. After all, they have much greater access to the resources required for digging up day-to-day news.

    This, however, is not their main agenda. The reason why they feel threatened is because they are not so concerned with reporting news as much as they are in INFLUENCING public opinion. And this is where it has been plain to anyone with half a brain and a good set of eyes that The Australian is acting as a mouthpiece for the government.

    But the growth in the blogosphere is threatening their ability to influence. For the first time, politics is being driven back towards the grass-roots, where ordinary people of all walks of life now have a more powerful voice than ever before. And The Australian hates this because it means that their stance, opinion, and agenda is not only being questioned but is being PUBLICLY debated.

    And frankly, I think they are embarrassed. Often, it doesn’t take long for a resourceful blogger to dig up some facts or point out a previous article in The Australian to demonstrate that they are wrong in their claims, inconsistent, purely hypocritical, or just plain lazy and incompetent. We saw this yesterday with Possum Pollytics’ analysis of the relationship between “better PM” and “voting intentions”, which completely blew O’Shannessy’s (boss of Newspoll) claims out of the water, and with an analysis that was far more expert than O’Shannessy’s simplistic eyeballing of the data.

    No, The Australian are “going” people like Peter Brent and services like Crikey, and most of the blog political commentariat it seems, because THEIR voice is being weakened and their integrity and skill in political commentating is being shown as weak, lazy, and mostly biased. Those who are interesting politics, which makes up a large part of their readership, are no longer relying on them. They are rapidly discovering the blogosphere, which is why The Australian has been keen to set up its own blogs in order to compete.

    They are under pressure because they have to lift their game. But so far, they have been reluctant to do so. Instead, we are getting childish retorts and silly tit-for-tat games from what was once an informative and respected Australian newspaper. It has now become a joke, and today’s editorial only further highlights this.

  10. When did Tim Dunlop’s blog entry vanish? I left a comment this morning, which was awaiting moderation. When I checked at lunch, the whole entry was gone. Methinks if even I got around to saying something, lots of other people would have too and they probably didn’t care to post the whole lot of critical comments.

  11. I think many of the leftists here remain resentful over the admittedly conservative tilt of the nation’s most respectable newspaper. Notice there are no crows or howls over the pathetic Fairfax Press and the pro-Rudd / ALP headlines they spruik almost daily.

    While don’t find myself in agreement with all of The Australian’s political reports, I thought that they made a very strong point when mentioning the fact that most of the online political commentary is clouded with leftwing bias. When the heat is being applied to the Coalition – this is ok. When it is being applied to Rudd / the ALP it is not.

    One needs to look no further than the miserable (and laughable) cries of “push polling” when Galaxy published a poll showing improving government support last month. In March, when the media was examining Labor’s new IR “policy” and the party looked as if it was headed towards a complete meltdown as a result of buckling under pressure many were up in arms over the media’s alleged “unfair treatment”.

    I think people here need to realise that it is not a crime for a publication to hold a different political viewpoint from their own.

  12. A-C, I agree, it is not a “crime for a publication to hold a different political viewpoint”. They just need to be more up-front about it. The problem with The Australian is that they continually claim that they are unbiased when they clearly are not.

    As for Fairfax, yes, they do run more positive stories about Rudd and Labor than News Ltd., BUT they also run quite a lot of positive stories about Howard and negative stories about Rudd. The Age, for example, seems to have a central-left stance, but frankly, I think they are far more interested in giving a voice to progressive and social justice issues than hitching themselves to one political party.

    The Australian has hitched itself to the Liberals – they do not just give voice to a conservative agenda, they seem to glorify anything that Howard and the Liberals do and often play a BIG role in ramping up the government’s scare tactics and manufactured scandals without providing the kind of critical analysis that any dignified newspaper would.

  13. Noocat, The Australian admits it has a rightward tilt. What more do you want them to say? They frequently criticise the government from a rightwing perspective – hence their frequent articles and reports on taxation reform, government spending, the welfare state etc.

  14. A-C I agree with the statement that it is not a crime to have a different point of view.But why would the editor of a National daily ring up the owner of a blog and tell them he was going to “go” them in an editorial.That is silly.

    If as it states,it is not a supporter of either political party,then,when the Australian encourages feedback on what it journalists write,you have to expect a diverse range of expression on whether you agree or disagree with what is written.In this electronic age you do not have to take at face value what is written by that journalist as fact.They are not the definitive arbitrators of truth or opinion.You can research for yourself from independent sources and then make a more balanced judgement for yourself.

    eg…If I a journalist and was to make a statement that voting for a Government means fuel prices would fall by 25%,houses would be more affordable etc,I would provide the data to back up my claim.But I would also have to take criticism(s) of those statements as well,from whatever sources that infromation comes from.If I give an opinion on something I have to be prepared for unfavorable criticism as well.Even if that criticism is sometimes vitriolic in it’s nature.

  15. BenC – Macquarie is a notionally Labor seat after the redistribution and with the high profile and repected Bob Debus as the candidate, I think that Kerry Bartlett is probably gone.

  16. I havn’t discussed how newspapers report opinion polls for a while, as it’s pointless, however, the Australian’s interpretation of the latest polls was not a disinterested telling of the story on anyone’s interpretation. The facts were that the 2PP margin remained the same and in the preferred PM stakes, Howard went up slightly, Rudd went down slightly, with Rudd just ahead.

    The most important measure here is the 2PP preferred vote, which remained at a historically astonishing high level for Labor. From the changes in the preferred PM poll, the Australian wove its strange story. I suggest that a disinterested telling of the poll results would go something along the lines of:

    Howard slightly up, Rudd slightly down, Rudd just ahead in PM stakes – Labor retains a landslide winning result. While the PM has slightly improved his rating as preferred PM, although just behind Rudd, the ALP retains its large lead in the 2PP polls, indicating that the ALP would have won in a landslide if an election had been held last weekend.

  17. I am only visiting this extremely self-indulgent thread once, and only to say three things:

    * The Australian is a privately-owned newspaper and is perfectly entitled to present news and opinion any way it likes, as are all other Australian media outlets (except the ABC, which is taxpayer-funded).
    * The Australian is not Pravda. It does not have a monopoly. If you don’t like it, don’t buy it. There is plenty of other media out there. I get nearly all my media online for free. (I buy The Age for the crosswords.)
    * The sun is shining, birds are singing, and life as we know it will survive the evil Australian. Get over it. There are more important things to expostulate about.

  18. A-C, I think you’re missing the real story re bias in the media, and that’s that Right-wing commentators tend to be less willing to criticize governments of the same ilk. Michael Duffy (of all people) ran a column on this last year. The same cannot be said for Left-leaning writers. Indeed, we on the Left have historically taken inordinate pride in our efforts to tear down governments that we broadly support.

    And it’s not like the Howard government cannot be criticised from a Right-wing perspective (big government conservatism, middle class welfare etc), it’s just that I don’t hear those comments terribly often. However, you can bet that a Rudd government will be kicked by both Left and Right.

  19. The thing that really got me yesterday was the critisim from the left of the article written by the head of Newspoll. I see more of the same attitude from the left on this blog. Who do you people think you are? The political editors of the Australian and the head of Newspoll would know more about polls, politics then everyone on this blog put together. Why?? Thats what they DO for a living.

    There is a reason why they are the professionals and you mob are just…well amatuers.

  20. You are right of course Adam but they can’t have their cake and eat it too, their are either proud competent journalists, reporting in a fair and balanced way on the news, or they are not.

    This argument isn’t about their right to be one or the other, that is undisputed. It is the right of others to criticise and give fair public comment on which they are. Their willingness to consistently find good news for Howard in polls that point clearly and uneqivocally to disaster (ignoring one galaxy effort) for Howard entitles people to conclude it is not journalism, nor fair and balanced comment we are seeing, but advocacy and marketing.

    Whether or not they are Pravda is quite irrelevant and if they were to have a real nasty go at someone, merely for forming and expressing an opinion in an open public political debate, it would be a very serious matter.

    Frankly if that is a nasty attack on Mumble can smile and be relaxed and comfortable. But if they went further it would be a very serious matter indeed.

    I am very comfortable being entirely unimportant and I don’t see how this thread is self-indulgent in anyway. The nature and quality of public debate in a democracy is quite important isn’t it? Isn’t anything that threatens open and fair discussion quite important for our country?

  21. Marco,

    twaddle.

    So, they can say anything they like, no matter how outrageous and because they get paid to say it, then it is so?

    If they “know” so much about polls, how come they make some really basic errors. Go see Possum’s site to see most of the garbage eloquently destroyed by the use of logic and statistics.

    Further, if they are so right, why do they feel the need to attack a very small number of people in a National newspaper?

    I would give you money to prove to me what political party Peter Brent, Bryan Palmer and William here vote for. Their commentary has been strictly partial for asa long as I have been visiting their blogs.

    These are the people vilified by Mitchell et al, not the commenters – who can and do get carried away by their parochialism.

    Again, twaddle, piffle and bunkum.

  22. Marco Says:
    “There is a reason why they are the professionals and you mob are just…well amatuers.”

    That my friend is your opinion, and not necessarily fact.

  23. It seems the staff The Australian have absolutely no idea that they are biased.

    There have been times when I thought they did it under orders from Uncle Rupert, or from someone in the multinational News Corp hierarchy. But now I think Shanahan and O’Shannessy seriously believe the spin they give their stories, i.e, they are not conscious of their own bias.

    And when someone like Peter Brent accidentally pricks their bubble with a shard of cold, hard reality, it stings. They think it must be malicious and politically motivated, because it hurts so much.

    I ask you, in all honesty, how else could they be me making such arses of themselves?

  24. I did not read The Australian’s editorial as referring to Peter Brent, Bryan Palmer or, for that matter, William Bowe. In my opinion, those individuals are indeed to be included in the “notable exceptions” even if the editorial did not expressly say so. On the other hand, the references to “on line news sites” and “self appointed experts” may well embrace the commenters who BigBob (correctly) says get carried away by their parochialism.

  25. That Guy,
    I wouldn’t include O’Shannessy in that group. I had a chat with him today, and he’s certainly no spinner from my perspective, and I don’t believe he meant to sound like he was cheerleading – it just turned out that way. The point he was trying to convey in that article was more about how we should watch for the PPM ratings possibly leading to a primary vote recovery over the next few polls, similar too but not exactly the same as has occurred with Howard over the last 3 electoral cycles about 6 months out from the election. It was just put awkwardly with his use of the word “presages” which gave the theory he was suggesting a certain strength he didn’t really mean to convey.

    Dennis is a complete goose, but O’Shannessy is a different kettle of fish, and I don’t think you’ll see the CEO of Newspoll have another piece in the media that isn’t of the utmost clarity in the future.

    News Ltd may own half of Newspoll, but they don’t own the other half.Newspoll spinning the observable reality they make a living from discovering, would be commercial suicide, just as it would be for Galaxy, Morgan and AC Nielson if they did it. I don’t think any of them are in the business of deliberately spinning piffle, just measuring reality and letting others do with it what they may.

    I think we need to separate out Newspoll (and the other polling organisations) from some of the folks at The Oz (and elsewhere) that seem to make their living doing impressions of the Iraqi Information Minister.

  26. In football terms I would call this a win to the blogoshpere over the Australian 3-0. Three own goals in fact.
    1. The Australian identified the blogosphere as the target
    2. They demonstrated a glass jaw so brittle that it shatters at the faintest suggestion of dissent from their narrative
    3. they did not engage with the substance of the analysis conceding the issue on merits to the critics

  27. “The Australian is a privately-owned newspaper and is perfectly entitled to present news and opinion any way it likes, as are all other Australian media outlets (except the ABC, which is taxpayer-funded).”

    Commonly argued, but not true.

    It is a requirement, by law that owners of broadcasting licences comply with the ACA codes of conduct which require that news and current affairs be reported fairly, accurately and impartially. Commentary must be carefully distinguished as such.

    I don’t believe there is a similar legislative requirement for print media, but the APCs self-governing code of conduct makes similar statements so there is certainly a moral imperative for newspapers that profess to subscribe to these to comply.

  28. Adam,
    The Australian and particularly its poll analysis has an unwholesome influence on the political class and the tenor of public discussion, and while that remains the case, it is worthwhile to point out the flaws in their analysis – regularly and consistently.

    However, we should acknowledge without hesitation that the same unhealthy obsession with irrelevant ‘beauty contest’ numbers permeates the Age and SMH. It is a general journalistic failing; Shanahan just takes it to extremes.

  29. Given the barriers to entry in the newspaper market it is misleading to claim the Australian simply reflects what media consumers want and as well much of its income is derived from advertising revenue, the cost of advertising is a hidden GST on everything we buy. The journalists of The Australian (drunken buffoons also) misrepresent facts in the interests of pursuing their objective which is get the ALP to agree with the government on industrial relations policy and to a lesser extent foreign policy. Read the Sydney Morning Herald from the 1930s its editorials are very partisan but its reporting was objective.

  30. Possum Comitatus,

    I agree that a rise in Howard’s PPM rating just might herald a narrowing of the poll gap. It also might not. But it probably doesn’t make a difference anyway, as it seems the Opp Leader has to significantly behind before it really damages his Party’s primary. e.g, Howard’s rating some 5% behind Keating’s, only a week before the ALP was thrashed at the election in ’96.

    Just to be clear: I am not accusing newspoll of bias.

    I am accusing The Australian of bias, even though everybody has bias. My only real complaint here is their angry and precious response to anyone who (like Peter Brent) dares to try and compare their interpretation of things to reality. My complaint is that it seems so petty as to make them look like a joke.

  31. I completely agree with your view about the Australian, I was just trying to stop the poor sods at Newspoll from getting dragged down with Baghdad Bob and his dummy spitting editorial team.

    The Newspoll folks seem to have been sucked into this silliness by the shenanigans at The Oz.

  32. “Commentary must be carefully distinguished as such.”

    So what they need to do is shift Shanahan’s zany Newspoll interpretations to the Opinion pages!

  33. Adam,

    I think bloggers have a right to defend what has been a rather infantile attack by the Australian on the ‘online commetariat’, as we are now known. I think the collective wisdom of all these blogs and their bloggers dwarf whatever knowledge Dennis Shannahan believes he has to impart, which I feel is minimal at best. Yes it’s self-indulgent, but ultimately quite fair.

  34. One thing I hate about the Australian is their state political commentators.

    The reason they irk me is they always seem to get basic facts and details wrong. It always troubles me when a political commentator gets the names of an electorate wrong. If they call someone the member for XYZ when they are the member for ABC or seeking selection etc and the commentator is getting the basic facts of politics and elections are wrong, how can we trust their analysis?

  35. David Charles – if the editorial isn’t pointing at people like Peter Brent et al, then why do they refer to him by name in their reference to confused conclusions and statements?

  36. And they’ll all be looking foolish when the Government is re-elected and they’re flapping around trying to explain how these ridiculous polls got it so wrong.

  37. “Still, I think it is fair to say that News Ltd, including The Australian, has opened itself to comment and criticism from its readership more so than Fairfax, the other major news organisation.”

    Above quote from Dunlop’s article before it was pulled illustrates how “open” News Ltd is.

  38. Stephen Kaye, if the Government is relected it will not mean that the discussion here is wrong and it does not mean that the Australian has it right.

    If the Government wins, it will be because there is a change from people’s opinions (poll results) to an actual act (election results).

    The argument here is not whether the government will get returned, but rather the analysis that says notwithstanding anything else to the contrary, the ONE bit of information I choose to examine is THE ONE factor that can predict an election result.

    In addition, the discussion here is about the response of the Australian to criticism (in a positive and negative sense) about their analysis.

  39. Wow, big news on Dunlop if it’s true. Good on him for sticking to his principles and walking away. That kind of ‘editorial control’ by News is just appalling. If he needs help setting up his own independent blog I’m sure there will be plenty of people willing to help out.

  40. If that turns out to be true I might block all News Ltd sites from my network. If enough people blocked them they would soon find out who feeds of who.

  41. im not saying that this is fact dario just this bloke works for news ltd. and is usually pretty correct in what he says. apparently in his words ” mitchell is going ballistic at the moment” waiting to get it confirmed

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