Thursday, March 30, 2006

The Australian Actually Criticises Government: Shockwaves Felt in Iceland

I must admit, I've been pleasantly surprised by the Oz's handling of the AWB scandal. The Oz, or as I usually like to think of it, "The Daily Liberal Party Press Release" or "The John Howard Peppy Cheer Squad", has grabbed hold of this bone by the incisors and is showing no signs of letting go.

Yesterday's editorial essentially calling for Downer to resign was unnervingly accurate, unbiased and free from the Oz's usual pro-government spin. The juciest slices of the cake:

The Foreign Minister still says he believed AWB's denials that it paid bribes to the Iraqi dictator. It is a curious defence that can easily create the impression that Mr Downer is either a dill or a cynic unwilling to explain what he really thought about the ethics involved if AWB was paying bribes in Iraq. With this week's revelation that as late as last September he was telling the UN's Volcker inquiry that bribery was just a routine part of business in the Middle East, it looks like he is both.


Short of a neon sign flashing "Saddam bribes hidden here" it is hard to imagine what more Mr Downer and DFAT would have needed to comprehensively investigate AWB, long before the Volcker inquiry belled the cat.


You can feel the awkward tension at the dinner table between this usually happily married couple of government and media outlet. Quote the Downster:

I think that has been very much reflected in the views of the Australian people, despite the editorial in the newspaper—which I have to confess is normally a newspaper I quite like, but not so much today. But I cannot write the editorials myself.

Which comes as a surprise, since I've assumed for many years that Oz editorials are written, or at least proofread and edited by media lackeys at Lib HQ prior to publication.

I guess you can still ultimately interpret this editorial as pro-Howard in that it keeps the focus firmly on Downer. This same paper relished taking down Costello over the Gerard affair so one can still argue it's every bit the Howard lap dog it's always been.

But really, when even the Oz can acknowledge yet another government cover-up, you know it's moved beyond the defence of lefty/Fairfax conspiracy beat-up and into something undeniably tangible.

I'm sure none of this will stop the Oz from producing a glowing Vote 1 Howard editorial in 18 months' time - hell, the government's mates on the Fairfax board even managed to force the Age editors to write the most ridiculous (in the context of the Age's usual editorial line) Vote Howard editorial in 2004 and the Herald suddenly to refuse to endorse either party - but in the meantime I've never enjoyed going to the Oz website as much as I do right now.


At 30/3/06 12:38 pm, Anonymous queer girl said...

lol @ queer penguin.....cute!

At 30/3/06 4:14 pm, Anonymous Robert said...

Yes, I still love you and your insights



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