Tuesday, June 19, 2007

More Blair hubris ...

Poor Tim Blair received a much-deserved roasting on the Media Watch episode for Monday 18 June 2007. And isn't he absolutely livid!

Blair's blog today talks about how MW ...

... tackled major Australian media outlets - the Daily Telegraph, the Sydney Morning Herald, Brisbane’s Courier-Mail, Melbourne’s Herald Sun, the Murdoch-owned PerthNow, and this site - over the issue of online comments ...

Tim, since when did your infantile blog and its mainly in-bred comment authors represent a "major Australian media outlet"? Wouldn't it be more correct to say that you are a major media embarrassment for News Limited and Rupert Murdoch?

Tim, I'd love to see how much longer you'd last at News Limited if you and your friends started posting comments about Asians or Chinese being turned into compost. Or Jews. Or any other group.

Or do you think you are above the law? Do three decades of parliamentary consensus on racial discrimination laws not apply to you?

© Irfan Yusuf 2007

Daily Telegraph Opinion Editor defames Aussie author

Daily Telegraph Opinion editor Tim Blair and his openly racist cyber-friends have been having a field-day attacking one of Australia’s most promising children’s authors.

Blair lampoons the debut novel of Aussie lawyer and writer Randa Abdel Fattah Does My Head Look Big In This, which attempts to provide young readers with an understanding of the issues some young women face when deciding whether to don a head scarf for religious or cultural reasons.

Blair’s blog, recently exposed for moderating comments that effectively incite violence, talks about the author writing his own version which he claims is “tailored for the Middle Eastern market”.

The version ends with a young Muslim girl who takes off her hijab and is then shot dead by her family members. Blair and his colleagues then poke fun at this kind of violent honour-killing, as well as casting aspersions on the author and her ancestral culture.

The comments are certainly well-worth reading. Remember, these comments have been moderated by a man who holds a relatively senior editorial post in a major metropolitan newspaper. The contents of his blog do reflect on the Daily Telegraph, its management and News Limited.

© Irfan Yusuf 2007

Hands off Pell ...

The Greens’ Lee Rhiannon really is going too far by referring Cardinal Pell’s comments to some kind of parliamentary privileges committee to determine if he has engaged in “contempt of Parliament”.

Her comments on the composition of the committee (which will include Rev Fred Nile MLC) indicate she isn’t interested in a fair hearing for Pell but rather for the result to be known even before the committee meets.

Cardinal Pell’s views may not be popular and may be regarded as extreme by some, but he has every right to express them. Like any other voter, the Cardinal has every right to tell his elected representatives how he thinks they should vote on a particular issue.

In doing so, he also has the right to invoke any religious, ideological or other commonalities he shares with certain MP’s. Unlike the Exclusive Brethren, Cardinal Pell isn’t being secretive or under-handed. Rather, he’s come out in the open and expressed his views. He hasn’t acted illegally.

Pell’s views don’t represent a rolling back of democracy or imposition of theocracy. I don’t see signs of any papal guards marching on Macquarie Street anytime soon. I don’t see any inquisition being hatched at St Mary’s. I don’t see any stakes being hammered into the ground for a legislative witch hunt.

As I’ve written elsewhere, it’s true that many of those supporting him today are behaving hypocritically. And it’s also true that Pell is undermining some of the pompous posturing he has exhibited toward other religious congregations. However, this doesn’t mean he should be the subject of any official parliamentary inquiry.

By subjecting Pell to such an inquiry, all the Greens will achieve is more sympathy for the Cardinal. Whether this will translates into more support for his views on embryonic stem cell research remains to be seen. However, on this occasion, Rhiannon looks like imposing a kind of secular fundamentalism on Pell and other voters whose position on the issue is guided by what they see as Christian religious teachings.

Rhiannon should follow the advice she gives to other MP’s and leave her beliefs at home. What’s good for the clerical goose should be good for the Lefty socialist gander.

© Irfan Yusuf 2007