ALL THIS rain and lovely climate we've been having here in Melbourne, well the garden has gone berserk, so when connectivity went all wobbly in the late morning there was no excuse for leaving the wheelbarrow in the shed one more day. The place now looks quite spiffy, all mulched and trimmed, and just to cap off a day of exertion, five loads of laundry wait to be folded. Underpants will very soon be back in fashion at the Billabong.
As for others' laundry, let's just say some fresh, clean sets of smalls would seem to be called for.
At Fairfax, it was news of a massive profit slump which must have prompted immediate incontinence. That, and the sotto voce announcement, largely unheard amidst the analysts' laments for a dying business, that the Age will no longer be distributed to "remote" areas. As the newspaper's comfort zone apparently runs no further than Elwood to Northcote, anyone in Preston or beyond will now be forced to settle for the daily edition of El Bairak.
Expect the Age's new distribution map to be finalised shortly, just as soon as executives decide if it should include Altona, Point Cook and Lara, where one of the fourteen full-time reporters covering all the good things about wind turbines once had a flat tyre. When rescued, she reported observing people who spoke English and might enjoy gravalax, but management remains unconvinced, according to sources inside Media House. The tentative plan allows a boutique delivery of Melbourne's journal of record only to the Werribee electorate office of the current prime minister, the one person in that suburb deemed sufficiently evolved to share the paper's perspective on things.
And while fresh Cottontails are being broken out, the big girls at News Ltd could certainly use some. Last year it was Glenn Milne's ouster for daring to wonder if a 35-year-old lawyer really should have figured out she was sleeping with a shakedown artist, the distraction of all those pretty, free frocks from Town Mode notwithstanding. Before that, the lacklustre handling of Andrew Bolt's defence, followed by the shameful decison not to appeal Judge Mordy's abomination of a ruling. News is spending millions to defend or settle cases arising from the News of the World scandal. Could it not have found some small change to fight for free speech?
And today, well there was a fresh pong of compliant fecklessness about News when the Australian published the apology of a reporter who regretted being verbally aggressive with our PM. Is News Ltd getting twitchy about the Media Inquiry's upcoming report and recommendations? One would hope not, but there is a developing pattern of bahaviour -- and that is why all who care about free speech and the open contest of ideas should feel their own bowels begin to creep.
Imagine, and it is not hard, that Fairfax goes to the wall. What are we left with? A company that runs scared when government scowls. God help us if that is the case. Fairfax does not deserve to be preserved on the strength of recent achievements, which are negligible, but for its potential to once again hold our leaders' feet to the fire. Who knows, that approach might even sell a few copies in those "remote" areas the paper no longer sees as being worth its while.