UNLESS Mrs Rinehart happened to be in Victoria last night and in sore need of an emetic, there is little chance she caught the weekly Victorian edition of 7.30. This is a great pity, as any slight temptation she might entertain to sign that fabled Fairfax charter of editorial independence would have vanished faster than China-bound cargoes of Gaia-raped ore dip beneath the horizon. The segment on Fairfax was ABC-predictable, especially in the unintended irony of its juxtaposition. First, a dignified older gentleman, Mr Malcolm Schmidtke, was called upon to reference the Phage’s glory days and also to recall the public outcry that met Conrad Black’s brief dalliance with the company in the 1980s. Public support was intense, Schmidtke recalled, adding that money “arrived in buckets” to fund a rebel staff’s ads against the incoming owner.
That was the Phage of then. The ABC’s next source of journalistic rectitude was enviro-crusader Melissa Fyfe, whose tax returns list her occupation as “journalist”. One of her first utterances was very good news indeed: If Mrs Rinehart declines to sign away editorial control of the company she is buying and hoping to save, Ms Fyfe let it be known that she would quit, most likely – her use of the conditional perhaps reflecting the tardiness of ABC mates in coming through with firm offers of future employment.
But the fascinating part of the interview, the one Mrs Rinehart should not miss, came at the 4:30 mark, when Fyfe was asked about the importance of the charter. Here is her response:
“What we don’t know about Gina Rinehart is her true intentions with Fairfax. She hasn’t really said very much, she has, obviously, got particular views about mining, about climate change.”
Fyfe then went on on to explain exactly what her variety of “quality journalism” entails:
“I’ve been committed to doing journalism, a lot of journalism, around climate change, for example, and I would find it quite disturbing, for example, if I was told we couldn’t do that anymore. That would be very disturbing for me and, I’m sure, for our readers.”
So what sort of journalism does Fyfe believe to be in so much need of editorial protection? Why, advocacy journalism, of course, as the introduction to the compendium of paeans to wind and solar investment she penned while jogging down the east coast to raise awareness of climate change leaves no doubt. Yes, when it comes to pushing the catastropharian creed, Fyfe goes that extra mile (or thousand):
In the lead-up to December's Copenhagen climate talks, 35 emergency services workers are running from one end of Australia to the other. Sunday Age politics reporter Melissa Fyfe joins their journey, supported by The Age, as they meet the nation's leading climate experts and explore the latest developments in clean energy.
Here are just two examples of the work Fyfe believes readers of a Rinehart-controlled Fairfax may not see in quite so much gushing profusion. There are plenty of others, but the footy is about start and first things come first at the Billabong:
This technique, said [ANU’s Dr Keith Lovegrove], could see Australia use its massive solar resource to export clean fuel to countries such as Japan … "what we need to do is shift the Australian economy so that we get an equivalent income from an export to what coal gives us at the moment."
Well, Fyfe gets her wish on July 1, when the carbon tax comes in. We’ll all pay more for everything in order to make the blue-sky technology she favours somewhat more competitive. As for the Mildura solar array that so impressed Fyfe, it continues to burn public monies without, so far, producing a solitary volt.
When coral scientists first looked at the impact of global warming on reefs, they focused on rising sea temperatures and bleaching. This is still a concern and likely to impact large parts of the Great Barrier Reef, but the scientists now believe ocean acidification could be the process that will push the world's reefs to the edge.
That edge may be quite some distance from the present if Townsville’s Institute of Marine Science is to be believed. It seems the reef is doing quite nicely, as James Delingpole recently confirmed.
Schmidtke observed that public support for the Age luvvies’ campaign against the one person who might preserve their newspaper seems not to be much in evidence. The activism of Melissa Fyfe and others may have something to do with that.