Friday, December 10, 2010

"What's in a name? " William Shakespeare... "Bugger all" Typo Gleeson.

More on the faceless side of the the Townsville Astonisher shortly, but first …

While doing a little back-reading for this week's load of great steaming garden fertiliser, The Magpie was astonished - well, after all, the article was in the Daily Astonisher - by a frank and somewhat personal utterance of Townsville City councillor Ray Gartrell when talking about the water charging issue.

Quoth the Daily Twaddle:  "
Cr Ray Gartrell admitted concern had been widespread but people just needed to be more aware of their water usage.
"My family enjoys long showers so we'll have to watch it," he said."
Huh, pardon?

Look, what anyone does in their own home is their business, but the thought of Ray and his nearest and dearest all sudsed up and gambolling about under the streaming water playing Catch The Palmolive is an image to make one wish for a memory delete button. And by the by,  `… we'll have to watch it'? Hmmmm, `it?' … delete!

On the other hand, if Ray wants to promote this apparent water-saving gambit to other thrifty but fun-loving families in these tough financial times, he could perhaps do so under the slogan `The family that soaps together, copes together'. 

The Magpie came across this unexpected but heart-warming glimpse of private life while checking out a few matters regarding the old bird's new role soaring around the blogosphere. That was a move made necessary by leaving the paper after eight years, a resignation brought about through the disappointment with the editorial direction and blatant dishonesty of the newspaper which previously had served the community so well. 

The Magpie had been proud to scribble for the Bully until the editorial wheels started to come off about a year ago. The old bird remains convinced that the Bulletin will be restored to the position of trust and strong circulation it once enjoyed when there is a more experienced and objective hand on the helm.
But about the bird and his blog.

It transpires that on October 8 last, the editor of the Townsville Daily Astonisher, Peter `Typo' Gleeson, lambasted an anonymous blogger for being … well ... anonymous, in one of the more thigh-slapping editorials yet seen in the paper. (The Magpie knows that's a big call, it's such a crowded field).
In a classic `playing the man not the ball' ploy, `coward'  was among the derogatory schoolyard words used to describe all bloggers, but it was clear there was just one target of this diatribe, the bloke at Blogging Townsville. He's been a thorn in the thin-skinned side of Typo's ego for quite a while now.
Now there are a few things that are passing strange about this. 
Not the least of these is the fact that this editor, who is presiding over a disastrous slide in circulation - The Bulletin has lost something of the order of 4.2% circulation in the last quarterly audit - is still willing to insult probably about 75% of the readers, that is, those who are bloggers under another name.
And yet he gleefully (no pun or fun intended) runs a page of illiterate and often legally dangerous text messages with nary a real name in sight. 
And when any newspaper gets an anonymous tip from the blogosphere, there doesn't seem to be too much whingeing then. 
And we can only assume that Typo wrote the editorial, because it doesn't automatically follow that the editor is the author - although he must agree with the sentiments therein. At least five or more other people have written or do write editorials for the Astonisher, including on a couple of rare occasions …ta da! … The Magpie. But we don't know actually for sure who wrote it, so wouldn't that make the unattributed editorial … umm ... anonymous?
There is also the matter that Typo and the editorial management know full well who this cowardly blogging bloke is, after a bit of techno sleuthing by his boys out the back. And since all News Ltd outlets staunchly defended the much criticised outing of Canberra's blogging public servant Grogs Gamut by The Australian, surely if Typo knows who this bloke is, he should follow company policy and `out' him. Especially after the shrill rending of garments, gnashing of teeth and stamping of feet until blue in the face expressed in the editorial? Or was this just some extravagant grandstanding by a pouting showpony bowing to a management directive? 
But the best is yet to come, because this blast came from a newspaper - the only one of which The Magpie knows - which regularly uses the letters page ploy of long rants, sometimes even political ones, ending with `name and address supplied'. 
In other words, `anonymous'. 
This is a power that is generally used by newspapers in the rare cases of a sexual victim wishing to speak out (it's illegal to name such  persons, anyway), and any other use raises the suspicion that the editorial management needed a bit more space to beat a particular pet drum. `No, oh, deary me, heavens to betsy, no', you cry, Typo, but how would we know?
And from the most prominent exponent of this highly questionable practice, the editorial manager Ann `Attila The Hen' Roebuck, there is no understanding of this ethical problem, when she shrills something along the lines of `What nonsense, I always knew who the writer was when I did the letters page'. So you say, me old chook, so you say, but there is no real ethical reason why the readers shouldn't know either, except to placate your own over-exercised sensibilities ... or the editor's need for extra space to accommodate his ever-expanding `big bang' between his ears.
All that aside, let's just allow The Bulletin dig it's own `anonymous' grave. 
Just this week, we have a story quoting an anonymous uni student bleating about a very tenuous conclusion about something or other which - despite the screaming headline and sensationalised treatment of what was revealed in the final paragraphs barely a story at all - scarcely merited the shock-horror status suggested by its presentation. If you've got the time to waste, read the story here.  
This overblown tripe is not so much the over-worked journo's fault, since they get their over-bearing riding orders from one Lendl Ryan, who has managed to make the office of Chief-Of-Staff into the Chief-of-Stuff, a person in charge of a literary (ha!) sausage factory. This over-promoted pup's motto, as told to a bemused Magpie, is `it's a lead story if I say its a lead story'. This is legendary nonsense - that a story should be written to `lead length' (35 column centimetres) rather than it's merit as investigated by the reporter.
This sort of sophistry ranks with Editor Typo's double standards on anonymity. Check out this story from September 28, in which you will see an elected public official … a councillor … demanded and was granted anonymity (we're talking here of an elected official, folks, you know, the ones we pay to be on our side) and isn't identified at all. However, the mystery man or ms. conveniently spouts the paper's politically-spun line. 
And this was before all the twaddle about cowardly secret bloggers in the editorial. 
So how do you spell hypocrite? "That's easy," cries Typo, "it's h-i-p-p-a-c-r …err - i-t-t. Ummm, I think. Oh, what the hell, that's close enough, put it in."
And while there's plenty more where this came from, The Magpie would like to repeat his 'mission statement' (ugh!) already laid out elsewhere in this blog:
`… The Magpie's Nest is not about to become some sort of obsessed Bully bashing blog. However, the paper is a powerful public forum, and so is worthy of scrutiny and comment when merited. Just like any other person or institution which can influence our lives and is willing to filter the information we have a right to know'.
And there's plenty more you need to know that you are not told by Ogden Street bunker under it's current management. Stay posted.
Enough now, it is away to Poseurs' Bar, where The Magpie hopes to be-bubble a comely companion, and quote some Willy Shakespeare to her along the lines 
`What's in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name, would smell as sweet'.  
Which is always a good line with someone named Hortense, and may be of assistance  later when she is invited back to the nest, for some good clean fun. Using - heh, heh, heh - the Gartrell method, of course. 


  1. I read this para,
    "This sort of sophistry ranks with Editor Typo's double standards on anonymity. Check out this story from September 28, in which you will see an elected public official … a councillor … demanded and was granted anonymity (we're talking here of an elected official, folks, you know, the ones we pay to be on our side) and isn't identified at all. However, the mystery man or ms. conveniently spouts the paper's politically-spun line. "
    .....and thought, yep, one eyed hypocrisy "Magpie" style. From a bloke who has run anonymously whatever line David Crisafulli has fed to him for the life of the Magpie column, to the extent that he would be better describing his column as advice from the "Son of Menzies as provided by the grandchild of Menzies", this para would have to take the cake. Delusional, double standards, too much bile.
    The Magpie column fitted the previous management and editorial push to get rid of Mooney at the last local government election (and Labor generally) but the new editor appears less biased……or can at least recognise a disaster as it unfolds at Council. An example of this lack of bias is the balanced and generous coverage given to the chief deserting rat and cherished Magpie informant as he seeks a higher level of elected position from which to inflict the type of government he has brought to Townsville city council.
    Get a formal job with the LNP as opposed to the informal one you have been allowed to get away with as the “Magpie” and be done with your whinging.

  2. Well done the Magpie. I have long lamented that the Bulletin is such a light weight and trivial newspaper, and does not have a competitor. I get it as it is the only local paper. I whis I had a choice.

  3. On ya 'pie.

    I see that Anon likes to drop comments in your nest too! I've received two comments from the Anon who works at the Bully (not the same as your Anon, I think) trying to out me. They’re the only two comments I’ve ever censored.

    You would have thought that if 'Typo' Gleeson were going to out me, he’d at least have the decency to do it in his own rag (anonymously of course).

    All strength to the bloggerhood

  4. Nicole from AnnandaleDecember 12, 2010 at 12:05 PM

    Magpie, so great to have found you on your blog. Saturday morning reading in our house is restored to the enjoyable past time it used to be. This week's column is a right cracker - and gets even better when we read the comments! I refer to the Anonymous whinging about anonymous tipoffs, getting personal with a whine about 'delusional' and 'bile' but not having the GUTS to identify themselves.
    We reckon it's got to be someone at the paper, or maybe a pollie. Going by the writer's command of grammar and syntax, it's not someone at the paper.
    We also reckon it's someone who hasn't been reading you for years, if it were they would know you stick it up politicians of all persuasions.
    Keep up the good work Magpie - you're obviously getting to them!!

  5. My guess is 'Anonymous' is someone who doesn't like to answer telephones.