The year that ends today was remarkable for one thing on the media front that has gone largely unnoticed: the fall from grace of one of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation’s brightest stars who has long been a standard-setter at the country’s national broadcaster.
Sarah Ferguson was the journalist’s journalist, seemingly a woman of fierce integrity, and one who pandered to neither left nor right. When she sat in for Leigh Sales, the host of 7.30, the main current affairs programme, for six months while Sales was on a maternity leave break, the programme seemed to come to life as she attacked politicians with vigour and fearlessness.
There was bite in her speech, there was knowledge, there was surprise aplenty. Apart from the stint on 7.30, she brought depth and understanding to a long programme on the way the Labor Party tore itself to bits while in government for six years from 2007, a memorable TV saga.
Continue reading All your gods have feet of clay: Sarah Ferguson’s fall from grace
Two failed bids for the presidency notwithstanding, it looks very much like Hillary Clinton is intent on making a bid to be the Democrat candidate for president in 2020.
That is possibly the only reason why she continues to scour the world for opportunities to gain publicity, instead of accepting that she was beaten fair and square in the 2016 elections and retires from public life.
Clinton was on the Australian ABC TV channel on Monday night, getting a soft interview with the normally ferocious Sarah Ferguson which ran for all of 50 minutes.
Continue reading Hillary Clinton should disappear into the sunset
The breast-beating in the US isn’t over, not by a long shot. All those experts who were proven wrong in their pre-election pronouncements are continuing their quest to try and show that they were not really wrong.
Among them is Nate Silver, once known as the man who never got anything wrong, and now known as the god who failed. Silver is still continuing to analyse statistics to try and show that he was actually quite correct in his predictions even though he was totally wrong.
Not for nothing is there a hue and cry over fake news in the US.
Continue reading Trump’s detractors still trying to prove their worth
Donald Trump was elected US president on November 8 but nearly three weeks later, people do not seem to have gotten over it.
The cries of woe and anguish continue to be heard in the American media and elsewhere, many of them from the same pundits who never saw it coming.
About the only two prominent Americans who genuinely canvassed a Trump win were the filmmaker Michael Moore and the cartoonist Scott Adams. They made their predictions long before the polls, and stuck true to them right to the end.
Continue reading Donald Trump won. Just get over it
I have a friend who has been living in the US for the last 30 years. He is an intelligent, rational person who is widely read. We have been close friends for the last 37 years.
He is one of the people who will be voting for Donald Trump on November 8. He went to the US on an H1-B visa.
He wrote what follows, well before Trump’s comments on women came to light. Read, judge if you wish, but ponder: if reasonable, sensible, middle-class people come to these conclusions, there must be something terribly wrong with the social system in the US.
Continue reading Donald Trump has sane supporters too
As the US election process approaches its endgame, there are growing fears that the candidate whom many see as the less attractive of the two available options will end up winning.
This is a legitimate fear. Nobody thought that Donald Trump would end up as the Republican presidential nominee when the whole process began. And given that Hillary Clinton is not exactly the most popular of Democrat nominees, the fears are even greater now that her opponent may end up being inaugurated on January 20.
But in the process, simple logic appears to have deserted the so-called thinking classes in the US and in many other countries. Journalists, politicians, community leaders, sportspeople – they all seem to think that if they speak out about the foibles they see as being the entirety of Trump, then they will be able to influence others to come over to their side and ensure a Clinton win.
Continue reading Logic will not help to defeat Trump
It is difficult to think that a company like Comedy Central, which has been so successful in commissioning comedy shows that satirise the news, could make a mistake like it did in 2015 when it let Jon Stewart go with an election around the corner.
It is impossible to believe that the company could not have persuaded Stewart to stick on and go after the November 8 voting took place this year. Perhaps it thought that its choice of replacement, South African Trevor Noah, would be able to find his groove after a few months.
In media outlets here and there, the reason advanced for bringing in a younger host is said to be the need to attract a younger audience; the argument made is that Stewart’s audience was mostly a 45+ demographic while Noah, just 31 at the time he took over, would pull in the crowd below 40, a group that the management deems to be a wealthier demographic and what it needs as it looks to the future.
Continue reading Comedy Central screwed up badly by appointing Trevor Noah
Right now, the whole of the US seems to be obsessed with Donald Trump, someone who was never considered likely to be a challenger for the Republican nomination for this year’s general election.
In the process, the US has forgotten that it claims to be a democracy. Trump may not be the best person to be a candidate for the presidency but then in a democratic system, the people’s choice is meant to prevail.
After the so-called Super Tuesday primaries, it became apparent that Trump would be a serious contender for the Republican nomination. With every subsequent contest, he has solidified his position and now looks a near certainty.
Continue reading Democracy has its downsides, but it’s the best system we have
When Serena Williams loses, we should all rejoice. And more so when the loss comes as she is heading for a major achievement.
Serena is so wrapped up in herself that she was describing the calendar Grand Slam which she was trying to achieve as a “Serena Slam”. Can anyone be more egotistical?
Thankfully for all humanity, an Italian player by the name of Flavia Pennetta got in the way of Serena’s ambitions and dumped her from the US Open.
Continue reading Serena Williams has lost and we should all rejoice
When a prime minister has discovered that only one tactic — ratcheting up the fear factor — helps to boost his poll numbers, and his poll standing is desperately low, what does he do?
Tony Abbott has made a profession of demonising asylum-seekers and Muslims and pretending that the world faces an existential threat from the terrorist Islamic State group.
In recent times Abbott has gone back to similar tactics. First, he engineered a “request” from the US, for Australia to join in air strikes on Syria.
Continue reading Abbott ratchets up the fear factor to boost poll standings