Re: Shearwaters and media hype and Drongo's

Subject: Re: Shearwaters and media hype and Drongo's
From: "Night Parrot" <>
Date: Sat, 28 Oct 2000 06:04:07 GMT
Dear Grandpa!

Aye aye aye, now settle down there! You know I got into your bourbon while you were away, but what ever it is you dug up in the cellar to replace it, leave it alone before you kill somebody!

Diatribe came second today, so leave the pot stirrn around here to me.

But just incase you catch up with me first, I want some of it too!

Missn you Pa

From: John Gamblin <>
To: Andrew Stafford <>
CC: Birding-Aus <>, Hilary Richrod <>
Subject: [BIRDING-AUS] Re: Shearwaters and media hype and Drongo's
Date: Fri, 27 Oct 2000 20:54:42 -0700 (PDT)

Dear Messrs Morris, Stafford and Co.

I am disgusted at your attitude to well meaning
benevolent people of this list. Please don't tell this
grandfather how to suck eggs?????

Andrew Stafford I too shear (:-]) away from the
newspaper print media as much as possible due to big
stories sell big volumes correct? but when an unusual
occurrence does occur then what would you suggest? act
like the 1945 Mayor of Hiroshima? who I believe said
and I quote " Citizens of our fine city the Americans
are lying then do not have the Ato .............. dead
air after that.

Andrew Stafford <> wrote:

Hi all,

While not wishing to understate the possible
significance of the reported numbers of Short-tailed
Shearwater washed up on the Australian coastline
this spring, I agree with Allan Morris that birders
should try to keep the event in historical

Excuse me but the very fact you HAVE waded into this
debate and in fact are trying to do the very thing you
profess you do not wish to do then, and on the side
you chosen means you DO wish to play the story down?
correct? About four decades back, whilst in my earlier
years (aged 23) a story broke in Cornwall UK, you may
remember this? or perhaps your too young? anyway it
was the beginning of the Torrey Canyon small oil
spill, small oil spill as first reported by the print
media? re: small. I don't think I have to remind you
of the follow up and following events.
But I gladly will if you wish?
In more recent times in the North West of the USA just
off the pacific coast? they had a red algal bloom?
would you remember that by chance? seems to me if we
dash about this planet sinking oil spills at sea which
will only live on the ocean floor for a relative short
period of time then guess what? This item too was
placated down by the likes of people such as yourself.

Speaking as a former journalist, birders should treat
some of the more disaster-prone reportage with real

Would you care to elaborate? I know of not one wild
bird rehabilitator that thinks it's not best to always
be on their toes? former journalist eh? which world
wide circulation daily newspaper would that happen to
be with? the uppacumbuckta gazette?

The whole point of news and current affairs is that it
is, by definition, crisis-driven.

Not all my friend especially the people of Oz and
their fine under funded ABC.

If there is no crisis, then one has to be invented or
at least exaggerated. This is how it works. So it is
all too easy to focus on any amount of oil found in a
birds' stomach without considering other possible

Excuse me but what was the impression you gave your
editor of the stories you put out?

I ask birders to think more critically about the
information they receive before jumping on the crisis

Is there one? are you not stating there is one?

Why is it only Short-tailed Shearwaters that have been

Perhaps just at thee perfect moment they swooped down
to consume some dead or dying fish? just a tad below
the water line. These fish that had eaten the badly
contaminated red algal bloom and hey presto ......
just how much investigative English style journolism
did you do?

Allan Morris' explanation seems to me by far the most
likely, but it's also the least sexy from an editor's
point of view.

Your an or were an editor I'm stunned but then that's
where I live?

This brings me to the 7.30 Reports piece on the loss
of our avifauna the other night. Evidently, the
phylogenetic species concept has become entrenched in
media circles, otherwise it would not have been
possible for Kerry O'Brien to claim that Australia is
blessed with more than 1200 bird species.

We did have? coooeeeee that's past tense my friend?
we did 1,200 species

Naturally, I believe we should endeavor to preserve
the greatest diversity of our fauna and flora, right
down to ultrataxa if possible, but I'm wary of the
media's propensity towards crisis coverage.

Perhaps we should investigate Newspaper Journo's
editors and alike to see where their financial
investments lie and for that matter why not all who
wish to placate ...

Of course, the bottom line is that we ARE in danger
of losing many species, particularly in our
agricultural areas west of the divide, and that is a
very serious problem. I'm not advocating a soft-pedal
approach. But science must be intellectually rigorous
if it's to be credible. Our mass media is ruled
collectively by two things: deadlines and commercial
imperatives. Well-intentioned birders would be well
advised to think carefully about how much faith they
are prepared to place in such an institution.



Thank you Andrew for your attempting to play down the
real story? if you would care to give me your mailing
address then I will as quickly as possible crochet a
shaw, nightcap and woolen booties for you I'm sure
they must have given you a rocking chair for your
retirement, like myself. I might even scrounge up some
money for a packet of HOT drinking chocolate for you.
There is a favorite spot close to me here called
ninety mile beach? you may have heard of it? luckily
untainted by oil at thee moment? it would be ideal for
the pastime of burying heads in the sand I feel?

No wonder we Oz had to create Senators that protect

John A. Gamblin

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