Re: columnists on the Bush Fires, a caution

To: Robert Inglis <>
Subject: Re: columnists on the Bush Fires, a caution
From: Evan Beaver <>
Date: Thu, 19 Feb 2009 11:54:50 +1100
Bob I'll admit I haven't read your whole post, but it's important to
draw a distinction between freedom of the press and freedom from lies
and bigotry. Just because the view is held by many, doesn't make it


On 19/02/2009, Robert Inglis <> wrote:
> John Leonard said:
> "I see that Miranda Devine has another screed on the Bush Fires and
> "greenies" in the online SMH.
> Whatever your views of Ms Devine and her views it is important to
> realise that newspaper columnists are now paid partly according to the
> number of clicks on their columns online. So it's not worth clicking
> on the column of someone you know you are going to disagree with
> merely to exercise scorn and contempt.
> On the other hand, click away on the columns of those writers you like!
> --
> John Leonard"
> and
> L&L Knight said:
> "I suspect that columnists such as the one you name function as societal
> bile ducts. Their role is to dissolve support for admirable things such as
> birds and bushland."
> and
> Alistair McKeough said:
> "I actively avoid Divine's columns at all simply because I know they'll be
> dripping with vitriol, entirely lacking in any journalistic merit and will
> just upset me.
> The only thing that would get me even remotely interested in Devine is if I
> was alerted to a threat that she might be threatening to cross breed with
> Andrew Bolt, in which case drastic action would be required.
> Alistair"
> I say:
> Wow!
> So much for:
> - freedom of expression;
> - freedom of speech:
> - freedom of the press;
> - listening to "the other point of view";
> - listening to a diversity of opinion.
> So much:
> - vitriol in some members of this group;
> - bias of thought;
> - bigotry;
> - intolerance of others opinions;
> - narrow-mindedness.
> I read Miranda Devine's original article (I was curious to see what was
> upsetting so many people in this group) and found it quite interesting and
> intriguing. Subsequent events and comments aired on radio and TV have
> indicated to me that many citizens of Australia have views similar to the
> ones stated by Devine in that article. Therefore it seems to me that she was
> justified in writing that article. I am sure she did not originate the topic
> but was simply reacting, as a journalist, to comments she had heard
> (possible not first-hand and therefore possibly not accurate) from some, at
> least, of those people directly affected by the fires.
> It is quite understandable that people affected by the fires will be looking
> for someone or something to blame and the environment-protection groups are
> the obvious choice. That is not to say that those groups are really to blame
> but they are, at the moment, the easiest and the most obvious ones to which
> to attach the blame.
> It will do no good what so ever to vigorously implore members of this group
> to ignore what people such as Miranda Devine are saying on this topic.
> People like her have a much wider audience than BirdingAus.
> It would be far better to encourage people to read those articles and to
> listen to the people saying the things Devine writes about and then
> examining why those views are prevalent.
> Listen to what is being said and produce valid arguments as to the "correct"
> point of view and then publically state them.
> Write to the papers and put forward your arguments to counter Devine's
> comments; tell the world what the "answer" is but don't encourage other
> people to maintain their ignorance.
> What happened on "Black Saturday" this year has been monumental and will
> continue to affect the fabric of the Australian society for a long time to
> come. What we want now is reasonable thought on the topic; we need to listen
> to all sorts of opinions on remedies for the factors which contributed to
> the disaster; we need to know how different people think about what has
> happened and we need to be open-minded. We don't need to close our minds,
> our eyes and our ears to what people are saying and thinking.
> If any of the BirdingAus members mentioned above have different points of
> view to Miranda Devine and the hundreds of people directly affected by the
> fires I would be glad to hear or read them so I can judge if they are any
> more sensible on this topic than that "accursed" journalist.
> Incidentally, I am not related to Miranda Devine (or Andrew Bolt) and I
> don't normally read the SMH.
> But I am glad to see that Devine has stirred up some emotions in this group
> but I wait now to see if sensible, reasoned argument will emanate from those
> so stirred.
> Note: Feel free to respond to what I have written above, but please note
> that I will not answer anything that I consider abusive, childish,
> ill-considered, frivolous, mean-spirited, etc.
> I am likely to respond to what I consider to be reasonable and sensible
> comments, provided it doesn't offend my own bigoted, biased, narrow-minded
> way of thinking.
> Cheers
> Bob Inglis
> Sandstone Point
> Qld
> It has been claimed that Confucius said "Learning without thought is labour
> lost; thought without learning is perilous." Think about it.
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Evan Beaver
Lapstone, Blue Mountains, NSW
lat=-33.77, lon=150.64

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