September 23, 2005

Crumbs, Crumbs, Crumbs

Another week and not enough time to write a dozen considered pieces on a dozen very important local and international topics. So instead I offer up a tiny trail of crumbs, just crumbs, and thence we will at least all find our way safely home.

Terrorism's Noisy Partner

A recent study into the effects of terrorism on the economy, and into the value of the free marketing provided by news reporting on terrorist activities, was, alas, confined to data from Israel. Professor Melnick basically found that terrorists invest very little, but they reap a spectacularly large bang for their buck, unlike most other small investors.

Non-fatal terrorist attacks have an immediate, but temporary effect on the stock market (hell, I’d never even thought of Israel and Palestine having a stock market!), while fatal attacks have a permanent effect on the market.

Intriguingly, Professor Melnick calculated the dollar value of the free advertising and marketing provided by news outlets to terrorists. Looking at a single year – 2002 - and not forgetting that he was only looking at a single country - his team calculated that the media in Israel had provided terrorists with about $US11 billion, or $14.3 billion, in Aussie dollars, of free PR. Yep, you just can’t buy advertising like that!

Commenting on his findings, the Prof bizarrely concluded that “The media acts like a silent partner to terrorism. The media benefits from terrorism – more newspapers are sold."

Silent? SILENT? SILENT? Just imagine the damage that all the journalists in all the MSM outlets of the world could do if they decided to make noise. Doesn’t bare thinking about, does it.

Dibber Dobbers

Meanwhile a local journalist was surprised that the Department of Immigration’s web site has an “illegals/dob-in-line”. Her main beef seems to be that this was not a professional manner in which to describe the service, with alternatives such as “report” or “alert” illegals being “correct” terms.

Lowbrow" and "whistleblower” were two of the words used in the headline, to help us peons understand that “dobbing” is not okay, but apparently “reporting” on someone has an air of authority, responsibility and exemplary citizenship about it – a bit like journalism really, now that I think of it.

Only secondarily did she note that “traditionally” Australians hate a dobber, and then bemoaned the bureaucratic encouragement of such.

Obviously she hasn’t paid much attention for the last few decades, since we long ago become a nation of dibber dobbers, a veritable bunch of little Cindys, each with a personal set of curly pigtails. There are so many dob-in lines that dobbing could keep a person busy from dawn to dusk.

Dob in water wasters, welfare cheats, suspicious people and packages, litter bugs, bad parents, smoky car exhausts, drug dealers, perverts, dirty restaurants, tax evaders, insider traders, illegal workers, terrorists, and so it goes. Pick your poison, and there’s a dob in line near you. Telling tales, real or imagined, real or revenge, has been quietly inserted and set like jelly into our everyday culture.

Stupidly, the journo in question cited the Rau and Solon cases as somehow being examples of the innocents who can fall foul of these dob-in crusades, obviously overlooking that fact that the only dobbing-in of either of those women occurred when both of their families dobbed them into a missing persons database.

Now, how about a dob-in-a-journo line, for all journo’s who can’t quite grasp simple facts. Then we can start adding menu selections, but don’t forget we can’t have more than 9 options on the dob-in-a journo line – some tough decisions will have to be made!

1 comment:

  1. I love these comments on news stories. They're very funny.

    But I can't find any links to the original reports. It would be good if you could link to them.