Kudos to John Quiggin

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Kudos to John Quiggin, not for winning the 2011 Distinguished Fellow Award from The Economic Society of Australia (even though that’s pretty impressive), but for winning the 2011 Distinguished glass jaw punching award, for his posts on the “mistakes, misleading headlines and outright lies” from The Australian. His prize is this lengthy article in The Australian by Michael Stutchbury on how Quiggin is a big commie. My favourite bit is this, where Stutchbury (who is economics editor at The Australian) denies that The Australian has been conducting a campaign against climate science

On climate change, Murdoch has backed giving the planet the benefit of the doubt.

Paddy Manning, who was working for The Australian at the time describes Stutchbury’s reaction to Murdoch’s announcement:

Then on May 9, 2007, apparently at the urging of son James, Murdoch announced News Corp would go carbon neutral by 2010. …

This put The Australian in a quandary. Mitchell’s then 2IC, Michael Stutchbury, was still freely describing climate change as “bullshit” and joked after the announcement, “What would the Murdochs know?”

If you choose to comment at Stutchbury’s piece, copy it here as well so we can see what gets blocked by the moderators at the glass jaw of the nation.

Update John Quiggin:

It has a bit of a phoned-in feel, and obviously wasn’t a spontaneous outburst – Stutchbury told me had been directed to write it. That’s part of the price of working for the Empire these days

Joshua Gans

The argument that “Quiggin is fine when he does his academic stuff but throws it all away when it comes to public discourse” is complete and utter crap. John is the most ruthlessly neoclassical economist I have ever met. He uses the tools of modern economics religiously in ALL of this work. And his point is that those tools can support government intervention as much as they are often used in naive, textbook form to support deregulation and market-based agendas. That is why he is so powerful in public debates. He argues on the terms of those who exploit economics as an ideology.

Update 2: Tim Dunlop:

Once again, The Australian’s self-obsession, their complete inability to engage in debate and instead resort to ad hominem, all-guns-blazing personal attack has seen them score a spectacular own goal.

Bernard Keane:

Plainly, Stutchbury, even if he was directed to prepare an attack on Quiggin (the now-standard self-defence for News Ltd journalists writing rubbish), is proud of working for an “agenda-setting newspaper”. The newspaper’s agenda happens to be one of rank partisanship against the party in office. In launching an attack on Quiggin’s credibility, Stutchbury has brought a water pistol to a gunfight.

Update 3 Paul Krugman:

The author of Zombie Economics has received a full sliming from the Murdoch empire. That’s a badge of honor.

Brad DeLong:

He now joins a select and impressive group–Emmanuel Saez down the hall and my ex-boss Alicia Munnell come to mind. Congratulations! This is indeed a great honor for John.

Comments

  1. #1 Sou
    August 1, 2011

    Here is my comment. I very much doubt it will be printed.

    Professor Quiggin is spot on in comments about the Australian’s appalling record on climate change. If ever there was a paper that was in denial it has to be the Australian. For every article explaining the topic there are 100 articles – or ‘opinion’ pieces that are so full of disinformation it would be laughable if it wasn’t for the fact that it is so damnable treacherous to our nation’s future stability, society and economy.

  2. The Murdoch Reich
    does bullshit like,
    and climate change
    doth them derange.

    – frank

  3. #3 Pierce R. Butler
    August 1, 2011

    Murdoch has backed giving the planet the benefit of the doubt.

    What are the charges against the planet?

  4. Pierce R. Butler:

    Murdoch has backed giving the planet the benefit of the doubt.

    What are the charges against the planet?

    Clue: I think you got the defendants’ identities totally wrong.

    – frank

  5. I can see it now…

    Judge: Does the defendant plead guilty to the charges of assault and battery?

    Defendant: Your Honour, I must point out that the knife I’d been holding has been unfairly convicted without a defence lawyer. Therefore, as an impartial judge — if I say so myself — I strongly favour giving my knife the benefit of the doubt.

    Judge: No, your knife isn’t on trial. You are on trial. Repeat: you are on trial. Do you, or do you not, plead guilty to the charges of assault and battery?

    Defendant: My knife is innocent! I demand a fair trial for my knife! A fair trial for my knife!

    Defendant’s lawyer: I’d like request that Your Honour recuse yourself from the trial, as you’re clearly biased towards the conclusion that my client’s knife is guilty of something it has no control over.

    Judge: It’s your client who’s under trial! Not his knife!

    Audience member #1: [shouts loudly] What crime is his knife being charged for? We have the right to know!

    Audience member #2: Aye! Death to the judge! Death to the judge! Disclaimer: that was meant metaphorically, really.

    [Prosecutor is asleep for some reason]

    – frank

  6. #6 chek
    August 1, 2011

    The charge is surely ‘codling with extreme prejudice’.

  7. #7 Brian
    August 1, 2011

    Murdoch may have backed giving the planet the benefit of the doubt but we have just had Joe Nova say in his flagship paper that we must give carbon dioxide the benefit of the doubt, so no prize for guessing who’s winning the battle at the Australian.

    I’ve always found Murdock’s position shows the height of human arrogance because it’s really the opposite – the planet gives humans the benefit of the doubt and I bet its wondering if it’s worth keeping us around.

  8. #8 bill
    August 1, 2011

    Re Frank @#5

    Sadly I recognise your scene!

    What both Kafka and Orwell failed to appreciate is that oppression would eventually become not just bureaucratic and barbaric, but ridiculous. We are being crushed by not just the usual corporate venality, but by its unholy alliance with Teh Stoopid, with the active connivance of much of the 4th estate.

    Science says 2+2=4, a few oil shills loudly proclaim the answer to be 5, and ‘balanced’ journalism suggests the answer lies somewhere between 4.4 and 4.9, sententiously proclaiming the right of the innumerate to an unending debate, and all the while congratulating itself on its Solomonic impartiality, …

  9. #9 Scribe
    August 1, 2011

    I posted this. I have little hope it will be published. I see the only comments published so far are fellatory.

    You say “the journalistic default should include some scepticism over whether scientists can accurately predict the climate decades ahead”. But what’s become known as “The Australian’s War on Science” has gone much further than that, as can be seen by the platform you have given, repeatedly, to AGW sceptics and deniers like Plimer, Nova, Kininmonth, Carter, and any other loon who refuses to join the mainstream scientific consensus. That, and the stream of articles aimed at sowing doubt in the public mind over the issue are irrefutable proof of the situation.

  10. #10 Scribe
    August 2, 2011

    Predictably, my comment was not published. I think the mention of “The Australian’s War on Science” was a red flag phrase to them. They may even have a script running to delete comments like that before it gets to the moderator!

  11. #11 fred
    August 2, 2011

    Submitted several hours ago and yet to appear.

    “Here we have illustrated a contrast of two opposites.

    Professor Quiggin’s article is clear, factual, well-reasoned and logical. It describes and explains the obvious and transparent bias of the “The Australian” and its partisan so-called ‘reporting’.

    This article by Mr. Stutchbury is the opposite with its plethora of ad hominens, tired culture war cliches, illogical jumps, it is divorced from reality, necessarily ignores a huge volume of evidence that the Murdoch media is partisan and biased and just utilizes apologetics for the spin of his employer.
    I don’t think Mr Stutchbury is sufficently self aware enough to realize that he was looking in his office mirror when he wrote his last sentence and that the accusing finger he was pointing was directed at himself and his newspaper.”

  12. #12 Jeremy C
    August 2, 2011

    > *the glass jaw of the nation*

    That is a wonderful line, a brilliant antidote to the A’s self important hubristic masthead.

  13. #13 Sou
    August 2, 2011

    John Quiggin said: Stutchbury told me had been directed to write it.

    That makes it worse, not better. Sutchbury is not just a journalist, he is an economics editor. Do editors have no integrity at all? It’s one thing to write what you think or want other people to think, it’s another thing altogether to admit you’ve sold your soul for the sake of a job.

    Sutchbury is lower than low, and The Australian is lower than that again.

    BTW – my comment did get published and most of the comments were lambasting the article. If Sutchbury approved them then maybe he’s just low, not lower than low :-)

  14. #14 Wow
    August 2, 2011

    > They may even have a script running to delete comments like that before it gets to the moderator!

    Send it a few times. It IS possible that they’re just not getting through like happens with scienceblogs.

    After a half-dozen or so attempts at wide intervals, the chance of a continuing problem being the cause diminishes drastically.

  15. #15 faustusnotes
    August 2, 2011

    Why do so many people on that comments thread misspell his name?

  16. #16 Tim Lambert
    August 2, 2011

    My comment didn’t appear either. Given the pasting the Oz is taking in the published comments, I can only imagine the number of critical comments that they didn’t let through.

  17. #17 john byatt
    August 2, 2011

    A Great back peddle from John Laws today,

    “a new study shows that human co2 emissions are 130 times that emitted from volcanoes, apparently its fact”

    His ego demanded that he appeal to it as being a new study

    one small step for mankind

  18. #18 Chris O'Neill
    August 2, 2011

    one small step for mankind

    and a giant leap for that man.

  19. #19 Jeremy C
    August 2, 2011

    The hold Murdoch’s organs has over Australia is largely imaginary and by that I mean we are ones who says his organs have power. If instead we ignored his organs or instead noisly demanded they prove what they say then I believe their influence would recede.

    Here in the UK one interesting aspect of the whole hacking and enquiry saga has been to see the sudden change in politician’s attitude. Nothing has physically changed with Murdoch’s UK operations, apart from the closure of the NOW and a few fall guy’s getting arrested…. so far… but suddenly the politicians are acting as though they have been released from Murdoch’s grip, nothing has changed just their perception.

    I think it would be good if Australia brought back something like the cross media ownership rules it used to have to limit and diversify media ownership.

  20. #20 Billy Bob Hall
    August 2, 2011

    What a small minded bunch you all are.

  21. #21 Jeffrey Davis
    August 2, 2011

    Would it be possible to give thumbnail descriptions (for your loyal — albeit foreign — readers) of who’s eviscerating whom among antipodean deniers. For instance, The Australian. Is it the Australian version of The New York Times (the astonishingly irrelevant former standard bearer) or more of a tabloid like The New York Post? etc.

  22. #22 quokka
    August 2, 2011

    #20 Jeffrey Davis

    The Australian purports to be a serious newspaper so I suppose it’s some sort of analogue of the NYT. Of the UK papers it’s most like the Telegraph or the Times. It’s definitely not a tabloid in the UK sense. It’s the only national daily newspaper.

  23. #23 Ezzthetic
    August 2, 2011

    Is it the Australian version of The New York Times

    I think it could best be described as one of Rupert Murdoch’s organs.

  24. bill:

    > Sadly I recognise your scene!

    > What both Kafka and Orwell failed to appreciate is that oppression would eventually become not just bureaucratic and barbaric, but ridiculous. We are being crushed by not just the usual corporate venality, but by its unholy alliance with Teh Stoopid, with the active connivance of much of the 4th estate.

    Indeed. But is it merely because the stupidity encountered by Kafka and Orwell wasn’t this … blatant? As you said, we’re witnessing an unholy alliance of Big Money and Big Stupidity. And that’s a very potent alliance indeed, much more so than the chiefly bureaucratic or chiefly ideological stupidity that Kafka and Orwell describe.

    – frank

  25. The bullshit ‘s strong,
    where monies throng.
    While Murdoch ‘s rich,
    the truth he ‘ll ditch.

    – frank

  26. #26 JohnL
    August 2, 2011

    Big Stupidity Are just useful idiots doing the bidding of Big Money and they’re too stupid to realize they’re being used.

  27. #27 Acacia
    August 2, 2011

    Cut and Paste links back to Quiggin in today’s bizarre assortment of posts.

  28. #28 John
    August 2, 2011

    It’s good to see C&P finally ridicule this “shifting agricultural zone” nonsense.

  29. #29 bill
    August 2, 2011

    The clear prime nominee for Big Stupid is the Tea Party, whose ideological commitment to the interests of its billionaire backers under the false-flag of a species of anti-intellectual, In-God-We-Trust ‘common-sense’ populism could scarcely be more blatant.

    But very similar movements are coalescing around AGW denial, Bolt, Jones, Nova, Abbott, the Murdochracy etc. in this country.

    There was certainly a hell of a lot of The Stupid around in Europe in the 30s, which was consciously exploited by elites. Those populations had to learn the very hard way indeed.

    However, what’s the excuse now? We have both the advantage of hindsight and excellent communications and educational systems. If people really can’t manage to be skeptical of – or are unable to even coherently identify – real power, and its abuses, now, are they ever going to manage it?

    What’s truly astounding about contemporary ignorance is that it’s essentially voluntary. And those unparalleled, undreamed-of communications systems are full-to-bursting with a wittering cacophony of undignified solipsistic squawking.

    So we’re apparently doomed to play out some queasy, PG re-run of the last days of the Weimar Republic, but re-scripted for a Big Brother audience! How ironic that Orwell’s grey, paranoiac vision should also have been so aptly retooled for the giddy, gaudy new Golden Age of Stupid…

  30. #30 Scribe
    August 2, 2011

    The Golden Age of Stupid won’t last too long.

    See “Who Killed Economic Growth” by Richard Heinberg (video, new).

  31. #31 Jeremy C
    August 3, 2011

    A few weeks ago at the beginning of the UK phone hacking saga Peter Mandelson wrote an article in the Guardian discussing UK new Labor’s links with the media during its time in government (FYI Peter Mandelson was a key figure in the Blair government first as the media architect of their winning electoral stragey in the 90′s then he was an effective minister when he wasn’t getting sacked for getting help with mortgages from rich friends).

    He set out the problem for british labor as having to get on side a press that was largely hostile to them (Guardian, Mirror and Independent excepted) and set it out as an ongoing management problem. A key point of management was Murdoch and News International. Reading it you could understand exactly where he was coming from.

    Zipping back home to Australia the Australian government has exactly the same problem especially in the context of climate change. How do they manage it? They have shock jocks, nothing like Alan Jones here in the UK, well perhaps in politics but not in reach or sheer belligerence. There are plenty of deniers in the Tory party but they don’t get media traction except in the daily Mail and the Dail Mail also prints stories on Astrology so that sort of kills dead their reach on denying climate change (memo to GetUp, try a covert operation to get the Australian to lead with stories proving Astrology is true, I feel an Ida Buttrose moment coming on, “Yeth”). I am trying to think of the last time I saw Monckton reported in the UK press or on television (even during the last election when UKIP were campaigning). The only time I have seen Monckton reported here is in stories about his Australia ‘tour’ e.g. in calling Garnaut a Fascist.

    The Australian government’s problem is how to manage *The Glass Jaw of the Nation* (Brilliant!, just brilliant!), The Telegraph, Jones et al when on the other side you have the wild and woolly news reporting of the ABC (I exclude 4C, Lateline, Mediawatch and 7.30) and the Fairfax stable of daily life style magazines that deceive themselves by claiming to be newspapers.

    Its bloody dfficult and I think Tony Windsor’s comment is right that Labor will lose the next election (though I hope not) and lets hope the legislation they put in place along with senate numbers means Mister little guy will continue his ongoing impotence and be unable to unpick what has been done (I doubt Mister little guy will try a DD to get rid of the Carbon Tax/ETS legislation because he would get hammered by us voters sick of elections and his impotent verbal ejeculations).

    With apologies to non Australian’s on this site.

  32. #32 Rick Bradford
    August 3, 2011

    > … lets hope the legislation they put in place along with senate numbers means Mister little guy will continue his ongoing impotence and be unable to unpick what has been done ..

    A wonderfully revealing summary of the Eco-Socialist mindset.

  33. #33 Jeremy C
    August 3, 2011

    Rickybabes,

    Lets just examine everything that Mister little guy has done over the past year and see if your jibe about Eco-Socialist stands up to scrutiny.

    Came close to winning an election against an-on-the-nose government by using lies and yelling – Impotence!

    Unable to negotiate and persuade conservative independents to join with him in a minority government against a, shock, horror, woman – Impotence!

    Has not been able to change the minds of the independents since then in one single little incidence – Impotence

    Unable to stop and shut up a key backbencher on his own side from giving an ongoing accurate a and killing public commentary on his direct action policy (i.e. giving over my tax payers money to rent seekers) – Impotence!

    Loses every vote in parliament when all he has to do is persuade one or two imdependents to shift seats on that particular issue – Impotence!

    Deliberately wont dismiss the agressive and destructive commentary that appears along side his campaigning on climate change measures e.g. “kill the witch” signs – Impotence!

    Seeks power by tearing down anything he doesn’t like, as Paul Keating so aptly described, “If-you-don’t-give-me-power-I’m-gonna-wreck-the-place…..Gee!-we-had-better-give-him-power-otherwise-he-will-wreck-the-place” – Impotence!

    Tells lies about the key issue facing Australia, AGW, and wont submit to questioning about this issue – Impotence!

    Enters races, cycles to show how virile he is etc, – very, very strangely Impotent especially as when last week a short little girly in my London swimming club swam around – Jersey (she has already swum Manhattan and the Channel) without any fuss or noise

    Goes around Australia seeking out workers to manufacture media stunts when its obvious the last thing he would do is talk to workers given Australia’s class system (far worse than here in the UK) – a Very Australian sort of Impotence!

    Can’t even get the UK primie minister to help him out as a fellow conservative – Impotence!

    So Rickybabes if you can give me any evidence that counteracts what I have listed then be my guest. Go to it!

  34. #34 chek
    August 3, 2011

    You’ll be waiting a long time.

    Like all reactionary parasites, all Ricky can do is impotently wail the signature words about his received fantasy version of “eco-socialism”. He’s never had to take his concept beyond the level one starting gate.

  35. #35 Tim Lambert
    August 3, 2011

    **Update 3** [Paul Krugman](http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/08/03/congratulations-to-john-quiggin/):

    >The author of Zombie Economics has received a full sliming from the Murdoch empire. That’s a badge of honor.

  36. Rick Bradford:

    > A wonderfully revealing summary of the Eco-Socialist mindset.

    Now that comment is, surely, a wonderfully revealing summary of the Stupidist mindset.

    It’s as if some people embrace Stupidity itself as a way of life, a moral code of conduct, and think that life isn’t worth living unless they’re constantly throwing out dollops of fact-free, logic-free bullshit such as the above. Maybe there’s a Stupidist Manifesto somewhere.

    – frank

  37. Jeremy C:

    > The Australian government’s problem is how to manage The Glass Jaw of the Nation (Brilliant!, just brilliant!), The Telegraph, Jones et al when on the other side you have the wild and woolly news reporting of the ABC (I exclude 4C, Lateline, Mediawatch and 7.30) and the Fairfax stable of daily life style magazines that deceive themselves by claiming to be newspapers.

    Good question. Makes one wonder what’s the government’s current media strategy, and how it contrasts with UK new Labour’s.

    – frank

  38. #38 Jeremy C
    August 3, 2011

    Tim,

    I think you have started a new trend, being done in by the Oz or the tele as a badge of honour or achievement.

    I.e. you go into a job interview and the panel asks you what do you consider your greatest achievement. You sit up straight, suck you stomach in look each one of them in the eye before replying, “I have been libeled/verballed/had-my-reputation-smashed/lied about by the Australian”.

    Each member of the panel relaxes visibly and the chair smiles and says, “madam/sir, your integrity is obviously beyond doubt and your accuracy must be of the highest order, the job is yours!”

  39. #39 johnL
    August 3, 2011

    Frank DSH,

    The Stupidist Manifesto is the Republican Party platform here in the US.

  40. #40 Philip Machanick
    September 2, 2011

    Having lived in various parts of the world, starting with apartheid South Africa, a real police state, the US, Australia and free South Africa, I am appalled at the pathetic standard of Oz newspapers, the national daily particularly. In the US, at least the quality papers like NY Times generally do a fair job of reporting and dissecting spin. In SA in the apartheid years a brave independent press revealed stuff we weren’t meant to know and that spirit lives on. The Oz is like a police state government newspaper in all but its ownership model. It substitutes propaganda for reporting, seldom bothers to separate opinion from news, and pushes the party line no matter how divorced from reality. Take a look for example at Mail&Guardian, which routinely has several in-depth investigative reports every issue. Why can a small paper in a developing country do quality reporting when one of the best-funded papers in the world as a Murdoch pet project undoubtedly is only write rubbish?