"It doesn't matter how beautiful your theory is, it doesn't matter how smart you are. If it doesn't agree with experiment, it's wrong." Richard P. Feynman

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Gina is a bloody heroine !

James Delingpole , British journalist and global warming skeptic, is an unashamed Gina Rinehart fan and wholeheartedly supports the mining magnate's campaign for representation on the Fairfax board. He compares her industry to the global warming scam industry and says her foray into the Fairfax media group is just what the doctor ordered. The Fairfax board is displaying all the financial acumen they used in sending the company broke when they turn away a white knight with very deep pockets.

Which of these makes a more useful contribution to the well-being of the world, would you say?
a) an industry which creates thousands of (very well-paid) jobs, brings in billions of dollars in export earnings, massively boosts economic growth, contributes greatly to the government's tax revenues and furnishes the world with an incredibly useful product essential to everything from bridge- and house-building to car manufacture to sauce pans to knives and forks.
b) an industry which depends for its survival on spreading fear and panic around the world – poisoning the minds of children, warping the outlook of adults – using a mix of junk science and propaganda with a view, ultimately, to slowing economic growth, rationing consumption, stealing freedoms, increasing taxes and regulation, and subverting the democratic process.
Hmm. Yes. I think so too.
As exhibit a) I present to you the Australian Iron Ore industry.
As exhibit b) I present the environment industry, as embodied by publicity stunts like Earth Hour and anti-jobs, anti-growth activist organisations such as Earth Hour's co-sponsors the World Wildlife Fund.
Now, which of those two industries would pose the greater threat were it to gain any kind of control over a large and influential media organisation?
Yep, assuming your answer was b) I totally agree with you. The mining industry is bound by any number of regulations and corporate and social responsibility strictures. It is legally bound to behaving honourably and scrupulously. Furthermore, if ever it were thought to be exploiting its media power by unduly blowing its own trumpet or printing thinly disguised propaganda, there is a multitude of instinctively left-leaning anti-capitalist journalists out there who would jump on it like a ton of bricks.
The environmental industry, on the other hand, is completely unregulated and, as it has shown time and time again, feels no obligation towards truth, decency or transparency – not least because of its sanctimonious belief that its cause is so just that however many lies it tells the noble end more than justifies the means. We have seen examples of this in everything from its exaggeration of the (virtually non-existent) threat to the world's polar bear population to the way (as reported by Donna Laframboise) its grey literature (ie propaganda) has done much to subvert the credibility of the Intergovernmental Panel On Climate Change's reports.
Good. Now we've sorted that one out we're in a better position to understand the significance of Gina Rinehart's move on Fairfax Media, as reported in today's Telegraph:
The Australian billionaire mining magnate, a staunch conservative who does no media interviews, has branded herself as a "white knight" trying to rescue the ailing – and liberal-leaning – Fairfax Media.
Mrs Rinehart recently moved to a 19 per cent stake in the company, just short of the 20 per cent mark at which she would have to launch a formal takeover bid. She has been vying for three board seats but has insisted that she should not have to abide by the company's charter of editorial independence.
In a statement to ABC Television, her company, Hancock Prospecting, said Mrs Rinehart was a potential saviour of the company and had started buying shares after its three biggest mastheads suffered long-term circulation declines.
"HHPL [Hancock Prospecting] has hoped that Mrs Rinehart may be viewed by the board as a successful business person and necessary 'white knight' with mutual interest in a sustainable Fairfax," the statement said. "However unless director positions are offered without unsuitable conditions, Mrs Rinehart is unable to assist Fairfax at this time."
As Andrew Bolt rightly notes Fairfax Media really doesn't have a leg to stand on here for at least three reasons.
1. Fairfax Media is broke. The days when publishing two of Australia's biggest newspapers – Melbourne's The Age and the Sydney Morning Herald – might have been a route to profit are long since over. If it were really such a spectacular business, entrepreneurs would be queuing up to buy it. But they're not. For Fairfax to try to impose terms and conditions in its current state is a bit like someone about to be pulled out of quicksand telling their rescuer: "Oh, and by the way, you do realise that I shall be charging you a hefty sum for all the satisfaction I've given you by allowing you to come over all heroic."
2. In business if you buy the controlling interest you buy the controlling interest. It's your property. You can do with it what you will: build it up or run it into the ground. The idea being put about by the Fairfax management and its lefty fellow travellers in the media that there is something unnatural or unethical about Gina Rinehart wishing to impose her stamp on her property would only make any kind of sense if you're of the Marxist persuasion that property is theft.
3. How can Fairfax possibly strive to present itself as a bastion of high reporting standards when – with the World Wildlife Fund – it has acted as co-owner and demented cheerleader of Earth Hour? This isn't journalism. This is political activism of the grossest, most embarrassing kind. Activism, furthermore, which is highly deleterious to the interests of most Australians. It's precisely this kind of hippy dippy, anti-growth, anti-free-market campaigning and scaremongering which led to the hated Carbon Tax which, from July 1, will be doing its bit to hamstring the Australian economy.
In a sane world everything I have just written would be so outrageously bleeding obvious it wouldn't be worth stating. Stuff like: "If you own something it's yours to play with as you will"; or "Industries that create value and boost growth are more useful than industries which generate nothing but hot air and fear": these shouldn't need spelling out to anyone with even the remotest understanding of the global free market which enables so many of us to live in nice comfy houses with flat screen TVs and central heating and the availability of hospital treatment which usually doesn't kill us, and so on.
Yet here we are instead in a world turned so ignorant, self-hating and wrong that not just thwarted lefty journalists but a host of celebrities too actually believe that there is some merit in the argument that a failing left-wing media organisation should be permitted by some special charter arrangement to go on spewing drivel regardless of the bottom line or who owns the business or whether the readership gives a damn anyway:
In a letter to Fairfax's Melbourne newspaper, The Age, a range of prominent Australians including Malcolm Fraser, the former prime minister, Nobel Prize-winning scientist Peter Doherty and the actor Geoffrey Rush today urged the Fairfax board not to abandon the charter.
And the fact that we live in this World of Stupid is precisely what makes Gina Rinehart's move on Fairfax both so heroic and so very necessary. It's heroic because so few business people put their money where their mouth is these days, never championing free markets when they can do better via cosy regulatory stitch-ups with big government instead. And it's very necessary because, as I argued yesterday and will no doubt many times again, the world economy is on the brink of a precipice.
The things that have brought us to the edge of that precipice are the things that Gina Rinehart has spent her business career opposing: over-regulation; destructively high taxes; bureaucracy; government meddling; and insane overspending by the state.
Gina Rinehart is doing what all business people should be doing, but which so few of them are. She is sticking up for the free market system which is the only way we're all going to get of this mess in one piece. Gina Rinehart is a totally bloody heroine – and Australia should count itself very lucky to have her. As should those wretched ingrates at Fairfax Media.

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