Tuesday, 8 August 2006

Lateline needs a dictionary

Don't ask me why, but I watched a bit of lateline last night and saw Tony Jones having a go at Amanda Vanstone. It was liking watching a baby penguin gumming a blue whale. (Given that penguins have beaks, is "beaking" a word? How do you describe little squishing beaks though?)

There was an exchange that went something like this:

Jones: "This document contains many disturbing facts, Minister".

Vanstone: "They are allegations, not facts, and they have not been proven".

Jones: "Well the allegations contain facts and they may or may not be true".

Sorry Tony, but a fact by definition is "true". A "true fact" is a tautology. An "untrue fact" is something that does not exist. I think it is called a "falsehoold". You can't say that a fact may or may not be true.

I watched about 10 minutes of this gumming and went to bed.

Got up this morning to find that the SMH had run a story on it. They condensed the whole interview down to: Asked if she would investigate the cases of the two named people said to have died, she told the ABC's Lateline: "I'll have a think about that."

Well, actually she said a lot more than that, and although I am no fan of Vanstone, I think she did a decent job of kicking Tony Jones in the balls. I thought she demolished his case pretty well. Then again, I am not a political junkie, so there might be some finely nuanced things that I missed that meant that Jones won the debate on points. To me, it looked like he went down in flames.

Anyway, trust the SMH to come out with a line that makes Vanstone look like a totally heartless cow. It failed to mention that the Immigration Dept had asked the mob who had done the report claiming people who had been killed to provide evidence on a number of occasions going back to May, and none had been forthcoming. I don't blame her for saying "I'll think about it". If some bunch of sods ran around making allegations, and then didn't provide any details that would allow them to be checked, and ran off to milksops like the ABC who will parrot their stories no questions asked, then I'd tell them to sod off. I thought Vanstone was very polite.

No comments: