How Not to Be Fooled: Sources Say

Always Ask Who Is Saying It – and Why? Anonymous sources have become a media game of Chinese whispers. A Devil's Curmudgeon. In the dim, dark, pre-internet days, a journalist’s contact book was their prized possession. As veteran journalist Alex Mitchell recounts, his contacts “were the lifeblood of my professional life”. I still remember my …

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How Not to Get Fooled: Graphs

Data visualisations – “graphs”, to the unitiated – have been an incredibly useful tool for cutting through the fog of bias and misunderstanding to get at the facts. One of the most famous early data visualisations was John Snow’s graph plotting every case in the infamous Broad Street cholera outbreak of 1854. Snow’s dot map …

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Social Media is Dangerous for Freedom

The introduction of new communications technologies have almost always been heralded with almost absurd optimism. When television was introduced, for instance, it was predicted that this new technology would lead to a new golden age of education and information. Instead, audiences almost immediately flocked to light entertainment and, ultimately, Keeping up with the Kardashians. Similar …

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The Bogocalypse Brought to You by the Media

Instead of Criticising Panic-Buying, the Media Are Encouraging It Going shopping in Australia in 2020. A Devil's Curmudgeon. Nobody likes being proven wrong, journalists least of all. So, having just over a week before written that, “rather than ‘stupid’ ordinary people running around like headless chooks, it’s the supposedly ‘superior’, ‘educated’ elite who are doing …

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Shifty and the Cardinal: a tale of two investigations

In light of the recent unanimous High Court ruling, it seems a good time to post this Insight piece from last year. The U.S. vice president was ridiculed by the usual clown show of legacy media hacks and late night tv “comedians” for his so-called “Pence Rule”: never dining alone with any woman other than …

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