Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Money Talks... and Lies.

"Pinocchio lies and his nose grows".
Carlo Chiostri (1901) [A]
Alright, it's nice to hear this ("Wealthy More Likely to Lie or Cheat, Study Finds" SMH/Bloomberg, 28-02/2012), backed by what seems properly conducted and published research. (See here)

But let's face it, folks, it's not like that is a surprise.

Barely a couple of weeks ago I reported here on a paid PR campaign to distort the public debate on weather change.

"Bullshit! That's at most just in the US", our Australian exceptionalist, right-of-centre friends would shout dripping patriotic indignation. "In Oz things are different. We play cricket, drink beer and Aussie chicks are better looking".

Which is largely true, but irrelevant.

Those PR campaigns, it would be remembered, seemed to point to Oz, too.

But, let's not fool ourselves, that wasn't the first case of PR campaigns of misinformation designed to force the Australian government's hand.

That's pretty much what happened quite recently, in a rather modest scale, with the pre-commitment scheme backflip in the poker machine dispute. Overseas readers: that scheme was proposed by independent MP Andrew Wilkie and accepted with little conviction by the Gillard government as a condition for Wilkie's support. Faced with opposition from the usual suspects, the Gillard government backflipped at the first opportunity, leading to Wilkie's strangement:
"A spokesman for Clubs Australia said the industry was pleased with the outcome [i.e. the backflip] but would not be halting its campaign against mandatory pre-commitment until it had considered the details of the new policy." (See here)
At a much more dramatic scale, exactly the same thing happened less than 2 years ago:
"MINING tycoons have claimed much of the credit for Kevin Rudd's downfall, saying the industry-led opposition to the resources tax was the main reason for the leadership coup. (...)
"The billionaires Andrew Forrest and Clive Palmer said the tax was a crucial factor in Mr Rudd's departure.
"The comments came as the industry suspended its multimillion-dollar 
anti-tax advertising blitz, and pledged to enter negotiations with the [Gillard] government in good faith." (See here)
Or, for those inclined to a little historical recollection, have a look further back at the Cash for Comments Affair. (See here).

Image Credit:
[A] Pinocchio lies and his nose grows, by Carlo Chiostri (1901). Wikipedia.

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