Don’t verb that noun, my friend

It doesn’t take much to cause members of the Ancient Order for the Preservation of Proper English (AOPPE) to fly off the handle. A misplaced modifier, a literal, verb confusion, homophonic confusion (a pear of undies) or noun-verbing will do it every time. There are old phrases akin to ‘fly off the handle’ (to lose one’s temper), in Tony Maniaty’s memoir of a half-Greek kid growing up in 1950s Brisbane. Maniaty employs sayings of the day…

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The Listener and The Discerning Reader

One of my research assistants asked this week if I wanted his back issues of The Listener. I’m now regretting my luke-warm response, given that it is barely two months since the owner, Bauer Media, closed down New Zealand’s 81-year-old current affairs magazine. German-owned Bauer Media had been trying to sell its magazines in Australasia for a while. Things came to a head with COVID-19, as magazines were not considered “essential” under NZ’s strict level…

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Fifty years of Cabinet secrets and media leaks

The Australian Federal Police ‘raids’ on the ABC and a lone News Ltd journalist have been taken to signal a new era of scrutiny when confidential government files are leaked to the media. The media has gone overboard on the ‘journalism is not a crime’ front. As a former journo, I have adopted the Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance (MEAA) Facebook frame in solidarity. But it is interesting to learn that that on June 5,…

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Media bias and quality news

A couple of years ago I wrote an essay called ‘In search of quality news” which many people told me they found educational. The piece was sparked by a media bias infographic invented by US patent attorney Vanessa Otero. Vanessa supplied an updated media bias chart for today’s main picture. It is self-explanatory in that the quality news outlets are clustered around the middle. The worst of the fake news and extreme right (or left-wing)…

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