Hard News by Russell Brown

Whatever, Trevor

What, exactly, was Trevor Mallard thinking when he told a group of businesspeople that it was a pity the Supreme Court had not been appointed on merit? Did he think it wouldn't get out - which would be naïve - or did he intend it to get out - which would be alarmingly stupid?

I had some sympathy for Mallard recently when he declared that Tariana Turia thought it was alright for 13-year-olds to get pregnant (so long as they're Maori), because, well, that pretty much was what she said - and even after the story blew up she still refused to "cast any judgement whether 13 year old girls should or should not get pregnant."

But this latest escalation of the silly and destructive spat between senior ministers and the judiciary helps no one. As David Farrar is saying: "This is just such an incredibly stupid thing for a Minister to do. It is highly insulting to the Court - both as an institution, and individual Judges. It also confirms that his Government does not appoint on merit, by his own words. Just when we thought things could not get worse, Trevor makes sure they do."

Thanks to Karl for pointing me to Krankiboy's helpful and amusing digest of the We're Not Sorry site (is anybody else going to werenotsorry.com and getting a placeholder from a domain name speculator?), which, of course, was created in answer to the Sorry Everybody site (where they're obviously not too retarded to hang onto their domain name …). Clearly, xenophobia goes with the not-being-sorry thing, but what is it with these people and their guns?

There is a view abroad that the media focuses only bad news from Iraq; that too little is said about political progress and freedoms gained. This view is advanced in the long-running Good News from Iraq feature on the Chrenkoff blog, and in Iraq the Model, which is associated with Friends of Democracy.

These do offer an important balance to the picture - and what Friends of Democracy is doing is really quite inspiring. But when the Wall Street Journal and Instapundit trumpet these news sources and condemn the rest of the media for focusing on the violence, they wilfully misunderstand what news is. It's great that someone's funding an Arabic blogging tool but to imply that somehow the Red Cross's estimate that 800 civilians have died in a few days in Fallujah (given anonymously "for fear of U.S. military reprisal"), and the execution of an Margaret Hassan and the abduction of 60 newly-trained Iraqi policemen, shouldn't be the headline news is an act of denial. And I suspect that more Iraqis will be feeling the way Riverbend is than simply clocking up a few hundred dead civilians as the price of democracy.

No Right Turn has been arguing with Sock Thief about the distinctions in death.

Editor & Publisher has an interesting comment piece on the various ways the scenes at Fallujah have been rendered by the media.

Creationism to be taught in schools in a county in Wisconsin; textbooks slapped with stickers questioning evolution in Georgia (a judge has in a federal lawsuit). A Boston Globe story suggested that this is only the start.

Much more on the march of the Christian mullahs at Theocracy Watch.