Fisk lecture attendance
Wednesday March 15th 2006, 12:47 pm

Absent any substance with which to discredit Robert Fisk, lightweight right-wingers who did not attend the lecture have chosen to attack the attendance figure estimate of the recent Robert Fisk lecture at Macquarie University.

While the lecture was free of charge and thus no precise ticket count is available, the lecture was conducted in the Maquarie Theatre and also connected via closed-circuit video to three other halls on campus.

According to sources at Mac U, the Macquarie Theatre itself seats 495 people, the Price Theatre seats 250, W5A Theatre 1 seats 150 and W5A Theatre 2 seats 150. That’s 1045 legal seats. While the organisers made some effort to clear the stairways, Mac U security did not faithfully enforce the one-bum-one-seat rule. Each hall was around 10% overcapacity, giving a reasonable possibility of 1149 or more.

I estimated 1000. Seems I shot low.

Fisk’s main point is that if you treat people like dogs- they will act like them. Rightists should stop attacking the messenger and go after the policy which creates the news Fisk reports.

-weez


14 Comments so far
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Why is Fisk being taken up as a left-wing speaker only? He seems much broader-based in his approach than what the narrow, right-wing partisans make him out to be. To put it another way, why does truth have to be politicised? — It’s a sign of low intellectual quotients in the community at large when all truths appear to derive as a secondary feature of one’s already existing political stance.

Comment by Jennifer 03.15.06 @ 2:40 pm

Agreed on all points, Jennifer.

Fisk boils it down to the human rights aspect instead of someone’s political script. The truth scares the crap out of the Kool-Aid drinkers.

Comment by weez 03.15.06 @ 2:47 pm

I didn’t get a “left” perspective at all when listening to Fisk. Truth-teller is more like it. Fisk was criticising certain policies because he’s seen first hand the outcome of them. If he’s being dismissed as a leftist by some, that just goes to show that they either haven’t listened to what he has to say or they just don’t get it.

Comment by Dave 03.15.06 @ 8:33 pm

Dave, for what it’s worth, lefties seem to dwell in the realm of evidence rather than belief. Fisk comes up with some mightily convincing evidence.

Comment by weez 03.15.06 @ 8:41 pm

Oh, I wasn’t paying out lefties, and I don’t know where Fisk would lie on the political spectrum to be honest. But I don’t think he was espousing simply left opinions/ideas. It’s interesting to note that he and Paul McGeough disagree on some of the finer points of the Iraqi insurgency and what it means for the future of Iraq. Although, I agree Weez, the fact that Fisk has got so much evidence and a reasonable, logical perspective on the Middle East would, in the eyes of many, default him to a “leftist” view of the whole situation.

Comment by Dave 03.16.06 @ 8:33 am

Dave, thanks for that. Didn’t think you were sending up lefties, tho.

What I was getting at is that journalists are almost always of a rather leftish political persuasion. That would be most likely due to being intimately familiar with the issues rather than blindly following a belief structure as nationalists and other garden variety right-wingnuts tend toward.

GOOD journalists frequently adjust their writing styles to avoid the appearance of bias. However, when the evidence supports what may be thought to be a leftward-leaning position, journos cop it regardless.

In example, there were no WMDs in Iraq when Cheney & Wolfowitz decided the USA needed a war with Iraq to gain control of the 2nd largest reserves of oil on earth. If any journalist was so brash as to actually say so, they were accused of being lefties.

When Fisk goes after the Sharon government for shelling refugee camps, he cops it from wingnuts for being some sort of leftward bent journalist.

The only people who attack Fisk for being biased to the left are belief-based hyper-nationalists who think that they can bend reality by bending the news.

Comment by weez 03.16.06 @ 8:47 am

Quote (weez):”The only people who attack Fisk for being biased to the left are belief-based hyper-nationalists who think that they can bend reality by bending the news.”

The problem is that it seems to work. The ‘truths’ that exist in the mass hallucinations of media reality remain at odds with the reasoned and evidencially based approach of Fisk and others.

And for all those who do not seek out the truth independently, outside of the usual corporate streams… well as far as they’re concerned, why should they question that gospel?

I’m a little afraid that this decade, if not beyond, is one that does belong to those belief-based hyper-nationalists you speak of.

And it must be admitted that those very beliefs are not without appeal, and on the surface at least, offer somewhat more comfort than the hard truth.

Comment by Marcus 03.16.06 @ 11:40 am

Marcus, the comfort I’m looking for is 100 years of peace and international stability, not 4-8 years worth of superpower domination followed by 100 years of violent reprisals.

Comment by weez 03.16.06 @ 8:09 pm

Agreed – But I guess what I’m getting at can be summed up by the fact that Today Tonight is the top rating current affairs show in the country, not because it provides a balanced and reasoned depiction of world and national affairs, but rather because it does a bang up job of appealing to peoples prejudices.

Because those superpower spin doctors really work hard at cultivating those very same fears on one hand, and offering the ideology and ‘action on the other hand, to address those very same fears.

To put it more succinctly… their semioticians are kicking the arse of pretty much everybody else playing on same field.

Comment by Marcus 03.16.06 @ 8:50 pm

Marcus, it’s also possible for other semiotics to be sold on emotional appeal. Most people don’t like being betrayed by the people they vote for.

This comment authorised by The Australian Government, Canberra.

Comment by weez 03.17.06 @ 9:54 am

But I guess what Iím getting at can be summed up by the fact that Today Tonight is the top rating current affairs show in the country, not because it provides a balanced and reasoned depiction of world and national affairs, but rather because it does a bang up job of appealing to peoples prejudices.

Does Today Tonight really employ a sophisticated semiotic approach? Rather, haven’t there always been base people with base prejudices. (I’m thinking of the first time I saw Pauline Hanson’s actual supporters — what vermin-like rabble. But we have had such types with us throughout history..)

Comment by Jennifer 03.17.06 @ 10:31 am

Jennifer – Sophisticated? Perhaps not… effective? Definately.

Comment by Marcus 03.17.06 @ 12:24 pm

And as a follow up, the sophistry lies in how politicians the likes of John Howard are able to expoit such base prejudices as racism without uttering one single explicit racist syllable. The left hand and the right hand acting with remarkable symmetry. Globally, its pretty much the same when it comes to the cultivation of hysteria over terrorism, and the way spin doctors tap into that with their war on terror. Crude perhaps, but demonstrable effective.

What I was trying to get at is the fact that those of us who hold contrary views are LOSING these battles as to what consitutes the truth, leaving the belief-based hyper-nationalists weezil referred to, to dictate the terms of what is possible and appropriate for our nation states to do.

Comment by Marcus 03.17.06 @ 12:35 pm

What I was trying to get at is the fact that those of us who hold contrary views are LOSING these battles as to what consitutes the truth, leaving the belief-based hyper-nationalists weezil referred to, to dictate the terms of what is possible and appropriate for our nation states to do.

Yes, indeed. I have commented on this and similar matters before. See my critique of postmodernist theorising

Comment by Jennifer 03.22.06 @ 11:03 pm



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