Diversity

The realities of crowdfunding & the evils of social media

No doubt many of you will have seen the viral video posted by the mother of Quaden Bayles, a child with dwarfism who was allegedly bullied at school.

Famous actors, sports stars and media personalities rallied in support of the disabled kid. If only the same could be said of over 90% of the 256,700 people that shared his GoFundMe page instead of contributing themselves. That’s right, in today’s virtue signalling world, appealing that you care about social justice is enough.

Although the ugly side of social media is never far away. It didn’t take long for trolls seeking to demonize anyone by dredging up the past and drawing conclusions in haste. Digital footprints have a half-life of infinity.

Some suggested that his mother was abusing his skills as an actor, influencer and model to make some extra money by boosting his profile. If this was a stunt, which we sincerely hope it wasn’t, that would be an even more despicable act at the hands of those who should be protecting his best interests.

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Ultimately, 9-yo Quaden Bayles should simply not be in the firing line. Sadly he will be collateral damage as a growing number have taken upon themselves to savage him and his mother. That is not to condone any alleged deceptive behaviour but it throws up the growing dangers of social media. An exponential number of people seem so desperate to have their profiles go viral that they are resorting to ever more extreme actions to achieve it.

The GoFundMe account to support Quaden has amassed c.US$455,000 from 20,100 people for him and his mother to go to Disneyland. As doubt to the authenticity of the bullying claim does the rounds in cyberspace, the mother is being attacked for using his disability to raise some quick cash via GoFundMe. The facts don’t show that.

First, she didn’t ask to set up the GoFundMe account. Comedian Brad Williams did. Second, the organiser clearly stated that “after all the flights, hotel, tickets, and food is paid for, any excess money will be donated to anti-bullying/anti-abuse charities.

We won’t bother to make some sort of woke comment to condemn bullying of any sort because that should be the default setting for anyone with at least two brain cells. There are no points for publicly broadcasting one is against attacking a child with a disability. Or without one for that matter.

Still in this day and age, we should never underestimate the actions of some who gladly look to hijack a “trending” cause for their own social media exposure.

Hollywood is a great example. How so many actors and actresses came out and rallied behind the #MeToo movement despite Harvey Weinstein being the worst kept secret in movies. Celebrities rushed to condemn his actions on Twitter despite wearing black ball gowns with the surface area of three postage stamps held together with dental floss to protest sexual assault. That’s right, when it comes to career progression and fame, expedience by remaining silent trumped principle.

If people wish to part with their money on GoFundMe we think they bear all the personal responsibility of doing so. At the very least, GoFundMe should consider a 7-day cooling-off period where the money is held in trust such that the impulsive have an avenue to reverse a decision if any misrepresentation which changes their decision crops up. The cross-jurisdictional nightmare of charging a fundraiser for potential fraud makes it too complex, much less for the generally small average size of individual donations.

Today, social media is judge and jury. People are smeared before getting a chance to prove their innocence. For all of the video footage and pictures of Quaden Bayles dressed in designer fashion several years prior to his emotional plea this week, it doesn’t automatically cancel out the chances he was bullied by his peers who probably don’t know any better. He may have given as good as he got. He is only 9-yo. It is ultimately irrelevant. We know bullying has dreadful consequences, sometimes fatal. It shouldn’t just come down to seeing a video of a disabled kid before we do something about it.

Unfortunately, the lessons about the dangers of bullying so many demand kids are taught aren’t practised by the very adults on social media who should know better.

Bernie can whip up crowds too

17,000 showed up to Bernie Sanders’ latest rally in Washington. We shouldn’t underestimate the scope of his support despite not being able to cost healthcare for all, free education or canceling student loan debt. Some pundits put it at $60 trillion.

While we still think Trump will win 2020, the Democrats need to carefully weigh their hatred of the president vs their dislike for Sanders stealing the Democratic nomination as an independent. The DNC is no stranger to dismissing democratic process in the primaries.

BBC to move to a subscription model?

It seems there is a push to scrap the mandatory BBC license and replace it with a subscription model like many in the private sector.

We last wrote about the BBC back in March 2018 when comparing it to our own ABC. We said,

On a global basis, the BBC generates GBP 4.954bn and employs 21,431 staff. 22.7% of those revenues are spent on salaries. Average salaries have grown 17% since 2007/8. The average income per employee at the BBC is now GBP236,852 (A$428,000) thanks to the generous mandatory licensing fees. Average salaries at the Beeb are now GBP 55,651 ($A100,728).

Since then the BBC notes the following in its annual report for 2018/19.

Revenue has tailed off to £4.89bn with staff numbers swelling to 22,401.

21.4 m pay the full license fee of £150.50, down 203,000 on the previous year.

Vy way of comparison, Netflix in the UK charges £8.99/mth (£107.88) for the standard package to £11.99/mth (£143.88) for the full Ultra HD experience. There are a whole host of other services from Sky, Virgin, Vodafone etc who are bundling mobile phone and home internet with TV.

An interesting tidbit reveals that one can sign up to a ‘monochrome’ BBC service for 1/3rd the current £150.50 subscription fee. 5,000 currently do. 4.6m over 75s pay nothing.

As ever, the BBC pushes supreme confidence in its delivery of media content. 91% of adult Brits consume it in TV, radio or written form according to Ipsos polling.

Sadly, 52% of UK adults think the BBC is effective at providing news and current affairs that is impartial. Half. 10 years ago, it was 57%.

Only 61% of parents think the Beeb is good for assisting children and teenagers with learning. It scored 65% for adults in this category. Both down on the year.

In terms of platform, BBC TV scored more or less flat on the previous year in terms of quality (72% -> 72%) and distinctiveness (68% -> 69%) but fell sharply for BBC Radio (81% -> 75%) & (77% -> 73%) and BBC Online (74% -> 69%) & (70% -> 64%) respectively.

The length of time Brits spend watching BBC TV fell from 8hrs and 16secs to 7:36 per week. People listening to BBC Radio fell from 10:03 to 9:33 per week. Usage of BBC Online by adults increased from 75% to 77% per week.

In a nutshell, people are watching and listening less to the BBC, view it increasingly as biased, question its offering and seemingly don’t want to pay for it.

Living off a never-ending taxpayer teat breeds complacency. A move to a subscription model would soon reveal how ‘in demand’ the ‘high-quality’ content services actually are. If the BBC truly possesses such a huge belief in its abilities to deliver, it should have absolutely no concerns to let the private market pay for its services.

Just like the ABC in Australia, BBC ratings keep falling and audience trust continues to wane. Ita Buttrose must be watching developments in the UK with a keen eye. Time for the ABC to be forced down a similar road of self-funding, driven by “true” market demand for services instead of junk like Q+A, ABC Kids programmes preaching white privilege or indigenous programs that play-act defecating on white people.

Put simply, the world has changed. There is no need to pay $1bn to the ABC and $400m to the SBS for services that almost anyone with a phone and an internet connection can consume from the source. That is right. We can stream German radio to our hotel room on our American business trip should we wish. We don’t need the government to divert tax dollars to provide services that exist at source in abundance. There is almost nothing at the ABC that can’t be consumed at The Guardian or Channel 10.

A message from Bernie Sanders’ field officer

We very much doubt Bernie Sanders would endorse what his field officer said. Perhaps his staffer is just disgruntled that Bernie cut his hours

Now I know my ABC

FNF Media has finally got around to updating the state of our ABC as compiled in the 2018/19 annual report.

The national broadcaster still believes we should fork over even more taxpayer dollars to keep this icon producing more of what the citizens supposedly demand, even though more of the audience believes that “efficiency/management quality” is headed south (p.158) and overall ratings continue to slide.

Despite over $1bn per annum, why do ratings in the metro and regional areas keep falling? We wrote about this last year:

Comparing 2016/17 and 2015/16 the TV audience reach for metro fell from 55.2% to 52.5% and regional slumped from 60.3% to 57.3%. If we go back to 2007/8 the figures were 60.1% and 62.4% respectively. For the 2017/18 period, the ABC targets a 50% reach. Hardly a stretch.

In 2018/19 it fell into the mid-40s. So inside of 13 years, ABC audiences have shrunk by 10-15%. That is appalling.

We have argued for a long time that the ABC needs a complete overhaul.

In the 2018 annual report, the ABC staff survey revealed engagement was at 46%, 6% below the previous survey. This put the broadcaster in the bottom quartile of all ANZ businesses. Reform was and still is desperately needed.

ABC staff complained that management didn’t do enough to get rid of underperformers. Another clear signal that state-sponsored mediocrity was tolerated and staff didn’t like it.

In the 2018/19 annual report, Chair Ita Buttrose AC made the following comments,

Staff morale was badly shaken, and my priority has been to reinvigorate it by restoring order and enhancing good governance with the help of Managing Director, David Anderson, and his management team. Our employees, in content areas and vital support functions, need a strong sense of direction and a feeling that management has their backs. I feel we are now providing it.

Tucked away in the back pages (p.216) is an interesting subsection on the Code of Practice. There is some eye-opening content with respect to the way it conducts its business.

Take this gem to start with on complaints as to whether it constitutes a potential breach of the charter:

A complainant is entitled under section 150 of the Broadcasting Services Act 1992 (Cth) (“the BSA”) to take their complaint to the ACMA if, after 60 days, the ABC fails to respond to the complainant or the complainant considers the ABC’s response is inadequate.

The ACMA has a discretionary power to investigate a complaint alleging the ABC has,
in providing a national broadcasting service, breached its Code of Practice. Section 151 of the BSA provides that the ACMA may investigate the complaint if it thinks that it is desirable to do so.

The ACMA’s jurisdiction under sections 150-151 does not encompass the ABC’s print content or content disseminated by the ABC over the internet or through mobile devices.

Print and internet-based content fall out of the remit for complaints. So technically ABC can say what it pleases. ACMA is hardly wielding a big stick when it comes to the ABC.

Accuracy is a fun area which would seemingly fall foul of rarely being presented in context:

2.1 Make reasonable efforts to ensure that material facts are accurate and presented in context.
2.2 Do not present factual content in a way that will materially mislead the audience. In some cases, this may require appropriate labels or other explanatory information.

Why did the ABC report that less than 1% of burnt area in the recent bushfires had been started by arsonists? Given that most fires couldn’t be attributed to anything at the time, the ABC forgot to mention the “unknown” category so it could slice the data so it could list the smallest possible percentage. 12,000 fires had been reported since August 2019. 1,700 had been investigated with 42% reported by the NSW Police as deliberately lit.

Impartiality

…The ABC’s obligation to apply its impartiality standard as objectively as possible. In doing so, the ABC is guided by these hallmarks of impartiality:
• a balance that follows the weight of evidence;
• fair treatment;
• open-mindedness; and
• opportunities over time for principal relevant perspectives on matters of contention to be expressed.

Why did it allow a bunch of radical feminists to openly call for the murder of men, providing a platform to a convicted terrorist or happily release a tweet that said former PM Abbott liked anal sex? Or calling conservative politicians “c@nts“? Guess we’re just not open minded enough.

4.1 Gather and present news and information with due impartiality.
4.2 Present a diversity of perspectives so that, over time, no significant strand of thought or belief within the community is knowingly excluded or disproportionately represented.
4.3 Do not state or imply that any perspective is the editorial opinion of the ABC. The ABC takes no editorial stance other than its commitment to fundamental democratic
principles including the rule of law, freedom of speech and religion, parliamentary democracy and equality of opportunity.
4.4 Do not misrepresent any perspective.
4.5 Do not unduly favour one perspective over another.

Why does the ABC constantly run a climate alarmist narrative? Why does Q&A attack conservatives on the panel almost every episode?

Secret recording and other types of deception

“5.8 Secret recording, misrepresentation or other types of deception must not be used by the ABC or its co-production partners to obtain or seek information, audio, pictures or an
agreement to participate except where:

(a) justified in the public interest and the material cannot reasonably be obtained
by any other means; or
(b) consent is obtained from the subject or identities are effectively obscured; or
(c) the deception is integral to an artistic work.

In cases, the potential for harm must be taken into consideration.”

Why did the ABC insert ­itself into the election campaign with a program timed to derail the election prospects of the Left’s hate ­figure, Pauline Hanson and One Nation? An Al ­Jazeera expose, How to Sell a Massacre, was a sting three years in the making, employing hidden cam­eras to ­record One Nation’s ­unsuccessful attempts to solicit foreign funding with the aid of the National Rifle Association. Why was the ABC consorting with the national broadcaster of a foreign power which has highly exceptional human rights standards which flies in the face of all the woke agenda pushed by the ABC? Double standards much?

Privacy

Privacy is necessary to human dignity and every person reasonably expects that their privacy will be respected. But privacy is not absolute. The ABC seeks to balance the public interest in respect for privacy with the public interest in disclosure of information and freedom of expression.

That is a whole can of worms. Can we trust the ABC to execute fairly in this regard?

Harm & Offence

“7.1 Content that is likely to cause harm or offence must be justified by the editorial context.
7.2 Where content is likely to cause harm or offence, having regard to the context, make
reasonable efforts to provide information about the nature of the content through the use of classification labels or other warnings or advice.”
7.6 Where there is editorial justification for content which may lead to dangerous imitation or exacerbate serious threats to individual or public health, safety or welfare, take appropriate steps to mitigate those risks, particularly by taking care with how content is expressed or presented.
7.7 Avoid the unjustified use of stereotypes or discriminatory content that could reasonably be interpreted as condoning or encouraging prejudice.”

Again, what purpose was there to get a panel of radical feminists outright calling for the murder of men? Or just use taxpayer funds on an article on how to give blow jobs?

Kids Programs

Take due care over the dignity and physical and emotional welfare of children and young people who are involved in making, participating in and presenting content produced or commissioned by the ABC…Take particular care to minimise risks
of exposure to unsuitable content…

Why did the ABC run a kids program attacking white privilege?

We have long supported a shift to the TVNZ model, where the kiwi national broadcaster is forced to raise most of its own revenue by appealing to the demands of the market.

TVNZ gets $310m of its $318m purse from advertising. It’s staff costs excluding capitalizing into programs is $72m which converts to 23% staff cost/revenues. They do with 642 FT employees. Revenue/employee is $495,000 vs half that at the ABC. It paid a dividend back to the government of $3.7m. i.e. it is a revenue generating asset.

In 2007, TVNZ had $339m in revenue. It employed 1,023 people. Therefore revenue per employee was $331,380. So in a decade, TVNZ efficiency improved almost 50%. A 6% cut to revenue on 63% reduction in staff. TVNZ ratings are up too.

So instead of Ita Buttrose impersonating Oliver Twist she should be channeling Jerry Maguire and asking advertisers to “show her the money!”

The ABC needs to live in the real world of media because it provides no distinct differentiation from what is already available in the marketplace. You see our ABC should be confident that it has a sustainable audience for its type of journalism. It shouldn’t be one to fear but one to embrace.

For the ABC, it’s best not risk it. Easier to suck on the teat of the taxpayer and ask for even more money so it can try to arrest the decline in so much content that is totally unsalvageable.

Victoria to become 100% female if superannuation laws passed

The Democratic People’s Republic of Victoria is wanting to push legislation to allow companies to pay women a higher rate of superannuation than men to close the gap. Adjustments to the Sex Discrimination Act would be required.

Given the legislation that allows one to change gender without question in Victoria, why would anyone identify as male if their superannuation might be higher with a company that wanted to be woke? Who are companies to deny my right to identify as the gender I claim to be.

Even if companies wanted to voluntarily pay women more superannuation, they should prepare for a revolt by men. As bogus as those making a gender change claim might be, if they have it formalized on their birth certificate then, as a matter of law, companies would be forced by their own hand to pay men who identify otherwise.

The market is a wonderful weighing mechanism. Obamacare was one of the largest contributing factors as to why 94% of jobs growth under President Obama was part time. Companies avoided red tape by bypassing the legislation that would raise costs to unsustainable levels.

If governments want to create higher unemployment, pushing higher super is one way to put a brake on jobs growth and push companies to hire cheaper male employees.

So by the very misguided altruism of the Victorian government, women could end up worse off and the gap even wider.

What if a person with genuine gender dysphoria identities as a trans male. That would mean under the legislation a company would be entitled to lower super payments.

There are plenty of other ways to address the gap – this isn’t one of them.

Nancy gets out her scotch/tape

After ripping up a speech which was largely truthful in content and contained the story of a 100 year old member of the Tuskegee Airmen who was present at SOTU, Nancy Pelosi decided to post this.

Thanks Nancy. A bit late. You should have respected them at the time but you let your petty partisanship drive your behavior.

She is a piece of work.