Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Notes: Saturday, February 5-Tuesday, February 8, 2011

1. Recent developments regarding so-called gay marriage

1.1 Mr. Pearson on an attempt by the Sodomites' League to silence opposition to 'gay marriage'



In December [Graham Young, "the founding editor of a well-regarded e-journal called On Line Opinion"] published a piece arguing the case against gay marriage by the pro-family campaigner, Bill Muehlenberg, and then a series of spirited exchanges on the merits of the argument. It was not the first article he'd run on the subject ; that honour had gone to Rodney Croome, a gay activist. Nor were most of the essays run opposed to gay marriage.

Young commented on the blog in mid-December. "The On Line Opinion approach is one that many find difficult to accept, and we are currently under attack from a number of gay activists because we dared to publish [Muehlenberg's essay] which is mostly a pastiche of comments by gay activists, even though the majority of articles I can find on the site support gay marriage. And by attack I mean attempting to intimidate me, sponsors or advertisers. How ironic . . . when we are sponsoring the Human Rights Awards."

[...] On account of the Muehlenberg piece, Young told me two major advertisers had just pulled out: the ANZ Bank and IBM. Comparing this year's January gross ad sales with last year's, he calculated that revenue from his main category of advertising had fallen by 96 per cent. Young is worried that these bizarre decisions will adversely affect other websites as well as his own and could even lead to some of them closing down.

Courts might construe that as the result of an indiscriminate secondary boycott, in contravention of the Trade Practices Act.

That's because Young and a group of other political sites have formed a network called The Domain, to bundle up their readers as a more attractive package for advertisers. The sites are very diverse in terms of ideology, from the ultra-leftist John Passant, to the more mainstream centre-Left Larvatus Prodeo, Club Troppo, Andrew Bartlett, skepticlawyer and the likes of Henry Thornton and Jennifer Marohasy.

[...] So I approached the public relations people at IBM and the ANZ Bank, to find out whether the decision to punish an article against gay marriage by withdrawing their ads was corporate policy.

[...] The initial responses from the PR people in both corporations was that it was news to them and they'd get back to me before my deadline. The ANZ's Stephen Ries replied first. "ANZ does not advertise on any opinion-type websites that may cause offence or segregate any individuals or group. In this instance our advertising was placed through an automatic advertising placement service and once we were alerted to the content we removed our advertising.

"The removal of our advertising should not be viewed as a violation of free speech; it's simply that we choose not to advertise on blogs that do not align to our organisational values."

Oh, brave new world! Apparently anything less than uncritical endorsement of gay marriage no longer aligns with the ANZ's organisational values. What's more, the loss of ad revenue to all the blogs in the Domain network, irrespective of each site's stance on the issue, is neither here nor there and has nothing to do with their freedom of speech.

It's also worth noting that despite the blanket assurances of not advertising on opinion websites, the ANZ was advertising on New Matilda on Friday.

IBM's Matt Mollett's reply was more gnomic. "To optimise reach with its target audiences, IBM continuously reviews and refines its advertising strategy based on a range of considerations, including demographics and content."

Young suspects that the peg on which to hang the internal decision to withdraw advertising within both organisations was a code developed by IASH, the Internet Advertising Sales Houses, which he declined to sign.

The code is a triumph of political correctness gone mad, and badly needs rewriting. Schedule C provides that IASH Australia members "are forbidden to place advertising on sites containing barred content - in other words, any of the inventory defined below - in any circumstances. Content articulating views intended or reasonably likely to cause or incite hatred of any race, religion, creed, class or ethnic group. Content articulating views calculated to cause offence to or incite hatred of any individual or group."

The last sentence is the loopiest in the schedule. It forbids anything that might offend anyone. This would neuter not just contentious articles but the free flow of comment on them that gives blogs their character. As Young says, this section threatens any Australian discussion site. "No newspaper could sign up to this and have discussion threads that were anything other than anodyne."

Labels: A.N.Z., G.L.B.T., I.B.M., marriage, morality


1.1.1 Letters to The Australian on the matter:


Labels: A.N.Z., G.L.B.T., I.B.M., marriage, morality

1.1.2 Mr. Muehlenberg on the matter:


There Mr. Muehlenberg provides a link to the On Line Opinion piece in question, and in a comment of 7.2.11 / 2pm at that blog post one Gregory Storer, who is, according to Mr. Muehlenberg, "a homosexual activist; [a former] candidate for the Secular Party of Australia in 2010, and still belong to it; and ... the one who launched the complaint against Online Opinion", writes that

people will go to the advertisers when they aren’t happy with something that the advertiser is supporting, that is our right, and that’s what I did. ANZ and IBM have diversity policies, I drew there attention to them advertising on sites counter to their policies. [...] And of course, I’m not the only person to have complained about this – so can’t take full responsibility)

I think that this episode is a reminder to employees of companies with these 'diversity policies' that they should be very discrete about voicing any opposition to the Sodomites' League and its works.

Labels: A.N.Z., G.L.B.T., Gregory Storer, I.B.M., marriage, morality

1.2 The Australian Christian Lobby and, separately, a Tasmanian Liberal Senator launch petitions against 'gay marriage'


Labels: A.C.L., G.L.B.T., Guy Barnett, marriage, morality

1.3 "ACL takes campaign for marriage to the NT"


Labels: A.C.L., G.L.B.T., marriage, morality

1.4 "French High Court affirms Traditional Marriage"


Labels: France, G.L.B.T., marriage, morality

1.5 Sodomite's League to run pro-'gay-marriage' ad campaign for St. Valentine's Day/Mardi Gras; "At the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva last week, Norway recommended that Australia should amend the federal Marriage Act to recognise same-sex marriage"


Labels: G.L.B.T., marriage, morality, Norway

2. "New bible translation to remove the word "holocaust" from the Old Testament"


Labels: Scripture, theology

3. "One third of the Catholic theology professors in Germany, Austria, and Switzerland have signed a declaration calling for women’s ordination"


Labels: theology, womenpriests

4. "New insights on manipulation of 1960s papal commission on birth control"


Labels: contraception, Magisterium, morality

5. "Young Australians paid to have STD test"


Labels: health, vice

6. Interesting books reviewed/mentioned recently

6.1 "King Alfred the Great"


Labels: Alfred the Great

6.2 "God and Sex: What the Bible Really Says"


Labels: morality, Scripture, theology

Reginaldvs Cantvar
Feast of St. John of Matha, Confessor, A.D. 2011

1 comment:

Cardinal Pole said...

Mr. Muehlenberg has more regarding item 1.4 and puts the information in 1.5 on the countries which have legalised 'gay marriage' in perspective with this and other information:

"Consider also the number of American states which have passed legalisation declaring marriage to be only between a man and a woman. At a recent count, around 43 – out of 50 – US states have passed such laws. This includes some 30 constitutional amendments. And in California the will of the people reversed the decision of some activist judges."

(Not that I endorse the notion of the supremacy of the 'will of the people', though (and as Mr. Muehlenberg explains in subsequent paragraphs, neither does he).)