Stephens, David: Pearls and Irritations nails it again and again: recent food for thought (but it’s not like the Main Stream Media)

David Stephens*

Pearls and Irritations nails it again and again: recent food for thought (but it’s not like the Main Stream Media)’, Honest History, 19 May 2023 updated

Update later this day: Speaking of … there’s a nice piece in Inside Story by Margaret Simons on Crikey and the way it does its stuff.


John Menadue’s blog, Pearls and Irritations, like Crikey, Eureka Street, Independent Australia, Michael West Media, even The Conversation and Inside Story sometimes, continues to go where Rupert Murdoch, Kerry Stokes, and whoever runs Nine Newspapers and Australian Community Media (the Canberra Times and lots of regional papers), find it difficult to go (to put it no higher than that). Guardian Australia, now ten years old, is always worth a read, of course.

As of today’s date, you can find these posts on Pearls and Irritations:

Among all of these contributions, the paragraphs that leaped out for this writer were Michelle Fahy’s:

[Defence Minister Marles] set the scene for his speech by delivering his oft-used lines:

‘We are seeing the biggest conventional military build-up in the world since the end of World War Two. And it is happening right here in our region.’

Some rarely-reported facts are necessary for context when considering that claim.

Global military expenditure in 2022 was $2.24 trillion. Of that, the United States accounted for $877 billion (39%). China was second, spending $292 billion (13%) and Russia third, $86.4 billion (3.9%). (All US$.) The US outspent the next ten countries combined.

The US also dominates the world in major arms exports. For the period 2018-22, the five largest weapons exporters were the USA (40%), Russia (16%), France (11%), China (5.2%) and Germany (4.2%), who together accounted for three-quarters of all exports. Countries in North America and Europe accounted for 87% of all arms exports.

Though there was also this from Bob Carr:

Australians might also begin to contemplate the frailties Joe Biden is unable to hide. Interviews and media conferences are getting harder for him. At the end of his second term Biden will be 85, an age at which one in five Americans struggle with Alzheimers. Should the president be forced by illness to resign his vice-president Kamala Harris offers no grounds for confidence that she can emerge as the Harry Truman of her time.

A regular immersion in posts like these is a good half-way point between the Wild West of Twitter and Facebook on the one hand and the Mainstream Media or MSM on the other. But don’t believe everything you read – anywhere (especially in the MSM) – unless the evidence stacks up.

* David Stephens is editor of the Honest History website and a member of the Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance, the journalists’ union. Full disclosure: he has occasionally been published on Independent Australia and Pearls and Irritations (and once each on Guardian Australia and Inside Story) and, 40 years ago, he briefly worked for John Menadue.



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