Oct 8, 2010

Hey liberals, muscle-up

Rather than lamenting the lies told by many in the mainstream media, progressive groups need to follow the ACTU's lead and start investing in the tools of public policy debate. Bernard Keane weighs in.

Bernard Keane — Politics editor

Bernard Keane

Politics editor

One of the particularly cute themes being strongly peddled by some conservatives at the moment is a narrative of persecution.

The least subtle, and certainly most amusing, version of this has emerged from The Australian in recent weeks, marked by a series of missteps from the national broadsheet that have served to put on unusually prominent display the various wars that outlet is engaged in — the war against Labor, the war against the Greens (the “Stalinist, pot-smoking, paranoid” Greens as one Australian press gallery journalist calls them), the war against bloggers, the war against the ABC … on the list goes.

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42 thoughts on “Hey liberals, muscle-up

  1. shepherdmarilyn

    It’s not only the Australian – the ABC has decided that pointing out the law is irrelevant when they talk about things like refugees and seeking asylum for example.

    Again today we have Aunty letting Bowen babble about “regional processing” and Morrison babble about “losing control of our borders” without once mentioning that under the law anyone is allowed to seek asylum and under the law we have zero right to try and stop them doing so.

    They call it “balanced debate” but all we get is this mindless “he said”, “he said” and people are none the wiser.

    “Processing” refugees is nothing more than an interview and application form 866 which can only be applied for in Australia.

    Which of course is the point the morons aren’t getting at all.

    I can only conclude that our media are as ignorant of the law and as racist as our scummy leaders.

  2. Acidic Muse

    Excellent article Bernard.

    I have no doubt the union movement is the institution best placed to facilitate this kind of discussion but I suspect it will continue to be outdone by the forces of fascism and/or economic rationalism.

    The greatest advantage the Right will always have over those of us to the left of Atila the Hun is their capacity to massively out spend us in developing the tools to successfully promote the public policy that best serves the interests of their corporate sponsors

    The money they spend funding right-wing stink tanks, PR firms and other corporate proxies to come up with ever increasingly creative rationalisations as to why it’s in all our interests that people like Clive Palmer and James Packer pay less taxes on their total income than the average working stiff. They get an almost direct return on investment on that outlay because Clive and James et al save literally billions of dollars on their tax bill every year – providing them with a huge incentives to ensure a reasonable proportion of those savings flow straight back into the political machinery that perpetuates their prosperity.

    It’s an unfortunate fact of life that the same thing cannot be said when the centre-left wins it’s policy arguments. Yes, living standards and quality of life generally are improved , but there will never be the same level of direct investment back into funding the institutions that created the benefit.

    Unions have undoubtedly fought , and in many cases won some of the most important battles waged on behalf of working Australians over the past couple of decades. Despite this, union membership has continued to dwindle as a proportion of the total workforce and the left has continued to fracture and divide as a consequence.

    That said, the battle to stop the rot has to begin somewhere and this is an excellent first step. What Australia needs now more than any ever is more centre-left voices of reason being heard more often by larger audiences. As long as large corporations remain the gatekeepers to mainstream media access, we will undoubtedly be thwarted at almost every turn.

  3. Harvey Tarvydas

    Dr Harvey M Tarvydas

    Fabulously stimulating, worthwhile and worthy BK.
    I am going to think about this to see how I can assist with such a profound call or maybe just comment usefully.

  4. shepherdmarilyn

    Harvey a useful call to Bowen could go like this “I have just heard that Pakistan likes the idea of a regional refugee centre so they are sending their 1.9 million Afghans to Australia”.

  5. joanjett

    Well some of the smaller players who lack the spending power to get their message across could do worse than strike up a friendship with the person over at the Gruen Factor who decides The Pitch content every week! Seemed to work for the Greens and VE. Perhaps they could lobby Todd Sampson & co directly and bypass the pollies? Just a thought 🙂

  6. Jimmy

    The economic modelists are the real problem. How many “independent” models are quoted showing things that are clearly untrue but are taken seriously because they are independent and therefore better than the biased public service when in fact the “independent” anaylsis was paid for by an interest group. The Libs budget figures are a great example.
    As I have said previously the Libs since the election have claimed the Treasury, Finance Dept & Defence chiefs can not be trusted and they know better.

  7. asdusty

    Prof Fred Block’s excellent 3rd annual Ted Wheelwright lecture on tuesday at the Uni of Sydney offered an alternative to the current trajectory of globalisation/neoliberal dogma/free market capitalism. Transitioning to a truly green economy, providing a universal basic income, expansion of ’empowered particpatory governance’, and the democratization of the corporate form. However, significant change must be driven by the grass-roots, and Prof Block saw a coalition of progressive groups (unions, religious groups, NGO’s) as the catalyst for prompting this change. Heres hoping we can make it happen.

  8. Rush Limbugh

    What, more Liberals winging about the media….nothing to see here.

    You blame the media for bias, look at the some of the BS in the current Climate Change debate.

    You want BS, look in your own backyard.

  9. john2066

    Lets not forget the campaign started on this very website, the fact the Australian receives millions per year in government recruitment advertising, advertising that should be removed from this ‘news’ paper forthwith and just placed on a govt. website for free.

    Every taxpayer should be carefully keeping the job ads from the weekend Australian, and writing letters to the contacts named therein demanding to know how much public money is being spent on these ads and demanding that they stop.

    No. more. government. advertising. for. The. Australian.

  10. Stevo the Working Twistie

    You’d think Rush Limbaugh would know how to spell his own name. But then again, maybe not.

    But you are right – in the name of “balance” every crackpot denialist gets their 15 minutes against reputable scientists who have spent entire careers studying the climate (think Monckton). Yes, there is some major BS in the climate change “debate”.

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