Fairfax and journalism:

Peter Lloyd writes: Re. “Beecher: Corbett, the functionary, sees Fairfax die on his watch” (yesterday, item 1).  Perhaps we should not be surprised by the decline of quality, original, investigative media.

In George Megalogenis’ excellent The Australian Moment, he describes the 1994 election as the last “real” one, the last time there were two sides pitching alternative plans. Since then it has been all “small target” oppositions to the point our current alternative government no longer even needs to pretend to offer policy. All information of interest is hidden, either behind impenetrable corporate language, or formal bogus security structures.

A generation of politicians has completely replaced the old type, those who cared about policy and society: it would be hard to name three current parliamentarians whose achievements in office will add up to anything more than personal benefit, and helping the interest groups who helped them.

So we have a media that struggles to expose wrongdoing, and governments numb to moral outrage. Think the AWB millions for Saddam, or the indifference over Julian Assange’s fate. The public might be solidly apathetic, but we have been trained to this point because there is no reward in following the big stories: they peter out, the heroes quietly punished and the villains rarely even identified. Truth itself is contested so often that engagement is impossible. Public anger is thus capricious, irrational, and ephemeral.

The media is already mostly a tool of interest groups, and it is entirely fitting it should become so officially. The future will be interesting, and probably very boring.

George Brandis and the carbon tax:

Les Heimann writes: Re. Yesterday’s Editorial. Senator George Brandis may retain his cheeky “blame it on the carbon tax” attitude but he is not alone.

Only yesterday I came across a tiny IT training business that is “girding its loins” to increase its hourly fees by about 10% “because of the carbon tax”. Is this now the rationale to be used right across the board — as from July 1 — for business to ramp up fees and prices? What a dishonest rip-off.

Not to put too fine a point on it, but surely the politics are obvious. Brandis, Tony Abbott, et al, will be said to have been “right”; the carbon tax will be a huge, and untruthful, impost on consumers everywhere.

Australia’s new panacea: “blame it on the carbon tax”. Disgusting!

Peter Fray

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