Uhlmann schooling. Writing in The Australian (Jennifer Oriel is away doing an Australian history remedial course after she had Robert Menzies successfully banning the Communist Party) Chris Uhlmann has taken umbrage at some nasty tweets he got when he pushed back against some unnamed commentator who had suggested that opponents of same-sex marriage should not get a hearing. Your correspondent has made similar criticisms of the mildly totalitarian idea that same-sex marriage is on the level of a mathematical truth, but meh, big deal, so what? So what?
For Uhlmann, a bit of twitterbuse is a torchlight parade, the criticism heaped on him the culmination of 90 years of Marxist subversion of Western civilisation. Thus the article is hysterical in both senses of the word (and full of wonderfully bad writing: academics use society’s “achilles heel” to grind its foundation stones to dust, apparently). Thought repression is the product of Italian Marxist Antonio Gramsci, and a half dozen German-Jewish intellectuals — “the Frankfurt School” — who brought a combination of Marx, Freud and Weber to the US in the ’40s, their work founding critical theory, in which you try and make visible the contradictions and fuzzy thinking which allows illegitimate power to maintain itself. This is what shows like, ohhhhh, 7.30 do — in part because in the ’60s, ABC current affairs was reconstructed in that form by current affairs producer Allan Ashbolt who, if not a Marxist, was heavily influenced by said Frankfurt School in his understanding of media and society (Gerard will explain it all, Chris). The basic errors in Uhlmann’s account are barely worth going into, but this is:
“Frankfurt School academics fleeing Adolf Hitler’s Germany transmitted the intellectual virus …”
This is an idea of the old US Right, that all critical discourse was a subversive plot by Jews to undermine American-Christian civilisation. The term “virus” gives the clue — the accusation is a continuation of anti-Semitism, which had hitherto been directed at “rootless cosmopolitans”. I don’t think Chris is anti-Semitic — the ghastly tangle of the article suggests he has no great control of the ideas at all — which is all the more reason not to use metaphors of disease when talking about Jewish refugees fleeing Hitler. Do that too often and you’ll really get heat, and will deserve it. — Guy Rundle
Wasn’t me. The ABC has said no ABC journalists have entered Nauru on tourist visas, in contrast to claims made by the government of Nauru.
The Republic of Nauru Twitter account tweeted on Friday morning that the country would be changing its visa processes after the ABC “dishonestly entered [the] country as a tourist and failed to declare they were media”. Another tweet slams the “sadly deceptive” behaviour that “disadvantages others”. The tweets were deleted, and a statement was issued stating that “some media representatives” had entered Nauru on false documentation:
“No visas held by Australian and New Zealand workers who enter Nauru for legitimate work reasons are affected. Holders of visitor visas to Nauru should contact the Consulate of Nauru in Brisbane if further information is required.”
Despite deleting the tweets naming the ABC, and ABC not being named in the subsequent release, the Republic of Nauru Twitter account said it “stands by info in tweets deleted about journalists entering illegally”.
A spokesperson for the ABC told Crikey in an emailed statement that no ABC news journalist had entered Nauru on a tourist visa: “There is no ABC News journalist on assignment in Nauru. ABC News journalists have applied through official channels for journalist visas to visit Nauru, not for tourist visas,” the spokesperson said. The ABC’s statement refers only to “ABC News journalists”, leaving open the possibility that a freelancer entered Nauru using a tourist visa.
It’s not the first time the Nauruan government has picked a fight with the ABC over its reporting of immigration detention on the island nation. Australian PR Lyall Mercer has, while representing the government of Nauru, in the past refused to answer questions from 7.30 reporter Hayden Cooper, for example, telling him in an email: “Due to continued unbalanced and inaccurate coverage of Nauru by the ABC we will not respond to this request.” and “We can only assume that the ABC does not wish to report the facts and that political activism has replaced ethical journalism, therefore we will not be cooperating on this occasion.” — Josh Taylor and Myriam Robin
Front page of the day. Boris gives David a headache …