Mar 17, 2017

Do pearl-clutching journalists understand what the law really is?

The reaction of journalists to innocuous comments by the new ACTU secretary reflect a poor understanding of what the law actually is.

Bernard Keane — Politics editor

Bernard Keane

Politics editor

Occasionally an issue throws up an interesting insight into the mindset of media practitioners; the reaction to comments by incoming ACTU secretary Sally McManus about breaking laws — “…when it’s unjust, I don’t think there’s a problem with breaking it” — did just that.

The ensuing pearl-clutching from politicians, political journalists and commentators at a variety of outlets — the exchange originated on 7.30, Fairfax journalists tut-tutted, News Corp led the charge against McManus, Malcolm Turnbull attacked McManus, the Business Council issued a rebuke of McManus and professed itself terrified — was both amusing and revelatory.

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32 thoughts on “Do pearl-clutching journalists understand what the law really is?

  1. Frank Brank

    What an entirely apt description; pearl clutchers nails it Bernard!

    1. Dog's Breakfast

      I thought so too, Frank.

  2. Darren

    Thanks Bernard for a well thought out explaination and discussion.

  3. Kevin_T

    Our laws are constantly evolving – and should. Protest actions of various types have assisted that evolution, for the benefit of society as a whole.

  4. Noel Turnbull

    A pearler of an article.

  5. Tony Foot

    If people did not break the law South Africa would still have apartheid.

  6. Ian Roberts

    To quote Jay, ‘It’s a bit galling’ when the media cry crocodile tears about public figures perennially sticking to talking points but then weighing into the all-to-predictable partisan biffo after someone doesn’t.

  7. JMNO

    Very well said, Bernard. Women didn’t get the vote by being nice and doing as they were told

  8. Phen

    The Australian makes me feel guilty for not always waiting for the green man before crossing the road.

  9. Vincent Matthews

    Bernard’s analysis is the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. There’s no justice in this world. Only bad judges and good lawyers. Public protests and defiance have forced changes in bad laws for centuries. Those protests and changes will go on, despite the complaints of the powerful and privileged who own and control the media and the naive journos who work for them.

  10. maureen

    It is a pity that we have a community who immediately give no thought to comments that are made by people who are asked questions about civil liberties. Without the breaking of some laws that were considered at the time to be against the rights of a large percentage of people. Without these people who did break laws that were considered to be against civil liberties we would still be living in the ages where children were working in mines at the age of 8 and other reasons for law breaking. This article should be read by all people and all politicians and every journalist. Congratulations for you article.

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