Malcolm Turnbull

Readers had a strong response to Christopher Warren’s piece discussing the media’s reluctance to call out politicians’ lies yesterday. The verdict: it’s the job, get on with it. There were similarly strong words for the media on the Barnaby Joyce saga too, with one reader declaring “news editors have no shame”.


On the media’s allergy to the word “lie”

Graeme Higgins writes: What BS. I expect journalists to be a little more (nay, much more) discerning. If we the voter can see the lie, surely you can report it. Nuanced my arse. There’s nothing subtle about this lot. This political class now knows only one way forward and Trump is leading the way. When has a politician disguised the truth as a lie? The big lie is disguised by the the smaller one — there’s no truth twixt the two.

Get out and report the lies and stop trying to paper over the cracks in your morality by disguising opinion pieces as reporting.

Kyle writes: “When politicians play these definitional games, journalists can fall back on the ‘he said, she said’ gambit, with all its limitations and flaws.” You guys do, and it is INFURIATING.

The right wing gets away with so much because instead of engaging in analysis, most Australian political journalists DO just say “Labor says this about negative gearing, but Malcolm Turnbull says they’re being ideological and that Labor’s negative gearing policy will be a wrecking ball through the economy” and leave it there. There is a real lack of effort at calling out bullshit.

If Malcolm Turnbull makes a hysterical claim like that, it is your duty to point out his own past statements on negative gearing, to point out what economic experts say, and to point out the lack of evidence he has given for his claim.

It’s amazing how easy the press gallery found it to call out “Mediscare” but not to do the same for the Coalition’s many and varied campaigns of bullshit. This article is truly defending the indefensible. Australian political journalism in the past decade has been awful, start working on improving it instead of making excuses.

Keith writes: The press definitely needs a nuanced vocab for this. From, “No your bum doesn’t look big in that, through “the cheque’s in the mail” to OOPs (out-and-out porkies), we all lie everyday. Politicians cannot be expected to be different. Keep “lie” for the OOPs.

Peter Schulz writes: The problem in politics is not the occasional deliberate lie that normal people like you and I would tell as an exception to the rule. The problem with many professional politicians (and other “successful people”) is that they are pathological liars — they say whatever suits their immediate interest with no regard to whether it is true or not (Trump is the best example).

Remember Tony Abbott said the only time you can be sure he’s not lying is when he’s reading from a script — which he is hardly ever doing. And John Howard’s defence for the “children overboard” lie was “No one told me it wasn’t true”.

Maybe it’s a cultural problem in modern society generally, saturated as we are by the marketing industry where spin and deception have been legitimised and industrialised.


On Sunday Night’s Barnaby Wankley

Marcus Hicks writes: I still want to know about those extra 50 nights Joyce spent in Canberra, at taxpayers expense. Any chance a real journalist will ever ask him these tough questions?

Klewso writes: Can’t [the Wankley] be shared around with those lumps of our “news” media who years have treated Cousin Jethro as some sort of protected species? This is the media who paraded and indulged him like some “great retail politician” dancing bear, seemingly for no other reason beyond “he got up the noses of the left”. “Suddenly”, despite all his selfish and self-indulgent form, his habit of governing for his own interests and his donors’ (think M-DBA Upper Darling irrigators; live-stock exporters; Rinehart) on show for years, multiplied by their “media expertise in politics”, he’s suddenly “spontaneously combusted”. But they couldn’t see it coming?

Chris Gulland writes: Living in Perth we were further insulted by the yarn being front page news on the Seven West News morning PR sheet, The West Australian. The news editors have no shame.

Trust Me I’m A Politician writes: Are there still people all over the world who are starving to death? Is life on Earth still spiraling rapidly towards oblivion because of the unabated release of fossil fuels into the atmosphere? Are politicians and their hangers-on still only seeing themselves as being at the centres of their own pathetic universes? The answer to all these questions is “Yes”. However, the only one getting any serious attention is the last one.


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