Lidia-Thorpe
Greens Senator Lidia Thorpe (Image: AAP/James Ross)

Given we live in a time whose maxim is “everything happens so much”, it’s almost impressive to see how many stories can be spun from almost literally nothing happening.

Case in point: last week, The Herald Sun reported that new Greens Senator Lidia Thorpe had said a new name could be considered for Victoria:

‘Anything that’s named after someone who’s caused harm or murdered people, then I think we should take their name down,’ she said.

Except, as Thorpe pointed out, this was not some bold platform she was using to convince freedom-hating greenies in the leftie people’s feelocracy of Victoria to elect her as Richard Di Natale’s replacement.

She’d simply been called by Herald Sun reporters and asked her opinion.

Nevertheless, the article, grounded in Thorpe’s apparent suggestion, allowed the state Labor and Liberal leaders to caterwaul about how they’d never heard such a stupid idea.

Following this, Paul Murray — who has never struck us as much of a “read beyond the headline” kinda guy — used the piece for a head-shaking “get a load of this” aside in his Sky News show (which Sky then broke out as a separate headline).

And then, as a neat little synecdoche of much of what is rotten and broken in Australian media, Today asked far-right Senator Pauline Hanson on for her views on the matter, as if we couldn’t guess.

Host Karl Stefanovic, ever the paragon of journalistic neutrality, asked what Hanson made of “these attempts to rewrite our history” and then wheezed like a smoker’s dying breath with laughter as Hanson quoted some unnamed Aboriginal elders she knows who apparently call Thorpe “Lidiot”.

Of course, none of this will be unfamiliar to anyone who has read our ongoing “Holy War” series. Once News Corp spots an ideological enemy, there is no development, no angle on them, that will be left unexplored. And as this example shows, it billows out into the rest of the media, until it passes for an actual national discourse.

Thorpe is an Indigenous woman from Victoria representing the Greens, a combination of words that News Corp editors wake up screaming after their worst sleep paralysis. So don’t expect this to be the last of it.

We asked the Hun if they thought Thorpe’s characterisation of their story as a “set up” was fair, but they didn’t get back to us before deadline.

Peter Fray

Fetch your first 12 weeks for $12

What a year. Here at Crikey, we saw a mighty surge in subscribers throughout 2020. Your support has been nothing short of amazing — we couldn’t have got through this year like no other without you, our readers.

If you haven’t joined us yet, fetch your first 12 weeks for $12 and start 2021 with the journalism you need to navigate whatever lies ahead.

Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey

JOIN NOW