Across the English-speaking world, the media is grappling slowly, imperfectly, with its history of racism. Well, not all the world. Not in Australia, of course. Here, Australia’s lotus-eating media lives comfortably with the belief that the past lies contextualised in the past.
But now, with Victoria’s wide-ranging Yoo-rrook justice commission into the impact of colonialism and racist policies, Australia’s media will have to confront the truth of William Faulkner’s warning: “The past is never dead. It's not even past.”
News Corp’s Andrew Bolt, drawing on his deep experience with anti-racism laws, immediately grasped the threat: “So Orwellian” he head-shakingly told the Sky after dark audience. Sure, if by “Orwellian” he meant the sort of rigorous bottom-up reporting giving voice to the voiceless on which George Orwell built his journalistic reputation.