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"...public opinion deserves to be respected as well as despised" G.W.F. Hegel, 'Philosophy of Right'

tabloid politics « Previous | |Next »
March 17, 2005

I've came across an article written by Piers Ackerman in the Sunday Telegraph (March 13, 2005, p. 9) on the Macquarie Fields riots in Sydney.I read it whilst having a glass of wine in Manuka, Canberra, after I flew in on the shuttle service from Adelaide.

Entitled 'We must never tolerate the mollycoddling of criminals' it is, as you would guess, a criticism of the kid-glove approach to the police to the Macquarie Fields riots, and the political authorities in the ACT to the Rebels bikie gang.

The piece is more than a loud beating of the law and order drum.Piers says:

History is littered with the wreckage created by those who have said it is better to appease evil than confront it. The graves of millions have been dug by smug handwringers who believe that good intentions will prevail but strength will alway fail.

Goodoh. I can follow that. Then we are off talking about Churchill and Hitler, Stalin, Arafat and so on. Huh? Oh, I see the tacit link. Those rioters in Macquarie Fields are the new brownshirts.Piers goes explicit:
The ignorant gang tossing molotov cocktails in the streets of Macqauarie Fields is not that different from the gangs that gathered in the beer halls of Munich to support Hitler.

Similarly with the Rebels bikie gang in Canberra. Why fascist rather than thug? An argument is not required. Emotion is what counts.

Ackerman then says that these fascists have to be confronted with force and the most severe penalties because there can be no excuses for those who choose to break the law. The fight will be tough. But it is a fight for freedom and the prize is worth it, etc etc. It's the Iraq line. One quickly gets the drift.

This, I take is an example of political sense-making in the tabloid world: what Catherine Lumby in Gotcha calls a visual montage of paragraphs and emotional outbursts within a fragmentary, contradictory and discontinous discourse.

I read it as entertainment. I had a good laugh over my chardonnay. It lightened my depression. People looked at me. 'It's Piers Ackerman', I said, and pointed to the newspaper. Everybody smiled.

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 2:16 PM | | Comments (0)