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

one of these things « Previous | |Next »
March 29, 2009

Back when the kids were little and regular Sesame Street watchers they used to enjoy a segment, One of These Things is Not Like the Other Things. The point was to work out which object in a given set was the odd object out. The challenge was practically non-existent, but the song was catchy.

It often comes to mind in what passes for public debate, where you commonly see connections being made which don't actually exist. Supporting a fair trial for David Hicks/terrorist sympathiser/lefty, objecting to the clean feed proposal/anarchist/paedophile, pro-life/Christian/idiot. And now, Earth Hour supporter/greeny/gay soccer fan.

Maybe it's because I read one straight after the other, but Ken's question about the seemingly natural ABC/progressive/diry commies fit smells like one of these category conflations. Not so much the question itself:

Why progressives continue to show such touching loyalty to the institution is beyond me.

although it's worth asking, but why anybody has the impression the ABC is the natural stomping ground of the left?

If you ignore the Howard mob's evidence of bias (Maxine McKew), calls for balance (extremists deserve air time too), and short memories (political reporting on the ABC began with the Howard Government), does the ABC still look like the preserve of the progressive left?

'Progressive left' is a category conflation itself, as is 'conservative right'. But I don't see anything particularly leftish about the ABC as an institution except for its public funding. At that rate, surely you need to be asking questions about the costs and benefits of commercial interests, rather than political leanings?

Content-wise, in comparison with Fox News the ABC probably does look leftish, but so would your average fence paling, carrot cake or Family First senator.

When ABC free to air politics and current affairs reporting is compared with other free to air Australian politics and current affairs reporting, it doesn't look so much leftist as it looks halfway intelligent. Is that the mark of leftishness? And if it is, if thinking is the sole preserve of the left, what of the right?

Surely some sections of the right find grandmothers chained to bedposts and other commercial current affairs tomfoolery a tad ridiculous? Some may see a natural fit between concern for the environment and soccer gayness, but surely some of the 'conservative right' is capable of recognising category distinctions? What are they supposed to watch/listen to, or must they limit themselves to The Australian and Quadrant?

| Posted by Lyn at 4:50 PM | | Comments (7)


It's very much like the right to continue assertions contrary to the evidence (consider what resulted from the Alston-pushed inquiry).

But really, it surprises me that the real righties don't love the ABC: more focus on things they claim to value - history, good grammar, broadcasting the Queen's Xmas message....

Off topic but what is it with the commenters at Blair's link who boast about running around during Earth Hour switching on as many lights as they can find? I mean if 5 year olds behaved like that you would be concerned about their mental development.

Maybe real righties do love the ABC. Conservative ones, anyway. Wouldn't a proper conservative detest reality tv and other general erosions of standards on commercial telly?

I'm not convinced anything is very much like the right, or the left. I'm beginning to think these symbolic categories (eg green, gay soccer fans) have more to do with the rise of the opinionista in news media than existing categories. They seem to exist in opinion columnists' minds more than anywhere else. If that is true, then it would be a mistake to assume that any of them, or their opinions, are representative of either side of politics. They're paid to be obfuscators.

Ken, maybe they like big electricity bills? Or being contrary? Next best thing to actually hitting Tim Flannery?

Earth Hour is a political gesture, so it's fair enough to gesture in the other direction I guess. Unless they're doing it for Tim Blair's benefit, in which case it's probably a lot less healthy.

The ABC news is usually good right up to the time Kerry O'Brien comes on.

Off topic,
As we do seem to be getting more dead heroes being paraded in coffins of late coming home from war could we get some sort of numbering system on the coffins like the red baron had.
Lets say a picture of a Muslim terrorist stenciled on the coffin for every confirmed kill. That way we would know how many families are crying on the other side of the world too.

The reactions to deaths in the armed forces is strange. Yes, it's sad, but we don't stick it in the same risk basket as we do smoking, binge drinking or obesity. Why are we so shocked when someone whose job is to get shot at and bombed gets killed?

Apparently we stopped doing the other side's casualties when it turned out they were human.

I only watch ABC for the big crime stuff on Friday night---Lynda La Plante etc--that doesn't strike me a progressive or leftish.