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

the media loose the plot « Previous | |Next »
August 10, 2012

Backed by their own wing of think tanks that increasingly function as public-relations agencies, Australian conservatives are in the process of building a whole alternative ideology system, with its own facts, its own history and its own laws of economics. Their politics around the pricing of carbon is a good example.

We have entered a “post-truth” era in politics, and Tony Abbott has actually campaigned that way for the past two years. Everything is seen a political opportunity to use the tactics of fear to show that the incompetent and distrusted Gillard Government just staggers from one crisis situation to the next.

RoweDABbottelectricity.jpg David Rowe

What is disheartening is that political reporters in the mainstream press have shown that they are incapable of figuring this post truth campaign out; or if they have, then they have not informed us of the mass deception. What appears to matter for the insider journalists (the political media) is not what’s true, but whether the tactics of the campaign strategy work.

The judgment is that Abbott's fear campaign is spectacularly successful, that of the Gillard Government is a disaster, and so the Gillard Government is going to be wiped out in 2013. This representation, we are confidently informed, is the basic structure of the world. There has been a remarkable silence around the truth content of that fear campaign.

So much for the whole idea of a watchdog press which is meant to help expose the lies of the fear campaign.

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 9:02 AM | | Comments (12)


I fear it's too late for the MSM to change course. They have been doing fact-free dumbed-down "reporting" for over a decade. To change direction now risks confusing and alienating the masses.

As I have said before, this is just the importation of US Republican strategy. Since no criticism of the US is tolerated in Australia, the Republican-Abbott strategy can't be criticised either.

Just how long has this 'post truth' phase been going on and to what extent are journos willing and knowing colluders in the process?
My memory suggests that it has always been thus and that the only variable is the blatancy and extremeness of Just how long has this 'post the deception.
Maybe an extra dose of misogyny.
It would be interesting to take a time capsule look at a selection of media representations [articles/front pages/lead items on teev/radio etc] of politics in Oz say 30 or 40 years ago and see if deliberate deception of the public was practised then and if so to what extent.
One of the good things Crikey has done recently was one of their staff looked at how Murdoch media presented the GST a decade or so ago and compared it how they portrayed the price on carbon current issue.
The bias, although in the opposite direction ["GST good rah rah, Howard nice man"], was just as extreme.
Not much changes.
Maybe the arrival of the net has allowed us to see the deception a little more easily with posts such as the one above pointing out the bleedin' obvious.

'What appears to matter for the insider journalists (the political media) is not what’s true, but whether the tactics of the campaign strategy work.'

100% correct. In the USA, the release of every new campaign TV commercial is as big an event as a policy announcement - not on account of its content, but because of its perceived impact on various voter groups. Politics has truly become a spectator sport for the media, and they feel no compunctions about trying to rig the result if it makes for a more interesting spectacle. In much public discourse, ideological abstractions have replaced any sense of the human consequences of political action. The effects of the carbon tax on 'the economy', for example, are regarded as self-evidently more worthy of discussion than the moral and human dimensions of climate change. Why? Because 'the economy' can be reduced to numbers, like a football game, and it's easy to argue who's 'winning'.

Are the deceptions in the conservative fear campaign a story that is too big to tell for journalism as it exists to tell? The journalists are never going to tell us what is going on.

The Canberra Press gallery is content to describe what works in politics--Abbott's campaign against asylum seekers. The truth of the matter--what happened at Nauru has become irrelevant to the strategic game of politics in which the clever and street smart journalists see themselves as players.

They have the “political acumen” as insiders to see the cut and thrust of the game of politics. Their story is that Abbott is a master of it and Gillard + Co are dunces. That 's what they keeping tell us unsavvy citizens who do not understand the game of politics run by the political operatives. Us unsavvy citizens thinks that questions of truth are important.

I wish the old 'Road to Surfdom' archives were still available. I remember writing there about the pernicious effect of endless polling on politics and political reporting. This numerical score seems to mesmerise political pundits and all they can write about are the implications of some trivial matter for the last/current/next poll results.

"Australian conservatives are in the process of building a whole alternative ideology system, with its own facts, its own history and its own laws of economics."

An example of the conservatives alternative reality. According to Tristan Edis in this article at the Climate Spectator:

residential electricity prices nationally will have almost doubled from about 15 cents per kilowatt-hour in 2008 to about 25 to 30 cents in 2013/14. Of that rise the carbon price accounts for about 2 cents. Other green schemes such as the Renewable Energy Target account for less than a cent. The market price for the actual generation of electricity (excluding the impact of the carbon price) in the eastern states is at its lowest level in more than a decade. The rest of the rise is largely due to network expenditure.

Abbott’s sloganizing continues to say that the carbon tax is the cause of rising electricity prices.

Surely some journalists will think that the truth matters--that a large percentage increase of power bills over the last five years has been due to the gold plating of electricity assets--and will call Abbott on it. Surely?

The big change has been people abandoning traditional broad sheet press and media.
These have responded by dumbing down to glean reader/viewer ship down-market amongst the computer illiterate.
But I can't forgive the ignorance and arrogance of the ABC board and management; also Fairfax, in exploiting the changes to move, in an act of conscious political bias, to the right. Also the offensive parallel employ of dumbing down techniques.

Posted on the '' Support Tony Abbott '' f/b page yesterday regarding PM Gillard..Not nice

Support Tony Abbott
Jacqui Newman: Tony Abbott doesn't just criticise Julia Gillard. What he's doing is pointing out all her flaws and her idiotic policies and the way she rules. Because (and this may come as a shock to you) there are a lot of people out there...
who are too stupid to see this for themselves and they need someone to pull the blanket off their head so that they can see the truth. Not everyone is up on things like this. I even have a cousin who is a Political-Retard. She votes for people just because she likes the way they look!! Believe it or not!!!!
See More
Yesterday at 9:20pm · 1

Support Tony Abbott Steve Bacic: Great Idea!!!!

Yesterday at 9:20pm

Steven James Well she's raped the country so someone may aswell give her a taste.

Yesterday at 9:22pm via mobile · 1

Support Tony Abbott Steven James: LOL, true, but I don't think anyone could even get a stiffy while looking at her naked

Cor stone the crows. Adding to my point earlier about campaign commercials now being Political Events in the USA that are just as important as policies or achievements, it's now at the stage where a commercial that HASN'T EVEN BEEN SHOWN YET can cause major faux outrage amongst the commentariat.

The Coalition and conservative state governments in Queensland, NSW and Victoria oppose renewable because it makes energy more expensive to consumers etc etc. They have been captured by their coal fired electricity generators.

The energy reality is that the addition of wind and solar has meant that South Australia has become an exporter of energy and reduced imports from Victorian brown coal fired generators.

The flow of clean energy from South Australia could be higher if the interconnector between the two states was larger, but this has been resisted by the brown coal generators in Victoria, who fear a similar lowering of wholesale prices in their own market.

South Australia has the highest penetration of rooftop PV of all the NEM states and the highest wind energy penetration. Wind has replaced coal as the second biggest producer of energy in the state.