Monday, April 08, 2013

The pond joins the lizards of Oz in the fight against breath-taking hypocrisy ...

(Above: in case you're missing your generally grumpy Sheehan fix, there's always Media Watch here, Sadly the brushtail possum seems to be down but you can cop a cache here).

The pond searched high and low this morning for a sighting of generally grumpy Fairfax commentariat member Paul Sheehan, and came away empty-handed.

The heart gave a little flutter of joy, the legs skipped a little to a dance of pleasure. No doubt there's an explanation for his absence in the hard copy, but the pond has no need of diminutive, degutted bird cage liner, pocket tabloid size, today.

It has to be said that the new digital layout is designed to confuse and distract. Somehow the National Times got labelled "Federal Politics", yet when you click through you can be confronted with all sorts of bizarre spectacles - 'Twiggy' singing a song of praise to China, ethics classes come in from the cold, Korean expats, and so on and so forth.

Yes it was a labelling change, purely to change the label, and to "freshen up the concept", and never mind if the label is now deceptive and misleading packaging. That's what happens when you're out of love, and want to be loved, and think a new look might score you a trick in the disco bar of life.

Whatever, the absence of Sheehan left the pond strangely footloose and fancy free, so where else to head but to the lizard Oz to find out why the lizards are so restless, and not just because of the rain on the eastern seaboard which has flung the entire world of climate science into chaos and confusion. Or so the lizards say ...

First up was the reliable Troy Bramston:

It's a win-win situation for Troy.

With his master in town, what better prospect of advancement than to sound the Little Sir Echo drum, and show his master he's on the case, and doing down the enemies of a multicultural society. Oh how we luvs ya, multicultural society ...

Now the pond has already bashed the federal government up hill and down dale for its hypocritical antagonistic 457 posturing - especially as it applies to IT - but Troy is agitated by the Greens.

Now it all proceeded pretty well, what with Troy flailing away at the Greens, (inside the paywall so you needn't lose your breath), and the unions, and so on and so forth, with shocking tales of perfidy and hypocrisy, though strangely failing to mention the employers who'd hired Filipino workers to do the odd bit of painting for less than three dollars an hour (a story Troy could have found in Australian Mining six days ago under the header Foreign workers paid less than $3 an hour. Possibly talk of 456 visas is too arcane for the lad).

But then came that satisfying Sheehan-like splattering of cornflakes as Troy pulled himself up to his full  height with this flurry of righteousness:

The lesson in all this is that politicians who play politics with race and try to divide Australians will always come unstuck. 
 In modern Australia -- a nation whose prosperity and culture has been energised by immigration -- there is no place for racial prejudice.

Um, except in the Murdoch press Troy, which has spent a very long time demonising multiculturalism, and various ethnic divisions of migrants seen to be "un-Australian", and refugees and boat people, seen as an invading horde determined to undermine the fabric of our existence.

Where, Troy - you don't mind if we call you Troy do you? - do you imagine the people on the buses of Sydney who hurl racial abuse at the passengers around them get their ideas from?

Now you can say that it's the shock jocks of Sydney radio that do a lot of the damage - just think Alan Jones and Cronulla - and you'd be right, but fair's fair, especially when it comes to sharing responsibility, and the pond is willing to bet that a lot of them read the Daily Terror (you know, the Daily Telegraph).

Now we've already run just a few sample bits of bold front page racist hysteria about boat people taking up the front page of the Daily Terror - it really is a shocking rag, way worse than the NT News, which at least has its tongue in its crocodile cheek - so you can you immediately begin the task of cleaning out the Augean stables.

You see, we're with you, we think the hypocrisy about 457 has been stunning, and we're against guest workers being offered three bucks an hour to paint things, but dammit Troy, we're also against rags beating the invading foreign devils drum.

You know, like that story back in 2011, when the Daily Terror ran a beat-up about opening the floodgates and thousands of boat people invading the suburbs of Sydney. You know, the story where the Terror was beaten fiercely on the buttocks by the the feeble Press Council with a wet lettuce leaf:

The Press Council has concluded that use of the word “invade” was gravely inaccurate, unfair and offensive because of its clear connotations of forceful occupation. According the complaint is upheld on this ground for what the Council regards as an especially serious breach of its principles. 
The Council has concluded that use of the words “open the floodgates” and “deluge” were inaccurate and unfair. 
 Even the intake levels claimed in the article could not reasonably be described as having such an extreme impact on suburban Sydney, and nothing quoted from the briefing note asserted government fears of inability to cope. 
The articles themselves conveyed a more measured assessment and did not breach the Council’s principles. But this does not render the headlines acceptable, especially as headlines must fairly reflect the tenor of the articles to which they relate. Accordingly, this aspect of the complaint was upheld on those grounds. (read it here in the Daily Terror itself if you want to reward them with a hit for their outrageous beat up)

Here's that front page again Troy:

Now it's true that the casual reader might confuse the opening of the floodgates with a flood of Wiggles invading the suburbs of Sydney, which would be a truly terrifying prospect, leading to millions fleeing to the countryside.

Next to it is an entirely different beat-up, an exercise which upset Jonathan Green back in July 2012 when he scribbled Crying shame: tabloid cynicism over asylum seekers.

Noting how demonisation and hand-wringing hypocrisy could go hand in hand, Green concluded:

In an individual, that sort of intellectual inconsistency would border on the clinical. In a newspaper, it's just the trademark cynicism of the trade. That we lap it up is the biggest crying shame of all.

The thing is Troy - it might be a bit much to ask for - would you mind devising an internal memo and sending it around to all the Murdoch lizards? Something like this:

The lesson in all this is that journalists and media proprietors who play politics with race and try to divide Australians will always come unstuck. 

I know, I know, that's a laughable sentiment, but let's say it anyway.

 In modern Australia -- a nation whose prosperity and culture has been energised by immigration -- there is no place for racial prejudice.

Indeed Troy. You see where the pond lives, the only people willing to run the newsagencies these days are people willing to work for a pittance, and work their way up in the world. Migrants are underpinning your fading, flailing hard copy world Troy!

Which is why this might sound a little political:

No sensitive sensible reader should actually spend money on the tabloid journalism on view in the Daily Telegraph, because it only eggs them on, and accordingly - in order that I can sound pompously righteous and indignant in The Australian without charges of hypocrisy being levelled at me - I call on Mr Murdoch to appoint a new editorial regime for this appalling, hypocritical, cynical rag. That way we can help save newsagencies and multiculturalism and provide more intelligent coverage of the refugee situation.

Oh never mind Troy, it was only a dream. 

After all your master has shown a level of inconsistency bordering on the clinical in the matter of newspaper regulation and the law-breaking and cowboy muck-raking that went on in the News of the World, so expecting consistency - as opposed to trademark cynicism - is just a loonish pond dream.

And anyway it would be a pretty big job, hardly worth the effort seeing how many rags there are, how many members of the commentariat at work on the demonising, how many front pages long gone.

Take that Sunday Mail effort:

That attracted the attention of Crikey, which ran a piece in March 2010 headed Beware the supermarket shopping asylum seekers, and the valiant efforts of Piers "Akker Dakker" Akerman.

...if you somehow missed the implication, Piers Akerman filled in the blanks in the Daily Telegraph this morning: this “happy Afghan women” (Piers has the inside word on her mental state and nationality) and her fellow “fast-tracked” asylum seekers with their “overflowing shopping trolleys, courtesy of the Australian taxpayer” send a “strong message” that Australia’s doors are open.

That link's still working, and you can still read Akker Dakker getting agitated about someone daring to be happy, and in a supermarket and most shocking of all with a shopping trolley:

The front page of The Brisbane Sunday Mail yesterday showed a picture of happy Afghan women and children shopping at a suburban mall. They had been fast-tracked off Christmas Island to make way for the new arrivals, just as others were flown out to other centres late Saturday night, because the Government fears another riot now the island's facilities are even more stretched than they were when detention centre inmates ran amok last November. 

The image of newly-arrived asylum seekers with overflowing shopping trolleys, courtesy of the Australian taxpayer, sent a strong message to those hoping to come here. It told them not to go through the official UNHCR channels but, instead, put their money and trust in people smugglers if they want to access permanent visas and all the benefits available to Australian citizens.

Now Troy I know because you're agitated about 457 hypocrisy, you will be gut-wrenched at Akker Dakker abusing Afghan women and children for being happy in a suburban Brisbane mall. The invading hordes daring to be happy. It's truly disturbing.

I dare say you follow the pond rule:

You see Australia has been involved for a decade in the breaking of Afghanistan, the fucking it up and the fucking it over, and only this morning came news of yet another fuck up involving innocent bystanders, women and children.

In this situation, it seems a little churlish to get agitated about a few women in a shopping mall, doesn't it Troy?

Yours in the fight against hypocrisy in the federal government, in 457 visa users, in the Greens, and in the many many hypocritical and anti-multicultrual and racist thoughts emanating like evil thought bubbles from the bowels of News Limited ...

(Below: we've run them before and we'll run them again).


  1. I agree Loon, the hypocrisy is maddening. I feel guilty laughing but you always succeed in making me do so. I am a sucker for black humour. Anyway I don't read their columns apart from the snippets you provide. They have all been writing the same things for years. I know it all off by heart. Those scribblers are like those religious zealots who push piles of tracts around in wheelbarrows. Imagine sitting next to one at dinner.

  2. But Loon how do we get this message of hypocrisy by the media across to the population. Because we could have relied upon Terry Lane years gone by to challenge the Murdochracy but with Faine all we get his cosseting of the IPA and News journalists so he is a lost cause nowadays since he was reprimanded by the culture warriors from the right of the ABC


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