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Blinded by The Right: Albo Overseas

The media and the opposition have made much of Prime Minister Anthony Albanese’s gall in travelling overseas. Cries of hypocrisy are flying thick and fast around criticism of Scott Morrison travelling overseas during a natural disaster when Mr Albanese is doing the same thing. This piece is intended as a follow-up/piggy-back on a great article on this site called Airbus Albo, which I encourage you all to check out.

Context is Everything; What the Opposition Left Out, Part One: Travel

Attacks from opposition politicians are usually devoid of context. They are designed to score cheap political points. The target audience of these attacks is ‘headline readers’, consumers of media who do not know the context. The specific attack being used right now is a false equivalence. The two points of comparison are Mr Albanese going overseas during the NSW floods and Scott Morrison doing the same thing during the 2019 bushfires. Left out, of course, is the vital context that Mr Albanese is on official business, whereas Scott Morrison, to use friendlyjordies’ phrase, f*cked off to Hawaii on holiday.

The idea that these two things are even remotely comparable is laughable. One is a new Prime Minister who needs to show his face to our allies early in his first term. He is also repairing Australia’s disastrous relations with foreign countries, specifically France. The other was a lazy cosplayer prime minister who went on regular holidays, seemingly ignoring his duties. The nerve it takes for the LNP opposition to complain about Mr Albanese spending time overseas cleaning up their foreign relations mess is gargantuan. Both the politicians making the claims and their media stenographers ignore all context around Albanese and Morrison’s overseas trips.

As a final parting comment for this section, it would behoove the opposition to be silent on issues of overseas travel.

Context is Everything; What the Opposition Left Out, Part Two: Ukraine and Flood Relief

As part of his trip to Europe, Mr. Albanese visited war-ravaged Ukraine. Opposition member Angus Taylor criticised the fact that we had not heard from him for forty-eight hours. Once again, Taylor ignores vital context: when travelling in a warzone, leaders observe radio silence for security reasons. Mr Albanese was not on some secret personal sojourn (unlike a certain trip to Cornwall I could mention) but was observing protocol. But this does not fit the narrative and so Taylor left it out. Slimeball.

Finally, we come to flood relief for NSW. As many are aware, a recent deluge has left many parts of the state in disarray. Authorities have declared a state of emergency. The NSW Premier, Dominic Perrottet, was at a press-conference the other day and even he had to correct as ‘untrue’ suggestions that the federal government was not helping. Indeed, Mr Perrotet said that Mr Albanese had called him and said ‘what do you need’. Disaster payments went out in a matter of days. The response was efficient and cooperative. When even a Liberal Premier has to correct the media narrative around Mr Albanese and the flood response, there is a serious problem.

So, we have a number of problems with this attack on Mr Albanese. First, he was on official business while Scott Morrison was on holiday during a disaster: not the same thing. Second, there was communication between the Premier and Prime Minister (so Albo out of action was a lie). Third, disaster payments went out as needed rather than on a partisan basis. How quickly the LNP thinks people forget. The electorate has a long memory.

The opposition has a perpetual case of foot-in-mouth disease.

The Obvious Follow-up: Is it Deliberate?

In this piece, I have criticised the media for being opposition stenographers. They simply report what their partisan allies in the LNP say. The question above, is it deliberate, refers to whether the media is unaware of the context I outlined, or they know about it and choose to ignore it. Neither resounds to their benefit. If they are unaware of the context outlined above, they are terrible at their job. If, however, they are aware of it but choose to ignore it, that is much worse.

To his credit, Angus Taylor’s interviewer did bring up the issue of radio silence, but the framing was telling. They asked Taylor whether he accepted the idea that radio silence was necessary for security reasons. Whether or not he accepts the facts of reality is not important. The great thing about facts, as de Grasse Tyson said, is that they are true whether you believe them or not. So even when the media tries to hold the opposition to account, there are constraints. Like giving a dog medication in food, it has to be as palatable as possible.

Returning to the point, telling the full story regardless of the partisan outcome is the media’s job. Their role is to give all facts, all context and all details. This naturally clashes with the media’s narrative of ‘Labor bad’. Giving full context to events often exposes cheap political criticisms as just that. It is often difficult to discern intent, but journalists who cover politics should know better. So either way, they are terrible at their jobs.

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12 comments

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  1. Chanel7

    Indeed the media is “opposition stenographers” but worse than that they have jumped the shark, or at least Ch7 has.
    Tonight I watched what could be described as snuff footage. A news clip at 6pm showed ex-Japanese PM being killed, no editing required, just show a man on a stage, shot, falling to the ground, dead.
    Heads need to roll at Channel 7.

  2. Socrates.

    Yes, it is deliberate.

    The ABC campaign against Labor, at least, is obviously “organised and dovetails with commercial media’s approach.

    Most MSM is sad, but it has been depressing, the ABC embrace of tabloid media presentation of baseless opinionation; its “new journalism” and the Death of Truth.

    That should be left to the likes of Rowan Dean etc, with the one, pitiful, remaining outlet at least reserved, for fact, evidence and reason concerning REAL world issues..

  3. Michael Taylor

    It leaves me gobsmacked that it’s OK for Morrison (and now Dutton) to head off overseas for a holiday but not OK for Albo to do it as part of his job.

  4. Josephus

    This article should be sent to as many people as we can . I recall a man at the pub telling me he did not believe in global warming. I replied that his opinion was irrelevant, that science alone mattered. How can we send this on please? May we? I remain shocked that mr smirk could secretly go to Hawaii and not then be forced to go, as Boris buffoon was finally shamed.
    The abc should be less afraid now we have a competent and decent government. A petition to that end might encourage the fearful?

  5. Harry Lime

    There is mountain of evidence illustrating the incompetence,stupidity,sheer bastardry and serial lying of the Liar’s government,despite the protection racket run by the trash media.To keep running with the same bullshit that saw them thrashed out of power strongly suggests they refuse to accept the people’s verdict.When you look at the fools making these grossly hypocritical statements it is just reinforcing how much they stink.Taylor..Littleproud..Ley,and the ex walloper,where ever he is,are horrendously stupid,and are doing an excellent job of burning down what’s left of a tattered coalition.Their boosters in the media,especially those galahs on Sky, are no more than a desperate freak show trying to remain relevant to their dwindling half wit audience.

  6. GL

    Michael, All the LNP has left is bleating, whining and whinging.

  7. Dr Tim Jones

    Josephus I would gratefully welcome the sharing of this piece anywhere and everywhere that you, or anyone else, would care to share it. Thank you!

  8. New England Cocky

    Some political observers may protest that muzzling the Murdoch Media by requiring them to report truthfully and objectively is a restriction of free speech. However, why is knowingly misleading Australian taxpayers with false information and politically biased opinions appropriate from ”the Fourth Estate” that we are told is designed to ”keep the bastards honest”?

    Perhaps it is time to remove American influence from Australian media, just as Fiji did, and return ownership to Australian natural persons with sole allegiance to Australia.

    Certainly, when you are friends with America why do you need any other enemies?

  9. Terence Mills

    I read that Opposition Leader Peter Dutton has returned to Australia after a ten day family holiday in the USA.

    Will he now visit flooded communities in NSW ? I doubt it, he doesn’t do empathy very well.

  10. Michael Taylor

    Terry, Scottie knows an empathy trainer he can refer him to.

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