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Day to Day Politics: Am I as biased as they say?

Sunday May 8 2016

Greeting me first thing yesterday morning on Facebook was a comment by a friend on one of my posts:

John, despite me being a lefty, I’m waiting for you to say something positive about the opposition. Surely there must be something. Try and be more non-biased, please.

I reply:

Andrea there was a time when the LNP had some soul. People like Fraser and a few others still carried the residue of true Liberalism. The small ‘L’ types. It was a time when I thought that losing an election wasn’t the end of the world. That if you believed in democracy then you had to respect the other party’s right to win.

However Abbott took them so far right that I cannot see any redeeming features what so ever. I am sitting thinking about policy areas and I cannot think of anything positive to say. Fact is I cannot think of one positive thing to say about The Coalition. They have governed abominably.

Their denial of climate change appalls and infuriates me and their opposition to equality of opportunity in anything and everything simply disgusts me.

I’m sorry to disappoint. I will try harder because I am not generally speaking biased. At least I don’t think I am. Perhaps it’s just that I love my country too much and it shows.

She replies:

To be honest I agree with a lot of what you say, but I’m trying to also look for the good in the bad and bad in the good, if you know what I mean. So I guess what I’ve seen of your posts has been looking a little like the flip-side of a Murdoch-type Liberal bias. However like you said you’ve tried hard to find something positive in the Libs and haven’t been able to find anything, so that’s fair enough.

I’m upset enough to take Zach (our dog) for a longer walk than normal and do some critical self-analysis.

Music has always held a special place in my heart. I have a collection of over 600 CDs and 150 live concert DVDs. I play piano (badly) and have composed a number of songs. I have no bias to any particular genre of music and appreciate it all.

Books are like children to me and I have a family of hundreds. I treat them with a fatherly love but I show no bias or favour to any. I have read the political thoughts of Hasluck, Menzies, Howard and Costello and many others on the right. Again my reading has no bias. Fiction and text books comfortably interchange.

In the AFL I support two teams, so I could hardly be called biased. And I have played a variety of sports.

But of course my friend is referring to ‘Political Bias.’ So It got me thinking about, what ‘Political Bias’ actually is.

I would say it is either an inability or unwillingness to want to understand an opposing point of view.

In my defence on that count I plead not guilty. I have studied conservative ideology and rejected it. I have studied current conservative policy from Climate Change to the NBN and rejected it all. Not because of any biased view, but rather because I have studied each on its merits. A biased person rejects everything out of hand and is incapable of objective reasoning. Anyway I will let others judge. Who knows, next thing someone will say I’m a communist and that Karl Marx’s grave is a communist plot.

My thought for the day.

“Question everything. What you see, what you feel, what you hear and what you are told until you understand the truth of it. Faith is the residue of things not understood and can never be a substitute for fact”.

PS. It all starts tomorrow. If I’m biased let me know.

 

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45 comments

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  1. Peter F

    John, thank you for your posts. I find it interesting to note that Andrea did not put forward any positive point in favour of the coalition. It would have been worth her while challenging you if she had been able to show ‘the other side.’

  2. kerri

    I would say it is either an inability or unwillingness to want to understand an opposing point of view.

    I would add to that definition “a willingness to blindly accept and support those you agree with.”
    No John, you are not biased. Your eyes are wide open.

  3. Terry2

    Well, John, as Waleed Ali has noted on the Project, the offshore detention policy is working as a deterrence and the incidence of self harm and self- immolation is actually working as part of the plan.

    So, credit where credit is due..

  4. babyjewels10

    I agree, I can’t find anything at all positive in the LNP. After Tony Abbott, I think we voters deserve to have any potential PMs independently psych tested and drug and alcohol tested. Because hopefully, that would have weeded out any possibility of Tony Abbott getting his insanely ruthless claws on Australia.

  5. Owen

    In the last 40 odd years I have never ever been so miffed at any ruling party as I am now with the Abbott Turnbully one..

  6. Pilot

    From the first day Abbott opened his mouth, everyone who heard his comments knew he was going to be a bigoted moron, he didn’t disappoint. Ditto Bronny.

    To watch these village idiots lie through their teeth and climb aboard the Murdoch Bullsh*t Express, well we all knew it would happen. Murdoch is a liar, a fascist and someone NOT to be trusted, same as the Lying Nasty Party. We’ve watched as Murdoch has on many occasions lied to the World, same as our LNP government. Murdoch’s press is now a joke, as with the LNP. Murdoch prints lies, the LNP spruick lies.

    Turnbull, once a centrist is now firmly to the right, caught by his need for power in a fractious party of nazis, bigots and fascists screaming words of derision, division and hate, kicking those in our community least able to defend themselves. The signs of cowardice, and being totally out of touch with Australian standards.

    The above is not biased, it is fact, and those supporting this current lying government are either blind, stupid, ignorant or simply bigots and fascists.

    Are you biased John? I for one bloody well hope so.
    Do you publish fair thought? YES.
    Do you report subjectively? Yes
    Do you

  7. Lord John

    Positive Comment 1 . Christopher Pyne is a great actor.

  8. mark

    making money and a social conscience.Long gone liberal thinking.mark

  9. Trish Corry

    Sorry to break it to you John, but these days unless you are a swinging voter, apathetic, and want to ‘destroy the two party system’ to some, you are not a thinker and you are biased. It was only yesterday on Twitter I was accused of being ‘blinkered’ because I replied a small fact about the budget reply. That is, basically it has constraints and is not an entire election platform. Because this person insisted that Bill should have talked about what she was hoping he would talk about, that meant that there were no constraints or time limits, but that I am simply biased.

    At least biased is the only term used. I get called unintelligent, can’t think for myself, a sheep, rusted on, What colour is your guide dog – red? So many others………

    As a fellow blogger, there are some that believe I cannot have a personal opinion, or that my writing is from my own thoughts, developed over a lifetime of experience and current research, but something external from myself that is written purely ‘because someone in Labor told me to write it’. Sometimes, such as accusations like these just get more and more bizarre. But then, as they say – ‘and then there are some’

    There is nothing positive about the Liberal National Coalition, simply because their underpinning ideology of everything they put forth is sick, damaging and harms others. Even if the policy wording sounds ‘ok’ the operationalisation of it will be sure to harm others.. The same as conservative egoists and individualists reject socialism and everything it underpins, I reject everything conservative. That does not make me biased, it makes me who I am, based on my own life experiences, thoughts and judgements. As Albo says “I fight Tories, its what I do”

  10. vicki

    As a previously non-political person I arrived in Australia in the midst of the Whitlam/Fraser upheaval. I was shocked and disturbed by the actions of Malcom Fraser. I came to believe that he was a man in whom I could have little trust that he would govern for ‘ordinary’ people. But worse was to come – John Howard who could not lie straight in bed no matter how hard he tried. Who remembers ‘there are promises and non-core promises’. Lies, in other words. Another Liberal not to trust and one who wasted Australia’s resources wealth feathering the nests of the already well off. When Abbott arrived on the scene I could not believe that Australians had been gullible enough to fall for his lies. Unlike you, John, I have not read a great deal of political literature so my dislike/distrust of most things to the right of the political spectrum comes from life experience. Is that bias?

  11. michael lacey

    ‘However Abbott took them so far right that I cannot see any redeeming features’ This is very true and it is also a global push. This neoconservative dogma has infested most of western democracy and is initiating conflicts deliberately!

  12. Pappinbarra Fox

    But John, they stopped the boats and saved over a thousand people drowning at sea. Isn’t that a good thing (asks the devils prelate slyly)?

  13. Pappinbarra Fox

    My real worry is that the non thinking voting public could well be swayed by the single issue of vote Liberal-Country Party and the boats will remain stopped or vote Labor and let the floodgates open again, where there is no room for a compassionate voice to be even be heard in this “debate”, and Labor (scared witless of the meme) will be happy not to raise it at all.

  14. corvus boreus

    Bias is a rather broad definitional quality that I am happy to admit possession of, conditional to it being an inclination based on accumulated evidence, rather than an automatic rejection of differing viewpoints based upon personal prejudice.
    That is when bias blends into bigotry, which I will not willingly own.

  15. Jennifer Meyer-Smith

    John is right. There has been nothing good about this Abbott/Turnbull LNP regime. I’m sorry his friend has some misgivings with his analysis of that.

    Trish Corry, guilty as charged! I invite all loyal AIM Network enthusiasts to seek out the twitter exchange. I stand by my claim that Shorten should have included vulnerable people on Newstart in his Budget Reply speech. Just coz Morrisscum is a loathsome pig, who deliberately ignored poor people on Newstart in his Budget speech, does not equate to Shorten doing the same!

    And for all those ironed-on Labor supporters, who think I’ve gone to the Darkside, I’m attending a phone bank for the local Labor candidate. I’ve disclosed my strong advocacy for the Greens and how I want to see Labor pulled back from the jaws of neo-liberalism. Surprise, surprise, he didn’t argue with that! He also didn’t argue with my advocacy for the Alliance of Labor, the Greens, Progressive micro-parties and sane Independents. I will do whatever I can to support this candidate topple the sitting Liberal long term incumbent.

    While I’m making myself available to the Labor candidate, I’m also going to be handing out How-to-Vote pamphlets for the Greens on Election Day. The Greens candidate knows my voting history with Labor and she also knows my advocacy for the Alliance. No secrets all round.

    Bottom line is we need TWO victories on 2 July 2016:
    1) The Defeat of the LNP Regime; AND
    2) The Start of Democratic and Institutional Reform, so that Australia is pulled out of the neoliberal, economic rationalist stupour it has been immersed in for 4 decades under the LibLab duopoly.

    We need Progressive Reform that meets the needs of the 99%.

  16. Jack Russell

    It’s the maxim that it’s never what someone says, but what they do, that holds true for me. If there’s a mismatch between those two things, then there’s a problem. It may be simplistic, but I find it a great smoke alarm that’s helped me make good decisions.

  17. Athena

    “As a previously non-political person I arrived in Australia in the midst of the Whitlam/Fraser upheaval. I was shocked and disturbed by the actions of Malcom Fraser. I came to believe that he was a man in whom I could have little trust that he would govern for ‘ordinary’ people. ”

    Vicki, compare the achievements and philosophy of Malcolm Fraser to the current ALP and you will realise just how far to the right our political landscape has moved.

  18. helvityni

    Pappinbarra, I so wish that Labor would be the compassionate voice in Oz politics. Sadly they know that majority of Australians do not want more ‘queue jumpers’,drownings, Muslims, future dole bludgers, terrorists, wife-killers, rapists ,criminals in this ‘Paradise’, called Australia….

    I’m losing faith in Australia , where have all the good people gone, I put on my bullet-proof vest when I go the The Drum to advocate us taking our fair share of refugees, asylum seekers…

  19. Adrianne Haddow

    John, I believe that your posts are the product of rational thought and an understanding of the propaganda, outright lies and limited explanation of the biased policies that the right wing trot out interminably.

    If that is bias, we need more of it.

    The LNP government, in this term and in their term of opposition, have waged an assault on the Australian people, our living conditions and our hopes for the future, and have created divisions within our society that have never existed before. They operate and thrive on the basis of creating envy and fear between the different groups in our society.

    Everyone has had a serve from them. The unemployed, the aged, the Muslims, the gays, the unions, the artists, the indigenous, the environmentalists, the educators, the students in public schools but never once have they acknowledged the greed and dodgy deals committed by the top end of town. Even when the evidence of it is exposed for all to see.

    Like yourself, I can find nothing positive in their policies or their vision for the future, because that vision has no place for the 99% of us that don’t have enormous wealth or the connections to fiddle more.

    Keep up the good work.

  20. Athena

    “I’m losing faith in Australia , where have all the good people gone,”

    Helvityni, I hear you. Australians have been very quick to forget their roots, people from many different national and cultural backgrounds coming together with the common goal of wanting a better future than they had in their homeland. Now so many people are consumed by the thought of someone else having more than them or getting something that they don’t. We both have elderly mothers with multiple health problems and when they have passed on, we’re seriously considering moving overseas if Australian society (and government) continues to deteriorate.

  21. Di Granger

    John, I was one of those people that didn’t really pay too much attention to politics. I grew up in a Liberal household and always voted Liberal both state and federal … AND then along came Tony Abbott. We should give thanks to him really as like me, I am sure he awoke many an inner activist. He has done something terribly wrong to our political landscape that would be really great if someone could unpack and write about. I was astounded hearing the disrespect he gave to then PM Julia Gillard, the holder of the highest office in this land. I try not to attack the person so have likened his actions to a very simple leadership101 perspective. He has no idea, he never was and never will be the calibre of person that can demonstrate if not, exude leadership. And equally disturbing is the fact that the Liberal party supported the man, so in many ways it is very telling of the Liberal party as a whole. When did politics become running the nation as a corporation and stop building society? The basics of leadership theory will tell you that excellent leaders will focus on triple and quadruple bottom line but the Liberals seem only interested in numbers regardless of the impact on the people. I find the current mob astounding and as such I have become a political warrior, debating constantly with those that think the LNP are the saviours of this country when clearly they are bringing us down to a potential point of no return. What is it about Tony Abbott that has sunk us to this point? Why does the party think imprisoning people to the point of hopelessness is ok? Why is money more important than health, clean air, whole food, education and prosperity for ALL? Why is fear taking over from rational thought and dog whistling over leadership? Why is the dollar king when the whole world is moving toward a more sustainable way of being and doing? Why don’t they get it? This is a very serious moment in our political landscape. Someone needs to work out the Tony Abbott effect and articulate it in a way that many more get that this is NOT the way of Australia and demonstrate how to do it different. Glad I have that off my chest, but I would really love to understand how Tony Abbott happened? And more importantly how to rid him and his cohort of nut jobs forever from having a public voice.

  22. Jennifer Meyer-Smith

    Hear, hear Di Granger.

  23. Kyran

    “I would say it is either an inability or unwillingness to want to understand an opposing point of view.”
    This is the part that causes me the most trouble. There are some whose ‘point of view’ is founded on ideology, mantra’s and jingoism’s. Usually devoid of any fact, substance or evidence. I am neither ‘unable’ or ‘unwilling’ to understand their points of view. I am more than happy to ignore it, as it is devoid of fact, substance or evidence. This puts me in the ‘silent majority’ category, where not commenting on opinions that are devoid of fact, substance or evidence, has led to a perception that there is no disagreement with the opinion.
    On the other hand, opinions founded and based on fact, substance and evidence will always require consideration. However much I may disagree, it becomes incumbent on me to find facts and evidence to dispute or refute the comment. In my experience, this does not cause difficulty and does not result in a ‘winner’ and a ‘loser’. In my experience it results in better outcomes, because the outcomes are based on fact, substance and evidence.
    The whole conversation on freedom of speech became null and void when it became a conversation about the right to say anything you liked, with no need for fact, substance or evidence.
    The whole broo-ha-ha about Sect 18C epitomises the fixation on opinion without merit needing protection.
    The opposing point of view is the doctrine of ‘apprehended bias’. This is clearly a most confusing, complicated and intricate doctrine requiring the deliberations of RC Commissioners. Or is it?
    “A reasonable apprehension of bias may be raised where an informed person, viewing the matter realistically and practically and having thought the matter through, would think it more likely than not that the decision maker would unconsciously or consciously decide the issue unfairly.”
    Whilst generally applied to the judicial process, it is a handy guide to bias.
    As there is no longer any respect for the rules (or accountability for breaking them) at a political level, it comes as no surprise that those who disagree with your opinion, particularly when it is founded on fact, substance and evidence, will rely on vilifying the author rather than arguing with the article.
    I may not agree with everything you write, but I certainly respect your opinion. Thank you, Mr Lord

  24. Terry2

    It was encouraging to hear Shorten this morning putting a marker in the sand on paid parental leave.

    He has reinforced the Labor policy of 18 weeks at the minimum wage as a fundamental entitlement and anything beyond that either by way of a salary top-up or extended payment beyond 18 weeks to be an arrangement between the employer and the employee and not for the government to fiddle with and call people double-dippers.

    Surely this is good policy ?

  25. Backyard Bob

    I awake this morning feeling morose. A friend on Facebook has said that my writing is biased.

    ‘’To be honest I agree with a lot of what you say, but I’m trying to also look for the good in the bad and bad in the good, if you know what I mean. So I guess what I’ve seen of your posts has been looking a little like the flip-side of a Murdoch-type Liberal bias. However like you said you’ve tried hard to find something positive in the Libs and haven’t been able to find anything, so that’s fair enough.’’

    I’m upset enough to take Zach (our dog) for a longer walk than normal and do some critical self-analysis.

    Posted August 20, 2013.

    I take exception to being taken for a mug.

  26. John Lord

    Correct Bob. Nothing has changed in three years.

  27. helvityni

    Good one ,John. My dissatisfaction started with John Howard’s later years. Until that time I was blissfully ignorant about politics, I was anyone’s friend.

  28. Backyard Bob

    John,

    Correct Bob. Nothing has changed in three years.

    That’s true. You still don’t know how to treat your readers with respect. You should apologise and move on. No-one expects you to meet the demand of writing a new piece daily, and you should never have put yourself under that sort of pressure.

  29. Jaquix

    John you are right and your “friend” is wrong. As others have noted above, this Andrea didnt put forward any evidence that the Libs were any good. Typical fence sitter, and not very bright I would say. I would de-friend her, or at least “hiding” her on Facebook (she wont know!) Ignorant negativity like that is not necessary in your life. I hope you are feeling better now. Your articles are a boon for so many of us (the odd one like Backyard Bob perhaps excepted) and gives us hope, and a chance to share information and our frustration with the awful LNP we are saddled with. They are truly dangerous. If their leader was like Trump they would be hounded out of town, but because MT is such a smooth talker – though his credibility and popularity are trending downwards which is good to see. I also think Labor needs to be strongly getting the message out about their neg gearing, so many seem confused by it (esp as Libs lie continually) and also hammering home the NOT good economic managers – tripling the deficit etc.

  30. John Lord

    Bob I may have been a bit unethical in the way I have done this although the subjectivity is still relevant. You see for some time I have suspected you of being a troll of sorts. Just comments here and there didn’t seem to add up. Can you please verify as to what your motivation is. If I’m wrong I will apologise without hesitation.

  31. Michael

    John, you allude to something which has taken all of us by surprise and into unfamiliar territory, albeit, hopefully for a short time – although this may sound simplistic, BAE (before abbott era) we had, and I will use the metaphor of a seesaw, “left” at one end and “right” at the other, we were all familiar with, more or less balanced (centre) and distances between the two not too far apart.

    Suddenly, after so disgracefully playing the unsuspecting electorate (electorate should accept responsibility for being taken), DAE (during abbott era), we found the right end of the seesaw take a quantum jump (with little substance) further to the “right” with the result that the sound BAE centre was no longer the DAE centre.

    This shift became evident to me especially witnessing the torment the ABC, etc has had to endure and needless to say we have been hoodwinked and had to adjust to ever since.

    I am looking forward to a more participative, enlightening and stable AAE (after abbott era) centre on July 3.

    “abbott”, above, is a collective noun, a receptacle open for contributors to fill starting with murdoch(man)ipulation

  32. Backyard Bob

    John,

    “Troll”? You insinuate I’m a troll because I called you out on a knowing deceit? Sigh.

    Forget it. You made a bad call. Own it. Move on. End of story.

  33. John Lord

    Backyard Bob. No I have just been intrigued by some of your past comments. I have not known how to take them.

  34. Backyard Bob

    The solution to that is to ask. I have no desire to be enigmatic, you know, unless it helps me with women ‘n’ stuff…

  35. King1394

    Of course the Liberals are fabulous for protecting wealth, selling off community assets (privatisation), and treating the environment as being there for plundering … I guess the people who are not happy with the liberals are those who value the opposites. This is not bias, but in many cases reflects ones philosophy. You cannot and should not have to be unbiased in the face of injustice, greed, and destructive self-interest

  36. Mary

    What is this all about fella’s ?

  37. David

    Only change within the Coalition rabble, the rabble is much ‘more’ of same, lies, deceit, mismanagement, dirty tricks (be plenty more of those), bad policy, misogyny, sexism, homophobia and even more influence of the IPA with 2 of their numbers now in Parliament..So much more buit they are being found out in a big way. Morrison’s bad bad showing on Insiders this morning I suspect is now ensuring even m ore votes are flowing away from the LNP

    Incidentally the closeted Pyne was caught with electioneering signs erected before the election was called, which may be a small misdemeanor in the scheme of things but for the Leader of Govt Business, someone who is across all the rules, Very bad look for him

    http://i1131.photobucket.com/albums/m548/davidlen2/pyne_zpsa368ajwp.jpg

    John I will take your posts over any of the News Corp/2GB regulars biased rubbish any day. Rare I miss one of yours and while I choose not to comment every time, in the main I agree so no need.

  38. Athena

    I went to Pyne’s Facebook page to point out that he was putting his signs out before the election, but I’ve been blocked. If memory serves, that must have been a comment I made after the budget two years ago. Time to deliver a can of furniture polish to his electoral office for polishing the turd.

  39. helvityni

    John Lord, maybe you are just TOO right about what is happening in Oz politics right now. In many countries people would be marching and protesting in the streets right now. Abbott was bad news and Turnbull has turned out to be a very great disappointment.

    And NO, you are not being biased, just truthful.

  40. Florence nee Fedup

    We are all bias, I would say. Question is whether our biases are slanted the right way. Being bias, doesn’t follow one is wrong.

  41. 5ime0n

    “Communist plot” ….. Good one.

  42. corvus boreus

    Jennifer Meyer-Smith,
    Having noted the sustained substance of your presence, both in comments on public forums like this one, and in your divulgate correspondences to various parliamentary bodies, I confess that I chiggled (combo of chuckles and giggles) when I contextually realized that you were the person being referred to as ‘apathetic’.

  43. Jennifer Meyer-Smith

    I must have missed that one, corvus. 🙂

  44. Wam

    Bias – troll, dear lord, isn’t that us all?
    Bias is clear in murdoch – left hand page bill and two women sour faced with negative words – right hand page bishop beaming with fullsome vibes.
    My bias is absolute prejudice.
    I have no respect:
    for men who leave their women and children and cannot look at the asylum seekers without disgust
    for the men and women of a religion that rewards murder
    for the men and women of a religion that accepts only men can be leaders
    for the pragmatic men and women who believe an end that damages the innocent to catch the guilty is justified
    for the men and women who are not prepared to challenge their bias.
    JMS morrisscum spot on but how he ‘forgot’ newstart is not unfathomable. Because dolebludge and economic asylum may be the province of your loony side but, as seen in port melbourne, disastrous over the next 8 weeks for any labor candidate. So newstart requires some narrowing of definition in light of $4 per hour or work experience perhaps.
    Like you I offered some help to the loonies but perhaps they were unable to see through the bias of my language and I ended up scrutineering for the lib I vehemently opposed.
    Sorry Di granger if any women thought like you after three years of the rabbott, she would not have been dumped by shorten and the rabbott would not have won in 2013.

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