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Pants on fire

By 2353NM

It’s not only Crikey subscribers that have read the list of Prime Minster Morrison’s lies and falsehoods they published recently as it’s not paywalled. Crikey claims they applied a rigorous test to their claims and only ‘counted’ those lies and falsehoods they could provide evidence to validate. The criteria used for classification as a lie is intentionally misleading while falsehoods are those claims Morrison made that could have initially been a product of insufficient briefing albeit without correction when the facts were known. Crikey also claims they would do the same to any Prime Minister regardless of gender or political preference should the circumstances warrant.

So why is it important that those leading the country get called out for lying and promoting falsehoods? In the words of Denis Atkins, a veteran political commentator who these days writes for The New Daily and other online publications

While politicians like Mr Morrison fulfil – or even just appear to fulfil – those twin demands of keeping the community safe through proactive health policies and cushioning any economic fallout, the public seems to have otherwise unavailable reserves of tolerance and forgiveness.

Giving politicians a leave pass for bad behaviour – whether it is doing it or lying about it – carries a heavy price.

It tells those politicians they can get away with it and encourages them.

Morrison has a bit of work to do to catch up to ex-President Trump, who according to The Washington Post lied 30,537 times during his presidency. Trump’s average lie count per month grew as his presidency continued. Atkins is correct, not calling out the lies shows politicians that they can get away with it.

In comparison to the major media outlets in Australia, Crikey doesn’t have the reach, staffing or facilities to cross reference and fact check information quickly. Yet we don’t have any of the Nine or Newscorp papers regularly reporting information like the fact that the internal enquiry into the alleged rape of Brittany Higgins had been put on hold a few weeks before Morrison was still claiming in Parliament that the enquiry was continuing, until well after the event. If Crikey can do it, why can’t Channel 7 or even the Herald-Sun?

At least the ABC tries. In conjunction with the ‘Factcheck’ Unit at RMIT, ABC regularly publishes articles that report on reported claims and their accuracy. A recent claim by Morrison that Australia was outperforming other countries with the vaccine rollout was found to be ‘misleading’ which probably isn’t a surprise to anyone (maybe with the exception of those that believe that Morrison is the new messiah).

Every television network and the major newspaper outlet in Australia has reporters that are based at Parliament House. Each outlet will tell you that ‘their experienced expert’, be it Chris Uhlmann, David Speers, Mark Riley, Hugh Riminton or someone else will ensure politicians are held to account. It’s a sad commentary on the reporting or the editorial policy of the major media outlets in Australia when live to air generalist interviewers like Natalie Barr on Channel 7’s Sunrise, Karl Stefanovic on Channel 9’s Today or the panel on Channel 10’s ‘news done differently’ The Project can cut through the political spin far more successfully than the ‘seasoned and experienced’ political reporters. Even satirists like Sammy J, Charlie Pickering and Shaun Micallef seem to be able to hold politicians to account better than the ‘specialists’.

Every lie that Morrison doesn’t get challenged on is another nail in the coffin of democracy in Australia. If you have doubts, The New Yorker recently reported that the Republicans are stalling a proposed bipartisan Congressional investigation into the civil unrest by a pro-Trump lawless mob on the Capitol building last January which probably would make the link to Trump’s false claims of election rigging at a rally earlier the same day as the insurrection occurred. Effectively the Republicans are circumventing democracy to support the lies of a former US President. As The New Yorker reminds us in an earlier article,

on January 6th, “one hundred and forty officers were injured, and we need to care about that.” Many Republicans seem to have willed themselves into a state of not caring about it. One route to obliviousness is by disciplining any Republicans who won’t go along, as with the removal, last week, of Representative Liz Cheney from the Republican House Conference leadership. Another is to express outrage that the commission, and maybe everyone in America, would not, instead, be fixated on last summer’s Black Lives Matter protests and any violence that accompanied them.

If our kids are caught out lying, there is most certainly a discussion on why the behaviour is unacceptable. If someone in a court of law is caught out lying, it is actually a crime called perjury. If you lie on an insurance claim or in an application for finance and it is found out, the company will void the contract. That Morrison seems to believe lying and deceit are acceptable is concerning enough – more concerning is that those with the ability to produce and promote the evidence that he is doing it have apparently chosen not to.

What do you think?

This article was originally published on The Political Sword

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11 comments

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  1. pierre wilkinson

    and yet the serial philanderer Barnanaby is now acting PM
    where is the accounting for that?

  2. ajogrady

    Democracy is being gamed by big media and played to benefit big business. If businesses pay large amounts of money to “influencers” to gain advantage over their competition then how much is the influence of the media outlets of Murdoch, 7 and 9 worth to the L/NP? Advertising with these media outlets should be counted as political donations to the L/NP.
    https://independentaustralia.net/politics/politics-display/the-bureau-of-statistics-misleads-australians-on-the-economy,15187#.YMa_NXEthKk.facebook

  3. Canguro

    What do I think? It hardly matters in the larger scheme of things, but it’s unfortunate, to say the least. Contemporary journalism is a sad shadow of its former self. Whether there were recognisable glory days for the trade is debatable, but certainly in the past, both here and in other countries, there were scribes of far higher integrity and honesty than what passes for the current constellation of folk who inhabit this realm. Laura Tingle, Michelle Gratton & Katharine Murphy sit amongst a select group of journos still warranting the moniker of ‘exhibiting integrity’, but the days of the Alan Ramsays, Kerry O’Briens, Mungo MacCallums, Wilfred Burchetts, Maxine McKews et al seem behind us. But then, these are strange times. Existential concerns about end-times play across the general field of consciousness. Ill-concealed lunatics like the current PM with his transactional affiliation to a fantasist group cheering on the apocalypse and his ilk might well be expected to lie about everything in the expectation that it’s going to be all over red rover in a blink or two so there’s actually nothing to lose and everything to gain by being shameless conscience-less lying pricks, milking and rorting the system for all their worth, and yes, 2353NM, you’re correct in asserting that it’s the specific role of the fifth estate to hold them to account and that by and large they’re failing in that task. A recently released documentary, The Phenomenon, by ufologist James Fox, with its credible interviews with witnesses to actual landings of extraterrestrial spacecraft and contact with the little guys who piloted these machines was food for thought… my own fantasies fly to thoughts that these aliens, given the likelihood they’re 10,000 times more intelligent that we are, might step in and give the politicians of the world a good shakeup…. zap the fuck out of them and infuse their cold-blooded veins with truth sera. Nothing less is appropriate.

  4. DrakeN

    ajogrady: “Advertising with these media outlets should be counted as political donations to the L/NP.”

    So true.
    They should also be regarded as “affiliated corporate bodies” – like they tried to confer on GetUp with the Labor Party.
    Add to that, the free promotion which the L&NPs recieve from the corporate media in their editorialising should also be classed as political donation.
    Democracy?
    What’s that?

  5. DrakeN

    Many voters in New England obviously consider adultery, the siring of bastards and abandonment of spouses and rightful heirs to be their core “family values”.
    Do you hear banjos, anyone?

  6. DrakeN

    Cangaru, the media is correctly referred to as the “Fourth Estate”, but it has morphed into a “Fifth Column” for the corrupt and corporate rentiers who currently control our world.

  7. Canguro

    Thanks DrakeN. I stand corrected. Whether Fourth of Fifth was correct occurred and I checked, but it was too late to edit.

  8. Henry Rodrigues

    DrakeN…. What’s one more bastard in the conga line of bastards who rule this country and the other multitude of bastards who conspire to keep them in government, and those shameless bastards who sell their souls and integrity to spruik the ‘achievements’ of this government and hide their fckups. Barnaby is just another bastard himself.

  9. Josephus

    Capitalism has no a priori link with democracy or rather liberal parliamentarianism. Both the UK and Australia have degraded the necessary checks parliaments afford. China is deliberately capitalist yet totalitarian and we are in some respects not far behind.

  10. totaram

    DrakeN: Canguro is a little different from “Cangaru”. Have you been listening to the cricket commentary from India? The latter is the “Indian” pronunciation of Kangaroo.
    Cheers!

  11. Spindoctor

    Oz media is now two camps. The ABC fighting to remain effective, relevant and doing reduced investigative reporting under ever reducing funding, its board/management further stacked with Liberals and remaining skeleton level staff required to do more. Then there’s Merde orcs rags, Stokes seven and Costello’s nine all propagandising to the right. No one in commercial media has the guts nor integrity to call out the lying, corrupt crooks and fraudsters. It is the exception rather than the rule when it happens. The Liberals saw Reagans rise under Murdoch’s Ailes/Fox and acted so we now have that cartel propaganda machine here. Commercial networks continue the singular focus, sledging Albanese as opposition leader, wedging Labor and union bashing. One of the litany of corrupt,dodgy deals the LNP has engaged in would a decade ago have seen offending pollies tossed from the job and probably jailed. Now they carry on openly and ‘untouchable’ by enabling media. We need a nationwide advertiser boycott of all the offenders to force a return to investigative journalism. Unless and until they suffer, nothing will change except the death of democracy.

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