A fortnight ago my wife and I visited my son and his family in Melbourne. One day I was sent out to buy fish and chips. Invariably at take aways there is an assortment of reading material. There before me was a copy of the Herald Sun dated Tuesday 24 September. Australia’s biggest selling daily. I skipped through it and was taken with the absurdity of it. This was not a newspaper but a titillating piece of twaddle with the appearance of cheap girly magazine masquerading as a newspaper.
I persevered until I came across a piece written by Terry McCrann about the NBN and concluded that compared with the many articles I had read on the subject by various bloggers it was at best light weight.
The experience reminded me of when in a writing class I attended we would discuss journalism Andrew Bolt and the Herald Sun or the Daily Telegraph would always be at the centre of our discussion. The course facilitator, herself a former journalist would observe that the articles were written for the intelligence of thirteen year olds with the attention span of six year olds. And rarely more than 300 words. As a journalist she had little respect for Andrew Bolt whom she said didn’t know how to construct a challenging sentence let alone use thought provoking words.
As it turns out last Thursday I was perusing the headlines of the Murdoch on line news and came across an article by Andrew Bolt titled “Don’t expect Tony Abbott to get a fair go” with the sub-heading:
IT’S NOT a month since the election, but there’s already an epidemic of Abbott Derangement Syndrome.
I chuckled at the obvious protectionist implication of the headline and clicked on the link expecting it to be behind a Pay Wall. Instead I got the full text. I read it three times and I thought to myself: “This man reputably gets paid a million dollars a year to write this drivel while I and others like me write for nothing (it’s an injustice) and it’s better than this crap”.
ADS indeed I thought to myself, more like PBP, Protected by Propaganda. So I thought I would make a brief comment on each point.
Following is the full text of his piece. My comments are in bold type.
The symptoms: an unshakable belief Tony Abbott is evil or a buffoon, even if your lying eyes tell you different.
I have concluded that I might suffer from a mild form of ADS. I don’t hate him but I do think he is a lying buffoon. I don’t have a capacity for hate and your line about ‘’lying eyes’’ has me completely puzzled. Is that one for the 13 year olds?
Oh, and he’s an expenses-rorting crook.
Well all the evidence would imply that this is the case so I’m not sure why you are suggesting otherwise.
The most bizarre example of ADS occurred on the Sydney Morning Herald’s website only today.
Under the headline “Vladimir Putin gives late Tony Abbott cold shoulder at APEC”, the Herald suggested “a new iron curtain dropped between Russia and Australia” when the Prime Minister turned up late to the opening of the APEC meeting in Bali.
Yes that’s perhaps in poor taste but at the same time I am wondering if it ranks anywhere near the front pages of the Telegraph during the recent election.
Russian President Vladimir Putin, seated next to Abbott, had been “frosty”.
Yet directly under the headline was a video showing Putin and Abbott bantering and laughing.
I suppose if you were to only read the Murdoch press you might be left with the impression that this is so. Fortunately I read very little of it. This piece is a good example of why I don’t.
It is now a sacred myth in Labor that no Prime Minister ever suffered more abuse and media misrepresentation than St Julia Gillard.
I would suggest that most fair minded Australians would say she was given a pretty hard time Andrew. The fact that you don’t says more about you than her. The need to use ‘’St’’ is disingenuous, gives your bias away and is only being titillating and inflammatory.
“Gillard has faced serial abuse as a woman on a scale I believe is unprecedented in modern politics,” complained John McTernan, her communications director . . .
Many people agree with that. Perhaps you mix in different circles or see the world through the eyes of European opera or through privileged class institutions. There are no left wing shock jocks or journalists with your acerbic tongue. Didn’t one of the shock jocks suggest that Julia Gillard be placed in a hessian bag and taken out to sea? It might be an idea to ask women their opinion.
Abbott hadn’t even been sworn in before a new Facebook site – “Tony Abbott – Worst PM in Australian History” – savaged him as “a misogynist, sexist, homophobic pr—, a bully, a racist, a liar . . . “. It has 170,000 “likes”.
Of course you would be aware of the many hate pages during the Rudd/Gillard reigns. Perhaps you chose to overlook them. In any case 170,000 is a lot of people. A decent journalist might ask: “Why is it so”? Based on his own words it’s a fair summation of his character.
Other Facebook sites were worse. “Tony Abbott should be assassinated” was created from an office at the Geelong Trades Hall.
And the name of the graphic artist who produces all those filthy Murdoch front pages is? Or better still the editors who condone them. It’s important as a journalist to always be balanced.
ADS hit the mainstream media, too. The Age even promoted “ethically produced” T shirts from columnist Clementine Ford with the slogan “F— Abbott”.
Whilst I don’t agree with it, it is a commonly used word of expression these days. Perhaps you are out of touch Andrew. A fellow named Pickering comes to mind. He is also on your side.
The ABC’s Q & A website left up a tweet about performing a sexual act on Abbott and The Drum vilified him as a religious bigot who denied evolution and wanted to “score points against the ‘feminazis’ and ‘poofs’ “.
He is by his own confession wary of poofs (not a term I would use) and there are ample comments he has made about women to suggest a form of sexism. Didn’t see the Q&A comment so I cannot comment. I have a list of his lies and misdemeanours if required. And there is one gay fellow who liked to frequent public toilets in London who seems to have his ear.
Meanwhile, Catherine Deveny, a Guardian writer, boasted on Twitter how her teenage son hated Abbott, and published a photograph of his profanity-strewn poster.
Didn’t see it, so no comment. However, I do hope you realise Andrew that Abbott may have as many haters on the left as Gillard had on the right. Perhaps as a journalist you should be a little more impartial.
ADS also seems to have distorted media coverage of Abbott’s first weeks in office, producing a disconnect between what Abbott does and what journalists say he’s done – as with that “cold shoulder” furphy.
For instance, when Abbott won a deal from Indonesia’s President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono to fight people smugglers, journalists suggested the Prime Minister had in fact caved in.
The Herald even wondered if Abbott was “paving the way to ditch his controversial boats turn-back policy”, even though Abbott repeated “we reserve the right to turn boats around” and had just returned two boat loads of “asylum seekers” to Indonesia.
The statement that ‘’we never had a tow back the boats policy’’ amounted to a lie of monumental proportion when placed besides a mountain of evidence that they did. ABC fact check perhaps. And of course the two boats you refer to were rescues, not tow backs.Andrew when you tell a lie you take away the other persons right to the truth.
And he has spent a lot of time apologising for all the insults he hurled at the leaders of Indonesia and Malaysia when opposition leader. Acts of contrition I think he called them.
And now there’s this beat up over Abbott’s expenses, much also informed by ADS – a conviction that when Abbott does something, it must be wrong.
Am I to read into that that he is beyond criticism of have you not chosen your words very well? Or is it just sloppy writing?
The Prime Minister is attacked for claiming $1700 in travel expenses seven years ago to attend the weddings of Liberals Sophie Mirabella and Peter Slipper – expenses he’s now repaid.
Abbott has decided to continue with the current system under which parliamentarians claim expenses. This means that the rorting will continue and the already abysmal view the public has of its politicians will be further eroded. And why did he repay the money if he thinks the system is ok? $1700 and the rest.
Abbott argues that as then Leader of Government Business, he felt obliged to go to his colleague’s weddings. I’d have to be paid to socialise with Slipper, too.
I think they were best mates at the time. And there are probably many who might say the same about you. Me included. And the second sentence seems to be out of context with the first. You are suggesting you would go if you were paid. That figures.
Is Abbott wrong? Well, Labor’s Kevin Rudd and Simon Crean claimed expenses to attend the 80th birthday party of former Prime Minister Bob Hawke, which is even less defensible.
Yes you are correct. They shouldn’t be claiming expenses for such events. I don’t know why you need to emphasise Bob Hawke’s birthday with such sarcasm but then then no one does hatred like the right.
If there’s a sin, it lies not in Abbott but the rules.
Yes that’s correct but when you know the rules are wrong why rort them. Especially if you are the party leader. In a previous comment you described it as a beat up. Now you are saying it’s a rules problem. Which is it?
Abbott is also attacked for claiming expenses for going on his annual Pollie Pedal and competing in the Port Macquarie Ironman.
He has abused the system over a long period claiming expenses while flying around the country promoting his own book and participating in events that were nothing more than public relations exercises aimed at self-image.
Again, Labor’s Julia Gillard and Wayne Swan used the Prime Ministerial jet to attend to Grand Finals. Why is it fine to claim expenses for watching community sport but not for joining in?
In your own words. If there’s a sin, it lies not in Abbott but the rules. Or is it a beat up? The conflicting way in which you write makes it impossible to comprehend any logical thought processes.
These expenses are actually an old story and until ADS kicked in it was generally accepted Abbott was mixing sport with politics – projecting the Ironman image, engaging with community groups, raising money for charities and visiting places (like Port Macquarie) in marginal electorates.
Oh dear Andrew, it’s been on social media for yonks. Mixing the two was the conflict of interest that people were talking about.
“It’s campaigning genius,” admitted the Guardian’s Lenore Taylor four months ago when discussing Abbott’s Pollie Pedal bike rides for charity.
You’re misusing her words. She was suggesting that in campaigning terms it was genius, not rorting the system in the process.
Abbott sure thought so: “If an election was held tomorrow in Port Macquarie, I think I’d win,” he gasped at the end of one Ironman, which he uses to promote the McGrath Foundation and usually combines with a function at the town’s hospital.
Many people give of themselves for charitable reasons but they don’t self-promote at the same time.
But with all this concocted rage over a few thousand dollars of expenses, Abbott’s achievements so far go largely unreported. Funny, that.
I suppose when you are very wealthy you don’t suffer confected rage. It’s only the taxpayers who wonder where their money goes. And it’s hard to find anything on the topic in the Murdoch press. Lying by omission perhaps.
Truth is, Abbott seems to be making a difference already to boat arrivals.
Perhaps it’s because of the Labor policies that were put in place during the election and the LNP adopted. Really Andrew you are writing like you have to meet a deadline. This surely cannot be serious journalism.
He also came out of talks with Chinese President Xi Jinping vowing to fast-track the stalled free-trade negotiations.
Well he did say he would do a deal on a ‘’whatever we can get basis’’
He’s saved money by dumping the Climate Commission and is reforming the National Broadband Network disaster. The latest Morgan poll shows business confidence at a three-year high.
The latest Morgan Poll shows Labor leading the Government on a TPP. You should check it out to put things in the right perspective.
As a journalist, repeat journalist who thinks he knows more about the climate than the scientists themselves it is not worth commenting. But for what is worth I offer this thought. ‘In terms of the environment. I wonder what price the people of tomorrow will pay for the stupidity of today’
On the NBN. “The problem with designing a network to meet the needs of today is that it denies you the ability to meet the needs of tomorrow”.
Amazingly, Abbott even got a laugh this week out of grim Putin, although you wouldn’t read about it.
ADS, you know.
I have to say I got a laugh out of this particular piece of journalistic nonsense. Any real journalist wouldn’t put his name to it.
Tony Abbott is being protected by Andrew Bolt’s Propaganda. That’s all it is.
But what else would you expect from the newspaper where the truth goes to die.
In summary, if a newspaper article is written in a manner to suggest objectivity but subjective words are scattered throughout it together with carefully phrased unsupported statements then dismiss the article as having no cogency. Finding the truth and reporting it is more important than creating a narrative where controversy matters more.
Well I enjoyed that. I might do it again. Does he really get paid a million bucks?
Common Michael you promised.