Who do you trust?

At the end of my last post I suggested I needed more words to…

The Conviction and Sentencing of Witness K

After tormenting the man for years, it became clear that the Australian…

What About The Other Secret Trial?

A few weeks ago, various Australian MPs were expressing their outrage at…

Wither Encryption: What Operation Trojan Shield Reveals

My, were they delighted. Politicians across several international jurisdictions beamed with pride…

Education and Political Interference in the Death of…

By Dr Stewart Hase In Ray Bradbury’s 1953 book Farenheit 451, Captain Beatty…

Australia’s competitiveness drops to lowest level in 25…

CEDA Media Release Australia’s competitiveness drops to lowest level in 25 years: WCY…

‘Band Together’: Refugees join stars from Midnight Oil,…

The City of Sydney, the Asylum Seekers Centre and Amnesty International Australia…

Mums For Refugees Urge All to join Home…

Mums4Refugees is calling all families in Sydney to join us on Saturday…

«
»
Facebook

Tag Archives: Newspoll

Forget Coal, Joel And The Latest Poll: Elections Are Won With Maslow

Now I know that many of you will have heard of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Need, but for those who’ve never seen it, it looks something like this:

The basic idea is that one needs to meet the needs at the bottom before one aspires to the needs at the top. In order to demonstrate this, I’ll use a fictitious account of a young, homeless woman called Grace.

Grace is on the street and hungry when a man approaches her and tells her that he has a spare room and food and he hates to see anyone like this. While Grace is suspicious of his motives, sleeping rough isn’t safe either so she goes back to his house where she is fed and shown a room where she can sleep. With most of her physiological needs met, she barricades the door to make herself feel safe and gets some sleep.

After a few days, she comes to accept that the man has no ulterior motive and that she can come and go as she pleases and he is no threat to her. He gives her jobs to do so that she doesn’t feel like she’s relying on his charity. However, she feels no sense of belonging.

One day, on the way to the grocery store, she sees a guy rummaging through the bin looking for food. She approaches him and offers him some money so that he can buy food. He stands and looks her in the eye. He is strikingly good-looking. He tells her that his name is Pedro and that he has no need of her money because it perpetuates a capitalist system which is destroying the planet and that he prefers to scrounge for the wasted food and to live in the streets because that places less pressure on the planet.

Ok, I could go on for several pages with the love story that develops and how Grace is attracted to Pedro and all her dilemmas about whether she can leave her comfortable room to fulfil the next rung of needs: Love and Belonging. And how her decision to turn her back on the charity of the other man gives her Self-Esteem and that she rises above her need for food and shelter.

However, I’m not going to do that for three reasons: 1. I’d just be writing another sexist story about how a woman keeps getting saved by men. 2. It doesn’t fit with Maslow’s concept and 3. This is really more about elections and the story is just a vehicle for a lot of silly stereotypes that are so prevalent in the media.

I’m not suggesting that the Man is the government and that Pedro is The Greens, but I am suggesting that Grace is the electorate.

And this brings me quite neatly to the problem with how polls are used, viewed, analysed, and in the end quite meaningless unless we get to vote on things much more frequently. In the end, people are most focused on their immediate needs so they’ll vote for the party that appeals to their needs at the lower end of the hierarchy. This is why a fear campaign works well at times. And a party can scoop up some votes with the next step on the hierarchy with a sense of Love and Belonging. “As Australians…”

Before one allows something as important as battling climate change to affect one’s vote, one usually has to be high up on the hierarchy of needs. Consequently, Joel Fitzgibbon is appealing to those in his electorate who feel their jobs are threatened by any action, even though inaction won’t save their jobs in the long term.

When we start to look at the next election in terms of Grace, we can clearly see that it’s not that she objects to Pedro’s ideas about helping save the planet; it’s just that her more immediate needs are being met by the man who took her in. And so it is with the current Coalition government: they’ve taken a lot of people in.

But when looking forward to the next election, the question needs to be asked, does the electorate feel a strong sense of loyalty and gratitude to Scott Morrison and his merry men, or does it – like Grace – just feel that they’re better than sleeping on the streets. While the electorate may not embrace the extreme Pedro, it’s not because they don’t want to help save the planet. It’s just that they don’t want to put their own needs at risk. And any political party that can make them feel like it’s not threatening those needs can make the electorate aspire to feeling self-esteem and to do their bit for the world.

This is not just true of climate change. There are a whole range of issues where the polls tell us that the electorate would be behind a whole range of changes – take the marriage equality vote as an example – but we’re made to view them as risky by those opposing the particular change. In the case of renewable energy, we used to be told that people were against it because it was more expensive. Now that the costs are down, we’re told that it’s because it doesn’t deliver “base-load power” when the sun doesn’t blow and the wind doesn’t shine, or whatever that slogan is. What happens when batteries make that argument irrelevant? Well, I can just hear the PM telling us: “Isn’t it worth paying a few cents more for your power to keep coal-miners employed?”

Snigger at that if you think I’m being ridiculous, but remember that this is the government that had Dan Tehan tell us that the vaccine rollout “wasn’t a race”. Why not? Well, because the Melbourne Cup is a race, so…

Like what we do at The AIMN?

You’ll like it even more knowing that your donation will help us to keep up the good fight.

Chuck in a few bucks and see just how far it goes!

Donate Button

 

It’s Time for Abbott to Step Down

Surely when Alan Jones, one of Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s most fervent supporters, gives him a grilling on radio, it is time to say enough is enough. For whatever reason the talkback radio host found it necessary to take Abbott to task on the issue of the free trade agreement with China, it was enough to ask: if his friends are unhappy, isn’t it time someone tapped him on the shoulder?

On Insiders Sunday November 15th, Malcolm Farr summed up his thoughts: “Tony Abbott is a man who should not be left alone with his own mouth.” The comment was made in reference to Abbott’s opening remarks to the leaders of the G20 on the weekend about the $7 GP co-payment, the carbon tax and stopping the boats.

It was that, and Abbott’s attempts to exclude climate change from the G20 agenda that made him look foolish. Laura Tingle said it well enough in the Australian Financial Review. “Unfortunately for our Prime Minister, however, Barack Obama has delivered a rather humiliating exercise in power politics over the weekend: showing how leadership and power lies in setting and controlling an agenda.”

blew it

Obama expressing disbelief?

If Abbott ever had a golden moment to look every inch the statesman, it was the G20. He blew it in breathtaking fashion. Surely there must be a point where the collective mental health of the nation takes precedence over the choice of a national leader. How much more are we expected to endure?

If ever a supportive media had the chance to make him look worldly, it was at the G20, but even they could not do it. We saw him, warts and all, make an idiot of all those who voted for him and have the rest of us reaching for the Prozac. Then, on Monday night at a dinner to host the Chinese president, he confused China with Tasmania.

The thought of having to endure another two years watching this man stumble from one gaffe to another while continuing to lead our country, is asking too much. We deserve better. Whatever misgivings people may have had about Kevin Rudd or Julia Gillard, surely those misgivings must pale into insignificance when placed alongside the recurring examples of ineptitude displayed by this man.

For a moment, let us look beyond the sheer dishonesty that is the trail of broken promises. As unfair as they are, as economically unsound and unlikely to work as they are, his government would not be the first to play that card. Let us look beyond the appalling treatment of asylum seekers, a policy decision based solely on the belief that it gave his party an electoral advantage.

Let us look beyond his extraordinary approach to the issue of climate change. Let us put some of his utterly stupid remarks about coal to one side for the time being. Let us look beyond the possibility that he is, and has been, ineligible to stand for parliament in the first place, because of Section 44 of the Constitution which prohibits those holding dual citizenship from being candidates.

These are all issues we can debate but which are overshadowed by another. The question all LNP members of parliament should be asking is: does this man demonstrate the qualities and mental capacity necessary to lead the nation, or is he simply a figurehead, a puppet attached to, and dangled by, other more powerful interests who take advantage of his inability to articulate a coherent narrative?

bizarre When one addresses that question and places all his bizarre comments, his misguided sense of equality, his inability to express an original thought, surely they must scratch their heads and wonder: is he the best they have to offer?

If they cannot nominate an alternative, then they too must all be seen as incompetent and tarred with the same brush.

That then leaves the only alternative: to demand of the Governor General that he be replaced.

It’s not as if he would be the first. As unlikely as that is to happen, however, it is as clear as it is appropriate. If the man himself was willing to put the country ahead of his own personal ambitions, he would step down.

The latest Newspoll would suggest the majority of voters agree.

The 2016 Election

Let us indulge ourselves and assume that Rupert Murdoch’s shonky Newspolls are correct and the incompetent, gaffe prone Tony Abbott wins the job of leading us after Saturday’s election and look ahead three years: what would happen in the 2016 election?

What would have voters learned after three years under Tony Abbott (and his moguls)?

The first thing they’d have learned would be the obvious: the Tony Abbott Government they voted in will in no way resemble the government they voted for. What they wanted, looks nothing like what they got. But I don’t think this will be the key issue so I will not address it here. The issue will be about where the country is going, which would be nowhere, rather than how bad Abbott has been in guiding it.

His term as leader would have reinforced our perception of him as he was in opposition. Tony Abbott would not have provided one tiny morsel of evidence that he had any plan of moving this country forward, let alone managing it. This was apparent in his term as Opposition leader. The preceding Labor Government focused fairly and squarely on moving forward but it was stalled not just by sorting through the mess left by the Howard Government, but also amid screams of horror from the opposition that the government was doing absolutely nothing. And as the government’s term progressed during a period when it could have meeting its commitments to the electorate and moving this country forward, it was further stalled by an obstructionist opposition, again, amid screams of horror from those causing the obstructions. Plus of course a fair amount of chest beating.

And by 2016 we would have learned that chest beating about stopping the boats (which will not be stopped) does not move the country forward. Unplugging the national broadband network does not move the country forward either. Nothing he has offered will.

There will be a different demographic in three years time and they will want to see the country move at a pace that keeps up with the rest of the world. And this new demographic is the key. In the three years leading up to the 2016 election youth will have become a powerful electoral tool. Boxlid, who has been a guest poster here commented that:

Our current youth is far more aware than generations before us, they don’t fall for spin and media proclamations, they know how to access information and share it between everyone else.

Ask the teachers in high school about their level of understanding of the students they are teaching. From what I hear, they have to spend extra time to keep up because they don’t have adequate resources available to them.

Our youth are adults at a younger age and capable of making decisions for themselves regarding their own lives. Difficult to accept isn’t it?

Our younger generation are not dumb and stupid. They are creating our future and from my interaction with them in many ways they are remarkable, skilled, talented and forward looking not just two years, not just five years or ten years: they are looking at fifty years or more and embracing all of the potential opportunities that the future has to offer.

The Abbott Government hasn’t offered this new demographic the possibilities of the future. By 2016 there will be hundreds of thousands of new voters demanding it. Hundreds of thousands of voters unhindered by the influence of a declining media and discontent with the country’s stagnation. They will have a voice.

Tony Abbott would have given no indication that he has any idea of what’s happening in the rest of the world. He would have shown also he has no idea that the mind-set of most people in Western world has been dragged out of the 1970s. The world is not flat and we now live in a global society.

Furthermore, we are in a new environment of border-less or global economies and markets. One major challenge he faced in this global economy was to think, plan and act globally as well as domestically. He will have failed. He remained entrenched in his 1970s mindset. He failed to develop an international focus amid the diminishing influence of domestic markets in the face of the competitive global economy and global ideas (think technology and climate change). This global village provided an opportunity he overlooked. In 2016 we would have expected that a successful government recognised it as an opportunity and would have initiated changes in response to those opportunities.

Mr Abbott didn’t have a global mindset and he failed to move the country forward. The new demographic will recognise this far more than the rest of us and their vote will be influential. More so than ever before. The older demographic that Tony Abbott has appealed to will have diminished significantly.

What, then, would happen in the 2016 election?

My prediction: possibly Bill Shorten to lead Labor to a win over an out-of-touch Tony Abbott.

Like what we do at The AIMN?

You’ll like it even more knowing that your donation will help us to keep up the good fight.

Chuck in a few bucks and see just how far it goes!

Donate Button

Poll woes for Julia Gillard – the solution, possibly the final solution!

IMG_0956

The polls don’t look good for Julia Gillard (image from heraldsun.com.au)

Newspoll is suggesting that the Julia Gillard Labor Government is heading for a thumping. It seems hopeless, and there is speculation that it may start a fresh round of leadership speculation.

Ok, I guess I should nail my colours to the mast here and say that I’ve never really been a whole-hearted Julia Gillard supporter. I always thought that her voice was too nasal and that her hairstyle so unlike previous leaders, so I doubted that she’d ever become PM, but she somehow managed to get there, and slowly she’s won me over by her focus on good policy and getting things done, rather than the politics.

But it seems I’m in the minority. So I have to concede that instead of concentrating on silly things like the NBN, which apparently causes asbestos to appear in the street, or disability insurance, she should have been concentrating on keeping our borders safe. While Julia Gillard has been twiddling her thumbs, the Opposition have been working on a deal with Indonesia to stop the boats, and pretty soon they’ll have that in a form where they can let the Indonesians know about it.

I know that the only way that Labor can defuse this boat issue is to come up with a better policy. All right, they did try the Malaysian solution, but the Liberals complained that was inhumane. They did try the Pacific Solution, which the Liberals complained was their policy – until it hasn’t worked. Now the Liberals are suggesting that the only way is to tow back the boats. But I suggest that Labor should go one step further and have a “Sink the Boats” policy – in a totally humane way, of course. We’d only be sinking them to discourage other people from taking that risky voyage in a leaky boat.

Of course, we know that Julia Gillard won’t do this, so the only thing to do is to replace her as leader. Kevin Rudd would be divisive and make it appear as they Labor didn’t know what it was doing. They could offer it to Malcolm Turnbull, but I hear a rumour that he’d have a problem with sinking innocent women and children, so that only leaves one option. They should offer the leadership to Gina Rinehart. (Although Turnbull no longer has a problem with rising sea levels, since he got rolled as Opposition Leader for endorsing an emissions trading scheme!).

I know that it may seem a little strange, but I don’t see anyone else who’d have enough money to counter Rupert’s push to install Tony. And I know some of you would say that she wouldn’t be prepared to stand for the Labor Party, but I’m sure that if they promised to abolish the Mining Tax, the Carbon Tax and slash the minimum wage to $5 a day, she’d consider it. An agreement that they’d re-introduce Work Choices should just about clinch the deal.

Of course, they’ve already got a problem with the Budget not balancing this year, so rather than restricting spending and trying to raise revenue before the election, they could offer tax cuts to all and re-introduce the Baby Bonus retrospectively for anyone who’d ever been a baby.

In an effort to reduce the damage of Craig Thomson, all union officials should be jailed pending investigation. Once they can prove that they’ve never done anything wrong, they can be released, of course, but only after they’ve won the election. (Anyone who confesses to the theft of a pen could be released for time already served, in the hope that it’d encourage others to admit to crimes also).

With these simple steps, Labor may again be a winning chance at the election. And surely, winning the election’s what counts. In forty years, no-one will care that Julia Gillard introduced the NDIS. After all, who remembers that Gough introduced Medicare (Medibank) or that he bought “Blue Poles” for a fraction of its value today. But we all remember who won the 1974 election…

Don’t we?

Haters want to hate

NDISParliament It’s clear Australian voters aren’t rational, but do they have to be so blatantly mindless as well? When I say voters, I’m currently referring in this context to the people recently polled by ReachTEL and whose responses contributed to this headline on News.com:

“Voters trust Opposition Leader Tony Abbott most to deliver NDIS, poll reveals”

I had to read this a couple of times before I believed what I was seeing. The figures in the article state that 57% of the poll’s respondents trust Tony Abbott to deliver the NDIS, more so than they trust Julia Gillard. Surely, even someone completely rusted onto the Liberal party, even Peta Credlin, even Gina Rinehart, even Rupert Murdoch, even Alan Jones, even Tony Abbott himself must see the inanity in this poll result. The NDIS is Labor’s policy. It was the work of Bill Shorten, and only with Julia Gillard’s support did it have any hope in hell in getting a name, let alone being successfully implemented. Tony Abbott supported Labor’s NDIS policy after many months of non-commitment, only after it became obvious that if he didn’t, he would be seen as the scrooge we all know him to be. But just because he supported it, does not mean he gives a crap about it. He never raised such a scheme as even an idea when he was in government for many years. And when the policy did finally pass the lower house, much to the joy of the Labor MPs who worked tirelessly to make it happen, Tony Abbott and his team weren’t even there to see it happen. Because they couldn’t bear to be seen celebrating a policy win by the Labor government. A Labor government policy. So on what far off planet do these voters live if they think Abbott would be the better person to deliver a policy that was designed and successfully passed through the Parliament by Gillard’s Labor government?

At this point I’m pretty much ready to say to Australian voters, wake the f*ck up. Could you really be so misinformed by the Murdoch, Fairfax and ABC press, so out of touch with the policy platforms of the two major parties, and so ready to hate everything Julia Gillard does, that even when her government successfully implements a policy of huge national significance, you give Abbott the credit?

Perhaps this isn’t just a sign of an electorate that is completely uninterested with the roles played by the Labor Party and the Liberal Party in delivering the landmark NDIS policy. Perhaps it’s a sign of just how disengaged ordinary voters are from, well, political reality.

I guess it’s these same voters who haven’t twigged that the Carbon Price is designed to save them and future generations of their family from the effects of climate change. It’s these same voters who refuse to equate Murdoch’s campaign to bring down the Gillard government with an agenda to destroy the NBN, a technology that puts his Foxtel profits at risk. It’s also these same voters who don’t understand that Gina Rinehart hates the Mining Tax not because she wants to make enough money to keep employing more workers, but because she doesn’t want to pay tax on her super profits. Because she wants to keep the money from the sale of Australia’s resources for herself. These voters are probably willing to support policies that they do understand, such as the Gonski school funding, but they’re still not willing to give Gillard the credit for designing and delivering such policies. Gillard is damned if she does, damned if she doesn’t.

The other truly frustrating part of this whole messed up situation is that Abbott supporters never have anything nice to say about Abbott. They only have bile to spew at Gillard. Ad astra is right, propaganda directed at the Gillard government is spreading hatred throughout the electorate. This hatred is making the electorate crazy. Here’s a challenge for any Abbott supporters who come across this post and decide to make a comment. Please tell us why you support Abbott, without mentioning Labor or Gillard. I dare you.

Up The Opinion Polls

How reliable;e are opinion polls? (Image from ichaps.org)

How reliable are opinion polls? (Image from ichaps.org)

If we are to take the latest Fairfax Poll at face value and try to analyse the sudden voter turnaround it conjures up a number of possibilities. Those on the right might argue that’s its all the bad news that has confronted Labor since Christmas. One writer lists the following.

Craig Thomson finally got arrested. Other union identities (Williamson, etc) going through their own court proceedings, legal issues, etc. In NSW, two senior former ALP ministers, Eddie Obeid and Ian McFarlane, are in ICAC accused of defrauding NSW of $75 million. Nova Perris “captains pick” looked tokenistic. Long-standing Senator Trish Crossin dumped in the trash through no fault of her own. Makes Gillard look ruthless. PM announces longest election-campaign in the nation’s history. If nothing else, it seemed “weird”. Two senior ministers resign days later. This terrible timing is a strong indicator that they had no idea Gillard was about to announce election-date. Suggestive of secretive and dysfunctional cabinet. Treasurer Swan finally admits that the surplus he promised 200 times won’t be delivered.

If we accept these as legitimate reasons (and they are) then we also need to look at what the electorate is prepared to reject in order to strike a balance. So if this poll is correct it also means (given the margins involved) that the electorate has overwhelming rejected every government policy. Let’s go through them at the same time remembering that the Coalition has none. Well other than a maternity leave policy that economists say is unaffordable. Considering this point is important if we are to understand voting intentions. Otherwise the voter is being asked to make a decision based on incomplete information. If this is so, how seriously do we take this poll? Is it actually saying that the electorate fundamentally rejects all of the following policies in favour of Mr Abbott’s unknown ones? That none has any merit and that they don’t care what his policies are. They will accept them anyway. I think not.

They overwhelmingly reject the need for a price on carbon. This in spite of the fact that it is bedded down and working well. They are prepared for the opposition to rip it up in favour of a plan that economists and environmentalists say will not work. And they are even prepared to go to a double dissolution.

They overwhelmingly reject the need for a broadband network of the standard the government is building and would be happy with a Mickey Mouse network that the experts say is inferior.

They overwhelmingly reject the need for a better and more equal education system for their children and think that the Gonski report is not worthy of implementation despite it receiving loud applause from academics and the public. Remember the Coalition had said they are happy with the current system.

They overwhelmingly reject the need for an NDIS and are happy with the status quo. Again this policy has received widespread community support. The Coalition while supporting it say it is not in their immediate plans.

They would overwhelmingly forgo any possibility that gay folk would ever achieve marriage equality.

They would overwhelmingly forgo any possibility that Australia might ever become a republic with its own head of state. Not even a plebiscite.

They overwhelmingly think it’s fine for families to lose their school hand outs that help to pay for school fees etc.

They overwhelmingly accept that a large portion of the population (3.6 million and mainly women) will have their taxes increased.

They overwhelmingly say that they are not interested in a 3% increase in their superannuation.

They overwhelming think its fine for the Opposition to rip up the Murray Darling agreement.

They overwhelmingly reject the Government’s handling of the economy which most observers believe to be amongst the best in the world. If not the best.

They overwhelmingly want to get rid of the mining tax despite it having the potential, repeat, potential to spread the wealth of the nation.

They overwhelmingly could not care less that between 13,000 and 20,000 public servants will lose their jobs.

So they have decided overwhelmingly to reject all this even without an Opposition card on the table.

Now I could probably go on and some might also add some other policy areas but these suffice to make my point.

And of course we have a judge finding that members of a political party (The LNP) conspired with James Ashby to use the courts to bring a false claim against the speaker of the house with the eventual intent of bringing down the government. Do I take it that this means nothing to the electorate?

Or do I argue that the average punter has not yet had enough information to make a considered judgement and the ramifications of what a vote for the coalition might mean in real terms? Is the poll seriously suggesting that the electorate has already overwhelmingly rejected all of these policies? That none are worth a pinch? Could it mean that they don’t care and they simply dislike a women in The Lodge and are prepared to forgo any policy at all? It could also mean that the bias of the press and the media in general has been extremely persuasive. And how does one explain the turn a round in the popularity of Tony Abbott from one the most disliked opposition leaders ever, to being more popular than the Prime Minister? You simply cannot.

So all this is strange. There was a Morgan Poll after Christmas that showed the government one percentage point behind the opposition. Was it so far out as to be worthless? On the Café Whisper’s blog in the piece There’s something odd about the Nielson Poll the writer lists in chronological order the political events since Christmas and suggests that there is nothing out of the ordinary that might be a reason for Labor’s demise in the polls. I agree, except that the manner in which the media reported them demonstrated a bias that colours the public’s perception of both the Prime Minister and her Government. The resignation of two ministers was but one example. The media response to this was a complete and utter disgrace and the ABC were at the forefront. And of course there is the ever present Rudd challenge that has developed into some sort of media fetish. Every article is written in a manner to suggest objectivity but there is little of it and they are full of unsupported statements. It has reached the point in this country where the media believes its own unsubstantiated bullshit. It has gone from reporting news to making it and in the process prostituted itself.

Could it be that opinion polls are about a perception in time and not a reality of it? Going by this one, hundreds of thousands of people came back from their Christmas holidays after giving much of their time to deep thoughts on the political process and decided that Tony was a good bloke after all. If I were a swinging voter how could I reasonably be expected to say who I might vote for? I would inclined to say: “More info please”.

Opinion polls are now the news. Bring on the next one. WHOOPS, sorry I said that.

And an afterthought. Why not simply ask this question: “How to you think the Coalition’s policies stack up against the governments?” That might confuse the punters.

 

News media: A little word, a big effect

Image from alexhamilton.com.au

Liberal news media (image from alexhamilton.com.au)

I sometimes pick up on some sloppy reporting, deliberate spin or bias in the mainstream news media (MSM). It always creates huge interest on Twitter because many people are aware of the decline in professional standards and bias throughout the MSM.

I refer to it occasionally. But I could make a full-time career of it, so widespread are the examples of biased, unbalanced and unprofessional reporting.

To some degree, a process of correcting a perception of Left-bias in Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) News and Current Affairs has been under way for some time (since the last Liberal government of former Prime Minister John Howard, in fact).

At the same time, Rupert Murdoch’s News Limited (at least 70% of Australia’s news media outlets) has been running a Right-wing Conservative agenda against the federal Labor government, which is probably related to mining taxes, environment/pollution control, news media regulation, construction of a National Broadband Network and control of Radio Australia (the ABC’s overseas broadcast network) Australia Network News (now operated by the ABC).

Now that you have the background, let’s look at a specific example I picked up yesterday afternoon. It was still being discussed on Twitter late this afternoon. But if I hadn’t referred to it I imagine it would have gone unnoticed.

On the ABC’s website, Simon Cullen (ABC Chief Political Correspondent) produced a report that referred to a story published earlier in the day by The Australian. The story referred to the latest Newspoll figures. Now, you need to know that The Australian has exclusive rights to publish the Newspoll results, that The Australian is 100% owned by News Limited, which also owns 50% of Newspoll.

Labor figures are quoted in three paragraphs, Newspoll chief Martin O’Shannessy gets two paras and Opposition front bencher Greg Hunt gets four. Two Labor politicians and one Opposition politician commented, with slightly more quotes. Let’s call that a draw because it’s hard to strike a perfect balance.

My attention was drawn to one little word in the third last paragraph. It doesn’t need to be there and the fact that it is there can be seen as an attempt to influence the reader. That is either careless or deliberate writing, or lazy clichéd writing, or amateurish sub-editing. Here are the last three pars; my comments continue below.

Despite recording a six-point bounce in Labor’s primary vote, Prime Minister Julia Gillard’s personal satisfaction rating increased only two points to 38 per cent.

That compares with Opposition Leader Tony Abbott’s personal satisfaction rating of 29 per cent.

More people are dissatisfied than satisfied with the performance of both leaders, with Ms Gillard recording a voter dissatisfaction rating of 49 per cent, while Tony Abbott is on 58 per cent.

The word that caught my attention was “only” in the first of the three pars above. “Only”, used in the context of the highly charged atmosphere of the relative popularity of the Prime Minister and the Opposition Leader, Tony Abbott, is a serious breach of professional ethics. It is a subtle attempt to influence the reader.

But it gets worse. Simon Cullen, the ABC’s Chief Political Correspondent, ought to know how the Newspoll works and what it measures. He has made the mistake of comparing the government’s popularity with the Prime Minister’s popularity. They are two distinctly different measurements. Mr Cullen seems to think if the government’s popularity is up by six points then the Prime Minister’s popularity should have risen by about the same amount. This is demonstrated by the use of “Despite” and “only”.

He does not emphasise the fact that the Prime Minister’s personal popularity has risen by another two points, continuing the upward trend that we began to see some months ago.

By separating the second par from the first, Mr Cullen (or the sub-editor) is separating the good news from the bad — avoiding a direct comparison of the two. Mr Cullen begrudgingly points out, by using “Despite” and “only”, that the PM’s rating is up two points, but he does not point out that the Opposition Leader remains stuck on his historically low rating of 29.

I could also take issue with the use of “while” in the third par. If I was subbing that par I’d rephrase it to avoid any accusation of bias, like this:

People remain dissatisfied with the performance of both leaders. Ms Gillard’s voter dissatisfaction is 49 per cent. Mr Abbott’s is 58 per cent.

How much of those dissatisfied ratings is due to policy debates we are not having and how much is due to sensationalist, sleazy and sloppy reporting, along with rampant bias, is something that keeps me awake at night.

Read Simon Cullen’s report here:

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2013-01-15/support-for-labor-surges-in-latest-newspoll/4464788

What the media will be telling us in 2013

My apologies if this comes across as an anti-Tony Abbott post, for it is actually aimed at being an anti-mainstream media rant. Tony Abbott is a media darling and they are blinkered in their portrayal of him. It would not be so funny if Tony Abbott was a politician worth promoting. This is an election year so how about some balance?

The last twenty four months have been a pure delight for a political tragic. For that we thank the Coalition for providing us with some comedy relief in the form of Tony. The next 12 months should be equally as entertaining and is sure to be another Abbott cocktail of gaffes, brain farts, back-flips, thought bubbles and publicity stunts. Yet, the daily media mantra of “Mr Abbott says …” will be elevated to headline status. He’ll be in our faces from the time we have breakfast until we tuck ourselves in at night. It’s a scary thought.

Over the next 12 months it all gets serious.

He’ll again be exposing his hairy chest, running marathons, kissing babies, firing rifles, putting out bushfires and visiting cities on the eve of their destruction. He’ll still be the media show-pony grabbing the limelight and attention he so desperately needs.

For our mainstream media, 2013 will be Tony’s year.

I haven’t failed to notice that time and time again, the moment his leadership is at crisis point, comes a Newspoll to the rescue … followed by some shock jock, News Ltd, Channel Nine and ABC ‘usual suspect’ support. Yep, they’ll be there to save Tony’s bacon.

It has already started. Just when the whole world had woken up to the fact that Tony Abbott is a misogynist sledge hammer the media pluck his wife Margie out of his shadow to promote him as the perfect, dare I say it … man. And what a man he is, according to Peta Credlin, the latest media muppet. Such headlines are sure to dominate the media landscape over the next 12 months as Margie and Co compete with Paris Hilton as the tabloid gossip girls. The media will find people (that Tony himself may have even forgotten about) that will attest to all his goodness and purity. And no doubt too, the media will beat a path to John Howard’s door, swooning to the lavish praise the little man will bless upon him.

Over the last month he’s been presented as a lady’s man and a local hero. What will he be next week? A soldier? A savior? A saint? And closer to the election he may become the Pied Piper or Tarzan, or perhaps a miniature version of Arnold Schwarzenegger. There is nothing our media couldn’t portray him as.

He will be the expert voice on all things in the known universe. He will be humanity’s guiding light and of course his incompetent mumblings will be fed to us as though he was a divine entity. He will be the master of all knowledge. Dare I chose what pair of socks to put on in the morning without first consulting him?

Might I suggest that over the next 12 months the tabloid media change from printing on white paper to brown. It might be appropriate. Brown is a close colour to bullshit. Looking ahead, we’re going to cop it in the bucket loads.

For the independent and social media, 2013 will be Tony’s year too. But we won’t be as kind.

Looking ahead, the Fifth Estate will be there helping to expose every lie, mock every brain fart, dissect every thought bubble and fill in the gaps missed by our media goons. Since he became Leader of the Opposition we have been subjected to a stream of lies, misrepresentations, obfuscations and … a string of idiotic brain farts thinly disguised as policy which have been neither well thought out, nor costed. If the mainstream media won’t hold him to account, the independent media will be demanding that they do.

We’ll be pushing the message on all social media platforms and even at the hallowed family BBQs. People who don’t engage in social media – who only read/listen to our mainstream media – have no idea how politically incompetent and socially dangerous this man is.

2013 is the year to get in peoples’ faces. The might of the mainstream media can never be taken on, but by crikey we can still make a noise.

Like what we do at The AIMN?

You’ll like it even more knowing that your donation will help us to keep up the good fight.

Chuck in a few bucks and see just how far it goes!

Donate Button

Scroll Up