On February 22nd 2020, AIMN author John Lord penned an insightful observation.
In an essay entitled ‘Truth doesn’t have the same importance it once did’, Mr Lord opined; ‘lies are so commonplace now that people just discount them or factor them into whatever context they read into various methods of communication. Many believe them.’
The contagion of lies and conspiracies became a global phenomenon after astronaut Neil Armstrong stepped onto the surface of the moon on July 20, 1969. When the Apollo Lunar Module, Eagle, touched down on the moon, millions called the landing a hoax.
Then as now, the world is witnessing conspiracies spread across the globe.
For example. On February 17 2020, in the United States – the epicentre of conspiracy theories – a Republican senator from Arkansas claimed the coronavirus is the product of a Chinese biological laboratory.
We simply do not know if this is true or false.
And on February 26 2020, a far-right commentator awarded the US Medal of Freedom, claimed the common cold, aka Covid-19, is being deployed to ‘get Trump’.
The world is awash with conspiracies, ranging from the downright weird – QAnon comes to mind – to subtle, reasonably sounding counter arguments mounted by so called libertarians.
The main enabler of both brands is – you guessed it – the hydra headed global entity known as News Corp.
At the QAnon end of the spectrum is Tucker Carlson, Laura Ingraham, Jeanine Pirro and others on the Fox News network in the USA. In Australia it is Paul Murray, Chris Kenny, Alan Jones et al, on Sky After Dark.
All of the above are highly paid entertainers masquerading as journalists. It’s pointless enumerating their collective idiocy other than stating the obvious danger of their prognostications. Craig Kelly spruiking Hydroxychloroquine as a treatment for Covid-19 on Sky After Dark, is a prime example. Let’s hope NSW Police knock on Kelly’s door and serve him with a warrant under the current NSW Health regulations.
Sadly, this will never happen.
The more insidious conspiracy mongers are those who count themselves as libertarians. Writers for The Australian newspaper, Tom Switzer, and Adam Creighton, come to mind.
Switzer hosts Between the Lines, a talk show broadcast on ABC Radio National. On the surface the programme comprises crisp, reasonable chat about weighty matters dear to the heart of its conservative audience.
But listen carefully, and Switzer and company smoothly promulgate falsehoods every bit as cock-eyed as those of Craig Kelly and celebrity chef Pete Evans.
The most recent example can be found on Between the Lines broadcast on the ABC on 29/07/2021.
At six minutes and eight seconds into the broadcast, Creighton says forced masking is underway in the United States. The fact is, mandated masking is in place in nine US States and many US overseas territories.
No such mandate exists in at least 40 US States and territories, yet the libertarian Creighton blithely misinformed his audience without so much as a by-your-leave by host Switzer.
Again, at eight minutes and fifteen seconds into the programme, Creighton says he does not believe there is exponential growth in Covid. The key word is ‘exponential’ as per this article published in the UK edition of The Conversation by Christian Yates Senior Lecturer in Mathematical Biology, the University of Bath.
Creighton may not believe Covid is spreading exponentially, but the citizens of India certainly do!
And to say “frankly I don’t think people would even be aware there is a pandemic without the media” is, in my opinion, dangerous cant. Again, neither Switzer nor the programme’s other guest, Danielle Wood, executive director of the Grattan Institute based in Melbourne, took Creighton to task.
So, what is the end game of the conspiracy mongers? The answer: untrammelled power. The HBO documentary series Q: Into the Storm reveals just how close a conspiracy came to toppling the United States.
Without giving too much away, six months ago Prime Minister Scott Morrison refused to condemn ex-US President Donald Trump, for enabling the riot in the US Capitol building.
Now, in an epidemic within a pandemic in New South Wales, it behoves journalists of standing like Tom Switzer and Adam Creighton to report facts rather than hide behind the trope of so-called conservative libertarianism.
A true libertarian advocates liberty especially in thought or conduct. In my opinion the recent edition of Between the Lines is as much a sham as the hideous weekly tosh known as Outsiders broadcast on Sky. The difference being the former claims gravitas via its association with the ABC, while the latter is as weird as the conspiracies it peddles.
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