Don’t you just love the ambiguity of language?
I mean it helps so many clickbait articles and while people who read me regularly will know that I never use clickbait and that I’m as honest as the day is long… Although I was born on June 21st which is the shortest day of the year…
(As an aside, I noticed that Piers Morgan denied ringing Camilla regularly. I must say that I believe him because, well, I don’t ring my wife regularly. Sometimes I’ll do it several times a day; other days I may not do it at all. That’s certainly not “regularly”… Language is a wonderful tool for obscuring meaning.)
So when I say that Albanese must go, I am – of course – referring to the various overseas trips that he’s required to take as Prime Minister, not that he must resign.
Still, the “Airbus Albo” thing seems to be gaining some traction. The Coalition are whining that he shouldn’t be going overseas and that he should be staying here to deal with the cost-of-living crisis… which, according to the Coalition, he’ll only make worse by doing any of the things that Labor have implemented so far (cheaper childcare, two months’ worth of prescriptions at a time, attempts to increase bulk billing rates).
This is not to say that the cost of living isn’t a significant issue and it’s certainly something that Labor should do something about. However, it seems that the current Labor government seem to be adopting the strategy of change as little as possible and maybe they’ll be in power long enough to make all the changes they want over the long term…
Of course, in saying that I am reminded of what have the Romans ever done for us? Ok, apart from introducing the anti-corruption commission, establishing a dialogue with China leading to the removal of tariffs and a prisoner being released, giving citizenship to that family from Biloela, increasing subsidies for childcare, tightening the safeguard mechanisms on emissions, and delivering the first Budget surplus in fifteen years, what have Labor done?
Yes, they’re not perfect and, yes, saying that they’re better than Scotty, who’s major achievements included building a chook-shed and stopping a child from scoring by tackling him to the ground is a pretty low bar.
However, there seems to be a strange narrative in some of the media which goes:
“Labor’s decision to (INSERT ANNOUNCEMENT HERE) has been criticised.”
Then you discover that the criticism is solely from the Coalition and not any of the people affected by the announcement who all seem in general agreement. Alternatively, the criticism is coming from people with a vested interest. You know the sort of thing: a company says that they’re not underpaying workers but this decision to investigate whether they’re underpaying workers will cost them millions and possibly force them out of business.
Of course the media should report criticism of the government and hold them to account, but when the lead story is not the announcement itself, but the criticism from the people who would be critical if the government announced a plan to reduce road accidents because of all the panel beaters that will have a reduced income, then the media starts to resemble Fox News at its worst.
Notwithstanding the fact that many people are finding it tough going, the media’s seems to be using the word “crisis” more frequently since Labor got elected. Housing crisis, cost of living crisis, etc. And to be sure, there are many people who need help but at what point does the number of people needing food banks or housing go from a concern to a crisis?
Whatever, the media are all agreed that Labor should do something… But not tax cuts because that’s inflationary. Neither should they give direct help because that’s inflationary. And they certainly shouldn’t spend anything because that’s inflationary.*
Perhaps the fundamental problem is the one I identified in my headline: While the media have an obligation to report the truth and to let us know what’s going on, they also have a need to attract readers, so they consequently spend a large part of their time trying to drum up the sort of story that seems exciting even if the substance is as misleading as my “Why Albanese Must Go!”
I am reminded of the front page headline from “Truth”, a now-defunct paper: “EX-NUN OPENS MASSAGE PARLOUR”. This clickbait from the days before clickbait existed went on to tell the reader on page 3 that the ex-nun was someone who’d studied to be a nun in her early twenties only to quit many years previously. She now worked as a cleaner where part of her job was to open the brothel and clean it.
We should all know by now that the story will rarely be as interesting as the headline and if you see one telling us: “BRUCE LEHRMANN TO DISCUSS APPEARING ON CHANNEL 7’S THE VOICE“, then we should know that it’s probably a discussion between Bruce and whoever took that excruciating video of him singing “I fought the law and Bruce won”… (I wonder who leaked that to The Australian… Mm...)
We should also know that rather than having a mature discussion about the problems associated with Stage 3 Tax Cuts, we’ll merely be discussing whether Labor should break its election promise not to touch them and how risky it will be politically.
And we know that attempts to run power lines over people’s property to connect renewables to the grid will be treated as a political problem and the objections will be treated with more respect than the people who object to fracking.
*Latest inflation figures came in less than expected. I guess this means that the news will either be that the approach is working or that Labor is tanking the economy and we’ll have a recession.
Guess which I’m putting my money on!!
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