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The Media and the Australian election

Written By: - Date published: 2:03 pm, May 20th, 2022 - 28 comments
Categories: australian politics, elections, Media, the praiseworthy and the pitiful - Tags:

I cannot understand why in Australia Scotty from Marketing still has a fighting chance of remaining as Prime Minister.  But the recent tightening in the polls suggests that this is a possibility.

But how can this be happening?  What is wrong with Australians that so many of them would vote for him?

Ross Gittens in the Australian has this explanation that is depressingly plausible:

It’s a sad commentary on modern politics that no mainstream politician would dare suggest we vote for them because they’d best advance the public interest. They know that we know their greatest interest is in advancing their own career so, to attract our votes, they offer bribes.

They’ve trained us to see elections as transactional, not aspirational. You want my vote? What are you offering? And is that better or worse than the other side’s offering?

That’s how, with climate change and so many other, lesser problems needing attention, we’re devoting most of this campaign to grappling with the great challenge of our age … the cost of living. Really?

Now, I don’t blame people on low incomes with big commitments who really do struggle to get by for wanting to see what the two sides are offering that might make their lives easier.

But you don’t have to be struggling to tell yourself your life’s a struggle, and you wouldn’t mind voting for a pollie offering you a few more bangles and baubles.

Bernard Keane at Crickey, who is one of Australia’s best political commentators said this:

The reasons why Morrison has proven to be competitive will be examined endlessly if this scenario plays out. Much of it will have to do with the power of the political party News Corp, which operates in coalition with the Liberal Party and its campaign strategists, while its staffers masquerade as journalists. But the role of the actual media will also be scrutinised; the complaint that Labor made itself too big a target will be replaced with the complaint that Labor made itself too small a target; the more nuanced take might be that it failed to provide a defining reason for voters to identify with Labor.

The Media and in particular News Corp have a lot to answer for.  From Denis Muller at the Converstation:

What does a democracy do when a dominant news media organisation goes rogue during an election campaign?

In 2022, News Corporation is confronting Australia with this question once again, as it did in 2019, 2016 and 2013, and as it did in the United States in 2016 and 2020.

“Going rogue” here means abandoning any attempt at fulfilling one of the media’s primary obligations to a democratic society — the provision of truthful news coverage — and instead becoming a truth-distorting propagandist for one side.

The evidence that News Corp has gone rogue during the current federal election is plentiful. It can be seen every morning in its newspapers across the country, and every evening on Sky News after dark.

If you need proof of the bias then just look at the treatment of the Teal Independents, a group of mostly female independent candidates standing against Government MPs in conservative held seats.  Their reason for standing is that the Government is that crap on climate change that it should be removed as soon as possible so that a responsible approach can be adopted.  But Murdoch is not taking this well and his papers have chosen to act as repeaters of Liberal attacks on the Teal independents.

The attacks are extraordinary especially considering the easy ride that the likes of Bob Katter and Clive Palmer receive.  This earlier video of Katter talking about gay rights still amazes me.

And Palmer’s United Australia Party have been pushing the line that both major parties were planning to transfer all of Australia’s health assets and hospitals to the “Chinese-controlled” World Health Organisation.

And unvaccinated Pauline Hanson has contracted Covid.

More recently the Murdoch press have urged people to support the bulldozer over the journeyman.

But interestingly the Sydney Morning Herald has come out and said that Morrison should be ousted.

Tomorrow will be an interesting day.  And if somehow Scotty from Marketing wins progressives everywhere will have to have a deep long think on how we campaign.

28 comments on “The Media and the Australian election ”

  1. riffer 1

    I just returned on Wednesday from a week in Australia. This analysis is spot on. The huge disparity in advertising spend between Labor and Liberal/National is astounding too. If I ever hear "there's a hole in your budget, dear Labor, dear Labor" again I may go mad. In an ad break with six ads, three of them were that ad. Between the Liberal/Nationals and United Australia party ads, you hardly hear anything from Labor, other than what the news media tells you. And the papers are running front pages all about how you can't trust Labor. Still, at least they are talking about Labor. The Teals don't get a look in, other than dismissing laughter any time they are mentioned.

  2. Corey Humm 2

    As a gay man I thank you for that Katter video rofl. His much, much younger brother is a gay former labour candidate and his dad was a labor mp who defected to the coalition interesting family.

    Glad someone in NZ is talking about the Australian election.

    The media are disgraceful. I've seen them constantly in packs screaming at Albo asking random questions trying to get a gotcha moment over his own policies but they are constantly checking their phones to remember their own questions. Pot kettle.

    If scomo wins I'll be forever happy we don't have STV. It's a weird weird system.

    Scomo has been called a psychopath, a compulsive liar, a sexist, a despot, a thug, a tyrant an authoritarian by his own cabinet let alone what Macron and others have said …

    If he wins… Good lord.

    My favorite answer from Albo and one NZ labour could use when asked about the perception labor is weak on defence and national security "I lead the party of John Curtin who led Australia through ww2" …. Nzlp never ever talks about our longest serving NZLP Pm Peter Fraser, the man who led us through WW2, next time we get accused of being weak on defence we should mention him

    One thing though that pisses me off about Albo and I see it every election worldwide on the left is not knowing the numbers on the OCR, unemployment, inflation AND THEY KNOW THE MEDIA IS GOING TO ASK BUT STILL DONT MEMORIZE THEM. I've seen Jacinda do it it's not a big deal and by no means justifies the lunatic attacks from the media but its just opening yourself up to unnecessary gotcha moments and it really stuffed Albos first week of the campaign.

    But for the love of god don't write them on your hand like Sarah Palin wrote the republicans only policy"tax cuts" on hers

    I hope Albo wins. A working class lad from a state house growing up to be pm is a great testament to an egalitarian democracy and tells kids they can be anything when they grow up. I liked that John Key was a state house kid, it was a testament to the social safety net that it was possible, the fact he further eroded it disgusted me but the fact it's possible to rise from the bottom to the top was a good for thing NZ (hated his policies of course) so go albo. Working class kid done good.

    Go Labor. If they win tomorrow, they'll have federal govt, and all state govts apart from Taz and NSW.

  3. tc 3

    Bernard Keane not Keen I think mickey. Guy rundle's done a similar job to the one he did in the trump election campaign hanging out and observing what's actually happening on the ground.

    The job done over 3 terms on the abc/sbs is depressing for those who can recall what they used to be like.

    Even if they lose they've stacked so many authorities and bodies with long tenured mates not much is likely to change.

    [Bugger right you are. Have corrected. Bernard Keane is right up there with local commentators like Bernard Hickey and Neale Jones. He has this ability to clearly sum up the insanity of modern politics – MS]

  4. aj 4

    I don't think history will look on Murdoch kindly.

    Meanwhile, this sums it up:

  5. adam 5

    Tsar Murdoch and his family, will not give up their hold of Australia. And damn the rest of us for even suggesting otherwise.

    The coalition will do well, because the corporations who Tsar Murdoch protects and speaks for, can't have it any other way.

  6. barry 6

    Australians are like – yes we know scomo is a useless prick, but albo might not be perfect!

  7. tc 7

    Best result IMO is hung parliament with the 'teals' holding the balance with One Nation reduced to the whiny Hanson.

  8. roblogic 8

    New "Australien" Govt ad by Juice Media… (the previous one was epic too)

    • mickysavage 8.1

      They are so good. I guess the best local comparison is White Man behind a Desk.

  9. roblogic 9

    They are at the polls now.

    • swordfish 9.1

      I've always voted in my undies … it's long been associated with a certain je ne sais quoi down our way.

      [I’m not sure that’s any cause for joe90 to call me an “amoral prick” (below) though]

      • RedLogix 9.1.1

        Good to see you up again. I hope things are travelling OK with you. yes

        • mickysavage

          Second that!

        • swordfish


          Cheers Red & Greg.

          Genuinely appreciate it.

          Had a very good response to my first-line Chemo (which I received from Sep 21 to Feb 22) … officially a "near complete response" … described as "very good" by one oncologist & "fantastic" by another … obviously not quite as good as a "complete response" where there's no evidence at all of remaining cancer … but still the kind of response you can only hope for at the start. A lot of people unfortunately have either no response whatsoever or just a kind of holding response that stops the cancer advancing for a while ("stable disease") but doesn't actually reduce it in volume, or they experience a minor / partial response … so I'm very thankful.

          I did a lot of research in the first weeks after diagnosis (once I got over the intial shock that it was terminal … always knew Stage 4 was a possibility but was hoping & expecting Stage 3) … all the research encouraged me to initiate a little daily regimen of complementary medicine (not New Age- Middle Class Hippie nonsense, I hasten to add … all re-purposed conventional drugs based on rigorous medical research) … so that may have helped … but impossible to be sure … good response may have been purely the corollary of the Chemo & my particular physiology / molecular structure.

          CEA, having been extremely high, is now only slightly above normal levels for people without cancer … which is pretty unusual for those with terminal disease. Most of my tumours have disappeared to the human eye, though still there at microscopic level (incl the primary bowel tumour) … only 2 (of the initially many) cancer lesions on my liver are still visible & have shrunk enormously … so very happy with that.

          Still terminal, though … odds still strongly against 5 year survival … esp without the publicly-funded targeted therapies that are routinely given in Aus & the UK (not sure yet if Budget will change that). Patients currently have to raise $60-80k per year themselves.

          Great response possibly boosted by considerably less stress = one of the key sources of stress over last 5 years – my Parents' violent anti-social prick of a neighbour – has largely lived elsewhere for around 11 months – though he's still holding on to the house (!!!), largely using it as storage for alcohol & periodically suddenly turning up late at night / early hours (sometimes with his mate), often drunk & almost always causing major trouble. But overall, a significantly less stressful situation for me over the last year in terms of having to worry about them & suffering sleep deprivation from having to ring Police & dealing with his intimidation of them through early hours.

          Unfortunately, though, this relatively calm situation may be coming to an end … he inflicted around 4 hours of violent intimidation on them (& other neighbours) last night & through the early hours of this morning … first time he's done anything on that scale since Nov 2021 (he's turned up a few times & played aggressive hip hop (MoFo lyrics) at full volume on his stereo, keeping them awake throughout the early hours & he aggressively abused & intimidated one of their other neighbours a couple of months ago with threats of violence & a whole lot of "fuck ya s" and, as I mentioned in a brief comment here a few weeks back, we had some hopes after he was arrested & taken away in handcuffs by Police … but nothing on this scale of abuse in recent months. He was dropped off around 1:40am, reasonably drunk by the sound of it & immediately started swearing & shouting threats at my Parents while strutting back & forth in front of their house (sort of behaviour that everyone was beginning to think was in the past), a neighbour saw him walk onto my Parents' property (driveway) while swearing around 2am, then he smashed a beer bottle onto the road, followed by another sudden surge in violent rage, throwing another beer bottle onto my Parents' roof, scaring the bejesus out of them. My Father then rang the Police who had to return twice over the next 3 hours (multiple calls from concerned neighbours) but never arrested him.

          Four & a half year saga … last year much better with him largely elsewhere … now beginning to look ominous again. Precisely zero sign of him changing personality or behaviour … true psychopath. But, then again, why worry because the miracle of "wrap-around services" (Sarc on a massive, deeply angry & exasperated scale)

          • RedLogix

            wow – thank you for this. A real mix of good and bad news there.

            Interestingly I had a long convo with my daughter last night who due to the nature of her work means she gets to see a great deal of what goes down locally. The deal according to her is that the Police have been instructed pretty much not to touch people like your neighbor unless extreme circumstances apply.

          • lprent

            Damn about the terminal. Good news about the current response – long may it continue to defer the day. I’d really miss your numeric abilities and common sense commentary.

            This is from a totally different perspective

            Drunk neighbours are a terrible pain in the arse. I have seen two of them depart our apartment building feet first over the last 24 years, and several other depart alive in ambulances to never return. We have 60 single bedroom apartments, so there is usually at least one problem occupant in any one year.

            Mostly it is quiet around here as you can when you’re just behind the intersection of K Rd, Ponsonby Rd, Newton Rd and Great North Road – just outside Auckland’s CBD.

            The worst drunks are usually the family trust bunnies planted here. Some grow out of their addictions. Some learn to handle it in a way that doesn’t fuck off the neighbours. Some die of it.

            If the drunks are renting, then we just organise that residents know the contact details of the landlord or the representatives. Much more effective targeting them than anyone else. If they are family black sheep dumps, then the same to the trustees or parents. Pays to lookup the property ownership to find out who to target and get their contact details. I can’t think of an actual owner occupant we have had a problem with.

            We call the police if they look like they’re getting violent or starting to sound suicidal.

            But for us it is a bit like the fairly frequent fire drills or false alarms. A bloody nuisance, but comes with apartment living.

            Curiously we don’t get bothered by the drug users much. Just the occasional request from police to be let in at odd hours of the day or night as they arrest someone.

            Same with the domestics. That is usually just someone storming out of a couple’s apartments. There aren’t the families with kids here.

            • RedLogix

              All that makes good common sense in the context of your apartment experience. Oddly enough we had a dose of something like it – a physical yelling and shoving match that needed breaking up – just last week.

              But swordfish's parents are in quite a different scenario – both in their 90's and unable to move, nor get Kianga Ora or the police to act.

              • lprent

                Yeah. I'm not that old. We have 3 Kianga Ora apartments in the block – one next door to my partners one where we have been living for the last 5 years. But I think I have dealt with about half of their tenants over the decades.

                Kianga Ora are a pain in the arse to deal with sometimes mostly because they are terrible at responding. We just treat them as really annoying stupid landlords. They respond pretty well to having a lot of complaints from neighbours when their tenants have repeated incidents. Not to mention the followup calls, emails, and visit asking what in the hell are they’re doing about the last flood of complaints. Plus over the years they have learned to distinguish the chronic complainers (we always have a few) from the people who complain when it is really a problem.

                Generally their tenants are somewhat broken but not too hard to deal with socially. The only actual drunk we had from them was a quiet one, and eventually was one of those who exited feet first after not surviving his detox.

                I've ignored them when they don't seem to need help. Befriended them to point of my offering opinion, criticism, and even advice and them accepting or ignoring it if I thought that they could use it – typically after they turn up on my doorstep asking for it.

                Helped them when they've repeatably locked themselves out. Threatened phone companies for them after they have been sold a ridiculously overpriced 'cheap' phone deal. Inspected the poor workmanship on some of the repairs 'KO' contractors have done, and lent my washing machine until the damn thing was done properly. Helped them understand why their last employer dumped them. Turned up as a support at formal employment meetings. Donated wifi on a separate channel and even old computer hardware, furniture, household appliances if they can use it. Read their damn essays, CVs, etc etc..

                Basically the same as I do for anyone who can use a helping hand – and I have the time, expertise or gear to do it. Have never had to bail them out like I have had to do with my own family – usually for protesting or under age drinking.

                The police don't have any more powers over Kianga Ora drunks that they have over any other drunk. But usually they only come in to KO apartments to keep the peace. Which for KO here is usually moving non-resident family members resisting being told to go home by the resident.

                Only once they had to come for aggro from a KO resident. They came to find a group of older women standing around the guy telling him to calm down and stop making a racket (and keeping the guys in the complex observing from a distance). It was amusing to observe in retrospect and kind of upsetting watching my reactions as I was observing – also in retrospect. They weren’t that helpful in the situation.

                He got wound up because one of his mates lifted a parcel in the foyer on the way out and was upset when it was captured on camera.

                We have effectively got WO to move a tenant out, not because of her, but because she kept having her brother staying over to support her – and he was a bit of arsehole and seemed to enjoy trying to get into peoples faces. They went to a place for two people.

                As you say – it is completely different to the problem that swordfish has. But trying to do what needs to be done while fighting a disease isn't effective. But it shouldn't have to be solely up to him or his parents. Surely they aren't the only neighbours this idiot drunk is upsetting.

                The basics are the same – organise in a neighbourly manner and deal with the problem communally. Help if you can because people respond to neighbours making a effort. If needs be hammer the landlord or owner of the property if they don't deal with problem tenants.

                But deal with it locally because the police and social services usually can't do it much without a concerted local social effort. They are the ambulance.

              • swordfish

                Thanks RL. Some more incidents tonight, including once again casually walking onto my parents property … get the impression he's moving back in. He's a really malevolent character, very well-known to the Police… bad atmosphere whenever he's around … & he knows there are no consequences.

            • swordfish

              Cheers, Lynn.

    • Mike the Lefty 9.2

      If you can see the sea they are togs.

  10. joe90 10

    Amoral pricks.

    Scott Morrison has breached his own rule against commenting on “on-water matters”, confirming an asylum seeker boat from Sri Lanka has been intercepted.

    In a last-ditch pitch to voters on election day, Morrison told Australians they “need to vote Liberal and Nationals” for him to be there to stop future boats, despite Labor having an identical policy to intercept and turn back boats where safe to do so.

    On Saturday voters reported receiving text messages, from the NSW Liberals, warning them about the “illegal boat” and urging them to “keep our borders secure by voting Liberal today”.


    • Mike the Lefty 10.1

      The uncanny timing of this "asylum seeker boat" being found on election day should raise suspicions of any thinking voter, but I suppose the great unwashed will swallow it without a murmur.

  11. Mike the Lefty 11

    The Australian electoral system allows campaigning on election day. It also allows election posters, billboards and other electioneering to be done almost to the doors of the voting booths. Such a system allows fat billionaires to spend something like $60 million telling lies to try and prevent Labour from winning because there are no limits on campaign spending.

    If we ever thought our elections rules were bad – they are pretty good compared to the circus going on over the Tasman right now.

  12. aj 12

    Go David Pocock.

  13. Murdoch media has been more insane than usual lately

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