|February 18th, 2013||#1|
Join Date: Nov 2003
Blog Entries: 34
Controlled Media in Australia
[complaint about media bias in Australia]
The media's endless open season on conservatives
by Cory Bernardi
February 1, 2013
“Do you love yourself?” This was the first question I was asked in an interview by lefty journalist Sally Neighbour.
I knew then that the end result wasn't going to be pretty. What prompted the question was a quip from my wife that “the success of our marriage is that we are both in love with the same man.” It was a line I have used on many occasions and has always brought a laugh. After all, we need to be able to laugh at ourselves.
But what brings mirth to the mainstream is used as conservative poison by many in our media ranks. It seems that some are so infected by their own agenda and bias that they are unable to report with integrity on the subject matter at hand.
In the case of Ms Neighbour, her poisonous profile of me for The Monthly magazine translated my reading of fiction novels for entertainment as being “shallow”. And, of course, Ms Neighbour was aided and abetted in her caustic assessment by more than one anonymous ‘senior Liberal’ providing the quotes that legitimise the agenda of the journalist.
In the words once quoted by Niki Savva, ‘in this town you’re either a source – or a target’.
The mainstream media now seem so infected by left-wing bias and are briefed relentlessly by those opposed to conservatism that conservatives are at a decided disadvantage. As one of the more vocal critics of the progressive agenda, I seem to be a particular target.
My meeting with Dutch politician Geert Wilders was supposedly grounds for my sacking, but the embrace of Hugo Chavez by Labor and Greens politicians received little criticism from the media.
My condemnation of Peter Singer’s abhorrent views becomes international news, but Singer receives a Companion Order of Australia and is repeatedly given a friendly platform by our national broadcaster.
The Prime Minister’s Cabinet Secretary, Mark Dreyfus MP, writes an article that compares Tony Abbott to Nazi war criminal Joseph Goebbels and it is printed without criticism. What outcry would have occurred if a conservative politician had written something similar?
You can read stories about “very right-wing Liberal senator Cory Bernardi” or “ultra-conservative MP Cory Bernardi”. That doesn’t bother me, but it’s the double standard that I wonder about: how often do you see Greens senators described as ‘left-wing’ or ‘ultra-radical’ by the mainstream media?
I could go on...and on...and on. Whether it be about climate change, illegal boats, the right to life or Islamic extremism, the media love to expose conservatives to derision and ridicule.
I have often wondered why this is. Surely personal animus can't account for all of it.
There are a few reporters whom I know to be left-leaning but still play a straight bat. Sure, they will share their opinion, but one can rely on them in the main to be accurate in what they record. For others, truth is an inconvenience in their quest for a story to further their own agenda.
Whilst legal proceedings prevent me from commenting on the most recent egregious case in point, it is time that conservatives defended themselves.
For too long conservatives have relied on the righteousness of our arguments, not being overly bothered by the misrepresentations of the left. Alas, that is why the left is winning the media war.
While we claim virtuousness as an asset, they use it as our greatest weakness, knowing that many of their misrepresentations will mostly go unchallenged.
And yet, despite the plethora of left-biased media, the Australian people seem to have it sussed. Many Australians don't buy most of what is peddled through the leftist press. Instinctively, they knew the alarmist global-warming rhetoric to be a con. They know that redefining marriage is, at best, a fifth- rate issue and nothing like a priority, and they know that the growing challenges to our culture are grounds for concern.
Of course, little of this is reflected in much of the mainstream media and, regrettably, it is too rarely reflected by our political class. Too many are so captured by the desire for media approval that they neglect to actually engage in the battle of ideas. Instead, they prefer to reflect the prevailing orthodoxy in an attempt to gain some minuscule personal advantage.
It is a weakness that the leftist media repeatedly take advantage of. The mad ravings of the Greens are deemed sacraments of the new religion of political correctness whilst the common sense of the conservative is reported as controversial and outrageous.
One could excuse commercial media for pursuing such an agenda; after all, success will ultimately be defined by audience and profitability. However, when the greatest bias is so often demonstrated by the $1 billion-per-year taxpayer-funded ABC, we should be very concerned.
The ABC has no commercial obligations aside from complying with its own charter. Not surprisingly, one of the favourite (but futile) pastimes for ABC watchers is to play ‘spot the conservative’.
Flagship programs like Q&A have a left-wing host and, typically, a preponderance of left-wing guests flanking the solitary sacrificial conservative, whose blood is lusted after by both host and audience.
Sunday morning’s Insiders features more groupthink with an occasional conservative tosed into the mix as the subject of a three-on-one battle.
When pressed about this clear bias in Senate Estimates, ABC boss Mark Scott said it was difficult to identify who was left and who was right. Difficult for him maybe, but not so tough for the rest of the country.
For conservatives, it can be frustrating and dispiriting to be faced with a seemingly endless barrage of hostility. It goes some way to explain why so few conservatives are prepared to stick their head above the parapet for fear of having it shot off. But it also illustrates why it is so important that we all support those who do.
Without the Andrew Bolts, the Piers Akermans, the Miranda Devines and the Gerard Hendersons, we would have very few advocates in the media.
Regrettably, in political life there are a limited number prepared to advocate what the media deem unfashionable. I can understand why; conservative advocacy comes without a personal cost. However, without the few that are prepared to stand for conservative principle and values in a hostile environment we would simply be abandoning the political field to the populist left.
The implications of that would be damning for us all.
Cory Bernardi represents South Australia in the Senate. He has just launched defamation proceedings over a story that was the subject of a Quadrant Online post,
|February 18th, 2013||#2|
Join Date: Nov 2003
Blog Entries: 34
Australian journalism's reeking cesspit
by Merv Bendle
February 4, 2013
The left-wing bias in the media must be confronted. As Cory Bernardi’s account of his recent experiences illustrates, it must be done ... but it won’t be pretty.
The media gatekeepers in the ABC, Fairfax, etc, will fight tooth and nail to retain the dominant role they have usurped over the past 40 years. Nevertheless, they must be overthrown if Australia is not to decline even further into the authoritarian welfare-state morass within which the ALP and the Greens so joyfully wallow.
As a Coalition victory in the upcoming federal election becomes increasingly probable, and with conservative governments in the major states, the time will shortly be ripe for a showdown with the leftist media and the institutional infrastructure that supports it. Senior and influential conservative parliamentarians need to recognize and effectively support a campaign to restore balance and objectivity.
This will be a campaign that must be fought on several fronts and may become bitter, but it must be undertaken. Otherwise the next coalition government risks being merely an interim administration, keeping the seats warm while the ALP spends time constructing some ‘values’ around which its various factions, apparatchiks, and opportunists can coalesce before returning once again to rort and sack the country.
As has been repeatedly observed by numerous commentators, the media in this country are dominated by an extremely well-entrenched elite that long ago embraced a radical environmental, authoritarian, and statist ideology. This extremist worldview has become the default setting for much of what passes for thought amongst journalists and media operatives in the ABC, the Fairfax press, government spin merchants, and academic journalism courses.
Embedded in its self-sufficient and self-satisfied groupthink mentality, this complex and extremely well-resourced leftist network feels it never has to question its assumptions, goals, values, or motivations because it automatically sees them as natural and moral. Consequently, any opposition, criticism, or dissent is perceived as misguided and immoral, worthy only of condemnation, ridicule, and indeed punishment, as the ALP has made clear with its proposed media regulation and anti-discrimination legislation.
Cory Bernardi’s experience is typical of how this leftist fundamentalism operates in the media, and many others on the conservative side of politics and intellectual and cultural discourse have had similar experiences, as people associated with Quadrant are only too well aware. Basically, it amounts to a quite firm interdiction of all views that don’t promote the far-left political and radical environmentalist agenda, coupled with a profound animosity towards conservatives that serves to excuse all types of misrepresentation and mockery.
Shelley Gare: Death by Silence in the Writers' Combat Zone
Bernardi details some of the stratagems that are used to set-up conservatives in media appearances, interviews, and profiles, and a myriad other examples could be quoted: important books with a conservative perspective don’t get published or reviewed, or else they’re simply denounced or ridiculed; journals like Quadrant have their grants slashed, etc, etc. Those of us who have worked in academia are subjected to similar pressures and sanctions. In my own case virtually every contribution I made to public discussion led literally to howls of indignation and demands that I be sacked for my temerity (e.g., “Defamed on The Drum”, QO, July 27, 2011).
The question: what is to be done?
As far as the ABC is concerned I believe it should be broken up or closed down (“The utter failure of Their ABC”, QO, September 11, 2012), preserving those parts that serve specific community needs and ensuring decentralization amongst all states and regions. This may involve a bloody battle, but some effective measures must be taken by the likely Coalition government, and very early in its first term. Meanwhile, Fairfax is slowly succumbing to market pressures and inept management. However, the ABC and Fairfax form just the (very large) tip of the iceberg and the battle must be taken into the deeply embedded institutional system that supports the leftist domination of the media.
Above all, this involves the universities, which have colonized journalism education over the past few decades and treated it as yet another bountiful revenue stream akin to teacher training, hiring a few lecturers (some of whom may even have adequate qualifications), and shamelessly promoting their doubtful wares to entice hordes of students who are encouraged to think that they will find a career in journalism or the media when the universities know that this is highly unlikely. Sadly, all that most of these students acquire is a worthless piece of paper and a significant HECS debt.
However, they also acquire a leftist ideological indoctrination. For over 20years I taught journalism and communications students at university and never ceased to be amazed at the extreme narrowness of the simplistic political and social analysis to which they were exposed, structured around the ‘class, race and gender’ template (to which over the past ten years has been added ‘climate change’). The central authority for this leftist world-view was and remains the anti-Semitic anarchist Noam Chomsky, with his simplistic but unrelenting insistence that the media are used by the capitalist ruling class purely for propaganda purposes to ‘manufacture consent’ amongst the masses in the interests of American imperialism.
Other authorities preaching the same message include the French philosopher of extreme paranoia, Michel Foucault, who represents liberal democratic societies as vast systems of surveillance and persecution; Antonio Gramsci, who argued very influentially that the ‘class struggle’ must be carried out by intellectuals in the realm of culture and above all in the media; and Edward Said, who draws on these ideas to promote the view that ‘the West’ is engaged in a war against ‘the Other’, a vast realm of victimhood, represented above all by Muslims, but also every other special interest group that wants state support and protection. Other leftist theories elaborate on these themes and together they serve to inculcate amongst journalism students the view that they are part of an enlightened revolutionary vanguard whose task is not primarily to effectively communicate stories of interest or importance to the community, but rather to overthrow capitalism.
This indoctrination reflects the dominant leftist perspective in arts, humanities, and social science courses throughout Australia, and it perpetuates an all-pervasive and stultifying ‘intellectual monoculture’. As I argued in my submission to the Senate Inquiry into Academic Freedom in 2008: "In another age this could be a fascist, far right intellectual monoculture and it would do just as much damage to our society as a left-wing or far left intellectual monoculture. It is not so much the politics of the thing; it is the fact that it is an intellectual monoculture, that it is one voice being heard over and over again unrelentingly." With the advent of social media and the rise of the blogosphere the political and social impact of this intellectual monoculture is now being vastly magnified.
Ultimately, therefore, the leftist bias in the media must be combated on several fronts. The most obvious is the ABC, which the Coalition can deal with inside a year if it has the will and courage to do so.
More broadly, there has to be a determined effort to overcome the leftist intellectual monoculture in the universities, where most journalists get their training, acquire their ideological worldview, and have their leftist bias continually ratified. This in turn should be part of an overall initiative to restore balance and value for money in arts, humanities, and social science courses.
Bernardi has reminded us of a perennial problem facing liberal democratic societies. The time is approaching when concerted and coordinated action can finally be taken.