MSM Versus The Fifth Estate

Over the past week we have seen unprecedented comment flood the Fifth estate via our social media – Twitter, individual blogs, online News and Opinion websites – in response to the Prime Ministers very powerful speech in Parliament re sexism in politics.

The Fifth Estate through the avenue of advanced technology has become an extremely influential form of media – comments on Twitter reaching the Twittersphere at almost the speed of light; bloggers establishing their own online pathway to express their own personal opinion on many issues; online News and Opinion websites such as Independent Australia, New Matilda, The Conversation adding a completely new and “independent” dimension to news reporting, opinion and investigative journalism.

No longer does the general public have to rely on – or more to the point – put up with – the blatantly biased and opinionated journalism of our mainstream daily newspapers.

And thank God for that.

Where the majority of the Fifth Estate contributors applauded the PM’s speech, mainstream media blatantly refused to acknowledge the magnitude of the power behind the words she spoke.

Seasoned political journalists excused their bias by running for cover under the pretext of “context”.

“We are political journalists! We must report through the prism of political principles!” “We know best when reporting on politics!”

No. Actually, they don’t.

The Press Gallery who make up the majority of political journalists in mainstream media – have been caged within the walls of that political glasshouse for so long they have fogged up the glass with their indignant, righteous, know-it-all huff and puff so much that they can no longer – or deliberately choose not to – see outside to what is important to the general public.

They have become so politically insular, biased and unashamedly opinionated that they no longer know the meaning of fair and balanced reporting.

But why are we not surprised?

For the past two years, ever since Julia Gillard was anointed the Prime Minister by the Independents, mainstream media has done everything in its power to condemn, ridicule, misconstrue and omit important facts from their reporting in order to assist the political power game playing of Tony Abbott.

Example: The consistent and oft repeated lie that the Prime Minister is a “liar” regarding her Carbon Tax comment.

A lie in itself.

What the Prime Minister actually said was: “There will be no carbon tax under a government I lead, but let me be clear, I will be putting a price on carbon and I will move to an ETS.”

When the PM made that statement she would not have imagined that the Government she would lead would be a minority one. One in which compromise would be the order of the day.

Tony Abbott had the opportunity to be Prime Minister. He would have done anything – even consider “selling his arse” – to get the top job.

But the Independents knew he would not be easy to work with – that they would not be able to trust him to negotiate and compromise.

Gillard ‘compromised’.

She DID put a price on carbon – just as she said she would.

That Abbott et al call it a tax is irrelevant.

It is a price on carbon; to be more precise, a price to be paid for carbon emissions for the biggest polluters  ― initially set at $23 a tonne and then moving to a market based price.

But how many times have you seen mainstream media not only report the truth re the fullness of what the PM said, but back it up with the genuine and logical explanation of her compromise.

How many times do we see headlines praising the Government for fending off a recession post GFC, or lauding the Government for having the lowest interest rates and unemployment in 20+ years and economy that is the envy of the world?

Almost never.

Now I know the Labor Government have made some pretty silly gaffes and mistakes of their own. Doesn’t everybody?

They have been reported ad nauseum by journalists from mainstream media every opportunity they get.

But the people of Australia have never had to opportunity to genuinely believe that Julia Gillard is actually a very, very good prime Minister because the mainstream media have forcefully, day in day out, shoved down the electorates’ throats their own personal and barefaced biased opinions of the Prime Minister.

At the same time, mainstream media have allowed Abbott’s lies to manifest into a bizarre reality and have, like sychophantic frenzied trolls, perpetuated on a daily basis – Abbott’s treacherous attempt to bring down the Labor minority Government.

Mainstream media either make pathetic excuses for or never report on the lies, the gaffes of Abbott and his Shadow Ministers, the devious involvement of Liberal MP’s in the Slipper affair, the facts and detail behind the HSU affair as reported in Independent Australia by Peter Wicks. It is all swept under their dirty threadbare carpet where they hope no one will look.

But the members of the Fifth Estate have not only looked under that dirty threadbare carpet – they have found the grubby little secrets that mainstream media had hoped to keep concealed from the general public regarding the dirty little deeds and devious ploys of the Coalition  – and have exposed them for all to see via The Fifth Estate.

So why do the journalists of mainstream media want so desperately for Abbott to be Prime Minister?

I can understand why journalists from the Murdoch stable want to elevate him to the top job. They are all disciples of Rupert Murdoch who greedily endeavors to shove his right wing agenda down the throats of everyone on the planet at every opportunity he gets. It’s all about greed.

Commercial television and radio shock jocks – need I say anymore – just out to see who can be the most sensationalist and vile.

But even journalists from the Fairfax stable and the ABC, who once upon a time offered fair and balanced journalism, have jumped on the “Bring down Gillard” bandwagon.

The subliminal way in which they promote Abbott over the PM is not easy for all to notice, but its there – day in – day out.

If they just wanted to rid Australia of a minority Government and advance just one particular party to rule in its own right – one would expect they would write fair and balanced articles weighing up arguments and writing comparisons on the policies of both sides.

But they don’t do that.

They blatantly support Abbott no matter how sexist, idiotic, inept and policy free he is.

Again, I ask why.

It can’t be because Abbott has superior policies. No one knows what they are.

It can’t be because he is a Statesman. He isn’t. He is a fool and a mouse on the world stage.

It can’t be because he is an honest, positive, forward thinking politician.

He has used the lie of fearmongering to petrify the electorate into believing the world would come to an end if a carbon price was introduced.

He has used the lie of “illegal boat people” to petrify the electorate into believing we are being over run by Muslims.

He has used the viciousness of personal sexist verbal and visual assaults on the Prime Minister to disgracefully denigrate her in the eyes of the public.

They must want to see and report on the financial damage winding back the carbon price and the MRRT will bring.

They must want to see and report on the regressive policies he will introduce to dilute women’s rights – which he will do through his ideological religious fevour.

They must want to see and report on the furore that will occur between Australia and Indonesia when he “turns back the boats” without Indonesian approval.

Mainstream journalists see their jobs becoming extremely tenuous as the Fifth Estate becomes increasingly influential with ordinary every day people finally being able to have their say be it on Twitter, individual blogs or reading online independent news and opinion websites.

The only reason I can think of why mainstream media want so desperately for Abbott to be PM, is so that they can voraciously report on the chaos and destruction he will bring down on the Australian people through their dying media in the hope that they can regain their influence over the minds of the people and try to re-ignite the people’s preference for mainstream media.

It isn’t going to happen.

The genie is out of the bottle.

Mainstream journalists not only want fear, chaos and destruction to rule – they need it to justify their support for Abbott.

It’s the only reason I can think of that explain why they act the way they do.

Labor’s Regressive Policy

Some days the Prime Minister and the Labor Party make you so damn proud you want to shout it from the rooftops. 

Last week for example, when our strong and inspiring Prime Minister ripped Tony Abbott a new one and called him out for the sexist bully he is.

It was a day all Australians, regardless of whether you like or support the PM or not – a moment in political history – no one will forget in a hurry.

It makes so many of us Labor supporters proud when the Prime Minister announces new wide sweeping progressive reforms like the NDIS, Carbon Pricing, Aged Care reform and the Gonski Report. Progressive Labor Party reforms akin to the Whitlam Governments Medicare and University reforms.

But on that very same day last week, without very much fanfare, the Labor Party passed – with the help of the Coalition – a continuation of a Howard Governments policy to reduce the income of single parents. 

The Single Parent Pensions Bill is one of the most regressive policy platforms ever introduced by a Labor Government.

 This Bill, by reverting the Single Parent Payment to Newstart allowance once the youngest child turns 8, reduces the income support of a single parent by up to $100 per week, in some cases more.

That said – it is a slight improvement on the similar policy the Howard Government introduced in 2005 and effective July 1 2006 whereby Supporting Parent payments reduced to Newstart allowance when the youngest child turned 6!

It is designed to coerce single parents back into the workforce.

Now I fully understand that there are many single parents in our society who do not attempt in any way to seek work regardless of the age of their children. But these people – both women and men – are in the minority.

Some are relatively uneducated, have very poor social and employment skills and even if they did have reasonable skills, many live in rural areas where employment vacancies are almost non-existent.

On the other hand, there are many single parents living in the city where rents are exorbitant; transport costs; after-school care costs are an added financial burden.

Taking away up to $100 per week, reduces a single parent’s ability to seek work or re-training and to function as a healthy, happy parent.

The stress that is going to be added to their daily struggle is going to be enormous.

I believe there should be “carrots” not “sticks” to encourage single parents into the work force. 

Encouragement should be given to single parents to gain skills by returning to school, through our TAFE system (although now the Bailleau/O’Farrell/Newman Governments have slashed funding to TAFE’s that is going to be so much harder as well) or to enroll in a University.

How a single parent will be able to afford to do that now their income will be reduced by up to $100 per week is questionable (especially given the funding slashes to TAFE’s).

How will someone without a car manage? 

How will someone without extended family support manage?

How will someone who already pays exorbitant rent manage?

What if they can’t get a job for months/years on end no matter how hard they try?

What about those single parents who don’t receive any child support at all? (and there are thousands of them)

Were these questions even considered when this legislation was being considered?

Whose idea was this to crucify struggling single parents even further? 

If the Government is so desperate to find an extra $700m over four years ($175m per year) why then didn’t they have the courage to finally attack the rort that is negative gearing, a wealth creation system for wealthy people?

It is true that some people only understand money as a motivation to do anything.

But instead of taking money away from single parents that they use for their everyday living costs, why not offer incentives akin to the baby bonus?  If Governments can offer a baby bonus handout and provide extremely wealthy private schools with huge publicly funded handouts, why can’t they come up with a policy that is more “carrot” and less “stick”; where single parents are encouraged to succeed, not threatened and deprived of vital dollars with which to raise their children on a daily basis.

Those who will scream the loudest about “lazy single parents” are the very same people who will still put their hand out for every subsidy at every opportunity. I have never seen or heard of anyone saying “No thanks, I don’t need the baby bonus” or a wealthy private school say “No thanks, we don’t need taxpayers money to build a new rowing course or swimming pool”…. “let the Government keep it for other more worthy causes.”

I expect this sort of policy from Conservative Governments as it is par for the course for them but not from a Labor Government.

A very wise person once told me that “Governments, in the race to be the ‘best economic manager’ make decisions from a economic rationalist point of view, and in doing so lose all humanity and compassion.  Saying they are “good economic managers” is rhetoric Governments of both persuasions bang on about all the time. The real challenge in being a good economic manager is implementing socially responsible policy that is passionate and well managed.” 

This is not socially responsible policy.

It is cruel, heartless, regressive policy that will put many single parents further under the poverty line.

I want to see policy that will assist and inspire single parents to aspire to better opportunities. 

This does not do that.

I would expect it of Conservatives but not the ALP.

(As an aside – I am yet to hear Tony Abbott give a commitment in blood to wind back this policy. Seems as far as Mr. Abbott is concerned, it is an outrage to tax multi-billion dollar mining oligarchs and put a price on big polluters spewing filthy toxic waste into our atmosphere, but its ok to reduce the income of some of the poorest, most struggling people in our society.)

Margie Abbott’s dummy spit

 

So Mrs Abbott – “Margie” – you seem to be a tad upset at the so-called “personal” attacks on your husband?

 Well boo bloody boo hoo.  Bring out the teeny weeny violins.

For the past two years, Labor and swinging voters (and no doubt many soft “L” Liberals) both women and men, have had to put up with the relentless, nasty, vicious and very ugly attacks on our Prime Minister that your husband has ignited and angrily fanned because of his petulant, spoilt brat, right to rule dummy spit he has raged ferociously with since 2010 because the Independents didn’t give him the nod to be PM.

Ever since your husband failed to convince the Independents he would be a man of his word, a decent Prime Minister and that he would be prepared to do everything they wanted (except of course ‘selling his arse”), he has set about wrecking the place, with his constant negativity, talking down the economy, his “No” “No” “No” to every forward thinking policy Labor has implemented – and have been passed regardless of your husbands tantrums.

 You, like us, must have seen him proudly stand in front of the ugliest, most brutal placards ever displayed about any Prime Minister. As a fellow woman surely you must have been disgusted. Then again Browyn Bishop and Sophie Mirabella weren’t so maybe it’s a Liberal thing that you weren’t either? Anyway, I digress.  Regardless, did we hear you publicly decry his stance in support of those placards? No, “Margie”, we didn’t. If you privately berated him – we’d like to know – as until such times as you tell us whether you did or not – we can only assume the obvious – that you must have wholeheartedly agreed with and supported his actions just as Bishop and Mirabella did.

 I am sure if he ever does get to be PM (which I very much doubt) – he will only bring his extreme right Catholicism down on every woman in this country. And that’s a very frightening thought.

 Your husband, along with his bunch of feral shadow ministers and many on his backbench, have turned the political discourse in this country into the obnoxious, wretched, ugliness it is today.

 Are you proud of him? I’m sure you are. You must be, because you have now come out and said what a wonderful, loving, decent man he is! To say that – you must agree with everything he says and does! Otherwise you would have the courage to say there are some things you don’t agree with him on.

 But no.

 You just heap praise on him as if he can do no wrong.

 Quite frankly it disgusts me.

 If he were my husband (not that he ever would be – perish the thought!) I would most certainly tell him when he has gone to far. As a woman I wouldn’t tolerate my man degrading any woman, let alone the Prime Minister.

 But then, I’m not subservient (not that I’m saying you are) to any man and I will put them in their place if I think they have over stepped the mark with grubby comments. But that’s just me. (…and no doubt millions of other Australian women)

 Obviously, you don’t have that fortitude. If you do, I’d like to hear it.

 Honestly! I would.

 Your husband thinks nothing of degrading not only the Office of the Prime Minister but the Prime Minister herself.

 He just can’t handle a woman getting the better of him can he? 

 His vicious verbal attacks on the PM and physical attacks on women like Barbara Ramjin prove it – he hasn’t changed in all these years no matter how hard you try to convince us.

 He may love you and the girls and his mother – and Peta Credlin – but that’s where his affinity with women ends.

 So get over yourself Margie Abbott.

 Suck it up princess!

 Your husband is one of the most vicious Opposition leaders in this countries history, and as he would say “Its just politics!”

 It’s about time the decent women and men of this nation fought back against your husbands’ ugly persona.

 So.

If you cant take the heat get out of the kitchen!

 If Tony will let you that is.

The Three Unwise Old Men of the Media

 
What is happening to the Elders of media?
 
Fair dinkum, you really have to wonder what the world is coming to. As if mainstream media isn’t bad enough with journalists of all ages and gender now offering their biased political opinions every day in our media instead of professional political analysis, we now have two elders of mainstream media behaving like bogan bullies in the playground who don’t have the wit or intelligence to win an argument so resort to degrading and belittling those who they deem “weaker” than them – and the third behaving like a cross between Henry the VIIIth, Sir Les Patterson and Dame Edna!
 
First we have Alan Jones frothing at the mouth, spewing his vile comments re the Prime Ministers dear old Dad. You’ve read numerous articles on IA (and in msm) about that. Then up pops someone who Labor people would have thought had a little bit more decorum where the PM was concerned given that he is apparently a former Labor Party stalwart, speech writer for many a Labor MP and author of sorts.
 
Bob Ellis.
 
Hidden away in his blog www.ellistabletalk.com on September 12 2012, is a nasty little article about our PM. Not as cruel as Jones’ remarks but not far behind I can tell you.
 
The Real Julia, Stripped Bare” – where Ellis, for some insane inexplicable reason, has chosen to attack the PM for daring to leave a conference in the Cook Islands to travel home on the day that Australia had its worse death toll in Afghanistan. She came home to show leadership. Had she of not done so, you can bet your bottom dollar the media and the Opposition would have torn strips off her for days on end. Most of us saw it as the decent thing to do.  Ellis, however didn’t. Ellis then took a savage aim at her for leaving a day before a conference in Russia finished and fly home to be with her mother, sister and extended family on hearing of the sudden death of her father saying “she fled the conference and went home weeping to Adelaide.” What drives a silly old man to write something that cruel? Ellis says she should have stayed the extra day. Why? The last day of any conference is usually just putting minor finishing touches to discussion and saying a cheery round of farewells to all and sundry. It was not necessary for the PM to stay an extra day.  Ellis may not be close to his family but for those who are, we all know we would drop everything to be with our loved ones when a parent or dearly loved family member dies. But Ellis equated these dreadful exodus’ with soldiers in the battlefield not allowed to leave their posts when a loved one dies (and I would imagine that would only occur during a violent exchange of gunfire in a battlefield where flight to safety would be near impossible.) Drawing a long bloody bow there Bob if you ask me. 
 
Why the PM’s return home when her father died even warrants Ellis’ commentary is beyond me. Does he, like Jones, have a permanent hatred for her?  Does he have precious little to write about?  Is he bored? Or is he, like Jones, just old and cranky and wanky?
 
If I was Julia, I would simply tell Ellis and Jones to “rack off” but being the dignified, strong, professional statesperson she is, she wouldn’t dream of saying anything like that to them. 
 
So I will say it for her. 
 
“Rack off! you stupid old has beens”
 
Then we have the outrageous spectacle of John Laws appearing on ABC 7.30, supposedly to offer intelligent commentary on the Jones saga, but instead looked like and came across as a silly old pompous fool who thought he must have been appearing in some Shakespearean play…either that or he thought he was auditioning for the role of Sir Les Patterson now Barry Humphries has retired him.
 
These old men of the media should be displaying the art of their craft in a dignified professional statesman like manner – honouring their many years experience in the field with informative, clever, detailed scrutiny of an issue.
 
But no.
 
Jones, and Ellis to a lesser extent, are ranting like frustrated old wankers, condemning our female Prime Minister with a viciousness that is not becoming of any journalist in Australia, let alone those in their autumn years.
 
Laws? Well, as I said, just came across as a pompous old fool.
 
They are all well past their use-by date.
 
We have for far too long tolerated the disgraceful ugliness in which mainstream media has descended over the past few years. Young and seasoned journalists, using their medium to spruik their own biased political opinions, rarely, if ever, providing us with highly intelligent policy analysis. Rarely, if ever, providing us with clever, intelligent investigative journalism.
 
If this is what our seasoned journalists are going to end up like God help us all. Because believe me, they seem to heading that way.
 
But I’m an optimist – I still have faith in the young ones. 
 
But I wont hold my breath.
 

Jill Meagher/Alan Jones

For the past week, I, like thousands and thousands of other people – both women and men, in Melbourne and around Australia have been feeling quite gutted.

My emotions are raw, I have an overwhelming sense of sadness and I’m angry.

I’m angry and so very sad that a lovely young woman’s life has come to such a tragic and horrible end simply because she choose to walk 700 metres, alone, in the early hours of the morning, along a busy, lively inner suburban main road to her home.

I cannot begin to imagine the pain and immense grief Jill Meaghers husband, parents and brother, extended family and friends must be enduring.

My daughter has lived in this community for some years and I know the vulnerability she now feels because an evil man has stolen the innocence of her local community.

Multiply that by a million+ and you will have some idea of Jill’s family’s grief.

I believe Jill’s passing has hit home to so many of us because at the end of the day, she was just like one of our own. A daughter, a sister, a friend. She worked for one of our high profile radio stations, the ABC, where household names struggled with their emotions all week as they continued to talk to us over the airwaves in an attempt to deliver their normal programs.

Jill’s disappearance and subsequent tragic passing became very, and all to real to us all.

But it is curious the way the public react to such violence perpetrated in our streets.

In June 2011, a young schoolgirl Siriyakorn Siriboon (known as Bung) of Thai descent, living in Australia in the outer suburb Melbourne suburb of Boronia with her mother and step-father was snatched from a suburban street on her way to school never to be seen again.

The reaction was one of absolute shock and parents in the vicinity took extra vigil over their children for a few weeks.

No one marched in the street.

Twelve months ago, a known prostitute Jazzy O was murdered in Port Melbourne, another quiet unassuming affluent suburb.

No one marched in the streets.

Why then, would the violence perpetrated on a beautiful young middle class woman living in a trendy inner suburb of Melbourne cause such an outpouring of grief when the abduction of a young Thai girl living in an outer suburb and the murder of a prostitute could not.

Because to the majority of Australians she was just like us.  One of us.

She was not a young Thai schoolgirl from the suburbs. She was not a prostitute.

For some strange inexplicable reason we do not seem to identify with those who we deem “different”.

We still feel “shocked”. But we don’t feel the overwhelming sense of inner grief we feel for someone who is “just like us”.

Reflecting on this and the public’s reaction, I now look back in sorrow at the immense grief that Bungs mother and stepfather and Jazzy O’s family have been feeling for the past twelve months and how little so many of us cared about their loss.

The attack on Jill has proved that it this sort of violence can happen to middle class professional young women.

Although there have been many organisations fighting the good fight against violence towards women, hopefully the powerful march today in Sydney Rd, Brunswick will be the continuance of a now very powerful and vocal movement that will continue the fight that says we will not tolerate this anywhere, anymore, on anyone.

Jill’s loss, although tragically, painfully sad, will not have been in vain. It has opened the eyes and hearts of so many to the violence perpetrated in our suburban streets on women of all ages, race and class.

They have marched in the streets now…for Jill, for Bung, for Jazzy O and for all women who have been victims of violent crime.

Then, on a day when around 30000 people marched in peace and solidarity against violence towards all women along Sydney Road Brunswick, we once again – but certainly not to the same extent – have our sense of decency and what’s right shattered by the insensitive and cruel comments toward our Prime Minister by radio shock jock Alan Jones.

I do not in any way liken Jill Meaghers tragic loss and the grief that her family and friends are feeling with Jones insensitive cruel comments.

My point is, that some men feel that they have the right to rob us not only of our innocence and our right to feel safe in our own community but of our sense of decency. That they feel they have the right to behave in either a violent, sadistic, misogynist, cruel way and believe they can get way with it.

Alan Jones has been spewing his vile comments about the PM for the past two years but this most recent contribution to his literny of abusive rantings has sunk even him to a new low.

What has become of our country where the ugliness of egotistical human beings like Jones think they can say what they like and then only offer an apology when the comments in question reach social media and there is an outcry of disgust?

The comments were made a week ago at a Sydney University Young Liberal function and only came to light because a journalist at the function had taped Jones’s speech.

Jones, in his so called apology at a press conference this morning, alluded to the fact that it was a “private function” implying that the comments were ok to make but should never have been reported to the outside world.

He then blamed someone else for saying the comments in the first place – at a young boys birthday party no less. One can only imagine the standards and morals by which this young boy is being raised if this is the sort of conversation carried on at his party. And having someone with Jones’s background as his Godfather is a whole new article.

The whole point of this article is to say “enough is enough”.

We have a right to feel safe in our streets.

We have a right to decency and respect in our political discourse.

Men do not have the right to abuse our trust, our gender, our vulnerability and sense of decency.