Am I obsessed with Piers Akerman? I’ll tell you, reader, what I am obsessed with and that is the blatantly ignorant and partisan approach to this election campaign from certain elements on the commentariat right. Akerman is simply the largest target, in more than one way.
Today’s Akerman angst column is simply the latest in a screed of borderline libels aimed at the Leader of the Opposition. Take note of the graphic heading this post and you see clearly that a mere two articles out of fifteen Akerman has written of late do not deal with biased and often inaccurate claims against Rudd Labor. Now, I don’t have a real issue with conservative comment on any issue, as long as it’s informed and objective comment, not simply a slag-session based purely on ideology. Akerman’s commentry – and that’s being polite – definitely falls into the latter category. Take today’s issue, as a prime example.
I’ve seen the YouTube video in question, and yes, it does look very much as though Rudd picks his ear and consumes whatever he pulls from it, however, consider this. Perhaps he was absently scratching his ear, discovered a ragged fingernail edge in the process and nibbled at it in a bid to remove the rough edge. Either way, it’s a passingly amusing video and can be read either way, but seriously, is there a need for a media commentator of Akerman’s apparently respected standing to stoop to gutter journalism? Is he making a point at all? Other than he doesn’t have a point, that is?
Earwax ingestion inferences aside, I take most issue with Akerman’s claim that during last week’s leaders debate, “Rudd left the audience with the impression that mortgage interest rates had reached 22 per cent when John Howard was Treasurer in the Fraser government between 1977 and 1983”. In fact, the term ‘mortgage interest rates’ wasn’t mentioned in connection with 22% and John Howard’s sojourn as Treasurer in the period 1977 to 1982. What was mentioned was the term ‘interest rates’, and just a little research on my part reveals categorically that ‘interest rates’ did indeed reach 22% during the period in question. In fact, I can even detail the precise day interest rates reached 22%. Thursday, April 8, 1982. How do I know this? Simple…..I researched the Reserve Bank of Australia statistical database. The interest rate in question just happens to be the 90 Day Bank Bill Swap Rate. The core determinate for cost of funds exchanges between major financial institutions on an overnight basis. Also the core determining figure at which banks lend to businesses when employing Commercial Bills as the vehicle. If you borrowed money on Bank Bills – usually a minimum of $100,000 at a time – on 8 April 1982, you’d have paid your interest, up front for the full 90 day period, calculated at 22% per annum.
Did Piers Akerman tell a lie? To a certain degree, yes he did. He certainly didn’t tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. He spun the facts, which is precisely what he’s been accusing the Rudd Labor team of doing ever since the faux, and now real election campaign began. Now, Commercial Bill interest rates don’t impact on home buyers, I can hear the proponents for the right claiming. Not directly, no they don’t. However, it must be remembered that business borrowers have home loans too. Business borrowers employ workers, run businesses and attempt to make profits. Borrowing money at 22% per annum is hardly condusive to any of the aforementioned activities, especially the employing of workers. Employees are, for better or worse, considered by most employers to be cost centres. When you need to borrow at 22% per annum, you’re not likely to be employing workers hand over fist but making do with those you already pay wages to. The implications are obvious.
Regular readers will know that I have no regard whatsoever for Piers Akerman, purely and simply because of his approach to journalism in the vein described above. He’s clearly been spinning his own brand of propaganda, as do all political proponents, but what I object to most strenuously are the blatant lies being dressed up as truth for consumption by the ignorant and lazy. My effort in debunking Akerman’s claims was minimal, and yet we see no-one within the mainstream media making even the slightest attempt to keep one of their own on the straight and narrow. If it takes a blogger to pin the tail on this particular ass, then so be it!