Jul 032007

Tim Dunlop recommends better disclosure under Freedom of Information legislation, and less of the ‘national interest’ folderoll.

I can’t say I’m a real fan of the Dunlop style. There’s something just a little too supercilious in his writings for my liking. However, in quieter moments, over lunch, I’ll scan his posts. He makes more sense and presents more rationally than Piers Akerman or Andrew Bolt. Not that he has to try very hard. At least Tim hasn’t made it onto Media Watch.
As a long time observer of blogging ideologies in the OzSphere, I’d suggest you’d have to have been shipwrecked with Gilligan not to be aware of Tim’s leanings in political terms. Yet, in the comments section of today’s Blogocracy, we see contributions from a certain “bob of qld” exhorting Tim to disclose his voting preferences as some kind of rider to what he described as ….

“the constant stream of anti-government speil Tim and his mates get to spray over news.com.au’s pages “

Now, clearly, bob of qld would prefer Tim and his mates sprayed pro-government rhetoric over news.com.au’s pages. But that wouldn’t be Tim’s true opinion, ergo he’d not be employed by Murdoch. QED. Maybe that’s bob of qld’s point, but I digress. Bob of qld then goes on to claim that Dunlop, et al, scribes for media barons ought to have disclosures on each and every article they pen, clarifying for the intellectually challenged, or ideologically biased, just which end of the political spectrum they’re offering an opinion from. A ludicruous demand if ever I’ve read one, considering bob of qld had already accurately identified for himself which end Tim inhabits. Frankly, apart from being obtusely stupid to make such claims, I feel it’s downright rude to demand that someone, just because they write Op-Eds under the heading of ‘blog’, should tell all and sundry just how they intend to vote next time around.
Dunlop’s rejoinders were succinct, accurate and extremely sharply pointed, which doubtless spurned bob of qld such that his only response could be the ridiculous comebacks which litter the Blogocracy comment area. To the extent that as an attempt at a final say, all bob of qld could offer up was….

“C’mon. The issue is really about the good of the populace to be in touch with the facts as they may impact their life. Whilst these might be blogs…they are prominently posted up front on a news site and for all money, look like news content. And many indeed most who might read it would not recognise that it is but a blog and hence just an opinion. It looks like, sounds like and is given the credit of a news article. Surely…surely….we the people are entitled to be advised – as we consume this stuff – that it is a political statement and hazardous to your health… “

Clearly, bob of qld had been caught out severely, playing the man, rather than the ball, in this case. Tim’s unequivocal opinion that we, the voters, would be a lot better informed about where Labor stands on important issues like FOI if Rudd would come out with a policy stance is perfectly valid and unbiased. One I wholeheartedly agree with. It seems bob of qld doesn’t. If he does, he did a terrible job of saying so. In fact, I gained the distinct impression from one comment that he thought the Howard government, in suppressing politically sentitive information to which we’re entitled, was doing a good thing.

“Tim – the article is a clear swipe at the govt and using the WorkChoices medium which is seen by labour as their “Achilles heel”. (I guess they have to see something as an achilles heel casue on evey other measure the govt has performed remakably) And then….the article “cloaks” this “concern” in terms of whill Rudd do any better. The gist of the article is the swipe at the govt. “

Lack of a spellchecker on News’ opinion pages aside, I found myself asking, “well, bob, which is it? Is zealousness in exercising the ‘national interest’ as an excuse for suppressing FOI requests a remarkable performance, or not?” Seems that way.
Once again, we see the blind ignorance of so many who inhabit opinion pages, blogs and the like when it comes down to analysing issues of import to all. Rationality and logic should always hold sway in any discussion of democratic norms and societal expectations. Ideology is nothing more than a figment of the biased imagination, and has no place where important matters count. It’s amusing, no doubts there, to read the rants of cyclopian political supporters, but in so many way, it’s also a sad indictment on the level of intellectual engagement which so many plateau out at where politics is concerned.

  2 Responses to “The Cyclops and Achilles’ Heel”

  1. this is not me someone esle is using my name in the papers CM is the main one I write to.

  2. Tends to raise another issue, doesn’t it. Why bother if you can’t secure your identity?