Jul 262011

Chairman Beattie makes an excellent suggestion.psp65

Invoking Harry Truman in a direct response to Tony Abbott’s invocation of last week, Beattie tells us that beating out heads against a corporate goliath like News Corp, either through its own pages, as he has done and a great many of us do daily, or through litigation, is indicative of shirking responsibility for taking our own actions.

At least that’s my reading of his op-ed in The Australian today. Of course, I know very well why The Oz would have gladly afforded him the opportunity to write what he did, and that’s to feed its own anti-Labor agenda. That agenda is on display again today, via the poisoned keyboard of Michael Stutchbury. For an economics editor, he’s airing quite a few opinionated political views of late. Perhaps he’s bucking for Shanahan’s job?

Beattie is correct in what he writes, and surprisingly for a former pollie, dead on target. The faults in the media can be directly slated back to us. The people this opinionated commentariate produce their wares for. If we weren’t the faux ideologues we all deny we are, if we were better informed and less easily led, if we were open minded, accepting and more tolerant of differences, the media bias everyone shrieks about probably wouldn’t exist. But that’s the perfect world, and it simply doesn’t exist. Facts are that media bias does exist. In some sectors it is proudly overt, driven by ill-informed or even uninformed, bigoted opinion and a need for a certain philosophy to hold the upper hand in the formation of public policy. That’s life in the real world. There’s always someone with a better idea, way of doing something and as we’ve seen in recent days, the drive to physically do something about those beliefs. Will codified rights to privacy correct this imbalance? Not likely, no more so than the Telecommunications (Interception and Access) Act 1979 (Commonwealth) or the Surveillance Devices Act 2007 (NSW) can stop me from recording a telephone call to protect my business interests. Define ‘Privacy’ and then define ‘Public Interest’. Perceptions of both will lie solely within the mind of the perceiver. The law, except for very unique precedents, is subject to a process of interpretations. In the cold, hard light of day, those interpretations are no different to the interpretations of public policy being made by ideologues from one side of the divide or the other. Hopefully though, purveyors of the law are more open-minded and a lot better informed than the opinionated peanut gallery. There’s at least one QC in this land who considers himself a wielder of the sword of righteousness, but we won’t go there from here.

I like Beattie’s solution, in fact, I like it a lot. Government needs to get ‘on message’ and into the faces of media pundits. Take them on, on their own ground and present the facts. Do it often and loudly. It works for Abbott, why wouldn’t it work for the better communicators in the Labor government who are telling the facts as they are, as opposed to telling it how the faeries see it? As to the rest of us, I highly recommend Beattie’s final suggestion.

If we don’t like the rubbish being served up, change channels, buy a better newspaper or go online and start your own thought-provoking, intelligent blog.

An excellent suggestion. Get to it!

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