Is Twitter Blinding Political Junkies from the Bigger Game?

In the past week, I have been taking a step back from Twitter and its daily news cycle, with its constant churning of ideas, reactions, responses.  Or, as Lachlan Harris put it, the Opinion Cycle.  This hasn’t been a particularly conscious decision – it’s more a result of purchasing a house and a very busy time in my day to day work life.  What has occurred to me in that time is just how much I am not missing the washing machine that is Australian political reporting.

Instead, I have been listening to ABC Local Radio – Adam Spencer, Richard Glover, AM and every so often PM as well as having a flick through Daily Telegraphs bought by work colleagues.  What has struck me is just how small minded Australian politics really is. More concerning is the completely biased out and out blatant lies perpetrated on a daily basis, showing just how hard it is for the current government to communicate anything of substance.

It’s fascinating to see how The Daily Telegraph acts to cast every single action of the Government in a negative light.  This included the set top boxes for pensioners scheme, which would actually be of benefit for a significant percentage of its readership. Instead of reporting the news, it screams of imagined “rorts”.  In addition, when it mentioned these imagined rorts, has taken to always attaching the adjective “failed” to the insulation program and makes reference to the BER as a major cost blowout disaster.  These are just blatant lies, as the insulation scheme was not failed – it supplied insulation successfully to all but a few homes and the BER projects are being opened in public and independent schools in various electorates to much acclaim by a variety of local members.  And yet the impression that is continually made is of “failed” and “cost blowouts” – even though that judgement is not based on a reasonable level.

Then there is the carbon tax.  The Telegraph is joining its Canberra brother in the rubbishing of any moves towards a price on carbon and will not be changing this approach any time soon, I would imagine.  As we hear about the British Conservatives heading towards significant carbon emissions by 2027, it is depressing to see such a narrow minded campaign against our more modest proposals.

More seriously, this makes it very hard to discuss things like the carbon tax in workplaces, because there are significant numbers of professionals who gained their news from the Telegraph and shows like Sunrise.  They are dark about the carbon tax, buying the absurdity that we need an election about it.  It is nearly impossible to explain, for example, that John Howard wanted an ETS, that Kevin Rudd received a mandate for the ETS in 2007 – one that was not honoured by Tony Abbott.  They just respond “the Greens run the ALP, Carbon Tax will ruin the economy”.  They buy the lies.

On Twitter, there is the daily fights, disagreements and variations thereof between bloggers and News Limited journalists.  While these are fascinating to the tiny number of politically informed who populate the Twitter Opinion Cycle, they take those people’s eyes away from the bigger game.  That is, the near impossibility for this Government to gain fair and balanced coverage from the commercial media outlets.

I don’t know if the Government is necessarily as bad as delivering messages and explaining ideas as many are led to believe.  After all, listening to Chris Bowen, Greg Combet and others, they seem as good at delivering messages as any were from the Liberal Government before 2007. Indeed, Bowen is superior to Scott Morrison in the outlining of policies.  I am beginning to suspect, however, that they just don’t get a fair go and will never get that fair go.  The News Limited journos on Twitter aren’t the ones driving this, they are part of a greater machine that is delivering this drive of News to hand government back to the Liberal Party and the goal of “destroying” the Greens.

To argue on Twitter, the daily opinion cycle, I suspect, is a bit of a waste of time.  It certainly is having little to no impact on the world outside it.  The people out there have been whipped up into a false outrage by a media that sits back and enjoys its work.

Anyway, back to the busy stuff.

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