The level to which Australia’s government-funded media corporation, the ABC, has sunk is illustrated by the fact that in a slot reserved for its main investigative stories, it ran an American propaganda documentary from the American publicly-funded outlet PBS on 3 July.
Titled “Putin and the Presidents”, the documentary made no effort to disguise itself, conveniently leaving out masses of context in its bid to paint the Russian president as the villain supreme.
It covers Putin’s interactions with American presidents from Bill Clinton onwards, painting the American leaders as trying to get along with the Russian president, while he did everything to spoil relationships.
David Speers, the ABC employee who hosts the Insiders political current affairs show on Sunday morning, is not known for being afraid to confront his guests during an interview. He interrupts them frequently, always trying to get a point across and validate a narrative that he has.
But in front of Ukrainian Ambassador Vasyl Myroshnychenko on 2 July, Speers was like a lamb, never asking the envoy anything that would cut across the latter’s view of the Ukraine war — obviously a sympathetic one — and seemingly unable to ask even a single contradictory question.
Ever since former Liberal Party adviser Brittany Higgins alleged, in an interview with the news.com.au website on 15 February 2021, that she had been raped in Parliament House by a colleague in early 2019, the story has rarely been out of the news. The colleague, who was later revealed to be one Bruce Lehrmann, has always denied the charge.
The case went to a jury trial in 2022 but a juror was caught in possession of material that compromised his/her status as a jury member and a mistrial was declared. The prosecutor said later that a second trial would not be held as it would be detrimental to Higgins’ mental health.
Last weekend, Australia’s Liberal Party made history by losing a by-election to the government, something that had not happened for more than 100 years.
The seat in question, Aston, in the outer-east of Melbourne, had fallen vacant due to the retirement of the sitting member, Alan Tudge. The two main parties, Labor and Liberal, both put up female candidates.
With elections in the state of Victoria just a week away, politicians are in a feverish mood as they try to rustle up support to win their seats.
The rush to push their barrows has been sped up no end after early voting started on 14 November and reports emerged of big numbers voting ahead of the election. More than 2.2 million of the state’s registered 4.4 million voters are expected to cast their votes before election day. The first four days of early voting saw 556,193 people exercise their franchise.
Politicians normally try to keep their private lives separate from their public personas. And the media generally respect this separation, unless any probing can be justified as being in the public interest.
But some politicians purposely ventilate aspects of their private lives when they feel that it will help them in their jobs.
An indication of how far The Age, a tabloid newspaper that is published from Melbourne, has sunk can be seen from a letter to subscribers [note, not those who read it free] from the editor, Gay Alcorn on 2 April.
Perhaps to imbue said document with importance, Alcorn chose to place it behind a paywall. [The Age home page can be read without payment and a limited number of articles are also free to read, before the paywall kicks in.]
But Alcorn apparently considers her writing so important that it has to be paid for. Of such stern mettle are editors [and journalists too] made. Heaven forbid that the common man should be able to read this important missive.