Episode 231 – Media Bias and Ridiculing Religion

Thanks to media bias and other factors, politicians can now get away with murder. Plus we look at Australian attitudes towards ridiculing religion.

Angus Taylor

Mr Taylor insisted in Parliament that he relied on a document downloaded from the City of Sydney website when he claimed the council spent $15.9 million on travel for its councillors when the real costs were less than $6,000.

Strike Force Garrad

From Crikey

NSW Police have launched an investigation into Energy Minister Angus Taylor over the origins of potentially doctored documents he used to attack Sydney Lord Mayor Clover Moore.

But comments from deputy Labor leader Richard Marles have left many wondering whether there is more to the name chosen for the operation, Strike Force Garrad.

Journalism struggles to have an impact in modern politics

From Christopher Warren in Crikey

A combination of paywalls and click-driven priorities means that any story can struggle to catch fire across the media landscape as it once would have done. At the same time, the domination of News Corp in Australian media gives the government a ready-made fire break. Already the company’s commentariat is out putting out sparks, with fireman Chris Kenny in particular using the very Trumpian “too-dumb-to-be-a-crime” defence.

Brendan O’Neill

Brendan O’Neill in Spiked

There’s a piece of graffiti that sums up the woke left’s view of ordinary people. It says: ‘When the British working class stop reading right-wing news, we will see progressive change.’ There it is. In black and white. Scrawled on a wall somewhere but frequently shared on social media by supposed progressives. One sentence that captures why so many modern left-wingers, and in particular the Corbynistas, are so obsessed with the press – because they think it has hypnotised the fickle masses and polluted the plebs’ brains with horrible right-wing ideas. Make no mistake: when the left rages against the media, it is really raging against the masses.

And on it goes. Corbynistas never tire of moaning about the tabloid press in particular, which they think is pumping backward and racist ideas directly into the masses’ brains. Such leftish media-phobia has been around for a few years now. It really took off in the 1980s, when Labour kept losing to Thatcher. Rather than assess what Labour was doing wrong, and why it was losing so many of its working-class voters, left observers preferred to blame the Sun, in particular, for corrupting the little people’s minds. The people who were really being insulted here were not the Sun’s owners, editors and writers (if anything, they were being complimented for their powers of persuasion); no, it was the Sun’s readers, who were infantilised, robbed entirely of their agency, reduced to mere vessels that can be filled with propaganda by Murdoch and his employees.

From Jeannette in the Secular Party comments:

So this guy is saying that although the mainstream press in the UK (and Australia) is owned by powerful right wing interests, we are supposed to believe its a left wing conspiracy theory that these media outlets are publishing right wing views. Did he really just say that? How stupid does he think everyone is? The arrogance is astounding.

He’s using the political correctness angle, trying to shame people who might think/say that perhaps those who haven’t had a great education are more susceptible to media manipulation. We only have to look back through history to see that people, well educated or not, are susceptible to the constant subtle drip feed of brainwashing/propaganda etc. Particularly to diversion tactics that tell them someone else is responsible for their misery. Brexit campaigners are saying the reason the working class are struggling, the increase in homelessness, child poverty, unaffordable housing etc is all due to being in the EU. Diverting away from the real cause, years of a rightwing government who only look after the wealthy and have implemented harsh austerity measures. People do fall for it, and not because they are stupid. They believe it because its a well funded misinformation campaign that uses clever tactics. Huge amounts of money go into the campaign, as vested interests are intent on trying to get a Tory win again

Is Spiked Right Wing?

From mediabiasfactcheck.com


These media sources are moderately to strongly biased toward conservative causes through story selection and/or political affiliation. They may utilize strong loaded words (wording that attempts to influence an audience by using appeal to emotion or stereotypes), publish misleading reports and omit reporting of information that may damage conservative causes. Some sources in this category may be untrustworthy.


Launched in 2001, Spiked is a British Internet magazine focusing on politics, culture and society from a libertarian viewpoint. Spiked focuses on issues of freedom and state control, science and technology, culture, education and literature. According to their about page “Spiked is the magazine that wants to change the world as well as report on it. We are committed to fighting for humanism, democracy and freedom. “The current editor is Brendan O’Neill.

Funded by / Ownership

Spiked is owned by Spiked Limited, which is a company owned by Frank Furedi and Jennie Bristow. Funding has come from the Charles Koch Foundation and currently revenue is generated through donations and onsite advertising.

Is Corbyn an anti-Semite?

By Louisa Gunning in the John Menadue Blog

Corbyn is not an anti-Semite. He never was. His real sin is his staunch position against injustice in the world, including the version Israel perpetrates. Today this is anti-Semitism.

… Mirvis presents no evidence of Corbyn’s anti-Semitism. It sufficed for him to note the fact that Corbyn described as “friends” those who “endorse the murder of Jews” – a reference to Corbyn’s comments on Hezbollah and Hamas. Corbyn is indeed a very harsh critic of the occupation, supports the boycott and compares the closure of Gaza with the siege of Stalingrad and Leningrad. These are anti-Israeli positions, but not necessarily anti-Semitic. The Jews of Britain are blurring this difference as are many Jews throughout the world, intentionally. One can (and should) be a harsh critic of Israel without being anti-Semitic.

How Australians View Religion

An interesting report from the Centre for Independent Studies

Who are they?

According to Wikipedia: The Centre for Independent Studies (CIS) is an Australian libertarian think tank founded in 1976 which specialises in public policy research.[1] It is based in Sydney and focuses on classical liberal issues such as free markets and limited government.

The CIS is funded solely by donations, membership subscriptions, and book and event sales from individuals, companies and charitable trusts. It does not accept government funding.[2] All research decisions are made by the research team and not by the donors.

The report commissioned YouGov Galaxy to poll 1000 Australians.

Religious Discrimination Bill to be delayed and redrafted

From Judith Ireland in the SMH

In letter sent to Mr Morrison this week, a draft of which was seen by The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age, a coalition of religious groups says: “We take the view that it would be better to have no Religious Discrimination Act rather than a flawed one.”

The groups, which include the Catholic Archdiocese of Sydney, the Anglican Diocese of Sydney, the Executive Council of Australian Jewry, the Australian National Imams Council and the Greek Orthodox Church in Australia, say the bill in its current form will “diminish the religious freedom of faith groups in Australia”.

Meanwhile the new draft will allow hospitals and nursing homes to discriminate.

By Judith Ireland in the SMH

Attorney-General Christian Porter explained this was “probably the most significant change” to his contentious draft bill, which already allows other religious bodies – such as schools – to make staffing decisions to maintain “the religious ethos and culture of the organisation”.

Mr Porter told the National Press Club on Wednesday that religious hospitals “do not appear to make decisions about the admission of patients based on any given patient’s religion or absence of religion, and do not seek to do so”.  He added that with “very few exceptions,” neither did aged care providers.

He later told ABC TV this change to his bill “does not change the status quo” and would not meant that hospitals could hire and fire on the basis of sexuality, age or disability.

So … why do they need a new law ?????

Here is an IT job for Catholics only

It’s dangerous not to believe in God

Asked about his religious beliefs, Mr Porter said he was not a regular churchgoer, but did believe in God: “It’s very dangerous not to.”

Submarines are now up to $80b

The $50b bill was outrageous and has now been upgraded to $80b according to Anthony Galloway in the SMH

Australia’s new fleet of attack submarines is now estimated to cost about $225 billion to build and maintain, according to Defence officials.

The cost of building the 12 French-designed submarines has crept up from an expected $50 billion three years ago. The head of the Navy’s submarine program, Greg Sammut, told a Senate estimates hearing on Friday the “out-turn cost” – the actual cost of the build calculated at the end of the project – was now estimated to be at least $80 billion.

This was on top of the cost to “sustain, update and upgrade” the submarines until 2080, which was estimated to total $145 billion when adjusted for inflation.

By the way, there has been a coup in Bolivia

By Daniel Safi writing in the Independent Australia Blog

The notion that Australia’s SBS and ABC are politically “Left” is wildly incorrect.

A far-Right military coup in Bolivia forced a sitting socialist President, Evo Morales, to resign and escape the country, yet they hardly reported on this fact. Instead, they devoted much favourable coverage to Right-wing demonstrators and security forces.

There’s no shortage of reliable sources documenting what’s happening in Bolivia, but our public broadcasters chose to avoid them.

Japanese Menstruation Policy

From ABC News quoting Reuters

A Japanese department store is reconsidering a plan for employees to wear badges when they’re menstruating, which was originally aimed at fostering sympathy among co-workers but triggered a public outcry.

The Daimaru Umeda department store in the city of Osaka said on Thursday (local time) that it had hoped to encourage bonding by having menstruating staff wear a badge featuring an existing manga character named “Seiri Chan” — loosely translated as “Miss Period”.

“We received many complaints from the public. Some of them concerned harassment, and that was definitely not our intention,” said a male executive, who declined to be named.

“We’re reconsidering plans now.”

A spokesperson was not immediately available.

The backlash comes as cases of workplace harassment have come under the spotlight in Japan, amid a shrinking workforce and changing values about gender roles and work-life balance.

Companies are increasingly and publicly being criticised for bullying and gender discrimination.

The Daimaru executive said the store had not intended to make the badge compulsory.

China brings in mandatory facial recognition for mobile phone users

By Lily Kuo in The Guardian

All mobile phone users in China registering new SIM cards must submit to facial recognition scans, according to a new rule that went into effect across the country on Sunday.

Should we worry about a Chinese company buying an Australian Dairy business?

By Jason Murphy in Crikey

So does China owning things on Australian soil give the Communist Party power over us? Or could it be the other way round? Are we strengthened by their economic outreach? In the most extreme conflict scenario, geography matters. Local assets can be controlled locally. But if it comes to that, all is already lost. Most of our analysis should focus on milder scenarios.

These are extremely challenging questions, and the answers are not simple. But it is these uncomfortable questions we should be addressing as more parts of our economy move into Chinese hands. Not settling into the familiar and comfortable groove of worrying about dairy farmers.

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