Allan Takes Aim Blog

I hope truth is on today’s political menu

Posted on: 13 June 2013


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I hope truth is on today’s political menu

Theoretically, Australia’s political menu for the nest three months should be the policy dishes the major parties contesting the election, Saturday 14th September, think so good that the electorate will reward them with the gold medal of Government. Whatever else can be said about the policy dishes each party is optimistic that their policy dishes are more likely to favour them than their opponents.

It being said the proof of the pudding is in the eating and because there’s no try before buy in the electoral system, come Election Day, voters have to take these policies on trust and that’s a very big ask of many politicians.

Nonetheless for a while it looked as if voters would get a chance to get their teeth into the main policy dishes of both parties, they found out that often these policy dishes had replaced with minor dishes by people with big egos. And worse still these dishes were getting more publicity than the main dishes.

In fact rumour now seems to be playing a bigger role in Government, than policy. Day after day the media is wash with rumours about the peccadilloes of various MPs. That it is changed days is clear because gossip is now categorised as news. Making it worse, is that no one seems to check whether or not the gossip is accurate.

The result is that a piece of political mendacity can grow and grow and seen as true is posted to that ‘paragon ‘of accuracy Facebook. In part this is what happened yesterday when a so called piece of political ‘news’ was being reported as if it had happened twenty four hours earlier and referred  to a three months old piece of gossip.

And what was this great piece of ‘news’? The news was that three months ago an imbecilic cartoon menu of PM Gillard that should never have seen the light of day had been used at a Liberal Party fundraiser in Brisbane for a candidate standing at the next election. When questioned, the candidate said he had no knowledge of the men and condemned it out of hand as did Tony Abbott, the Liberal Leader.

Sadly and unfortunately as it turned out, the PM’s staff failed to check to check the story properly with result that she launched a vitriolic attack on Abbott, the Liberal Party and the candidate. Unfortunately the PM’s information was wrong as the real culprit owned up and said the menu had not been used at the fundraiser.

During today’s breakfast show on my local ABC radio, during an interview the presenter sad to an interviewee, as if to prevent bias being inferred, that he had not heard of anyone at the function denying the story. Apparently around 200 people attended the function which made me wonder had he heard of anyone at the function confirming the story.

There are many such examples in the media of lies being accepted as truth and stories being edited so as to present somebody in a more positive light which has given rise to the saying: never let the facts get in the way of a good story; but are such stories good stories?

Sad as it is and in contrast to much political rhetoric about democracy it seems to me that in the past although democracy has often been subverted, the subversion of democracy today is at an unheard of level. This does not bode well for the attempts of people genuinely interested in democracy for what it can do for society, rather than for transient fame and status.

In ending let me say, truth is a value whose worth is immeasurable. At one time or another most of us having strayed from the truth will now know the damage this can so let me abjure people to speak it more often.

Comment welcome.

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