Sorry, if you thought, “Yes! We have an election coming, let’s slam the Coalition, they are a mess with crappy and cruel policies” and everyone else in Australia was thinking the same thing? You are wrong.
Before you all yell at me, let me explain…
If you are on social media and interested in politics, you know the Coalition has done sweet eff all. You know they have more than doubled our debt, you know they are skipping school and only working about 6 days in the next 6 months,. P retty much, you know nearly every choice they have made has been to benefit their wealthy donors, citizens struggling in this nation, not so much… You know pretty much everything former PM Tony Abbott, former PM Malcolm Turnbull and interim PM Scott Morrison has announced over this period of Coalition Government was pretty much full of shite, spun so badly we got dizzy.
The problem is, the general public don’t.
Joe and Jill at home have either paid no attention to the state of politics, because they are too busy just paying the bills, getting the kids fed, holding on to their jobs – in the case of Jill, probably two part-time/casual jobs – hoping they can keep a roof over their heads and if lucky, save up enough spare cash to take the kids to a theme park next holidays.
IF Joe and Jill do notice any politics, it will be only vaguely, from the snippets in the nightly news as they yell at the kids to get in the bath, the short headline on the radio as they wait in the traffic on the endless commute to work, or the ‘headline’ that flies by as they cruise social media in that rare downtime garnering inspiration from friends and family about how great their lives are, so they can join the bullshitting about how little Johnny was just the “best at… today”.
There was an interesting article by Matt Wade in the Canberra Times just recently “The uncomfortable truth about voters' perception versus reality” about the Perils of Perception survey and to cut a long story short I will quote him:
“On the whole, we’re poorly informed about our biggest national challenges and hottest political debates.”
The piece laments that voters really have no idea as to the ‘facts’ on big policies like Immigration and Climate Change and how our perceptions are a long way from reality.
“Ipsos researchers have noticed that public perceptions are often most inaccurate on topics that are being widely discussed in the media, and on issues that are of concern to us.”
No shit sherlock! I wonder why that is?
No, I don’t actually. Sadly, the vast majority of media to quote Julia Gillard “write crap”. Don’t get me wrong, there are a few really good stand-outs in various media publications, unfortunately most of those are not mainstream, or if they are employed by the traditional media, they are not the ones whose front pages you see on the morning infotainment shows and they are not the ones who the nightly six o’clock news take their cues from.
Instead, we see an endless regurgitating of Government ‘talking points’, which often bear no reality to what may actually have happened in Government or Senate that day. Worse, we are seeing this government in particular trying to emulate Donald Trump, pulling on his big boy pants full of LIES and knowing, whatever the hell they say will be reported verbatim, without context, without fact checking, by the vast majority of media. So many journalists in the US media now lament their complicity – even if unintended – in how they reported Trump, resulting in his getting his butt into the oval office, and many journalists here have commented on that phenomena here in Australia, yet, the vast majority are doing it – again!
Case in point: “Our record on women exceeds labor's: Lib MPs”
Yes, they actually said that. The HEADLINE says so, included with the lovely relaxed shot of Sarah Henderson MP, Assistant Minister for Social Services, Housing and Disability Services. It is in the newspaper so it must be true. Sorry, even though Joe & Jill trust media as much as they trust politicians – as in not too much – most still adhere to the old adage of “If it is in the paper it must be true”. ☹
Now, before many of you screech “OMG! Who believes that crap, just Murdoch propaganda” or “but that is rubbish, everyone knows they don’t” or similar I’m going to tell you again, you are wrong.
Yes, next to no-one reads The Australian, yes, we know that the Liberals have a shocking statistic when it comes to recruiting female MPs – and if rumours are correct, treat them in a shoddy manner if they do happen to be one of the rare laydeez to get a foot in the door – yes, we know they don’t do squat for women’s issues*, BUT, take into account the following. That front page, with likeable Sarah saying we don’t have a woman problem:
- Was mentioned on nearly every single morning breakfast infotainment show (generally with no context).
- Was mentioned on the nightly news (again with next to no context)
- Flew through Twitter and Facebook shares (even if was someone mocking, the punter won't see the mocking, just the headline, blurb & photo).
This all adds up to a hell of a lot of eyeballs, NOT reading the actual piece, NOT ‘thinking’ about the context of the piece, probably NOT even being aware of the fact it is utter shite and just because an MP announces something Trump-like doesn’t make it true. All those eyeballs instead got the ‘vibe’ of “relax, there is no woman problem, I’m a lady MP and I would know”.
Just in case some of those Joe & Jill eyeballs didn't get a gander at the smiling lady MP Sarah telling us all is good, the "we love the laydeez in the Liberal party" vibe was backed up by the equally relaxed, pretty as a picture, 'trust me' smiling face of Nicolle Flint MP, Member for Boothby, South Australia, to reinforce that 'vibe'. Ms Flint has somehow missed out on getting any sort of Parliamentary gig, though you may recognise her from previous #QT cameos in the demanding role of 'frame the TV footage of the Prime Minister with ladies nodding in agreement' she has often played in the past, for more than one PM mind you.
If I say white is black long enough maybe people will believe it. More Liberal female MPs tell us how great their party is for women. Incidentally like yesterday’s chief spinner today’s likely won’t have a seat after the next election: https://t.co/0NwHLOOAm1 @australian #auspol— Peter van Onselen (@vanOnselenP) January 2, 2019
This is only one example of media messaging AKA 'the vibe' of course. We see many more with the same formula, photo matching headline to give a vibe of “scary terrorism”, “likeable Scooter eating a pie”, “rising black youth in the suburbs” etc. etc. Joe and Jill in most cases are NOT reading the pieces, they are just getting the ‘vibe’ from the headline and picture.
Now I know many of you will be sitting back reading this calling me all sorts of names and shaking your heads with recriminations like “It is up to individuals to educate themselves”, “People are not that stupid have they not seen…”, “If you read … you will know…” blah blah.
Sorry peeps, but that is just not the case. Any of you who are like me, pay attention to #Auspol, actually read all the news – hell, in my case legislation, yes, I need to get a life – know most of those headlines are government talking points that often bear no resemblance to reality, or in fact, are not even issues of importance to voters, but are spun to the max to make you think they are the big issues that need to be front and centre. This will be the ‘vibe’!
Telling me I’m wrong. Telling others on social media “don’t pay attention to that crap” or denigrating the bloke at the pub for being ignorant discussing those front pages won’t change the facts. It won’t shift hearts and minds, it also won’t change votes.
When Joe and Jill go into the voting booth, they will not be assessing the various policies to make a decision on who to vote for. They will have this mish mash of pictures and headlines sitting vaguely in the back of their brains and most likely make their decision based on the ‘vibe’. Or, sad to say, who happened to be at the top of the ballot or equally lame reason that gets them out of that booth quickly and back doing whatever they originally planned for the weekend.
This upcoming election will be important. Whatever your main reasons for punting Scooter and his questionable cohort, I urge you to consider what I have said above.
Only by combatting the ‘vibe’ out in the real world will we help Joe & Jill make more informed voter choices.
Use the information you ‘know’ to politely and calmly educate those around you. Don’t berate or talk down to people, that only alienates them, no-one likes to be spoken down to or made to feel stupid.
Talk to others about reality. For example, if at the barbecue someone raises ‘Muslim terrorism’, don’t disparage them, give them an example of something to truly be afraid of, eg. “Yeah… I know papers and government like to flog terrorism, but, not really an issue here in … but did you see we had a record number of deaths on the … highway this holiday season, those poor families, Geez Joe, with the amount of time you and Jill spend on that highway, don’t you worry? Government keep saying they will fix, but have done nothing yet!” – subtle, I know, but believe me it works.
Over the coming months we will see:
Yes, there will be vague allusions to Neil Prakesh cruising onto Bondi Beach on his boardie attempting to blow your summer family get-together up. Or worse, he might turn up to the Cricket and blow the Aussie Cricket team out of the MCG? Oh wait, didn’t the Indian test team already do that…
Depending on which state you live in, if you don’t heed the words of wisdom of the Government, your state will be in black out Armageddon after the next storm, or you will go bankrupt from your energy bills and forced to live on the streets.
The boats, the boats!
If the Government is not tough, those little kiddies on Nauru will come into Australia and their parents will slink in with them and put you in danger – somehow? And those blokes on Manus… Well, with all their mental health problems we have given them? Imagine how dangerous they will be? Oh by the way, we are compassionate, don’t want those kiddies to die at sea ARGH!
Just kidding, noone actually cares about the 'homeless', but think of the property investors, won’t someone think of them?! They may have to invest in their 3rd or 4th property without any Government (taxpayer) assistance, the market will crash and aspirationals will never get that holiday home to put on AirBnB!
Yes, we are in danger of a recession. Those big businesses offshoring their profits won’t be able to afford those massive profits unless we give them a tax cut, on the tax they aren’t paying in full hmmm, But JOBS! Yes, without that tax cut there will be no jobs!
Thank Dog for the Government. They are creating squillions of jobs per day! Only their handling of the economy has allowed your single parent to have that second casual job so that you can eat meat once a week. And don’t you ever forget, without our ‘firm’ unemployment policies, those dole bludgers would be sitting on play stations all day upgrading those games with your hard-earned tax dollars. Only a Coalition government will force those useless unemployed and disabled into proving they are worthy of our largesse, with punitive reporting or hell, if they are fortunate slave labor on our PaTH programme.
Climate be hanged
Seriously people, be sensible, this is a non-issue. An ALP / Greens communist / socialist (I forget which is most popular at the moment) Government will mandate you rip out the rumpus room in your house and grow trees, worse, might harm the car industry – AND JOBS – by forcing you to walk, cycle or use public transport.
Again, depending on what state you live in, the Muslims or Africans will infiltrate your suburbs, steal your jobs and clog up the freeways with traffic (I still love that one LOL). Oh and don’t go to your local park, it is dangerous, some of black youths might be playing football, FOOTBALL I tell you, they probably are not even calling it soccer!
Gawd is good
Only our Government, the Abbott, Turnbull, Morrison, Joyce, McWhatsHisName Government can save us from Godlessness and Gender fairies. True story. Only this Government will protect religion – well not you Muslims etc, only the Christians – and make sure your child has the right to be taught at a tender age that they have a right to be a bigot too, a heterosexual bigot of course.
Don’t forget the Unions. Australia will go to hell in a handbasket if the Government does not stamp on the throat of the Unions, you have no idea how evil they are. If you don’t bow to their demands for a living a wage they will go on strike and there will be no public transport for you! Oh wait, not allowed to strike now… Union thugs will also make outrageous demands on building sites – see Homelessness above – forcing up costs for housing and construction, you will NEVER afford that investment property GASP!
OK I made up all the above on the fly, but hey, so is the Government LOL!
I might have missed a few talking points – or as I like to call most of them, LIES - but you get the drift. We will be lucky if we get even a kernel of truth to base a lot of the election campaigning bamboozling with bullshit we will see in our papers and on our tellies in the coming months.
So if you want to grab 2019 by “the scruff of its neck and make it a winner for all of us” and ensure everyone in this country actually has the opportunity to “have a go” in the first place, in my opinion, you will need to address the political ‘vibe’.
Dog knows the Coalition has nothing else going for it except the vibe 😉
* Fun fact: We know the LNP have shocking stats when it comes to women in Parliment, but, policy-wise are just as bad. Compare the pair SIGH! It is NOT fun at all and clearly illustrates how little the Federal Government actually values 'women' and their safety.
The Victorian Government has budgeted $1.9 BILLION dollars to "stop the scourge of family violence...", whereas the Federal Government has 'invested' $54.4 MILLION in "new funding for services for women affected by violence..."
Vic gvt spend on women’s safety vs federal gvt spend on women’s safety pic.twitter.com/HMrWfx5rWV— Asher Wolf (@Asher_Wolf) January 2, 2019
PS. It is front pages, headlines, hero shots and blurbs that convey the ‘vibe’, these decisions that flavour a policy to give an ‘impression’ to Joe & Jill are rarely the decision of the journalist who may be reading out that news item on the telly or who may have written the piece in the paper – apart from a few odious notable exceptions, you know who they are – so please consider that before you berate a journalist on social media? Maybe take your own advice, educate yourself as to who the Media publication/station’s Manager, Producer or Editor is and hit them up instead, they are the ones making the choices massaging that vibe you see in the paper and on TV.
Also, if the reporting is truly odious or fatuous, take action, involve yourself with Sleeping Giants Oz, contact Twitter / Facebook support to make a complaint if applicable, contact the Australian Press Council (though I have to say from experience they don't care less), or even the ACMA (Australian Communications and Media Authority), basically, don't just whinge on Twitter or Facebook, take your issue that one stage further, you never know, if enough of us demand better standards we might, just might get them.