Friday, January 14, 2005

Australian spin — friday morning rant

Yesterday I used the term Howardian spin without really saying what I meant. As it is an integral part of Australian political life these days, I think that it should be somewhat expanded upon.

Spin is often imparted through:
- Selective quotation
- Selective use of facts
- Non-denial denial
- Phrasing in a way that assumes unproven truths
- Euphemisms to disguise or promote one's agenda

The Howard government often takes a slightly less subtle approach to their deception. They seem to lean towards outright deception along the lines of:
- “they did throw their children in the water”;
- “Saddam Hussein basically is Bin Laden”
- “they do have WMDs”;
- “I really didn’t talk to those ethanol people”; and
- “interest rates will rise under the ALP (yeah they will. they really will. no really, they really will)”.

This is what I mean by Howardian spin — blatant disregard for the truth in favour by telling an unquestioning audience exactly what they want to hear, ad nauseum. And the Australian people just swallow it, every single time, with any questioning steadily drowned out by the clamour of acceptance.

At the risk of just banging on, this is what I was getting at yesterday, with the Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations. He made no argument whatsoever in support of the work for the dole scheme. He just kept on repeating his mantra: don't knock work for the dole - it works.

As always, this leads to the question — how can Australians be so friggin’ uncritical and generally stupid?

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