We are what we read

I was chuffed at the number of comments I received while overseas that complimented the economic stability of Australia.  Here is a sample:

  • Australia has always had strong leaders
  • The Australian dollar is very stable and healthy
  • The economy is going gangbusters over there
  • It’s great how you guys held firm during the GFC.

And this one:

  • We appreciate the lead Australia is taking against global warming.

Not one of these people had ever visited Australia.  They only know about us from what they read in the media.

Oh how refreshing it was to be confronted by this media inspired positive portrayal.  And it was all true.  Our dollar is strong, as is our economy and economic rating.  We did avoid a recession and the Western world acknowledges this and is envious of it.  Everywhere I went, people were giving Australia a pat on the back.

But not so my fellow travellers or Australian I met overseas.  At every opportunity they were condemning our lucky and prosperous country.  In discussions with them it was apparent that all their political knowledge and opinions were formed from what they read or heard in the media.

Before I am attacked with the suggestion that I’m blaming the media for this or that or whatever – I am not – I am only suggesting that people believe what the media tells them.

The fellow Australian travellers knew that Julia Gillard encourages refugee boats, that the Carbon Tax was going to ruin everyone in Australia with an annual income under $150,000, that the mining industry was at the crossroads because of the resource tax, that new taxes will be introduced on a monthly basis, that the GST will increase and worst of all, we will inevitably be a Muslim country and Julia Gillard’s contribution to this inevitable outcome cannot be ignored.  They knew all this of course, because they read it in the papers.

These very same people had Tony Abbott ‘nodding head moments’ when I mentioned that there will be a carbon tax no matter who is in power, or that to fund Abbott’s maternity leave plan the mining industry would be hit even harder than they would be with the resource tax, or that Abbott’s present carbon reduction policy would hurt the family budget more than Gillard’s proposal, or that the number of boat people entering Australia is a drop in the ocean (excuse the pun) when compared to the number of plane arrivals.  I was puzzled, in particular, that nobody knew anything about Tony Abbott.  Then it hit me: apart from his negativity, nothing about the man or his policies are published in the media.

The average person in the street can only rely on what the media tells them.  It was the same overseas.  If the overseas papers were filled with negativity about Australia then I’m sure I would have heard about it.  Instead, all I heard was praise, for that is what is being published around the world: praise for Australia.

We are what we read.  We will believe what the papers tell us.  One lot of papers are saying that Australia is economically and politically strong while another lot are telling us the country is in a mess and is poorly governed.  The latter are also telling us everything they want us to know about Julia Gillard but nothing about Tony Abbott.  It is comical that those vociferous in their condemnation of Julia Gillard have not a skerrick of knowledge about Tony Abbott.  It is also comical that those vociferous in their criticism of this great country have no idea how economically strong we really are.  It’s a pity that if you want to find out how strong and healthy this country is . . . then you’ll have to find out by reading an American or European newspaper.