The Aboriginal Ten Commandments

Australia Day certainly brings out many emotions. Pride. Passion. And I’m sorry to say, racism. I saw plenty of that on a couple of Facebook pages today. Here’s one:

Happy Australia Day ….. , Yes I know some of you will say invasion day, citizens day, genocide day ….. however I do not care… you nay sayers can go root a unicorn and fart out rainbows for all I care.

Charming. What a wonderful fellow.

Among the follow-up comments telling this racist chap how amazingly funny he is or how brilliant his statement was, came this equally ignorant quip:

If it wasn’t for Captain Cook none of us would be here . . .

Racism is a choice. Ignorance isn’t. But having said that, perhaps some people chose to remain ignorant. Like the commenter above.

Now here’s one from a real Aussie hero who didn’t like the idea that a particular person opposed the Government’s asylum seeker policy:

you sound like a big cry baby sore loser.

just accept the fact that half the country doesn’t want boat loads of leeches coming in here looking for a free ride (we have enough of our own thank you).

if you care about these “asylum seekers” so much, why don’t YOU take them in to YOUR home and look after them? put your money where your god damn mouth is, punk

But enough about the idiots. Just as there was some absolute bile on Facebook today, there was also a fair amount of the opposite, such as something posted by an Aboriginal friend: The Aboriginal Ten Commandments. It had no hate, no patriotism, nor racism. It simply spelled out what sound like some wonderful rules to live by. It was too good not to share with you. Here they are:

Honour and respect the Great Creator, the one who is above all.

Honour and respect the Earth for we are physically and spiritually connected to all living an non living things as we are in their custodianship.

Honour and respect our ancient philosophy whereby ‘what is good enough for one is good enough for all’ as no one is above another, for all are equal.

Honour and respect all members of humanity for we are all one ancient family, united and related through our kinship systems.

Honour and respect every person’s right to freely practice and express in their own way their unique forms of spirituality, faith and beliefs.

Honour and respect our ancient rule of sharing with one another so that no one is ever left without.

Honour and respect our ancient rule of caring for one another so that no one will ever feel alone.

Honour and respect both our Elders and Youth for each are very important when it comes to generational change and the advancement of our Peoples.

Honour and respect that violence ad substance abuse have no place within our lands, homes and families.

Honour and respect other peoples home boundaries and never walk into the home of another without first being invited in, as it is our ancient way.

Ten Commandments

The Abbott form of Social Engineering

I am grateful to John Lord for allowing me to reproduce his frightening piece, first published today on The AIMN.


In recent weeks I have written on three subjects relating to what I shall loosely call “The Psychology of Politics.” The first was titled Hidden Persuaders, the second You’re Being Manipulated and the third Political Lies and Who Tells Them. This one deals with Social Engineering.

This week I posted on Facebook the following statement.

“I have seen many governments come and go in my lifetime. All incoming governments naturally implement their policies within the constraints that exist within the two Australian Houses of Parliament.

The Abbott Government, however, seems to have embarked on some form of social engineering.”

I was taken to task for this statement by one person in particular and I told him I was writing an extended piece this week. To put my piece in some sort of context I begin with some quotes.

In one of his most influential essays, (Milton) Friedman articulated contemporary capitalism’s core tactical nostrum, what I have come to understand as “the shock doctrine”. He observed that:

“Only a crisis – actual or PERCEIVED – produces real change”. . . A variation on Machiavelli’s advice that “injuries” should be inflicted “all at once” – Naomi Klein, “Shock Doctrine”

In other words, manufacture a sense of crisis and you can get away with anything starting with maximum harm. Therefore, the conservatives are manufacturing a non-existent debt crisis.

Margret Thatcher said this (paraphrased):

“There is no such thing as society. There are only individuals making their way. The poor shall be looked after by the drip down effect of the rich”.

Abraham Lincoln said this:

“Labor came before capital and is not related to it. Capital is what’s acquired from labour, and would never have come about if it were not for labour. Therefore, labour is superior to capital and deserves the higher significance.”

Franklin D. Roosevelt said this:

They who seek to establish systems of government based on the regimentation of all human beings by a handful of individual rulers . . . call this a new order. It is not new and it is not order.”

This is one of mine:

“The GST burdens the poor and those with the least capacity to pay. It discriminates against the poor and the pensioners who are living a hand-to-mouth existence and spending the bulk of their income on the necessities of life—food, clothing, rent, heating, power etc”.

Before addressing the issue of Social Engineering I should say exactly what I think a Government should be regardless of its ideology.

Good government is about making and implementing decisions that serve the common good. That give security to the people it governs. Follows the rule of law and is truthful about its intentions. When making decisions it must be responsive to the will of the people. It should allow its citizens to be participatory in the function of government. It should be inclusive, equitable and supportive of the people’s right to know. By equity I mean the people have a right to a fair reward for the fruits of their labour. And above all it should be answerable to the people.

What is ‘Social (political) Engineering?’

Social Engineering is when a political party seeks to use selective deceptive, manipulative and insidious psychological techniques to influence and bring about a change in the attitudes of masses of people to its point of view.

Now let’s get to the crux of the matter. You cannot possibly believe in democracy if you believe that your party is the only one who should win. Therefore, any party who wins an election is entitled to govern.

My problem with the Abbott Government is that it has embarked on a programme that is ideologically targeted at changing the way we think. This is social engineering.

Tony Abbott, for six years in Opposition created a negative image of our nation. He has never had a positive word to say about his country. He uses simplistic slogans to talk about complex problems and in doing so suggests he has answers when he doesn’t. He has spread negativity like rust throughout the community. This is because he sees a need to promote a sense of crisis, an Armageddon about everything. Everything is wrong and he is the only one who can fix it. There is a budget crisis when none exists. There is a debt crisis (while adding to it) when none exists. There is a crisis about the cost of living when Australians have never had it better. It’s a deliberate tactic of social engineering. Create an illusion of disaster and people will believe the perception is in fact a reality. And of course keep on doing it when you attain government.

Another form of social engineering is making the people feel threatened. Tell them that the poor souls seeking asylum are below humanity, demonise them so that the people hate them. Take away all their rights and appeal to the base instincts of ordinary people and the racists. Apply a code of conduct and treat them like animals. Even take away the basic human right of association. Tell the people the absurd lie that their borders are under threat. And keep repeating the same slogans in government. Perpetuate the lie that you have stopped the boats when in all probability it was the other party’s policies that were responsible. It’s called social engineering.

The conservative Abbott Government has taken away from middle and low income earners, the School bonus and a superannuation discount to low income earners, mainly women. In addition they have blocked a pay rise to low income Child Care Workers. The annual small lump sum to pensioners to pay for unexpected bills was also abolished. And when the commission of audit reports I should think the assault on the middle and lower income earners will be on in earnest. The abandonment of all these benefits in the name of austerity is a smoke screen. It is taking from one group to give to another. The Paid Parental Leave Scheme comes to mind. Also the 15% tax rebate for the highest wage earners. This is not equity, it is social engineering. If the budget truly demands cuts, they should be equitable.

When a Government seeks to backtrack on election promises like the Gonski reforms and reimpose its own elitist inequitable policy with not the slightest thought for those who can least afford a better education: it is practising social engineering.

When it deliberately downgrades a policy like the NDIS on the basis of unaffordability but at the same time gives tax breaks to the wealthy industrialists including the richest women in the world: it is applying social engineering.

This Government came to office saying they were adult and trustworthy. That there would be no surprises. Yet what we have seen is an attack on the less well-off. It is making it very clear that there are untouchable cohorts and there are those that will have to support the untouchables.

The refusal to pay a miserly pay increase to Child Care Workers was an attack on Unionism. Taking money from aged care workers by dumping the Workforce Compact which provided a $1.2 billion fund to give aged care workers a much-needed 1% pay rise is another example.

The very premeditated, deliberate government induced exodus of GMH is not just the expulsion of the car industry but also a government attempt to rid the country of unions. There will be no government assistance for companies with union shops. It’s called social engineering.

If there were just a few instances of stamping a Governments ideological philosophy on the community you would say, fair enough. But there is a have, have-not form of serfdom running through this government’s work. They came to government without any policies and are more intent on destroying Labor’s legacy than governing for the common good.

We now have a Prime Minister for undoing, not for doing.

It seems the Abbott Government is attempting to socially engineer the minds of people. Nowhere is this more evident than its willingness to downgrade education and in particular, science. Any pretext to the scientific understanding of environmental impacts has been thrown out the window to appease the sponge of capitalism. We have seen in the past few days the reversal of Australia’s ocean reserves. A policy hailed throughout the world. God only knows what they intend for the Murray Darling.

To belittle science in order to create doubt in the community is social engineering of the very worst kind. And to suggest that excellent learning should only be available to the well-off is yet another example of social engineering.

In the area of communications we have a concerted attempt to eliminate the reasoned voice of opposing views. The dual attack on the ABC by the Murdoch Empire is an attempt to stifle debate. When a government condemns a perceived bias of one outlet without acknowledging the bias of another it is practicing social engineering

And when it appoints a person like Tim Wilson from the right wing think tank, IPA to the position of Australian Human Rights Commissioner at $330,000 a year (an institution that he and the IPA advocate eliminating) they are saying loud and clear that they are intent on telling you how to think. It’s called social engineering.

On his appointment he tweets this.

@Stimwilsoncomau: “To those who have welcomed my appointment, I give thanks. To those that have not, I welcome the chance to defend your free speech.”

Lying of course is the Social Engineers most effective tool. Throughout his career Tony Abbott has used this tool most effectively. He admits it and the people accept it but its effectiveness is in its persistency and continuity. Abbott has reached a stage in his Social Engineering where he is convincing people that truth is what he convinces us to believe rather than truth based on fact.

Here is an example:

“Let’s be under no illusion. The carbon tax was socialism masquerading as environmentalism”.

The statement has no basis in fact.

Another tool of Social Engineering is secrecy and the Abbott Government has displayed a propensity for it. It’s called lying by omission.

We also see Social Engineering in policy and decision making. Here are a few: T

– The broken promise on the NBN will effectively mean that those who can afford it will become information rich and those who cannot will remain information poor.

= Done deals with every state and territory government to gut and downgrade national environment laws by giving approval powers to state premiers further erodes the public’s capacity to disagree. It removes the community’s right to challenge decisions where the government has ignored expert advice. By removing funding to the Alcohol and Other Drugs Council of Australia it has taken away the participatory role of the people in government.

– By challenging the ACT Marriage Equality laws in the High Court it has ensured the ongoing discrimination against same-sex couples despite the vast majority agreeing with the proposition. By moving to repeal protections in the Racial Discrimination Act it is flaunting public opinion. By scrapping the Advisory Panel on Positive Aging, established to help address the challenges we will face in coming years as the number of older Australians grows it has taken away the voice of the people. And in abolishing the Climate Commission it has sought to silence science.

All of these things contribute to how we think act and feel. By manipulating society into thinking that the entire realm and ownership of knowledge is found in one ideology, one individual or cohort of individuals is a form of Social Engineering.

Collectively I believe these four pieces make a solid case that Abbott in Opposition and in Government is embarking on a course of Social Engineering. A course of inequality, of privilege and serfdom. Of manipulating society into believing that if the rich become richer their lot will advance at the same rate.

I remember Peter Costello being asked at the end of his tenure as Treasurer about the widening gap between the haves and the have-nots. His answer was to say “but at least the poor have not become poorer.”

I will leave you to ponder that.

PS. And I didn’t even mention the malevolent treatment of women. Yet another example of Social Engineering.

Look who’s talking

Thanks to the Facebook group Keep Social Democracy in Australia I have borrowed the above photo.

Tony Abbott, by the looks of it, wore an ear piece during his interview with Leigh Sales on the 7:30 Report on Wednesday night.

Why? Does he have to be told what to say? Can’t he think or speak for himself?

As reported widely in the social media (where else?), Tony Abbott can’t turn up to any interview these days without the famous ear piece.

And those persistent coughs during the interview with Sales (which you may well have noticed). Were they an alert – as someone on Facebook suggested – to tell the ‘listener’  . . . “Help me on this one”.

You’ve got to wonder.

There’s something in those numbers

The social media has been a frenzy of activity over the last week as people voice their disgust at the grubby antics of the Murdoch media. The Murdoch media has not only come under fire for its gutter journalism and personal attacks on Kevin Rudd, but for its ‘go soft’ approach on Tony Abbott. If only they could hold Abbott to account. And if only they could ask Abbott the questions that we of the social media would like the opportunity to do.

It’s fitting, nay deserved, that the daily sales of Murdoch’s newspapers continue to plummet. At the same time, independent media sites and blog sites continue to grow. It’s a clear message that many people seek an alternative to the traditional media. We of the new media, sadly, at this stage cannot provide news. We lack the resources in both money and personnel. But we can provide opinion – an alternate opinion – and one that represents how many people feel. You won’t find this in the Murdoch media, where only one opinion counts: Rupert’s.

The sites I am associated with, Café Whispers (CW) and the Australian Independent Media Network (The AIMN) have enjoyed record months. The AIMN recorded a huge 24,000 visitors in one day earlier this week, dwarfing the mere record of 8,700 here at CW. It is significant that these figures were achieved in the wake of Murdoch’s grubby blitzkrieg. It is also clear that people like what our authors are delivering.

I think it is safe to assume that the combined readership of the independent blogs could nationally outnumber the readership of a major city newspaper. They would easily outnumber the listeners of say, Alan Jones.

One could argue that the same people read all the individual blogs, but my statistics show otherwise. The statistics record the number of visitors to our sites and where they have visited, or ‘clicked’ from. Very rarely will they come from similar sites, suggesting that each blog, to a large extent, has its own distinct group of loyal readers.

On both CW and The AIMN the percentage of visitors from similar blogs is very small. Facebook, Twitter and Google provide 95% of our visitors while the remaining 5% is made up of a dozen or so from other blogs or media outlets.

There’s something in those numbers.

For once I agree with Andrew Bolt

My dislike of Andrew Bolt is well known, but it doesn’t mean to say that I shake my fists in disagreement at every word he mutters. Of course, most of the times I do. In my opinion most of what he comes up with is inspired by his tainted hatred of all things of the left and all that they stand for. His views on climate change and his continual mocking of those who stand by it are a case in point. So too are his opinions on Aboriginal issues. I disagree with his views and I would argue that they are based on ignorance, with a sprinkle of ‘hate for the left’ thrown in for good measure.

I find that he hardly writes about anything without resorting to his legendary ‘left bashing’.

I was directed to an article he wrote today titled Will Kevin Rudd be likewise asked to denounce this disgusting abuse? and whilst he grasped every opportunity to have a go at the left I feel his criticism of it was valid. The article is produced in full below.

Some crank carries a sexist sign at a rally against the carbon tax. Journalists and Labor turn on Tony Abbott.

A restaurateur creates a sexist menu for the private amusement of his son. Journalists and Labor turn on Tony Abbott.

A broadcaster at a private dinner makes a nasty crack (for which he apologises) about Julia Gillard’s father dying of shame. Journalists and Labor turn on Tony Abbott.

Anonymous trolls post abuse on the Facebook site of a Muslim Labor MP. Journalists and Labor demand a response from Tony Abbott.

The rank attempts to smear-by-association are offensive enough. Just as telling, though, is the hypocrisy of so many of the Left who hyperventilate over the insults of trolls when aimed at Labor, but cheer and book seats for even worse insults by prominent people when aimed at Abbott:

STAND-UP comedian Josh Thomas has been criticised after making sexually explicit remarks about Tony Abbott’s mother.

The TV star courted controversy after he publicly tweeted to the Opposition Leader’s official account: ”Stop the boats? I would prefer it if you stopped YO MOMMA from comin’ round my place at night for sex. #Political”.

Thomas’ comments were yesterday broadcast to his more than 220,000 followers.

Should Kevin Rudd apologise for creating this climate of hate?

Should Rudd, Gillard and Labor generally denounce and distance themselves from this small sample of the vitriol hurled at Abbott and his family – and not just from the usual anonymous Internet trolls, but from ABC guests, ABC guest presenters, former Fairfax columnists and assorted others of the Left, so sure of their superior morality that they feel licensed to be more cruel and vicious than anyone they denounce:


And then there’s the utterly vile abuse from Labor speechwriter Bob Ellis, who deserves to be sued again by Abbott as he was before.

The hypocrisy is as sickening as the hatred.


The hypocrisy of the Left…

The ABC says it is deciding whether to allow Piers Akerman to return as an Insiders’ panelist after he (correctly) noted Canberra press gallery journalists had some time ago discussed false rumors about the sexuality of Julia Gillard’s boyfriend.

But it is happy to keep employing as an on-screen book reviewer Marieke Hardy, who wrote one of the above tweets and published something far more evil:

Marieke Hardy… is hired by the ABC’s First Tuesday Book Club as an expert in literary culture.

That alone tells us so much about the parallel decline of both our branch of that culture and the ABC itself. Here, for instance, is Hardy’s tweet on the Opposition Leader at his campaign launch:

“The most conservative instinct of all – the instinct to have a family’. Tony Abbott, I hope your cock drops off and falls down a plughole.

This now passes for sophisticated discourse among our fashionably educated barbarians. And so do these readers comments on her blog which Hardy to this day has refused to remove, despite being repeatedly reminded she should do so (the deletion of expletives is mine):

Lawrie said…
You mean you were within 5 metres of [then Opposition Leader Brendan] Nelson and you didn’t glass the c..t?You dropped the ball Fits…

Margi said…
I agree with Lawrie. You should have “glassed the c..t” Nelson. You should have taken a piece of glass and torn his face to shreds, only leaving trails of bloody skin dripping from his ugly face and then you should have glassed his ass and balls so much, you castrate him so he could never procreate with his wife. Furthermore, glass the c..t wife and their children, while you’re at it, because they don’t deserve to procreate and have any children themselves, those blood-sucking Liberal c..ts!


The hypocrisy. And with it the viciousness – endorsed by the political party which caters most to a tribalism which strips the “enemy” of their humanity:

When Howard was PM, Lindsay McDougall, of the band Frenzal Rhomb, got musicians to contribute to Rock Against Howard, a CD that included tracks such as John Howard is a Filthy Slut and Gun Him Down.

H-Block 101 sung this advice on handling such politicians:

F…ing c…, here’s a stunt.Kick him ‘til he’s dead.

Now guess who endorsed this muck?

Answer: Labor’s national president and a former premier, Carmen Lawrence, sent McDougall a warm note, declaring “It’s time to put an end to (Howard’s) regime of fear.” Greens leader Bob Brown also blessed the project, telling these barbarians how “mean, nasty and repressive” Howard was instead.

Even Peter Garrett, now Education Minister, said the CD was a “good idea”.

If I must be critical of his argument, it is his own absence of condemnation against the equally disgusting performances of those from his own side of politics.

But that’s not my point. It has long been the belief in the Fifth Estate that the ‘nastiest’ types generally dwell on the ‘right’ side of politics. I strongly believe this too and am one of the first to condemn the questionable behaviour that has become their trademark.

It is they who have set the bar of decency low. Whilst I don’t believe Andrew has made any attempt to recognise this, let alone condemn their behaviour, he has made it clear that he does not accept similar behaviour from the left.

Neither do I. I expect better from us. I don’t from them.

What’s not in the news

It’s a pity that the best stories never make it into the mainstream media. Without social media we would never read those stories: stories written by ordinary people, instead of less-than-ordinary journalists. It’s the same with opinions. Our MSM certainly is opinionated and nobody else’s opinion is worth sharing.

I devote this post to a handful of stories and opinions shared on my Facebook pages. They represent what’s being talked about in social media and offer a stark contrast to what we read in the MSM. People out there are asking questions and they are questions that the MSM don’t want answered. Read the few I’ve selected, then give me your thoughts.

From Dave H:

Hi Guys. I’ve got NBN on in Kiama. As well as being super fast and cheap, there’s another advantage with NBN. This is the disconnection of the old Telstra copper phone line, and with it the line rental charge each month is dropped. So even before getting NBN, I’ve saved $30 each month. I now use a VOIP phone as my home phone. (Monthly phone bills are usually around $10 – another saving). As far as NBN charge goes, I`m on a $40 a month plan and get 25000 speed with a download limit of 50GB. In saying that, I’m considering changing over to the 100,000 speed with a download limit of 75GB. This deal is only $50 a month.

So just to summarise and compare. I used to pay $30 a month phone line rental, $68 a month for ADSL2 with 12GB limit and around a $100 per month phone bill. Total approx $200 each month. Now I pay $0 for line rental, $40 a month for superfast NBN and around $10 a month for phone/ VOIP calls. A total of approx $50 a month. SO NBN HAS SAVED ME AROUND $150 EACH MONTH.

From Gerard T:

The quality of our communications infrastructure, and our business, diplomatic, and defence relationships with China will have vastly more influence on the lives of average Australians than 66 asylum seekers. So I ask the question: Why does a refugee boat arrival hold more weight with the MSM?

From Barbara L:

So poor Bob Carr is in trouble with Julie Bishop for slagging off at Thatcher . . . who cares. Thatcher insulted Carr and his Malaysian wife many years ago, running down Asian migrants to Carr while his Malaysian wife was standing within earshot . . . I don’t blame Carr for not wanting to be nice about Thatcher.

From Ellie C:

What a great synopsis of the heart of the matter of media bias and its power in this country. The left no longer has a voice. If it does, it is scarcely a whisper. It has nothing to do with free speech but has everything to do with power and influence.

Another from Barbara L:

re Julia’s Community Cabinet meeting in WA last night . . . no mention in the MSM today about how well it all went for Julia and her new Ministers . . . there was no real drama . . . no screaming abuse at Julia . . . nothing . . . so I guess they felt there was nothing to report.

From John L:

Main stream media further dumbs us down (and by implication itself) by never addressing either the character of the opposition leader or his plans for the future of Australia. For example will we ever see a headline “Time to put up Tony”.

From M:

It’s scary that the media are not doing their job. Many journalist friends have expressed the same concerns; they don’t feel as though they are traditional journalists anymore, they are simply writing what the powerful want them to write. The real turning point for me came after Mark Scott’s treatment of John Faine recently. That was fucking pathetic. Faine was doing his job and Scott publicly chastised him.

And finally, another one from John L:

Tony Abbott takes his Catholicism seriously. His past spontaneous outbursts about his daughters virginity, his fear of homosexuality, his opposition to abortion, his veto (as Health Minister) of the RU486 drug, his views on euthanasia, his opposition to same-sex marriage and stem cell research all give confirmation to a dogma more attune to Rome than the changing moral landscape of Australia.

Over to you.

Open forum: is social media starting to bite?

Let’s face it, over the last two and a half years the mainstream media (MSM) have waged a relentless attack on Julia Gillard and the Labor Government whilst giving Tony Abbott and his band of buffoons a free run at every turn. Tony Abbott holds a press conference and walks away from questions so the MSM condemn the Prime Minister for wearing glasses. The Prime Minister talks about policy yet the MSM report on the ‘poor’ timing of her election call. The Prime Minister talks about important issues facing the country but the Canberra Press Gallery decide they are not worth distributing to their readership. They decide that people want to hear about Craig Thomson or where the PM’s boyfriend parked his car at the cricket five weeks ago.

The PM announces the resignation of two Ministers so the media claim they are deserting a sinking ship. And they allow the Opposition to make the same call, without bothering to inform their loyal readers that the Opposition are losing nine members after this year’s election.

I could go on, but you get my drift.

But have you noticed, that despite all of this one-sided media loyalty and sub-standard journalism that the Opposition is losing ground in the polls? Why is this so? With the daily promotion of Tony Abbott and the daily condemnation of Julia Gillard you’d expect the gap to widen. And no matter how shrill, pathetic and biased the MSM behave, they’re not turning it around.

Have you noticed too, that the counter attack on social media has been just as aggressive? Facebook, Twitter, blogs and podcasts have become the haven for left-wing voices and opinions and the fact that Labor is creeping up the polls might suggest that they are now beginning to have an influence. Their reach is enormous. Is it possible that collectively they now have a bigger audience than the MSM? As more and more people engage in social media is it possible that they are now realising the MSM has been conning them? Are they finding that social media offers something refreshing: the truth?

What do you think?


Oakes and anyone

In today’s National Times, Laurie Oakes begins his argument with a lament suggesting that he wants to be optimistic about the future of journalism, but is not as optimistic as he would like to be. A reasonable statement? Probably. But then neither are the public approaching anything resembling optimism, given the standard of journalism which presently prevails.

Oakes sets the scene:

For 111 years Australia’s federal politicians and members of the Federal Parliamentary Press Gallery have been matching wits. The politicians have used every trick they know to try to control what the journalists report and how they report it. Gallery members have used every trick they know to get behind the spin and try to dig out things the politicians want to keep hidden.

Photo: The Australian

Photo: The Australian

Ah the noble vocation of journalism. It was so very straightforward in those days according to Oakes; a battle of noble minds (journalists) versus those duplicitous politicians.

One might consider that via today’s current batch of media journalists, that there has been a role reversal:

The politicians journalists have used every trick they know to try to control what the journalists report is reported and how they report it.

Oakes then continues to lay the blame for this “decline” squarely at the foot of the “new” communications technology.

Oakes argues that by “making new communications technology easily and cheaply available to anyone (that) the press gallery’s role seems set to decline, which obviously has implications for the health of our political system”. Oh really?

If one looks at this opinion, the implication is that by making communications technology available to “anyone”, that the aforementioned “anyones” will, as a natural consequence result in a decline in standards. The involvement of these “anyones” has previously been lamented by professional journalists. Is it that only those directly employed by a major newspaper or who gets behind a microphone, or in front of a television camera has a valid opinion? Is an “anyone” aka “a nobody”, aka an ordinary citizen not permitted to voice an opinion; not have an opinion worthy of note?

One need to look no further than Letters to the Editor, and especially those in the Murdoch press, or attempt to have an opinion published on a Murdoch blog for it to become obvious that not just “anyone” and especially those with a contra opinion, is permitted to voice that opinion.

Oakes chooses to use Kevin Rudd as an example of pollie-power:

Rudd, he pointed out, can be sensitive about his privacy – and had the means to retaliate, if he wanted to, by publishing information that would breach the privacy of the journalist.

There’s no suggestion the former prime minister would do that. But the point is he could.

Oakes appears to be suggesting that not only are journalists now being placed in a position where they are subject to scrutiny courtesy of communication technology, but that politicians “might” also use this form of media to retaliate.

With 1.1 million Twitter, 75,000 Facebook friends, and his own YouTube channel, Rudd can get information to a substantial audience without having to rely on journalists or media organisations.

As a conclusion, Oakes provides the reason..

…to avoid the so-called gatekeepers in the press gallery and elsewhere and present their message directly to voters.

And the solution..

Rudd might be the master – the most advanced and media savvy – but any MP can do the same thing, and gradually they’re getting into it.

If there is a solution where is the problem? Oakes’ suggestion is that the “internet era” is set to cause a decline in journalism by “fragmenting the media” and as a consequence has “obvious implications” “for the health of our political system”. The logic of this argument escapes me. Surely if, for example Kevin Rudd has 75,000 Facebook friends that this equates with direct communication, communication which is able to be assessed on merit thereby enhancing the democratic process.

But yes Laurie, the days where journalists were the gatekeepers are numbered.