Post-truth was out there, but the electorate ignored it
Did the near-universal opposition to Trump convince people to vote for him? CHRIS KENNY reflects
Donald Trump, say the progressive media commentators, has been elevated on the back of post-truth politics. They couldn’t be more right, or more wrong.
The liberal media, smug about its own world view, sees Trump’s victory as evidence voters ignored the truth it presented. Silly voters; the media is never wrong.
It believes voters fell for Trump’s post-truth over the media’s truth. The self-delusion is staggering.
On our shores, the Guardian Australia’s Katharine Murphy put it this way: “We’ve been drifting, in increments, in the direction of post-truth, but the election of Trump is a headfirst pitch over the cliff. A person with manifest disdain for facts and evidence now occupies the White House because half the country didn’t care.”
As Murphy would have it, the media “did its job” trying to expose a “manifestly unqualified and potentially dangerous” candidate. Murphy discounted the “post-truth partisan hackery of Fox News” because she says it isn’t journalism.
The point that set Fox’s coverage apart from the media Murphy defends is that it got the story right, portraying Trump as a plausible contender. Fox also was, as ever, upfront about its own right-of-centre perspective. Viewers can take it or leave it, but there is no pretence.
The overwhelming majority of left-of-centre journalists and media organisations portray themselves as objective, “independent” or centrist. In doing so, they take their audiences for fools and break the nexus of trust at the first hurdle. Truth, and its absence, is a powerful factor in current discourse. No political group or individual is blameless but the progressive media doesn’t care to examine its own deceptions.
Perhaps the dishonesty of the PC brigade helps to drive voters to people such as Trump, Pauline Hanson and the Brexiteers, despite misgivings. When you are being corralled in a certain direction by a jaundiced and sanctimonious political/media class consensus, why not rebel against it?
Remember, I say this as someone who opposed Trump and argued US voters would be unwise to abstain because they needed to pinch their noses and vote for Hillary Clinton to stop him.
By calling out the cosy establishment of politicians, media and lobbyists, and raising real grievances they ruled off-limits, he was a compelling figure.
There is much more to be analysed about Trump’s win — particularly economic factors and swing state campaigning — but this post-truth aspect is fascinating because we see loud echoes of it in our own politics.
The political/media class, exemplified by our taxpayer-funded media but strongly reflected in most political coverage, skews the news and opinion it produces on major issues. This underestimates the intelligence of the public, who surely resent being patronised.
Journalists and left-of-centre politicians (including Coalition moderates) can get caught up in self-referential circles, affirming their version of reality. Voters crash the party at elections or, if the politicians are lucky, by voicing their concerns beforehand.
Julia Gillard’s misogyny speech, carbon tax and live cattle export ban were illustrative examples, as was the NSW Baird government’s recent greyhound racing ban — they were cheered by the Left and media but recognised as madness by the public.
This week Immigration Minister Peter Dutton spoke harsh truths about the Islamic extremists who have emerged from our Lebanese Muslim community, and the reaction from the green-Left and progressive media was classically post-truth.
The message Bill Shorten accused Dutton of promulgating was the polar opposite of what the minister enunciated. Dutton said the majority of Lebanese Muslims who have “done the right thing by this country” should not be “defined by those people who have done the wrong thing” but the Opposition Leader accused him of the “wholesale labelling of entire communities for the actions of a tiny minority”.
Shorten’s critique was fallacious but most media did not pin him. Before long the Guardian Australia was calling Dutton’s comments “incendiary” and Fairfax Media was running “Dutton race row” headlines and calls for his resignation.
As for the well-established facts about Lebanese Muslims arrested in terror operations and broader, extensively analysed problems of welfare dependency, crime and poor integration, the more outraged the media outlets, the less interested they were in such matters. Greens senator Nick McKim captured the zeitgeist. “Undoubtedly the advice he’s got is accurate but just because something is fact doesn’t mean that it’s reasonable or productive to talk about it,” he told Sky News.
Do these politicians and journalists presume the public (to use Jack Nicholson’s famous line) can’t handle the truth?
Or do they think the public will join a delusional parlour game of political theatre when serious issues of security, immigration and cohesion are at play? Some partisans will, of course, but the crucial, sensible centre is more interested in reality.
This is the real post-truth environment: mainstream voters seeing through the spin and jaundice of an overwhelmingly green-Left political/media class. Just as they have long been sceptical of arguments from big business because of its obvious self-interest, voters discern a politically correct agenda from the establishment, including the media.
Climate change is an area where these pontificators treat the public like mugs. Anyone with a pulse knows the scientific consensus about carbon dioxide emissions and temperature models; the complexity comes in whether actual events match the models, whether remedial action is worthwhile and comparing the range of possible responses and their likely costs and benefits.
Yet the political/media class pretends Australian action — be it a wind farm or a carbon price — equates to an environmental benefit. Does it think the public is not aware we contribute only 1.3 per cent of global emissions?
When the political/media class continually censors such realities, or eliminates them from discussions, to maintain a simplistic and binary discussion, does it think mainstream voters will never discover that China and India continue to massively increase global emissions?
Do the politicians and journalists presume all members of the public want to join their campaign of climate gestures or do they think we are too silly to comprehend that we are being made to pay higher electricity prices to produce a net environmental dividend of next to zero?
These are the same journalists, activists and politicians who went quiet on border protection when it was in chaos under Labor. ABC news bulletins often neglected to report boat arrivals, the Australian Human Rights Commission secretly delayed an inquiry into children in detention and journalists repeated Labor’s mantra that “push factors” were to blame and boats simply could not be turned back.
After the Coalition turned back boats, stopped the people-smuggling and started emptying and closing the detention centres, the AHRC finally began its detention inquiry and the media went back to shrill reports of boat arrivals and claims of mistreatment from asylum-seekers. Instructively, only after the change of government did the ABC construct a web page to log the arrival of every boat; clearly intended to log the Coalition’s failure, it quickly became redundant.
The media/political class can easily convince itself of its ‘‘truthiness” version of reality, and it can have it reinforced constantly by “independent” and social media, but it can’t fool the public. That is the real message of the post-truth age. And the public has the ultimate say through the ballot box. The more they are preached at, especially with incorrect assertions or incomplete arguments, the more they are likely to rebel.
In this respect, Murphy may have been on the money when, in her piece about the media’s efforts to expose Trump, she said: “Our efforts to make things better could be making things worse.”
All power to energy security: Australia could learn from Trump
When US president-elect Donald Trump listed his six top priorities for executive action this week on “day one” of becoming the most powerful man in the world, naturally most attention was grabbed by his very first decision: withdrawing from the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement.
Yet in global terms, and in Australia’s interest, his second priority was just as important.
This was Trump’s pledge to “cancel job-killing restrictions on the production of American energy including shale energy and clean coal, creating many millions of high-paying jobs”.
Energy security was placed above national security.
The jobs of coalminers, the use of low-cost shale deposits for energy and the creation of manufacturing jobs were placed ahead of national security, and the withdrawal from the Obama administration’s commitment to the Paris agreement on climate change didn’t even rate a mention.
There is global agitation about the pragmatism of protecting jobs through energy security, providing energy at a low enough price so people can afford to use it and producing energy when people need it, as well as an imperative to lower carbon emissions. The hidden cost of “intermittency” — the hallmark of wind and solar production — and the danger of blackouts are being recognised.
Australia is fortunate in that, historically, it has had low-cost energy, enormous natural resources, a pristine environment and the benefit of seeing how policy parameters such as the European emissions trading system and subsidised renewable energy programs work in practice.
Trump’s priorities and actions on energy are vital to Australia’s own energy future, economic growth, job creation and climate change actions as precipitous political decisions around the world are distorting energy markets, pushing up costs for industry, driving jobs across borders, exporting manufacturing opportunities and perversely affecting markets and carbon emissions.
There is also a political necessity to continue to get public support for climate change initiatives, although Trump has demonstrated there can be a white-hot anger about ideological climate change policies that don’t recognise the hurt to workers.
In recent weeks in Australia the closure of the Victorian Hazelwood coal-fired power station has been announced with the loss of 750 jobs in the Latrobe Valley, in part because of French government climate change policy; export coal prices have soared; coalmines have reopened; and AGL, one of the biggest domestic gas suppliers, has set aside $17 million for a feasibility study for Australia, the biggest exporter of liquefied natural gas, to import lower-cost LNG from suppliers in the Middle East.
As well, South Australia experienced catastrophic power blackouts, Victoria became a net electricity importer, with the potential for dire shortages or blackouts at times of extreme demand, and the Victorian Labor government introduced a bill this week to extend its existing moratorium on conventional onshore gas exploration to 2020.
The Greens, environmental activists and the ALP are simultaneously building a public campaign for the transition from coal and gas to a mainly renewable energy future that is putting cutting carbon emissions ahead of energy and job security.
It is a challenge for all sides of politics in form and substance.
According to Industry, Innovation and Science Minister Greg Hunt, the Victorian government’s decision to continue to ban onshore natural gas exploration is the final act in laying the foundation for a “manufacturing crisis” with a looming shortfall in natural gas supply because Australia is locked into long-term LNG exports, and Victoria and NSW are banning or effectively banning gas exploration and production.
“It is absolutely clear there is no shortage of gas resources in the ground but there is a shortage of gas supply to homes and industry,” Hunt tells Inquirer. “We have to be honest that the effective closure of new supplies will risk jobs, will risk prices and will risk economic activity.
“The sad part, over and above that, is that potentially we choose higher emissions sources of energy for electricity.”
Whereas Australia is aiming to reform its energy market, upgrade its electricity interchange, boost renewable energy, keep coal and gas as integral parts of energy generation and job creation for decades to come, and meet its international agreements to cut carbon emissions by 26 per cent to 28 per cent on 2005 levels by 2030, Trump is happy to shed global obligations to provide cheap power for the US economy.
He campaigned successfully on creating American jobs and specifically on returning the manufacturing and mining jobs lost in states such as Pennsylvania, which he snatched from Hillary Clinton, sensing the blue-collar fear and reality of job losses because of climate change policies closing mines and raising costs to support renewable energy.
As for Australia, seen as one of the world’s great carbon demons because of its coal production, it does not have the option of dumping carbon polices as Trump intends to do, but neither should Australian governments, state and federal, adopt distorting policies that push costs to domestic and industry users to levels that are punitive, unsustainable and a threat to a cohesive energy supply and security.
Without commenting on any US administration’s domestic policy, Hunt makes the point: “American manufacturing in recent years has become more competitive in significant measure because they have had access to lower-cost gas; it actually brought gas on board. As a matter of economics, if there is more natural gas available in the US, then their manufacturing will be even more competitive.”
In the past 10 years in the US, electricity generation from gas has risen from 18.7 per cent to 32.5 per cent while coal has fallen from 49.5 per cent to 33 per cent. Coal and natural gas are now almost equal as the producers of American electricity. During the same period, renewable electricity energy has grown from 8.8 per cent to 13.8 per cent and nuclear has remained steady at 19.4 per cent.
The real lesson for Australia in the US experience of the role of gas, coal and renewables in this energy-climate change mix is not the increased potential economic threat from Trump’s low-cost powered US industrial base but from Europe.
Although Trump’s first priority involved ensuring the US created American jobs by producing steel and “making cars”, the threat to Australia’s coal exports — which even Bill Shorten admits must go on for decades — is the framing of public opinion and policy development that puts energy security at risk.
Ideologically driven energy decisions in Europe taken years ago provide the example of how Australia should not proceed: unrealistic renewable energy targets, unsustainable renewable energy subsidies, rising electricity prices, precipitously doing away with fossil fuels, politically driven decisions to close nuclear power plants, the export of jobs and, ironically, the start of the failure of carbon emission reduction policies.
In the past two years Germany’s renowned world leader status on renewable energy has started to be tarnished as political decisions to subsidise renewables and to close nuclear power plants, coalmines and coal-fired power plants have resulted in price rises and environmental anomalies.
Rising costs for industry’s power have forced companies to relocate, the government has told renewable energy producers they have to manage without subsidies, coal-fired power stations are being commissioned, brown coal — lignite — mines are being opened and brown “dirty” coal is still a large part of baseload electricity generation.
Paradoxically, as Germany tries to become nuclear free, it is buying nuclear-generated electricity from France and the French are importing cheap lignite-powered electricity from Germany. This makes a mockery of carbon emission and nuclear energy reductions.
France introduced a carbon tax on coal-fired electricity and cut subsidies to coal — in part affecting the Latrobe Valley — as a climate change policy, but higher costs forced the government to cancel the tax within a few months.
As Europe heads into winter, there are predictions of greater demand from Britain and The Netherlands from electricity suppliers, and some of that will be coming from Germany’s “dirty secret” of lignite. Germany is being attacked by industry for higher prices creating job losses and by environmentalists for dropping its specific carbon emission reduction targets for 2050.
Australia has the opportunity to bring a sober, pragmatic but environmentally responsible energy security to bear in the national interest, but at the moment the approach is fractured, ideologically driven and not receiving the priority Trump is prepared to give energy security.
Trump’s Aussie mates: Latham, Dean and Cameron launch new show
Mark Latham, Ross Cameron and Rowan Dean, or “Trump’s Aussie Mates”, have teamed up for a new panel show on Sky News called Outsiders. It is an answer to the ABC’s Insiders program, the embodiment of an out-of-touch, inner-city Leftist class, according to the trio.
Former Labor Party leader, Latham, former Howard government frontbencher, Cameron, and editor of The Spectator magazine, Rowan Dean, hosted a US election-day function called Trump’s Aussie Mates on November 9 in Sydney. High on Donald Trump’s unexpected victory, the three men joined Sky’s Paul Murray Live that night to discuss and celebrate what had just transpired.
“All three of us over the past 12 months were both supportive of Donald Trump and, more importantly, recognised he would win and kept repeating this despite this meaning the opprobrium of every other media commentator basically,” Dean told The Australian. “I was told I was reprehensible as a human being for even countenancing a Donald Trump victory on Lateline.”
Days after the Paul Murray appearance, an agreement was in place for a new show featuring the trio to air on Sunday mornings at 10am, immediately after Barrie Cassidy’s Insiders on the ABC, with the program to debut on December 4.
“It could be close to a record for the fastest conception of a TV network news program,” Cameron said. “It required two conversations and one email and it took less than 24 hours.”
Latham, known for his Trump-like disdain for political correctness, the establishment and bleeding-heart Lefties, claims credit for the idea.
He said Cassidy’s predictions of a Hillary Clinton landslide victory galvanised his belief there was room in the market for a show that gave voice to Australia’s own silent majority.
“It’s like the ‘Opposite day’ episode of Seinfeld,” Latham said. “If you do the opposite of Barrie Cassidy you’ll get it right.”
Latham predicts the program will enjoy unprecedented access to the White House during the Trump presidency.
“When we want to call team Trump, we just called him direct. We don’t need the Shark,” he said in reference to a News Corp report that Australian golfer Greg Norman had put Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull in touch with the president-elect.
One objective for the program is to gain access to a Human Rights Commission conciliation conference, run by president Gillian Triggs, for a complaint lodged under the controversial section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act, Cameron said.
“Our modest goal is to be the highest-rating show on Sky in three weeks,” he said.
Latham said he was proud there was “absolutely no balance whatsoever” on the panel. “There’s no gender balance. We’re all white. We don’t believe in things like gender balance,” he said.
The hosts declined to divulge their thoughts on Turnbull’s handling of the Trump victory thus far. “You’ll have to watch the show,” they said.
So how do they think the Trump presidency will pan out?
Cameron: “Brilliantly. Two terms.”
Dean: “It will be a proper presidency.”
Latham: “We want Trump to abuse the media and for them to abuse him back and we want more lectures from actors … then a Trump landslide in 2020.”
School Indoctrination Just Keeps Getting Worse
First it was the Safe Schools program to indoctrinate our children into the LGBT agenda, then it was Respectful Relationships to teach our children about feminism and male privilege. Now we have a new school program to complete the trifecta of identity and victim politics with the Building Belonging program to enforce racial and cultural diversity. The program has been created by the embattled Australian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) and is aimed at pre-schoolers.
The justification for such a program according to the National Children’s Commissioner Megan Mitchell is apparently early childhood educators have been asked by students about the racial background of another student and half of those questions implied something negative about that race. Rather than an educator just answering these questions and putting it down to the curious nature of children which all parents understand. The AHRC concludes that these questions are asked because children are being racists, probably egged on by their parents. Therefore it requires a government mandated anti-racism program.
This is despite the fact that there are hundreds of multiracial suburbs and schools in our major cities such as Sydney and Melbourne and almost every white child these days has a friend from other race. But determined to paint a negative view of Australia and our children the left have created this program to stop the next generation of racists.
The content of this program includes lessons such as be aware of the difference in appearances of people, not to judge people because of their appearance and to respect diversity and how to respect people’s differences. It would appear from these lessons that the creators are intending to create a sense of difference between students where one might not exist in the first place. Young children might not have really thought about the fact that other students are of different races or cultures, but this program implants the idea of difference in their minds.
Then there is the toolkit for educators and parents, for educators it asks them to teach students to spot alleged racial prejudice and even teaches them to know when their parents are being racist. It also asks them to teach students about the benefits of cultural diversity and learning about other cultures. For parents it encourages them and their children to experience the culture of other races by going to their events and cultural festivals. The creators of the program have also created a list of frequently asked racist questions that children might ask. There is even song which students must sing about the different racial colours in Australia.
The message that these toolkits communicate send is specifically that white students and parents must embrace and experience other cultures as they are perpetuating a racist society. I never knew that multiculturalism must be compulsory, as long as I’m not believing some races are inferior to others it’s none of these educators business what cultural activities I take my child too.
This program is likely to have the opposite effect to what it is intended. The children of today already go to school with children from many different cultures and races therefore it is only natural for them to want to get along and have a good time. But this program has the effect of dividing students into different races and cultures and creating a barrier to student interaction where there shouldn’t be one. By telling mainly white students that the students of colour are radically different people from and you need to be careful when interacting with them could have the effect of creating resentment.
This program is just another facet of the left’s enforcement of identity politics, dividing people into victim groups and creating the concept of privileged classes of people. We are living in arguably the most tolerant times in human history where it is as easy as ever (in the western world at least) to be who you want to be without fear of persecution.
But of course to left everything is racist, sexist, homophobic or bigoted which therefore justifies them trying to remake society in their cultural Marxist image. This is why they have introduced all these programs into schools so they can get children while they are young and indoctrinate them into their worldviews therefore shaping the future direction of society.
Parents need to take a stand and say we will not put up with this, we will not let our children become footsoliders in this culture war you are trying to create. We are not living in some evil white privileged, patriarchal, heteronominative society that justifies you filling our children’s minds with such divisive, confusing and potentially damaging ideas. We know what is best for our children and will not let you use them for your destructive plans to destroy our current society.
Criminologist Paul Wilson jailed over ‘brazen’ child sexual abuse
I can't say I am surprised. He was always an odd one. He was a real pretty boy in his younger days and he became quite the narcissist. He had big pictures of himself in the company of prominent people plastered up all over the walls of his office in the Michie building at UQ
A Queensland criminologist has been jailed for brazen and persistent sexual abuse of a young girl in the 1970s.
Paul Wilson, 75, first assaulted the victim when she was eight at his Brisbane home in Indooroopilly and only stopped when she moved away from the area. Some of the abuse was carried out while other children and an adult were in the house.
Judge Julie Dick sentenced Wilson to 18 months imprisonment suspended after six months. Dick said the offending was persistent, brazen and involved the corruption of a child “of tender years”.
“This was a child, somebody else’s child in the neighbourhood who was visiting,” she said. “You, being an older man, had some authority and power over her. She has suffered this over a long number of years and the trial itself was traumatic for her.”
She accepted the defendant had led an “admirable life” but added: “No one knows what happens behind closed doors.”
Wilson was convicted after a retrial at Brisbane supreme court of four counts of indecent treatment of a child between 1973 and 1976.
Prosecutor Phil McCarthy described him as brazen and manipulative, and said he had used his position of standing in the community to corrupt the young girl. The abuse continues to have a significant effect on the victim, who was “very young and sexually naive” at the time, he said.
Defence barrister Peter Davis, QC, said Wilson, awarded a Medal of the Order of Australia for his contribution to education, had lived a “full, successful, busy and conventional life” as a university professor. He has suffered a “very public fall from grace”, he added.
Posted by John J. Ray (M.A.; Ph.D.). For a daily critique of Leftist activities, see DISSECTING LEFTISM. To keep up with attacks on free speech see Tongue Tied. Also, don't forget your daily roundup of pro-environment but anti-Greenie news and commentary at GREENIE WATCH . Email me here