Cartoon: By Pickering. (We take this opportunity to welcome Pickering back from retirement. He was Australia’s foremost political cartoonist until his retirement in the 80s. Possibly his absence for a generation could be the reason politics has gone to the dogs here.)
Australia’s media has come under the most sustained government attack in living memory. As the current government has blundered form one disaster to another the press have understandably reported on their antics, which has been interpreted by Gillard as an attempt at ‘regime change’ especially by News Limited. The Greens are even more demanding on this issue as they resent their policies being held up to the light since they gained the balance of power.
As result the Communications Minister, Steven Conroy has ordered an inquiry, which will among other things, ‘consider’ replacing the current press council with a government regulator. Conroy would not rule out licensing newspapers the way it is done in dictatorships, while the greens are mooting journalists licenses. This, it has been explained, is to ensure they act “in the public interest.”
Generally, a politician’s idea of the public interest is his own interest, projected into a collectivist setting.
Now Professor Robert Manne, is demanding that newspapers stop publishing the opinions of what he calls “average Australians:”
Professor Manne says they should report only the views of a "core" of experts in key debates.It sounds like the good professor feels it is in the ‘public interest’ to ensure that only one side of the issue is heard. We are meanwhile; all entitled to express our opinions as long as only those Manne agrees with are published.
At a book-signing in Sydney last night, he also urged the media to embrace greater contributions from controversial left-wing commentators such as US linguistics professor Noam Chomsky and Beirut-based commentator Robert Fisk.
Professor Manne is facing fierce criticism over his recently published Quarterly Essay, Bad News, in which he alleges that The Australian plays an "overbearing" and "unhealthy" role in national debates by publishing fringe views on controversial topics.
Professor Manne, who described climate change as the most serious threat facing the planet, has said only experts within the "core" of the scientific consensus should be heard. …
The expert opinion on this blog, developed from within the core of our scientific consensus, is that Manne is an arrogant, elitist, dictatorial, intellectual snob.