The National Forum   Donate   Your Account   On Line Opinion   Forum   Blogs   Polling   About   
The Forum - On Line Opinion's article discussion area



Syndicate
RSS/XML


RSS 2.0

Main Articles General

Sign In      Register

The Forum > Article Comments > The debasement of public debate > Comments

The debasement of public debate : Comments

By Ken Macnab, published 24/8/2011

There is an obligation on all involved in the public debate to moderate their language, to desist from exaggeration and to disavow symbolic or real physical violence.

  1. Pages:
  2. Page 1
  3. 2
  4. 3
  5. 4
  6. 5
  7. 6
  8. All
Richard Glover, wants people tattooed and staked out at sea to die in the rising tide (or rising hysteria) is good. This is evidently not encouraging vitriol or calling other Australians enemies who must be identified and dealt with. Jill Singer wants "deniers" locked in a sealed room with only CO2 to breath, is good.

These are both examples of hate speech, in my opinion.

Alan Jones, bad, doesn't matter what he says, he gets popular support, which is just not allowed, hate speech or not.

In summary, free speech should only be for people who agree with the author, and those who disagree must be demonized.

If some nutter mentions Richard Glover, or the author, should they be silenced? Information, like bias, exists everywhere, do we have to regulate it because of some nutters?

We're more mature than that and can deal with it, without regulation or laws. Who decides what will be printed? Or what someone says?

Do we want a country where freedom of speech is reduced by the little noisy self obsessed over entitled minority who want to call "I am offended, therefore you must be silenced" on everything?

That's why there is a conservative backlash, but even then, you have to call conservatives, "right wingers" to get emotional buy in.

I read a comment on the ABC yesterday, a person was berating anyone who voted conservative, as "red necks".

Vilifying those who disagree, goes both ways, at least conservatives recognize that and do not call for the silencing of anyone who disagrees. (the ABC would have to shut down if that was the case)

I don't listen to Alan Jones, or Richard Glover, but do not require either of them to be silenced .. rational people know the media are attention seekers and derive their income, pay rises and promotions from exaggeration and hyperbole. The truth or skewing of facts is just life, like this article, which is a rant against Alan Jones trying to dress up as being reasonable.

We don't need hand wringing finger pointers demanding regulation.
Posted by Amicus, Wednesday, 24 August 2011 9:14:29 AM
Find out more about this user Recommend this comment for deletion Return to top of page Return to Forum Main Page Copy comment URL to clipboard
I was to some extent going well with the article until it became obvious how heavily biased against "right wing" views it was. No examples of the trail that leads from the expression of left wing views to hatred and harm to those who are the targets of those views when taken to an extreme.

Almost everything is on a continuum, it's easy to join the dot's if you don't like what the other is saying, not so easy if you have a fair bit of agreement with the moderate position but reject the extreme version.

Breivik may have had admiration for conservative figures in Australia but that does not mean that his actions are a rational extension of their views.

Both extremes (and some in the middle) are capable of using whatever tactics they can find to try and intimate opponents into silence or spinning convenient "facts" to misrepresent a situation or an opponents views.

R0bert
Posted by R0bert, Wednesday, 24 August 2011 9:32:10 AM
Find out more about this user Recommend this comment for deletion Return to top of page Return to Forum Main Page Copy comment URL to clipboard
How pleasant to read a piece by Ken McNab again. And I agree with the general thrust of it. But I have three points to make, The first is that the greatest part of the hate and vilification I encounter on the media is in the blogosphere, partly because it is almost uncensorable, and the people using it are mostly anonymous. It is much harder for denouncers to use death threats in the open. As newspaper columnist for much of my life I have had my share of it, always anonymous, and nasty (in the most dramatic case, about my views on abortion, and more recently about climate change).

The second is that public vilification by and of politicians is not new, and I'm not sure it is any more common than it once was, though I have no data. Perhaps it is amplified by the blogosphere, and that makes the difference if there is one.

And to say something already said above, we have a culture of vilification. It is not something shown only by those of a conservative persuasion. It is plain to me that selective reporting, failure to present alternative views or data, and contemptuous dismissals of opposing views, are common across the board, and in all mainstream media, including the ABC. I think that this is a change for Australia, where there was once a more marked separation between what was thought to be 'news' and what was agreed to be 'editorial opinion'.

But I completely agree with Ken that all of us who are engaged in public debate should act in a respectful and restrained manner when we are dealing with those of opposing views. Who knows, we ourselves may very occasionally be wrong...
Posted by Don Aitkin, Wednesday, 24 August 2011 10:28:40 AM
Find out more about this user Recommend this comment for deletion Return to top of page Return to Forum Main Page Copy comment URL to clipboard
In the same "tattoo article" Richard Glover also wrote:

"There's a type of green zealot who appears to relish climate change. Every rise in sea levels is noted excitedly. Every cyclone is applauded and claimed as a noisy, deadly witness for their side.

Suddenly, it's as if they have the planet's assistance in their lifelong campaign to bully everyone else into accepting their view of the perfect world. One without any human beings. Except for them. Living in a cave. Wearing an unwashed T-shirt that not only says ''Support wildlife'' but actually does."

So he was obviously winding up the zealots from both sides. Unfortunately those who rabidly took the bait got sucked in.
Posted by Neutral, Wednesday, 24 August 2011 10:42:42 AM
Find out more about this user Recommend this comment for deletion Return to top of page Return to Forum Main Page Copy comment URL to clipboard
While I have some sympathy for Macnabb's stance, the sort of online villification he is talking about is now a fact of life. People who would be restrained in offering criticism face to face, say the most awful things in emails. Nor is there anything to be "done" about it.

The most important thing is for the recipient not to return the abuse. One approach may be return a polite note thanking them for showing an interest in the subject and attaching some material that they might find of use. This would have to be semi-automated so you can keep on doing it until the abuser gives up. Not sure if it would work, but its the sort of solution our conflict studies guy should be proposing, rather than abusing people for being people.
Posted by Curmudgeon, Wednesday, 24 August 2011 12:01:35 PM
Find out more about this user Recommend this comment for deletion Return to top of page Return to Forum Main Page Copy comment URL to clipboard
Thank you for your article Ken.

I don't agree with you because only undertake the vilification of people who hold and express only conservative views.
I would have lent some weight to your article had you included some reference to the ABC and many of the left wing media.
Your article would have been more comprehensive and held some validity, for me, if you had included some analysis of the one issue that has lead to much of the harshness in public debate. ie the frustration at Labor continually using the tactics of the Hawker-Britton school.

Those tactics of attacking, on various levels, those holding different opinions to the government. Of calling them all sorts of names, subjecting them to ridicule, subjecting them to outright contempt and deliberate campaigns of denigration.

But the worst tactic of all, that of spinning to justify outright lies and the deliberate propagandising of that by media in favour of labor governments.

These tactics lead to great frustration and lead to the incitement of many angry and irrational responses.

Essentially truth in the media is the underlying issue not the name calling and hate. How can anyone be expected to remain completely civil in the face of such uncivil tactics. One cannot debate against these tactic and the attendant media propaganda.

I think your one way so called 'right-wing' abuse and incivility, that you highlight, is essentially a case of 'getting back what you give out'.

Curb that initial abuse and incivility and return to the emphasis on truth and decency in the media, of the Howard years and earlier generations, and much of the current vilification indulged in, in the media, will disappear.

'A fair suck of the sauce bottle' given to all in the media is more an answer to the current chaos, than relying on a stupid and narrow intrepretation and application of the hate legislation.

Regards
Posted by imajulianutter, Wednesday, 24 August 2011 1:56:59 PM
Find out more about this user Recommend this comment for deletion Return to top of page Return to Forum Main Page Copy comment URL to clipboard
  1. Pages:
  2. Page 1
  3. 2
  4. 3
  5. 4
  6. 5
  7. 6
  8. All

About Us :: Search :: Discuss :: Feedback :: Legals :: Privacy