In this week’s Missing Link Friday: bloggers complain about talkback radio; Andrew Bolt shares a bizarre political fantasy; and, tacked on the end, the usual list of other interesting stuff.
The whole point of talkback radio is to get the audience emotionally engaged. News and information might be the raw material, but if you think people are listening to stay informed, you’re missing the point. As American writer David Foster Wallace observed , it’s an industry "that manages to enjoy the authority and influence of journalism without the stodgy constraints of fairness, objectivity, and responsibility that make trying to tell the truth such a drag for everyone involved."
At the Failed Estate, Mr Denmore is shocked by what talkback has become:
Journalists of my generation were taught that to maintain a broadcasting licence and to meet one’s professional code of ethics, one was expected to observe laws concerning undisclosed paid comment, sub-judice, contempt of court, racial vilification, incitement to riot, defamation and just plain public decency. But apparently no longer.
He suggests boycotting advertisers and pressuring politicians to re-regulate the industry giving "proper teeth to those who police it and to take off air for good those who breach publicly agreed standards."
At Wild Woman-Crazy Crone, tarot reader and astrology aficionado GlitterGoddess blogs about Alan Jones’ recent interview with Prime Minister Julia Gillard . She writes: "The incivility is just unacceptable as is promoting hate as a way of winning the ratings games." She also suggests a boycott.
At Ethical Martini, University of Queensland lecturer Mark Hayes asks his students whether they enjoy being shouted at in the morning. Why then do they insist on listening to commercial radio?
When independent MP Tony Windsor started receiving death threats, he blamed the shock jocks at talkback radio. According to National Times columnist, Peter Hartcher: "The shock jocks are the volunteer sergeant-majors in the ‘people’s revolt’ summoned by the commanding general, Tony Abbott."
The truth is that the vicious nature of what is wrongly represented as public opinion under all sorts of guises (“the talkback radio audience”, “Western Sydney”…) has gone too far, and those like Tony Abbott who stoke it, quite deliberately and with all intent, by – for instance – calling for a “people’s revolt” should be called for that.
Dr Wood Duck says: "The Tony Party appears to have entered the ugly drunk phase."
Martin Ferguson for PM?
The Australian’s Paul Kelly writes that Green’s leader Bob Brown has wedged the Labor Party with his bill for greater territorial democracy: "Half the party is a willing conscript to the Green social agenda while the other half rejects this agenda on grounds of conviction and politics."
The current embrace of Greens policy by the Labor Party makes me wonder whether the events of 1954/55 might recur. Back then, a number of Labor politicians became concerned at what they perceived was the growing influence of the Communist Party on the Labor Party. It led to the formation of the DLP and helped keep Labor in Opposition until Whitlam won in 1972.
Other interesting stuff
Matt Zwolinski has created a blog for academic philosophers who are attracted both to libertarianism and to ideals of social or distributive justice. It’s called Bleeding Heart Libertarians.
Lane Kenworthy argues that America’s political parties have become more divided but that the American public has not.
Vladimir M writes that macroeconomics shows signs of being a: "cargo-cult science: weaving complex and abstruse theories that can be made to predict everything and nothing".
Richard Posner argues that prevention doesn’t always reduce health costs.
At the Monkey Cage, Henry asks: What Drives Anti-Americanism in Muslim Countries?