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John Passant

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January 2016



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My interview Razor Sharp 18 February
Me interviewed by Sharon Firebrace on Razor Sharp on Tuesday 18 February. (0)

My interview Razor Sharp 11 February 2014
Me interviewed by Sharon Firebrace on Razor Sharp this morning. The Royal Commission, car industry and age of entitlement get a lot of the coverage. (0)

Razor Sharp 4 February 2014
Me on 4 February 2014 on Razor Sharp with Sharon Firebrace. (0)

Time for a House Un-Australian Activities Committee?
Tony Abbott thinks the Australian Broadcasting Corporation is Un-Australian. I am looking forward to his government setting up the House Un-Australian Activities Committee. (1)

Make Gina Rinehart work for her dole

Sick kids and paying upfront


Save Medicare

Demonstrate in defence of Medicare at Sydney Town Hall 1 pm Saturday 4 January (0)

Me on Razor Sharp this morning
Me interviewed by Sharon Firebrace this morning for Razor Sharp. It happens every Tuesday. (0)

I am not surprised
I think we are being unfair to this Abbott ‘no surprises’ Government. I am not surprised. (0)

Send Barnaby to Indonesia
It is a pity that Barnaby Joyce, a man of tact, diplomacy, nuance and subtlety, isn’t going to Indonesia to fix things up. I know I am disappointed that Barnaby is missing out on this great opportunity, and I am sure the Indonesians feel the same way. [Sarcasm alert.] (0)



The Canberra Times whitewashes Invasion Day

Up to 500 people attended the Invasion Day Protest in Garema Place in Canberra on 26 January to highlight the genocide then and now against Aboriginal people. There was not one mention, not one photo of the protest in The Canberra Times. Amid the many pages of superficiality in the Canberra Times about the celebration of Australia Day the day after, ‘my’ newspaper saw fit to edit out this part of our history.

Shame, Canberra Times, shame for blacking out this important protest and highlighting yet again the discrimination Indigenous Australia suffers. Its whitewashing will not silence the voices against celebrating genocide and their just demands for a treaty, recognition of sovereignty and paying the rent.

Here is a video by Matthew Rivers of the 500 or so marching around Capitol Hill.

On the other hand, the Canberra Times did run a full two pages on 27 January on the Australia Day ‘celebrations’. It had lost of happy photos of smiling, drinking, barbecuing and swimming going on. It even included an interview with an Australian in Lahore at a secret location drinking beer. What a brave Aussie to celebrate our national day in the traditional way in spite of such adversity! That is the true ANZAC spirit. Or is it the true Australia Day spirit.

Let this reality sink in. The Canberra Times could interview someone in Lahore about Australia Day but couldn’t report on 500 citizens protesting against the Day in Canberra. That should tell us something about the media and in particular about  The Canberra Times. The rest of the two pages, plus the puff piece on the front page, were full of this celebratory rubbish.

The Americanisation of Australia Day – the hoopla, the parties, and the incessant message that we are all in this together – is a product of austerity. The neoliberal  agenda requires an overarching  unifying theme that might make us accept cuts to health, education, transport and public housing, and an increased tax burden through GST ‘reforms’.

Invasion Day protests challenge that agenda. That is part of the reason The Canberra Times airbrushed out of history our protest against celebrating genocide. I also think there is another more self-interested reason. The paid readership of The Canberra Times appears to be in freefall. In the last six months of 2015 it lost 20% of its paid weekday readership (from 25,000 to 20,000).

Clearly the editorial brains trust at The Canberra Times thinks that jingoism sells and that having lured innocent readers into the fly trap the paper wants to keep these new, or perhaps even returning, readers. Running even one story on the protest against Invasion Day might alienate this potential readership, or so management my think.

If we couple this jump to the right of the paper with its cost cutting and what we are witnessing is the degeneration of an occasional irritant in the eye of the Australian ruling class into a tabloid, dumbed down for an audience that it won’t attract and won’t hold.  Luckily there is still social media where there are many many reports challenging the narrative of the ruling class and uncritical lackeys like The Canberra Times.

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