The Age of Unreasoning - Twitter, Crikey, the Left and how Gillard is playing them
Thank you - mostly - for staying on the issues here on this blog. I love your reasoned arguments, the evidence we put out there for all to see and the meaty evidence-based and mostly respectful discussions that take place.
By comparison I have spent bits of the past two days looking at the vapid sloganeering on Twitter.
Before you dismiss it out of hand, Twitter is wholly embraced by the ABC (look at QandA) and other lefty organs. To participate effectively in our society you have to understand social media's role and influence in it.
A Twitter champ, and coincidentally a champion of the left is Bernard Keane. He writes for Crikey and is a regular on ABC radio and conferences. The following people think highly enough of his reasoning (or for other reasons have decided) to enroll to receive each of his twitter messages - Malcolm Turnbull, Tony Abbott, Wayne Swan, Robert Oakeshott, Joe Hockey - most of Canberra's politicians subscribe to him. It's much the same with the Canberra Press Gallery.
After the Jon Faine apology was issued by the ABC, Bernard sent this message to his 20,000 followers and many of them have sent it on (or re-tweeted it) to their X thousand and so on. I know the message is kicking around very actively still on Twitter.
Here's the point. We're headed into a morass where slogans and tribal allegiances have replaced analysis, reading, research and independent action. I'm sure Bernard's bright and capable and I don't want to embarrass him - but the simple question of, "what is the disgusting smear against the PM?' and his reaction over a few days reveals so much about how easily the left is led.
The real reason that the slogan "it's a smear" came so easily to Bernard's Twitter keypad is because it's Gillard's response to the evidence. Her slogan is then picked up without question by barrackers and boosters in the traditional and social media and it's repeated over and over. Over time, even bright people like Bernard start to parrot the slogans without a moment's thought about what the slogan means and pretty soon it becomes the receive wisdom, the root of jokes and the source of barbs to antagonise enemies.
I rang Crikey yesterday to speak with Bernard because I really want to hear his explanation about "the disgusting smear". He hasn't called back and nor has he answered my several efforts on Twitter.
It's a lineball judgement call whether or not to republish some of the stuff that gets produced on Twitter - but given Bernard's reach and influence I thought you might be interested in the only thing that comes close to a response from him to you and me.
Tony Morris QC, Terry O'Connor QC and Peter Faris QC don't turn their minds to the examination of offences disclosed by vacuous smear campaigns. The Victoria Police does not launch an expensive and lengthy investigation - upon which it is now wholly engaged in the case of Ms Gillard and The AWU Scandal - on the basis of smear, innuendo and rumour.
It's tiresome to call the left on these issues, but if we don't point out the intellectual and moral bankruptcy of the slogans, we'll end up with more and more government control on our lives based on 140 character tweets! I'll call it when I see it.