Thursday, 18 February 2010

Murdoch's Townsville Bulletin – bigotry, bile, bad english and incomprehensible bullshit

I have long held that the most influential section of any paper's editorial pages is the cartoon – it is the one bit of any paper that everyone reads and absorbs.

Partly for this reason and partly because too many journos over the years have told me that you don't get to the top of the press food chain (i.e. to be Editor) because of your investigative or writing skill, I make a habit of never reading editorials – the only people who do are other journos and politicians.

But in order to top and tail this earlier post, I had to read yesterday's editorial in Rupert Murdoch's Townsville Bulletin. And what a piece of incoherent racist bile it is! You won't find it online but I have included a scan of it here so that you can judge for yourself (click to enlarge).

Leaving aside the criticisms listed in that earlier post, statements like “indigenous crime in Townsville is out of control” and “ a society we're losing a generation of young Aboriginals, and this is borne out by police statistics on juvenile crime” need to be shown up for the lies and factual nonsense they are:
  • In the five years to 2008/09 arrests of indigenous juveniles for crimes against the person (surely, the most serious crimes) in the Townsville Region (Townsville and Mt Isa Police Districts) rose it is true - by a 14 or a massive 4%. Not exactly out of control, especially when you consider that arrests of white kids for similar crimes rose by 191 or 39%
The Editorial goes on with: “A significant percentage of youth crime in North Queensland is perpetrated by young Aboriginals”.
  • At 37% of all juvenile arrests for crimes against the person in '08/9, this is actually true but there is (as you’d expect) no recognition in the editorial of the fact that this rate has fallen significantly from the 44% it was in '04/05.
Perhaps a more accurate angle for the editorial would have been “Crime by white kids out of control”
The rest of the editorial gets very confused. I’m not sure whether this is intentional, representative of a racist streak or just plain bad writing.
The Editor goes on to segue from youth crime into a diatribe about “mandatory rehabilitation” for young offenders and then on to criticism of the effectiveness of expenditure ”...on rehabilitation services for drunken Aborigines”:
  • mandatory rehabilitation” is of course a oxymoron, a contradiction in terms. Any psychologist (and anyone who battles with giving-up the fags or the grog) will tell you it is simply not possible to rehabilitate someone unless they want to.
  • I’m not sure where they get their “nearly $10 million is spent every year on rehabilitation services for drunken Aborigines” but this is more like the figure spent on homelessness and public intoxication programs in the city – services which of course are targeted to and used by both whitefellas and blackfellas alike. As a matter of contrast I’d love to know how much it costs the public purse to subsidise on the one hand and police on the other Townsville’s drink, drugs and fight area (Flinders St East).
  • You also have got to wonder what any of this has to do with juvenile crime
One final but key criticism of the editorial relates to their assertion that “for reasons that welfare and mental health experts are still trying to establish, there is a generation of young Aboriginals who are at war with the world. They are angry and disenfranchised from mainstream society”:
  • It is true that there many young people (of every colour imaginable) who could be described thus and there are copious amounts of research to show that the one common and by far most significant contributing factor, now and over the ages, is poverty – pure and simple. If young aboriginal people are over represented in this group, then it is for one reason – they are seriously over represented amongst the poor in our society.
  • To correct the editorial’s English and further to this last point – one can’t be disenfranchised from mainstream society, you are disenfranchised BY mainstream society.
I know that the staff at The Bulletin read this blog and I hope they are suitably embarrassed by the diatribe published in their editorial yesterday.
PS:  I’ve included Rupert Murdoch’s name (now three times) here in the hope that his minders will pick up this post in their daily scan of the net to see what is being said about their master and his empire. Perhaps as a result Murdoch will take a look at the editorial quality of his Townsville bull-sheet.

Alternatively, you could email him directly here:


Anonymous said...

Thank heavens for the bloggers that can articulate through their responses, the thoughts and feelings of many people from the Indigenous community that are consumed by anger and disbelief at the blatant racist opinions of not only the editor, but other S4B readers that contribute uneducated opinions to the local ‘trash rag’ .

Yesterday’s editorial is a very good example of what the narrow-mindedness of one individual who is in a position that allows him to spread his word as if it’s ‘gospel truth’ can do to feed the racist beliefs of an already intolerant society…

Unlike my dear bloggers, I also read the ‘text the editor’ section, usually to amuse myself with the utter garbage (again, normally racist sentiments of other redneck readers which never ceases to amaze me) that the Bulletin allows to be printed in this section. This ‘trash rag’ fosters segregation in this community as far as I am concerned and I am so glad that someone has the guts to take them on…

To the bloggers that print our thoughts I say, thank you … we love having you in our corner

Anonymous said...

This is pretty ordinary to say the least in terms of journalism, but as mentioned at the end of the day it’s all about selling papers regardless of misguided information/stats etc. The clear line reeks of identifying and segregation of indigenous within the community.

As a male indigenous man I’m not about to ignore what is happen with young and older indigenous people and the problems they cause in the communities, but it must be said if statistic are being used to identified on going problems then it should be used right across the board for blacks and whites.

Keep up the good work some times you roll your eyes at what gets written in the TSV bulletin however it makes it so hard to ignore when the editors involved and accountability must be taken.

Anonymous said...

Good to see that the Murdock media are being shown for what they are a weak and lame media that feeds on sensation and has no true invest in there community but he proift line.