Tuesday, July 15, 2008

I find The Age's relatively frequent topical issue "campaigns" frustrating. I don't quite know why - even though the issues generally seem solid and meaningful, maybe the agenda-pushing veers towards some kind of left-leaning version of the Herald-Sun's bonkers lobbying. Although since it's the Herald-Sun being read in ministerial offices, it's the Herald-Sun that wields the power.

Take the current campaign to bring back conductors, which follows an Age commissioned report into the economic viability of bringing conductors back ("it would save money!"). On page 3 of today's paper we have a little article suggesting that "Sydney hails Connies", the implication being that the City of Sin's crumbling state transport system has backed The Age's push for "connies" to return (a dubious honour in any case). In fact, the private operator of their sole tramline supports the use of conductors. Not the same thing.

This is followed by an opinion piece from a freelance writer, Louisa Deasey, whimsically arguing for the cultural importance of conductors. We read that "...the safety of society depends on respect and reciprical devotion. The conductors on our trams were a beautiful symbol of this respect". OK, doesn't quite accord with my own memories - while I don't generally support people's livelihoods being replaced by robots, let's be honest here. While some "connies" may indeed have been "gentle stand-by guardians", just as many were kinda grumpy.

Even though The Age's lobbying generally does reflect my own world-view, there's still something unsavoury about spinning facts to support a cause. And with five separate articles this month so far pushing the Connie-return cause, you've gotta question the editorial decision to inflate an issue with zero momentum (would be one thing if this was an issue of human rights or something, but this is essentially an issue of nostalgia). The danger of this process, as the symbiotic relationship between the Herald-Sun and the Government demonstrates, is that flawed policy decisions end up getting made not even to satisfy the populace, but to satisfy an artificially inflamed editorial agenda.

1 comment:

Kold_Kadavr_flatliner said...

God bless you, friend, and may the Creator of the Cosmos bestow upon you discernment and wisdom this CHRIST-mass season.