Balance is over-rated

The Australian press and media is stricken with a terrible misunderstanding about its role, and responsibilities. It thinks that each and every view, no matter how stupid or misled, or just plain muddle-headed, needs to receive equal time.

This is wrong, because, in the immortal words of Donald Rumsfeld, there are certain things, which are known, while some are unknown, and some are just unknowable. It is up to the media, as gatekeepers, to make a call, and ignore the unbearably silly offerings of the wrong ones.

Most of what passes for conservatism, and conservative thought in this country, is just wrong. The right wing of the Coalition seem to have trouble grasping certain facets of modern life which are ‘known knowns’.

Global warming is happening, because we all watch weather reports, and we know the difference between climate and weather. Similarly, there is no connection between paedophilia and homosexuality. There is no credible threat to religious freedom in Australia, because most people don’t care about religion. And if they did, I do not know anyone who wants to impose Christianity on Buddhists, or Islam on the St Brigid’s schoolkids. Letting a transgender kid use a particular toilet will not lead to indiscriminate gender-swapping at the next toilet break. And we must remember that marriage equality will not lead to a craze for bestiality.

The massacre at Port Arthur really happened, and so did the moon landing, and vaccines really are beneficial, for you and your children. Most of the politicians and community leaders who think otherwise should be shunned, not necessarily because their opinions are wrong, but because they have the resources to better educate themselves, and yet they wilfully continue to believe in some sort of primitive voodooism, where all change is evil.

So let’s stop letting them onto television and radio. So let us stop presenting the counter-view as if it carried equivalent weight. It does not. Let’s stop electing idiots to Parliament. It is embarrassing. At some point a discerning public has to draw a line in the sand, especially when the stupid and the misled continue to spout rubbish.

There is also a sub-group of canny contrarians who actually take the controversial, road – less -travelled, type of journey. They don’t believe their particular rubbish, but they have spotted a gap in the market, and capitalise on the media’s penchant for ‘balance’, in order to obtain a platform.

An even better argument for not giving too much credence to obviously wrong – headed tripe.

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