Well, I'm back from my placements and the internet seems to be working for me properly at least. And for those who did not know, I was off doing my placement. Which involved the very taxing work of creating lessons for my classes for History and English and then teaching those classes, as well as handling a variety of other situations that take place in any classroom. All of which is meant to point out that I've been very busy. Almost too busy to read properly...*sigh*
One of the things that I was doing, however, while teaching. Was explaining to students about the 'power of the media'. So what I wish to talk about now is this article I stumbled upon yesterday: http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/morning-mix/wp/2014/05/22/how-australias-winking-tony-abbott-became-one-of-the-worlds-most-unpopular-prime-ministers/?tid=pm_pop
The first thing that struck me about the article is how subjective and superficial it was. It's 'news' that is not really news. A story that promises to deliver the details of how a situation unfolded and only really tells you what's happening at the moment. The second thing that struck me was how the author became sucked into the 'noise' surrounding the issue rather than the actual details themselves. I'll forgive him, as the author is an outsider to this affair and it is so much easier to see the noise.
What really did the article in for me was when he began to focus on the 'Twitter' and 'Facebook' trends linked into voicing displeasure about our Australian Prime Minister. The issue here is that most of this voiced displeasure is from the vocal minorities or from those who wish to argue and argue loudly. If you talk to the majority of people on the street there are a few who are disgruntled, but most of them voted in this government also.
What those who are being vocal, childishly so in my eyes, don't seem to realise is that democracy is not run by the most vocal. It is run by the mob, by the everyman. Those who hold the most power in influencing politics are the everyday people. And the everyday people are those who see the squabbles on social media and who see one-sided superficial news reporting and want to shy away from it.
Now don't get me wrong. I'm not saying that those who are being vocally upset don't have their points. The thing is that there is no alternative to the current government. The opposition is, at the moment, in disarray and spineless, offering no leadership alternatives. Yes, the budget is harsh in various ways, and some of the things it does are kind of pointless (there's some situations that almost take money from health to give to medical research for instance) but it seems kind of obvious that it is a budget that the government believe is necessary. Otherwise, why shoot themselves in the foot?
The issue is that the majority of news and media coverage surrounding the government's actions are nothing but negative. For whatever reason, people have decided to dislike the Prime Minister (in the media at least - which is not a true snapshot of the public) as a person. Not as a leader, but as a person. Part of which I believe is linked to a media smear campaign that was run two years ago... It would be much better if people were to, instead of attacking our elected leader, see what there is to actively criticise about the government's decisions - and not just because 'I don't like how Tony Abbott looks' (which is childish).
The big problem is that the media has major influence in people's lives. And very few people stop and reflect on the image portrayed by the media. How are they covering statistics? What are they feeding me about certain issues? Is that a correct interpretation? What is the language used in these articles? Etc. Etc.
What we need in Australia, and around the world, is less squabbling. We need discussion, not argument. And too much of what is happening in Australia is argument. As I tried to say to friends, what the immediate outcry about the budget told me is that in Australia we live in an age of entitlement. Around about 7 million Australians receive some kind of government payment out of 22 million. For the government to strip a lot of those payments away...well of course there was going to be outcry. Although the majority of people crying out about it were the privileged. Given that very few nations in the world have had the government incentives that Australia has had, I found it interesting to see the reactions that people had to them being taken away. It showed me that at the heart, people look inward and rarely look outward on a more global level. That is why we need discussion - to move towards being inwardly self-obsessed and to be able to understand a bigger picture...