JOHN LAWS? I’VE GOT BIGGER FISH TO FRY
I wrote an article about how John Laws is a lumbering misogynist from the Jurassic … and how I’d like to kick his bum up the street and then, I thought, I couldn’t be arsed.
I just could not supply the required outrage to prosecute the case against him.
Not because of a lack of empathy for Carol, the caller who rang Laws on radio 2SM and related her harrowing personal tale of how she had been sexually abused since age six and was asked: “You weren’t provocative?” No woman should ever be asked that. And readers of The Hoopla agreed.
It was just that I already knew that John Laws was a disgrace to broadcasting. “Laws does not deserve kindness,” says industry insider, Dan Bradley on Radio Today. He found Laws’ interview “insensitive, inappropriate, indefensible and deplorable”.
Why Laws remains on air is a mystery.
Going after him, I decided, would be like shooting fish in a barrel.
We’ve known Laws is a sexist from way back when he required his “handmaidens” to wear skirts.
Our suspicions about Laws’ lack of moral compass were confirmed when he and his then stablemate on 2UE, Alan Jones, were caught up in the 1999 “cash for comment” inquiry and it was found they had accepted millions of dollars in hidden sponsorships to spruik their clients – telcos, banks etc. – all in the guise of considered editorial. Thus betraying the trust of every single one of their listeners.
Laws took to ringing a “faggy little cowbell” on air whenever he was about to read an advertisement – misleading his listeners yet again. His appalling behaviour forced the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) to change the rules on disclosure on “integrated advertising”.
None of his bullshit surprises me.
If the simple advice is “don’t listen” to Laws and Jones? I’ve been taking it for years.
We all have bigger fish to fry.
Instead, we can turn our energy and scrutiny to the shadowy forces at work in the guise of public “think tanks” who seek to influence public life, by foul means or fair.
Does the odious “cash for comment” culture persist in the national public discourse? Do you know where “opinion” is coming from and who is paying for it?
Perhaps these ideas will provoke outrage too…
- Privatise the ABC, SBS and the CSIRO.
- End all public subsidies to the sports and arts.
- Repeal the mining tax and Fair Work Act.
- Abolish the Clean Energy Fund, the Department of Climate Change, Foreign Investment Review Board, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, the Australian Human Rights Commission and, yes, ACMA.
These are just a few policies from the right-wing Institute of Public Affairs and can be read, in their eye-opening entirety, below.
Who and what is the IPA? “Free people. Free Society” is their motto. You can read the manifesto here, which also contains the words “liberating”, “exciting”, “independent” and also, oddly, “the rule of law”.
The IPA and its backers are keen for change of government and say of Tony Abbott: “We hope he grasps the opportunity to fundamentally reshape the political culture and stem the assault on individual liberty”.
Clive Hamilton, climate change activist, recently pinged the IPA in an article on the ABC site, the Drum, and says it is “notoriously secretive about its funding.”
He mentions Exxon, Shell, Caltex and BHP Billiton among climate change deniers believed to have stumped up sponsorship. The 480 comments on his article also cite Big Mining, Big Oil, Big Tobacco, Big Arms Manufacturing and Big Packaging as also seeking to lobby and influence public policy in Australia.
“Despite its refusal to divulge, we can make a good guess at where a large part of its (the IPA’s) recent funding has come from – right-wing mining billionaire Gina Rinehart,” wrote Hamilton.
And if you want to read more about Rinehart’s obsessions, this is the best (long) article I’ve ever read. It comes from the William Finnegan at New Yorker.
Former Canberra lobbyist, Paula Matthewson writes : “Think tanks have too long hidden behind the cloak of independence and should be subject to more scrutiny. They should be recognised as active players in political debate, and not the dispassionate observers that they pretend to be.”
Right now – when we are about to dump millions of tonnes of toxic dredge spoil on the Barrief Reef and then transport uranium through our precious World Heritage area, all for the benefit of mining companies - Laws, Jones, Hadley and Sandilands are merely a fishing net full of toxic tiddlers.
Watch out instead for the IPA and their like – the white pointers in the shallows. Their bite can be fatal.
Here is the full wish list of the IPA’s policies (next page)… and possibly the meanest and most pointless of all?
No.73: Defund Harmony Day. It’s like pulling the wings off orange butterflies.
(Thanks to reader John for this link re: concerns that the IPA and conservative think tanks like them are dominating the public airwaves and opinion on the ABC.)
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