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Sunday 28 May 2017

Opinion

The Media Must Get Back To Grass Roots To Survive

Paul Zanetti Sunday 13 November 2016




My mechanic, Steve, and I regularly shoot the breeze whether my car needs fixing or not, and rarely about cars.

I get more sense of what’s happening around me from Steve than reading most professional opinion writers. What Steve says and what Waleed says are worlds apart.

Steve has lived 10 lifetimes. His world is one of reality, serving others, fixing their car problems, and the world’s problems. The same crystal clear thinking solutions he applies to mechanical issues he applies to life.

No theories, just practical fixes.

Waleed ‘crafts a narrative’ in order to convince others of his manufactured world view. His opinions don’t reflect the life of the everyman.

Remarkably, Waleed is held up as some sort of expert because…well…who bloody knows?

He just is, apparently.  

That’s what’s wrong with most of the progressive mainstream metro media. It’s filled with self-appointed expert floggers talking horse shit, but haven’t a clue about their readers. Nor are they interested.

Which goes a long way to explaining why they never saw Trump coming. This minority group of privileged narrative crafters lives in a self delusional bubble, a universe away from the silent majority.

Trump’s triumph drove that home.

The small business subbie, with a truck full of tools, his wife who handles the books, his mate who plays cricket with him and the kids at the local park, his sister at the Saturday markets. These are the Hillary-labelled Trump deplorables - the everyday family bread winners who worry what sort of world they’ll leave to their kids.

Australia, too, is a land of deplorables living a life detached from the privileged Waleeds in their ivory media towers.

The community volunteers, the firies, the ambos, the fund raisers, the Bunnings sausage sizzlers, surf life savers, cake stallers, the mates in the garage restoring that old ’72 Ford one of their dads left them, an ongoing project for 5 years with no completion in sight.

The wood-turning social and community clubs, where not much turning is happening but a lot of fun is being had not turning wood.

The mums at the weekend footy clubs behind the club canteen counter. The volunteer dad who sacrifices his Tuesdays, Thursday and Saturdays to coach and run the kids around the paddock, with no expectation of reward except for a chance at that plastic gold trophy at the end of the season and seeing happy smiling faces on grand final day, knowing the reality is, there’s just a slim chance of that.

These are the people who get on with it. They don’t twitter. They’re too busy working.

How many inner city metro opinion writers actually speak with them?

When was the last time the Waleeds in the media got out of their narrative creating studios and offices and walked into a mechanic shop just to shoot the breeze?

Case in point. Throughout the US election campaign the Fairfax media organisation wasn’t reporting, it was campaigning. For Hillary.

A pointless exercise seeing as Australians don’t vote in US elections. This is what happens when management signs a Charter of Editorial Independence then hands the asylum to the inmates.

Fairfax’s foreign correspondent, Paul McGeogh’s contributions from the US Presidential campaign became increasingly partisan for Hillary the closer the campaign got to polling day. Management have allowed him to get away with it unchecked.

As it dawned on the Hillary cheer squad at Fairfax on election day that Trump was sweeping the country state by state, the shock was followed by horror. Then anger.

The Age and SMH’s National Affairs editor Tony Wright didn’t waste time, taking to the keyboard.

The following excerpt is an example of the denial contributing to the killing of Fairfax, published just hours after Trump was elected President.

President Donald Trump: the day America chose to become The Jerry Springer Show

Put morons and vulgarians on stage, give them the wild freedom to showcase their pig-ignorance and ill-breeding and you'll be guaranteed a giant audience across middle America.

And so it has come to pass.

The appalling oafishness that has long been the format of the likes of The Jerry Springer Show has vaulted from reality TV to actual American reality.

There is, however, no turn-off switch to this show. No privacy of your own lounge room to indulge in the guilty pleasure of watching it before taking an afternoon nap.

Trump, the pout-mouthed, big-haired, self-congratulatory flim-flam man more comfortable with a lie than the truth, so coarse he gives the concept a bad name, is President, and the whole world will have to live with it.

Here is the era and the work of the secret voters.

Fearing their world was broken, they smouldered, lusting to break it up even more, but when the pollsters called, were too ashamed to say out loud their choice for the job was a trash-talker like Trump, just as their cousins across the Atlantic had played fox before the Brexit referendum.

And just like a lot of those who voted for Brexit, great masses of those dimwits who chose Trump will turn around in a few months and complain that "we didn't know it would be like this". But it is already too late to undo what has been done.

Trump, the isolationist without a clue, will teach his adherents soon enough that a nation that will not approve trade deals will find itself starved of access to foreign markets. The rust belts that put their faith in him stand condemned to become even rustier and poorer.

Tony Wright’s bio:
Tony Wright is the National Affairs Editor of The Age. He has been based in the Canberra Press Gallery for 20 years, working for The Canberra Times, The Sydney Morning Herald and The Bulletin before joining The Age in 2007. He has written two plays and two best-selling books, was named Magazine Feature Writer of the Year twice, has won several UN Media Peace Prizes and has been a Walkley Awards finalist five times.

The bio speaks volumes.

The mainstream metro progressive media is populated by dissociated Tony Wrights who shout down at readers they hold in contempt.

Little wonder readers are drifting away.

Until the opinion writers climb down from their ivory tower, and actually listen, instead of shouting, there won’t be a tower from which to shout.