Monday, September 30, 2002


Almost all the blogs I read are written by fellow conservatives. Leftist blogs are far too careless about the facts to have any interest for me. One blog I enjoy is however written by a political centrist -- my fellow-Australian Ken Parish. He certainly seems very much interested in the full facts of matters that he discusses.

One of his themes lately has been an attempt to figure out why the great majority of Australian bloggers tend to be right-wing. He has explored various possible answers to that question but has overlooked what seems to me the obvious explanation: That the mainstream media both in Australia and the US is overwhelmingly Leftist so Rightists feel the need to redress the balance somehow and write blogs in an attempt to do that. Leftists don't need to read or write blogs. Just picking up their local newspaper or tuning in their TV will give them a good blast of reinforcement for their attitudes.

I therefore dashed off a two-line email to Ken pointing this out. I forgot, however, that I was writing to a centrist and that therefore, from his centrist point of view, the media are not biased but balanced. He was therefore understandably dismissive of my explanation.

Since they seem to be impervious to evidence, I don't waste my time trying to persuade Leftists of anything but I do think that centrists can sometimes have their attitudes moved a bit by facts so I then quickly put on my now rather dusty social scientist�s hat and sent Ken a much longer email giving references to published research reports in the academic journals that demonstrate clearly that Australian journalists are overwhelmingly to the Left of the Australian general population in their attitudes.

I thought Ken might make some reference to this advance in the argument on his blog but his interest in the topic does not seem to have survived my rejoinder. I suspect that I may have won that round by default. So I reproduce the reference citations below for what interest they may have to others.

Henningham, J.P.
(1998) "Ideological differences between Australian journalists and their
public", Harvard International Journal of Press/Politics, 3 (1): 92-101.

(1996) "Australian journalists' professional and ethical values", Journalism
& Mass Communication Quarterly, 73: 206-218

(1995) "Political journalists' political and professional values",
Australian Journal of Political Science, 30 (2), 321-334

The author of the studies cited above has recently retired from the Chair of Journalism at the University of Queensland and is Australia's specialist in such matters.

In a way, though, it hardly needs an academic study to show how Leftist Australian journalists, academics and media commentators are. In Australia�s recent Federal election, the conservative coalition government was returned to power on the back of Prime Minister Howard�s strong and effective opposition to illegal immigration from the Middle East. So strong was popular support in the Australian general population for this stance that even the nominally Leftist opposition party (the Australian Labor Party) dared not oppose it publicly for fear of being totally routed at the polls. Yet the media are still absolutely brimming with denunciations of the Prime Minister and his Minister for Immigration as �heartless�, �Fascist� etc. because of their immigration policy. It is of course these media figures who are the real Fascists -- opposing as they do a policy that has been given the overwhelming support of Australian voters. What the Australian people want seems to be of absolutely of no interest to these anti-democratic Leftist �commentators�. Only if the government were completetely undemocratic and defied the popular will would they be happy.

And British journalists seem to be no better. Speaking at the recent meeting of British Trade Unions, Jeremy Dear, General Secretary of the National Union of Journalists said of the war on terrorism �If justice was the motive we would be considering sending troops in now to end Israel�s occupation of Palestinian territory� Source

It is a tribute to the good sense of ordinary people that the constant Leftist slant that they get through the mass media has not convinced everyone.

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