For whatever reason, a 7 News video was suggested to me online (maybe following commercial news stations on Twitter was a mistake, now they’re running me down on Facebook). It showed some random rally of a ‘far-right’ group in Penrith, which totalled 25 people. But the video was of little interest – the comments were, however.
One of the main reasons I keep my Facebook account active is because reading the comments on various news articles and certain pages can give an idea of public opinion on a topic. When you look at the Guardian, there will undoubtedly be much more support for the Greens, for unions, etc. while anger is directed towards the Coalition and people like Trump or Pauline Hanson. The opposite is usually the case with the Murdoch rags.
The commercial media (and yes, I would include the Fairfax papers, given they were bought out by Nine and the comments follow a similar pattern) tends to be a bizarre mix of the two, seemingly showing a much greater polarisation in the Australian political sphere. Obviously being the internet and social media, none of this is reflective of reality, merely a snapshot of certain segments. Some of these segments, however, are concerning.
The rally in the 7 News video is irrelevant – 25 people, outnumbered by the police presence, carried flags and had a bit of a chat with megaphone. Hardly something that constitutes news, but it got coverage. While many of the comments on the video (shared on Facebook) mocked the group, saying things like weekend drinks at a mate’s place, granny’s knitting club, or the lawn bowls had more people, a fair few took it quite seriously.
I would really like to know what goes on in the mind of a person who believes that Channel 7 is a hub for ‘leftist’ propaganda. Comments stating that the media portrays ‘anything that isn’t socialism or PC nutjob as far right extremist’, or that invent words by saying ‘the traitor media squashes patriotism as they move to treasonism’ have the right conclusion – the media is propagandised. Just not the way they think it is.
The fact that this tiny rally received any media attention at all is strange enough. Maybe the group was portrayed as fringe (probably because they are?), but that they were portrayed at all means that the rhetoric about not having a voice is false. There are many examples of ‘right-wing’ commentators saying they feel oppressed and unable to voice their opinions; we know this because they constantly tell us on the multiple platforms they have available to them.
The media isn’t ‘left-wing’ because it casts fringe groups in a mildly distasteful light. In fact, it slowly normalises such groups by consistently shoving them in front of people, allowing them to appear as though they’re victims. The commercial networks post these stories because it sparks controversy and makes them money, not because they actually detest what is being done.
Rather than focus on actually important things – here’s some left-wing conspiracy for you, how about climate change? = the mainstream media is dedicated to dividing society into neat little boxes, creating echo chambers and disconnecting people over superficial issues, like whether a piece of cloth on a pole is worthy of our ‘patriotism’. They don’t care what these flag-bearing ‘extremists’ do, they just want them to keep doing it because it generates revenue for them. And the ‘far-right’ supporters of those groups can’t be too mad at them for it, because their message just reached thousands more people.
It’s a battle no one really wins, and it’s all tied up in media propaganda. If only the average commenter on social media had the critical thinking skills to properly deduce how it is they are being played… maybe we’d have Labor government? Heh, putting critical thinking and social media in the same sentence; that’s an oxymoron.
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