A heated debate over the war in Iraq highlights the need for better, more critical political discourse in Australia.
Rupert Murdoch's paper 'The Australian' was a strong proponent of the Iraq war [EPA]
29 Feb 2012 - Australian news media has come to resemble soap opera: there are those outlets that the masses flock to, and whose content equally strives to inform as it does to advertise houses. Analysis of world politics is especially poor - there is no culture of academically rigorous public intellectuals or specialist international affairs journalists as there are in parts of Europe and the United States. As a result, world news is syndicated from other providers, or filtered through the editorial of a select few writers.
Against this backdrop, there is currently a series of missives being fired between an Australian academic and The Australian (colloquially known as "The Oz"), Rupert Murdoch's premier national newspaper.
The debate was sparked by politics professor Robert Manne's damning critique of Murdoch's Oz in a long-form essay entitled, "Bad News: Murdoch's Australian and the Shaping of the Nation".
While the central focus of "Bad News" is Murdoch's hold over public discourse in Australia as evidenced in The Oz's editorial, in support of his general argument, Manne employs a number of case studies such as "the history wars", climate change and the Iraq War. In analysing the Iraq War, Manne pays special attention to the paper's editorial concerning Saddam Hussein's alleged possession of biological, chemical and nuclear weapons (commonly referred to weapons of mass destruction, or WMD).
For a useful timeline of how the debate over Manne vs. The Oz has progressed since the essay was published in early September, see Manne's blog post.
Why focus on Manne's Iraq charges? read more>>>