Having fed off each other in a narcissistic ecosystem for decades, the ‘Canberra Bubble’ has finally gone from a sad annoyance to a public health risk. Far from playing a passive role, the media has spent the last two years profiting from the incitement of hatred – pitting citizens against each other during daily broadcasts in exchange for social virtue and ad revenue.
The press are unlikely to give up their privileged position of voyeurism above the gladiatorial area of pandemic politics, even with contrary evidence weighing heavily on their headlines.
Not only is fear profitable, the journalist class have a reputation for being unhealthy boozers, long-lunch over-eaters, chair-bound, chain-smoking, drug-taking sloths. Having neglected their bodies for decades, these individuals remain personally terrified of their own propaganda. They work tirelessly to uphold the scaffolding of lies in the same way our ancestors offered sacrifices to gods that existed only in their minds.
It must be understood that the press are not captives of politics operating under duress, they are willing participants that misuse their platforms. Mainstream publications deliberately incite hatred of the unvaccinated, thus laying the groundwork for future persecution with the ‘blessing’ of society. All of this is done to give politicians the confidence to pass ever more brutal health orders which, in the end, makes those same frightened journalists feel ‘safe’.
The failure of tyrannical health orders to present real-world results poses a problem. Not only does it leave our chief health officers looking like mugs, the terrified journalists who recorded every second of the embarrassing mess in print now need to find someone to blame for their error.
Admitting that a mistake has been made is out of the question. Instead, the unvaccinated are painted as scapegoats for the rapid spread of Omicron and the continuation of the Covid pandemic. Blaming people who have not taken a medication for its shortcomings would, in any other decade of Australian history, be laughed at.
The Age of Covid is no joke. Even with the unvaccinated locked up under house arrest – prominent members of the media have seen fit to blame them for the spread of Covid among full-vaccinated individuals. During these on-air rants, Australians are referred to as ‘grandma killers’, ‘selfish’, ‘anti-science’, ‘conspiracy theorists’, and – most troubling of all – ‘plague rats’.
Protests against this discrimination were seen as an opportunity by the ABC and other broadcasters to widen their slander to include ‘Nazi’. This deliberate factual error was designed to discredit a crowd of unionists marching against the CFMEU proving once and for all that Union bosses enjoy unparalleled protection, even at the expense of their members. (Mind you, it was all worth it to hear John Setka endure taunts of ‘Andrews’ little b***h!’).
It did not matter that the media’s accusation of ‘Nazi’ was objectively false, because more than a dozen publications violated their media code of conduct by repeating it as truth. Was an apology issued? No – just a few muffled admissions that ‘maybe some were real unionists but there were definitely Nazis too’.
For months, premiers and the press insisted that Covid was a ‘pandemic of the unvaccinated’. Political commentators continued to pen miles of rage, demanding that ‘something’ be done to force these people into vaccination. At no point was this narrative of blame corrected, even when Covid outbreaks occurred within vaccine passport protected venues or on international flights of fully vaccinated travellers. It still hasn’t been fixed despite the latest Covid outbreak approaching two million cases – the overwhelming majority of them being among the fully vaccinated 95%. Even Pfizer’s CEO has admitted that two shots of his vaccine offers almost no protection from Omicron while Israel – at almost 100% vaccination – is staring down four shots with their shoulders shrugged because it isn’t working.
The dogmatic obedience to the narrative of ‘safety through obedience’ is so advanced that people with three doses of the vaccine coughing their way through an active Covid case will insist that unvaccinated people are responsible for spreading the virus – not them. They have associated so much hatred and culpability onto the unvaccinated that accepting any of that onto themselves is an untenable position.
Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews has not issued a retraction of his threat to ‘lock the unvaccinated out of the economy’. His active threat to coerce vaccination with a life of isolation, poverty, and discrimination is a violation of the Australian Immunisation Handbook. Instead of rigorously testing Daniel Andrews’ logic and scientific evidence for his health orders, the press helped install him as a real dictator while downplaying the 500,000 Victorians assembled in front of parliament in the largest protest the state has ever seen.
Even statements such as ‘most Australians have done the right thing and chosen to get vaccinated’ wilfully ignore the reality that the majority of Australians did not voluntarily choose vaccination, it was forced upon them under threat of losing their jobs while they were subject to house arrest. This can easily be seen both by tracking vaccination rates in relation to the timeline of vaccine mandates and by comments from senior politicians and health officials admitting that these mandates were required to achieve high vaccination rates.
New South Wales Health, the body responsible for disseminating Covid information, refuses to correct its hospitalisation figures which are published daily. Several weeks ago, it was revealed by the Minister for Health Brad Hazzard that the numbers incorrectly include incidental Covid in unrelated hospitalisations. The media continue to regurgitate this error despite it being a 60% overstatement of reality. It is not the job of news organisations to blindly repeat statistics they know to be false simply because a health authority puts them out. Leaving them uncorrected and subsequently quoted in articles and news broadcasts is then used to falsely misrepresent the severity of the situation – which certainly is a violation of media standards.
Other commentators have gone so far as to threaten legal action against unvaccinated people who come near them, or revile at the thought of ‘having to breathe the same air’ as an unvaccinated person. They have routinely endorsed public measures that resulted in unvaccinated people being removed from the economy, locked up, fined, segregated, and demonised to the point that they have lost the right to work or engage in any human contact. In countries such as Canada, it has advanced to the point where parents are losing visitation rights to their children.
This is not imagined discrimination – it is real.
In Western Australia and Queensland, unvaccinated people are denied access to public services which their taxes pay for. Premier McGowan is the worst, delighting in how severely he has managed to limit the rights of his unvaccinated citizens. He spent a recent press conference congratulating himself on locking them out of everything (including bottleshops) except for basic food supplies, and even that concession sounded begrudging – as if he’d starve them into compliance if he could. Does this stop the spread of Covid? No. But it makes McGowan feel powerful. Like all of history’s worst dictators, he revels in the ability to reach into the private lives of people who disobey him and destroy their happiness – and the press congratulate him for it.
Instead of approaching this situation from a balanced, sceptical, and intellectually critical perspective – as is their job – commentators have leaned heavily on incitement to fear, allowing themselves to regurgitate government propaganda without criticism or question.
This has directly impacted public perception of unvaccinated people, with viewers being whipped up into a frenzy that has resulted in financial harm and emotional distress where businesses, friends, and families have been torn apart in large part due to the media narrative. Some Australians have taken their own lives after being subject to intense discrimination, and the press has a case to answer for their role in these deaths and the ongoing damage to the social fabric of society.
It has been long acknowledged that one of the primary purposes of the media is to act as a natural check and balance against politicians. This is the reason Western nations have a heavy preference for ‘press freedom’ to formalise this divide. However, when the press willingly refuses to question their political favourites, the nation ends up with a de-facto ‘state-press’ similar to the controlled press of a communist nation. At the very least, a press that behaves as if it is in a state of worship of the political class acts as an enabler to unethical politics rather than a cure.
There are strict rules about what broadcasters can put to air, chief among them involve a blanket ban on content and rhetoric that sets out to motivate hatred – especially if it involves a call to arms that results in real harm against individuals.
Responsible, ethical, accurate, and moral reporting is a concept of the distant past. Sensationalism, corporate contracts, and political allegiance have become the dominant forces within Australian media – all of which is underpinned by their reliance on foreign social media censorship ensuring any broadcaster that wants to speak out cannot do so without being removed from the market.
While some people will look at the media code and say, ‘Aha! It doesn’t say anything about inciting hatred toward people based on their medical status’ – I assure you if the same rhetoric surrounding Covid was directed toward a person with AIDS, that network would be fined immediately. ‘Disability’ is covered in the anti-discrimination part of the media code. Despite being an illness rather than a disability, AIDS is included by federal, state, and territory legislation such as the Disability Discrimination Act 1992.
It is reasonable to assume that the spirit of such legislation, and the media codes that follow, is specifically intended to protect Australians from discrimination against their medical status and private health information. Incitement to violence and discrimination, whatever the motivation, is separately illegal and classified as hate speech.
No matter how you choose to look at the situation, the conduct of media hosts and commentators over the past two years is unacceptable and constitutes a breach of standards. The only reason that nothing has been done about this situation is because the hateful commentary falls in line with the politics of both Labor and Liberal premiers, while our Prime Minister sees fit to let the Covid Hunger Games play out to his political advantage.
All that is left is for the public to highlight the depravity of those in the media and political class.
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Alexandra Marshall (@ellymelly on social media) is The Good Sauce's Editor-At-Large, as well as the host of "Curtain Call", a Good Sauce show exploring the leading personalities in the culture war. She writes on liberty, philosophy and geopolitics. You can find her on Twitter or read her articles over at her blog.
Elly is also an AI database designer for the retail industry, contributor to multiple online journals and a Young Ambassador with Australians for Constitutional Monarchy.