JOHN MENADUE Morrison and Trump are experts in fake news

 Scott Morrison keeps telling us that he stopped the boats. As I have said many times that is just  not true. It is fake news. But the lie has been so uncontested by the media for so long it is hard to nail the lie.Perhaps being careless in the first place the media now finds it hard to admit error

Our public life whether it be about refugees or climate change has been so debased it is becoming hard to sort fact from fiction .   

The late US Senator Daniel Moynihan famously said that ‘everyone is entitled to their own opinions but no one is entitled to their own facts’. Scott Morrison has been inventing his own facts on many things including ‘stopping the boats’

This promotion of false news has dangerous consequences well beyond refugees and boats. Our democracy cannot survive unless we are able to discern the truth and trust what other people say. Donald Trump with the help of Fox News has so debauched public discourse that US democracy may not survive if he wins a second term.

We face similar risks if false and fake news is not repudiated.

But to return to the way Scott Morrison repeatedly peddles fake news and untruths on ‘stopping the boats’

Peter Hughes and I posted two blogs in September 2015 (‘Slogans versus facts on boat arrivals’ Part 1 and Part 2) that pointed out first, that Tony Abbott  and Scott Morrison kept the door open for tens of thousands of people arriving by boat  by opposing legislation that would have enabled implementation of the Malaysia Arrangement of September 2011.  That arrangement was negotiated with Malaysia to curb boat arrivals in Australia. Secondly, we pointed out that Tony Abbott’s and Scott Morrison’s role in ‘stopping the boats’ was at the margins and vastly overrated. By the time Operation Sovereign Borders came into effect the surge of boat arrivals was over.

Since then, Tony Abbott, Malcolm Turnbull, Scott Morrison and Peter Dutton have continued their spin about how they stopped the boats. They didn’t. Unfortunately, our mainstream media were duped in the first place by uncritically accepting the Coalition’s line in the confused period of the changeover of government and in the drama and secrecy surrounding a small number of turn backs.

Our main conclusion in those two posts was that:

By the time OSB geared up for its first boat turn backs on 19 December 2013, the number of boat arrivals was down from 48 in July 2013 to only seven in December 2013. OSB applied only to the tail end of the boat drama. The ‘game-changer’ was Kevin Rudd’s announcement in July 2013 that people arriving by boat after that time would not be settled in Australia.

Arguably boat turn backs would not have been successful at all without the July 2013 decision. For example, the Navy and Customs were able to turn back three boats in December 2013 after the introduction of OSB. It’s hard to believe that it would have been physically possible to turn back 48 boats if they had continued at the monthly rate that occurred in July 2013 and that Indonesia would have quietly acquiesced.

In short, Tony Abbot and Scott Morrison in Opposition gave the green light to people smugglers by opposing the implementation of the Malaysia Arrangement in September 2011. In Government, Operation Sovereign Borders, had only a marginal effect on boat arrivals. By the time OSB came into effect, the number of boat arrivals had been dramatically reduced.

Scott Morrison did not stop the boats but he believes that like a used car salesman, people will believe him if he continually peddles fake news.

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5 Responses to JOHN MENADUE Morrison and Trump are experts in fake news

  1. Ben Morris says:

    If the people-smugglers could operate without the knowledge of the Indonesia Government then our northern security is at risk. If the Indonesian Government could not see smugglers selling passages to Australia on clapped-out boats then how do they identify anyone operating more clandestine than smugglers.

  2. Michael D. Breen says:

    If you want effectively destroy a civilization, the Bible suggests that God has the ideal way. When the folk tried building an affront to God he just had them speak different languages. So no one could understand or believe anyone else. So ended the Tower of Babel and the word Babble entered the lexicon. Sound familiar? We have an epistemological problem which in the age of instant communication spreads like cancer. Democracy is threatened by capitalism where if you have the money or the media clout you can rule the mob. All this makes me more grateful for fora like Pearls and Irritations.

  3. Kien Choong says:

    This seems an example of the failure of Western democracy. Democracy works best through public discussion and good reasoning. Whereas many (perhaps most?) politicians seem to think that their primary goal is to win elections by whatever means that seem legitimate – and occasionally illegitimate – and no longer engage in good faith reasoned discussion.

    I often think it is a serious mistake for Western commentators to focus on electoral democracy, and neglect democracy as “government by discussion” (per John Stuart Mill). Holding regular democratic elections is assumed to confer legitimacy, even in the US, where many black Americans (for various reasons) do not actually vote in elections.

    Whereas authoritarian governments like China that do not hold regular elections know that their legitimacy is always under question, and this forces the Chinese government to seek legitimacy elsewhere – e.g., by delivering economic growth, by engaging in extensive public discussion, etc.

    Regular and fair elections are undoubtedly an important part of a healthy democracy, but ultimately, elections alone is not a substitute for public discussion and good reasoning.

  4. tasi timor says:

    ‘green light to people smugglers’

    And the ALP Gov gave a green light to people smugglers when Roxon and her Junior Minister cleared our jails and sent smuggling crews back to Indonesia at the exact time when the smugglers had exhausted their sources of crew and boats had slowed as a result. This was assumed at the time to have been a result of combined lobbying by the Australian legal profession and the Indonesian Govt. Choking off crew supply was working. Some asylum seekers were themselves minor smugglers and having organised the last of their paying people became passengers, sought and were given asylum. Had crew supply been choked off completely asylum seekers would eventually have used one of their own supplied with a cheap Garmin GPS to deliver the boats into our waters. Some crews, paid upfront, were already deserting their boats from Sulawesi en route to Ashmore and being taken back to Rote to avoid jail time in Australia. Smugglers responded by not paying upfront. Likewise, smugglers would eventually have maneuvered around the Malaysia plan – a good idea worth trying but not a solution – by flying more people directly to Indonesia from alternative transits like Bangkok.

    Both ALP and Lib narratives are disingenuous and serve to shield the reputations and careers of Ministers and senior public servants who got it wrong. Avoiding explaining the truth does a great disservice to the public.

  5. Philip Bond says:

    “Unfortunately, our mainstream media were duped”, better than 80% of our main stream media is controlled by one man whom advocates/dictates political agenda.

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