Modia Minotaur

Trawling the airwaves to spare you the agony!

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Cronulla: Was Talkback to Blame?

Tensions have been easing in Cronulla in the past few days, though I've been the last one to laud the laws passed by the NSW Govt to quell the tensions in the Sutherland Shire, which seem mainly aimed at calming things in the short term. This is not a dishonourable goal, but is it, ultimately, just a matter of putting a few buoyant eskies under Venice as Venice sinks.

A few buoyant pictures of Venice are available here.

The main aim of the legislation passed by the NSW Government in the past 24 hours seems to be to treat the symptoms rather than the causes of deep-seated racial tensions. There has been a long-running joke in the Sutherland Shire that has suggested that blowing up the few bridges that connected the area to the rest of Sydney would allow it to acheive its ultimate aim of drifting away to become a literally exclusive area. In the past few days, the police checkpoints that have been set at these bridges have allowed this urban myth to be achieves to be achieved in a literal and quite atocious manner.

There are growing suggestions - finally - that talkback radio may have been a contributing factor to the racial tensions. Let me say right now that I have, as a part of my professional duties, listened to an inordinate amount of talkback radio and, in doing so, come to the conclusion that this is undoubtedly a factor.

During the Schapelle Corby case, the media reaction, and in particular, talkback radio - particulary that stoked by several commentators which I could name but won't (2GB2GB2GB) - led to a genuinely passionate reaction which, I honestly believe led to the attack on the Indonesian Embassy in Canberra which was ultimately used as a cunning propaganda tool for the Howard Government. Today, former AMA (now ACMA) chair David Flint took his old nemesis David Marr to task in a fairly obvious way on The World Today in a completely unconvincing piece of rhetoric defending his old buddy, Alan Jones.

It is worthwhile considering that in the early days of Australian radio, talkback was strictly forbidden as it was seen as an excessively risky prospect. This week, Crikey has suggested that the first use of the much-mooted Sedition laws may not be against the hunted, but against the hunter. Go for it, I say. And chuck Philip Clark, Chris Smith and Jason Morrison in for good measure.


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