Australian journalists four times more likely to be left-wing

May 24th, 2013 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

The Conversation reports:

Conducted between May 2012 and March this year, the University of the Sunshine Coast’s representative survey of 605 journalists around Australia found that more than half (51.0%) describe themselves as holding left-of-centre political views, compared with only 12.9% who consider themselves right-of-centre.

I’m not surprised. Would NZ differ?

When asked about their voting intentions, less than two-thirds of the journalists we surveyed revealed their voting intention. Of those 372 people, 43.0% said they would give their first preference vote to Labor; 30.2% would vote for the Coalition; and 19.4% said they would choose the Greens – about twice the Australian average.

55% of Australians are supporting the Coalition, compared to 30% of journalists.

Yet, among those who arguably matter most – the journalists in senior editorial ranks who have the most power to decide news agendas – a dramatically different picture emerged.

Among the 83 senior editors who took part in the survey, the Coalition was the party of choice on 43.2%, followed by Labor (34.1%) and the Greens (11.4%).

So at a senior level they are more representative.

An interesting finding emerged when we compare journalists from the three biggest news organisations in the country – News LimitedFairfax Media and the ABC.

The national broadcaster has repeatedly been attacked for having a seemingly leftist bias, while others have accused News Limited – and particularly its flagship newspaper The Australian – of being overly conservative in its political views.

At first glance, the findings do not support this assumption, with no significant differences in the way journalists from the ABC and News rate their political views on a scale of 0 (left) to 10 (right).

However, 41.2% of the 34 ABC journalists who declared a voting intention said they would vote for the Greens, followed by 32.4% for Labor and 14.7% for the Coalition.

In contrast, 46.5% of 86 News Limited journalists who answered this question said they would vote for Labor, 26.7% for the Coalition, and only 19.8% for the Greens.

So most journalists support Labor, including those at News Corp. But at ABC they love the Greens, and less than 15% support the Coalition. Would Radio NZ differ?

Hat Tip: Cantabrians Unite

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61 Responses to “Australian journalists four times more likely to be left-wing”

  1. hamnidaV2 (247 comments) says:

    This doesn’t surprise me, as journalists are more likely to be educated than your average Aussie bloke down at the pub.

    Who with an IQ above 80 would vote for Tony Abbott?

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  2. tvb (4,255 comments) says:

    This is hardly surprising and NZ will be broadly similar. Us righties simply tune out and not bother especially Radio New Zealand.

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  3. Redbaiter (8,032 comments) says:

    The same applies to all news outlets in NZ.

    Its why I don’t watch read or listen to anything from the mainstream media.

    Its why I make sure they never get a cent of my money in subscriptions or advertising.

    Who needs to sustain a propaganda industry aimed at a perverting our democracy into a totalitarian farce?

    The really disappointing thing though is that politicians are cowed by these left wing scum, and pander to them, and refuse to spit in their eyes and tell them they are the most revolting people.

    So cowardly. Confront the left wing media. Bring them into the light.

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  4. RightNow (6,844 comments) says:

    Hahahamnida, this probably explains why Abbot is doing so well then:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:AverageIQ-Map-World.png

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  5. tvb (4,255 comments) says:

    Or Julia Gillard who must be the worst Prime Minister since Whitlam. If she does not get her way she plays victim. She stumbles from policy failure after policy failure as if nothing is happening. But Peter Hartcher on Sky is more right wing and a good thing too. As for IQ I would think Labour has most of the “dummies” especially the welfare parasites.

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  6. nasska (10,910 comments) says:

    ….” Would Radio NZ differ?”….

    Definitely….at least 95% of everyone employed there, probably including the tea lady, would be Bolsheviks.

    Dismantle the wretched outfit & sell the remains to the highest bidder.

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  7. Sir Cullen's Sidekick (839 comments) says:

    All the TV stations, radio stations and the newspapers here support Communist Sheep Shearer and Hippie Norman. They want them to lead the Government in 2014 so that they will have lot of exciting news to print or report.

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  8. Manolo (13,517 comments) says:

    Most, if not all, NZ media hacks are left-wing. Soper, Trotter, Robinson, Misa, Campbell, etc, etc.

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  9. Kea (11,878 comments) says:

    This doesn’t surprise me, as journalists are more likely to be educated than your average Aussie bloke down at the pub.

    hamnidaV2 , you show the typical contempt a modern lefty has for the “average bloke”

    The left once gave representation to the masses of average working people. Now it regards working people with the patronising contempt you have demonstrated. You regard the average blue collar worker as beneath you and believe their destiny should be decided by a self appointed elite, like you.

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  10. greenjacket (437 comments) says:

    Most NZ journos in the major dailies and TV come out of university with a liberal arts degree, spend a few years doing dog work in a provincial or community paper, then move on to reporting for a major daily newspaper or TV. They are very liberal with very little life experience and no understanding on any issue in any depth. Most see their next career step as a PR job. So it is hardly surprising that NZ journos tend to be very liberal and left-leaning, with no understanding of business or economics.

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  11. Souvlaki (38 comments) says:

    @ nasska (10.08)…agree , but who would buy it ??Hard to give away !

    Clearly it is acceptable that journalists have their own political opinions. What is not ,is their abject lack of professionalism….their clear left bias gets up many peoples nose! It is obviously a major reason for the decline in the readership of daily papers . Speaking for myself, I would love to have a neutral newspaper to read and make up my own opinions, sadly there is not one I can find in NZ :-(

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  12. Redbaiter (8,032 comments) says:

    “Education” these days is a euphemism for immersion in environmental indoctrination.

    So journalists may well be more “educated”, and therefore voting green, but its not because they’re informed and smart and intelligent, it is because their ability to think critically has been destroyed by a perverted leftist controlled education system.

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  13. Griff (6,997 comments) says:

    Hamy still has not absorbed the information on iq
    its the veritable oppressive prohibiting progressive liberals that have the high iq
    not Marxist socialist sum
    or the retardist conservative wingnuts god buckets
    :twisted: :
    :lol:

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  14. Nigel (516 comments) says:

    I’m so over this particular bandwagon, different types of people are attracted to different jobs, it’s no conspiracy, it’s just that people who prefer to articulate ideas for work are generally more left wing than those you prefer to handle machinery etc.
    Personally I think any journalist/media outlet that allows their political leanings to influence a story is wrong whether right wing or left wing & focusing on exposing that in a balanced way would be way more productive than conspiracy theories.

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  15. freedom101 (481 comments) says:

    I know that the ACT party made a lot of mistakes, but during the time I was involved with them I was constantly and utterly amazed at the negative spin put on everything the party did or said.

    By far the worst example was at the launch of the party in 1995 when Roger Douglas spoke for two hours about his grand plan to create personal savings accounts, personalised welfare plans and so on. This was an ambitious programme to finish the “unfinished business” of the fourth Labour government. The economy had been reformed, and now it was the turn of the government’s social support sector.

    Media packs were handed out with 20 year budgets and figures showing the impact of the policy on people at all stages of life – students, blue collar workers, professionals etc etc. It was extremely comprehensive.

    We waited with bated breath for the media reports the next day. The Dominion led with “ACT seeks tax cuts for the rich”, which was about as far from the truth as you could go without actually lying.

    This pattern continued for several years. It was a source of continual frustration, and to some extent forced the party to move away from publicliy promoting these reform ideas into more populist territory as a way of trying to communicate directly with voters without the media filter.

    If the media had been fairer in their reporting the ACT party may have done a lot better (while acknowledging that a lot of mistakes were made along the way).

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  16. Redbaiter (8,032 comments) says:

    Yes, all that may be true Freedom101, but when did Rod Hide or anyone from ACT ever make an issue of media bias?

    Given how serious the matter is and the effect it has had on democracy for so long, how come it is only bloggers who have the wherewithall to confront these lying media bastards?

    Its time politicians bottled up and did their share. Politicians on the (perceived) right have to start calling journalists out on their leftist bent.

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  17. freedom101 (481 comments) says:

    Redbaiter – yes, they could have made an issue of it, but then what? How do you think that that would have panned out for the party?

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  18. Tom Jackson (2,520 comments) says:

    Reality has a left wing bias

    Morality has a left wing bias

    Rationality has a left wing bias

    Seems to be a pattern here… hmmm…

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  19. RRM (9,666 comments) says:

    I take my hat off to you Reddy – it’s exactly like you’ve been saying all along!

    Isn’t it amazing how the right temperament is so much more effective in getting information across?

    (Think what you might have achieved in your years online… if only you hadn’t chosen to be such a potty-mouthed, screaming maniac. )

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  20. Tom Jackson (2,520 comments) says:

    I know that the ACT party made a lot of mistakes, but during the time I was involved with them I was constantly and utterly amazed at the negative spin put on everything the party did or said.

    When your policies are demented and idiotic, the press often notice that and call you out on it.

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  21. Redbaiter (8,032 comments) says:

    Freedom101-

    What did they have to loose?

    Courage always draws more support than cowardice, but it is in extremely short supply in politics today. Its why voting numbers continue to drop.

    Ted Kruz is a good example of a politician with the courage that is needed, and he is not cowed by the media into being politically correct. He says what he believes.

    The mainstream media is the advance guard of the left and they have to be defeated before we will ever have true democracy.

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  22. RRM (9,666 comments) says:

    What policies of Act were demented and idiotic Tom?

    IMHO as an instinctively left voter, Act policies were sound. Their problem was their abject, utter failure to sell their ideas to the public in a positive light. Almost everybody they put up came across in public as a smarmy obnoxious rich git…

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  23. freedom101 (481 comments) says:

    Tom Jackson – some would say that and others would support ACT, but when the journalists consistently report it the way you see it then that’s exactly the point isn’t it? Whether something is good policy or idiotic is usually a matter of opinion.

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  24. Chuck Bird (4,773 comments) says:

    ” How do you think that that would have panned out for the party?”

    I pushed for ACT to make an official complaint about the Herald for it’s complete bias but was rudely rubbished by some who were responsible for the situation ACT got into.

    BTW – who are Freedom101?

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  25. meanybeany (26 comments) says:

    Anyone who thinks, especially about the common good, can only be left of centre

    Right wing types, who are motivated by self-interest, are not interested in becoming journalists. . . they will choose to occupy themselves in fulfilling their selfish desires

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  26. RightNow (6,844 comments) says:

    “Rationality has a left wing bias”

    Objective rationality has no bias.

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  27. thedavincimode (6,590 comments) says:

    it is only bloggers who have the wherewithall to confront these lying media bastards?

    Any bloggers in particular old dear?

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  28. Redbaiter (8,032 comments) says:

    “Almost everybody they put up came across in public as a smarmy obnoxious rich git…”

    They were urban liberals, and they took the party far from its roots.

    As they have done with National. (example Nikki Kaye)

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  29. labrator (1,849 comments) says:

    Reality has a left wing bias
    Morality has a left wing bias
    Rationality has a left wing bias
    Seems to be a pattern here… hmmm…

    Ever heard of confirmation bias? Reality has a left wing bias? How do you equate nature’s rule of “only the strongest survive” with being left wing?

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  30. backster (2,123 comments) says:

    Radio NZ must be 95% left of left of centre. The other 5% the farming show presenter and the sports commenter I’m not sure about. The Government should put 49% of it on Trade Me with no reserve. TV3 is not much better with Campbell left of Lenin and both channels have dyed in red independent Political analysts.

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  31. Nigel Kearney (919 comments) says:

    Voting preferences per se are not the issue as journalism is a profession that can be done without letting personal views intrude. It’s not the obvious bias of opinion columnists, or people like John Campbell or most of RNZ that are the problem either. Voters are smart enough to see through that.

    The problem is the failure to properly investigate and report facts, and the choices about which stories to spend time on and which to ignore.

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  32. Zapper (967 comments) says:

    RRM, asking him to name the policies that were idiotic means you’re expecting him to actually have a rational reason for disliking ACT…that mad scrambling sound you hear is Tom Jackson trying to find an ACT policy to disagree with (but don’t expect a rational reason why).

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  33. RightNow (6,844 comments) says:

    “Anyone who thinks, especially about the common good, can only be left of centre”

    If they think dispassionately they will realise that the political parties of the left which purport to act for the common good actually do more harm and are more interested in feathering their own nests and creating division.

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  34. Redbaiter (8,032 comments) says:

    Of course when the Prime Minister and leader of the National Party surrounds himself with “media advisors” who are all sourced from the far left media anyway, and listens to their advice rather than the advice of his own party colleagues, when can you ever expect any change for the better? If Key had any brains and balls he’d fire everyone of the useless parasites. (not just Kevin)

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  35. Kea (11,878 comments) says:

    Tom Jackson (585) Says:

    May 24th, 2013 at 10:49 am
    Reality has a left wing bias

    Morality has a left wing bias

    Rationality has a left wing bias

    Seems to be a pattern here… hmmm…

    Yes there is a patern. Arrogant lefties regard themselves as more Realistic, Moral and Rational than “ordinary” people.

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  36. Fox (202 comments) says:

    Zzzzzzzzzz…….”media is predominately left wing”…………tell us something we didn’t know already.

    The question is; how do we get more balance?

    Maybe the Right’s time would be more constructively spent trying coming up with an answer, given that there’s been a fruitless search for one for the best part of 3 decades now.

    Conducting endless polls bemoaning the (rather obvious) left wing bias certainly isn’t going to help.

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  37. Redbaiter (8,032 comments) says:

    “Anyone who thinks, especially about the common good, can only be left of centre”

    You uneducated ignorant of history idiot. Take a look at the past some time and you will see how humane the left really are. The most murderous swine in our history have all been left wing. “The common good” is a euphemism for totalitarianism and butchery on a scale almost unbelievable. That you advocate for such a cause suggests brain damage.

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  38. Harriet (4,616 comments) says:

    “….On media bias:
    If Bush said the Earth was flat, the mainstream media would have stories with the headline: ‘Shape of Earth—Views Differ.’ Then they’d quote some Democrats saying that it was round….” ― Paul Krugman

    And that’s the problem, the MSM media will only ever quote a differing view from the confirmed left, not from the rational right, nor from the objective rational who has no bias, but from the confirmed lefty who can gain from it.

    And they say that those who support the ‘right’ are all about self interest! :cool:

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  39. Redbaiter (8,032 comments) says:

    If readers are interested in further comment on left wing bias in the Australian media I recommend Media Watchdog, a blog run by Gerard Henderson. It is updated every Friday and I read it without fail.

    http://www.thesydneyinstitute.com.au/media-watch-dog/

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  40. Redbaiter (8,032 comments) says:

    “Maybe the Right’s time would be more constructively spent trying coming up with an answer,”

    I have given the answer repeatedly above.

    Right wing politicians have to confront the bias rather than cowing to these scum. Until that happens it will not change- unless the media go broke, which is actually a good alternative outcome.

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  41. Alan Wilkinson (1,848 comments) says:

    It’s ludicrous when the Herald’s supposed Economic Editor is a climate alarmist and anti-asset sales lobbyist.

    @Tom Jackson. Yes, the pattern is your consistent myopic vision, isn’t it.

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  42. Ryan Sproull (7,060 comments) says:

    Anyone who thinks, especially about the common good, can only be left of centre

    Right wing types, who are motivated by self-interest, are not interested in becoming journalists. . . they will choose to occupy themselves in fulfilling their selfish desires

    Plenty of right-wingers are concerned about the common good.

    And is the desire to be a journalist not a selfish one?

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  43. Fox (202 comments) says:

    “Right wing politicians have to confront the bias rather than cowing to these scum.”

    I think politicians directly meddling in the media sets a rather dangerous precedent, and takes us further away from a solution, not closer.
    It is essential for democracy that the media remains as free as possible, at all times.

    I do believe however, that when it comes to State funded media, like TVNZ and Radio NZ, the Government DOES have a duty to become more involved to ensure they take a more politically balanced approach, given that it is funded by people of all political persuasions (roughly 50% right / 50% left at present), and thus should have content and policies that reflect such.

    On that count National has been asleep at the wheel.

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  44. Redbaiter (8,032 comments) says:

    Sorry, but I did not encourage politicians to meddle in media.

    I said that they should confront left wing journalists on their bias. By this I meant that during interviews or talk shows or the like they should make sure to highlight the left wing bias of moderators or interviewers who pretend to objectivity but who are in fact asking questions premised on left wing ideas. Or just repeating left wing talking points.

    There is plenty that could be said to these charlatans, but it is never said. I presume because our (perceived) right wing politicians just lack the courage and or the conviction to do so.

    As for the state funded media, it is an anachronism and should not exist. I am not prepared to debate government measure to make it “fairer”. This is unworkable nonsense. The government should not own media outlets end of story.

    Your comment is incoherent and self contradictory. It was obviously a mistake engaging you.

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  45. Michael (899 comments) says:

    Media have left wing bias. Bear observed doing you-know-what in woods. Argentine religious leader in Rome found to be Catholic.

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  46. somewhatthoughtful (457 comments) says:

    Eloquent, smart people don’t support dumb, failed ideas. I’m truly shocked.

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  47. The only red for me is that of Manchester United (55 comments) says:

    John Campbell has become the “mother of the nation”. I fail to recall one simple story where he has praised the government for what it is doing. He and his show are hell bent on always taking on the establishment. Going for the emotional jugular. Seldom without ever providing a balanced viewpoint. I no longer watch his show. Without an establishment nations quickly turn into corrupt governments.

    As for National Radio. I gave up on that years ago. Again, never a balance story. Shaun Plunket on Radio Live is turning out to be ok.

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  48. cubit (356 comments) says:

    My prize for broad (caster) of the age is Mary Wilson at RNZ. I just wish I knew as much on any single subject as she claims to know on absolutely any subject. She has no objectivity on anything, just a pre-ordsained view that she must be right (left actually). Her mate in the morning Simon Mercep is the male equivalent. No reporting just expression of his own agenda.

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  49. edhunter (521 comments) says:

    Ummm I posted a link to this article here on Monday… Just saying

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  50. Bob R (1,357 comments) says:

    This is one reason why the rise of the internet to weaken the stranglehold of the major news media outlets is good for democracy.

    Just on the subject on failures in democracy & institutions like the media, I’d recommend this piece by Charlie Stross:

    “So, here’s my hypothesis:

    •Institutional survival pressure within organizations — namely political parties — causes them to systematically ignore or repel candidates for political office who are disinclined to support the status quo or who don’t conform to the dominant paradigm in the practice of politics.

    •The status quo has emerged by consensus between politicians of opposite parties, who have converged on a set of policies that they deem least likely to lose them an election — whether by generating media hostility, corporate/business sector hostility, or by provoking public hostility. In other words, the status quo isn’t an explicit ideology, it’s the combined set of policies that were historically least likely to rock the boat (for such boat-rocking is evaluated in Bayesian terms — “did this policy get some poor bastard kicked in the nuts at the last election? If so, it’s off the table”).

    •The news cycle is dominated by large media organizations and the interests of the corporate sector. While moral panics serve a useful function in alienating or enraging the public against a representative or party who have become inconveniently uncooperative, for the most part a climate of apathetic disengagement is preferred — why get involved when trustworthy, reassuringly beige nobodies can do a safe job of looking after us?

    •The range of choices available at the democratic buffet table have therefore narrowed until they’re indistinguishable. (“You can have Chicken Kiev, Chicken Chasseur, or Chicken Korma.” “But I’m vegan!”) Indeed, we have about as much choice as citizens in any one-party state used to have.

    •Protests against the range of choices available have become conflated with protests against the constitutional framework, i.e. dissent has been perceived as subversion/treason.

    •Occasionally cultural shifts take place: over decades, they sometimes reach a level of popular consensus that, when not opposed by corporate stakeholders, leads to actual change. Marriage equality is a fundamentally socially conservative issue, but reflects the long-term reduction in prejudice against non-heteronormative groups. Nobody (except moral entrepreneurs attempting to build a platform among various reactionary religious institutions) stands to lose money or status by permitting it, so it gets the nod. Decriminalization of drug use, on the other hand, would be catastrophic for the budget of policing organizations and the prison-industrial complex: it might be popular in some circles, but the people who count the money won’t let it pass without a fight.

    Overall, the nature of the problem seems to be that our representative democratic institutions have been captured by meta-institutions that implement the iron law of oligarchy by systematically reducing the risk of change. They have done so by converging on a common set of policies that do not serve the public interest, but minimize the risk of the parties losing the corporate funding they require in order to achieve re-election.

    http://www.antipope.org/charlie/blog-static/2013/02/political-failure-modes-and-th.html

    http://unqualified-reservations.blogspot.co.nz/2013/02/charles-stross-discovers-cathedral.html

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  51. Slipster (98 comments) says:

    Hamnida asks: “Who with an IQ above 80 would vote for Tony Abbott?”

    Well, if you want to know – everyone with IQ over 81.

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  52. Tom Jackson (2,520 comments) says:

    IMHO as an instinctively left voter, Act policies were sound.

    Hardly. I looked at their site. It’s a wishlist of derper nonsense, most of it based on an elementary economic fallacy.

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  53. Tom Jackson (2,520 comments) says:

    Ever heard of confirmation bias? Reality has a left wing bias? How do you equate nature’s rule of “only the strongest survive” with being left wing?

    Pretty easily. The way we’re going, the insects will inherit the earth.

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  54. Tom Jackson (2,520 comments) says:

    I said that they should confront left wing journalists on their bias. By this I meant that during interviews or talk shows or the like they should make sure to highlight the left wing bias of moderators or interviewers who pretend to objectivity but who are in fact asking questions premised on left wing ideas.

    Whatever you do, Brer Fox, don’t throw me in the briar patch…

    If right wingers want to be taken seriously, they ought to stop referring to social democratic parties like Labour and the Greens as “Marxists”. They have more in common with Mormons than Marxists.

    The cold war is over.

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  55. Longknives (4,686 comments) says:

    “This doesn’t surprise me, as journalists are more likely to be educated than your average Aussie bloke down at the pub.”

    Thanks Hammie! Glad you can appreciate my superior intellect!!
    By the way- I’m probably not quite what you would classify as a ‘lefty’…

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  56. Tom Jackson (2,520 comments) says:

    Interesting stuff, BobR.

    I would say that most of these problems are caused democracy rather than antithetical to it. That’s why they are so hard to solve – the source of any intractable problem is usually the thing that people are least willing to abandon.

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  57. Kleva Kiwi (281 comments) says:

    “Tom Jackson (587) Says:
    May 24th, 2013 at 10:49 am
    Reality has a left wing bias

    Morality has a left wing bias

    Rationality has a left wing bias

    Seems to be a pattern here… hmmm…”

    That is the most smug, self absorbed, narssasistic comment you have said so far, and one that is pretty typical of the self centred lefties who think they are better than everyone.

    In reality, Morality, rationality et all are not based on political bias. You saying so has simply demonstraighted your ignorance and propensity to spin everything in favour of your world view.

    One day, you will get a clue and realise we are all in this together, despite our political views. That is reality.

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  58. The Scorned (719 comments) says:

    Anyone who thinks, especially about the common good, can only be left of centre

    Right wing types, who are motivated by self-interest, are not interested in becoming journalists. . . they will choose to occupy themselves in fulfilling their selfish desires

    Here’s what that Commie bullyboy rot really means in essence…

    “Since there is no such entity as ‘the public,’ since the public is merely a number of individuals, any claimed or implied conflict of ‘the public interest’ with private intersts means that the interests of some men are to be sacrificed to the interest and wishes of others.”

    Ayn Rand

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  59. OneTrack (2,818 comments) says:

    “The cold war is over.”

    Clearly it s still being fought with te left still eager to enforce their views on everybody else.

    Tom Jackson @2:50 – Did you really just say we need to move beyond limited concepts like one man – one vote. I would NEVER have expected it :-)

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  60. UpandComer (523 comments) says:

    Haha Hamnida, that’s why Gillard is going to get tossed out hard. Also, her policies have killed the Australian economy, is that’s same pattern again, the nats set up the economy, the Labourites spend it all and waste the good times and idiots like you vote for it. Cool.

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  61. meanybeany (26 comments) says:

    Hey Redbaiter, I am very well travelled, educated and read – mostly history. . . but occasional novels like Atlas Shrugged. . . yes, all 1,200 pages of it’s mediocrity. Ayn Rand is the most evil writer I have ever come across. By her definition, I am a mystic of the spirit. . . proudly so.

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