The broken promise fallacy

September 18, 2010

I saw on ABC News this morning that apparently “Julia Gillard has already started breaking election promises” and that this would be the main attack point of a speech by Tony Abbott this weekend. (UPDATE: The lead story on ABC News 24 news update is “Julia Gillard breaks election promises”. Incredible.)

Good to see our national broadcaster slavishly reporting Coalition key messages.

This is the lead story on the ABC website.

The Age’s Michelle Grattan also uncritically reports the “broken promises” line:

JULIA Gillard has declared that climate change and some other election promises will not be kept to the letter by her minority government – and ”people are going to have to get used to it”.

This kind of reporting and commentary is journalistic turpitude and shows that the mainstream media is intent on ruthlessly reporting the new parliament thought the old prism, where any change is a promise broken, and disagreement is a split, and everything the independents and Greens party MPs say is evidence of the imminent collapse of the Labor Government.

(This kind of breathless hyperventilation is typical of the astro-turf conservative “Australian Tea Party” that are increasingly popping up on Twitter and elsewhere.)

Anyone who watched Q&A last Monday would have seen evidence of the “new paradigm” in Parliament – every piece of legislation will have to be negotiated through, and private members’ bills will receive significantly more time and attention.

The old way of Governments pushing their legislative agenda through Parliament are over. Unfortunately the Canberra Press Gallery and other political commentators are stuck in the past – and their reporting is not only misleading and ill-informed, but dangerously distorts the picture for Australians reading their columns and watching their “reports”.

UPDATE (Jan 2011)

Nationals Leader Warren Truss was on the radio this morning (31 January 2011) with a venomous and dispicable message that Gillard and Labor was “playing politics” by “cancelling” infrastructure projects in Coalition held seats.

This is a nasty, mean and tricky smear against the Federal Government. Warren Truss has shown that he is beneath contempt with his attempt to politicise the post-flood reconstruction efforts.

Of course some infrastrucutre projects have had to be delayed due to reconstruction. Of course it’s mostly Coalition-held seats that are affected – they won most of the Federal seats in Queensland.

To try to link this to some kind of political payback shows that Warren Truss’s ethical turpitude.

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