Tag Archives: Journalists

Casting the first stone: the Thomson affair

22 May

I don’t know if Craig Thomson is telling the truth. I don’t know if Kathy Jackson is telling the truth. I never know when Tony Abbott is telling the truth, and I’m not at all sure about Julia Gillard either.

That I don’t know when leaders are lying has been most forcefully brought home to me as we’ve witnessed self-righteous politicians and journalists, almost all united in their obsessive desire to get Craig Thomson for something, construct narratives that inevitably cast Thomson as guilty, because it suits their purposes.

I don’t know if any of the people responsible for governing our country and reporting on that governance tell the truth. I can’t even be bothered attempting to establish their veracity. It’s too exhausting. I’ll assume they are all liars until it is demonstrated otherwise.

What has also been most forcefully brought home to me throughout this saga is that we don’t seem to have many journalists anymore. We have opinionistas. I could count on the fingers of one hand the reports I’ve read that deal with the facts. Rather, the media is flooded with the subjective opinions of self-important commentators, most of whom, I strongly suspect, have their own barrows to push though they apparently feel  under no obligation to disclose what those barrows might contain.

These are the most powerful arguments I can make for leaving the Thomson matter to the courts, because when all around you are self-interested liars, the law is all that’s left. Even the law doesn’t guarantee that truth will out. But it’s our best shot. It’s all we’ve got.

This blog post unravels some of the complexities of the situation, the ones the mainstream media don’t report. As does this one. And this one. Why, I ask myself, are the self-appointed mainstream experts not discussing these aspects? Isn’t it something of a moral crime to deliberately omit large chunks of a story?

No matter what Thomson has or hasn’t done, the witch hunt continues to be ferocious. To my mind, the authenticity of Kathy Jackson’s claims is equally tenuous, but we have not seen anything like the same ferocity directed at her. The public attacks on Thomson are astounding, whipped up by politicians and media, and why? Because we have a minority government. Would anyone give much of a stuff about the internal upheavals of a branch of the HSU if we didn’t?

Thomson is accused of serious misconduct. Unfortunately, this is not an unprecedented event amongst MPs from all parties. As things stand today, I’m more sickened by the fake outrage swirling around Thomson, perpetrated by politicians and much of the media. I doubt there’s many among this crowd in a position to cast the first stone. I don’t care what any one of them “thinks” about Thomson’s guilt. There’s not one of them whose opinion I trust or respect.

And this is the real lesson of the Thomson saga: that our public discourse is dominated by a bunch of self-interested thugs who care nothing for the truth and are entirely unwilling to permit an environment in which the truth can emerge. Whatever the outcome with Thomson, he has been punished already way beyond his alleged crimes, and the punishment will continue for the rest of his life and the lives of his family members. This punishment has not been sanctioned in the courts. It is entirely arbitrary and administered by an unrelenting moral lynch mob.

For the politicians and journalists feeding off this saga there will be no punishment for their moral failures. There will be no punishment for their destruction of the presumption of innocence on which our system of justice is based. This, to my mind, is the biggest crime in this sorry mess, and the one most likely to be ongoing in its capacity for moral destruction.

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