The helpful types who write for the Fairfax Press – in Melbourne The Aged and in Sydney The Smearing Morning Herald – the former of which laughingly claims on their banner that they are “independent always” – produced on the weekend a partisan front page that might have been devised by an undergraduate editor after a long night out at Naughtons pub.
If the Murdoch press had published a smear like this about a left wing hero, the ABC would have gone into meltdown mode, with rolling 24 hour coverage on its dedicated news channel, twitter feed, chat shows, radio platforms, and online presence. Apart from a brief discussion on Insiders, however, the State owned broadcaster wasn’t really interested. Just another Fairfax press smearing of a serving officer who had put his life on the line in service of this nation. Fair game and all that, especially if he has the gall to stand for the Liberal Party.
We doubt many over at Fairfax have ever stared down the Taliban in combat. In fact, we’re pretty sure none have. The most danger the average Age journalist has probably faced in their working life has been crossing Alexandria Avenue in peak hour on their bicycle. We don’t remember The Age being all that keen on pointing out the barbaric ways of the Taliban and ISIS either, although compelled to report on them from time to time. Like the ABC, who were only too gullible and only too quick to report on false claims the Australian Navy had willfully burned the hands of asylum seekers, The Age do, however, seem very eager to find wrongdoing of any sort among those putting their lives on the line in service of this country, or our allies.
Yet the real affront to The Age and its fellow travelers in this instance, is not that Captain Hastie committed some ill defined war crime in Afghanistan – among the faecal matter that is its own front page article The Age itself admits Captain Hastie wasn’t even there and was subsequently cleared of any wrongdoing. No, the real affront is that Captain Hastie is standing for the Liberal Party.
If The Age wants to be an expensive version of the Green Left Weekly or Farrago rather than a serious newspaper, then that is fine.