, September 9, 2000
Bias against Howard
Congratulations on ‘The Media’ (News Weekly, August 26), with John Styles’ examples of the almost incredible media bias against the Howard Government’s policies. I hope the page becomes a regular feature.
There may be many shortcomings and negatives about this Government, but the inability of the majority of the nation’s media commentators to be objective about Howard is staggering and seems to betray an innate pro-Labor stance.
One striking example of this, and which has not been commented upon in the mainstream media, is the refusal to be honest about the Howard government’s response to the East Timor issue. In fact, the issue has been allowed to die.
The media’s adulation of Major General Peter Cosgrove, Australian commander of the INTERFET forces in East Timor, is incongruous, given the standard kneejerk criticism of military intervention we’ve come to expect from most journalists.
As churlish as it might seem to point it out, Cosgrove was only in East Timor because he was charged to go there by the Prime Minister.
As reluctant as most of the media is to admit it, John Howard is the first Prime Minister in twenty-five years to do anything tangible to support East Timor’s struggle for independence, repaying the debt we are told we owe the East Timorese for assisting us in safeguarding Australia’s own freedom in WWII.
Gough Whitlam, Malcolm Fraser and Bob Hawke all declined to do so when they were in power, while Paul Keating actively betrayed them by collaborating with the Indonesian Government and divvying up the spoils from the Timor Gap Treaty.
There’s something dubious about this adulation of Cosgrove, fanned by a media that is, with few exceptions, heavily biased against John Howard.
I suggest that this misplaced adulation is a mean-spirited tactic to deny John Howard what little glory he actually deserves.
North Melbourne, VicWorld Economic Forum
Mr Howard is to be applauded for stating that his Government will never be deterred by violence inthe context of the S-11 threat to shut down the World Economic Forum in Melbourne.
Where Mr Howard lacks credibility, however, is his claim that governments will only be influenced by reasoned argument.
Clearly his unfettered free trade policies are demonstrably doing great damage to the economic and social fabric of this country, yet the weight of argument cannot penetrate his political mindset.
It’s time to listen, Mr Howard, the natives are restless.