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Symptoms of media dysfunction

May 21, 2019 - 09:33 -- Admin

In an analysis of the election
result of May 18, Samantha Maiden, stating that the Labor Party was “trounced
on Saturday night”. While use of the word ‘trounced’ would indicate some sort
of electoral landslide, the Labor Party overall lost only a few seats, such
that the Coalition will now have a majority of a couple of seats in the House
of Representatives. Hardly a trouncing. Perhaps the most pathetic item in
Maiden’s analysis is her effective parroting of the Liberal lie of the Labor’s dividend
imputation refund plan as a “retiree tax”, which she did with the phrase “dividend
imputation tax”1. She does include a link to an explanatory piece
which demonstrates rather awkwardly how the system operates. However, this latter
piece does not explain it very well and again uses a furphy put about by the
government that a low taxable income is equivalent to a low income2.
I have a very low taxable income, but live quite comfortably (without a
franking credit refund). This parroting of government propaganda is symptomatic
of the malaise affecting the mainstream media in recent years. I’d be less
critical of Samantha Maiden if she had stated that the increase in the assets
threshold for the government pension was a tax on the pension3. It
is the same thing; either the end of getting a cheque, or getting a smaller
cheque from the government.

Like Maiden, Fran Kelly referred to “Labor’s retiree tax” on Radio National’s Breakfast4, regurgitating the government’s electoral line but before the election. I cannot begin to understand why Maiden or Kelly would use this terminology, when the franking credit refund policy of the Labor Party was anything but a tax. These are a couple of examples of using loaded terms which overwhelmingly favour one side of politics. Do Maiden or Kelly think using such loaded terminology was unlikely to benefit one side of politics? Given that this terminology for Labor’s franking credit refund policy was used in the Coalition’s scare campaign, then they must be bereft of much in the way of common sense. Whether they used this terminology because of bias (theirs or their superior’s) or laziness, I do not know. Which of these doesn’t really matter; however, it does clearly indicate that they and the rest of the mainstream media need to pick their game up.

Sources

  1. https://thenewdaily.com.au/news/election-2019/2019/05/19/labor-defeat-reason/
  2. https://thenewdaily.com.au/money/your-budget/2019/02/12/ten-tips-to-understanding-franking-credits/
  3. https://www.industrysuper.com/retirement-info/pension-changes/
  4. https://twitter.com/phbarratt/status/1126269049753571328

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