News Overboard: the Tabloid Media, Race Politics, and Islam - Iain Lygo
Title: News Overboard: the Tabloid Media, Race Politics, and Islam
Author: Iain Lygo
Publisher: Southerley Change Media
A timely book by Iain Lygo
Five years ago, if anyone would have told me our government would use military force to deny refugees a chance to seek asylum in Australia. I would not have believed them.
Five years ago, if someone had told me the government would send asylum seekers to bankrupt Pacific states to be imprisoned beyond the scrutiny of Australian courts and the world's media, I would have told them they were crazy.
In John Howard's Australia, this basic denial of human rights not only goes unquestioned by much of the media, it is celebrated by the tabloid press and numerous shock jocks on commercial radio.
In News Overboard, I have argued the attack on multiculturalism has come from three fronts.
Firstly on the political front. The rise of One Nation in the late 1990's saw disaffected voters looking for someone else to blame. Aboriginals and Asian Australians were the early scapegoats and Pauline Hanson offered a series of simplistic solutions.
By 2001 Muslims became the new bogeyman for Australian racists, and when the Howard government adopted Pauline Hanson's immigration policies and turned around the Tampa, One Nation was effectively finished.
Political commentator Laurie Oakes argued the campaign was dominated by dog whistle politics, in that the Tampa message was pitched at a level to attract the racist vote but he went unheard by many Australians.
I'd argue that the 2001 campaign saw racism move from the fringes of Australian society and become mainstream again.
On another front there are also a handful of academics who are also pushing anti-multiculturalism. These academics provide a perceived credibility to anti-multiculturalism, which is based on the economic rationalist principle of individualism rather than favouring any specific sector of society.
News Overboard concentrates on the third group of people pushing the anti-multiculturalists' agenda. The media, or more specifically the tabloid media.