Would anyone be at all surprised to discover John Howard and his Government tell big fat porkies? Most likely not, but that hasn’t stopped the chaps at John Howard Lies.com from compiling a fairly comprehensive list of some of the PM and Government’s more blatant untruths.
I’ve always wanted someone to compile a list like this, so it’s nice to see someone has. One thing this site is missing, though, is any discussion of the clever ways the PM gets around telling lies, namely the “I wasn’t told” defence. Also largely absent, whatever happened to the idea of political accountability — you know, politicians used to resign when it became apparent they had lied or rorted their benefits or otherwise damaged the public confidence in our political system. Has a single Howard Government pollie fallen on his/her sword since 1996? That would make an interesting list, too.
Anyway, what public confidence? Social researcher Hugh Mackay says the public is disengaged — we know politicians lie and we don’t care. On the other hand, this led Mackay to claim people trust advertising more than politicians or the media, which says to me the only people dumber and more out of touch with reality than “people” are sociologists.
Actually, make that academics in general. In a report on John Howard Lies, Monash University political scientist Nick Economou claims:
People seem to use the internet for cultural and recreational pursuits, rather than for politics. People are more interested in downloading music, looking at porn and seeing what film’s on at the cinema.
Gee, Dr Nick, wouldn’t it be awful for you if people used the internet to discuss something you get paid to sound authoritative about?! Better make fun of it and tell people it’s all full of porn, that always works well.
The problem is, there’s a fair chance they’re both right. People know politicians lie, they don’t care, and a website listing those lies is probably not going to change too many people’s voting intentions. Now, if Ray Martin read them out on A Current Affair, that would be something. Everybody trusts Ray Martin.