News & Current Affairs
27 April 2015
by John Passant
Evidently the ANZACs died for free speech, except for Aborigines and SBS
For the past few years an group of Aboriginal people and their supporters have marched on ANZAC Day in Canberra to remember those killed in the Frontier Wars. This year the police stopped them from marching and postured aggressively at them.
We couldn’t have Aboriginal people pointing out the truth about the Frontier Wars from 1778 to 1920 in which tens of thousands of Aboriginal warriors fell defending their land against the invaders could we? That would expose the reality of the essentially white character of the celebration of ANZAC Day and its reinforcement of white Australia.
Stopping Aboriginal people marching in memory of their brothers and sisters who were killed during the Frontier Wars exposes that white Australia reality too.
What did those mainly working class soldiers slaughtered in the First World War die for? The ongoing genocide of Aboriginal people? The suppression of their continuing resistance? Their repression down the ages including today.
Evidently the ANZACs died for free speech, except at SBS
Scott McIntyre is, or rather was, until ANZAC Day, a sports reporter at Australia’s Special Broadcasting Service. He tweeted a number of truths about war and the war porn week we have had to endure celebrating the defeat of Australian colonialism at Gallipoli. According to Michaela Whitburn at the Sydney Morning Herald:
McIntyre, a soccer reporter and presenter, referred to some Australians marking Anzac Day as “poorly-read, largely white, nationalist drinkers and gamblers” on his officially verified Twitter account on Saturday night.
“Remembering the summary execution, widespread rape and theft committed by these ‘brave’ Anzacs in Egypt, Palestine and Japan,” he wrote to his 30,000 followers.
“Not forgetting that the largest single-day terrorist attacks in history were committed by this nation & their allies in Hiroshima & Nagasaki.”
He also said: ‘The cultification of an imperialist invasion of a foreign nation that Australia had no quarrel with is against all ideals of modern society.’
He posted this photo.
Under it he wrote: ‘Innocent children, on the way to school, murdered. Their shadows seared into the concrete of Hiroshima.’
SBS sacked him.
There are two issues here.
First, McIntyre was telling his version of the truth, a version much closer to reality than the war porn about ANZAC Day the Australian ruling class has force fed us over the last week.
Second, sacking McIntyre explodes the lie of the ruling class that our participation in this imperialist war was about defending freedom and democracy then and now.
Of course sacking McIntyre will please a lot of people who would never watch the ‘multicultural’ SBS. That shows how great the task of the left is to have our voice and with it our truth in the wider public arena heard.
The degeneration of mainstream media to become nothing other than a mouthpiece for neoliberalism and jingoism (with the occasional meek and mild non-conformist asking permission to politely disagree with the tsunami of ruling class lies) goes hand and hand with the two party coalition of Labor and Liberals over how to address the underlying problems of capitalism by making the poor and working class bear the burden. The one sided class war has produced little working class response over the last 32 years, in the main because their living standards have been increasing or their debt levels have been increasing to give the impression of increasing living standards. Now that living standards are falling, that could change.
My union, the Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance, represents journalists at SBS. It is a weak union in a time of generalised working class inactivity and inaction. Its leadership will do nothing to defend McIntyre, despite the obvious threat his sacking poses to independent thinking and questioning authority in the mainstream media.
The relevant Minister, Malcolm Turnbull, the darling of the Liberal left, condemned McIntyre’s tweets. He tweeted (before McIntyre was sacked):
Difficult to think of more offensive or inappropriate comments than those by @mcintinhos. Despicable remarks which deserve to be condemned.
There is nothing despicable about McIntyre’s remarks. In a world of truth they would have been unremarkable. Turnbull’s comments were a subtle direction to SBS to sack him. No doubt the Free Speech Commissioner, Mr what’s his name thingamejig, will be on to it straight away. [Sarcasm for those who can’t spot it.]
According to Rebecca Sullivan in the Herald Sun SBS Managing Director Michael Ebeid and Director of Sport Ken Shipp, after sacking McIntyre, said, among other things:
SBS apologises for any offence or harm caused by Mr McIntyre’s comments which in no way reflect the views of the network. SBS supports our Anzacs and has devoted unprecedented resources to coverage of the 100th anniversary of the Gallipoli landings.
The truth causes offence or harm? Perhaps the fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, but in ourselves … In other words rabid nationalism, jingoism and celebrating white men is systemic and encouraged from above by the politicians and the capitalist media and hence exists in much of civil society when class struggle is non-existent.
Equally problematic is the fact that SBS felt the need to both ‘support our ANZACs’ and to proudly proclaim it. One important point for serious journalism even within capitalism is to challenge the status quo. This is especially the case for a station established to challenge the white nationalist view of Australia. Now that white nationalist world view has infected SBS.
We live in the age of untruths. As George Orwell wrote: In a time of universal deceit – telling the truth is a revolutionary act. We on the left must keep telling the truth and continue building the resistance to the parliamentary liars and bosses’ bigots who attack workers’ jobs, living standards, health and education, and the poor. That way we can help create oases of our truth in the desert of their lies.
One way top do that is to campaign for Scott McIntyre to be reinstated to send a message to SBS and all the other bosses salivating about sacking staff for ‘unAustralian’ activities. Reinstate Scott.