Last night’s episode ofÂ Q&AÂ was one of the most outrageously and offensively biasedÂ of an ABC show that has been uniformly biased.
It was also an insight into the broad Left’s loathing of free speech and the West, and into the racism that informs its anti-racist posturing.
Jewish readers should noteÂ one part in particular: the unchallenged account of one panellist telling how anti-“hate-speech” activism can be used against defenders of Israel. This is a point I’ve tried to warn Jewish leaders about again and again. Here is how the show unfolded.
FIRST, STACK THE PANEL
Host Tony Jones stacked the panel with known Leftists:Â Egyptian activist and commentator Mona Eltahawy, Somalian peace and human rights advocate Ilwad Elman; The Observer’s ethics columnist Lucy Siegle; and the international head of Human Rights Watch, Kenneth Roth. Add Jones and the count was five people of the Left to a single panellist, Human Rights Commissioner Tim Wilson, who is not.
NEXT, ATTACK THE TOKEN NON-LEFTIST
Even those odds – five to one – were still not good enough for Jones, who ambushed Wilson with a set-up. Jones devoted the second question to hostile videos from viewers attacking Wilson like no other panellist was attacked:
ROBERT MAYNARD: Tim Wilson’s comments to The Age this weekend calling it bizarre that racial terms may be used freely within communities of colour but not by white people and claiming free use of the N word would restore equality, revealed a breathtaking lack of comprehension…
ATTACK EVERY “BIGOTRY” BUT THE LEFT’SÂ
Everyone agreed abusing people was wrong and no one had a right to be a bigot:
KENNETH ROTH: … the Attorney-General … should be saying “Bigotry is wrong.” That’s what a public officials should do.MONA ELTAHAWY: Yes.
ILWAD ELMAN: I think that particular statement people have the right to become bigots is very worrisome… At what point is the right to freedom of speech crossing on hate?
But not a single panellist then protested at the bigotry of one panellist who twice vilified free speech advocates as “old, rich, white men”, who must of course be racist and sexist:
MONA ELTAHAWY:Â First of all, in the United States, the people who go on the most about freedom of expression and it’s my right to say this and my right to say that are usually old, rich, white men who parade under the term libertarian. And what it ends up basically meaning is: I have the right to be a racist and sexist shit and I’m protected by the first amendment…
MONA ELTAHAWY: The reason that they said that, actually, you know, this is actually all about the free market. This is why I am bringing in the rich, old, white men.
SLANDER GADFLIES, SATIRISTS, CONSERVATIVES, ENEMIES OF JIHAD AND FRIENDS OF ISRAEL AND DEMAND THEY BE SILENCEDÂ
Everyone bar Tim Wilson seemed to agree using the law to silence certain people they vilify as “bigots” or racists was great:
LUCY SIEGLE:Â So what I would like to say is that there are a lot of contrarian columnists around. I have worked in newspapers for years… From the moment the printing press was invented there were people who worked out if you take a contrarian, shock jock point of view, you’re going to get a lot of attention and a lot of money. I don’t think we should change laws to protect their freedom of speech. We have a similar issue in the UK, where we have contrarian columnists and certain comedians who aren’t very funny but bigotry is part of their act and the whole debate is centred around how we can protect them and enable their free speech and I think we’re looking at protecting the wrong people…
But one panellist, Eltahawy, demonstrated how dangerously loose the term “bigot” now is – howÂ it can actually be used to attack those fighting bigotry.Â Eltahawy seemed to argue that to support a democracy against a fascist terrorist movement was actually racist, and the position of “hate groups”:
MONA ELTAHAWY [speaking of a subway sign she defaced]: It said: “In the war between the civilised man and the savage, always choose the civilised man. Support Israel. Defeat Jihad.” And I thought: are you f…ing kidding me? In my subway? How can you put this up?Â And the subway – the subway authorities did not want this ad, because they said it was going to incite people and so they took it to the hate group and it’s been classified as a hate group by the – it’s the Southern [Poverty] Law Centre… They have deemed it a hate group. They have deep pockets, these libertarian, you know, old rich white men. And they took it to a judge and the judge deemed it protected political speech. I am fine with protected political speech but surely it should be my right to protest racism and bigotry? … But my fight here is the kind of language used in the ad and what is acceptable now and you were saying earlier that it’s not just the law…
HATE THE WEST
Eltahawy painted the West as the home of bigots and sell-outs. No speakers protested, and some added further condemnation of Australia:
MONA ELTAHAWY:Â I now live in Egypt but I was in the US for 13 years, Muslims are fair game.MONA ELTAHAWY: I would like to know, one, the name of at least one western country that has this so-called ethical foreign policy that we often hear about. I think most western countries have disgraceful records … I think your main concern is to sell our regimes and our dictators weapons. You turn a blind eye to torture…
MONA ELTAHAWY: … none of you do absolutely anything to help us. You’ve always sold us out, so what’s new?…
MONA ELTAHAWY: I think sometimes it helps in these discussions to get really down to the bare bones and just say it as it is and that is people are scared of brown and black people coming into your country. And that’s essentially what it is.
(Note:Â Â Eltahawy protested for the removal of the democratically elected Muslim Brotherhood president of Egypt. Now she protests against the military regime that inevitably replaced it.)
ABUSE AUSTRALIA, AND ESPECIALLY ITS LIBERAL GOVERNMENT:
All but Tim Wilson agreed the Government was hopeless and anachronistic, even the host:
TONY JONES: Yeah. Are you surprised, though, that we would go for such an anachronistic form or return to such an anachronistic form of honours?
KENNETH ROTH: Well, it’s sadly characteristic of this Government now…
ILWAD ELMAN: …it seems like Australia is regressing a little bit …
MONA ELTAHAWY:Â …I think, you know, your Prime Minister is a walking anachronistic – I don’t know what else to call him – Prime Minister …
ILWAD ELMAN: I think Australia is taking a lot of very horrific positions and putting itself in very difficult situations. They’re cuddling up with Sri Lanka, cutting off the boats and celebrating they haven’t had – they have had 100 days of no boats coming in, talking about how Australians should be bigots…
LUCY SIEGLE: Just, as Ilwad said, some of the positions that the Australian Government is taking on behalf of the nation, they sound toxic to outsiders.
USE ABUSIVE LANGUAGE, THE LANGUAGE OF BARBARIANS
One panelist had no trouble with using offensive language after all, and no one dared protest her lack of courtesy and civility:
MONA ELTAHAWY: …Â they asked us if we wanted to join the Commonwealth, we said “F… no”…. And I thought: are you f…ing kidding me?….Â we’re truly well and truly f…ed… So you can see why I say we are well and truly f…ed
DEMONISE OUR ATTEMPTS TO CONTROL OUR BORDERS
Everyone seemed critical of the Abbott Government’s boat people policy, and when one audience member put a contrary view a panellist and the host badgered him and misled and misinformed him with a grossly offensive analogies and what a judge would call factual inaccuracies:
ANDREW WILSON [audience member]: The death at Manus Island was a tragedy. People are obviously desperate when they have paid thousands of dollars to people smugglers and have no hope of coming here. Yet, why did the ABC show no similar outrage for the thousands of deaths caused by the dismantling of the Pacific Solution?TONY JONES: I will go to Ken Roth on this and this is the justification for stopping the boats, that thousands of people died at sea. Before we do, I will just quickly take issue with your point there, because I reject the characterisation of the ABC’s role in this. In fact, some of the most graphic reporting on this was done by ABC reporters, including finding ships that nobody even knew had been lost at sea and finding the detail on those. So I just discount what you are saying.
ANDREW WILSON: Well, I take issue with that. You never once opposed the previous Government’s policy in my reading of the ABC…
(NOTE:Â Wilson is right. IÂ do not recall the ABC covering any of the first drownings. I recall the ABC instead running for years with the Labor Government’s deceitful claim that boat people weren’t actually being lured to their deaths by the policies made too soft. I recall the ABC mocking Abbott’s promise to turn back the boats, a promise he’s actually fulfilled. And note, seconds earlier Jones was still attacking as too harsh the measures the Government took to stop the boats – and the drownings.)
TONY JONES: OK. Alright. Ken Roth?
KENNETH ROTH: Well, first, if I could, just let me address the 100 days without a boat because, you know, the question really is how did that happen. You know, if I said we’re going to execute everybody who shows up in a boat, the boats would stop. Is that a fair way to do it? No.
(NOTE:Â What an utterly bizarre analogy. Nothing remotely so cruel is being proposed and never would be. Fact: the harm averted outweights the harm caused. Fewer people are drowning, fewer people are in detention, and fewer boat people are taking the places of genuine refugees.)
ANDREW WILSON: Look, we can take a lot – immigration has been great for the country and we can take a lot more immigrants but you can’t take people to put them onto the dole….
KENNETH ROTH: Well, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait. So what is the assumption here: that because somebody seeks asylum they go on the dole?
ANDREW WILSON: No. But…
KENNETH ROTH: I mean, please… My father was an asylum seeker….Â He fled Nazi Germany. He went to New York… Do you think he was ever, for one minute of his life, on the dole? And I think that is the norm for asylum seekers.
(NOTE:Â Completely false. A Department of Immigration survey in 2011 confirmed that 85 per cent of refugees were on social security payments even after five years here – including 94 per cent of all Afghan refugees. Wilson was right, Roth very wrong.)
AND ADD GLOBAL WARMING ALARMISM
And what’s aÂ Q&AÂ episode without some global warming alarmism?
LUCY SIEGLE:Â If you saw the intergovernmental panel on climate change issuing today the 300 scientists who have come to the consensus on what’s happening with climate change, it is not good news. And one of the things that it will mean is that more and more people will have to migrate. So we are looking at increasingly large numbers of people who need somewhere else to be, need somewhere else to live for environmental reasons …
Look atÂ Q&AÂ and despair. A culture of savage nihilism is engulfing us, and our right to even protest is being stripped away.
ABC managing director Mark Scott is about to deliver a big lecture tonight on the media. He will say that claims the ABC is biased are exaggerated.