Sunday, May 13, 2012

Abbott and language

This has been an amazing week. At least the SMH got it right in yesterday's editorial when they noted the absence of anything amounting to policy. Senator Conroy's media releases covered the NBN bit. The SMH however saw fit to say nice things about the Abbott commitment to teaching foreign languages. I won't here go into the fact that such teaching would be advanced by the NBN. The question is the need, the observation is the hypocrisy. Australia is actually a linguistically diverse nation due to its high levels of immigration. But the single most important language to speak is English. That's what the Europeans an Asians all most want to learn. Better resource use would be to boost English language training to others in the region. But the policy stands in stark contrast to opposition to multiculturalism. That opposition takes the form of objecting to the useof community languages and encourages migrants to integrate. So Abbott's view is that if you already speak a language other than English you shouldn't, but if you don't speak a language other than English you should learn one. And this man is taken seriously? Wake up Australia.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Reporting the "news"

If Chicken Little runs around and says "The sky is falling" it could be reported in three ways. The first way would be "The sky is falling". This would be inaccurate. The second would be "Today Chicken Little claimed that the sky is falling." This would be a completely accurate report but of little value. The third would be "Today Chicken Little lied. Little claimed that the sky is falling. Investigations reveal it is not." This would be a completely accurate and highly valuable report. We call the third one "journalism". I wonder which one of the three ways of reporting will be used to cover politics tonight. Experience is rapidly telling me that it is most often the second, sometimes the first. Very very seldom is it the third, even amongst those outlets who talk about the need to fund "investigative journalism."