CultureWatch

Bill Muehlenberg's commentary on issues of the day...

Discrimination and the Media

Jul 22, 2009

For all the hoopla about discrimination, the simple truth is everyone discriminates all the time. And that is just as true of the mainstream media, which so often crusades against what it considers to be the evils of discrimination. Every day the MSM is doing just as much discrimination as anyone else.

Consider the most recent edition of the Sunday Age. In its July 19th issue it ran two pieces, pushing a particular point of view. In doing so it was being extremely discriminatory, all the while whining about how bad it is to discriminate.

The two articles – a major feature story and a lead editorial – focused on the proposed changes to Victoria’s equal opportunity laws. The government is considering removing all religious exemptions from these laws, viewing them as being discriminatory. Thus in the two articles the case was strongly made that these exemptions must go, as they allow for all sorts of horrible “discrimination” by church groups and religious bodies.

Now taking what is really a neutral term and loading it with purely negative connotations is one way to sneakily make one’s case. But the truth is, we all discriminate all the time, and often for perfectly good reasons. And guess what? The Sunday Age is just as guilty of this as any religious body is.

So just how is the Sunday Age being discriminatory? Let me count the ways. It is being discriminatory when it:

-Takes one side of a controversial social or moral issue, and doggedly runs with that position.
-Decides to print articles on these topics.
-Uses these articles to push its own point of view.
-Selectively decides who will be quoted and who will not be quoted on this issue.
-Gives more time and print space to those who share its views.
-Edits out contrary points of view.

Moreover, the Sunday Age, like all newspapers, is being discriminatory when it:

-Hires certain people to write their editorials and opinion pieces, while excluding others.
-Determines who will be its editors, subeditors and other lesser lights.
-Chooses only certain journalists to cover a story.
-Decides which stories will be covered.
-Determines how much time and attention a particular issue will get.
-Uses graphics, photos and human interest stories to further bolster its case.
-Refuses to cover certain topics.
-Does not allow a certain point of view to get a hearing.
-Always portrays viewpoints contrary to its own in a derogatory light.
-Accepts or rejects a letter to the editor for publication.
-Edits a letter for publication.
-Gives a right of reply to only those who share its views.

The list is endless. Let me elaborate on a few of these points. As it turns out, I was interviewed for the feature story. Papers like the Age always want to give the appearance of being impartial and fair-minded, so they will usually offer at least a token conservative voice to be heard, although usually as a mere one-liner at the end of the article.

However, when the article appeared on Sunday there were no comments of mine to be found anywhere. So what happened there? Discrimination, that’s what. They simply chose to exclude me. Some subeditor probably decided they did not want my point of view, so it was axed. The word for this again? Discrimination.

And what about getting a job with the Sunday Age? Does anyone really believe they will hire anyone, regardless of their political, ideological or religious views? Somehow I don’t think so. Certainly not for key editorial positions. In my book that is called discrimination.

Would they ever consider hiring me? As it happens, I have been involved in journalism for a number of years. I even edited an underground newspaper back in my wild hippy days, before my suicidal and out of control life was turned around by an encounter with the living Christ. And with well over a million words written on this website alone, I have a bit of experience in writing, opinion-making, and commentary.

So in many ways I would be fully qualified to take on a position with this newspaper. But for ideological reasons, I know I will never get a job with them. I am just not politically correct enough for them. I am not leftwing enough. I am not secular enough. Thus I will always be discriminated against by the Sunday Age.

Thus this paper can please spare us this silliness that discrimination is somehow an evil which must be eradicated at all costs. Until I see papers like the Sunday Age drop all their discrimination, I will not take seriously their crocodile tears over other forms of discrimination.

Indeed, since it is clear that the Sunday Age has no intention whatsoever of dropping its discriminatory practices, why does it keep demanding that other groups – including religious bodies – not be allowed to be selective in who they hire, in what they believe, and so on?

Is this just one more case of liberal double standards? It seems pretty clear to me. And it also sounds a bit like discrimination.

www.theage.com.au/opinion/editorial/is-the-freedom-to-discriminate-a-human-right-20090718-doy0.html
www.theage.com.au/national/church-and-state-clash-over-equality-laws-20090718-dozx.html

[844 words]

20 Responses to Discrimination and the Media

  • A great article, Bill. Discrimination, like most everything else, can be good or bad depending on the situation.
    Tas Walker

  • Another way in which the MSM applies their discriminatory filtering of anything too far from their secular left world-view is the ‘have your say’ or ‘comments’ feature attached to many of the online stories of the major Australian papers. Judging from the number of completely inane remarks, I naively thought that these comments probably didn’t attract too much filtering. How wrong I was. Of the posts I have submitted – on the issues of abortion and Christianity – not one was posted.

    Now I have not made a large number of posts, and so I’d be interested in others’ experience, but looking more closely at what comments they do allow, the rule seems to be that comments must be consistent with the secular world-view to be posted. For example “I am a Christian and I think churches play a vital role in our community” is OK because it’s just opinion, but “Churches are vital so that people can know how their sins can be forgiven and avoid the wrath of God” is not, because it asserts a fact inconsistent with that world-view.

    We need to keep reminding people of the hypocrisy and sneaky-tactics the MSM apply. I hope then that more and more people will turn to sites like Bill’s for news of what’s really going on.

    Mansel Rogerson

  • Hi Bill,
    ‘Discriminating’ used to be an attractive word, especially when used to describe the sifting of things that are or not acceptable in language, art, cuisine and morality to select that which is good, beautiful and wholesome.

    Today, because “without God everything is permissible”, ‘good, beautiful and wholesome’ are up for grabs in the eyes of many. Those in power now use ‘discrimination’ as a tool to restrict opposition to their goals.

    The important thing for Christians is to differentiate between just & unjust discrimination, but using God’s assessment of righteousness as our canon. David Phillip’s essay “The Price of Religious Freedom” (‘Light’ Feb 2003) sheds light on the issue.

    Geoffrey Bullock

  • Very very good article Bill!

    I have written many letters the the Adelaide Advertiser over the years and whenever i have written letters showing the flaws in the evolution philosopy or showed what creationists really believe these letters are never printed. They also want to portray creationists as dumb, ignorant people. Or they’ll edit the letter to only show a little bit and twist it and leave me open to ridicule from others who’ll then attack my edited letter but i never get a right of reply.

    Also just imagining having a letter accepted in the paper where you say “I am not tolerant of homosexuality and i think it is right to discriminate against it – now, everyone out there be tolerant of my view” Imagine the ”tolerant” letters of abuse i’d get in response!

    They give lip service to the idea of ‘tolerance’ and only let it work one way.

    Jeremy Woods

  • These two articles by “The Age” are definately examples of media manipulation especially in giving us a “solution” to this social dilemma.

    Is the freedom to discriminate a human right? “Beth Gaze, associate professor at Melbourne University Law School, suggests a sensible COMPROMISE in her submission to the Department of Justice review.”

    Church and state clash over equality laws. “The Government decided the review was necessary to HARMONISE the act with the new Charter of Human Rights and Responsibilities.”

    The media have manipulated a one-sided debate then presented a compromise. Society reads this debate and goes away thinking, well that’s fair, there will be change but it will be under strict controls and under certain conditions. Yet those people who argue for the traditional position are forced to compromise and the door of change is forced open that little bit more until eventually its forced open all the way.

    2 Chronicles 6:17: Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean [thing]; and I will receive you.

    Donna Opie

  • It’s not just the Sunday Age. Last week The Age ran an edited version of Jimmy Carter’s recent essay, originally published in The observer & Guardian titled; “The words of God do not justify cruelty to women”. While the original essay itself had deficiencies and was predictably pluralist, The Age decided to title it “Losing my religion for equality” and removed several pro-Christian references included a quote by Billy Graham and a Scripture reference. Talk about aggressive bias. Compare here:

    http://www.theage.com.au/opinion/losing-my-religion-for-equality-20090714-dk0v.html
    http://www.theelders.org/media/news/words-god-do-not-justify-cruelty-women

    Richard Bath

  • Good article Bill.
    We will know that the Victorian labor government is serious about not discriminating when they allow a member of the liberal party to be their treasurer or premier!
    This will never happen, so this whole exercise is about something else. ‘Anti-discrimination’ just happens to be a convenient nice-sounding buzz word to cover the real intent.
    Geoff Harvey

  • Hi Richard,

    Thanks for pointing out those discrepancies. I would have thought the original essay was left-wing enough to satisfy even The Age! But when they feel emboldened enough to change a former US President’s words to push their own extreme secular agenda, what chance of a fair hearing do the rest of us have?

    A bit off-topic, but I can’t resist mentioning some choice quotes from the pretentiously named group ‘The Elders’ that Jimmy Carter’s part of:

    “Prospective members were invited to join on the basis of a distinct set of criteria …” – but looking at the members, I think they forgot to mention the criterion that you must be an extremely left-wing, United Nations kind of type.

    “When undertaking initiatives, the Elders are committed to listening to the views of all groups and individuals – and especially women and young people” – so we’re all equal, but some are more equal than others!

    http://www.theelders.org/elders

    Mansel Rogerson

  • Perhaps a bit like the discrimination shown when the MSM demonise baby killer, Phillip King who killed his unborn child by assaulting his girlfriend to cause her to miscarry, yet no demonising of the “baby killers” at Planned Parenthood and the like?
    Duane Proud

  • So true Bill,

    But hey, just to encourage you I found an article written on this issue in the British Telegraph May 30th 2009. Maybe the editors of the Age or other papers need to be notified about this article. Then maybe, they just might be encouraged to be fair and write a similar article.
    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/religion/5413311/Christians-risk-rejection-and-discrimination-for-their-faith-a-study-claims.html

    Great work Bill.
    Paul Spyrou

  • Thanks Paul

    And thanks for the tip about the article. I had not seen that one.

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  • Now I have not made a large number of posts, and so I’d be interested in others’ experience, but looking more closely at what comments they do allow, the rule seems to be that comments must be consistent with the secular world-view to be posted.

    My own experience suggests that this may well be the case.

    Secularists are shocking hypocrites actually. I’m thoroughly sick of them.

    Louise Le Mottee

  • Ironically, today we read in the Herald Sun that VCAT has agreed to discrimination against men by lesbians!! One rule for some, another for others is always going to prove how silly anti-discrimination law really is.
    What the Age Editorial appeared to be asking in their heading was “what are human rights?”, which is a very good question that nobody wants to answer. But then they immediately support the denying of choice for small businesses and schools which is, in itself, a denial of two of the most basic human rights, the right of association and the right to chose. To deny people choice will inevitably also deny the right to free speech and the right to hold certain religious views.
    What they are saying is that certain peoples ‘rights’ are greater than another person’s right to not accept a certain religion or lifestyle.
    So WHO decides which is the greater ‘right’?
    The fact is, the whole notion of anti-discrimination against anything that is a choice is a farce because it will ALWAYS infringe on someone else’s choice or right to choose.
    The only basis for any anti-discrimination are therefore ethnic origin and skin colour.
    Perhaps, sometimes but not in all circumstances, sex (male/female, not sexual orientation) and disability discrimination are wrong – because these too are not matters of choice. Nevertheless they are matters that need to be considered in many situation and wise discernment (discrimination is legitimate and even required).
    Peter Stokes

  • Thanks Peter

    Yes I have written up the VCAT case here: https://billmuehlenberg.com/2009/07/23/more-pro-homosexual-discrimination/

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  • Dear Bill,
    I do not understand why so many Christians give the “Age” any credibility by buying, reading and quoting from it. As long as that publication maintains its blatantly anti-Christian, anti-family, anti-marriage, pro-abortion bias then in my opinion the “Age” is not worthy to use to wrap my rubbish in. It’s time that true Christians boycotted the “Age” and ignored it completely. Hopefully it would then go out of business which would be a good result for the community. If we buy the “Age” and publications like it we are helping to promote the message of those who wish to increase discrimation against Christians.

    Kind regards,
    Michael Palma
    Hampton Park, Victoria

  • Thanks Michael

    I agree. I don’t buy the paper. I just read its online version.

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  • Great article Bill.

    We all discriminate, in that we choose the most able sportspeople for our team and hopefully the best qualified person for the job. Discrimination is not intrinsically bad and only becomes problematic when we exclude those who would otherwise be appropriate for a particular job, but we use other criteria to disqualify them e.g. their religion, or political persuasion.

    I can see problems if religious schools are not allowed to discriminate when choosing staff. For instance, if a Jewish school was forced to hire an observant Muslim whose religion taught that Jews were the enemy of Allah.

    Pam Renton

  • Thanks guys

    Here is an update on this story. In today’s Sunday Age the lead editorial is on – you guessed it – the evils of discrimination. And who is it by? You guessed it: arch social engineer Attorney General Rob Hulls. It all sounds like discrimination to me.

    And did my letter to the paper get in this week? You guessed it. No dice. More discrimination.

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  • They discriminated against me too Bill – they did not print my letter either.
    There were two on our side though so we may have helped them get in print.
    Peter Stokes

  • Thanks guys

    And here is a further update on this story. This time my letter did make it in: http://www.theage.com.au/opinion/letters/caught-in-a-contradiction-20090801-e57d.html?page=-1

    This is what made it in:

    Caught in a contradiction
    Letters
    August 2, 2009
    ROB Hulls informs us that discrimination is a terrible evil that must be eradicated (‘‘We must tackle discrimination in all its forms’’, 26/7). And The Sunday Age is quite happy to run with this and similar opinion pieces. In both cases, we have clear examples of, well, discrimination.
    If Hulls was really serious about ending all discrimination, he would allow a dyed-in-the-wool Liberal to become the ALP’s state president. And if The Sunday Age was really serious about ending discrimination, it would stop censoring out opinion pieces that take an opposing stance on this and other important social issues. But somehow I don’t expect either of these activities to take place any time soon. Thus I have to ask: if it is fully acceptable for politicians and newspapers to discriminate as a matter of course, then why is it not acceptable for religious groups to be allowed to do the same?
    BILL MUEHLENBERG, Heathmont

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

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