As Australia’s election looms, the New York Times’ Australia bureau chief Damien Cave is spreading opposition research for the liberals in “Toxic Speech Derails Politicians in Australia. Some Call It Progress.” Cave, paranoid as ever about racism in conservative politics, managed to string together some tasteless social media posts into a general condemnation of conservative politics worldwide, for Friday’s New York Times:
One candidate ranted about the danger of the “homosexual lifestyle.” Another called for the genital mutilation of non-Muslim women who support Islam. A third made light of rape, and yet another boasted that he had “done more Asian than I know what to do with.”
Nearly every day in the brief run-up to the Australian election on May 18, voters have confronted a new revelation of toxic speech by politicians, propagated largely on social media. The offensive remarks have forced at least six candidates for Parliament to quit, while many more linger like zombies -- most of them from the conservative governing coalition and other parties on the right.
In a sign of how on-brand it was for the left, the article was republished by far-left Independent (U.K.) newspaper (click “expand”):
This Great Flushing Out, experts say, reveals a paradox. Homophobia, Islamophobia and other markers of intolerance are more embedded in the country’s psyche and politics than many Australians want to admit. But at the same time, analysts see signs of hope as the major political parties cast out candidates for their comments, drawing clearer lines than ever on what constitutes acceptable conduct.
The purge has not been confined to conservative parties. The candidate who engaged in rape jokes on Facebook, and has since quit, was a young hopeful in Melbourne from the center-left Labor Party. But with less than two weeks to go in the campaign, it is clear that most of the troubling rhetoric has come from the political right.
Is he talking about the Trump/Pence ticket in this next paragraph?
Cave continued (click “expand”):
Experts say the 2019 race shows just how much casual mingling, fueled by the internet, there is between conservative parties in Australia and the global far-right movement that has helped propel candidates to top offices from the United States to Eastern Europe and beyond.
How Australia handles this fact could be a turning point for its politics. Social media has shaped the campaign more deeply than ever before, and this is the first Australian election to be held in the wake of a worldwide populist surge, testing whether the country would embrace or reject extremism in politics.
For the Liberal Party, in particular, the past few weeks have been embarrassing. While its main ally in the governing coalition, the National Party, has tended to position itself further to the right, with many of its supporters in rural areas, the Liberal Party has traditionally been more moderate and urban.
The reporter also got in some cheap shot late hist by flat-out condemning the immigration plans of a previous administration as racist:
Racial dog-whistling in Liberal circles has gone on for years, reaching at least as far back as John Howard and his anti-refugee campaign of 2001, but such rhetoric heard at times in the party is now more direct, and social media preserves it for all to see.
In some cases, the anti-Muslim comments from candidates appeared in online groups or threads populated by white supremacists. In others, discussions about women, homosexuality and transgender Australians have spiraled quickly from chauvinism to support for bullying or outright exclusion from politics.
Cave attacked Rupert Murdoch’s media empire to link it to neo-Nazi, something The Times does a lot of:
These groups have already had some success. Their perspective on immigrants is frequently found in the Murdoch-run news media, and in October, the Australian Senate voted to support a motion declaring that “it’s O.K. to be white” -- a slogan rooted in American neo-Nazi ideas, spread by racists on websites like 4chan.
Cave was last seen in NewsBusters lamenting how Australia was throwing away its wonderful left-wing history for the devolutionary “circus” of global-warming skepticism. He was also responsible for this embarrassing partisan hackery in a story about the Republican Party holding their 2012 convention in Tampa, Fla:
Tampa as a Republican comfort zone also brings risk: if the party plays too much to its base, will it look out of touch?....The wrong mix of poverty juxtaposed with Republicans partying -- perhaps against a backdrop of oil-stained beaches -- could give Democrats just what they need to portray their opponents as woefully disconnected from the middle class.