Not unlike the Tampa period, the national media is positively salivating over the Opposition's take on the influence of China in Australia. Sky News is running a poll today on whether or not people are concerned about the degree of China's influence on Australia. Crikey has a piece worth reading on the Liberal Party's long history of playing the race card.
This is 'dog whistle' stuff. We have seen it all before, particularly on the part of the commercial media outlets when they sniff a populist fear campaign is getting traction.
At this time of acute economic insecurity we see media playing to the hand of the Coalition, trying desperately to whip up a storm that will benefit it politically. It is very transparent and right up there on the 'ugly meter' of political postures.
My word to Sky News is:
"Your current focus on the influence of China in Australia is quite disgusting. You are whipping up unnecessary fear in the community. I am the first to criticize China's human rights record and its terrible repression of Tibet. I felt the same way about the Bush administration's human rights violations under the aegis of the war on terror.
However, it is not in our national interest to disengage from either China or the US. Both are key trading partners and key players in our geo-political sphere of influence and operation. Your current poll is the type of dog-whistling Howard used to great effect during his tenure. It is shameful and reflects poorly on your claim to be a serious news service.
Your 'spin' on this issue over the last week or so suggests you are glad-handling the Opposition's disgraceful default toward fear and smear as it nose-dives politically.
A word to the wise. Act responsibly, as the media has a poor track record on such issues in recent years, appearing to be 'players' rather than seeking detachment from the political cut and thrust. Your current affairs presenters appear to be salivating over this 'China influence' issue, to the detriment of our national interest! "