Australians are politically ignorant- surprised?

The weekend’s Sun-Herald exposed the biggest scandal this week, bigger than Kyle Sandilands’ statement that Magda could lose more weight in a concentration camp and bigger than John Della Bosca’s affair.

Australians are ignorant of political matters but have a better knowledge of shallow celebrity gossip. The Herald found that people knew more about popular culture (sport stars, actors and models) than they did about national and political issues..

Two reasons for this lack of engagement with political news was

  • Generational shift in how Australians socialise. Instead of the days of meeting at a club or engaging in clubs and societies to discuss current affairs, people now have their TVs, sound systems and small groups of friends.
  • Stress levels mean that people don’t have time to care for the world around them.

People will only find politics interesting when issues affect their lives like the 2007 election.

The results of the Vox Pop

The results of the Herald Vox Pops

The results of the vox pop (of 20 peoople) are both funny but quite distressing.  No one knew who Andrew Stone was but all the interviewees knew that Kyle and Jackie O had been suspended and could name Lady Gaga song titles.

The Herald makes a very significant point when it says: “this trend was endangering democracy by allowing politicians to win people over by using the politics of image rather than robust debate”.

Maybe it’s time that people stopped depending solely on MX as their source of news. That newspaper could have potential if it covered a bit more important news but instead, it chooses to fill its pages with mostly useless stories and dedicates a whole section to modelling and other mindless topics.

However, celebrity gossip and trivial news is indeed the most enjoyable news to read and it sells papers. Who cares about the world around us when you can indulge in junk? It’s like junk food. We all love to consume it but at the same time, it’s not good for us.

Well, Australians can feel assured that they are not the only ones who are ignorant about news. Back when the Chasers were doing CNNN, they did a segment interviewing Americans about current events. Most of them were clueless.


About Brendan

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