Friday, February 17, 2012

Talking crap with the right wing media

There really is no end that the right wing media in this country will not crawl to to find an excuse to criticise the current Labor government.

Liberal supporters, I realise you're really bitter about losing the last election.  I appreciate that it burns inside you how close you came to making it, but still failed.  I can understand how you're so close you can almost taste it, and constantly obsess about it.

But the reality is that you lost, and at the moment you come across as the most petulant, tantrum throwing, foot stamping, whiny, needy children Australian politics has seen for years.

Case in point:  federal unemployment figures were released yesterday, showing a surprise fall in the national unemployment rate falling from 5.2 to 5.1 per cent - something that apparently took even the government a little by surprise.

This apparently wrong-footed the right wing media for a while; they would have had their usual, tired old "the carbon tax is going to ruin the Australian economy" spiel printed out and ready to go.  Unfortunately for them, the real world isn't behaving and supporting their nice little prejudice this time around.

So what left to do?  Play the man and not the ball - let's attack the basis the figures were measured using!  About the only thing they could find to do so was that "employment" was defined as working at least 1 hour per week.  This was immediately parodied by every right wing radio jock in the country, I personally heard Chris Smith and Brian Wilshire having a go.  Their points of view came down to this being an unrealistic way of gauging workforce participation, not reflective of actual numbers, a way of hiding actual FTE rate etc.

Unfortunately for our increasingly desperate anti-Labor campaigners, they are, as usual, full of crap to the eyeballs, as the most casual analysis demonstrates.

The basis on which the figures are measured is largely immaterial to yesterday's announcement, because what was announced was a change in rate.  As long as the measurement basis remained unchanged from sample to sample, the improvement was real.  Sorry boys, but yes - real unemployment fell.

Secondly, the basis for measurement of participation rate as been the same since February 2001, and the last time I checked, the federal Liberal party were close to the middle of an 11-year term at the time.  I'd say the basis for comparison has been pretty stable?

Finally, some of the other tripe I hear Chris Smith dribble was that "encouraging students to stay in school until the end of year 12 would be artificially lowering the ranks of the unemployed".  Chris, you are really reaching with that one.  Quite apart from the fact that every government for the last... gee, more or less forever? has been trying to do that, the numbers involved are a tiny, infinitesimal fraction of the total.  According to the ABS, there are approximately 250,000 students in year 12 study at a given time, whereas over 46,000 people found new employment according to yesterday's report.  If class sizes went up nearly 20% in the last six months you'd hear the screams of the teacher's unions across the country.

It would appear that the numbers Chris is quoting are about as tiny as the amount of work he put into dreaming them up.

I found the amost perfect picture this morning to illustrate the outlook of the right-wing media in this country, just substitute names like Chris Smith and Steve Price in as required.

And as always, a truer word has never been spoken.

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