Sideshow : Dumbing Down Democracy
Written by former Australian Labor Party federal minister for finance Lindsay Tanner, this insider's perspective demonstrates how media coverage of Australian politics is becoming distorted, trivial, and juvenile, and it argues that this change threatens democracy. Showing how the Australian media has been under siege from commercial pressures and technological innovation, this work shows how the media has retreated into an entertainment frame that has little tolerance for complex social and economic issues. In turn, this exploration shows how politicians and political parties are adapting to suit the new rules of the game--to such an extent that the contest of ideas is being supplanted by the contest for laughs. Lying bare the relentless decline of political reporting and political behavior, this book--part memoir, part analysis, and part critique--tackles the deterioration that has set in at the heart of Australian public life.
- Electronic book text | 256 pages
- 17 Jun 2013
- Scribe Publications
- Carlton North, Australia
"Lindsay Tanner does us all a service in underlining the inadequacies inherent in the relationship between politicians and the media. These circumstances degrade public life and diminish our future. It must be changed." --Rt Hon Malcolm Fraser AC CH, former prime minister of Australia "A thoughtful, meticulously researched analysis of the interplay between politics and the media." -- Age "A withering critique of the media and a revealing first-person mediation on the frustrations of political leadership in the information age. . . . [Lindsay Tanner] is one of the precious minds capable of generating the kind of substantial ideas that can inspire a party and renew its policy agenda." --Andrew Charlton, Monthly "This book contains painful truths for journalists and politicians. It provides a pitiless, first-hand exposure of the trivialization of our national discourse by the media, aided and abetted by the political classes." --Alan Kohler, chief executive, Australian Independent Business Media Pty Ltd "Tanner deserves credit for this challenging, well-researched critique of how our politics is reported and presented in the media. Sideshow is an engaging book, supported by examples drawn from his experience as a union official, shadow minister and minister. Anyone who believes our democracy has not lately been at its best will find it a valuable companion to any deliberation about how we can fix that. It has already proved influential in shaping the language in which we discuss our political culture." --Tim Soutphommasane, Australian Literary Review