Home > Australian politics, Media > Conflation – the media’s new weapon of choice

Conflation – the media’s new weapon of choice

Since the News of the World hacking scandal broke the general public has increasingly aware of the depths the media will sink to in order to sell copies/get page hits/get ratings.

Now that they are becoming more aware of the usual tricks of the trade to incite sensationalism, the media appear to have fallen back onto an old standard with increasing frequence…conflation or false equivalence.

This is how it works:

  1. Find negative issue/event/angle on something.
  2. Tie it, no matter how tenuously, to the subject of your preferred narrative.
  3. Profit!

Nothing demonstrates this more clearly than the recent “NBN hacking” drama.

At first the headlines were all about how the NBN was “hacked” with the clear undertone that this new project was a joke and massively insecure.  What actually happened was that a hacker had gained access to a company’s systems and this company was going to be a provider for the NBN, and that provider did not even have any services running on the NBN.  So after delving a tiny little bit deeper we find that it has pretty much zero to do with the NBN at all.

Did the media let the facts get in the way or their barrow pushing…HELL NO!  Despite repeated confirmation from experts that it had absolutely nothing to do with NBN at all, every headline contained the words ‘NBN’ and ‘hacked’ in close conjunction.  Even the term ‘hacked’ is completely inaccurate in this situation as the NBN is the infrastructure that the services run on…you can’t “hack” a piece of fibre optic you can only hack the data running on it.  It’s like saying you are going to carjack the Pacific Motorway.

I truly despair for journalism in this country when something a basic as that is ignored in the cause of sensationalism.


But of course it’s only the beginning. For the next two years we can look forward to the ultimate conflation…Carbon Tax = everything bad ever.  All you have to do is look at the reports of David Jones whingeing that the Carbon Tax is causing decreased sales.  Despite the Chinese scientists proving that time travel is impossible, the CEO of David Jones has obviously blown that notion out of the water because A TAX THAT WON’T COME INTO EXISTENCE FOR 12 MONTHS has affected his bottom line.  When does he get his Nobel Prize?

  1. Neil of Syndey
    July 30, 2011 at 2:28 PM

    I thought I would pay a visit to see what stupid things MS is saying and I was not disappointed.

    “Since the News of the World hacking scandal broke the general public has increasingly aware of the depths the media will sink to in order to sell copies/get page hits/get ratings.”

    You must be a recent arrival from another planet to make a comment like that. I hope you enjoy your stay before you return home.

    • August 1, 2011 at 9:17 AM

      Dude, seriously??

      That’s some really piss-poor trolling…even by your standards.

  2. Neil of Sydney
    August 1, 2011 at 9:46 AM

    Well I find it hard to believe that the media has somehow changed since Howard lost the election in 2007 as you seem to be saying.

    From 1996-2007 the media was honest and since 2007 they are not doing their job.


  3. drsusancalvin
    August 1, 2011 at 7:24 PM

    Whilst I imagine “Neil”, or Neil, as he is probably known, experiences “virtual” isolation as a corollary of his real world, so part of me, the compassionate part of me is prompted to respond; to deconstruct his tiny thrust, his toothpick, if only to be a useful, nay, therapeutic human contact. I am constrained by the teachings of those more learned. Don’t feed the trolls.

    ps: killer post.

    • August 2, 2011 at 8:47 AM

      Wise response drsusancalvin. I will try to hold the line and do the same.
      Neil only comes over here to get his troll on…normally he frequents the Gutter Trash and craps on with his buddies TomM and King Rat, but they agree with him too readily. Plus he frequently gets pwned over there by Tom R and TBQueensland so he probably finds it easier pickings here.

  4. Neil of Sydney
    August 1, 2011 at 9:45 PM

    “ps: killer post.”

    Your kidding. The only reason MS gives a stuff about the media is that it is saying things he does not like.

    When the media were telling lies about the Howard govt from 1996-2007 he did not care.

  5. drsusancalvin
    August 2, 2011 at 7:58 PM

    Jeebus MS. I sauntered over to GT and interrupted annulus tracto, (If the nuns had only done their work… this might be latin for circle jerk). And grammar is 3 from the bottom of “Neil’s” many and various “issues”. He is trailing his coat, a grubby mustard coloured mac with distended pockets and unglued seams. Attractive as this proposition is, resist my dear.

    • August 3, 2011 at 8:53 AM

      Ha ha! That’s just gold. GT used to be pretty good value, but like you said it’s now become a rightard spam-fest with the likes of Neil, TomM, King Rat, Sancty and Tony shouting down anyone else.
      Just thank god Iain Hall doesn’t hang around any more…

  6. Neil of Sydney
    August 6, 2011 at 11:33 AM

    After returning and reading the comments it looks like the last intelligent comment was made on August 1, 2011 at 9:45 PM.

  7. jane
    August 12, 2011 at 2:13 PM

    Neil, Neil, Neil. This is a bit rich even for you. Still managing never to let the facts interfere with your supidity, I see. Let us all know how you intend to spin the Coalition budget leaks. Bwwahahahaha!

    MS, I understand that the David Jones CEO’s Nobel Prize nomination is being challenged by that other great medical researcher and scientist, Lord Monckton, who claims he has not only invented (and been awarded a Nobel Prize for) a time machine, but is good mates with Dr Who. I also understand that Neil inhabits Lord Monckton’s universe.

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