In Australia

by John O’Sullivan

In the coverage of the Sydney “race riots,” as in the Katrina coverage a few months back, the internet and the blogosphere have shown that they are indispensable to understanding such events. Without them we would be captives of–the establishment media’s reporting and interpretations both suffused with liberal assumptions. With them, we get three avenues of correction. First, bloggers do their own eye-witness reporting, often better-informed than the establishment press. We can then test what the Beeb or Time reports against their accounts. (No, the bloggers are not always accurate and unprejudiced. But neither are the Beeb and Time. And the bloggers, being diverse, correct each other as well as the professionals.) Second, the bloggers do some extremely useful research, going into the background of stories like the riots and giving us a historical perspective that the old serious broadsheets used to offer but no longer do. Here is a good example: a policeman’s analysis from early this year in the Australian magazine Quadrant–to which I was directed by British Blogger Melanie Phillips, showing how sensitive liberal policing prepared the ground for these riots over a long period. And, finally, the internet also allows us to check one conventional media outlet against another. This can be very revealing–revealing among other things that conservative papers often reproduce the conventional liberal wisdom of the local media community. Here, for instance, is the London Daily Telegraph’s op-ed by its Sydney correspondent, Nick Squires. It is a readable and competent piece of journalism. But check its ideological drift against a similar analysis in the Australian by the Aussie historian (and occasional NR contributor) Keith Windschuttle. Thus subjects the insta-liberal interpretations of the riots to searching and well-informed criticism. As they used to say: you be the judge.