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dumbing down democracy

Sideshow by Lindsay Tanner
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‘After spending much of my life dedicated to the serious craft of politics, I have to admit that I am distressed by what it is becoming. Under siege from commercial pressures and technological innovation, the media are retreating into an entertainment frame that has little tolerance for complex social and economic issues. In turn, politicians and parties are adapting their behaviour 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.’

‘The two key rules that now govern the practice of Australian politics are: (1) Look like you’re doing something; and (2) Don’t offend anyone who matters. These imperatives are a direct consequence of the interaction between media coverage and political activity — the aggregated outcome of countless individuals acting rationally in pursuit of their own interests. The sideshow syndrome, the overall result of these actions, is a direct threat to the nation’s well-being.’

When Lindsay Tanner resigned in 2010 as the ALP’s federal minister for finance and member for Melbourne, having had an 18-year career as an MP, he notably managed to retire with his reputation for integrity intact. In Sideshow, he lays bare the relentless decline of political reporting and political behaviour that occurred during his career. Part memoir, part analysis, and part critique, Sideshow is a unique book that tackles the rot which has set in at the heart of Australian public life.

Scribe Publications Pty Ltd; February 2011
240 pages; ISBN 9781921753794
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Title: Sideshow
Author: Lindsay Tanner
  • News
Well-aimed broadside at the shallowness of media coverage - Sydney Morning Herald
Thu, 19 May 2011 13:33:52 -0700
Sydney Morning HeraldWell-aimed broadside at the shallowness of media coverageSydney Morning HeraldSideshow: Dumbing Down ...
Lindsay Tanner's rules for first fiction foray - Sydney Morning Herald
Sat, 31 Oct 2015 06:17:37 -0700
Sydney Morning HeraldLindsay Tanner's rules for first fiction foraySydney Morning HeraldSideshow was a devastating critique ...
Tanner's lack of self-awareness clear in tale of media pandering - Sydney Morning Herald
Mon, 02 May 2011 07:12:08 -0700
Sydney Morning HeraldTanner's lack of self-awareness clear in tale of media panderingSydney Morning HeraldFrom his abode in ...

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