Post-fact politics

QUESTION TIMELast week while listening to the radio I heard a term that was new to me:

post-fact politics

I think I was listening to Jonathan Green, host of Sunday Extra on Radio National. Googling the phrase, I found just 1,890 results, suggesting it has only recently been coined.

The interesting thing was that for me the phrase succinctly described the dysfunctional, sociopathic, no-holds barred, no ground given politics we’re seen in the Australian Federal arena for the past decade or so.

Our politicians take positions that are not supported by evidence.

Our politicians are increasingly willing to stretch or bend the truth, even to lie.

Occasionally someone holds up some evidence to the light, but even then politicians blatantly refute any claim that they lied or distorted the truth.

In the voting population there seems to be a resigned weariness, an acceptance that yes, it happens, but that’s just the way politics is these days.

There is also an acceptance that politicians largely operate in the way most likely to ensure their re-election. The voting public knows this, understands that it is wrong, but is so disenchanted and disengaged that it continues without significant comment.

I’m of an age where I know how politics used to be and can see how different it is now. I find that knowledge so depressing that I too have finally disengaged.

The younger generation just sees it as the way it is and has nothing to compare it with.

The quality commercial news outlets that employed professional journalists are on the brink of extinction. The last bastion of journalistic integrity, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, is struggling to keep its head above water following severe budget cuts at the hands of a government that sees it as the enemy. Without these organisations there is no one to hold politicians to account.

I can’t see any circuit-breaker on the horizon that might turn around this downward spiral.

We live in an era of post-fact politics.

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