On their way back to Vi’s apartment Sig bought himself a newspaper. He didn’t like reading his news on his mobile phone and his laptop was still in his bedroom so a physical paper it had to be.
Like many people in the world Sig had become tired of the way the mainstream media presented the news to its readers. The often biased stories were rarely researched well and journalists of the day seemed more content to write puff pieces with eye catching headlines and controversial comments than they did actual stories. But he also had to admit that the online papers, with the ability for readers to comment on each article in real time really was no better. Uninformed idiots getting outraged at something purely as a means of expression did not make great news. Social media had created social justice warriors whose only goal in life was to be outraged but something they read in the paper and every day it was a different topic.
The problem Sig saw was that it was the social justice warriors of the world that made his protests all the more difficult. He had his thoughts, he stood up for them and he voiced his opinion when he felt it was the right time. He even offered to help discover solutions if those he opposed were willing. The problem arose when fat cats like Kelly Campbell and his opposition party representative Harriet Townshend struck people who disagreed with them. Their first reaction, lead by public relations people not politicians, was to shut them down and ignore them just like the social justice warriors of the internet.
“Don’t engage with social justice warriors who are there only to be outraged. Their interests wane quicker than the news cycle does and before you know it they’ll be off screaming about something else”, was the sort of internal releases PR staff gave their politicians to ensure their images were better perceived. That lack of engagement was also encouraged in face to face situations so when someone like Sig came along who was willing to protest, stand his ground and look for solutions a politician’s first reactions were to ignore him, then find a topic, or person more agreeable with them and their party, (or a baby to kiss).
Sitting in Vi’s lounge room Sig read through the latest pages of trash reporting. It had been a slow week in politics because the politicians where enjoying their winter break, which meant they didn’t turn up in Canberra to argue with each other they stayed in the warm homes and offices and pretended they were working for their constituents. Sig still had a lot to catch up on from the time he was in a coma and it wouldn’t all be in the paper he’d just bought, but it was a start to catch up on the latest news from both his local area and the national scene. Parliament may not have been arguing but some of the best idiocy of politicians was done in the weeks they were facing the general public in their own areas.
Because some celebrity had been making a name for themselves with a tantrum at the most inopportune time, over the most inane first world problem the first five pages of the newspaper were filled with articles Sig didn’t read. When he finally made it past the celebrity garbage and all the different people who were outraged by the celebrity garbage Sig found what he was looking for, political news.
The first thing Sig read was a story about how the opposition leader, Sabrina Tow, was promising that if her party was elected at the next election she would make it mandatory for all political parties and companies to employ an equal share of males and females all with pay parity. It was a hot topic that had been going on for years but had gained prominence in Australia politics because of the large number of male politicians. It was also a topic Sig largely ignored. He not only hated Canberra dictating how businesses should be operated but he was also of the opinion that people should be hired on their merit and skill not their gender. Equal pay for an equal job, Sig thought, was fair enough but with the medias push about pay parity so far out of whack that it often saw them comparing two peoples wages without comparing the actual job undertaken by each person it was an argument that was weighted in the favour of whatever side the media wished to be on.
Such a topic was also mostly brought up purely to keep social media outraged and often keep them from looking at other topics. Sabrina Tow as good at such things. Bring up a topic like gender pay equality, accuse her opposing party of not doing it, then media report it, social media runs with it and makes a mountain out of a mole hill. While that happened Sabrina and her party didn’t have to come up with strong policies of their own, or policies that might actually benefit the country because the focus is only on one thing. It was a classic move of don’t let the right hand know what the left hand is doing and it was employed by all parties, especially come election time.
That was why Sig ignored such topics. He might have read, or even skimmed through the articles related to it to see if anything worthy was mentioned but he preferred to know what it was that the politician was not saying to what they were saying. Too often it was what they didn’t say that really effected the common person.
The second article Sig read was not much better, another ‘if elected’ promise that would probably never come to fruition no matter who was elected. However when he got to the headline of the third story his attention was no longer only partially there, they had his full attention.