Monday, November 29, 2004

Marco's Impartiality Index

Due to my distinctive preference in reading only articles etc. that are very impartial, I will start giving an index to every article or articles I am given or read and I will give them an MII rating from 1 to 10, where 1 is complete bias mixed with several exagerrations and misuse of statistics and dubious statements. 10 is articles which use well established facts, gives concise arguments from moderates of either side, puts every issue in a historical context, giving any suitable background, makes comparisons with any analogous situations and lets the reader come to any conclusions. I read a few articles on the Townsville Bulletin regarding the Palm Island Riots. There was a article of ">"A Tale of two families", one an aboriginal family on palm island and another of which was a policemans family . MII - 8. This clearly gives both sides of the story from fairly random or typical selection of characters, but is a bit heavy in emotion, and a little lacking in depth. One of the articles on page three, I would give an MII of 9, as it hints at the history of the people involved in the initial death, and the context of it happening. One disturbing thing for me is that the general population around here instinctively sides with the police regardless of any counterbalancing information; giving a lot of latitude for politicians to pull strings through which would add fuel to the general touchy situation in the island, knowing that if it erupted, the blame would fall on the aborigines there. There seems to me, to be anecdotal evidence of just that sort of thing happening. The lack of Aboriginal Liason officers (the best way of reducing police/aboriginal tensions), a week delay for the autopsy result, the alleged stationing of an officer whose previous stations ended when similar riots happened in other communities, seem to smack of weasel government policy(aka The Way of the Weasel, by Scott Adams). It kind of proves my point when, suddenly, the Government leaps to action with considerable resources to sort out the mess, looking like the saviour rather than the cause, when very few resources were spent on the conciliation between police and Aborigines on Palm Island in the first place.

The closest analogy I can think of, is the resulting riots in immigration detention centres in the last decade. In hindsight, government policy contributed greatly to those happening, while at the time a very large majority of Australians were thinking - "those ungreatful sods" about the economic migrants/Asylum seekers/Illegals involved.

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