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Rising tide of populism erodes hope for reform

Media Shame File

Outlet: The Australian

Headline: Rising tide of populism erodes hope for reform

Summary: This long-winded opinion piece from the “populism is a danger to Our Democracy” genre of oxymoronic journalism claims that we live in an age of “extreme populism” where politicians simply do what their voters want (the horror!) instead of making “unpopular but necessary reforms”, and argues for leaders doing what is “right but popular”. It backs this up with a cherrypicked examples of politicians making unpopular choices that turned out well, ignoring the obvious question – who decides what is “good” or “necessary” if not the voters? Nor does Peter van Onselen explain how his extreme populism theory accounts for politicians constantly doing unpopular, unnecessary and bad things that voters don’t want – like bringing in hundreds of thousands of immigrants year after year.

Key Quote: “The form of leadership we increasingly are seeing today [is] elected politicians simply reflecting the will of their community rather than seeking to shape it”

Subtext: “The political elite knows best, shut up and let them do whatever they want”

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