Tuesday, 26 February 2019

How people in the public eye get treated online

This short survey is designed to give an idea of the kinds of treatment that (mainly) politicians but also journalists and some public servants are routinely subject to on social media. While I don’t agree with politicians blocking people from following their feeds, as doing so goes against citizens’ constitutional right to freedom of political speech, I can certainly understand why many are wary of participating in discussions online.

If I remember correctly all of the entries listed here were from the Twitter #auspol hashtag, which I am usually tuned into. I stuck with Australian targets although there were occasions when overseas politicians were criticised in unseemly ways on the hashtag as well. It was remarkable, while making this list, how many overseas tweets were opportunistically using the hashtag even though it had nothing to do with what they were saying. The number of tweets about Venezuela that had the hashtag in them was a surprise.

In making the list I ignored comments that were merely dismissive of policies, or accusations of such things as lying or corruption, and in the main kept my focus on comments that constituted personal attacks. Some of these listings might be line-ball, but there you have it. The “cads and bounders” comment made me pick up the dictionary. They are words that I remember from my childhood but that I have not heard or seen used for a very long time.

The survey started at around 9am on Sunday 24 February and continued for approximately the next four hours. During this time I also did other things. I walked up the street to get some lunch, did the dishes and the ironing, and put out used containers for recycling. Entries dated earlier than 24 Feb are from retweets. Politicians are listed in alphabetical order, starting with the federal Parliament, with other categories placed below them.

As a general rule only a minority of tweets on the hashtag were objectionable but it is equally important to note that people who use it sometimes have very strange ideas. As the sample below indicates a clear majority of people using the hashtag are political progressives. Except for timestamps there is no information in this list that could serve to identify commenters.

It is noteworthy that Georgina Downer got more unfair criticism from people than even the prime minister did. In Downer’s case this was due to people rather uncharitably commenting on the link to her father, who used to be a Liberal cabinet member, but it was also due to her being in the news for two other reasons. One was a staged event where she was pictured giving away funds to a community group. People pointed out that the funds must have been public funds, and criticised her on that account. The other reason for the high level of adverse criticism aimed at Downer was because of a campaign ad she released that featured a retiree named Jim complaining about the Labor Party’s franking credits policy. It turned out that Jim was actually an ex-Liberal staffer, so the ad backfired a bit online.

One very odd comment (not listed here) was in a tweet by a person criticising the government for preventing the British conspiracy theorist David Icke from getting an Australian visa. You never can tell who is lurking online, it appears. Possibly even lizards.

The Liberal and National parties

The federal government
  • 24 Feb 2019, 10.47am: entitled, parasitic bastards
  • 24 Feb 2019, 11.20am: You are currently a party of cads & bounders.
  • 24 Feb 2019, 11.35am: #Libfilth
  • 24 Feb 2019, 11.37am: a bunch of ***s
  • 24 Feb 2019, 11.50am: bloody wankers 
  • 24 Feb 2019, 12.24pm: The entitled useless pieces of shit.
  • 24 Feb 2019, 12.58pm: dick swingers
Simon Birmingham
  • 24 Feb 2019, 9.29am: F wit
Julie Bishop
  • 24 Feb 2019, 10.29am: She is a mean spirited selfish person of little talent or integrity
  • 24 Feb 2019, 11.54am: Jewellery
  • 24 Feb 2019, 12.30pm: Hillary Clintons other Aussie Brown nose
Mathias Cormann
  • 24 Feb 2019, 11.15am: despicable,  corrupt POS
Georgina Downer
  • 24 Feb 2019, 10.07am: another out of touch member of that ugly dynasty
  • 24 Feb 2019, 10.30am: Lady Downer
  • 24 Feb 2019, 10.42am: Lady Georgina Downer
  • 24 Feb 2019, 10.45am: A shit kicker from some irrelevant #DownerDynasty
  • 24 Feb 2019, 10.56am: Lady Downer- 'I have this big cheque for your little club. Daddy sends hugs'.
  • 24 Feb 2019, 11.56am: Daddy Downer has indoctrinated his offspring well
  • 24 Feb 2019, 12.27pm: It more of the #BornToRule pretend aristocracy of the #Liberal Party!
  • 24 Feb 2019, 1.08pm: entitled Lady Downer
Peter Dutton
  • 24 Feb 2019, 11.48am: #EyeOnTheSpud #WatchoutForTheRottenSpud
Josh Frydenberg
  • 24 Feb 2019, 10.26am: Hey #Josho, best keep your trap flapping, a great Labor asset
Scott Morrison
  • 24 Feb 2019, 9.09am: #PMScum
  • 24 Feb 2019, 9.18am: #FauxMo
  • 24 Feb 2019, 10.15am: faux Christian
  • 24 Feb 2019, 10.43am: Slomo
  • 23 Feb 2019, 3.24pm: a dead set wanker
  • 23 Feb 2019, 2.25pm: The Man Is Stain On Humanity
  • 23 Feb 2019, 10.25am: some dickhead from Australia
Warren Mundine
  • 24 Feb 2019, 112.07pm: muppet
Christian Porter
  • 24 Feb 2019, 9.39am: the most radical #RWNJ in the #Liberal party! 
Christopher Pyne
  • 24 Feb 2019, 9.33am: captain foot in mouth 
  • 23 Feb 2019, 2.27pm: Prissy
Tim Wilson
  • 24 Feb 2019, 10.10am: Freedom Boy!
National Party
  • 24 Feb 2019, 12.13pm: What the LNP now stands for...You can't spell Coalition without 'coal', Liberal without 'lie', or Nationals without 'anal'. So in essence LNP coalition is an anal, lying, coal loving bunch of...?
The South Australian government
  • 24 February 2019, 11.20am: crass parasites
Andrew Constance (NSW Liberal)
  • 24 Feb 2019, 9.24am: dunce
  • 24 Feb 2019, 11.42am: Classic Smarm from Constance
The Labor Party

Tony Burke
Andrew Leigh
  • 24 Feb 2019, 12.03pm: A clueless cretin.
Tanya Plibersek
  • 24 Feb 2019, 10.03am: this nasty, graceless piece of work
Public servants

Peter Cosgrove
  • 24 Feb 2019, 9.48am: an LNP white ant
Joe Hockey
  • 24 Feb 2019, 9.54am: Sloppy Joe
  • 24 Feb 2019, 11.54am: Sloppy
Journalists and the media

It is less easy to classify attacks on journalists as malicious, but I have given it a go in order to show the kinds of things that people routinely say in this regard.

Barrie Cassidy and ‘Insiders’ panellists
  • 24 Feb 2019, 10.01am: You pack of spineless toadies
  • 24 Feb 2019, 10.35am: Does anyone else find it odd that #Insiders seems to be all about holding the Opposition to account while the actual Government gets a free pass..?
  • 24 Feb 2019, 11.52am: Here you go Barrie the Leftie, worth talking about on #insiders or would you prefer it’s discussed on #outsiders ? This is the kind of content your Commie Bastard of a program is lacking.
  • 24 Feb 2019, 11.23am: numpties 
  • 24 Feb 2019, 12.20pm: Australia will be waiting with pitchforks for some of these journo's once we are done with this government.
Peter Costello
  • 24 Feb 2019, 10.38am: puppet master
Annabel Crabb (on the ‘Insiders’ panel on the morning in question)
  • 24 Feb 2019, 9.32am: #CrabbyCHUM
  • 24 Feb 2019, 10.49am: We simply cant abide such facile commentary - a 12 yo could do better!
  • 24 Feb 2019, 11.48am: @annabelcrabb  should be careful she doesn't choke on the LNP ass pie she been gobbling in the Press Gallery's propaganda trough.
Rowan Dean
  • 24 Feb 2019, 9.34am: Who is this idiot ?
  • 24 Feb 2019, 10.36am: But really, who do you blame, these ignorant mouthpieces, or the morons who watch it? Crap like this rates.
Clementine Ford
  • 23 Feb 2019, 4.50pm: This is Clementine Ford's son. This mentally ill woman will ruin this young blokes life. Poor kid. (The tweet came with a picture of the journalist with a small child.)
  • 24 Feb 2019, 10.20am: So in the first #abcnews bulletin after Tony Bourke [sic] on #Insiders leads with "Alp front benchers in disagreement with Bill Shorten over Xmas Isl". What a foiking disgusting misleading load of BS Lnp propagandering. FFS lift your game Auntie.
The “MSM”
  • 24 Feb 2019, 10.48am: The Australian media can go fuck itself.
  • 24 Feb 2019, 11.25am: When did the smugness and sense of entitlement creep into political journalism in this country? Half the time it's like being lectured to by a condescending granny. Had enough.
  • 24 Feb 2019, 11.34am: I, for one, am sick to death of #MSMFail’s faux balance.

Jim Bonner (who was on TV in a Liberal campaign ad, screened on the morning in question, complaining about the Labor Party’s policy on franking credits)
  • 24 Feb 2019, 12.17pm: Good to see @GeorginaDowner is using a @LiberalAus shill in her electioneering. That prick wouldn't be shy of a dollar or two, having been a Liberal cuck since the days of Fraser.

No comments: