After recent exchanges with University of Canberra Academic Jason Wilson, I have formed the view that there is a wide gulf between his own esteem of his knowledge and intellect and the far less impressive reality.
There is no doubt that Wilson fancies himself – this is evident from his sneering during twitter debates and his presumptuous claim to know more about the Middle East than the experienced journalists at The Australian.
One of our debates concerned whether the terrorist threat in Australia was real or whether it was just a beat up. Strangely, Wilson believed that the number of non-terror related homicides was relevant to this question:
So according to Wilson’s logic, we should not be concerned about men killing their partners either, because this number is dwarfed by the number of people who die every year in motor vehicle accidents.
Moreover, there are a couple of other problems with Wilson’s argument, as I pointed out:
“To point out the social effects of terrorism is to engage in nationalist fantasies.”
According to Jason Wilson, there is no unity in Australian society. For a fellow who deems himself to have a very sound knowledge of international affairs, this appears to show that Wilson does not understand that compared to many other countries, Australia is one of the most harmonious.
However, in spite of his pompous demeanor, the exchange shows that Wilson does not really think through the issues at all. It is plain that he has not considered that some terrorist attacks have killed thousands, and that a successful terrorist attack in Australia could well drive a wedge between mainstream Australian society and certain parts of the Muslim community. His only response is to accuse me of believing in a “nationalist fantasy”.
Finally, just today Wilson accused me of making up the fact that he supported some form of media regulation. Whilst I could not find the tweet where Wilson indicated as such to me, I was able to find an article he wrote for the Drum in 2012. Whilst the article does not endorse the recommendations of the Finkelstein Report, the following comments reveal that Wilson does consider a free media market to be unsatisfactory and would support some form of media regulation:
It’s a shame that most of the Finkelstein Independent Media Inquiry Report will go unread by many of those who are damning it…. The problems it identifies are real enough, and pressing.
Australia has the worst concentration of media ownership in the developed world – no other country has, or likely would have, allowed things to get to this point… There are no truly effective remedies for ordinary people with few resources, whom the news media prints lies about, whose privacy is invaded, or whose careers are ruined by baseless reporting.
It is a shame that, rather than seeing the online space as cacophonous and unruly, Finkelstein didn’t instead offer ways in which diversity and sustainability might be promoted for a better media future.
As you can see, I did not “make it up”. I was right. Wilson does want media regulation.