Ever had a debate with someone in your head? Sure you have, we all have. Whether it’s a dispute at work or with family or some random in a pub, we’ve all continued the inner dialogue. Sometimes we ruminate on the one recently finished or we’re anticipating a future conflict and try to get ready by calculating just what they may say and how we’ll respond. Everyone does it to some extent or another and it’s perfectly normal within reasonable bounds. In fact this ability to ‘rerun’ events and look for ways to improve them or alternatively look into the future and decide on the best way to proceed, is an incredible ability we have. Without this faculty of imagination we couldn’t learn from the past or plan for the future. The problem is that it isn’t real, none of it. The arguments, the people, the cut & thrust and the final outcome, we make it all up and more often than not we’re the victors.

Unless of course you’re a debate masochist like John Edwards, then in that case go for your life. 

Enter Tony Jones and the Q&A Team brought to you by TheirABC.

Here’s a hilarious quote from the Q&A About page, and no, this isn’t satire:

‘We aim to create a discussion that is constructive, that reflects a diverse range of views and that provides a safe environment where people can respectfully discuss their differences.’

Of course Q&A is nothing like this text suggests . This is like a Greens supporter telling you they’re all about inclusivity while punching a farmer in the face. Former PM Paul Keating summed it up perfectly when he said it was like “a Punch and Judy show” and “he wouldn’t be caught dead on it”. Another former PM, Tony Abbott called it a “a lefty lynch mob”. The great Gerard Henderson does a tremendous public service highlighting the leftward bias of the public broadcaster in general and Q&A in particular. Here and here are just two excellent examples if you’re unfamiliar with his work.

So what’s this got to do with the arguments in your head? Well Q&A is like an astonishingly sophisticated version of that argument that some have going on inside. It’s like being able to see not only into the head of Tony Jones (sorry for that), but into the head of the Ultimo collective. The entire setup (excuse the pun) is structured to one end, and that is so the ideology of the left wins the debate. This can be done and at the same time still give the appearance of broadminded discussion. Just like the argument in your head, you create the environment, the questions and the responses you’d actually like to see and that lead to you overcoming your opponent. What about when someone starts to prevail on Q&A, make good points and manages to counteract the prevailing leftist direction? This is where the sophistication comes in because unlike the debate in your head where it’s just one on one, this fantasy confrontation has multiple players and multiple layers.

Firstly, there’s the tilt of the panel. It is generally assured that there will be more believers of the left than those on the right. These are always ready to interject and stop you mid-point so that Tony doesn’t have to always do it himself. If this requires talking over the top of you, no problem. Manners were never the strong point of Cultural Marxists and in fact they see it as a virtue. The media is always on standby to sell it as ‘being passionate’ about ‘social justice’. Second is the atmosphere created by the audience. There is something deeply flawed in the Q&A vetting system when the audience response never seems to reflect the political views of the ballot box. It’s almost as if the Ultimo crew want an atmosphere of intolerance and intimidation to be created against those on the right. Hmmm… strange really because that’s exactly how TheirABC seems to view the world. An amazing coincidence to be sure, even more so since they manage to achieve it during every Q&A show. 

It was Mark Twain that said, “Against the assault of laughter nothing can stand”. While not completely true there is enough in it to warrant examination. People don’t tend to laugh at things that are important or noteworthy. Issues of social or political importance are treated by most people as a serious business, hence not much laughter.

Unless you’re Hillary Clinton talking about killing Muammar Gaddafi, then it’s a total hoot apparently.

Laughter is reserved for the foolish, the absurd, the outlandish and the ridiculous. To laugh at a thing is to belittle a thing and is to be feared if directed at you. No one likes the sting of social humiliation and people will go to some lengths to avoid it. Like not expressing a viewpoint that is at odds with the apparent prevailing view in the workplace, the sports club or the family gathering. This is the intended design of the Q&A fantasy ‘debate’.

I’m reminded of the scene from the film Inception when Ariadne is in Cobb’s mind in a dream walking through the streets of Paris and begins to have ideas his mind doesn’t like. His subconscious begins to assault her, growing in greater intensity until finally she’s knifed by her host. Perhaps the idea for the script came to Christopher Nolan after watching an episode or two of Q&A?

So what’s the intent in all of this? It’s to give the viewing public an impression, to sow a seed, to put an idea into the mind. An Inception. The idea that the conservative view is in the minority and that you’re on the losing side. That the general public (after all that’s what the audience is suppose to represent) does not approve of your view or you and they laugh and howl with derision when an opponent makes a killer point. The camera lingers on the audience’s sneer. “Get the message, you’re out of sync with culture, you’re alone, give up and let us rule”. It’s designed to give truth to the Ultimo lie that the prevailing Australian culture thinks like Tony Jones and his follow ideologues.

The only question that should be up for debate on this subject is why the current Board of the ABC is still in place and when will they be replaced by people who’ll make the ABC do it’s job. Now that’s a debate I’d be willing to pay for.