News knows better who the genuine refugees are

News Ltd seems to be outraged that the vast majority of asylum seekers are assessed to be genuine refugees:

Only 75 asylum seekers rejected since 2008

Isn’t that a good thing? Doesn’t that mean that after all our fears that we were being taken advantage of by non-genuine applicants, it turns out that the vast majority were actually refugees who deserved our assistance?

I suppose if you accept News’ long-standing evidence-free claims that these people were almost all “illegal” and compare that with what the Department has found after rigorously assessing them, the alternative conclusion would be that News’ vacuous allegations were right and the Department must not know what it’s doing, if you would rather believe, really believe that News knows better than the people who’ve actually looked at the refugees’ material, then the alternative conclusion is that a bunch of shysters are being let in by a complicit government that hates its constituents and loves the people who can’t vote who it’s been busy demonising throughout the election campaign. In exactly the same way as any acquittal by a court of someone who News Ltd has decided is guilty is clearly a miscarriage of justice. Basically, News Ltd knows best and any judicial or administrative body that comes to different conclusions through such suspect processes as “assessing the evidence” ought to be excoriated for it.

I did also like (by which of course I mean “was appalled by”) the flatly dishonest attempt to stoke the confusion they’ve worked hard to establish between the massively exaggerated threat of “boat people” and the much more numerous visa overstayers:

of the 6310 arrivals since October 2008, 2050 had been granted protection visas and only 75 had been removed from Australia.

The figures also explode the myth more people arrive illegally by air than by boat.

Between 2009 and June 11 this year, according to the department 5646 onshore protection visa applications were lodged by people who came by air, with only 541 applicants regarded as illegal entries.

I’m not sure how 541 is less than 75, and in any case the 541 figure above is, if you think about it for more than the five seconds News Ltd wants you to think about it, not the total figure of “people arriving illegally by air”. It’s the subset of those who make onshore protection visa applications and are determined to be “illegal entries”. There are also, if I recall the figures, tens of thousands of people who arrive by air who simply don’t make such applications – who may “arrive” legally but then stay without authorisation – and who are just as “illegally” here as someone who arrives by boat and is rejected. And far more so than someone who arrives by boat and is found to be a genuine refugee.

It’s quite disingenuous to pretend that the issue is whether they’re “illegal” on the date they arrive, rather than a month or so afterwards – the issue is that of the people presently here “illegally”, the vast majority arrived by air. And if you’re paranoid about “illegals” – not just those of more easily demonised races – surely that’d be the area you should be directing your attention.

Reading statistics in the Daily Telegraph is a harrowing experience – you’ve got to keep your wits about you, lest you be convinced that up is down and evil is good and ten is less than five. To be honest, I find it a stressful experience – knowing that at every turn its writers are trying to take advantage of you, to trick you. I mean, you should always read newspapers critically, rather than taking everything at face value – but there’s an extra level of concentration and perseverance required when you realise that the writer is not engaging with you in good faith, that you can’t trust the publication further than you can throw it. (Much less, in a good wind.)

I suppose you’ve got to admire the fortitude of its readers for sticking with it. They must have stronger stomachs than I.

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3 responses to “News knows better who the genuine refugees are

  1. When News counts non-boat applicants that have arrived “between 2009 and June 11 this year” they could actually mean the 162 day period between 31 December 2009 and 11 June 2010.

    If so, then they have asserted that 5,646 arrivals over a 162 day period (i.e. 34 arrivals per day) represents a lower arrival rate than 6,310 arrivals over 653 days (i.e. 9.7 arrivals per day).

    Even if you’re generous and assume that News meant between 1 January 2009 and 11 June 2010 then you still get a non-boat arrival rate of 10.71 per day, which is clearly higher than the boat arrivals.

    Just remind me – what do you call ‘news’ that actively seeks to deceive it’s readers into believing the opposite of what’s really happening? It rhymes with ‘Panda’ I think.

  2. Pingback: The Australian’s defence to criticism of its war on Greens: stop oppressing us! – Pure Poison

  3. some commenters on the daily telegraph are taking him to task. I was going to point out the trickery, but they’ve already done it.

    in another time, deception like this would have consequences for the writer. now its business as usual

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