VCE Outcome 3: Language Analysis Essay

In the editorial “Turning the muck filter on”, the writer intends to present a “no-nonsense” argument for a new Government policy to police the internet. Yet despite their strong ridiculing bias, their clever distinctions, their efforts at alliteration and their illuminative analogies, I for one do not need a filter to see the gaps in their argument!!!

    The editor has no time to spare for the few “nobod[ies]” who might disagree with them. They believe they represent the vast majority of sensible citizens, as opposed to the “contrarians with a contempt for common sense”, or the minor “exception of old hippies fighting” for a lost cause. In these descriptions the editor is being exceptionally biased and extreme, but the effect upon the reader is to isolate, mock and marginalize all opposition. Should the reader dare to disagree, the editor’s message is clear: “Tough”. To add insult to injury, such a reader is conclusively allied with those “who want sexually violent images on their computer”. It is absolutely clear that the absolutist editor of the newspaper is not interested in the opinions of those who might want to join the fight against censorship.

    Why? Because the editor does not believe that the internet filter presents a new form of censorship. Instead, they see the filter as an extension of current practices of censorship upon other forms of media. This is the argument (and line) clearly espoused by the Communications Minister, and by asserting what the issue “has nothing to do with” the editor is able to alliteratively present to the reader what the issue is really about: “defend[ing] boundaries of behaviour that noone wants breached”. To emphasise how honest and straight-forward this distinction is, we are told “It is that simple.” The implication made here is that if we can’t see and accept the position of the Government, we are limited in our mental capacities. Hooray for nationalism!

    I particularly like the part where the persons who will be able to overcome the barriers presented by the filter are likened to “teenagers illegally access[ing] alcohol”. It seems that it doesn’t matter if the current Government has a result like that of its predecessor, which spent $86 million on a firewall that was scaled in 30 minutes by a savvy 16 year old, because after all, kids will be kids. It’s ironic that the editor fails to mention the cost to the Government all those legally abiding alcoholic parents present to the state, but also that the parents on both sides of the analogy are the ones who really and truly have responsible for the misdeeds of their children, not the Government. The editor’s argument is strong on rhetoric and analogy, but ignores the flaws of the policy and is simply a call for obedience to the state’s poorest plans.

    The contemptuous position to criticisms of censorship and the absolute argument for moral boundaries assumed by the editor in this piece are extremely aggressive in their language: funny how the loudest people are often the most ignorant.

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