Media and the art of misdirection

By Jit Kumar
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John Adams

Why is mainstream media focusing on irrelevant issues like whether chess is racist instead of important issues like the debt bubble, asks former Australian chess master and economist John Adams

Coming down heavily on the country’s press for triggering an unnecessary debate over his slamming of a Sydney radio station for asking if chess is racist, former Australian chess master and economist John Adams said the mainstream media is diverting people’s attention from pressing issues by raking up frivolous questions in times of economic crisis.

In a podcast interview with Digital Finance Analytics, Adams said told Martin North the Australian media often comes up with these diversionary stories by engaging in superficial conversations—”what you classically call misdirection”—that make people look over in one way when the establishment is doing things over the other way.

“This process of the mainstream media basically wasting people’s time, making them look in one direction when they should be actually focussing on a whole bunch of other important issues—particularly around the economy, this debt bubble for instance, or the other big problems, from narcotics and educational attainment to population, health and the challenges in the environment,” he told host Martin North.

Adams had not only declined the opportunity to appear on the show recently, but he also took to Twitter to slam ABC. “I just received a phone call from an ABC Sydney-based producer seeking a comment about the game of chess! The ABC have taken the view that chess is racist given that white always go first!,” he tweeted.

“We are witnessing in real time the destruction of Australia and it is by an elite who lacks the capacity to govern and who are not engaging with the ordinary citizen to bring the community together”

“They are seeking comment from a chess official as to whether the rules of chess need to be altered! Trust the taxpayer funded national broadcaster to apply ideological Marxist frameworks to anything in Australia. With all the drama resulting from COVID-19, I am amazed that the ABC is broadcasting on irrelevant topics,” the 38-year-old wrote on his Twitter handle.

In the podcast interview, Adams also said: “We are witnessing in real time the destruction of Australia and it is by an elite who lacks the capacity to govern and who are not engaging with the ordinary citizen to bring the community together so that we can come to some sort of consensus.”

Some on twitter criticised Adams calling his response to the ABC interview as his attempt to defend “white privilege”. In the podcast, which was largely an attempt by Adams to clarify his position on the matter, explained how the game in the 19th century changed over to a rule where white moved first. Till the middle of 19th century, there was no fixed rule on which colour moved first. Martin North also suggested that it would be a good idea for the game to just adopt a rule where each colour goes first and the first mover is never fixed. Some on twitter called for a toss to decide who plays first.

The former chess player also has a suggestion for the media who often seems to be complacent by airing or publishing a typical response of a politician. “Journalists need to push hard against these politicians, because these politicians have rehearsed lines and they just repeat them and get away with utter crap,” he said.


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