On Tuesday 15th March the West Australian ran this story on their front page.
“A State Government report paints a bleak picture of the life of Aboriginals in Roebourne, revealing alarming levels of alcohol abuse, child neglect, violence, crime and overcrowding.”
They showed Cyril in his home and said this, “Village resident Cyril Munda, who lives among the squalor, said no one should have to live in such conditions.”
The West Australian is not staffed by idiots. They knew what the response would be. Letters to the West included typical stuff by people such as calls for Cyril to clean up his house, buy some detergent, take personal responsibility.
Fair call. Each of us should take responsibility for how we live.
But The West knew this, and knew what the response would be. It was a cynical, cliched photo, even if it was ‘true’. It did not share how Cyril had got to this point, what his family life was like. I don’t want to absolve him of responsibility, but I do want to say that ‘easy’ pot shot journalism such as this, just makes it easy for our society to continue in its attitude towards indigenous people.
I think we need to have some real dialogue with our fellow Australians about the issues that affect us all and I don’t think The West contributed to that.