Well, it seems another of Fraser Anning’s press conferences has turned violent, this time with one of his supporters lead away by police. Whether we’ve learned anything from the egg incident, remains to be seen.
Again, the post-script of a Fraser Anning press conference has hit the headlines. This time the roles are slightly reversed, as a supporter of Anning has been taken away by the police, after what the NSW Police confirmed as a “physical altercation” between a 19-year-old, a female reporter and photographer covering the event.
Images from the scene seem to depict a News Corp photographer with his shirt torn. Seemingly, the pro-Anning crowd defending his anti-immigration policy, and took umbrage with the line of questioning that Newscorp’s Eliza Barr took.
According to SBS, “When the conference ended they proceeded to follow her out of the park. When the News Corp Australia photographer when to check on Barr’s well-being he was attacked by one of Senator Anning’s supporters.”
With the police now detaining the man purportedly responsible, the examination must turn to the press conferences of Fraser Anning. Now, I realise the irony of using the media to decry the media coverage of any event, but clearly, we’re stuck in a bit of a loop. Fraser Anning holds a speech, media covers said speech, the event goes awry, we argue amongst ourselves on what constitutes free speech and/or who did what to whom; both media and Anning profit.
Very simply put, the media pegs Anning as the antagonist, and Anning, as an outsider, proudly wears the label.
Now, of course, Anning didn’t direct the crowd to do what they did, but the application of violence birthed from the discourse that involves him is an obvious line to draw. Abuse (especially physical) of the press is certainly not on, but the massive backlash I can see coming because of this will certainly push the lines back further, enforcing the ‘us’ versus ‘them’ environment that plagues us. Whether Anning calls out the supporter for his behaviour is a point already moot.
We, after all, were the country that turned an egg into a symbol of political opposition/a metaphor of today’s awry youth. Certainly, we can turn a bashed photographer into whatever we choose.
The challenge, of course, is knowing whether the labels we apply are actually legitimate.