A USyd lecturer has faced criticism for an opinion piece published by the ABC on Thursday.
In the op-ed, Dirk Moses, Professor of Modern History at the University of Sydney and senior editor of the Journal of Genocide Research, criticises News Corp’s coverage of ANU’s decision to end negotiations with the Ramsay Centre.
I’ve written an article “Western Civilization and Conservative Hysteria” about @Australian and federal government’s extraordinary campaign against universities https://t.co/yNphTcJpHg via @abcreligion @DenisShanahan1 @HyperbolicGreg @chriskkenny @ESIaustralia
— Dirk Moses (@dirkmoses) June 7, 2018
Moses argued that outrage over ANU’s decision reflects a growing sense of crisis among right wing commentators, who may feel threatened by the ‘growth’ of leftist ideology. Their concerns are misdirected externally, wrote Moses. The perceived problem lies in a decline in support for conservatism.
“If anything undermines Western civilization at Australian universities it is the declining enrolments in the Bachelor of Arts.”
Moses’ identifies individual News Corp commentators in his article, many who have recently voiced criticisms of the ABC. His tweet sharing the article also tags Dennis Shanahan, Greg Sheridan, Chris Kenny, and Kevin Donnelly, all directly associated with The Australian.
The News Corp publication has been following the ANU story intensely, with more than seven stories on the ‘Higher Education’ page on Thursday, and more under the ‘Opinion’ tag.
The Australian ($) reported on Thursday that the ABC had retracted part of the piece, which compared Sheridan’s ideology with that of Norwegian mass murderer Anders Breivik.
The original piece read:
“Do members of the right-wing commentariat think that Western countries are succumbing to a poisonous cocktail of multiculturalism, Muslim immigration, political correctness and cultural Marxism that dilutes the white population and brainwashes young people at school and university?” Professor Moses wrote.
“It seems that, much like Anders Breivik and Steve Bannon, they do.”
Sheridan responded with a column in The Australian ($):
“What the …?”
The comparison to Anders Breivik has been removed, with the ABC telling The Australian:
“The item was an opinion piece from an external contributor … The reference was removed because it was not consistent with the ABC’s editorial standards.”
Moses told The Australian, “I did not intend to imply anyone was a mass murderer (obviously)”.
“The wording is careful: ‘It seems that, much like Anders Breivik and Steve Bannon, they do. We are on the precipice of disaster, they seem to believe.’”
“The coupling with Bannon, no murderer, indicates that it’s the ideas I’m talking about … I think some people have overreached themselves with their incendiary rhetoric.”
The debate continues on Twitter, where Chris Kenny and Mark Latham, notable defenders of Western Civilisation, have engaged directly with Moses.
Elsewhere on Twitter, past students debated the article.
I was also a student of his in the early 2000s. However I seemed to have retained the critical thinking he taught, rather than succumbing to a knee-jerk, populist reaction.
— plansplainer (@plansplaining) June 7, 2018
“Chris,” tweeted Moses, “happy for you to visit campus and go over our curriculum. Also to hear you out. More constructive than twitter.”