While the killing of George Floyd has seen a seismic shift in attitudes towards police in the US, the tabloid press is doing everything it can to prevent a similar change in public opinion from occurring here in Australia.
In the weeks since Minneapolis police officers killed George Floyd, the cultural shift in America has been swift. The TV show Cops was pulled off the air after 32 years. Police abolition, once a far-left pipe-dream, is now an argument given a serious run by establishment outlets like The New York Times. And there’s been a seismic change in public opinion, both on Black Lives Matter and attitudes to the police.
But in Australia, where our public discourse so often swims downstream from the United States, sympathetic media outlets have quickly tried to blunt that narrative shift. Since protests around the country drew thousands, and pushed the issue of black deaths in custody back into the spotlight, Australia’s tabloid media has been awash with defensive, pro-police content.
Tabloids say Blue Lives Matter
Just days after protests began to swell across American, footage of police in Sydney aggressively slamming an Indigenous teenager into the ground went viral. The next morning, NSW Police Commissioner Mick Fuller discussed the arrest with 2GB’s Ben Fordham, Alan Jones’ heir to the Sydney talk radio throne.