Trump’s greatest trick? Monopolising our attention

A Trump supporter shouts at crowds celebrating Biden's win.

Morrison has sought to weaken institutions. He was happy for Parliament not to sit at times during this crisis. Under his leadership, misleading Parliament no longer seems an important offence. After the Audit Office criticised the government’s sports rorts, its funding was cut back. Morrison has put the ABC board on notice, more or less told public servants to get back in their box and mocked international bodies. Secrecy dominates. On a surprising number of occasions, Morrison has made claims that are not, by any measure, true – that, for example, he has not said things he is on record as having said. A lot has been written about the war on truth, the loss of a common set of facts from which we can proceed. I am concerned just as much with something slightly, but significantly, different. Politics is not just based on facts; it is, at its heart, a collective quest to discover what the facts are, and then to act on them. Morrison addresses the media on Sunday outside Kirribili House. Morrison addresses the media on Sunday outside Kirribili House.Credit:Edwina Pickles It is this idea, of politics as a search for truth, that we are on the cusp of losing; the idea that, together, we can muddle towards consensus on what issues are real and pressing, and in this way make a better world, or at least a better country – and hopefully both. This is the role of the institutions our Prime Minister doesn’t like; this is why it is important that our politicians tell the truth and that the media holds them to that standard.

Trump’s greatest trick? Monopolising our attention