In a time when many are decrying the lack of political debate in the mainstream media, South Freo bloke Tibor Meszaros wants to get people talking about the issues again.
His new TV show Shadow Boxing aims to give a voice to independents, political wannabes, unorthodox historians and anyone else with ideas challenging the dominant regime.
Originally from Hungary, the West TV general manager got his start covering a football pitch opening in a tiny village, and then moved on to the tricky terrain of news reporting in a communist country.
He left Hungary 30 years ago but reckons the news isn’t much different in Australia. Whereas the government decided what made it to air in Hungary, here the dollar decides.
Media organisations prioritise stories that earn them the most eyes on the screen, translating to advertising dollars.
“The media is not really interested in the politics… and they have little time for the people who aren’t in power,” Meszaros says.
“Even the premier or prime minister has a 30-second sound bite, or not even that. It’s not enough time to go into issues in depth.
“I think the public is very much interested but the media is not providing enough time or opportunities.”
So far he’s interviewed a few independent candidates going up against the hegemony at the next election, and the Herald dropped in when Meszaros was chatting to Joe Poprzeczny, a former conservative firebrand journo for the Sunday Times who’s now an historian who says one of the most persistent myths of our culture is that Australia is a democracy.
Before you dismiss this as another passe right-winger’s rant about Julia Gillard, Poprzezncy places the death of democracy as far back as 1891: When colonial politicians went on a mysterious voyage up the Hawkesbury River on the SS Lucinda in the days before federation to discuss the new constitution, a clause was deleted that would have allowed the people to force a referendum to block any piece of legislation. No-one knows exactly why Deakin scribbled out the clause, no minutes were kept, and the event was largely forgotten.
It’s hidden histories and little-known stories like these that Meszaros wants to bring to his viewers.
“The mainstream media doesn’t feel this is their task, somehow this whole thing is neglected very much.
“That’s why we started the show, to give a ring for these people in the shadows to box.”
Shadow Boxing screens Fridays at 7.30pm on West TV, and the episodes are on YouTube.
by DAVID BELL