It’s coming on two years since Waleed Aly joined The Project and his impact could not be more obvious. What started as a comedic, light-hearted take on current affairs has morphed into a platform for Aly to disseminate his own personal views and opinions.
Aly’s attempts at humour are dismal and his political commentary comes across as pointed, condescending and self-righteous. He behaves like an intolerable academic who loves the sound of his own voice. He talks down to everyday Australians in a way that implies that everything that comes out of his mouth has been divinely revealed to him and is an infallible truth. Worse, he interrogates guests with a disconcerting arrogance which reflects a lack of respect for alternate viewpoints. Never has this been more apparent than in the last month of the program.
When Foreign Minister Julie Bishop recently appeared on the program she experienced the full extent of Aly’s biased and arrogant style of journalism. Twisting the remarks of our Immigration Minister to suit his own anti-government narrative, Aly asked Bishop “whether or not you think Peter Dutton was wrong to say Malcolm Fraser should not have let Lebanese Muslims into Australia … ”
This was a gross manipulation of the Minister’s words and was quickly corrected by Bishop. The mere fact that Waleed was obnoxious enough to editorialise this issue and misquote a minister, whilst at the same time trying to paint his guest as a racist by association to Dutton, was truly unacceptable.
Aly again crossed the line of journalistic integrity when he challenged Steve Price over the recent protests in Parliament House. Waleed sarcastically tried to frame the protests as an issue of free speech in an attempt to antagonise his guest, conservative commentator Steve Price. He then went on to condone the protests because they were merely interrupting a “series of Dorothy Dixers, where people don’t answer questions that they’re asked.”
Aly’s contempt of Australia’s democratic processes is unbelievable. How an award-winning journalist could belittle our democracy in such a way – and get away with it – is truly baffling.
The most recent instance of Aly’s disrespectful and self-righteous commentary came this past week when he had Australian businessman Dick Smith on the program. Smith was being questioned over his controversial alignment with Pauline Hanson’s strict stance on immigration.
Yet instead of trying to gain insight into the reasons behind Smith’s views, Aly once again opted to be condescending and talked down to Smith, explaining why he was wrong. Thankfully, Smith did not let Waleed get away with this, tackling him out on his complete ignorance to “basic economics”.
Smith’s calling out of Aly was long overdue and reflects the attitude of many Australian’s who see Aly as nothing more than an entitled academic who is out of touch with the concerns of everyday people.
Aly is glaringly out of place on The Project. He is not funny. His commentary is biased. His only purpose is to embolden social justice warriors by creating soundbites of leftist propaganda that can easily be spread across social media.
He allows those on the left to feign political knowledge with his diatribes about the state of the Australian government and international affairs. He has crossed the lines of journalistic integrity too many times to continue to hold his position on The Project.
Daniel Magnussen is a Law and International Relations student at The Australian National University. He blogs at A Political Prerogative.
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