Granted, it’s not as if the Australian media broke into a young Pauline Hanson’s house and filled her head with questionable sentiments, but we can’t let them off Scott free either.
Whether it was mid-90s TV and news turning Pauline Hanson into a household name; or egging on the woman in a way that only increased her political drive; or giving her views a soapbox whether or not a part of a critical piece, or just calling her an outright [insert chosen profanity] — the media sphere always hankers for a bit of Hanson.
Here are ten moments where the media either overtly or inadvertently boosted Hanson’s public profile.
The Australian media helps spread ‘Hansonism’ (1996)
Prior to and during Hanson’s convening years as leader of the One Nation party, the Australian media spewed forth superlative warnings of doom and denigration. Apparently, Hanson was set to destroy our relationship with China and reveal just how massive the bigoted quotient of Aussies really was.
The fear mongering made nary a hair of a difference. Australia didn’t crumble into little white pieces, and our nation is more multicultural than ever. One wonders whether Hansonism would even exist if it weren’t for media coverage.
Mambo satirises Hanson on a matchbook. The media go crazy (1997)
For roughly thirty seconds back in 1997, every media outlet revealed clothing brand Mambo’s design for a new matchbook. A play on Redhead matches; the playful product replaced the standard redhead profile with Pauline’s, then amended the brand name to ‘Redneck’.
Essentially, the media helped an already sh**-rich company earn a small boatload of more cash by trading on the public’s outrage towards Hanson’s political philosophy.
If they were sold by some sole trader at Glebe markets, would it have made the news? Either way, Mambo were happy.
Wounding free speech, Pauline Pantsdown’s song ‘Backdoor Man’ is banned from the ABC (1998)
After spurring a musical satirist stage-named Pauline Pantsdown, it’s no wonder the real Pauline got her pants in a knot. Pantsdown’s tracks were gloriously silly, but it was a song that chopped up Hanson’s talking points to form new sentences that gave Hanson cause to claim defamation.
Pauline believed that ‘Backdoor Man’ suggested she is a homosexual, a prostitute, had anal sex with the Ku Klux Klan, was a transvestite and involved in sexual activities with children. An injunction was placed on the song and it was taken off the ABC air.
Pantsdown’s supporters claimed that the decision painted Australian’s as impervious to subtext, and too unintelligent to grasp the musicians commentary.
Hanson clears the air for Andrew Denton, to little avail (2004)
In the 2000s, if you were in the public spotlight and want to move beyond talking points and simplified rhetoric, Andrew Denton was the man to see. His Parkinson-esque in-depth interview show let the subject talk and talk and talk, whether into a hole or out of one.
When Pauline appeared in 2004, her image didn’t really budge, unless you sympathise with her having to deal with David Oldfield, who by all accounts sounds like a younger Mr. Burns from The Simpsons.
Sometimes, you spill the beans and all you’re really left with is a puddle of beans on the floor.
Hanson rewards the media with a pot of gold after joining Dancing With The Stars (2004)
This one’s on Pauline. Her contesting the DWTS throne is so ripe for attention that if I ran The Sydney Morning Herald over the course of her appearance, I would have changed the paper’s name to The Sydney Morning Hanson.
If Pauline’s twinkle toes were meant to revamp the Hanson name, they didn’t end up achieving their goal. Sure, it was relatively surprising to see the toned former face of One Nation nailing complex choreography, but unfortunately, as Kevin Bacon can vouch, the dance always comes to an end, and all you’re left with is the same sweaty human as before.
Hanson blames her 2009 election loss on relentless media coverage of leaked nude photos that were obviously of a different woman.
While many Aussies think Pauline disappeared in 1998, then briefly resurfaced for Dancing with the Stars, then disappeared again until recently, the truth is that Hanson has only ever stopped vying for a political position for a short time.
In the 2009 Queensland state election, P-to-the-H contested the electoral district of Beaudesert, as an independent, but ended up with the third-highest number of votes.
Both Hanson, her party, and various commentators have blamed the loss on a series of leaked photos over which the media salivated over for weeks. Whether the pics featured the real Hanson or not (and they didn’t – it was clearly a completely different woman) no human being deserves that kind of public scrutiny.
The Courier Mail paints Pauline Hanson as a latter-day Nelson Mandela, because naturally (2016)
A sole, elderly One Nation supporter gets almost an entire article unto his opinions (with comments from a few other Hanson supporters too). Not for saving a kitty cat or creating a nude version of bingo, but for likening Pauline Hanson version 2.0 to —wait for it— Nelson Mandela.
The words spoken by a 69-year-old Maryborough retiree named Lindsay McDermott definitely warrant widespread circulation, as we were all wanting to compare Pauline’s return from hiding to the incarceration of South Africa’s most notable revolutionary.
Really, the two could be twins. Has anyone looked into that possibility? Of course not. Illuminati.
Of course, we could end this eight-entry piece with ‘SBS publishes list on Pauline Hanson and the media”, but that’d be way too meta.