This year is one of Australia’s most consequential for public debate: complex, fraught and momentous.

Discussion around the referendum for an Indigenous Voice to Parliament, for example, challenges us all to take a more rigorous and respectful approach to cultural matters. But instead of rising to this task, we too often see a cavalier approach to the harm caused by baseless, misleading or racist commentary.

I’m beginning to suspect, for example, that Nine newspapers The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald have developed a template for first-time opinion pieces — one that unfairly exposes unsuspecting writers to attack. Such pieces saturate lead paragraphs with search-engine-optimising outrage triggers before outlining the writer’s personal struggle, centring themselves in a debate that’s not theirs.

Two recently published pieces follow this pattern…

>>> Read on at Crikey

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