Anti-suburbanism at The Courier-Mail

Excellent article by Alan Davies in The Urbanist (available from Crikey site) about the typical media practice of blaming suburban life for social ills. In this case, it is Brisbane’s Courier-Mail attributing the unfortunate death of a mother and son to the anomie of suburban life:

The Courier Mail reported the death of a son and his elderly mother in their Brisbane home earlier this month under the headline “Left to die a lonely death in the suburbs”. Their bodies were not discovered for at least a week. The paper said that “at some point before Mark Thomas died in his suburban home, possibly of a heart attack, he had confined his elderly mother Irene to her room for her own safety”. Note the repetition of the word ‘suburbs’ …

It’s a tragic story but the suburbs – which get a good going over in the way the story is framed – have nothing to do with it. The family lived in suburban Enoggera, but it would’ve made no difference if they lived in inner city New Farm, West End or Red Hill.

I can’t see that inner city neighbours would’ve been any more solicitous of their well-being either. If anything, perhaps less interested since it’s more likely they’d be younger and out working or partying than neighbours in Enoggera.

The Courier Mail’s report illustrates the long-standing antipathy of the media and elites towards the suburbs.

More here.

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About Terry Flew

I am Professor of Media and Communication in the Creative Industries Faculty at the Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, Australia. I am the author of New Media: An Introduction, the fourth edition of which was published by Oxford University Press in 2014. I am also the author of Understanding Global Media, published by Palgrave in 2007, and The Creative Industries, Culture and Policy, published by Sage in 2012.

1 reply to “Anti-suburbanism at The Courier-Mail

  1. Jason Wilson

    Interesting, Terry. I recently impulse bought John Carey’s “The Intellectuals and the Masses” which nicely historicises intellectuals’ antipathy to suburban life. This resonates strongly with the Urbanist piece.

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