Cartoons in the age of Fake News with Sean Leahy

By Elizabeth Foster

Renowned Australian political cartoonist Sean Leahy is back at Woodford, focusing on the relationship between cartoons and fake news.

Sean discussed his career, asking the audience to not hold his history writing for The Courier-Mail against him.

He gave his thoughts on fake news to the crowd, saying it’s an important debate.

Sean Leahy discussing one of his cartoons at Woodford – Elizabeth Foster

“Some editors hate the term fake news, saying there’s no such thing,” Sean said.

“I actually think, Trump has done us a favour by coining the term, because there is such a thing, it’s always been there.

“In Australia’s case our first experience of fake news was Gallipoli, you know that saying ‘the first casualty of war is truth.

“So we were fed a lie about Gallipoli and interestingly it was Keith Murdoch who reported the truth back to Australia and that was sort of seen as a revolutionary thing, truth in journalism and that it would never catch on but it has, it’s still there somewhere, it exists.”

One of the cartoons Sean showed the audience – From Sean Leahys Facebook page @leahycartoons

Sean discussed how he feels news, and journalists themselves, have not upheld their duty to provide accurate information to the public.

Sean discussed the parallels between how he felt news was suppressed in both the Iraq war and in the lead up to the Brexit votes.

“The press didn’t do its part in fully informing the public in my opinion, they went along with this fiction that there would really be no negative impact,” he said.

“I still don’t understand how they could be so stupid.”

He said journalists were not the only ones to blame for the current cynicism, with governments also having a vital role to play in the spread of fake news.

“Fake news disseminated by a government can be helped by truthless meaning that simply sits on it’s hands,” he said.


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