How’s this for an echo chamber?
Pauline Hanson watches herself on television.
But the twist is how she broadcasts herself, watching herself on television, to all her fans via Facebook.
It was like the One Nation senator’s own version of Gogglebox on Sunday night as she settled in to watch Pauline Hanson: Please Explain, the SBS documentary covering her political rise and fall – and rise again.
(Reporter’s note: and now here’s a news report about it, so maybe she will make a live video of her reading this news article about her video?)
But there’s a serious point in this political hall of mirrors: Hanson knows better than most how to use the power of social media to connect directly with her supporters, bypassing the traditional media that troubled her so much the last time around.
She made the point herself while watching the program.
“Now, since I’ve been on social media,” she said in the Facebook Live video stream, “to have this connection with the people, they see my videos, they hear me speak, they actually, you know, talk to me and they know what I’m saying and they judge me based on that.”
Her fans couldn’t get enough. More than 2,000 people were watching her watch the program within minutes of turning on the camera.
For long periods, it wasn’t riveting video: she had no reaction or just sat in silence.
She laughed once when the doco brought up her appearance on Dancing With The Stars.
But the number of live viewers hovered around 2,500 throughout the 90-minute broadcast.
Her fans wrote more than 5,000 comments while watching too.
Her fans clearly loved seeing the double image of Hanson on their television and Hanson on their phones.
“Always speak the truth,” one woman wrote in the comments section.
“That’s why we voted for you.”
“A gutsy woman who stands behind what she believes in,” wrote another.
“We need a strong woman in politics.”
Over on Twitter, however, the reaction was different.
As a politician Hanson is toxic. Pedalling bigotry, revelling in ignorance, devoid of substance. #PleaseExplain
— Michael Byrnes (@MichaelByrnes)
July 31, 2016
Hanson likely anticipated this reaction, saying she was always under the microscope and, because of it, people misunderstood her.
“They don’t get it,” she said. “They don’t understand where I’m coming from, my policies and what I stand for.”
But she listed off “the elitists, the lefties, the minority groups” as key groups who were ruining Australia.
“I haven’t changed my views, my opinions about what I foresee for Australia. So, I’m very strong on that,” she said in wrapping up the broadcast.
“I’m going to keep doing what I believe in, and if people still want me there, they’ll keep voting for me.”
Her 147,000 Facebook fans couldn’t agree more.