Skip to main content

The sorry state of media in Australia

Mike Carlton, in his weekly column in the SMH, addresses an issue which concerns thinking people in Australia:

"Reading this column makes you a media consumer, which is a clunky phrase but useful enough. You might, then, see what you make of this:

"Australia's media practitioners will always prefer simplicity over the complex, the fascinating over the dull, the tangible over the abstract and the famous over the obscure. Issues are depicted as confrontations. The slightest gaffe is painted as a fatal blunder. Overall, there are problems of laziness, a narrow world outlook, lack of originality and a vague contempt for the mass audience."

And this: "The definition of 'news' itself now turns more on default preconceptions than content. Events have no real meaning unless they can be packaged and presented within a familiar framework. Inevitably, stories that may not fit these templates of violence, novelty, shock, drama, celebrity or spectacle will be neglected. This is censorship by mental sloth."

And, finally, this: "The stock editorial technique of commercial current affairs programs for the past decade has been prejudice reinforcement. Fan the audience's basest fears, hatreds and envies and watch your ratings rise."

Scorching stuff. The quotes are taken, pretty much at random, from The Media We Deserve, a new book by the founding executive producer of ABC TV's Media Watch program, David Salter. Yes, he is an old friend and, yes, I should ethically plead guilty to giving the book a plug here.

But it is a penetrating critique of Australia's contemporary media landscape, from radio shock jockery to broadsheet newspaper political punditry, from the insatiable greed of media moguldom to the all too often shambolic management of the ABC and SBS.

This newspaper is not spared. You can smell the roasted hides of sacred cows.

The title is, of course, heavy with irony. Salter's thesis is that we - i.e., the Australian people - deserve much better than we get, an effrontery that will have him excoriated in editorial conferences and journalists' pubs around the country.

"Very brave," I told him cheerfully at the book launch last Wednesday. "You've surely written the longest suicide note in the history of journalism."

He seemed unworried."

Interestingly, Richard Ackland also considers the same issue in his column in the SMH:

"Geoffrey Robertson, QC, is a great man. A wonderful contributor to the law of civil liberties and the right to publish. He has a towering intellect and an international legal practice. He can also be quite funny; for example, with his line "Rupert Murdoch is a great Australian, in the sense that Attila was a great Hun".

So he was an absolute natural to do the big oration on Tuesday night at a free-speech dinner in Sydney. It was staged by an outfit called Australia's Right to Know, which is a coalition of media organisations and lobby groups. Fairfax Media is a member, so too is News Ltd, the ABC, SBS, the free-to-air TV people, the commercial radio stations, the journalists' union and AAP."

Read Ackland's column here.


Popular posts from this blog

Donald T: First seduced..... then betrayed!

All those supporters of Trump - who, heaven's only knows, got him headed for the White House - are in a for more than a rude awakening and shock.   Whatever Trump "promised" is just not going to Paul Krugman so clearly spells out in his latest op-ed piece "Seduced and Betrayed by Donald Trump" in The New York Times.

"Donald Trump won the Electoral College (though not the popular vote) on the strength of overwhelming support from working-class whites, who feel left behind by a changing economy and society. And they’re about to get their reward — the same reward that, throughout Mr. Trump’s career, has come to everyone who trusted his good intentions. Think Trump University.

Yes, the white working class is about to be betrayed.

The evidence of that coming betrayal is obvious in the choice of an array of pro-corporate, anti-labor figures for key positions. In particular, the most important story of the week — seriously, people, stop focusing on Trum…

Snooping..... at its worst

The Brits have just brought in legislation which allows for unprecedented "snooping" in a Western democracy - says Edward Snowden.   Let truthdig explain....

"On Tuesday, the United Kingdom instated the Investigatory Powers Act 2016, a piece of legislation described by whistleblower Edward Snowden as “the most extreme surveillance in the history of western democracy.”

The law, informally known as the “Snooper’s Charter,” spent over a year in Parliament before it was passed. The Guardian reported:

"The new surveillance law requires web and phone companies to store everyone’s web browsing histories for 12 months and give the police, security services and official agencies unprecedented access to the data.

It also provides the security services and police with new powers to hack into computers and phones and to collect communications data in bulk. The law requires judges to sign off police requests to view journalists’ call and web records, but the measure has been descri…

A "Muslim Register"

Outrageous is the word which immediately comes to mind - the idea of a  Muslim Register which Trump has floated.     And how and by or through whom would this Registry comes into being?    Let The Intercept explain.....

"Every American corporation, from the largest conglomerate to the smallest firm, should ask itself right now: Will we do business with the Trump administration to further its most extreme, draconian goals? Or will we resist?

This question is perhaps most important for the country’s tech companies, which are particularly valuable partners for a budding authoritarian. The Intercept contacted nine of the most prominent such firms, from Facebook to Booz Allen Hamilton, to ask if they would sell their services to help create a national Muslim registry, an idea recently resurfaced by Donald Trump’s transition team. Only Twitter said no.

Shortly after the election, IBM CEO Ginni Rometty wrote a personal letter to President-elect Trump in which she offered her congratulation…