On Bullshit

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in ABC, Opinion, Public Interest

              Bullshit. It’s so pervasive right now in our politics and media that we are losing respect for the truth. Disturbed by this barrage of bluff, a Princeton professor of philosophy Harry Frankfurt wrote a book about the phenomenon. In ‘On Bullshit’, Frankfurt makes a neat distinction between lies (the deliberate and conscious utterances of untruths) with the humbug of pseudo-experts, dilettantes and […]

The Public Blackout

Posted on 1 CommentPosted in ABC, Government Policy and Regulation, Political News, Staffing and Resources

            Quality journalism is expensive for media companies. But the cost to society of the absence of quality journalism is infinitely greater. No more is this loss more evident than in the slow eradication from the media of specialist reporters. Usually the oldest (and most expensive) members of the newsroom, the specialists were the ones with the fattest contact books, the deepest understanding of […]

Fenced In

Posted on 24 CommentsPosted in ABC, Editorial Judgement, Political News, Public Interest

“Our job is not to step in, our job is just to reflect, it’s just to report on what happens.” That’s a quote from the ABC’s head of current affairs, Bruce Belsham, in the transcript published by New Matilda of his conversation in 2013 with the public broadcaster’s then technology editor Nick Ross about the National Broadband Network.

Storm in a Tea Hat

Posted on 5 CommentsPosted in ABC, Craft Standards, Editorial Judgement, News Corp

Are you over Zaky Mallah yet? If incomprehensible men in funny hats appearing live on our television screens were such a crime against humanity, as this episode seems to be viewed, how did Australia survive Molly Meldrum for so long? Assailed by the manufactured outrage over this beat-up in the last fortnight, one could see the government desperately lapping up every opportunity to connect this opponent of ISIS and […]

Insided Out

Posted on 14 CommentsPosted in ABC, Editorial Judgement, News Corp, Political News

It’s now four years since the US journalism academic Jay Rosen decried at the Melbourne Writers’ Festival about the “cult of savvy” in political journalism and the treatment of politics as a game for insiders. What’s changed since? Not much, going by the hysterical coverage of the leadership change in the Australian Greens.  In what may simply have been a case of a party leader deciding to quit politics […]

Enclosing the Commons

Posted on 8 CommentsPosted in ABC, Public Broadcasting

The existential attack on the ABC in Australia is just the latest extension of creeping libertarianism, imported wholesale from the US and promulgated by the Murdoch press and the now dominant right-wing fringe of the Liberal Party. For these people, there is no legitimate public space, no community, there is only the market. And anything not given a dollar value by the market must, by definition, have no intrinsic value.

Reframing Freedom

Posted on 24 CommentsPosted in ABC, Government Policy and Regulation, News Corp, Public Broadcasting, Public Interest

“Members of the Gillard government think the `top legislative priority’ should be to overhaul media laws, Attempts to control how news is reported and analysed will undermine freedom of speech by restricting the freedom of the media. This is a dangerous step to take as often it is the media that is the public’s advocate for the right to know and its guardian against abuses of power.” – The […]

Drama in Pyjamas

Posted on 26 CommentsPosted in ABC, News Corp, Opinion, Public Broadcasting

The enemy are inside the gate and they’re wearing PJs.  At the ABC, they are shamelessly promoting a seditious left-wing agenda, spreading traitorous leaks and, worst of all, giving free publicity to  Twitter. that decadent online lounge of the latte-loving elites. It must be a huge story because The Australian, Rupert Murdoch’s loss-making broadsheet, has devoted acres of space to it in recent weeks. All the big gun columnists […]

Freedom: A Moving Feast

Posted on 7 CommentsPosted in ABC, Ethical Standards, News Corp, Opinion, Political News, Public Broadcasting

‘Freedom’ is getting a real workout in the Australian media nowadays. It’s a peculiarly American view  of freedom, though – the Platonic, chiseled-into-granite view of the word. Hands instinctively go on hearts at its very mention. Take the taste test and it is revealed as the Rupert/IPA flavour of freedom. In other words, it’s supposed stark and uncompromising nobility is in stark contrast to its ideological contingency.  How else […]

Of Human Bondage

Posted on 23 CommentsPosted in ABC, Craft Standards, Financial News

An increasingly unhinged Australian mainstream media, with a few honourable exceptions, has been revving up the scary-o-meter in recent days about this country facing a future of debt, deficits and public penury for as far as the eye can see.   “A decade of deficits spells a bleak future for Australians,” was the headline on the increasingly tabloid ABC television news, warning of a crisis bigger than the one […]