Our public broadcaster is our most trusted source of news. So why does it spend so much time and money chasing cheap and predictable opinions from a small group of people who have plenty of other places to bang their tin drums?
The self-mythology of journalism is that its practitioners are dissidents, contrarians, professional sceptics and iconoclasts. But the behaviour of our media through the so-called AWU affair reveals an easily manipulated, compliant and cowardly press pack.
Being a successful media pundit depends on a couple of core skills – one is a capacity for sounding absolutely confident about your predictions; the other is your ability to seamlessly and plausibly change gear after the fact without denting your public credibility at all. Traditionally, pundits have gotten away with these 180-degree reversals because of the mainstream media’s monopoly on analysis. Being the sole mediator allowed established outlets […]
News is what’s new. At least that’s the traditional definition. But in the case of a heavily concentrated Australian mainstream media, news is defined by the same half-dozen issues constantly rehashed as vehicles for faked-up conflict and partisan opinion mongering. So at the start of every week, it is a fair bet that The Australian Financial Review (formerly a pro-market paper, now a pro-business lobby rag) will spin as […]
A health warning to mainstream media consumers: When a news story starts with the words “is expected to”, activate the BS detector. When that story involves forecasts about economic statistics, shift detector to warp speed.
It is less than 20 years ago that the US financial news organisation I then worked for started asking journalists to put an email address at the bottom of every story. I remember snorting at the presumption that our readers were as nerdish as our tech-head editor in Washington. Move on two decades and we find journalists doing the bulk of their work over the internet – through research, […]
Just in: Pressure is increasing on Julia Gillard to call a leadership spill amid unrelenting pressure from backbenchers pressuring for a release of the pressure valve holding back potentially explosive leadership pressures. Sources close to the ABC say talk is growing about an imminent shift of three non-aligned backbenchers to the camp considering a vote for Kevin Rudd in order to silence ongoing media speculation about the release of […]
As with everything in Australian politics these days, debate over the federal government’s media inquiry has become just another coat-hanger on which ideologues of every stripe can drape their off-the-rack worldviews. It’s why we’re hearing market forces are the fix for dodgy journalism.
Photo: SMH The media is a sucker for stories about plain-talkin’, grass-roots folk confronting cynical politicians with homespun morality. Think ‘Mr Smith Goes to Washington’. Brought up on these sentimental tabloid templates and jaded with the daily theatre of covering politics, capital city journalists tend to revel in ‘people’s protests’ as a welcome injection of ‘authenticity’ in a working environment where no-one ever says what they mean. Aware of […]
As the ABC mulls the falling ratings for its flagship 730 current affairs show, it might want to consider whether the problem isn’t so much the presenter or the physical set or the stories – but the conventional television narratives that have become so hackneyed that no-one can be bothered paying attention anymore.