The debate about rolling back reforms aimed at ensuring financial advisers put clients first raises questions of how the notion of fiduciary responsibility applies to other professionals, like journalists for instance.
Do journalists have a duty of care to their readers and viewers? Or is their first responsibility to their employers? Of course, these responsibilities are not mutually exclusive. But anyone who pays attention to some of the more ‘colourful’ output of the tabloid press, radio and commercial television in Australia might conclude where loyalties primarily lie. Continue reading →
A major theme accompanying the destruction of the mainstream media’s business model is what happens to our democracy when we lose public accountability journalism. We’re finding out.
Whether liberal or traditionally conservative, no champion of a vigorous democracy can be happy with the emaciation of the Fourth Estate to the point where it is reduced to being a passive cheerleader or booster for the well-heeled, the powerful and the connected. The civic function of journalism has been almost entirely eclipsed by the market function of commercial media. Continue reading →
Depressed by Australian politics? Take a trip to the US and witness the media conversation there. This is the original recipe for our post-modern show about nothing, featuring professional partisans rattling off practised punchlines like Jerry versus Newman.
On a sleepy Sunday at Dallas-Fort Worth, an airport the size of a small Australian city, chino-wearing business travellers hunch over laptops at fast-food joints lit by hundreds of screens showing the talking heads sparring over Obamacare or the debt ceiling or fracking or whatever else might raise a temperature. Continue reading →
It was a bit of fun that flouted the rules, says Jonathon Holmes. The outrage is another example of nanny statism by meddling lefties, says Tim Blair. Yes, yes. But has anyone considered that the now infamous hoax call to Kate Middleton merely confirmed (yet again) the utter stupidity of our media and the people who mindlessly consume it?
Clearly, there has always been a substantial commercial market for juvenile stunts at the expense of others. And when those stunts are directed at the high-flown and privileged, it’s hard to argue they are any more than harmless fun. What green-blooded republican Australian doesn’t get a kick from poking fun at an anachronistic class structure built on the notion that some flesh and blood individuals walk on a different planet to the rest of us? Continue reading →
The gnashing of teeth in print journalism about how to save the industry is understandable. But like a shipwrecked crew on a melting iceberg, the victims might spend less time wishing for a change in the weather and more time building a boat out of there.
If the world of politics is now so dominated by spin and media management that ‘reality’ is whatever you choose it to be, what’s the proper role of journalism?
It’s to find the truth and report it, right? Journalists are employed to serve their readers and viewers by cutting through hype, digging out red herrings, challenging misleading statements and exposing what’s really going on. You would think so, wouldn’t you? Continue reading →
“The world is a business, Mr. Beale; it has been since man crawled out of the slime. Our children will live, Mr. Beale, to see that perfect world in which there’s no war or famine, oppression or brutality – one vast and ecumenical holding company, for whom all men will work to serve a common profit, in which all men will hold a share of stock – all necessities provided, all anxieties tranquilized, all boredom amused. And I have chosen you, Mr. Beale, to preach this evangel.”
That pivotal scene from Paddy Chayefsky’s prescient 1976 media satire Network sprung to mind when lowbrow radio clown Kyle Sandilandsrevved up the outrage machineagain this week and was rewarded with buckets worth of free publicity for his troubles. Continue reading →
What did the International Monetary Fund say about the Australian economy? We’re heading for a severe slowdown. No, wait! We’re better placed than anyone. Hold on, that’s not right! Julia Gillard is putting a brave face on a grim outlook.
In an age when the source material for most news events is freely available on the web, it is surprising that media organisations continue to spin multiple versions of agreed facts to suit their own ideological positions.
What is news anyway? Young journalists are told it’s what’s new, noteworthy or unusual. It’s something that prompts an “oh, really?” response. You usually know it when you see it. But to be deemed as news, events needed to pass a certain bar. These days, though, they must be setting the bar particularly low. Continue reading →
Five hundred years ago, English capitalist farmers began a process known as “enclosure of the commons”, the forced and wholesale appropriation of public land – formerly used by villagers for arable farming. Now corporate forces, led by Rupert Murdoch, and agents of the political Right are attempting a similar manoeuvre on public broadcasting – the broadcast commons. The ultimate price is our democracy. Continue reading →