The Civic Vacuum

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

Who Protects Us From Stupid?

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

Excess Baggage

Politics is a television medium. It has been for nearly 50 years. But TV has changed in that time. Artifice in the aid of the entertainment was formerly tolerated. Now, thanks to the ‘reality’ TV phenomenon, we seek out representations of ‘authenticity’. Guess what happens to politics?
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‘Reality’ Television

network With television increasingly dominated by the Outrage Business and shamelessly exploitative and cheap ‘reality’ shows, the 1976 Sidney Lumet-directed Oscar-winning movie ‘Network’ looks increasingly prescient. In this bitter satire of the effect that intense commercial competition has on broadcast standards, Australian Peter Finch plays Howard Beale, a TV demagogue so appalled by the profit-driven amorality of the network that employs him that he urges his viewers to turn their sets off. Continue reading