Be Afraid, Please

Posted 4 CommentsPosted in Craft Standards, News Corp, Political News

“ The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed – and hence clamorous to be led to safety – by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.”– H.L. Mencken In a world in which everyone is constantly distracted, arguably the most valued currency is your attention. Politicians know it. Journalists know it. As Big Idea professions trying to survive in […]

West Side Tories

Posted 7 CommentsPosted in New Media, News Corp, Opinion, Political News

“When you’re a Jet, you’re a Jet all the way. From your first cigarette, to your last dyin’ day.” The mainstream media is deep into its ‘Me’ phase. Despite the world going through enormous change and upheaval, a large chunk of our media is talking more about itself and its competition than it is about anything that might remotely impact on its audience.

Left Right Out

Posted 47 CommentsPosted in Editorial Judgement, Opinion, Political News

When people talk about media bias, they inevitably are referring to the house leanings of particular publishers. What’s often overlooked, though, is the bias generated by the necessity of journalists choosing certain frames and narratives to shape what’s known as “news”. The March-in-March protests around Australia provide an object lesson in how journalists can be captured by those tired frames and by the tired institutions they report on.  While […]

Media House of Cards

Posted 4 CommentsPosted in Broadcasting, Digital Media, Government Policy and Regulation, Media Business, Pay Television, Political News, Television

Proponents for the dismantling of media ownership laws rightly make the point that in age where everyone can publish across multiple platforms it is anachronistic to maintain regulations designed for a different age. But if we are going to deregulate, why not go the whole hog? Discussion about Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s proposals to dismantle specific laws for specific media platforms overlook another consequence of new technology: While consumers […]

FEIJOA Awards 2013

Posted 14 CommentsPosted in News, Political News, Profession

What happens to media critics when the media disappears? Your blog host has lost count of the conversations he’s had this year with journalists seeking a way out of the smoking ruins of the old industrial word factories of the mainstream media. Yes, Rupert’s cartoon sheets keep pushing on, but no-one of any integrity sees them as anything other than propaganda tools for the evil empire that is News […]

Doing a Number

Posted 22 CommentsPosted in Craft Standards, Editorial Judgement, Financial journalism, Financial News, Political News

Journalists, as a rule, don’t do numbers. They’re words people – topped the class in creative writing; struggled in maths. And in most areas of reporting, that’s not a huge disadvantage. But when it comes to economics, it can leave them open to being conned. Take the Mid-Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook. That News Corp would run this set-piece through its lazy and deliberately misleading partisan filter (‘Labor’s Debt […]

Freedom: A Moving Feast

Posted 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 […]

Yada Yada Yada

Posted 9 CommentsPosted in Broadcasting, Global Media, Media Business, Political News, Sales and Circulation

  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 […]

Under the Dome

Posted 19 CommentsPosted in Craft Standards, Ethical Standards, News Corp, Newspapers, Political News, Public Interest

News Corp didn’t win the 2013 election for the Coalition. The Labor Party’s dysfunctional internal politics had more to do with that. But that doesn’t mean the calculated propaganda which Murdoch’s papers call news is not an issue for anyone concerned about the health of this democracy. The influence of the Murdoch papers on the public debate is more long-term and diffuse than can be read from a single […]

Did You Vote For This Man?

Posted 10 CommentsPosted in Craft Standards, Government Policy and Regulation, News Corp, Newspapers, Political News, Public Interest

There are two upcoming power battles in Australia. One pits Kevin Rudd against Tony Abbott. The second positions Rupert Murdoch and his newspapers against our democracy. The outcome of the first battle may depend on the second, yet we only get to vote in one of them. That Murdoch wants a change of government in Australia is evident. He has said so himself, tweeting that the Australian public are […]