“When social significance is attributed only to what is immediate, and to what will be immediate immediately afterwards – always replacing another identical immediacy – it can be seen that the uses of the media guarantee a kind of eternity of noisy insignificance.”
– Guy Debord, Comments on Society of the Spectacle, 1987
When Julia Gillard delivered what was her best and most substantial policy speech as prime minister recently – one in which she also announced the date for the federal election – the media’s focus was on her new “hipster spectacles”. Continue reading
A long, long time ago in a galaxy far, far away, people would sit in their lounge-rooms listening to the news on the wireless. The rounded and reassuring tones of a voice-of-god announcer would interpret for eager audiences the messy events of the world in neat packages.
The yearning for that distant-yet-familiar authority figure/’expert’ lives on today in the aging audience for shockjocks like Alan Jones. This is a market that appears to want strong opinions – preferably ones that reinforce their own fears and prejudices. Continue reading
What’s most likely to keep journalists awake at night? That they will be ‘scooped’? Please. In 2012 in the age of Twitter? Hardly. After all, they all copy and paste the same PR releases and transcripts. Nope, what really gnaws at journalists is the fear that they will be exposed as flakes, dilettantes, copycats and pretenders.
In days gone by, this wasn’t a big risk. After all, academics for the most part were the only likely challengers to the self-appointed authorial voice of journalists. And we knew these sad, bearded trainspotters were locked away in their ivory towers, working on 6-12-monthly publishing cycles. Worse, their ‘copy’ – when it did arrive – was impenetrable, heavily footnoted and full of qualifying subordinate clauses. Seven universes away, in other words, from The Herald Sun.
Comrades, we are under siege. Counter-revolutionaries are depicting Wayne Swanevski’s budget, as a calculated attack on the ruling class. Of course it is! Class enemies would rob the proletariat of their birthright. We aim to take it back.
“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 Sandilands revved up the outrage machine again this week and was rewarded with buckets worth of free publicity for his troubles.
It was the great English journalist Walter Bagehot who said that an inability to stay quiet was one of mankind’s most conspicuous failings. The irony is that the only way of appreciating the wisdom of that observation is to turn off the noise for a while and see how it feels in contrast.
Our freedoms are under attack. And the assailants are wearing drawstring pants. As bad as the heinous actions of the Norwegian gunman were, nothing is as reprehensible as the dire assault by shrieking leftists on the quietly-spoken and moderate Marxist-turned-Libertarian Brendan O’Neill on Monday night’s Q&A.
Fired up on mungbeans and soy machiattos, the Ultra-Leftist 10-stone enforcer Stephen Mayne took time out from shareholder meetings and dodging punches thrown by News Ltd freedom fighters to spew his bile at a man whose only interest is to preserve the legacy of our embattled publishing saint, Rupert Murdoch. Continue reading
As the US and European economies slowly sink into a quicksand of indebtedness, the world is watching with increasing incredulity the doom-laden discourse of lucky Australia . Here is an economy enjoying fundamentals that other developed nations would donate their first born for, yet our parochial media has decided to slavishly sing along with Tony Abbott’s one-note death march of the saints. Continue reading
As in drama, conflict drives the news business. The more black and white the conflict is portrayed as, the greater the passion the issue raises, the greater its confected ‘news’ value. Once a savvy media organisation works out what gets people worked up, it’s a fair bet it will go out of its way to construct narratives around those very issues. Continue reading