On Bullshit

Posted Leave a commentPosted in ABC, Opinion, Public Interest

              Bullshit. It’s so pervasive right now in our politics and media that we are losing respect for the truth. Disturbed by this barrage of bluff, a Princeton professor of philosophy Harry Frankfurt wrote a book about the phenomenon. In ‘On Bullshit’, Frankfurt makes a neat distinction between lies (the deliberate and conscious utterances of untruths) with the humbug of pseudo-experts, dilettantes and […]

God is Dead

Posted 6 CommentsPosted in Craft Standards, Opinion, Political News, Public Interest, Social Media, Staffing and Resources

“Did the media get the election wrong?” asks Fairfax journalist Matthew Knott in an attempt to turn the spotlight fleetingly on he and his colleagues in the press gallery. “The consensus, speaking to colleagues in the Canberra press gallery, is a reluctant yes. Some insist they got it spot on. But many admit they expected a more decisive Coalition victory than occurred. And they concede this influenced the way the media […]

The Certainty Myth

Posted 5 CommentsPosted in Financial journalism, Financial News, Government Policy and Regulation, Political News

  “The uncertain election result is the worst possible outcome and the major parties and crossbenchers must act quickly to form a government, business leaders say.” – AAP, July 3, 2016 Since when did the primary role of government become providing “certainty” to the business community? In fact, it’s hard to read a newspaper or turn on the TV these days without some rent-seeking plutocrat whining about the democratic […]

Talking to Themselves

Posted 5 CommentsPosted in Broadcasting, Government Policy and Regulation, Opinion, Political News, Public Interest, Social Media, Staffing and Resources

One of the tropes of media election coverage is when ‘jaded’ seen-it-all ‘insiders’ proclaim to the wet-behind-the-ears public that it’s all over. The ‘people’ have already decided. Call off the election. The conservatives have it in the bag. These stories are invariably based on opinion polls and written by telephone journalists, who having forsaken the campaign bus, spend their lives talking to other insiders who are reading the same […]

Lego Journalism

Posted 20 CommentsPosted in Financial journalism

It’s not widely understood by the reading and viewing public, but a big chunk of what are purported to be ‘news events’ really are stage-managed set-pieces, minutely choreographed by the public relations industry. The supinely lame local coverage of the recent triumphant “free trade” deal announcement between the Australian and Japanese governments provides a perfect case study in how “news” is engineered, with national leaders positioned as virtual lego […]

Anonymice

Posted 13 CommentsPosted in Craft Standards, Ethical Standards, Political News

When this blogger tweeted that Labor caucus members undermining the prime minister using the cover of anonymity be exposed as self-serving manipulators, there was a tsunami of outrage from journalists about the sacred nature of anonymous sources. “Starting point of journalism, simple as that,” said one. “You’re ignoring that we have a sacred duty to respect confidentiality,’ said another. On it went, platitude after platitude from young scribblers clearly […]

Scraping the Barrel

Posted 25 CommentsPosted in Ethical Standards, News Corp, Newspapers, Political News

  The more irrelevant newspapers become, the greater their resort to spin, deceit and wilful manipulation in the service of pandering to their readers’ deepest fears and prejudices. Come on down The Daily Telegraph. Splashed across the front page of the Monday edition of the Murdoch Sydney tabloid was a confection of such jaw-dropping dishonesty that one wonders how the hacks employed by that rag can look at themselves […]

Safety in Numbers

Posted 58 CommentsPosted in ABC, Editorial Judgement, Fairfax, News Corp, Newspapers, Political News

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.

Oh, THOSE ethics!

Posted 7 CommentsPosted in Ethical Standards, Government Policy and Regulation, Profession

With the report of the Leveson inquiry into UK press ethics due within days and decisions from the Australian government on its own twin media inquiries now well overdue, get set for a coordinated rendering of garments and gnashing of teeth against the coming assault on our sacred freedoms. In fact, the hysteria-meter has already been activated by brave defenders of freedom – the lone voices speaking up for […]

News Judgement Fail

Posted 67 CommentsPosted in Blogging, Editorial Judgement, Opinion, Political News

Global media: Local media: One principle in journalism is that the closer you are to a story, the less likely you are to see it. It’s why wire services rotate people around the world. Journalists who work for Reuters, Bloomberg and AP have a frame of reference wider than the average local reporter.