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 […]

Tick Tick Tick

Posted 5 CommentsPosted in Broadcasting, Craft Standards, Ethical Standards, Television

Watching the scandal over 60 Minutes’ apparent complicity in a violent child abduction in Lebanon, I’m struck by two things – the cynicism of Channel Nine in using a child custody dispute for ratings and the complete ignorance of journalistic ethics among its defenders. It’s depressing that professionals need to be reminded of this, but journalists are supposed to be witnesses to the news, not creators of it. They […]

Body of the Host

Posted 12 CommentsPosted in Craft Standards, Editorial Judgement, Profession, Social Media

It often takes a crisis for a society to reflect meaningfully on its institutions – their value, purpose, strengths and weaknesses. Do those institutions serve us or do they primarily serve themselves? The global financial crisis, for instance, exposed how a large swathe of the international banking system had been corrupted by reckless risk-taking and had internalised the view that it could simultaneously privatise its profits and socialise its […]

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 […]

The Australian Asylum

Posted 14 CommentsPosted in Craft Standards, Media Business, News Corp, Political News, World News

The Rudd government’s new PNG solution to the asylum seekers problem is aimed at shutting down a filthy trade run by cynical and low-rent opportunists who exploit the hopes and fears of the most marginalised for commercial gain. Yes, we’re talking about tabloid editors. There are two dimensions to the refugees issue. One is managing the problem itself – a relatively marginal one for a rich economy that leads the […]

Damned Lies and Journalism

Posted 48 CommentsPosted in Craft Standards, Ethical Standards, News Corp, Newspapers, Political News

“Oz polls show nothing can save this miserable govt. Election can not come soon enough.People decided and tuned out months ago.” — Rupert Murdoch(@rupertmurdoch) May 19, 2013 ‘The nation is drowning in debt. The federal government has lost control of public finances. The NBN is a disaster. Business is struggling because union thugs are destroying productivity growth. We are being overwhelmed with illegal boat arrivals. Refugees are living on […]

Of Human Bondage

Posted 23 CommentsPosted in ABC, Craft Standards, Financial News

An increasingly unhinged Australian mainstream media, with a few honourable exceptions, has been revving up the scary-o-meter in recent days about this country facing a future of debt, deficits and public penury for as far as the eye can see.   “A decade of deficits spells a bleak future for Australians,” was the headline on the increasingly tabloid ABC television news, warning of a crisis bigger than the one […]

Society of the Spectacles

Posted 20 CommentsPosted in Editorial Judgement, Ethical Standards, Gender, News Corp, Opinion, Political News

“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 […]

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 […]

For Whom the Bell Trolls

Posted 6 CommentsPosted in Craft Standards, Government Policy and Regulation, Social Media

The professional bullies of talkback radio and the tabloid terrorsphere are bellyaching about trolls on Twitter. This is like Bernie Madoff condemning shoplifting or BP ticking off householders for pouring toxic cleaners down the sink.