ABC

Storm in a Tea Hat

mallah Are you over Zaky Mallah yet? If incomprehensible men in funny hats appearing live on our television screens were such a crime against humanity, as this episode seems to be viewed, how did Australia survive Molly Meldrum for so long? Assailed by the manufactured outrage over this beat-up in the last fortnight, one could see the government desperately lapping up every opportunity to connect this opponent of ISIS and advocate for Australia with the murderous thugs painting Iraq and Syria red. (more…)

By Mr Denmore, ago
Business Models

Approved Targets List

471421135 One consequence of the death of the mainstream media's business model and the commodification of news is a corresponding increased reliance on provocative commentary that generates page impressions. News Corp's Andrew Bolt is the poster child for the success of professional trollery as a revenue generator and brand differentiator. He has clear targets, strong opinions  and he succinctly expresses them. He has a fiercely loyal audience and equally fierce enemies who despise him with similar force. Bolt is now parlaying this approach of calculated outrage on commercial television. And good luck to him. (more…)

By Mr Denmore, ago
Uncategorized

Unleashing the Reptile

"The freedom had two sides to it. Sometimes a heavy, reptile hostility came off the sombre land, something gruesome & infinitely repulsive." - DH Lawrence, 'Kangaroo' At what point did Australia's light on the hill become a rising stink from the basement? Of course, there's always been a whiff of bigotry and intolerance here. No country is immune from that. And few of us can claim to have never prejudged another on the basis of race. But recent events are genuinely disquieting for many people, particularly those from minority ethnic groups. (more…)

By Mr Denmore, ago
Ethical Standards

Duty to Whom?

The debate about rolling back reforms aimed at ensuring financial advisers put clients first raises questions of how the notion of fiduciary responsibility applies to other professionals, like journalists for instance. Do journalists have a duty of care to their readers and viewers? Or is their first responsibility to their employers? Of course, these responsibilities are not mutually exclusive. But anyone who pays attention to some of the more 'colourful' output of the tabloid press, radio and commercial television in Australia might conclude where loyalties primarily lie. (more…)

By Mr Denmore, ago
Craft Standards

The Australian Asylum

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 developed world on most economic metrics. The second dimension - and the trickier one - is the theatrics around the issue, a charade kept alive by attention-seeking sections of the news media and the frightened politicians they goad into one piece of policy knee-jerkery after another. (more…)

By Mr Denmore, ago
Government Policy and Regulation

The Real Despots

The front pages of Rupert Murdoch's tabloids in Australia on Wednesday tell you everything you needed to know about the case for media reform in this country. A modest, some would say timid, response by Communications Minister Stephen Conroy to the Convergence Review and the independent media review of Ray Finkelstein was met with an hysterical, deceitful and typically self-serving response by the press. Western suburbs commuters could be forgiven for expecting a morning raid from the secret police after being confronted by the Daily Telegraph's front page comparing Conroy to Stalin, Mao, Mugabe, Castro and every other go-to despot bar Hitler. (more…)

By Mr Denmore, ago
Blogging

Send in the Clowns

"What we will witness over the next 18 months or more is a Great Unhinging, an orgy of hysterics. The goalposts of what constitutes government legitimacy will be moved from the constitutional to the convenient, from the reality of the parliamentary majority to  concocted nostrums about mandates to govern. It will not just be a campaign against the government, but one rolling, frenzied campaign after another, where each new contrived outrage will assume a greater level of mania than the last." Uncanny, isn't it? That prediction was made just over three years ago by blogger, econometrician and polling analyst Scott Steel (AKA Possum Comitatus). Perhaps, it's his distance from Canberra. Perhaps, it's because he doesn't scribble about politics for a living. And perhaps, it's because he doesn't have to try to say something new every day. But Possum's piece on the Great Unhinging is still the most chillingly accurate portrayal of the media-politics dynamic served up in recent years. (more…)

By Mr Denmore, ago
Opinion

Old Angry Men

Call it the Grumpy Old Man business model. At a time when our busted mainstream media are axing the jobs of hundreds of hard-working journalists, the market for menopausal male misogynists in print and broadcasting remains stronger than ever. Why? With a nod to our new ideological overlords of the IPA, it seems the market has spoken. What Australia wants from its media is not The Truth, but something that the archetypal 50-something Dad - full of three James Boags and two Pinot Noirs at the family barbecue - declares to be the reality. (more…)

By Mr Denmore, ago