Storm in a Tea Hat

Posted on 5 CommentsPosted in ABC, Craft Standards, Editorial Judgement, News Corp

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 […]

Approved Targets List

Posted on 4 CommentsPosted in Business Models, Fairfax, News Corp, Newspapers, Opinion

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 […]

Unleashing the Reptile

Posted on 28 CommentsPosted in Uncategorized

“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 […]

Duty to Whom?

Posted on 8 CommentsPosted in Ethical Standards, Media Business, New Media, Newspapers, Public Interest, Sales and Circulation

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 […]

The Australian Asylum

Posted on 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 […]

The Mates’ Media

Posted on 29 CommentsPosted in Gender, Political News, Talkback

Ask any New Zealander living in Australia, and you’ll hear how we learn to shrug off  lame  jokes about “fush’n’chups” and sheep bothering. What we rarely point out  in return is that Australians, for all their relative wealth, have  an unevolved appreciation of women in power. This blogger spent a week in his native NZ the week before last, attending a funeral of a loved aunt who had a […]

The Real Despots

Posted on 15 CommentsPosted in Government Policy and Regulation, News Corp, Profession

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 […]

Send in the Clowns

Posted on 23 CommentsPosted in Blogging, Opinion, Political News, Profession

“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 […]

For Whom the Bell Trolls

Posted on 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.

Old Angry Men

Posted on 28 CommentsPosted in Opinion, Talkback

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 […]