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"...public opinion deserves to be respected as well as despised" G.W.F. Hegel, 'Philosophy of Right'

Media: the big lack « Previous | |Next »
January 1, 2004

I've been digging around in the archives searching for accounts that make sense of why we citizens are disatisfied with the media. That dissatisfaction was very clear with the coverage of the Iraq war. I've been trying to link that dissatisfation to the decline of the public sphere, the rise of tabloid journalism the emergence of public journalism, the decline of the ABC as a strong national public broadcaster and the shift in reportage/journalism from the objective (the emphasis is placed on the fact) and the interpretive (the emphasis is placed on the story) in the early 1980s.

I came across this old interview on the ABC's World Today with Catherine Lumby, Associate Professor of Media Studies at Sydney University. She says that she was very disappointed by Australian newspaper coverage:

"'s very clear that we get images on television live, we get a lot of factual information from television, and then secondarily from radio. And ...most of us would be, looking to our broadsheet newspapers in particular for some really good hard analysis of the political rhetoric, and certainly analysis of the options that America wants to pursue and its allies...I wouldn't call it analysis because I've, there's very little I think that I've detected which critiques the terms on which this response is being mounted.The very simplistic black and white good versus evil kind of rhetoric coming out of America has received I think very little hard analysis. I think Margot Kingston's been particularly good in the online section of The Herald."

Lumby says that we watched that spectacle of the war unfold on television and that we went to the newspapers for something different. But we're not really getting the something different. She then adds:

" ....But we must remember that in a new media era there are other sources of information. The Internet can be an invaluable tool here for getting alternative points of view and information out. And I think that the media, the mainstream media needs to use those sorts of tools more in this situation."

Maybe a new form of online media will develop to fill the lack that many citizens experience? One thing is for sure, filling the lack will not come from the tabloid media.

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 1:34 PM | | Comments (2)


Funny I'd been thinking about the media myself in recent days. I blogged once why I don't by print newspapers anymore and I sure as hell don't want to see *them *developing more of the same online. And well we both agree about TV. But a new form of online media may be a way to go - maybe harder for the Murdoch's of this world to shut down?

Also, is it just me, or has the Ozzie media become increasingly parochial and inward looking - as if there is no life outside this continent? And yes, if we got the same depth of analysis as we did in sports across the whole spectrum of news, well maybe I'd even pay for it!

Is this really an obsevation that mainstream media has to appeal to its mainstream market. For instance, I can recall all the points of view about Iraq being put in tabloid media, in particular much emphasis on the anti-war position(remember the mileage the anonymous human shields received) before it was swamped by events. Now it sounds a bit like- I like lacrosse and all I ever get fom the media is AFL or NRL. Well that's simply because, eventually the tabloids are going to go where the feet are. This was not the case when the tabloid media sensed the public were divided on Iraq before invasion.