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

media: changes on the way « Previous | |Next »
July 27, 2005

There is no need to comment is there?


The Howard Government's proposed new media laws will decrease the diversity of the media. The reforms will scrap foreign ownership, allow TV networks to offer viewers multiple digital channels, and give pay TV the right to broadcast more major sporting events.

This deregulation of the media industry will enable media companies to control more than one form of media in the same metropolitan market. Does that not mean increasing concentration of the media?

The Communications Minister Helen Coonan says that she intends to introduce a "diversity" rule that would ensure there were five large media companies in each capital city. Crikey's Daily Report points out that five large media companies in each city means greater concentration, as there are currently nine large media companies operating in Sydney and Melbourne.

That means the changes in existing media rules are not going to disadvantage the big media companies and owners.It is to be expected as that is the rules of the game.

No doubt this means even greater scope for the partisan commentary of the Murdoch media, (The Sun, Fox News, Daily Telegraph), and using the various media outlets in Australia, the US and the UK as pro-war propaganda machines in the war on terorism. Crikey debated this reecently, Stephen Mayne said that:

"Fox News is not journalism. It's propaganda that has blindly endorsed the Iraq war strategy and amazingly misrepresented the Australia-US alliance."

In response, Christian Kerr said:
Fox News not journalism?...All commercial media is a product flogged to consumers to get advertising to make a profit. Always has been, always will be.. If people don't like Rupert's products, then don't consume them...This is business. Fox has a winning formula. If it goes out of fashion, no doubt it will change.

Kerr says nothing is wrong about mass deception or the way that Murdoch is a part of the counter enlightenment. It is just business. Money is all that matters. Anything else is being idealistic for Kerr.

Nothing much in this debate about the media, democracy, public debate there. Mayne suggests that propaganda by the media is wrong as it is not journalism. But he does not explicitly connect the failure to be balanced in their coverage to the importance of public debate on public issues in a liberal democracy.

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 8:55 AM | | Comments (3)


I dunno who Christian Kerr is, but he's some sort of shill for the market.

He knows as well as you & I that Fox's influence on the discourse is purposive, it's just that in this case he's onside or indifferent.

The excuse that the market is the judge is leadenly malicious. There are two parties to a conversation - it's not one way - the media has its influence over what the public believes and is interested in hearing.

Fox is a mighty foe from my side of the political fence. And they know it.

Coonan/Howard are onside and partisan. Unfortunately there's nowt much we can do about it.

There have been worse times. There are worse places. But we are on a down slope there's no denying.


Christian Kerr is the former Hilary Bray of Crikey fame, a former Liberal Party staffer from SA, and once on the staff of Senator Amanda Vanstone.

He is now Crikey's senior Reporter, hangs about in Canberra and is part of the Canberra Pess Gallery.

wbb, I see Fox as a logical conclusion of a capitalist media. In truth there is little difference between and Fox; both are for profit entities that publish to their core audience; which advertisers can quickly recognize.

Previous to cable in the US, the networks had a near monopoly on broadcast news. The barrier to broadcast on cable is lower, which also means more choice, Fox differentiated itself in the market by being statist and rabidly one-eyed.

But this is no different to the talkback radio market. It is the same dynamic, and other rabidly political and one-eyed stations are now appearing; Air-America being a good example. None of these would exist if they werent profitable, nor if there wasnt a market for it.

The internet contains endless choice and is full of endless punditry. It is heavily segmented too. Compare the audiences and content for timblair and larvatus prodeo. Compare the audience and content for crooksandliars and freerepublic. Heavily segmented.

Ultimately, any broadcast media ends up becoming a mirror, or reflection of its audience. It is the only way a popular media source can maintain its audience, otherwise, if the audience doesnt like it, when there is choice, they can quickly go somewhere else.

The interesting thing recently has been watching the US media. Bush is dropping in popularity, and the wider population is having doubts about Bush. As a consequence the mass media (as opposed to the segmented media) is starting to put the boot into the Administration.

They left the Administration alone when they were popular, and when there was broad support for the President. But now he is guilty of being unpopular, and the mass media's market now polling with a majority who think Bush lied. The media's reporting will now reflect their audience's opinion. Which it is.

Truth will get through, but only if the audience wants it to.