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

the corruption of the Canberra Press Gallery « Previous | |Next »
November 21, 2005

There is a style of journalism practised in the Canberra Press Gallery that is now as the drip feed--a quiet anonymous leak from the politician to the journalist who spins the viewpoint whilst pretending to be conducting a light version of investigative political journalism acting as a watchdog for democracy. Tis only a whistleblower's mask, for what is actually happening is the Howard Government's largely successful effort to bend Canberra--based news coverage to its ends.

This kind of spruiking journalism is well described by Tim Rutten in the Los Angeles Times. Refering to the Washington Post's Bob Woodward, he says that:

Woodward as the ur-voice among confidential sources virtually created a whole genre of Washington reporting. It's a journalistic strategy style dependent on the cultivation of access to well-placed officials greased by promises of "confidentiality." It's a way of doing journalism that still serves its practitioners' career interests, but less and less often their readers or viewers because it's a game the powerful and well-connected have learned to play to their own advantage.Whatever its self-righteous pretensions, it's a style of journalism whose signature sound is less the blowing of whistles than it is the spinning of tops.

This is one reason why the Canberra Press Gallery has such a poor reputation. This corruption (deception) was raised by Mark Latham in his Latham's Diaries, but the criticism was largely ignored because it basically puts some of the most senior or admired members of the Gallery in a conga line of 'venal patsies.'

Isn't the media meant to be fighting corruption? That was one of its jobs right, as the fourth estate. It's looking more like a fifth column. Rupert Murdoch's tabloids have perfected the art of news and current affairs as a form of warfare. The shrill commentators and journalists are paid to do battle, partisan, abusive and create the conservative/liberal divide in cartoon terms.

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 6:32 PM | | Comments (3)


I have long held misgivings about the Canberra Press Gallery and I think it should be regularly purged of its mostly dead wood. We are utterly dependent on them for political reporting and from what I can gather they are a very stale bunch. A continual stream of fresh bright sparks into the Press Gallery would keep every one on their toes.

Thank you, I thought it was only me who thought that the reporting on govt. was weak. No opinions, about what the public think, just govt. spin. Sick of it. I'm married have 2kids and bi-partisan, but the political reporting has been biased for a couple of years. Also nary a quiver from the press about the lack of debate in parliament. What is happening. Are they being gagged by their bosses?

The citizen commenteriat is proving superior in most cases to the professional political commenteriat. We will have to find a way to give citizens direct access/exposure/integration into the political process so it flattens that information and power structure.