Philosophical Conversations Public Opinion Junk for code
parliament house.gif
Think Tanks
Oz Blogs
Economic Blogs
Foreign Policy Blogs
International Blogs
Media Blogs
South Australian Weblogs
Economic Resources
Environment Links
Political Resources
South Australian Links
"...public opinion deserves to be respected as well as despised" G.W.F. Hegel, 'Philosophy of Right'

The ABC's selling of Downer « Previous | |Next »
May 1, 2007

As we know the world of the media is changing rapidly. So, out of interest, I watched the ABC's Australian Story on Alexander Downer last night. I find this programme walks a fine line between a new kind of journalism--people telling their own stories--- and marketing a goody image of specific people. It was also about the relationship between the media and government and party political politics.

Apart from showing the Foreign Minister dealing the recent plane crash incident in Indonesia Australian Story came across as a selling of Alexander Downer during an election year. He was presented as a nice likeable chap doing a stressful job well, despite the obvious personal toll. Suprisingly, the programme also included attacks on Kevin Rudd, and it ended with a clip of Downer defending the occupation of Iraq and going on about the ALP running the white flag line with its call for troop withdrawal from Iraq.

This programme was not a personal story of dealing with tragedy. So what is Australian Story up to? Can we call it media corruption in the form of the drip feed?

The political reality is that Downer, along with The Australian, Fox News, Weekly Standard etc, lives in fantasy land about 'progress in Iraq'; and he is out of touch with Australians being overwhelmingly in favor a legislated, forced withdrawal on a date certain. Apart from a refusal to recognize reality Downer, as a neoconservative, bears some responsiblity for some of the worst falsehoods and most egregious errors leading to the disaster in Iraq.

This 'selling of Downer' kind of programme raises questions about the state of the media in Australia. The media is becoming an infotainment industrial complex that is cutting free from the old culture and civic mission of journalism that considered itself a part of civic democracy. If the Australian Story programme was political and about the relationship between the press and the Howard government, then it ought to have made some reference to the corrupt behavior by our dominant political and media institutions.

This reference is one that would mention the role played by the Australia media in enabling the Howard Government and its warmonger spinners and publicists to disseminate pure falsehoods to the American public. Alexander Downer, as Foreign Minister, was and still is, a central figure in the Howard Government's strategy to deceive the country into accepting a war based on a whole set of false claims -- and the Canberra Pres Gallery nation's media outlets acted as a conduit of this mass deception of citizens. Yet the media still reckon they did a great job as professional journalists.

Isn't that arguably the most significant political story of the last decade? Not the job of Australian Story?

Then what is it doing providing a platform for partisan political attack in an election year? What is most disturbing about Australian story is that it doesn't think that it is doing anything wrong. They see no need to be accountable for providing such a platform.

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 8:27 AM | | Comments (6)


I wonder how the bias police will see this one.

A 2 part free advertorial for the worst Foreign Minister this country has ever had.

I await the 2 part fluff piece for one of the ALP high fliers, as balance.

But this is too be expected, the division between the media and politics has become blurred so much, that they are intrinsically bound and beholden to one another.

The ABC itself has become a mere shadow of it's previous self. Howard has achieved one of his aims for government, the emasculation of the only independent voice in the media.

A funny article, a member of the latte left complaining about the ABC being biased.

I guess given that the ALP has provided two current Labor State leaders and Maxine is running against Howard they must be running out of antagonistic anti-Howardites. LOL.

This member of the "latte" left--I don't drink latte by the way---is not concerned about the issue of the bias in the ABC in this post.

I would have argued similarly if Australian Story had done a marketing number on Rudd or gave a platform to Gillard to attack cuddley Joe Hockey in an election year.

Australian Story offered to do a fluff piece for Kevin Rudd as balance.Rudd refused.

Re you comment, the division between the media and politics has become blurred so much, that they are intrinsically bound and beholden to one another
Very true. But it is saccepted by thge media. You rarely hear a journalist writing a critical pice on the state of the Australian media.

Sadly, it is only fringe voices like Crikey that are pointing out the problems democracy has when the media has been been peverted to such an extent.

As to exposethefakes, funnily enough I don't find anything peculiar about the ALP having two state premiers! Thought they had more...

Seriously, there are a number of ABC types who have absconded from the Lefty stronghold to the Coalition over the years, so I don't see anything peculiar in the ALP having some.

Even if the ABC was biased to the progressive view of the world (something I would say it has not been for at least 10-15 years), it would still be the lone voice in the major media landscape that wasn't a shill for the conservatives.

Still, this all just follows the pattern of how the conservatives nullify dissenting voices.

I'm only a squatter on Crikey these days, so I don't see that much material.

From when I was a subscriber in the past-- they did comment about the shifts in the mediascape.This was more about the economics and cost cutting effects on good journalism rather than the corruption of the media from being part of the political process.

exposethefakes accepts this corruption --all that matters is whether the media is based to the Coalition (a good thing) or the ALP(a bad thing).The media is there to push a partisan cause--not to act as a watchdog for democracy.

It's the Fox News view of the relationship between media and politics.