February 25, 2013
We all know that journalism in Australia has been on the decline for some time now. Katherine Murphy reflects on the state of the media, the 24 hours news cycle, and the gatekeeping practice by the old style journalism.
She acknowledges that:
Audiences have never been more hostile to the journalistic filter. They don't trust us. They want information without the narration, the calculated ellipsis, the bias, the back story. I can understand the impulse, because there is a lot about the modern media cycle that is toxic and random, even if the intentions are to be otherwise. I think we are responding, either thoughtfully or by default, to a desire from the audience for a purer form of journalism - ''just the events, ma'am'' - coverage so fast and furious and unfiltered that there's not time to overlay some secret agenda on it. Technology enables this shift.
This doesn't go far enough because the audience has woken up to the fact that journalists--ie., the hacks--- no longer concentrate on reporting events in their raw form but, rather, as mediated and interpreted by ministerial aides and "spin doctors" of the political parties. They sit at their desk and re-write what people send them in the form of press releases.
The audience have also woken up to the fact that news stories emerge as some kind of private deal between government and reporter; and that the political and media classes enter into a "conspiracy against the ordinary reader and, consequently, much reporting of politics now amounts to an elaborate fraud perpetuated on the Australian public. It is a fraud because a lot of what journalists write is fabricated, as are the sources and statements that the articles are built around" They deal in fictions.
Why? One reason is that the journalists have joined the powerful. Thus the mainstream journalists in the Murdoch press create a semi-fictitious political world whose most striking features are media events and fabricated stories that push the current company line.
The media and particularly the Canberra Press Gallery keep pushing personalities, leaders and politics when clearly the public wants to hear about policy. It's what sells newspapers and it functions as clickbait for online readers. Moreover the newspapers no long have journalists who have the necessary policy expertize to dig beneath the surface. The shockingly incompetent journalism we have often seen around the national NBN debate is a good example.