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

journo's reflecting on the media « Previous | |Next »
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.

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 5:14 PM | | Comments (5)


Once upon a time, a journalist would have agonised for long hours about the credibility of publishing a story without disclosing verifiable sources; and even if s/he didn't, the editor would have demanded to know them. These days most stories are routinely attributed to 'sources who spoke anonymously because of the sensitivity of the issue' or some such nonsense, and the editors accept it as perfectly normal. Most stories have less supporting evidence then would be expected in a high school essay, and they wonder why nobody trusts them any more.

I can't believe it!!! No Aussies won an Oscar this year!!! How unfair!!! I demand an investigation!!! What's Laurie Oakes doing these days?

"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."

Anything to bash the Gillard Government is their style and modus operandi.

That brief extract from Murphy is the best [its a relative term] thing I have ever seen her write - she usually writes close to total crap.
So it is disappointing to see that she has been appointed to the Guardian's proposed new Oz website.
Maybe with new employers she will pipe a [slightly] different tune to the discordant noise she wrote at Fairfax.

Once again Fred beats me to the punch.
I, too, have had head problems dealing with Murphy and that quote demonstrates why.
I have never read such a lazy and blaze attempt at justification for disinformation and propaganda as journalism than that.
She may as well have been be a coffee waitress or filing clerk, as a journalist, for all the lack of sense of vocation and concern for and interest in, the real world that that quote reveals.
On current performance appointing her to run the local grauniad makes as much sense as having Scott run the ABC, if it comes to pursuing substance.
She'll be there to police independent thinking; will be to journalism what Tony Burke is to environment.