The power of the media in this country to meddle with, and spice up the political scene, is undoubted. Any political watcher will attest to this all too evident fact, with the 24 hour ‘news’ cycle – a misnomer if ever there was one – focussing heavily on domestic political happenings as opposed to genuine news of interest to the general public.
In fact, I’d go so far as to label the so-called 24 hour ‘news’ cycle more as a 24 hour commentary cycle, interspersed with commentary fodder we like to euphemistically call polls. 800 people of any one evening, from a population of 22 million is hardly representative in any reasonable thinking person’s language. Yet, weekly we are treated to this or that poll results, always oriented toward what a small, even miniscule sector of the population’s perceptions of Federal politics might be in response to questions which, while available, are never published in context with the commentary.
As an example of the tawdry nature of so-called political opinion, which is no more than biased media critique, especially from the Murdoch stable, I note the following opinion pieces from today’s Oz.
- We’re going backwards – Michael Stutchbury
- Faulkner, Tanner short of loft aims – Henry Ergas
- Lack of tact would make Rudd poor diplomat – Malcolm Colless
- PM could signify change with nuclear nod – Glenn Milne
Every one of them known conservative hacks, all supposedly reporting what passes for news under Editor in Chief, Chris Mitchell. Stutchbury is challenged almost daily by his own kind for accuracy; Ergas is supposedly an economist, so who’s going to take anything he says seriously; Colless is, frankly, another Stutchbury, constantly chided by his peers; and Milne, otherwise known as the Poison Dwarf or Liberal Party Journalist of Choice…..well, speaks for itself really. The reality is simple hyperbole & polemic dross. Not that the nation’s ‘other’ national daily, the Fairfax rag, Sydney Morning Herald is a whole lot better, but any rational person will note a distinct difference in the tone of the op-ed pieces there.
All of which begs the question, where is the real news? Who cares what a particular journo, member of the Parliamentary press corp or not, thinks about domestic politics? they’re only conducting a choir of their own kind anyway, so really, what’s the point? Comments on a Murdoch or Fairfax ‘blog’ – interesting perversion of the genuine articles at best – cannot in any way, shape or form be regarded as representative of public opinion. At the most, such avenues serve only as an outlet for the lesser intelligent responders to dog whistling where flame wars are established against those they perceive as their ideological opponents. Hardly edifying stuff and not at all contributory to the so-called public debate.
I don’t wonder about the future of the mainstream media any longer. I know what it is. Inevitable surrender to the public broadcaster, which has clearly defined, publically advertised reporting standards to which it is held by both sides of the ideological fence.