This issue, which I’ve previously described as a typhoon in a thimble, seems to have perplexed Adams as much as it does myself. Adams’ own take on it also tends to bear out my own opinion that Media Watch isn’t what it was, and perhaps needs to look inwardly at just what it wants to be, and how it needs to change to get there. Despite what some commenters might believe, Media Watch has degenerated into amusing, but only mildly entertaining peeks at the hi-jinks of those in the Australian mainstream media who ought to know better than to behave the way they do. The real focus for the program seems to have turned to tit-for-tat hissy fits among the cultural literati instead of what it was originally intended for. Holding those who report the news and views responsible for the things they write and say.
Media Watch certainly is a pale representation of what it was, even under it’s last incarnation with David Marr at the desk. Not that Marr’s presentation was anything to write home about, but the production seemed to hone in on more contentious issues than in it’s current incarnation. Take last night’s jab at Alan Jones and Ray Hadley. Prime examples of yet more ‘cash-for-comment’ style allegations, but not finished off. Clearly, Jones has an agenda, but was that agenda clarified and brought into sharp relief? No. Clearly, Hadley acted as only Hadley can in blatantly slandering a non-sponsor in favour of a paying advertiser, leaving his employer wide open for a judicial attack, but I had the distinct impression that the story was left hanging in mid air. Where’s the completion? Is Media Watch running out of material? It doesn’t seem likely, given the pathetic state of mainstream media veracity in this country right now. One need only look to the flagship dailys for Fairfax and News for examples of extreme left and right-wing bias totally removed from the real facts of any given issue. Peter Hartcher and Dennis Shanahan et al have much to answer for, but most likely, will never be made to. If the best Media Watch can do is focus on op-ed authors and loud-mouthed shock-jocks, then I’m afraid it’s race might well be run.