Who’s watching The Watchers? We are! (The Complete Failure of the Media To Hold Tony To Account): Guest Post

This is a guest post from Rx. Thank you RX. Posted with permission.

It can be difficult to tell nowadays, but the fact is, journalists are covered by codes of ethics.

For example, there is the code of the International Federation of Journalists. It’s proclaimed as an “international … standard of professional conduct for journalists engaged in gathering, transmitting, disseminating and commenting on news and information in describing events.”

In its opening paragraph, the IFJ code declares:

Respect for truth and for the right of the public to truth is the first duty of the journalist.
Source: IFJ Declaration of Principles on the Conduct of Journalists

So, what is “Truth”? Journalists, to whom words are tools of the trade, would be advised to frequently ponder on the meaning of this critical word, and to always apply it to their own efforts.

In the context of reporting Australian politics, it is important to remember that “Truth” involves several aspects:

  • Tell both/all sides of the story
  • Subject both/all sides to scrutiny
  • Skewing coverage to favour one side or the other is fundamentally unTruthful
  • Do not conceal/whitewash details which may be inconvenient for any player/party

With these criteria in mind, biased reporting is not and can never be acceptable. Yet it is has become virtually the norm of the mainstream media in this country!

It is of increasing concern that Abbott and the Coalition receive a “free pass” from the media.

Fortunately, there does exist a small number of journalists/writers who are speaking about the free pass given to Abbott.

Andrew Elder, Politically Homeless blog, 01 February 2012:

Abbott has achieved what generations of politicians have only dreamed of: the media take him at his word. His speeches are reported verbatim and accorded a merit they do not deserve. Where his words differ from those of others (particularly the Prime Minister and members of the incumbent government), he is assumed to be right and they wrong. This veneration of Abbott by the press gallery (always “Mr Abbott” from the press gallery; he is rarely addressed as “Tony” while the Prime Minister is addressed regularly as “Julia”) is unprecedented in a democracy
Source: The National Pikers’ Club

Ross Gittins, Sydney Morning Herald, 25 May 2011

…Our increasingly partisan media have failed to hold Abbott to account over his duplicity
Source: Stop crying poor and fix the mess

Misha Schubert, The Age, 18 September 2011

[Abbott] is not often held to sustained account to explain such anomalies.
Source: Teflon Tony tears up the rule book on opposition

George Megalogenis, The Australian, 31 December 2011:

The media’s error at the last election campaign is easy to acknowledge. Australia almost had a change of government without serious scrutiny of the coalition’s uncosted policies.
Source: Unprincipled politicians – and the press – shown the door by disillusioned public

Ben Eltham, The Drum Opinion, ABC, 21 July 2011

… almost no-one in the mainstream media has bothered to hold Tony Abbott to account.
Source: A close look at Abbott’s Direct Action plan

Stephen Long, Economics Correspondent, PM, ABC Radio, 18 July 2011:

… [Abbott has] been aided and abetted by journalists who’ve continued to report unchallenged claims that appear to contradict facts.
Source: Carbon price won’t stop the spin

Alister Drysdale, Business Spectator, 19 September 2011

… [Abbott] sits comfortably in his Opposition Leader’s chair, basking in constant and light-as-puff media attention and scrutiny
Source: Is Abbott a one sound-bite wonder?

While the media may be remiss in their duty to the public, we bloggers will take up the slack. We will scrutinise Abbott and the Coalition, even if the mainstream are reluctant or fearful to do so. We will scrutinise the mainstream media’s coverage of politics, and hold the media to account.

We will watch the journalists, and hold them to account when they fall down on the job of Truthfully informing the public.

We will watch The Watchers.

For another brilliant piece by Rx: Are the Media seeking regime change because a Car-Crash Abbott government would increase sales?

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