Australian Media: unbalanced and completely (*NSFW*) up

BY Diane Murphy for Turn Left 2013.

Australian news media is completely screwed up.

Is there anyone who still thinks there is any future for Australian news media, the way it currently is? Paper news and online news services are losing readers by the thousands (over 14% in the past year)

Australian news media, dominated as they are by foreign billionaires and mining magnates, are so unbalanced they will likely fall over any day.

They ceased being about NEWS a long time ago, they are now advertising-delivery and anti-government propaganda delivery systems.

Partisan news is turning off readers and subscribers.

Ross Gittins, Fairfax economist, produced these two budget-related pieces. Compare the pair:

Cornered Labor chooses brave way out

Budget becomes Canberra’s con job
(This article is also titled “Budget becomes Canberra’s con job on the nation” on Gittins personal blog.)

Gittins ends Cornered Labor chooses brave way out with:

Even so, for a government that’s been far too timid in tackling unjustified spending programs and tax breaks, this budget is surprisingly brave.

And if, by being the one to propose last night’s unpopular measures, Gillard makes it easier for Abbott toagree to them now or to introduce them after the election, Labor willdeserve respect for initiating such a heavily disguised form of bipartisanship.

For what it’s worth, this is a good budget. But that is the trouble: under these strange circumstances, it ain’t worth a lot.
two spacing errors in the second paragraph are in the original source

Then there is this offering from Budget becomes Canberra’s con job:

And that’s even if, following the usual budget media-manipulation script, the government has held back a few nice measures for the media to give exaggerated attention to on the night.
Even so, Canberra’s dirty little secret is that the decisions we’ll be making so much fuss about on Tuesday night will have surprisingly little effect on how the macro economy performs over the coming financial year.
…Even the government has long been crying crocodile tears about how tough people are finding it to keep up with the rising cost of living.

So what does Gittins mean – Is it a “good budget”? or is it a “con job”?

And, who is the “Canberra” referred to? it is a city, cities don’t “do” things, they exist, it is the people in them who “do” things.

“I think being a liberal, in the true sense, is being nondoctrinaire, nondogmatic, non-committed to a cause – but examining each case on its merits. Being left of center is another thing; it’s a political position. I think most newspapermen by definition have to be liberal; if they’re not liberal, by my definition of it, then they can hardly be good newspapermen. If they’re preordained dogmatists for a cause, then they can’t be very good journalists; that is, if they carry it into their journalism.”
― Walter Cronkite

Australian news media is dying, perhaps it is time to let the patient slip away peaceful. DNR – Do Not Resuscitate.

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7 Comments to “Australian Media: unbalanced and completely (*NSFW*) up”

  1. if you want to denigrate the msm, and I agree it is currently biased, hyperbolic, and under the control of its owners and, decidedly pro-Liberal — then using Gittins as an example is not a good one.
    He’s about the only economic journalist in Australia that tells it like it is, and usually from an unbiased viewpoint. Gittins is about the only person in the msm at the moment that has any economic, or other credibility! Would you give any credibility to Kochie?
    Select any other msm journalist from the Australian, and or the SMJ/Age, or any of the daily rags and I’d agree wholeheartedly.
    Was Labor’s budget a brave way out — Yes it was! Even a Labor voter like me can see that they are dead in the water, and the only miracles they can expect is that people actually start thinking about what the NO Coalition actually intends from behind their front, Phoney Tony does a Latham meltdown, or the economy improves dramatically over the next four months. The first two, possible! The latter, unlikely and we’ll probably see it worsen somewhat!
    Are budgets, given the inability to look into the future beyond about 6 months — yes they are.
    Both Labor & the NO Coalition play the game with the budget estimates, or should that be ‘guesstimates’

    • Agree, Gittins is one of the best in the country.

      I believe journalists don’t choose the headlines. This is why this example was given. Gittins had described it as a good budget, but Fairfax decided that they needed to editorialise by calling it a con job. The problem was not Gittins, but how even an article that describes the budget as good can be spun to portray the government (Canberra, is often assumed to mean, government) in a bad light.
      Diane Murphy is our brand new writer, she is still learning to not jump from A-D in her thoughts, but take readers though B and C in how she comes to her conclusions.
      Janet Sharp for Turn Left

      • Headings, I think, are usually the province of sub-editors and, as you say, are often tuned to reflect the view propounded by the newspaper!
        A bit of factual accuracy in the header would be appropriate in circumstances where the author ‘ain’t half bad’! We’d then learn to be selective of quality by just looking at the header! ;-))

  2. I think you’re really expecting too much of these media companies. They are, above all, powerful, profit-seeking organisations and anything or anyone that gets in the way of profits is not likely to be valued or supported. Distributing information is only a means to that profitable end – and if more profits can be made by whipping the gullible up into a frenzy – and therefore increasing eyeballs-on-ads, then that’s what they’ll do. To think they have any ethics or morallity other than an apparent, synthetic gloss placed there to keep people confused, you’re dreaming. Real journalism will increasingly be coming from sources other than large corporations

  3. In defense of the dead tree news, it can still be delivered to the home, unlike Turnbull’s Fraudband.

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