Tag Archives: commercial media

Fourth Estate, Third Political Force

[Published at Independent Australia 7 July 15 5:30pm.]

The Australian commercial media are the unacknowledged third force in Australian politics. Arguably they are more powerful than any of the political parties.

MurdochConsider the pre-occupations that dominate our politics at the moment. Islamic terrorists are supposed to be a clear and present danger. Boat people are supposed to be a lurking threat, ever-likely to sweep in and over-run the country, taking our jobs, imposing an alien culture and bringing more terrorists. Roughly half the population does not believe global warming is an immediate or serious threat. (And global warming is almost universally referred to by the deliberately propagated euphemism “climate change”.)

On each of these issues, the dominant public perception is so far from evidence-based reality as to constitute a myth.

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Quality Media?

[I haven’t been completely idle, just focussing on other things.  This article hasn’t been placed yet, but here it is for now.]

abc logo

Whenever it is proposed to enforce the most minimal standards on commercial media, they erupt in righteous indignation at the supposed threat to free speech, and the need to preserve “independent” and “quality” media.  The recent screening of First Contact by SBS and NITV, and the proposed cuts to ABC and SBS funding, bring the issues of quality and independence into sharp relief.

If the commercial media’s offerings had some serious quality, then shows like First Contact would not be so remarkable, and so much remarked.  Many more of us would already know the gist of what the five participants learnt, in the course of a month’s immersion in Aboriginal Australia.

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