Tag Archives: media

Who do you trust?

There are times when I wonder about where people get their information and why they trust it. This is not only a personal, but a professional question too.
_I_ have come to the conclusion that on balance, reportage about the world published by resources associated with Mr Murdoch are less likely to contain facts than the reportage from the Guardian or the ABC (though poor old Auntie is getting a bit questionable on occasion, she is still relatively fair in reporting). But it gets a bit much when I start finding myself looking for straight-forward reporting on my own country to Al Jazera, Der Speigal, Le Monde or the BBC.

I was recently asked by an acquaintance how I rated Prime Minister Abbott’s handling of the incident in the Ukraine, as they though he had done quite well. My response was that I felt he had performed adequately, but certainly not in a manner that deserved all the praise he was getting from some very insular sources.
I was then challenged, because my response was not in praise of Mr Abbott, that I was ignorant of the sterling job Australia’s Prime Minister, and Foreign Minister Bishop in particular, had done in getting the resolution up in the UN condemning Russia.

The problem is that it is not known that it was the Russians who shot down that plane. Perhaps it was Ukrainian separatists who are probably backed by Russia and like most in that delicate military situation, are more likely to think they know what they are looking at even when it isn’t (just ask the USS Vincennes).
And who is asking the question as to why it was flying through a known war zone any way?

The original wording of the resolution proposed by Australia’s Foreign Minister was apparently heavily edited before it was put forward. Not only that but by his own admission, Mr Abbot’s phone call to Mr Putin was not at first answered. Apparently some of the things he claimed last week upset the Russians, so it was only after he had snubbed our nearer neighbours at the South Pacific Forum because he had to sit by the phone for Mr Putin to call him back (eventually/apparently). And then the bellicosity is dialled back.

Yet I didn’t hear/read much of that information from the Australian media, or only after I had read it a couple of days earlier from other online sources. I find it a concern that I now start my daily news gathering of national news on non-Australian websites, and local news involves an increasing list of non-MSM sites based in my state. And mostly it is because I have had to retrain myself to constantly evaluate the content of those websites for veracity, likelihood and trustworthiness because of the amount of propaganda many of the mainstream media seem to be willing to spout today.

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What’s wrong with this picture?

With regards to Mrs Abbott enjoying op-shopping, I am struck by several thoughts.
The first is that there is a perception that because Mr Abbott earns a lot of money (more than President Obama, I am led to believe) Mrs Abbott should have lots of resources to purchase things that are new. This story jars against that perception. Though I can think of more than one early primary educational establishment that stretches its budget by buying some resources from op-shops.
The next thought followed the first in that if Mr Abbott is ‘rich’ but Mrs Abbott is resorting to op-shops, then this could be evidence that he does not provide sufficient for her (and I know that she has her own income, but that is an actual comment I heard on the train today!).
The subsequent thought was why wouldn’t or shouldn’t Mrs Abbott enjoy op-shopping, or is it that is is yet another way to deprive poor people of resources – and I felt badly that an enjoyable experience that I have also enjoyed both when finances have been flush and when they have been tight should be denied to another woman who has the misfortune to be married to the guy who I think is really not competent to lead this country. Especially when it is obvious that the whole story is to promote something that is intended to promote charity op shops.

The last thought was to consider what type of “unicorn” is being highlighted by this sort of “reportage”. And that worries me because of what it betrays about the perceived roles of women by certain sections of the community.

A reflection on #MarchInMarch

Just thinking about what I was planning this time last week, and reflecting on the paucity of news coverage that might have some of the issues that took so many people into the streets around the country.

This was particularly prompted by this nice enquiry and the reply it received from the Sydney Morning Herald. There has been many articles online about how individuals felt about getting out and marching last Sunday, but the main stream media’s reaction seems to have been a shock to many who took part and were not, in my opinion, cynical enough about what is considered newsworthy.

I can’t remember where I read it, but there was one piece that claimed they had contacted the local Perth newspaper, who seemed to expect a press release to write a story about last Sunday’s march. I think this illustrates the differences in expectations on both sides that just were not fulfilled.

One of the things #MarchInMarch were quite proud of is that it was not organised by the ‘usual suspects’, and there by hangs the first expectation. The ‘usual suspects’ would have known to publicise the march not just to the people they were trying to reach, but also to the main stream media, so that they would know that something was going to happen – if nobody (important?) knows it is happening, does it actually a) matter or b) happen?

On the other hand, as Ms Maley notes in her reply, she considers herself a “journalist” and not a “reporter”. To my mind that is part of the problem. There is an expectation that  “reporters” report on what is happening around them, while “journalists” both report and comment on what happens.

The ordinary people who organised and marched expected to see reports of their action in their local and national papers. I know I did. I was both pleased and slightly disappointed, but unsurprised, that the reportage shown in various TV news shows tended to focus on the ‘rude bits’ and the apparently ‘unfocused message’ and that a lot of the journalism has also focused on the ‘rude bits’ and that there was no single message on to which their story could latch. I suspect that the hook in much of the journalism I have read this week was actually missed.

As I understand it, #MarchInMarch was more about the feeling that many have obviously had that their concerns for their country are being ignored, and to a degree minimised because it didn’t conform to the accepted form of protest.  That feeling got ordinary people marching in their streets, many for the first time. This is not something such a diverse range of people do, ordinarily!

Perhaps, that is the Real Story. That a bunch of ordinary folk, using social media, organised something to express how they feel about their country without the conventional forms. Because the conventional media are neither informing them as they desire and now expect to be informed, nor are those media reporting what is happening when those of us on social media get it more immediately but others don’t. Don’t they also deserve to make their own minds up, as those of use who watch Twitter or Facebook do?

Increasingly the reportage online and ease of access to online information means that there is a greater need by newspapers (online and print) and broadcast media to improve their reportage of what happens. Or is it that sneaking suspicion correct that if things were just reported as they happened, without the newspaper owners opinion influencing those reports, the journalism (the reportage plus opinion) would be more blatant and the ordinary consumer could make their own minds up about things?

I do know that I have increasingly felt that when I read the online newspapers or watch/listen to broadcast news that only one side of the story is being told. I increasingly feel that there are some people who are so desperate to be proved right, and ‘in control’, that they will ignore every indication that they are ill-informed or even wrong, just so they can feel good about themselves.  And I find myself increasingly concerned that my country might be in the control of those who fit that description. That is why I was motivated to stand up and be counted in that ‘unfocused’ mob that gathered on Langley Park last Sunday. But then, I don’t think it was unfocused, because there were just so many issues concerning every one of us who felt they had to be there.

Now that could have done with some “reporting”.

Having just completed Paul Barry’s “Breaking News” I found myself a little sorry for Mr Murdoch. Mostly because he portrays something I have noted with many other “righteous men” in their delight in confirming that other men are not like them; hard-working, able to create wealth (always a sign that “god” is on their side, even if it’s source is not always crystal clear), and with a low taste for scandalous gossip about others.
Like John Calvin or Tomás de Torquemada and even Ayatollah Khomeini, the righteousness and sense of being better than anyone else seems to both drive them forward and blind them to other interpretations of their actions. Almost as if, because they are doing it, it is therefore right, no matter what the law or custom of a country has struggled to rise above and thereby all things are reduced to dross and baseness, confirming their righteousness and better-ness.

I also get the sense from Mr Barry’s words that Mr Murdoch’s offspring are left with a need to constantly prove themselves worthy of their father’s love. I wonder if that is reflects  Mr Murdoch’s own need to be worthy of his father, and somehow prove himself ‘better’ than Sir Keith Murdoch as well as the “Old Establishment”.
From where I sit having read more than one book on Rupert Murdoch, in spite of his privileged starting positions I wonder if somehow he does not love himself, and that makes it easier for his apparent desire to be the most wealthy and influential person on the planet. Because only then will he be worthy in his own eyes?

It is too easy though, to dismiss everything that Mr Murdoch has done as an outright evil. There are many other influences on the current state of the Murdoch empire. And one has to credit Mr Murdoch with one great love of his life – he does love the idea of printing news about what is happening in the world and to those whom he thinks should be put in their place.

I look forward to Mr Barry’s sequel to this  book, possibly after Mr Murdoch has “retired” and certainly after the convulsions of the court cases are over.