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Tag Archives: The Herald Sun

Should the media act more responsibly?

By Dave Chadwick

The public’s hunger for every image and piece of information about terrorist acts and mass murders does not always need to be sated. I question the effort of the media to feed this hunger with endless detailed national coverage when an attack occurs. Do they not realise that this is the exact reaction the awful perpetrators are hoping for, or are they so greedy for ratings they do not care? Would a more restrained approach make society even a few percentage points safer?

The valued concept of a free and impartial media to act as the ‘Fourth Estate,’ and hold all three branches of government accountable to their representatives has a long history in democratic theory. The importance of a balanced and independent analysis of national and international affairs is put into stark definition by the blatantly deceptive and obfuscating practices that modern politicians employ. Although its Fourth Estate role is a powerful argument against government interference (which doesn’t seem to bother our current government), it is not a licence for the media to publish and post whatever pleases them. It also charges them with the responsibility of publishing in the public interest.

I’m not an historian or expert in media law, but it seems to me that the media has misinterpreted the idea of public interest. Public interest here does not necessarily mean what the public is interested in – but what is in the public’s interest to know.

What is in the Public Interest?

I could write a whole article about media outlets’ preoccupation with selling us news stories that are really not in our interest, such as what happened on last night’s episode of the Bachelor (which by the way, I really don’t care), instead of giving us a better understanding of ongoing developments in Ukraine or the South China Sea, but I won’t. I am not really arguing against this (doesn’t mean I like it though), as I realise they have to make a commercial decision about what consumers want and some publications are marketed to a particular type of consumer.

My concern is when the media (and with the advent of online technology, all social media users have the potential to become lay-journalists) publish and share information that is actually against the public interest. Whether through greed or naïveté, media users are unthinking accomplices to the aims of terrorist groups and psychopaths with the incredibly detailed coverage they reward them with. If social media users were more discriminating with what they shared and media outlets were more restrained with their coverage, the payoff these groups and individuals get from their atrocities would be reduced, potentially reducing the likelihood of further atrocities. That sounds like something that would definitely be in the public interest to me.

Only recently, a clearly unwell man acted out his rage in a heinous double murder in Virginia and even went to the trouble of videoing it and posting it to social media. The logical inference of such action is that he wanted to share his actions with the world. How did the media and the rest of the world react? Exactly the way he wanted. Television and print media published articles about every aspect of the attack and his life, while the online community was retweeting and sharing his gruesome posts. News articles even provided screenshots and links to his social media page. I actually saw an article in The Herald Sun that published his final social media posts after describing him as a man who wanted his actions and words to go viral. Nice of them to fulfil his dying wishes. To other unwell, lonely, desperate people, what is the message? The more despicable your actions are, the more attention you will receive.

Now I don’t want to imply any less personal responsibility of the perpetrators of disgusting acts like these, but I do wonder what useful function does the saturation media coverage and vapid online sharing of these types of event serve. Would most attacks still take place? Probably, but would all of them? I’m less sure.

When the first of ISIS’s execution videos was released, like most of us I was saddened for the victim and his loved ones. I was also horrified and angered at those who would perpetuate such an atrocity and deliberately seek to use it as a political strategy. These feelings of impotent rage returned each time I saw it on TV news bulletins and heard the audio on radio or saw people sharing the video on social media. That happened an awful lot. It was difficult to avoid for a few days. If the terrorists wanted to bring their message to people around the world, they succeeded. However they only succeeded because they were allowed to.

The public execution was a propaganda strategy that held no tactical value. If no one watched the videos would there be any reason to make them? I would contend not. So why are people in the west so helpful in actually facilitating and encouraging it? I know Tony Abbott liked to see national security headlines on every paper as often as possible, but was it actually in the public interest? It was no surprise to see a string of similar videos released in the following weeks.

What if …

What if a law was passed making it illegal to broadcast or forward any vision or audio these crimes? Or even without legislation, if the media guidelines changed to dramatically reduce the frequency and detail with which they did cover them. Obviously the exception would be for the files to be passed on to DFAT or the AFP so they could take appropriate actions. A short factual, unsensationalised (I know it’s technically not a word, but its meaning is obvious) report detailing the important facts of the story is all that needs to be made public. The public’s fascination with every aspect of this does not have to be fed, just like six-year old’s love of ice cream doesn’t have to be fed. Is there any other reason people really need to see the video? I would argue it is hardly in the public interest and would suggest it is actually against it.

I realise this idea may draw some unflattering Orwellian comparisons from civil libertarians. But is this really a slippery slope to the government-controlled media of 1984 (I’m not talking about an actual year that is the title of a book for those to young to have realised)? I don’t think so. You can use a slippery slope argument to predict pretty much anything, but that doesn’t mean your prediction is correct (as Eric Abetz and Corey Bernadi have shown). Increased government regulation of the media and individuals’ online activities may ring some alarm bells, although I believe there are similar laws about child pornography and although it is a significantly different issue, I haven’t heard any complaints about such laws.

The other argument people may raise is that such a law would make people even more beholden to the media and would prevent independent verification of the reporting of these types of events. It is true to an extent, but seeing the video or reading a mass murderer’s life story (as reported in the media) doesn’t solve that anyway. I would agree the potential for media agencies to shape national dialogue with their reporting of an event is already unsettling, but social media provides a counterpoint to this already. I can’t see this change adding much to this situation as there is still much that can be reported and shared. The videos of 9/11 and the moon landing have not stopped the conspiracy theorists on either subject because some people will believe what they want to believe no matter what evidence is- that is why there are still anti-vaccers and climate change deniers in the world.

Is that the answer?

I do like the concept of an independent, uncensored media, free from government and shareholder interference, but Australia seemed to give that up some time ago. The reality is that a lot of news reporting and commentary is filtered by existing beliefs and assumptions of the commentators, even this one (astonishing I know). I have outlined how I believe current media practices around the reporting of terrorist attacks and mass murders, as well as the unthinking actions of social media users, may play a part helping the perpetrators achieve their goals. Political attacks mean very little when their message is contained, after all. I know it wouldn’t stop such actions, but would it make them less attractive to desperate individuals? I think so. As much as governments are often wary of over regulating the media for fear of public backlash, I think it would at least be worth thinking about and discussing?

What do you think?

This article was originally published as Real Agents of the Fourth Estate or just greedy Real Estate Agents on Quietblog.

Bill Shorten takes climate change seriously, so guess who isn’t happy with him?

‘The frontline of climate change’ was the appealing subject of the email I received from Labor this morning. It read:

We often talk about what effects climate change will have on our economy, or on agricultural land, or how many more natural disasters we’re likely to suffer.

What we talk about less is how climate change is affecting some of our closest neighbours right now. And it’s devastating. The Papua New Guinea and island nations in the pacific are facing real, existential threats from climate change.

Bill Shorten, Tanya Plibersek and Richard Marles are visiting these islands this week and talking to people about life at the frontline of climate change.

This is an issue that isn’t going to go away – we’re likely to see and hear a lot more about it as the International Climate Change Conference in Paris approaches at the end of this month. We’ll keep you informed as much as we can.

Now you’d think that’d be a good thing. Here we have a group of politicians and a political party taking climate change seriously and placing it front and centre on the table. And added to that, they are engaging with counties that are most likely to be the first victims of rapid change.

In most countries this concern and their initiative would be applauded. But they might just happen to be countries where the Murdoch media doesn’t have the same influence as it does here. Instead of it being applauded, we see it derided. Andrew Bolt of The Herald Sun led the way:

LABOR leader Bill Shorten will test the honesty of journalists this week when he tours Pacific Islands he claims are drowning.

Will they dare report that most of the islands are in fact growing or stable? Or will they again prove they cannot be trusted to tell the truth about the global warming scare?

Shorten and deputy Tanya Plibersek plan to visit Kiribati and the Marshall Islands.

As the gullible Sydney Morning Herald announced: “Labor wants to put climate change at the centre of public debate in the run-up to a major United Nations summit in Paris later this year.

Sister paper The Daily Telegraph could only feature the story as one that will see ‘Bill Shorten . . . fly 16,000km on a private jet . . .’ and mock him with the image above with the caption ‘Labor overboard with private jet tour‘, while all that news.com.au wanted to tell us was that Bill Shorten danced awkwardly while in Kiribati with suggestions that it might give us a good reason to laugh at him.

One would think that the Murdoch media don’t like the idea of someone taking climate change seriously.

Personally, I’ve had it up to my teeth with the Murdoch media. How can any important issue or any non-Coalition politician get a fair run in this country while the Murdoch media has so much power and so many right-wing fanatics spreading the Murdoch gospel?

Democracy and diversity: media ownership in Australia

“To protect democracy, governments have an obligation to detect and remove political bias within the media” writes David Vadori. We couldn’t agree more. David, a Year 11 student, analyses the Australian landscape in this guest article.

The democratic ideal of a media which is impartial, and designed to inform citizens, is inevitably compromised as media ownership becomes more concentrated. Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights unequivocally states that everyone has the inalienable right “to hold opinions without interference…”[1] However this right is undermined as media ownership becomes more concentrated and the number of proprietors is reduced. Concentration of media ownership is frequently seen as a problem of contemporary media and society[2]. The fundamental threat that concentrated media poses to any society is that, as the influence of privately funded media increases, the democratic capacity of the media as an instrument to inform and educate citizens is diminished. This is due to a reduction in the number of perspectives that are available to citizens on any given issue, at any given time; and this interferes with an individual’s ability to formulate an opinion, as access to information presented in an unbiased and balanced fashion becomes more and more restricted. In Australia, this problem is markedly more acute than elsewhere in the world and thus governments should strive to ensure that the Australian media is impartial and informative.

An International Media Concentration Research Project, led by Professor Eli Noam of Columbia University, found that Australian newspaper ownership was the most concentrated of 26 countries surveyed, and among the most concentrated in the democratic world[3]. For example, News Corp titles account for 59% of all sales of daily newspapers, with sales of 17.3 million papers per week in Australia, making News Corp Australia’s most influential newspaper publisher by a considerable margin[4]. In comparison the two most prominent daily newspapers owned by News Corp in the United Kingdom, ‘The Sun’ and ‘The Times’, have a combined average daily circulation of 2.6 million, or approximately 24%[5] of the total number of all daily papers sold. Therefore, by world standards the circulation and ownership of Australia’s print media is largely monopolistic and this undermines the democratic ideal of a pluralistic society in which a range of views are presented to citizens.

In Australia increasing concentration of media ownership has been a historical trend. For instance, print media ownership has shrunk ever since it reached its zenith in 1923 when there were 26 daily newspapers, with 21 independent owners. This reduction in the number of proprietors may be attributed to the relatively small size of Australia’s market when compared with economies of size and scope in more traditional media markets, such as the United Kingdom or the United States[6]. This has consistently been a restrictive factor on the competitive potential of Australia’s print media landscape. However, this should not be allowed to form the basis of an excuse by which concentration of media ownership in Australia can be dismissed as something which is understandable or even unavoidable. For wherever media ownership is concentrated, commercially driven, mass-market media dominates and democracy is threatened.

Photo sourced from smh.com.au

Photo sourced from smh.com.au

The 2013 federal election demonstrated the corrosive effects of concentrated media ownership on democracy. Individuals and corporations with vested commercial interests in the outcome of the election, such as Rupert Murdoch, the founder and CEO of News Corp, used the media to sway” voters with headlines such as: “Australia needs Tony” and “Kick this Mob [Labor] Out”. These headlines appeared on the front pages of some of Australia’s most widely circulated newspapers, including The Daily Telegraph and The Courier Mail. This type of media coverage is contrary to what is expected of the media in a democracy where citizens should be protected from individuals and corporations that use the media to further a particular political agenda. For example the political agenda of Rupert Murdoch at the last federal election was clearly to secure a Coalition election victory; this sort of partisanship is damaging to the democratic process as it contradicts the media’s obligation to report fairly on facts and to avoid opinion wherever possible. Thus, the 2013 federal election has shown that opinion has become the defining characteristic of mainstream-media coverage, with newspapers making no attempt to conceal their political biases.

In a move to cement the prevalence of their own media empires, commercial media conglomerates have sought to stifle the growth of new-media and mitigate its ability to connect with consumers. For example, Kevin Rudd has suggested that the motivation behind News Corp’s partisan coverage of the 2013 Federal election was to ensure that Murdoch-owned News Corp and Foxtel were protected from a faster broadband network, promised by Labor, which would have provided ordinary Australians with greater means to access alternative media content for free online[7]. At present, there is an evident disparity between the power and influence of large media corporations such as News Corp and new emerging media platforms such as social-media. This disparity undermines the democratic ideal of a media which is able to present a range of views to its citizens.

The difference between the influence of mainstream media platforms, such as newspapers, and the influence of new-media platforms, such as online blogs, is evident when for instance, the reach of the Australian Independent Media Network is contrasted with that of The Herald Sun. The Australian Independent Media Network is a less well-known, but nonetheless vocal source of online news that publishes content regularly and has an audience of around 15,000[8], whereas, The Herald Sun, an established Murdoch-owned paper, has a daily circulation of over 500,000[9]. Primarily it is this disparity between the influence of mainstream-media and new-media that is detrimental to the democratic process, as the alternative, but equally relevant perspectives conveyed through alternative media are inevitably dwarfed by their mainstream counterparts.

Government policies over the last two decades have reinforced rather than challenged, the concentration of media ownership in Australia. Both sides of politics have shied away from moves which might increase media diversity, such as strengthening public service broadcasting or encouraging initiatives that might pave the way for smaller companies to become more significant and influential players. Successive governments have failed not only to acknowledge the public’s interest as citizens, but also to protect them as consumers; their policy actions have frequently invoked free-market rhetoric, but this only obscures just how imperfectly and partially market forces operate, and masks the extent to which government policy has played a role in shaping those markets[10]. A more direct and honest approach is needed to address the problems associated with concentrated media ownership and the government should investigate the ways it can better respond to claims of bias within mainstream media.

In order to avoid partisanship within the media, whilst simultaneously protecting free-speech and fostering the growth of a healthy democracy, measures designed to reverse the current trend towards concentration of media ownership, and encourage diversity and pluralism within the media need to be developed. Currently the primary safeguards that exist against media monopolization are the specific controls over media ownership contained in the Broadcasting Services Act 1992[11]. These safeguards prevent the common ownership of broadcasting licenses that serve the same region. The justification for these laws is that, the effective functioning of a democracy requires a diverse ownership of the daily mass media to ensure public life is reported in a fair and open manner.[12] However, Australia needs tougher laws to combat the undemocratic consequences of concentrated media ownership.

A report of the independent inquiry into the media and media regulation released in 2012, otherwise known as the Finkelstein report, conducted by the Hon R Finkelstein QC, made sweeping recommendations for legislative reform within the media. The Finkelstein report described the Australian media as: “too concentrated in ownership, biased, vindictive, sloppy and at times unethical in its coverage of people and events.”[13] The report proposed that a government-funded regulatory authority be created to pass judgment on news reporting. This hypothetical government-body would have the legally enforceable power to adjudicate on journalistic fairness and make the media answerable to the courts[14]. The creation of such a body must be regarded as an important first step towards greater transparency and accountability within the media, however more needs to be done.

Provision must be made for alternative forms of media. For example the growth of the internet has been instrumental in the development of new-media and the emergence of some new globally powerful operators.[15] Advocates of the internet’s potential to offset the power of mainstream media, claim that the internet naturally fosters an environment where a variety of views are both tolerated and accepted, and that for this reason the internet should be considered an appropriate medium through which to equipoise the influence of mainstream media. However the internet has only been an ostensible solution to the effects of concentrated media ownership and has had little measurable effect in terms of diffusing the power of mainstream media. The internet has failed to seriously challenge the influence of global media oligopolies such as Fairfax and News Corp, both which own and preside over extensive online networks. For instance, News Corp owns Kidspot.com.au, taste.com.au and homelife.com.au and holds 50% stakes in CareerOne.com.au and carsguide.com.au.[16] Furthermore News Corp also runs websites for most of its 172 daily, Sunday, weekly, bi-weekly and tri-weekly newspapers, magazines and publications. Developments such as this ought to be considered in the process of developing policy relating to media ownership, and Governments should investigate ways that the editorial impartiality of online media can be effectively monitored and regulated.

Furthermore, besides the immediate adoption of the recommendations made by the Finkelstein Report relating to the establishment of a government-funded regulatory authority to preside over matters relating to media integrity, the government should also increase funding for its public broadcasters, instead of cutting funding as the current Federal Liberal/National Coalition Government has announced. Australia’s public broadcasters provide an invaluable alternative to the concentrated and oligopolistic corporate media that dominates in Australia. Moreover, our public broadcasters are consistently hailed for their editorial impartiality, and despite claims of bias in the ABC’s coverage of news and events, a recent independent audit conducted by Gerald Stone concluded that: ‘As an independent observer, [there were] no grounds for concern…’[17]. Therefore Australian governments should use public broadcasters as a model by which to monitor and scrutinize the editorial impartiality of privately owned media.

To protect democracy, governments have an obligation to detect and remove political bias within the media. It is essential that the media act as a safe-haven for political neutrality, and partisan media coverage should not be tolerated. Citizens must be allowed to form opinions free from the undue influence of corporations or individuals that express particular ideological, commercial or social interests through the media. Ultimately, Governments ought to make ensuring the integrity and neutrality of the Australian media a priority. After all, it is in the best interests of any democracy to have a robust, independent and impartial media that is free from encroaching corporate interests.

References:

[1] UN General Assembly, The Universal Declaration of Human Rights. (1948)

[2] New Internationalist, “Global Media”. New Internationalist. (2001)

[3] Franco Papandrea and Rodney Tiffen, ‘Media Concentration in Australia’ (2011)

[4] The Conversation, ‘FactCheck: does Murdoch own 70% of newspapers in Australia?’ (2013).

[5] ‘National daily newspaper circulation January 2014″, The Guardian, (February 2014)

[6] Op Cit. Media Concentration in Australia

[7] Financial Review, ‘It’s Rudd v Murdoch in NBN slugfest’, http://www.afr.com/p/national/it_rudd_murdoch_in_nbn_slugfest_oZXFoHEQiPOHyYBK932O2O (Accessed 28 May. 2014)

[8] Lee, K. and Kelly, The Australian Independent Media Network, https://theaimn.com

[9] Australian Bureau of Circulation (2009)

[10] Tiffen, Rodney, ‘Political economy and news’ (2006)

[11] Parliament of Australia, Media Ownership Regulation in Australia, http://www.aph.gov.au/About_Parliament/Parliamentary_Departments/Parliamentary_Library/Publications_Archive/archive/mediaregulation

[12] Ibid

[13] Ray Finkelstein QC, ‘Report of the Independent Inquiry into the Media and Media Regulation’ (2012)

[14] Cameron Stewart, ‘Finkelstein Report: Media’s great divide’, The Australian (2012)

[15] Op cit. Media concentration in Australia.

[16] Columbia Journalism Review,http://www.cjr.org/resources/?c=newscorp

[17] Gerald Stone, ‘Breadth of opinion and impartiality in select TV current affairs coverage of the asylum seeker issue’, (2014)

Related articles:

Can ‘The Australian’ stoop any lower?

Where is the outrage when the media lie?

Independent media: the sleeping giant and the MSM’s response

The political economy of climate change

I'm by 'I fking love science'

Image by ‘I fcking love science’

Environment writer and academic Nicole Clark looks at how climate change sceptics’ views are promoted in Australian print media, concluding that the content generally reflects the ideals and best interests of the elite.

In the mass media, the political economy perspective is centred around the principal notion that the media is owned and run by elites that seek to mandate the distribution and dissemination of media content, in accordance with their own ideological values. Most notably, those values that reflect a more right wing political sentiment (Herman and Chomsky, 2008). Therefore, political economy is synonymous with the view that corporate news structures own the right to media content and therefore own the right to the message. Under these pretences, corporate news bodies are able to frame content according to the best interest, concerns and needs of the elite (Herman, 2009).

Freedom to act and freedom to promote autonomous views provides news bodies the propensity to perpetuate and distort information of an untruthful nature (Herman, 2009). News bodies therefore, have the power to distort the public perception and promote views that consequently transcend the decision process of modern polity (Gamson et al, 2013). The production of media content, infers the beliefs that dominate state and private activity in society. The way the media is propagated, is central to society (Herman, 2009); therefore, the nature of media content informally legitimises political decision. In brief, the nature of media content holds an influence unlike any other and any information that is distributed from corporate news bodies truthful or not, will always influence a core component of political discourse.

Propaganda is a phenomenon that aims to influence the thinking and attitudes of individuals in a population or society. Propaganda is most consistently linked to events in history that are associated with war and religious freedom (Jowett and O’Donnell, 2011). The ways print media is a propagated and produced can more often than not, intervene with the political economy perspective and take on characteristics that demonstrate agenda setting properties reserved for propaganda delivery (Black, 1977).

Climate change is scientific fact and humans are to blame. Humans must act to reduce carbon emissions. Action requires injecting money into the global economy at all costs- to all financial and economic institutions, to prevent further damage to the earth (IPCC, 2011). In Australian 59% of the print media is owned by News Corp, the remaining 30% represent the independent channels (Bacon, 2011). Print media owned by News Corp include, The Daily Telegraph and The Herald Sun. In Australia, an unusually high concentration of sceptics’ views on climate change are routinely observed in print media, such content rivals that of scientific fact and most notably appears to reflect the views for the best interests and concerns of the elite (Bacon, 2011).

Herman and Chomsky, (1988) adhere to the views that the political economy of mass media holds a crucial function that links political economy to the media; where media owned adversaries construct their views in ways which can be attributed to propaganda techniques. This article examines the Australian media and draws parallels to an Australian context, for content that displays a sceptic’s view of climate change. It will examine content from a report published in 2011 entitled: ‘Sceptical Climate’ by the Australian Centre for Independent Journalism (Bacon, 2011) the report includes a highly detailed analysis, in which the study teased out inconsistencies that were noticeably reflective of the sceptics’ viewpoint of climate change in print media.

Using examples from the report by Bacon (2011), this article will determine whether suspected techniques of propaganda outlined by Herman and Chomsky (1988) are evident in the Australian print media. In order to establish how climate change sceptics’ views are published in the print media, it will draw parallels to sceptics’ views expressed, views of which may be strongly associated with propaganda phenomenon witnessed elsewhere in the world. It will examine the propaganda influence through three filters: ownership, news sourcing and convergence in the dominant ideology; as described by (Herman and Chomsky, 1988).

Ownership

  • Print media ownership in Australia is concentrated and News Corp owns 56% of the print media (Bacon, 2011). Ownership ranks very highly among those who reflect the liberal or right wing political stance (Gantzkow and Shapiro, 2010). This is not only reflective of the political economy principles described above but Boykoff, (2008) notes; this is synonymous with a content analysis of print media that was distributed from news corporations in the UK in 2008. Corporations, which were also owned by News Corp. Herman and Chomsky (2008), state, high concentrations of media ownership, tend to exhibit characteristics that represent propaganda tactics. This therefore, also confirms, (that) media ownership is a strong template for analysing content with suspected propaganda substance.

Print media example

  • Title: Climate Change Rebel Fights back – The Daily Telegraph, (2010); “I am writing to offer personal briefings on why “global warming” is a non-problem to you and other party leaders during my visit. You say I am one of “those who argue that any multilateral action is by definition evil”. On the contrary: my first question is whether any action at all is required, to which the objective economic and scientific answer is – no”– an example of interconnections with elite actors and the need to maximise profits and denial of climate change, to push an agenda for no-action which is in the best interests of elites.

News sourcing

  • Journalistic professionalism in the Australian print media influences public policy. Whether journalists in the media exclude some sources in favour of others, or they simply forego the inclusion of other any sources at all, they are likely to display one dimensional characteristics (Bacon, 2011). Such characteristics were also found in the Gulf of Persia, (Nohrstedt, et al 2000). Herman (2009) states, such characteristics also demonstrate a strong tendency towards propaganda tactics commonly attributed to instances where media is both owned and run by the elites; rendering it synonymous with the political economy of mass media perspective.

Print media example

  • Title: Climate change not caused by humans: academia – The Sydney Morning Herald, (2007); “In these circumstances it is incredible that some leaders of scientific societies and academies have tried to use their authority to demand acceptance of the IPCC report.”– example of using the role of experts and intellectuals in an opinion piece from a one dimensional perspective of a journalist to construct a sceptic’s view of climate change.

Convergence in the dominant ideology

  • Reinforcement of views and ideas, using the anti-factor; that are in the best interest of the elites positions and interests is also a phenomenon that is displayed in the Australian media. High paid journalist Andrew Bolt, also an elite and climate change sceptic, published more opinion pieces on carbon pricing in Australia than any other (Bacon, 2011). Antilla, (2005) also notes the framing of climate change sceptics’ views to be a theme in the USA and demonstrates, that it was also a predominant notion that was shown in the US media over and over again. Good (2008) through extensive content analysis- discovered that, reinforcing elite views was a prominent theme and also attributes these characteristics to reflect tactics that show distinct similarities towards propaganda.

Print media example

  • Title: With Climate scientists like this no wonder we doubt – The Herald Sun, Andrew Bolt (2014); “It’s farce like that which helps explain why the CSIRO reported last week only 47 per cent of Australians buy its spin that the climate is changing and we’re to blame”. An example of how elite journalist Andrew Bolt, is reinforcing a sceptic’s opinion of climate change toward existing sceptics and those individuals who have not yet formed an opinion on the matter to invoke fear and the anti-factor, implying a government institution is the enemy-in order to push an elite agenda.

Conclusion

In Australia, by the virtue of autonomy, print media in Australia has been allowed to produce false information on false pretences to formally and informally describe scientific consensus on climate change that is neither true nor conclusive. The absolute truth of climate change has been masked. Through the wrongful disclosure of media sectors, the facts of scientifically diagnosed climate change, are wilfully and wrongfully promoted from a sceptic’s viewpoint.

Since print media, is owned by elites, it is clear climate change action is not in their best interest. In high concentrations in print media, content reflects the opinions and interests of the elites and hence the truth is subject to improper representations that inherently reflect propaganda techniques. Most of the sceptics’ viewpoint on climate change were sourced from Australia’s most powerful media body, News Corp. The techniques of propaganda present in content evidently coincide with media ownership and propaganda filtration from media ownership, news sourcing and convergence in the dominant ideology.

Most, or all content, reflects the ideals and best interests of the elite which exist in conjunction with media owned adversaries, who spread their own message, of un-truthful claims, and henceforth are clear signs of propaganda initiatives. These messages are constructed in the context that is congruently linked to the political economy perspective and reveals a sceptic’s view of climate change in the media is therefore, right wing slanted; un-moderated and freely distributed at will for the purpose of influencing political discourse.

References

Andrew Bolt, The Herald Sun (2014) http://blogs.news.com.au/heraldsun/andrewbolt/index.php/heraldsun/comments/column_with_climate_scientists_like_this_no_wonder_we_doubt/

Antilla, L. (2005). Climate of scepticism: US newspaper coverage of the science of climate change. Global environmental change, 15(4), 338-352.

Bacon, W. (2011). A SCEPTICAL CLIMATE Media coverage of climate change in Australia 2011.

Black, J. (1977). Another perspective on mass media propaganda. General Semantics Bulletin, 44(45), 92-104.

Boykoff, M. T. (2008). The cultural politics of climate change discourse in UK tabloids. Political geography, 27(5), 549-569.

Gamson, W. A., Croteau, D., Hoynes, W., & Sasson, T. (1992). Media images and the social construction of reality. Annual review of sociology, 18(1), 373-393.

Gentzkow, M., & Shapiro, J. M. (2010). What drives media slant? Evidence from US daily newspapers. Econometrica, 78(1), 35-71.

Good, J. E. (2008). The framing of climate change in Canadian, American, and international newspapers: A media propaganda model analysis. Canadian Journal of Communication, 33(2), 233.

Herman, E. S. (2009). The propaganda model after 20 years: Interview with Edward S. Herman and Noam Chomsky. Westminster Papers in Communication and Culture, 6(2), 12-22.

HERMAN, E. Y. C., & Chomsky, N. N. 1988 Manufacturing consent: the political economy of the mass media. New York: Pantheon.

Herman, E. S., & Chomsky, N. (2008). Manufacturing consent: The political economy of the mass media. Random House.

Jowett, G. S., & O’Donnell, V. (Eds.). (2011). Propaganda & persuasion. Sage.

Mitigation, C. C. (2011). IPCC special report on renewable energy sources and climate change mitigation.

Nohrstedt, S. A., Kaitatzi-Whitlock, S., Ottosen, R., & Riegert, K. (2000). From the Persian Gulf to Kosovo—War journalism and propaganda. European Journal of Communication, 15(3), 383-404.