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What Australian media doesn’t report and …

This article was written by the founder of #ThisIsNotJournalism, a social media account that looks at the reporting of mainstream Australian media, particularly on stories relating to politics at both state and federal levels.

They are constantly dismayed at what they see.

Follow them on Twitter here: @StopLyi58491572

I’ve just read a piece by CJ Werleman in the Byline Times.

I am angry.

NO!

I am absolutely furious!

The main subject matter is the role of media, particularly the likes of Fox News in the January 6 attack on democracy in the US. Yes, that made me angry but I’m pretty sure most of us see platforming lies and partisan spin as a very great danger to many of the institutions we hold dear. What made me absolutely FUCKING FURIOUS was this:

Werelman quotes James Murdoch in a stinging rebuke of his father’s media empire where, in a joint statement he and wife Kathryn say:

“Many media property owners have as much responsibility for this as the elected officials who know the truth but choose instead to propagate lies. We hope the awful scenes we have all been seeing will finally convince those enablers to repudiate the toxic politics they have promoted once and forever”.

This was reported around the world. Well, around the world with the exclusion of Australia.

Murdoch’s news business, which owns a vast number of regional news papers as well as the major mastheads in most capital cities, did not report on this and, as such, it failed to get the coverage from other outlets that it rightly deserved. In many areas, the daily news agenda is set by Murdoch.

On the one hand, we have Australian politicians openly supporting Trump and his absurd claims of election rigging while, on the other, we have a media organisation withholding a vital international story in order to promote their own agenda.

I’m sorry, this is simply not good enough. It’s time we, you, me and anyone else who believes we have a right to a decent standard of reporting in this country, started calling this rubbish out and calling out those that work in these organisations. If you agree, stay with me. If you don’t, thanks for coming this far.

I have recently established a Twitter account with the aim of identifying poor journalism. I call it #ThisIsJournalism. I wanted @StopLying but instead, ended up with @ StopLyi58491572

My intention had been to highlight bias and misinformation in the lead up to what I believe will be a 2021 election. There is no doubt in the minds of many that media bias plays a significant role in misinforming the electorate and as such, distorting our democracy.

Rather than following, “The usual suspects”, the legion of erudite, passionate and often like-minded #auspol Tweeps, I set about following a very large number of people who actually get published on a daily or weekly basis. I noted some interesting things as I looked through their profiles. Are you aware, for example, that a number of outlets, particularly Sky and some News publications have moved away from calling a significant number of the people who write or speak their content “journalists”?

I was also blocked immediately on following by a few of their accounts including, somewhat ironically, by one with #JournalismIsNotACrime in their profile

O…K.

Journalism is absolutely not a crime. Blatant and misleading propaganda for one side of politics over the other is not journalism and probably should be a crime but at the very least, needs to be called out.

This brought me to a question: What is journalism?

It seems a pretty fundamental question, particularly for those of us who express our dissatisfaction with the standard of journalists and their work so, what better place to start than a peak industry body?

@withMEAA give guidance and provide scrutiny to members. They also only look at published pieces so comments on social media clearly do not classify as journalism. I’m perfectly happy with that.

MEAA Journalist Code of Ethics is as follows:

“Respect for truth and the public’s right to information are fundamental principles of journalism. Journalists search, disclose, record, question, entertain, comment and remember. They inform citizens and animate democracy.”

Interestingly, it goes on… “They scrutinise power, but also exercise it, and should be responsible and accountable.”

This is pretty much the point James Murdoch made in the evisceration of his father and his minions. Yes, the one we didn’t see. It also happens to be one of the areas in which I believe we find journalists fail most frequently. I believe it’s our duty to scrutinise them.

Historically, as early as 1837, the press was deemed the Fourth Estate. Originally, there was the clergy, the nobility and the commoners as the first three estates. Media was seen as the perfect tool to “keep the bastards honest” to steal from the great Don Chipp. Many of the comments I see on Twitter and even conversations in real life, question if that very admirable objective is being achieved. Personally, I believe there are a few outstanding MSM journalists but it’s obvious that the vast majority are either too stretched to explore topics to the extent they should or influenced by ideology/bias be it their own or the publication’s they work for.

Journalist should be the protectors of our fragile democracy. James Murdoch has very clearly identified the consequence of poor journalism. It’s not only their historical role but also what is set out in their Code of Ethics here in Australia.

We, the people of #auspol Twitter need to rise up and become the Fifth Estate, holding the Fourth Estate to account and calling them out when they fail to fulfil their time-honoured duty. I hope you’ll join me in doing so

Remember, #ThisIsJournalism because #JournalismIsNotACrime but crap journalism should be.

Oh, here’s a link to that great Byline Times piece. Get Furious

 

This article was originally published on No Place For Sheep.

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20 comments

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  1. RomeoCharlie29

    We could start with Simon Benson in the Oz lauding Scummo’s volte face (?) on the zero emissions target, and its wedging of Labor. Other reporters see it for what it is a wimpish attempt at face saving with his usual dismissive “when I know how to get there I’ll tell you how long it will take” wank. If every journalist accurately reported Scummo and the Coalition, as Bernard Keane does daily in Crikey, hissupposed popularity would disappear like the froth it is and Labor would be looking much better. Similarly if the media stopped giving oxygen to the ALP leadership furphy and looked instead at policies, the Opposition could get on with what it tries to do, hold the government to account for its many, many failings. I hope that when this mis-government stops Jobkeeper and Jobseeker supplements those affected will finally realise the nastiness of the Coalition. I suspect though that the cunning areseholes will not reduce them as planned and that way make themselves out to be the good guys.

  2. MrFlibble4747

    Are “Journalists” subject to qualification, registration and review as a professional body of key practitioners? Is there a register of acknowledged “journalists” who can be removed from professional registration if found to be breaching standards, ethics etc? If not, why not? It happens to medical and legal professions and more besides. MP’s have a “Code of Practice” and we see how well that works. Time for the profession to get serious and publish a register of journalists, hacks and dipsticks and alerts on who’s been removed from the “journalist” list and why! Being a “journalist” should be a badge of honour and losing it should impact on their career. The public would know how their news is graded if articles carried a “produced by accredited journalists” mark or statement. It should not be up to the likes of me to discern which journalist or hack category the originator falls into. We need a clear indicator of who’s who in the news zoo!

  3. guest

    Propaganda is not journalism.

    Things written by some Murdoch scribblers about Trump and climate change and the ABC and Labor or any one else they do not like, etc… are just insufferable. They are a political party as Turnbull insisted. IPA is the dedicated political arm, together with various subsidised institutes.

    There are sites here in Oz who are opposed to Murdoch propaganda. A sharply well-informed site is Dorothy Parker’s Loon Pond, which daily skewers Murdoch writers, against whom the Pond has an extensive archive.

    And of course there have been many posts deriding Murdoch on the AIMN.

  4. peter

    I read about propaganda and misinformation. Yes, but propaganda exists on the left and the right. It is not limited to Fox news. MSNBC and CNN are also propaganda outlets. I am horrified with suggestions that journalists should be registered or that that censorship is ok. (Of course censorhips of the views “which we do not like” is good – selective kind!!!). If extreme views find fertile ground, it is not a problem, it is a symptom of a deeper problem. Censorship will only drive the extremism underground.

  5. Pete Petrass

    MrFlibblle4747 says “Are “Journalists” subject to qualification, registration and review as a professional body of key practitioners? Is there a register of acknowledged “journalists” who can be removed from professional registration if found to be breaching standards, ethics etc? If not, why not? ” and he is absolutely right.
    The only problem I see with this is just how many so-called journos are out there now with ZERO qualifications in anything, and they still call themselves journos. The prime example is Cretin. She is not a journo and has no qualifications in anything, yet she was allowed to sit there and grill and harass Dan Andrews day after day, continuously spouting lies about his handling of the coronavirus in Victoria.
    How do you regulate this rabble?

  6. Terence Mills

    I see that Peta Credlin has finally apologised to Kevin Rudd, on-air for telling lies about his petition.
    Details here : https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2021/feb/01/peta-credlin-forced-to-apologise-to-kevin-rudd-over-false-data-harvesting-claims

    Initially she refused but as Rudd points out, he is fortunate to have the resources to pursue these matters with Murdoch media and he did so until she eventually had to apologise as part of a confidential settlement.

    It should be noted that Credlin like many of the talking heads on Sky is not a journalist and I noted recently that both she and Paul Murray advised viewers that their programs and their views and those of their guests were opinions only i.e. they aren’t fact checked and they are not news, they are just opinions: this probably was to deflect future defamation actions.

    It’s interesting also that Fox News started in the USA as a cable news service and then started including far right commentary to the extent that news became secondary and right-wing spruikers took over. Much the same is happening here with Sky and whilst that would not normally be noteworthy for a pay TV offering with minimal audience following, it has become a concern as they have now branched out into free to air TV via WIN which means that they are penetrating rural and regional areas with their right-wing propaganda.

  7. Kaye Lee

    I despair at times that fact-checking just doesn’t work against propaganda. People seem to get bored with facts and figures but are energized by scandal and scandalous lies.

    So many times, when talking to others about stuff like our first Kyoto agreement being to increase our emissions by 8% and our special deal about land clearing, they respond with that’s outrageous, people need to know that. Actually, anyone who is interested already does. but most of the public don’t read such stuff….they just hear “we are meeting and beating our targets” crap. No context about shifting the base years and changing how we measure emissions.

    People are so used to reports of rorting that they expect no better. The re-election of serial rorters shows the Trump mentality – I could shoot someone and they would still elect me.

    Nevertheless, we plug on in the hope of starting a truthful conversation.

  8. Michael Taylor

    Kaye, it’s the old story; “If you repeat a lie often enough… “

  9. Michael Taylor

    Terry, if it’s any consolation, a couple of years ago the top three rated cable TV shows in the USA all went to Fox News: Tucker Carlson, Sean Hannity and Laura Ingraham. They are now 16th, 18th and 20th.

    Viewers are leaving them in droves.

  10. Kaye Lee

    From November last year….

    For the second Thursday in a row the top show on Foxtel was Outback Opal Hunters on the Discovery Channel with 73,000 viewers (71,000 the previous Thursday), eclipsing again the Sky News after dark Barkers Paul Murray (70,000), Alan Jones (63,000), and Andrew Bolt (56,000).

    Viewers demoted Credlin (51,000) because they watched Love It Or Leave It Australia, 56,000 (equal fourth), and Selling Houses Australia, 52,000 (sixth).

    Compare that to Bluey which got 203,000 viewers yesterday.

  11. calculus witherspoon.

    A slight digression, but it amazes me that Australian politicians can go on about Navalny and the Uighurs, yet maintain an epic silence re Julian Assange.

    It is a bit like them blithering about anti zionism as anti semitism yet ignoring the Israeli undermining of coronavirus vax relief for the Gaza ghetto

  12. Michael Taylor

    Has Morrison said anything about Navalny yet? World leaders have expressed condemnation over his imprisonment, but our dear leader remains silent.

    I could be wrong.

  13. Michael Taylor

    Kaye, that’s encouraging that only .2% of our population bothers to watch Bolt.

  14. Kaye Lee

    Rest Easy Michael, Holey Moley is killing him.

    Hmmm….I’m not sure that makes me feel better.

  15. DrakeN

    Kaye Lee: “Compare that to Bluey which got 203,000 viewers yesterday.”

    Family values Kaye – real ones 😉

  16. Terence Mills

    In an earlier post I noted that several presenters on Sky News were emphasising that their comments and those of their guests were opinions only and I suggested that they might be trying to avoid defamation actions including for misinformation and disinformation on what is supposed to be a news broadcaster.

    Well it now seems that Fox News in the US are being sued for $2.7 billion by the manufacturers of vote counting machines after Fox repeatedly reported that the machines were tampered with, that the election was stolen due to the machine tampering, all of which was not news, was not accurate and was not based on fact.

    This maybe another day for Murdoch to feel humbled but this time it’s in the hip-pocket where it’s going to hurt.

  17. Phil Pryor

    Too much media, run by Merge-Dog in particular, have slavering sluts, shonky shitskulls, lazy liars, brainless bonkers, knob polishing knaves, big mouthed bores, unqualified, uncivilised, under educated reptilian rubbish as the fronts. There’s Bolt, a dick blistering bore and bullshitter of no intellectual achievement or merit, Alan Jucking-Fones who knows eff all in godlike cash for comment egotism, Credlin the cretin, a romanist, inflated, talking tart for notice, pose, money and propaganda, with too many other defectives to mention, a pox on clear thinking, a pustule of applied ignorance, a nest of misleading, lying, exaggerating, distorting turds and turdlets and turdesses.

  18. MrFlibble4747

    At least nobody mentioned Adolf Hitler, could we become solution focused rather than comment/reaction/react focused?

    This forum is getting more like an echo chamber every day, which is not what I come here for!

    Engage brain before before operating mouth (keyboard) please!

    FFS Journalistic integrity to Bluey/Holey Moley, I despair, so fkin sad!

  19. Florence Howarth

    Pauline was correct in one thing when she demanded please explain. Should be asked of the PM & his ilk every time he makes comments such as “technology not taxes”. Should be asked to explain what technology he is talking about. Asked where the money comes from that is being spent in such bodies as CEFC etc. It doesn’t come from his pocket or those of polluters.

  20. Henry Rodrigues

    Phil Pryor….. thanks once again for putting ‘journalism’ as practiced in Oz, into the correct context and perspective. Murdoch and his minions as well as those others like the cretin and public toilet expert Alan J. are just the sort of rubbish we all like to throw into the garbage bin. Keep it coming.

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