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.
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
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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