Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Australia votes - or should it be, 'News Ltd lumpen commentariat and ABC lap dogs decide election!'

Malcolm Fraser nailed this on Q & A last night. The Murdoch press has sought to remove Labor from office by a devious editorial policy that spins most key federal political issues in favour of the Coalition. Malcolm observed Murdoch media is doing the same to Obama and did a job on Labour in the UK. When a few members of the audience giggled at this observation, Fraser asked them why they thought this was funny. He's right, its a tragedy for our democracy.

The relentless banging of the fear drum on refugees, pink batts, BER, debt & deficit, etc etc has seen the lumpen commentariat of the Murdoch press shape public opinion in an unhealthy way. Commercial TV has been a disgrace for a long time as far as balance in political reporting goes. Why Laurie Oakes is considered a serious journalist has escaped me for years. For whatever reason, and I expect corporate business interests and the appeal to the lowest common denominator to chase ratings are largely to blame, commercial TV media favour the Coalition. Abbott has been glad handled by key media personalities and gallery journalists throughout his tenure as Coalition leader.

That leads us to the ABC. The trend in recent times has been for serious current affairs programs to use Murdoch media style approaches to covering political issues. We get the constant crosses to so-called expert commentators, many of whom are so politically biased as to verge on the farcical. There is also the tendency to use the Murdoch media lumpen stalwarts as guest commentators. Fran Kelly regularly seeks the views of Denis Shanahan (gulp!), one of the most compromised of the lumpen players in the gallery. News 24 constantly relies on right wing commentary to 'fill' the analysis pieces. ABC Insiders often has Murdoch 'info-tainers' masquerading as journalists, sprouting an endless indictment of Labor and glad handling the Coalition. The serious journalists spend most of the program counter-balancing the paid advertising of these 'spruikers'.

The latest glaring example of skewed coverage is the reporting on the 2PP position on vote counting. Of course, the Murdoch press has spun this relentlessly in favour of the Coalition. Sadly, the ABC has fallen in to the same biased cesspit, thereby poorly serving the public. Antony Green has exposed the nonsense at the heart of this mindless chicanery. There must come a stage when it is questionable whether the ABC is meeting its charter to deliver fair, objective coverage of political affairs. I have seen little evidence of it in recent times.Poll Bludger has a good post on this issue today. As one comment on this post put it, "The media still doing their best to undermine democracy. Maybe from now on we should just let them decide for us seeing as they think they know better. Sad state of affairs." It seems our media is in a race to the bottom ...poor fella my country!

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