The strange beast that is the media

As I watched this interview with Claire Martin, I thought how marvellous it was that Tony Jones blocked Claire Martin’s call to ‘move on’ and talk about the future.  He insisted on going back over the way in which Claire Martin and her Government had belittled the coverage of the same issue on Late Line when they’d covered it a year or so ago.

If only we could have more of this – I thought to myself.  More tying politicians down to account for their past lies, deceptions and misdeeds.  But I did expect the interview to go on to discuss the future at some stage.  In fact it was entirely, forensically backward looking.  No problems there, but of course the reason Late Line was prepared to take this departure from standard fare was because the program had itself been crossed. It was breaking the mould not really in defence of standards, of the truth or anything like that.  It did in fact defend the truth, but really only as a by-product of defending itself.

This is the same kind of accountability – in a way – that we see on Media Watch.  A worthwhile program but nevertheless one that delights in judging the slanted standards of the media by – well, by slanted standards.

One day perhaps the standard might rise to a level in which the media – or some select organs of the media – might take as much care defending the truth and making people pay for sleaze, deception, inactivity and all the rest, but do so on behalf of something greater than itself.

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Mike Pepperday
Mike Pepperday
14 years ago

The days of propriety, doing it just because it’s proper, seem to have vanished. A little more self-effacing, quietly outraged insistence on doing the right thing, just because it is the right thing, would make the world a better place. Enforce the rules. Make people respect the rules. Just do it. Ah, Judge Dredd, we need you.

Robert
Robert
14 years ago

Nicholas, is it a media role to “make people pay”?

Robert
Robert
14 years ago

I’m with you on the passion on this topic. To focus on what you’re drawing attention to, however: isn’t that to stay beholden to something not “greater than itself”?

When you say “yes, a role of the media is to make people pay” (if that’s an ok summation), another question would be: isn’t the role of the media – in the greater context – to inform? Isn’t that what a medium is? The source at one end, the public at the other, and the medium as conduit? Aren’t you really seeking better source, and less judgement, from media? Or, in the role of questioning, more drawing power from the source itself? And more stability and respect for that conduit role (not being swayed, eg)?

Or do you see the role of media more as a player, as identity?

Robert
Robert
14 years ago

It certainly does. Thanks.

And what you say asks of the questions I asked: to what extent should, can and is it best that “media” chooses its source(s)? Where from and why?

The ideal of a media as conduit between source and public throws open these questions, among many: which sources and what public?

Gee, it’s a minefield perhaps. Including, further to the above concept of media “drawing from the source” – which opens up the question of market demand: the thing which would seek or might suck information from those sources whosoever they are and howsoever they are chosen. That’s “the public”: the public seemingly demanding that information. Who and how are those people determined. And how else could they be done so.

Enough to drive one mad.

So that question arises: why press on?

Nicholas, perhaps it’s about relationships? At the end of the day, it’s not about right or wrong, punishment or edification?

Chris Lloyd
Chris Lloyd
14 years ago

“Doing the right thing, just because it is right.” It’s all about markets and incentives these days I am afraid Mike. You, me and media watch are jusr soooooo 1980’s.

Sir Henry
Sir Henry
14 years ago

Nick, the media has ALWAYS been a player and part of the story. That is why people embrace it and use it & buy it – otherwise they’d just get the Reuters AAP feed or skim headlines on their blueberry (or whatever).

The media strenuously builds a personality for itself and then promotes it like hell, this includes SBS and the ABC. What do you think the ID stings and jingles are for?

John Norton – http://www.adb.online.anu.edu.au/biogs/A110048b.htm – was an early example of media as an idiosyncratic identity who was part of the news.

To claim now something different is perpetuating a tired myth, that very few believe anyway.

BTW, I would love to take the stockwhip to Penberthy myself (see link, above).

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