Every blog I write is an opinion piece. I try to support my opinions with evidence, but at the same time, I recognise that what I am saying is not news. It is my opinion!
The pathetic state of our media
The great shame is that in 2017, most of our media, irrespective of the channel - newspapers, television, radio or online - do not make that distinction. The line between news and opinion has, over recent years, become increasingly blurred and the practise of indicating when the content is opinion has become more difficult and less followed.
Even better-quality newspapers such as The Financial Review and The Australian seem to treat news and opinion as if they are the same thing. Rags like The West Australian have lost the plot all together in this regard.
At least the ABC still endeavours to make a clearer distinction, with the evening news reporting current affairs of the day and programs such as The Drum, The Insiders and QandA being opinion based. That said, all too often the ABC also seems to be confused.
A particularly galling feature of ABC news coverage is when they provide a direct broadcast of a media conference, speech or other event and then, immediately after, report on what was said in that prior broadcast – as if we were all too stupid to understand it the first time.
Another thing I find most galling about the ABC is the common habit, particularly on the 24-hour news channel, of employing ex-commercial television news readers who are used to providing infotainment - yelling the news at the viewer in the apparent hope of making it as exciting as possible. Those same readers tend to bring to the ABC a standard of diction not worthy of a national broadcaster – more associated with infotainers such as David Kosh.
I read an article in The Financial Review this week in which the first paragraph read: "Xxxxx was arrested today. He was charged with allegedly xxxxxxx".
That this individual was arrested was legitimate news and the story as a whole had real merit, but the man concerned was not charged with ‘allegedly’ doing anything. He was either charged with ‘doing xxx’ or he was ‘alleged to have done xxx’. No one is ever charged with allegedly doing anything.
The Financial Review is arguably Australia’s premier newspaper and even it is using language and phraseology that is well below par, and on the front page of its website. Whatever happened to journalists having a good command of the English language and sub-editors proofing articles?
While errors like this are increasing daily on flagship mastheads, they are likely to increase, with Fairfax cutting a further $30 million in media staff wages.
To see how bad the media can get, one only need to read The West Australian (although to do so, you have to lower your reading age and lose your moral compass). I am not sure if they still employ any journalists and see little evidence of sub-editors who can distinguish news from opinion.
No more compelling evidence is needed of the decline in Australian media standards than via a couple of episodes of Media Watch. A brilliant program, Media Watch is showing the industry up to be a shadow of its former self and a vehicle for making money, while pushing an owner’s point of view.
Much of the problems with the quality of news broadcasting have arisen from the reduction in resources and the sacking of qualified, quality journalists and editors.
Much of the decline of the media can be put down to the unrealistic number of players in this small market following far too much deregulation during the 1980s and '90s.
Much of the decline of media around the world can be put down to Rupert Murdoch and an organisation that once found it acceptable to tap people’s phones.
Some of the decline in media in Australia today can be put down to the politically motivated journalists employed by politically motivated outlets such as News Ltd.
This is an opinion piece and I know my opinions, as expressed here, may be wrong - unlike many of the arrogant media faces today. I am not a journalist and will never consider myself such, but neither should many of those masquerading as journalists today.
Sorry to moan, but I lament good journalism and trusted news outlets. How about you?