Topic: big media
Richard Glover on ABC Drive show tonight poses the question - Is the backlash against the UK phone hacking scandal all a bit over the top?
And why should there be an inquiry in Australia into the well worked balance of corporate, political and social relations represented by the big media sector status quo?
His professional colleagues in the sector are also unhappy about an inquiry or greater regulation. They can't see it.
The simple profound answer is the legal norm requiring a prohibition against misleading and deceptive conduct in the conduct of business. The business world has been legally required to follow this rule since at least 1974 under the Trade Practices Act and state statutory equivalents.
The Big Media are of course big business too. And they must be held to the same standard and account for their rampant dishonesty.
Only today Crikey newsletter has exposed a massive lie by the Sydney Daily Telegraph claiming their coverage was unbiased in relation to the GST in 1998-2000 compared to the carbon tax announced in 2011. That is misleading and deceptive conduct which should be legally actionable. Anyone who follows politics in NSW already well knew the SDT was a slut to the Coalition party, but it shows how brazen the dishonesty is that the SDT thought they could editorialise this lie recently and get away with it.
Or that big boss Hartigan thought he could run the line in a defence on 7.30 show a week ago.
Another example of dishonest dealing was Media Watch last Monday night exposing the corruption of a senior journalist's byline by adding material into his story that he didn't write. In that case Steve Lewis article altered by someone in the Sydney Daily Telegraph (again).
Then there is Fairfax every week running an apparently learned educational institution that sounds publicly funded and objective. Namely the "Sydney Institute" which in reality is a covertly funded big corporation propaganda machine that refuses to reveal it's funding sources. This is unacceptable in a decent and honest industry sector.
Lastly but not least there are nasty biased characters like Alan Jones who poses as a commentator but is no more than a boorish Coalition party stooge. Why anyone would want to listen to a Liberal Party meeting on a public radio programme escapes this writer, but the point is that Jones is an overt propagandist for one political party. He should be so described to avoid misleading and deceiving any poor unfortunate who happens to be sucked into the vortex of his poisonous bile.
All this is obvious to those outside the big media sector - the deep culture of flouting the basic prohibition against misleading and deceptive conduct in the course of business is why the sector needs an inquiry. But more than this - it needs some high profile prosecutions under some new and stronger laws.
The second glaring basis for an inquiry is the common element between the UK phone hacking scandal and the operation of News Ltd tabloids in Australia. Namely the protection racket aspect of emotional violence absent any public interest, that demands any public or private figure pander to the News Corp self interest in terms of power mongering, financial opportunity and influence peddling.
Quite a few of these bunch of grubby liars and mediocre thinkers have arrogated to themselves the role of social bully boys and girls. There is a base motive of bad faith behind so many stories for self aggrandisement and mindless aggression. It's as if all that alcohol has turned the journos into bitter and twisted caricatures as the drug cooks their brain cells and their personality sinks deeper into chronic depression taking their audience down with them into mindless conflicts and sensation. How bored and boorish they must be.
This protection racket is great sport and a fat pay cheque for those on the inside and predictably with such great power comes great corruption. Journalists are forever leveraging their profile for self interest and many seem to have lost any sense of a vocation to inform and provide 'the closest version of the truth" as possible.