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Ethical lapses by journalists contributed to Gillard’s demise

An integral power of the media is that of portrayal: the act of determining how people, events, ideas and organisations are described to the public, and therefore how they are perceived by the public…

How much of a role did the media play in the political demise of Julia Gillard as prime minister? AAP/Tony McDonough

An integral power of the media is that of portrayal: the act of determining how people, events, ideas and organisations are described to the public, and therefore how they are perceived by the public. In this way, the media constructs for us our understanding of the world beyond our personal knowledge and experience.

For those of us who have never met Julia Gillard, our perceptions of her are based almost entirely on what we see, hear and read of her in the media. These perceptions are then reflected in public opinion polling, and the publication of these poll results tends to reinforce the perceptions. It becomes a self-perpetuating cycle.

Eventually, in this case, the poll results got so bad that Gillard’s parliamentary colleagues replaced her as Labor leader with Kevin Rudd.

So of course it is true to say the media played a part in the demise of Gillard as prime minister. The harder question is: did the media play a part that was ethically wrong?

Some elements of the media, notably commercial radio talkback shock jocks Alan Jones, Ray Hadley and Chris Smith, clearly did. Their depictions of, and remarks about, Gillard were disgustingly offensive. Not only were they sexist, extremist and malicious, but in Jones’s case involved encouragement of the idea that the prime minister should be dumped at sea.

The Age newspaper’s editorial on June 22 called on Julia Gillard to resign.

And then, of course, there was the infamous question about the sexual orientation of the prime minister’s partner Tim Mathieson. In the world of commercial radio talkback it was open season.

Portrayals of Gillard by other elements of the mainstream media, especially the newspapers, were generally less grotesque. But they raised important ethical issues just the same.

The most common, and in some ways the most difficult to pin down, concerned the passively neutral way in which they covered the grossly disrespectful public attacks on her.

An egregious example was the coverage of the rally outside Parliament House in 2011. The Leader of the Opposition, Tony Abbott, gave licence to sentiments such as “ditch the witch” and “bitch” by allowing himself to be photographed in front of placards bearing those words.

Of course the media had to cover that: it was news. The ethical challenge, which the media in general failed to meet, was to provide context that might have de-legitimised such crudity. They could easily have done so by obtaining, and giving substantial prominence to, voices of authority on such topics as political discourse and sexism.

Eventually, when the opportunity was handed to the media to call this behaviour for what it was, most outlets blew it completely. It was left to the international media to recognise the significance of the “misogyny speech”, in which Gillard assailed Abbott for his attitude towards her as a woman and his licensing of the crude language on the rally placards.

The Canberra press gallery could not see the context at all. For them it was all about the political entrails entangling Gillard and the then-Speaker, Peter Slipper.

This failure to provide contextual completeness was one of the recurring ethical weaknesses in the media’s coverage of Gillard’s leadership, and was most evident in the way the media reported the relentless undermining of her leadership by Rudd’s backers.

Talkback radio host Alan Jones accused Julia Gillard’s father of ‘dying of shame’ among other invective comments about the former prime minister. AAp/Tracey Nearmy

The media stunt by two of Rudd’s supporters a couple of weeks ago in packing up their parliamentary offices because, so it was said, they were in despair at their re-election prospects, was a prime example. Nothing in the coverage suggested the contextual truth: that this was a media stunt by Rudd supporters to further undermine Gillard’s leadership.

The media can say that it is their job to impartially report what people say and do. This is true. But it is a failure of impartiality to suppress relevant available facts – in this case the known nature of this office-packing activity.

Impartiality is not achieved by passive neutrality. It is achieved by giving as full an account as possible, fairly and on the basis of an independent-minded assessment that gives due weight to all the available evidence.

The News Limited newspapers, especially The Australian, long ago gave up any pretence of impartiality in the coverage of national politics. They provided a regular diet of content calculated to turn voters against the former prime minister.

The Fairfax newspapers generally tried harder to be impartial, but there was a remarkable turnaround last week. The Age – as if its own pre-occupation with polls and personality politics had nothing to do with it – came out with a vacuous and hypocritical front page editorial saying that Gillard had to go, otherwise the voters would have no chance of focusing on the issues. Really.

While the mainstream media were thus engaged in their own systemic failings, elements of social media were sordid beyond description, wallowing in pornographic depictions of the prime minister and making slurs of the most degrading kind.

Fortunately the mainstream media kept well away from this material, but it showed how the licensing of vulgarity in public debate can lead to magnified crudity in social media. This, in turn, can create an atmosphere in which even lower standards of public debate are tolerated.

The media’s role in the demise of Julia Gillard as prime minister was complex. Part of it was a consequence of the media just doing its job. But part of it also was the result of ethical failures. These included crude abuse and incitement to hatred on commercial radio talkback, while among other mainstream media the failure of impartiality, failure of contextual accuracy, and the willingness to exploit rather than challenge debased public discourse.

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  1. Gary Fry

    logged in via Twitter

    Thanks Denis. Many of us have suspected / known this was the case. I think we should now watch as that same media manages to acknowledge as much, all without a mea culpa in sight.

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    1. Leigh Burrell

      Trophy hunter

      In reply to karen griffiths

      You've all got this arse about face. The news media doesn't tell the public what to read or watch. The demands of the news media audience tells publishers what content to make available. If they don't play ball they go broke, like Fairfax. For that reason, an attack on the morality and prevailing character of our news media is an attack on the morality and character of the Australian people. Casting the media as the arbiter of truth in an era where we can access media releases, press conferences and other content directly is an attack on our intelligence and resolve,

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    2. Leigh Burrell

      Trophy hunter

      In reply to Greg Wood

      A rude, presumptuous and unconstructive reply, Greg, almost certainly in breach of community standards. Explain yourself.

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    3. Greg Wood

      Energy Consultant

      In reply to Leigh Burrell

      Well, in a nutshell, it would appear that you've not noticed the historically evident tendency of large groups of people to behave very poorly in response to dubiously motivated leadership and unilateral public messaging.

      Do you think that the German populace were asking for Hitler and the manic, inherently deceptive social narratives that elevated him to power? An extreme example I admit but there are a long list of others available. Everyday commercial advertising is one of them.

      The point…

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    4. Leigh Burrell

      Trophy hunter

      In reply to Greg Wood

      "Please don't cite the diversity of the internet as a medium that has beneficially evolved modern consciousness beyond this historically evident norm. Most people that do use it (not all do), do so for mainly for gossip, sex and shopping and not for any serious pursuit of knowledge or insight into narratives that are beyond those already popular within their peer group."

      You've just proven the point I made. Your contempt is first and foremost for the Australian media audience. You've also excused…

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    5. Leigh Burrell

      Trophy hunter

      In reply to Greg Wood

      You don't seem to understand that dominance and and narrative are products of audience demand, not the other way around. You can't publish self serving garbage and sell content and challenge an change public opinion all at once in a market where people can chose what they read and buy. You just can't. I reject absolutely as conspiratorial nonsense the notion that a cadre of powerful people possess the power to control the political sentiment of the Australian people and anyone trying to advance such…

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    6. Leigh Burrell

      Trophy hunter

      In reply to Leigh Burrell

      BTW, I never suggested the Arab Spring was simple, straight-forward and homogeneous. I invited you to consider the role of social media in giving people a form to express and exchange ideas, and the role of that exchange in opposing totalitarianism. It does put the issue on stark contrast. If combating a free exchange of ideas and opinions between peers is isn't a job for the thought police, nothing is.

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    7. Ian Milliss

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Leigh Burrell

      Ah the magical mystical confluence where the public demands the exact sort of crap that just happens to serve corporate interests perfectly. We really do live in the best of all possible worlds eh Leigh, where my most sordid and base prejudice turns into a command that the the media corporations fall over themselves to satisfy?

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    8. Nonie Jekabsons

      Tree Spotter

      In reply to Leigh Burrell

      In Perth WA there is ONE (hard) weekday newspaper to choose from.
      This public have no 'choice' when it comes to consumption of paper news media. Internet connection is by no means universal or reliable. Recently some of us have access to other forms of media, how fortunate we are.

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    9. Leigh Burrell

      Trophy hunter

      In reply to Ian Milliss

      "...my most sordid and base prejudice turns into a command that the the media corporations fall over themselves to satisfy"

      Hypothetically, if sordid and base prejudice was the prevailing demand one publisher, another or all would enjoy success proportional to their ability to satisfy it. I can't see that accounting for a substantial chunk of publication but. I have more regard for the Australian people. There need be no confluence between public demands and "corporate interests". Publishers can and do cater to one particular segment of the audience, sometimes in derogation of another.

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    10. Leigh Burrell

      Trophy hunter

      In reply to Nonie Jekabsons

      Please, an online subscription to The Australian is $2.95 a week and doesn't require a fancy, fast or even reliable connection. If you're a skinflint you can abuse the free trial repeatedly and indefinitely to access it without paying.

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    11. Nonie Jekabsons

      Tree Spotter

      In reply to Leigh Burrell

      exactly my point. thank you Leigh for pointing out how to rip off a system if you happen to be 'in the know'. I would be most thankful if could please pass on that nugget to the thus far uninformed population of Perth so that they realise there might be an alternative to the daily fodder.

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    12. Leigh Burrell

      Trophy hunter

      In reply to Nonie Jekabsons

      LOL. That would be unprincipled and I could get in trouble. It's their prerogative to ask for payment for the content they publish. You can get it for the first 28 days for $1. Don't you think it would be more principled to just give them their dollar?

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    13. Leigh Burrell

      Trophy hunter

      In reply to Leigh Burrell

      My mistake on the free trial. Looks like that is no longer on offer. Like I said, I just subscribed. I thought it was worth it and have no intention to cancel.

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    14. Leigh Burrell

      Trophy hunter

      In reply to Nonie Jekabsons

      Crikey still offer free trials and you really can abuse them repeatedly. You can also comment on articles with your own personalised avatar, just like the one I have here.

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    15. Nonie Jekabsons

      Tree Spotter

      In reply to Leigh Burrell

      whatever...
      (note I had to pad out that reply to get to the 10 character minimum, sincere apologies)

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    16. Judith Olney

      Ms

      In reply to Nonie Jekabsons

      'The Australian' is no alternative Nonie, its the "same sh*t, slightly different shovel" to 'The West Australian'.

      If you like your news with a right wing conservative bent, and you enjoy and share that same right wing conservative bent, you are very well served by the MSM in Australia.

      If your views fall to the political centre, or to the left of centre, you will be very hard pressed to find those views echoed anywhere in the Australian MSM, and will have to look elsewhere if you have the…

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    17. Peter Ormonde

      Farmer

      In reply to Judith Olney

      I have dutifully forwarded your name to the nice clean cut chaps at PRISM Ms Olney. And from now on they will be pawing over your each and every utterance ... socialism indeed!

      Prepare as best you can for the day of invasion - when your lawn is choked with mormons with clipboards and earphones. You have been warned.

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    18. Judith Olney

      Ms

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      Too late Peter, the day of invasion was yesterday, and us socialists have ways of dealing with mormons, (should that be morons), with clipboards and earphones, (I didn't think they were listening to the Tabernacle Choir), its called the garden hose, a formidable weapon in the winter time. "On ya bikes" I said, as they pedaled away.

      Back to reading 'Das Kapital', and the insightful works of Adam Smith.

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    19. Peter Ormonde

      Farmer

      In reply to Judith Olney

      Rubber boots Ms Olney. Caution with that hosing

      These Prismatics are carrying more gadgetry than a Mars Rover. It's like Matrix but with boring graphics and too many plots. They are The Hive. They even humm like bees.

      Goodness knows what a wet taser could do to a woman in something unearthed!

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    20. Dianna Arthur
      Dianna Arthur is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Environmentalist

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      I have no idea what the learned Ms Olney looks like, but Mr O, you have, yet again, painted a graphic picture.

      That such creativity should erupt as a result of such limited utterances from a gauche young person who has yet to understand "media diversity"and 'freedom of choice".

      Seems 'socialism' occupies the same naughty corner as 'feminism'.

      Interesting times.

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    21. Peter Ormonde

      Farmer

      In reply to Dianna Arthur

      Indeed Ms A there is an entire wardrobe in my subconcious jam- packed with unsorted isms seething in the dark.

      Worst of all of course is the injustice of it - they are left to glower in their displaced correctness. But being right isn't enough is it?

      Isms are so 20th Century. Even older some of them. Shocking.

      But these days one's content and substance is secondary - one must be properly packaged and marketable ... with miracle ingredients and be new and improved. New box!

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    22. John Newton

      Author Journalist

      In reply to Leigh Burrell

      And of course a subscription to The Australian will provide you with totally unbiassed impartial journalism.

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    23. Dianna Arthur
      Dianna Arthur is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Environmentalist

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      Just don't let the moths get to any of 'em. What was "so 20th Century" will become de rigueur for future Uni students.

      A "new box"? Or new tricks?

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    24. Peter Ormonde

      Farmer

      In reply to Dianna Arthur

      Prised from my cold dead hand and studied as a historical oddity I suspect Ms A.

      All box I'm afraid... this new old fella Kevin - new and improved ... he's got one job - winning the next election ... not just salvaging the scraps. None of his "loyalists" give a toss what he does to do it.

      These messiahs - they come and go don't they?

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    25. Dianna Arthur
      Dianna Arthur is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Environmentalist

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      I have booked my seat and arranged for popcorn.

      "Messiahs"? Well Kev has managed a second coming, isn't he supposed to disappear after that? Perhaps Mel Gibson can advise?

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    26. Greg Wood

      Energy Consultant

      In reply to Leigh Burrell

      In accord with Judith's post below, your endorsement of The Australian as a useful alternative to the West Australian pretty much proves my point regarding MSM diversity.

      Putting aside the actual merit of Crikey to provide any meaningful alternative, what is its nationwide readership compared to that of The Australian et al (ie the tweedledum and tweedledee array of Corporate Daily Hacksheets)? Comparatively miniscule I'd say.

      Your assertion that consumer demand drives editorial character…

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    27. Leigh Burrell

      Trophy hunter

      In reply to Greg Wood

      The genesis of your misunderstanding seems to come from your view of "the corporate media" as a monolithic entity conspiring and acting in concert. It is not. It is a community of independent actors competing amongst themselves to meet a finite demand for media content. If you believe a cartel exists the most appropriate way to deal with that would be to take it up with the ACCC. Dare I suggest using social media to persuade people to join your cause and organise activism!

      BTW, ABC funding is increasing with their increasing provision of content on the internet, multiple digital channels, 24 hour news ad so on. Their online content now effectively amounts to a State owned online newspaper.

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    28. Greg Wood

      Energy Consultant

      In reply to Leigh Burrell

      The 'entity' you refuse to see amidst the myriad mastheads is fundamentally Murdoch and Fairfax. The rest are essentially slipstream players.

      But enough of this distraction from real life. I will readily acknowledge the correctness of your premise on the doubtless basis that you read it in the paper so it must be true. Or more correctly, no media outlet has declared it untrue thus the rule of media diversity attests to the truth of it.

      I am pleased that you are so happy with the competent balance of the mass media. I hope it continues to give you what you so keenly want.

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    29. John Phillip
      John Phillip is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Grumpy Old Man

      In reply to Greg Wood

      His grasp is certainly better than yours. What, Greg Wood, are we all just empty vessels waiting to be filled with the media's 'truth'?

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    30. John Phillip
      John Phillip is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Grumpy Old Man

      In reply to Judith Olney

      Wonderful, Judith showing the friendship and camaraderie of the true socialist - Mormons=morons? What a classy view of equity you have.

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    31. John Phillip
      John Phillip is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Grumpy Old Man

      In reply to Leigh Burrell

      Leigh, I think you are wasting your time with some of these folk. They have been preparing their excuse for the ALP's lack of cohesion and inability to govern for months. It's the corrupt or unethical media, the Murdochracy or the miners or some such other sour grapes whine.

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    32. ops two048

      logged in via email @incybr.com.au

      In reply to Leigh Burrell

      Dear Leigh. As a left of centre I, and many of my compatriots, would dearly love to financially support an Australian media which confirms our independently derived worldview. One would think that in a free market there would be some media that that would be willing to take our money and pander to our tastes. There are not.

      Why is this so. Google and Facebook have amply demonstrated that where media is overwhelmingly funded by ADVERTISING consumers of media are not the targeted demographic. Advertisers…

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    33. Judith Olney

      Ms

      In reply to John Phillip

      You added the equals sign John, not me, I would suggest that morons would be those invading my front lawn on a Sunday, and receiving my customary welcome with the garden hose.

      You have, however, shown that you are yet another that does not understand the term socialism or socialist.

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    34. Judith Olney

      Ms

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      He He! do rubber gardening clogs count? An unearthed woman, and a wet taser, mmmmmm, now you are getting me excited :)

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    35. John Phillip
      John Phillip is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Grumpy Old Man

      In reply to Judith Olney

      No Judith I am having a shot at your lack of respect for fellow human beings. You were the one who stated "us socialists have ways of dealing with mormons, (should that be morons". Your idea of treating these people to your garden hose is particularly enlightening with regards to your arrogance.

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    36. Judith Olney

      Ms

      In reply to John Phillip

      I'm not required to respect everyone John, and I certainly have little respect for followers of a religion made up by a know confidence trickster and swindler, Joseph Smith. I also have little respect for those that wish to push their beliefs on others and invade my property, without invitation.

      Treating them to my garden hose is my prefered method, as it doesn't physically harm anyone, and BTW, I always ask them to leave in a civil manner, the hose is for those that fail to respect this request.

      So no need for your confected outrage and pompous admonitions.

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    37. Peter Ormonde

      Farmer

      In reply to Judith Olney

      No no Ms Judith - once incapacitated - twitching like Kafka's bug on the rude end of a dampened taser - they descend on you like locusts in white short sleeve shirts and thin ties... and they start measuring you and telling you about John Smith and how Jesus spent a few weeks in Yellowstone... and before you know it you've lost the will to live.

      Such a risk is to great to be averted by a simple pair of sodden crocs.

      Full wellies Ms O - and water pressure like those water cannons they keep handy in Turkey - probably for fire fighting. A full wet suit when out and about might be prudent. Put the guard back into gardening.

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    38. Judith Olney

      Ms

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      lol, I think you mean Joseph Smith, that once well known con man and swindler, I know all about him already, as well as his flights of literary fantasy that is their much loved, and thoroughly plausible, (cough cough), holy book. It amazes me how people can get sucked in by these people, but then again, people are sucked in my the ravings of that self confessed liar, whatshisname?

      I'll take your advice on the wellies though, but I can only dream about the sort of water pressure you advise. As for wet suits, the sight of me in one of those is enough to scare of anyone foolish enough to invade the garden, so that is a method that just might work ;)

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    39. John Phillip
      John Phillip is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Grumpy Old Man

      In reply to Judith Olney

      No Judith, dear, you are legally obliged to provide passage to your front door. You may try the socially accepted way of non-engagement with visitors and that is to say "Not interested, thank you". This would avoid all that nastiness with your hose.

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    40. Judith Olney

      Ms

      In reply to John Phillip

      No John dear, I am not required by law to provide passage to my front door to all and sundry, I am only obliged to not interfere with the passage to the utilities workers, the postie, the police, or others that have a valid reason for being on my property, mormons, and morons do not have a valid reason to be on my property.

      As I said, if they do not respect my civil request to leave, the hose it is.

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    41. Judith Olney

      Ms

      In reply to Judith Olney

      typo, should read ....people are sucked in 'by' the ravings.......

      Although, people should not be sucked in by 'my' ravings, on this particular topic of discussion, being mormons, morons, prismatics, wellington boots, clogs or wet suits.

      A great laugh Peter, many thanks :)

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    42. James Hill

      Industrial Designer

      In reply to Greg Wood

      Perhaps Leigh, and others, might seek out and read William Sargant's "Battle For The Mind", written to explain the centuries long techniques of brainwashing.
      (Suppressed during the Cold War, is it safe for this work to see the light of day, again?)
      Unless, they have a "conditioned relflex" to resist such troublesome and possibly disconcerting inquiries.
      No wonder the "poor, little lambs" always vote for protection from the big, bad world.
      Tony's their man!

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    43. James Hill

      Industrial Designer

      In reply to Leigh Burrell

      Leigh, your own argument that you cannot publish rubbish without losing sales is proven, perhaps inconveniently for you, by the decline of Murdoch's print media market.
      So obviously you can print rubbish if you wish, if your objective is other than selling newspapers.
      Too bad for News shareholders.
      An example of Lord Acton's dictum on corruption, in this case of your rules of the marketplace, by the absolute power of a 70% ownwership of the print medium?
      "All power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely".

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    44. James Hill

      Industrial Designer

      In reply to Greg Wood

      Strange isn't it how they treat consumers like idiots to take their money, and apparently never wonder how the "idiots" ever got their hands on money in the first place.
      Has all the hall marks of a desperate parasitic system about it.
      Going nowhere but down.

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    45. James Hill

      Industrial Designer

      In reply to Leigh Burrell

      The co-operative sector might be the best opportunity to "actively" counteract the problem.
      It certainly overcomes the political "divide and conquer" consequenses and disadvantages of single-issue activism.

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    46. James Hill

      Industrial Designer

      In reply to John Phillip

      John, you just might be the exception to the rule?
      Or are you really the democatically elected representative of the "we' to whom you refer?
      In your dreams?

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    47. James Hill

      Industrial Designer

      In reply to John Phillip

      John, since when does Leigh require your approval to, as you so negatively suggest, waste his time?
      Leigh, go for it.

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    48. James Hill

      Industrial Designer

      In reply to ops two048

      That other market, ops, is unfortunately highly consumerist onlyas a result of an "addiction" to debt.
      Addiction is the appropriate word.
      That is the way of the world right now.
      Debt is sutainable if used to purchase goods.
      Unfortunately just because someone decides to buy something doesn't automatically confer "goodness" on that item.
      Cigarettes bring a good example.
      I am sure you might find many more examples.
      Financial "services" which are, in practice, "disservices", might be an example…

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    49. Yuri Pannikin

      Director

      In reply to Dianna Arthur

      " isn't he supposed to disappear after that? "

      I think you mean 'disapparate'. More appropriate for a boy wizard.

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    50. Dianna Arthur
      Dianna Arthur is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Environmentalist

      In reply to Judith Olney

      While the incline to my little house deters couriers, tradies, most charities and Halloween beggars, it is, no doubt, seen as an ascent for the lord - something like that. Even the most frail and elderly manage the climb - expecting to see one expire on my doorstep one day.

      I simply ask them, godbotherers, for their address, seeing as they know mine already. Of course, this does mean they know the jig is up and requires further interaction - amazing when they realise this is one soul that cannot…

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    51. Judith Olney

      Ms

      In reply to Dianna Arthur

      Thank you Dianna, you gave me some wonderful visual images at the start of my day :)

      How on earth did we end up discussing this topic? lol, I suspect Peter O, he really is a clever cheeky monkey. Anyhoo, back to the topic at hand.

      Have you noticed, as I have, a quite stunning change in tone of the MSM, now that KR has his bum back in the big chair? I have seen news readers actually smile, when a scowl used to accompany any story about the government. Its amazing to me that people are blind to the glaringly obvious media manipulation, and blatant brainwashing, that is going on.

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    52. Judith Olney

      Ms

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      It's been interesting Peter. I have needed to at first become aware of my own bias, and once acknowledged and put aside, the bigger picture of the role the MSM have played in this latest round of political shenanigans, has become very clear indeed.

      I suspect that self awareness needs to come first though, or it becomes a feedback loop, for those that engage in any sort of political and media examination.

      Fascinating from a psychological stand point.

      Rudd the redeemer? As Sherlock would say, "the game is afoot" dear Mr O, "the game is afoot".

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    53. Anthony Spawton

      Retired Academic

      In reply to John Newton

      Then don't waste your money - the less that subscribe to " bullshit and beatups" the better.

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    54. Judith Olney

      Ms

      In reply to James Hill

      James, I would like to thank you for your many recommendations for excellent reading material. You opened my world to the excellent works of Adam Smith, among others.

      I have read Sargant's 'Battle For The Mind", and would like to second your recommendation.

      My kindle has been getting a real work out lately :)

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    55. Dianna Arthur
      Dianna Arthur is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Environmentalist

      In reply to Judith Olney

      Ms O writing on IPad, recovering from latest medical procedure,will keep this brief.

      Have felt as if some pressure has lifted from the labor party, no inflected sneer when "prime minister" mentioned. Everything AOK. The men are back. In excess to any existing or potential abilities of Rudd or the messiah himself. Disturbing, that a female PM was perceived as such an anomaly to the "natural order".

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    56. James Hill

      Industrial Designer

      In reply to Judith Olney

      Thankyou, Judith, for the encouragement.
      I have often wondered, with books like Sargant's and Smith's, why they have not been not more widely read and known.
      They do not put certain "powerbrokers" in a very good light.
      Perhaps that has a been motive to "suppress", by those with power to control high school curricula, in particular.
      Here's to the Free Internet School of Continuing Adult Education.

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    57. Peter Ormonde

      Farmer

      In reply to Dianna Arthur

      It was just the anaesthetic Ms A ... nothing happened... nothing to see.... everyone move along.... no lady PM, no lost shoe, no hung parliament, no record bits of law - all a dream - a delusion... now we wake to find ourselves back in the safe hands of a charismatic man with a suit and a family and a lawnmower.

      A man with the common touch - whose sauce bottle sucking is fair and equitable. Whose every leak and malicious rumour against Gillard and her government - so gladly spread by his Gallery of pidgeons - has been rewarded with a triumphal reentry to Rome by popular acclaim.

      There's something all very odd about it. It's the anaesthetic.

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    58. Judith Olney

      Ms

      In reply to Dianna Arthur

      I hope you have a speedy recovery Dianna :)

      It reminds me of my local golf club, full of many aging, and often sexist men, some of them behave in the same sneering, uncomfortable way whenever women are present at the club, (not all of them are aging or sexist, and not all of them sneer, just want to make that clear to those who feel the need to be outraged at any suggestion that there are men like this in existence).

      When the women leave, (those women that they feel uncomfortable around), they…

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    59. Yuri Pannikin

      Director

      In reply to Judith Olney

      Dear Ms Olney, I am so sorry. I too have been the target of sneering and sniggering by nasty brutes of men at the golf club. After all, a 95 is not a great score, especially when a 2 iron landed on the clubhouse roof!. Will the pain never end?

      Look, here is what you must do. Head over to that nice Peter O's place and imbibe with him a nice cup of green tea. Peter is a salt of the earth, probably ammonium nitrate, but a salt nevertheless. Then, when you are more relaxed, I would suggest a snifter of organic brandy (or two!).

      Frankly, though, I think you need to get out more.

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    60. Judith Olney

      Ms

      In reply to Yuri Pannikin

      At no point did I say I was a target of sneering at the golf club Yuri, maybe I'm just a better golfer than you are. I have, however observed those aging and sexist men at my golf club showing a lack of respect, and a distinct uncomfortableness around women. I say aging, because the same sort of reaction doesn't seem to be as common among younger men of my acquaintance.

      I will however ignore your advice, not because Peter O is not a very nice person, and one I have much fondness and respect for…

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    61. Yuri Pannikin

      Director

      In reply to Judith Olney

      Ah, now I understand, Judith Olney. Nary a lascivious remark nor lewd or banal gesture from the aging men, but failure to genuflect and then, heaven forbid, 'discomfort' . . . in your glittering and perhaps gillardesque presence. Cads! Curs! Blighters!

      Yes, I can picture it. You, Judith (if I may), sweeping into the bar with haughty and maleficent purpose. Small animals cower in corners, birds fall from the sky, young subservient men smile and offer you a drink or a chair; pale women whisper and shuffle beads: "She used the men's tee; she tee'd off from the men's!"

      Double malts swirl in fine glasses as aging men quake a little, looking askance, some rushing off to attend to disturbed and weary prostates. "It's her . . ."

      (In a corner sits a man called Feeney, smirking.)

      God, woman, have you no Christian mercy as you trample the rights of men in your Boudican fury?

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    62. Yuri Pannikin

      Director

      In reply to Judith Olney

      I think you came out of it quite well in the end ;-).

      BTW, shame about Mary-Anne Thomas in Batman. She would have been an asset for Labor.

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    63. John Phillip
      John Phillip is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Grumpy Old Man

      In reply to James Hill

      James, Leigh has never required my approval. I am lending it to him freely as he seems to know what he's talking about.

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  2. Rene Oldenburger

    Haven't got one

    Everyone is to blame but Julia Gillard herself by the looks of it

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    1. Gary Fry

      logged in via Twitter

      In reply to Rene Oldenburger

      I don't think that's the case. There was certainly bad politics happening. But I do think it's the case that we aren't as a society always mature enough to deal with that which deviates from what we are used to. And the media reflects that.

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    2. Rene Oldenburger

      Haven't got one

      In reply to Gary Fry

      Coming from The Netherlands myself, I would say society here ( the vast majority of normal people) is mature enough to deal with current issues. The difference between Dutch society and here is that in The Netherlands they don't tolerate the self appointed "representatives" of whatever issue is at stake to become the dominant view of the majority they claim to represent.

      Same as the author of this article claiming that Gillard's misogyny speech was such a wide spread phenomenon.

      Overseas they were more interested as of to why Gillard opposes same sex marriage and at the same time proclaiming she was a victim of gender discrimination.

      Of course the ALP knows very well you can't continue with a leader who continually claims to be a victim of discrimination (sexism) and at the same time discriminates others.

      Kevin Rudd changing his mind on that one would have played a big part in dumping Gillard.

      You can't have a leader being a hypocrite on issues of discrimination

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    3. Gary Fry

      logged in via Twitter

      In reply to Rene Oldenburger

      Thanks Rene. The issue of same sex marriage wasn't well handled. I agree it is a no-brainer and should be dealt with immediately.

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  3. James Hill

    Industrial Designer

    An honest article on the subject, thankyou, Denis, for advancing journalism.
    But as for the MSM is concerned, it is as if the Muse, Clio , daughter of Zeus and Mnemsonye (memory, sorry if the spelling is inaccurate), and recorder of the doings of the gods, had poison in her pen and brain.
    Certainly it is a pathology to which commercial journalism is likely to succumb.
    The general public is unlikely to pay to be poisoned, though, as Denis points out, some social media sites have their sorry addicts (whose payment is body and soul?).
    Have conservatives always had that well practised power, to subvert the bodies and souls of their lie addicted adherents?

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  4. Greg Young

    Program Director

    Thanks Denis. you have stated something I have been seething about for years - the abandonment by our media of their responsibility to cover politics fairly and accurately.

    Most people highlight the political coverage when discussing these matters, but I feel a Rubicon was crossed when the national broadcaster chose to air a sitcom about the serving Prime Minister, depicting her a as figure of fun having sex in The Lodge.

    This was such a breathtaking expression of disrespect for the office…

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    1. karen griffiths
      karen griffiths is a Friend of The Conversation.

      retired teacher

      In reply to Greg Young

      Agree. If Abbott wins will we see the same embraces in the lodge between it and margie? Will we see the daughters lose their gift on the lodge mat in front of the fire? What will we see from the hopelessly corrupted Hollywood media? Depends on what they have been told I guess.

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    2. Greg North

      Retired Engineer

      In reply to karen griffiths

      " it " and more but enough said.
      You say it all so well yourself karen and are they the values you applied to teaching?

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  5. John Lucas

    logged in via email @bigpond.com

    This is possibly the most significant article that has been written regarding how Julia Gilliard was treated by the media. I wish you would write a weekly post assessing the week's media output in the run up to the election.

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    1. Stuart Mackenzie

      PhD candidate at the University of Ballarat

      In reply to Peter Redshaw

      I agree with everything you say, Peter.

      Your point about democracy being young is interesting. While history can tell us much about the exercise of institutionalised power in other political systems, such as absolute monarchies and under fascism and communism, we seem to know remarkably little about the exercise of such power in democracies. My suspicion is that democracy was thought to be an antidote to establishment power and we have therefore assumed the latter to be under control.
      Privately-owned institutional power has developed relatively unnoticed and its integration with political power is what the occupy movement and others have been highlighting. With the fairly recent phenomenon of corporate media ownership, one of the institutions that one might hope would keep such institutional power under scrutiny is hopelessly compromised.

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    2. Hardy Gosch
      Hardy Gosch is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Mr.

      In reply to Peter Redshaw

      Excellent article, insightful post. Thank you!

      I wish the media would start taking stock and eliminate or at least seriously reduce "tabloid" journalism, starting here at TC. There are prime examples to be found. Although these issues of editorial integrity had been pointed out ad nauseum by contributors nothing was done to rectify this. In light of these revelations is TC willing to take action or is the status quo to be maintained? How much tolerance is given to authors as to TC's editorial standards?
      Denis correctly pointed out the general media shortcomings:
      The failure of impartiality, failure of contextual accuracy, and the willingness to exploit rather than challenge debased public discourse.
      Are we ever going get a mea culpa. I doubt it!

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    3. Rick Fleckner

      Student

      In reply to Stuart Mackenzie

      I believe the world has been in the same basic power configuration for at least five hundred years.The corporate movers and shakers have been the power behind the thrones for at least that much time.

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    4. Peter Redshaw

      Retired

      In reply to Rick Fleckner

      Rick, if that is what you believe than I suggest that you need to go back to your history studies. Government and people's participation within and influence of government has radically changed over that 500 years. And in some parts of the world that change is still very much in process. We can see it now reflected in the upheaval all around the world.

      That change in government over that 500 years has led to what we in the western world now called democracy where government of one form or another…

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    5. Greg North

      Retired Engineer

      In reply to Peter Redshaw

      That's a bit of a running commentary about not too much at all Peter and as for the media not reporting anything good about Gillard or her government, you seem to ignore the NDIS and Gonski even if when questioned about funding it is always it is in the forward estimates!

      " For me though it was far worst than that. The media not only blew things way out of proportion, they constantly reported things way out of context as well as filled their papers full of misinformation and outright lies. And when they were shown to be lies they did not seem to care let alone issue corrections in many cases. "

      Well, no they did not blow things way out of proportion for there had been continuous consistently poor polling and many Labor MPs were getting more concerned with their future the closer it got to an election and that is what was reported by the media.
      The actions that occurred on Wednesday confirmed that media reporting had been pretty much in line with developments.

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    6. Greg North

      Retired Engineer

      In reply to Hardy Gosch

      " Although these issues of editorial integrity had been pointed out ad nauseum by contributors nothing was done to rectify this. In light of these revelations is TC willing to take action or is the status quo to be maintained? How much tolerance is given to authors as to TC's editorial standards? "

      Yes, there have been ad nauseum attacks Hardy and consistently from people who did not like to see reporting of the leadership difficulties that were building in Labor with the spotlight on Julia Gillard seeing she was the then existing leader.

      That has been resolved and now we have Rudd back again to likely repeat his old tricks and hopefully he as PM will also be under the spotlight just as it is continually on the leader of the opposition.

      Without the continuation of the editorial standards we could not expect to see good focussing on the leaders in the run up to the election, whenever that will be.

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    7. Peter Redshaw

      Retired

      In reply to Greg North

      Greg, it is about context, of what you report and how you report it. Getting major changes through such as the NDIS and Gonski are never easy when politics intervenes as it has in the reaction of the states in agreeing to both of these policies. I understand the need of the states to get the best deal that they can, but the argy bargy that has gone on went way beyond that. Yet it was rarely reported as simply the process of policy development or even a failure by those states.

      Instead more…

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    8. Raine S Ferdinands

      Education

      In reply to Greg North

      I agree with most of what you say, Greg, BUT the media was a wee bit bias as they often do with those in power. Howard was hounded about the 'children aboard' saga, about belligerent refugee policies and some uncool statements he made. Keating was hounded and so was the private life of John Hewson. The media, as always, is a reflection of society at large. The 'tall-poppy syndrome' is well and alive amongst us and hence the media. This is not unusual, except in autocratic. and dictatorial nations…

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    9. Greg Wood

      Energy Consultant

      In reply to Raine S Ferdinands

      "Gillard was synonymous with treachery, hypocrisy and lies".

      In the media driven world of constructed social narrative that is so. But what has been gained from swallowing the red herrings whole? Moral flatulence?

      In the real world, Julia was the leader of a minority Govt. who not only held parliament together for three years, but also made it one of our most productive parliaments ever, in both the volume and the significance of reform. Most of the vast output was passed with bilaterally support.

      The significant Aussie sentiment that deposed Gillard was willful, self-indulgent ignorance. Collectively we have a very serious problem with that trait.

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    10. Freya Elizabeth

      Graphic designer

      In reply to Peter Redshaw

      Absolutely concur Peter, I believe the role of the media - not just the usual culprits, but of Fairfax and the ABC Political editorship - is evidence of a serious threat to democracy in Australia. To anyone who has been observing, it is clear that it is now acceptable for journalists to consider themselves political players. Moreover, they are so confident of their own power that they don't even bother to conceal it. Who will challenge them?

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    11. Freya Elizabeth

      Graphic designer

      In reply to Greg North

      Greg, I think it's fairly obvious that Peter is referring to the reporting over the last three years, not the last few weeks. The press has gone far beyond reporting policy and polling. The close relationship of at least one senior political reporter with the Rudd faction appears to be an open secret in Canberra, for example.

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    12. Peter Ormonde

      Farmer

      In reply to Freya Elizabeth

      I'm not sure if journalists are the disease itself or merely another symptom of democracy in decline actually, Freya.

      Certainly Australian journalism is unlike any other I've observed - far more irreverent, disrespectful and meanly suspicious. Motives are always the worst. Omens always bad. It juggles feelings rather than facts. It is Murdoch's Limited News - or Faux News as he calls it in America. It becomes conceivable - even inevitable - that the editorial control of a once thundering press should pass to a Gina or a Clive.

      There is little art in it - beyond the umbilical attachment to several global sources of information - "news" - and a shared consensus with one's workmates. One does not discover, piece together or track down - one regurgitates.

      It is a demeaned business and those clinging to the wreckage lack the guts to swim.

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    13. Freya Elizabeth

      Graphic designer

      In reply to Hardy Gosch

      I agree Hardy,
      I returned to TC recently, so I don't know the history of the commentary about it, but I was disappointed to find that the 'front page' is a running political commentary by someone deeply and firmly entrenched in the press gallery ethos.
      It is an indictment of the media environment in this country in general, that this publication was so quickly compelled to contradict its own mission statement.

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    14. Freya Elizabeth

      Graphic designer

      In reply to Greg Wood

      Well put, particularly the "moral flatulence" line.
      Confected outrage and "morality" is a great distraction for most people. Even the feminists, like me, got carried away by it.
      I suspect Australia is now waking up with that empty feeling you get after bingeing on bad takeaway in front of the telly.

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    15. Dianna Arthur
      Dianna Arthur is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Environmentalist

      In reply to Freya Elizabeth

      Freya, I recommended a book to another poster by Kerry-Anne Walsh (25 years in the federal parliamentary press gallery) titled, "The Stalking of Julia Gillard". It was due for release in April, for reasons I do not know, will now be released in August, therefore I am still waiting for my order to arrive.

      You may also be interested:

      http://www.allenandunwin.com/default.aspx?page=94&book=9781742379227

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    16. Freya Elizabeth

      Graphic designer

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      Fair point, and nicely put, Peter- I should be more mindful of my own tendency to be drawn by surface issues of personality and partisanship :)

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    17. Peter Redshaw

      Retired

      In reply to Freya Elizabeth

      Freda, I was not aware of that particular relationship, but than I am not surprised. Canberra is by its very nature a cesspool where the politicians and the media live in each others pockets in arrangements of you scratch my back and I will scratch yours. I would think in most cases they would not be classed as friendships, but more as working relationships of convenience.

      What I have been rather surprised about is the extent to which the media has somewhat released the pressure of their foot off labor's throat since Rudd replaced Gillard as Prime Minister. What will be interesting is to see how long that lasts. And what will be even more interesting is to see to what extent their focus now turns around on Abbott and the coalition.

      Who knows, maybe we will even get a debate and comparison of policy. I will wait with bated breath, but also with low expectation. Still, it would be nice to be surprised.

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    18. Peter Redshaw

      Retired

      In reply to Freya Elizabeth

      Freda, I think it would be naive of us to think that journalists and newspaper editors were previously not political players in earlier times. But of course in earlier times we had many more newspapers and with them newspaper editors/owners. Now that we have such a concentration of ownership of the media their role as political players makes them far more powerful than they ever were.

      If you have a look at Murdoch's father Keith Murdoch, than you realise that they were always political players. When you read the book by Roland Perry on the life of General Monash and his war experience than you understand how much of a political player Keith Murdoch was. Thankfully he did not manage to prevent Monash being given command of the Australian troops, but that was only because the King favoured Monash over Murdoch's choice. If you have not read the book I would highly recommend it.

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    19. margaret m

      old lady

      In reply to Peter Redshaw

      I think we must make it a concentrated effort to bring about media regulation and the dismantling of the concentration of ownership. I would like to see if people can rely on the whole truth being told the globalisation issue can be resolved. Another thing if we can find out how much welfare cheques and the amount that is going to business it will go along way to opening peoples eyes that there is much we do not know and are not told.

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    20. karen griffiths
      karen griffiths is a Friend of The Conversation.

      retired teacher

      In reply to Peter Redshaw

      couldn't agree more Peter. A recent example of our very questionable media-Rudd held a press conference Thursday morning. He said he was concerned that the coalitions "turn back the boats policy had potential for conflict"He went on to mention diplomatic conflict! Chris Uhlmann [ABC] asked the PM, "Let me ask you, when you say conflict do you mean armed conflict?' Rudd repeated his assertion about diplomatic conflict, but by now everyone had jumped onto the word "armed." Today in social media we have people stating that Rudd has said that coalition immigration policy will lead to war with Indonesia. Stay tuned-tomorrow we could be bombing the Indonesian Capital or the Indonesians might have invaded the NT! Shameful behaviour.

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    21. Freya Elizabeth

      Graphic designer

      In reply to Peter Redshaw

      Hi Peter, I've been absolutely flabbergasted by the change in tone from the moment Rudd came in, it's enough to give a feminist conspiracy theories!
      I really don't know if it is prompted by remorse, relief, or simply that the media themselves are completely unaware of the animosity and aggression they were projecting onto the Gillard govt.
      Baffling!

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    22. Freya Elizabeth

      Graphic designer

      In reply to Peter Redshaw

      Yes, that's all true. There has been a confluence of circumstances over this last three to five years. Media concentration has no doubt been consolidated over the Howard years also.

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    23. Rick Fleckner

      Student

      In reply to Peter Redshaw

      Peter Redshaw, your lecture is all well and good but as delusional in content as can be. You espouse the 'party line'. By party I mean of course the one percent that owns the ninety nine per cent. We are superficially better off than the slaves of ancient Greece but only just. In those times control was maintained by the use of physical force, today it's more economic control and violence only when deemed necessary. Don't discount my 'theory' out of hand. Give it some actual thought, you never know, you may come over to the light, even just a little.

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    24. Judith Olney

      Ms

      In reply to Freya Elizabeth

      Absolutely Freya, I have seen this too, and it is deeply disturbing, more for the fact that it is so glaringly obvious, there is no attempt to hide the sh*t eating grins from their faces, no attempt at toning it down. The media really believe, (perhaps correctly), that the public are either oblivious, or brainwashed to such an extent that they don't feel the need to hide their contempt.

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    25. Peter Redshaw

      Retired

      In reply to Rick Fleckner

      Rick, I can agree with the sentiment of the one percent that owns the ninety nine percent, but when you take it to over the top you only negate your own argument. I prefer to deal with the facts as they are and I prefer to accept the facts of history for all of their flaws.

      My argument has simply been that democracy as a form of government is very much a recent thing and is still vulnerable in so many ways. And that means being vigilant as to the actual power plays and power brokers of which the media is one. And by its very nature it can and does have a powerful hand that can be to the bad or good depending on how it is used.

      As for seeing the light I could do with a bit of it here in South East Queensland where we have not seen to much of the sunlight that our state is usually noted for.

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    1. David Thompson

      Marketing Research

      In reply to Stuart Mackenzie

      Stuart, the Australian government that navigated the GFC so well was the RUDD government, the very PM, La Gillartine knifed. And as we know from all the leaks, La Gillartine opposed nearly ever single one of Rudd's stimulus measures. That was why she was unable to mutter barely a word, because everybody everybody knew she knifed the PM who saved Australia from the GFC.

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    2. Stuart Mackenzie

      PhD candidate at the University of Ballarat

      In reply to David Thompson

      David, do you have any evidence to support your assertion that Gillard's unpopularity was because "everybody knew she knifed the PM who saved Australia from the GFC"?

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    3. David Thompson

      Marketing Research

      In reply to Stuart Mackenzie

      Stuart, the deal in sincere discourse is that you quote the words I actually write, then you can ask the questions. Demanding that I justify a sentence, - the first half of which was written by you, after you deleted my choice of words in half by shoving in your owns to completely change the meaning - is not a good look, especially when its posted for all to see.

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    4. Stuart Mackenzie

      PhD candidate at the University of Ballarat

      In reply to David Thompson

      David, I will repeat my polite request - I suggest you consult a good dictionary for the meaning of "demand" - as to whether you have any evidence to support your assertion "That was why she was unable to mutter barely a word, because everybody everybody knew she knifed the PM who saved Australia from the GFC."

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    5. David Thompson

      Marketing Research

      In reply to Stuart Mackenzie

      I did write that. And, indeed throughout her Prime Ministership she was muzzled about Labor's extremely popular response to the GFC. Why? Two reasons:
      1. Because the bloke responsible for that extremely popular response was knifed half way through his first term. He was knifed by Gillard, and her union backers, apparently because Rudd was so incompetent and unelectable. The knifing and the justifying discourse were not 'realities created by the media.' They were realities created by Gillard, which…

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    6. Stuart Mackenzie

      PhD candidate at the University of Ballarat

      In reply to David Thompson

      David, if I understand you correctly you made three points in your original comment:
      1. That it was the Rudd Government that successfully negotiated the GFC.
      2. That when she was Deputy Prime Minister Gillard opposed nearly every of the government’s stimulus measures.
      3. That Gillard as Prime Minister was unable to claim any credit for the handling of the GFC because everybody knew she had deposed the person who had “…saved Australia from the GFC.”
      I’ll respond to each in turn.
      1. Agreed. Gillard…

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    7. Rick Fleckner

      Student

      In reply to Stuart Mackenzie

      I would like to think that David Thompson has learned something useful after your fulsome response. I think that he still won't understand, unfortunately.

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    8. Dianna Arthur
      Dianna Arthur is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Environmentalist

      In reply to Stuart Mackenzie

      Well said, Stuart.

      Perhaps you and Denis could alternate weekly with analysis of the MSM leading up to the next election. Someone needs to.

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    9. Peter Redshaw

      Retired

      In reply to David Thompson

      David, it was the Rudd lead government of which Gillard was deputy Prime Minister, if you remember. The problem for Rudd, for all his good ideas, was that his ego was bigger than the caucus, bigger than the labor party and probably bigger than the country. He says he has learnt his lesson on this and we will have to wait and see.

      Abbott is also someone whose ego is bigger than his liberal caucus, bigger than the liberal party and I would suggest also bigger than the country itself. You have…

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    10. Greg North

      Retired Engineer

      In reply to Stuart Mackenzie

      " and implemented an impressive reform program are regarded by so many in Australia as incompetent? "

      Is there much point in going out to buy a RR or a Merc Stuart if you have no idea of how you expect to be able to make repayments to the finance company!

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    11. Greg North

      Retired Engineer

      In reply to Peter Redshaw

      One thing for certain Peter is that the country will move even less forward in the 21 st century with every extra billion that Labor borrow.

      You do appear to have somewhat of a closed mind to what the LNP propose as many of their policies are already known and they do have a more underlying principle than Labor have ever had in regard to bring a budget into surplus or at least getting it balanced.

      Many people seem to think that being debt is OK just because some other countries have even more debt and waive away the concept of having to repay whatever amount of debt is held.

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    12. Peter Redshaw

      Retired

      In reply to Greg North

      It is funny how Greg the only ones who think Australia has a problem with government debt is the coalition and its die hard supporters who sing off the coalition song sheet. Economists do not think Australia has a problem with our level of government debt. The OECD does not and neither does the IMF and interestingly neither does the rating agencies who have provided the government with triple A rating from all three rating agencies.

      Over the life time of the Australian nation our current level…

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    13. Greg Wood

      Energy Consultant

      In reply to Greg North

      In accord with Peter's analysis your aggravation with Govt. debt, you are most likely also aghast at the 'runaway' budget deficit accrued by this Government.

      Supported by the silence and vacant murmurings of a retarded MSM, this view relies upon a profound ignorance of history. Excepting for the Howard years of budget balance, delivered by the sheer good fortune of a resources boom, and which they largely frittered away in tax-cuts instead of allocating to infrastructure investment, Federal budget deficits over the past four decades have averaged 2.7% of GDP. The currently projected 'horror' deficit of $12b is just 1.7% of GDP.
      Can you reconcile the chasm here between fact and conservative assertion Mr North?

      For a view of Govt. budget deficits in context to current economic reality, rather than as populist hysteria, take a look at:
      http://www.businessspectator.com.au/article/2013/5/6/federal-budget/deficit-debate-thats-all-out-whack

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    14. Raine S Ferdinands

      Education

      In reply to David Thompson

      Well David, Rudd was an economist and a clever one at that. He also understood business and the need to strike a balance between growth and redistribution. It is the ultra lefties and corrupt unions who want to destroy business. As it is with the ultra right that is obsessed with economic growth per se.
      Rudd's economic policies saw us riding high during the GFC and after. Gillard & Swan took the credit, though. Such is life.

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    15. Raine S Ferdinands

      Education

      In reply to Stuart Mackenzie

      Take me as an example of the once Labor supported that turned hostile, Stuart. I know of several friends, acquaintances and workmates who have turned against Gillard's labor and the treacherous manner in which she attained her leadership. Most of us know that Rudd's economic policies were brilliant; his ability to be subservient to union leaders was rather poor, though. Gillard is synonymous with treachery, hypocrisy and lies. Sorry to disillusion you, Stuart, but as a once labor supporter, I am over Labor. Now that Rudd is back, I shall still not vote Labor as the long, slow destruction, slandering, and divisive Labor tactics has left me embarrassed and ashamed that I once voted Labor. I admire Rudd, his brains, tenacity and energy but the Gillard labor has done much damage to the party. It shall take a looooong while to heal.

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    16. Raine S Ferdinands

      Education

      In reply to Peter Redshaw

      All potential leaders have enormous egos. It's their egos that drive them to excel over others. Jeff Kenneth was accused of being ultra egotistical. He did great things for Victoria. Ego is often misinterpreted by the weaker and simpler of us as a negative. Ego is often the result of confidence and having the skills to deliver what they believe to be good for the nation or groups of people. Both Rudd and Gillard had egos; not a bad thing. Both smart people with appropriate skills. One was treacherous, though. Treachery and hypocrisy, (like school yard bullying, and corruption, etc) are unacceptable traits.

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    17. Freya Elizabeth

      Graphic designer

      In reply to Stuart Mackenzie

      As politicians, themselves, are clearly unable to speak openly about media power, and cannot hope to legislate regulation, I wonder how that will happen in this country :(

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    18. Freya Elizabeth

      Graphic designer

      In reply to Peter Redshaw

      Spot on again Peter.
      The picture across the front pages yesterday said it all, particularly to women: two 'worthy adversaries" in blue ties face each other in the ring shaking hands. Order restored. The "real" games begin. And "ordinary" Australians can return to their "normal" lives, secure in the belief that nothing has happened and nothing will really change. This is the media narrative we are now being fed it seems.

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    19. margaret m

      old lady

      In reply to Freya Elizabeth

      The people have to make such a noise the politicians are forced to act. Look at Britain it wasn't until the people were so offended that their voices were heard. The media could do nothing about it and the politicians over came their fear that in bipartisan they acted it is unfortunate that there is one very large political party it suits to keep the system as it is. How about an online petitian but it covers American as well they also have a very concentrated ownership problem we caould also email our politicians

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    20. Freya Elizabeth

      Graphic designer

      In reply to margaret m

      Margaret, I agree, we will have to act. I'm not so optimistic about how quick or easy that will be. Australia's geographical isolation seems to create a complacency that is very hard to shake.

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    21. Yuri Pannikin

      Director

      In reply to Raine S Ferdinands

      Raine, actually this is the time to support a Rudd renewal of Labor.

      If he wins government at the next election, there is a good chance you will see the greatest re-building of Labor in its history. Opportunities for genuine centre-left social democrats outside the union movement will increase. The most powerful of the union movement these days are not genuine social democrats but rather opportunist, self-interested and often shonky power brokers. (Excuse the tautology!)

      Rudd will diffuse union power and modernise it along the lines of the UK Labour Party. This conflagration has been necessary. Hang in there.

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    22. Peter Redshaw

      Retired

      In reply to Raine S Ferdinands

      "One was treacherous, though. Treachery and hypocrisy, (like school yard bullying, and corruption, etc) are unacceptable traits".

      Only one was treacherous? Going by your logic they were all treacherous, not simply one. How did Rudd get leadership of the labor party anyway other than to depose Beasley at the time, when Beasley had a very good chance of beating Howard and the coalition.

      No doubt according to your logic Gillard was treacherous in over throwing Rudd as she did. But than of…

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    23. Peter Redshaw

      Retired

      In reply to margaret m

      The only thing I have to wonder in this is why the conservative coalition in Britain is still in government if that was the case. Britain is in a far worst circumstance with all of their austerity measures than we are here in Australia. Britain has far higher debt, far higher unemployment yet we in Australia have far more angst against our government than they do with their government.

      People and governments overseas look in amazement at the situation here in Australia where we are economically and with a much lower unemployment than their yet the government is on such a nose with the voters. They find it hard to comprehend why and would love to have a comparable economy and level of debt and unemployment level to ours.

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    24. John Doyle
      John Doyle is a Friend of The Conversation.

      architect

      In reply to Peter Redshaw

      That's a very interesting question, Peter. Why do we anguish over the economy when overseas comment is so complimentary.
      Well Annabel Crabb put a finger on it last week.
      She said that from outside it all looks wise, but here on the ground we locals saw it differently, insulation catching on fire, waste in the BER etc.

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    25. Peter Redshaw

      Retired

      In reply to John Doyle

      John it is all about context. I worked in the building industry and I did my share of insulation work since I started in the 1960's. Working in ceilings was always dangerous, but than the building industry has always been dangerous. But as for ceilings they got far more dangerous after down lights in ceiling were allowed in the 1970's and 80's. The amount of electrical wring in ceilings for lighting increased 10-20 fold or more. As a plumber I used to curse electricians for the wiring laying…

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    26. John Doyle
      John Doyle is a Friend of The Conversation.

      architect

      In reply to Peter Redshaw

      I don't disagree with any of what you say Peter.
      I also was a builder, still licensed today but retired from most of it.
      Yeah, Annabel is cluey alright.

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    27. Terry Reynolds

      Financial and political strategist

      In reply to Peter Redshaw

      Peter Redshaw, what a good post. It sums it up well for those that have been misinformed about the stimulus especially the insulation roll out and the BER for primary schools..

      Watching Q and A tonight, I think TC has a lot of pollies and journo's tuning in for valuable information. Your post would be a big help to many.

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    28. Dianna Arthur
      Dianna Arthur is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Environmentalist

      In reply to Peter Redshaw

      "...so much of the coalition spin on the stimulus spending does not deal with the actual realities of the situation on the ground..."

      Well said, Peter.

      We must, no matter what sound bite from whichever political party, remember that what is being claimed is for reasons of gaining (or retaining) power.

      Owning a home built in the 1970's (and previously one built in the 1950's) I can fully testify to the accuracy of Peter's experience. Of course in a truly free press we would have such investigative journalism as to put the spin where it belongs. Before, MY credentials are questioned I have studied and designed and had constructed housing projects at tertiary level and can recognise valid argument when I see it.

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  6. Renato Bright

    Consultant

    Thank you for your sane and reasoned article - it says it all. For years I have been disgusted by the lack of standards and ethics in the Media, and by the rise of the opinionated chattering classes.

    Many years ago we could rely on the press to first check the facts and then hold people, corporates and politicians accountable. Now, we citizens must find a way to hold our Media accountable.
    Sadly, due to the power of the media, a once in a generation opportunity for media reform was lost when the legislation didn't progress through the House of Reps.

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    1. David Thompson

      Marketing Research

      In reply to Renato Bright

      "Many years ago we could rely on the press to first check the facts and then hold people, corporates and politicians accountable."
      Renalto, you must be very, very old, because I don't remember ever such a press.

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    2. Raine S Ferdinands

      Education

      In reply to David Thompson

      In the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is king!!
      History is full of one-sided view and narratives. Then we took those "facts' as truths. My 'educated' grandparents took every word of the press as absolutes. Nay, I prefer the media to-day with its warts and all. In the age of information explosion and social media, we know what the truths actually are. We receive the expressions and views of every type of media release with a pinch of salt. This is certainly healthy. We know that for every view there is a counter view, for every one proposed way there is another way. Let's not pretend that there is only one truth.

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  7. alexander j watt

    logged in via Twitter

    Hear, hear. I can't figure out if the press here are just stupid, or if they have a hidden agenda. But either way they have failed the country.

    They never looked Gillard in the eye, just sniggered amongst themselves and traded pernicious gossip for news.

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    1. Greg North

      Retired Engineer

      In reply to alexander j watt

      You seem to conveniently forget a number of one on one interviews where Gillard had every opportunity to put her case and did not take too kindly to being put on the spot, even walking out of one interview.

      And then there have been situations where in either interviews or press conferences she called without notice, she would either laugh off questions or ride rough shod over the attendees, answering what she thought should be answered.

      She would then not answer questions in parliament and refer the parliamentary questioners to press conferences.

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  8. Sean Lamb

    Science Denier

    "The media stunt by two of Rudd’s supporters"
    A media stunt?! I am shocked, SHOCKED that anyone would pull off a media stunt. I am absolutely sure that Julia Gillard and her backers never did anything so reprehensible as pull off a media stunt [Australia Day riot].
    Dr Muller is absolutely correct, the premature packing up of the offices sent a seismic shockwave right through the Australian electorate. Had it not been for this pivotal event Julia Gillard would have won reelection in a landslide…

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    1. James Hill

      Industrial Designer

      In reply to Sean Lamb

      Sean, on the Australia Day "riot", illegally suggesting, as Abbott did, that it was time for the decades long "embassy" to fold its tents, would start a riot.
      Or don't the First Peoples have the same protection at Law?
      It might involve the term of "adverse possession", where after twelve years of occupation, without removal by the "Owners", the land becomes the possession of the occupiers.
      A good old Anglo-Saxon tribal law, I think.
      Thatcher stepped in at Stonehenge to stop those tribal hippy…

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    2. Greg North

      Retired Engineer

      In reply to James Hill

      First of all James, try and get right what Abbott's involvement was.

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    3. James Hill

      Industrial Designer

      In reply to Greg North

      It is on the public record as part of a radio broadcast, Greg.
      Time that the embassy folded its tents or words to that effect.
      While standing within cooee of said tents.
      Otherwise he wouldn't, couldn't have been mobbed.
      Mr Smart Mouth strikes again!
      Did you get that right, Greg!
      Apeing Abbott again?
      Imitation the sincerest form of flattery?
      What a worthy acolyte/apologist you would make.

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    4. margaret m

      old lady

      In reply to James Hill

      Look at history forget the anglo-saxon tripe those who are insatiable for power and money and will without care sacrifice anything for it those persons cut accross all cultures and peoples.

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    5. James Hill

      Industrial Designer

      In reply to margaret m

      Sorry, Margaret, I appreciate most of your opinions.
      But our Common Law traditions are borrowed from all that Anglo-Saxon "tripe", so remaining in forgettful ignorance of those traditions, cannot be very helpful.
      Though you may be correct about the ubiquity of all the bad stuff, it cannot be healthy to keep that as a single focus.
      The word law, itself, is a Scandinavian word, and our democratic parliamentary traditions owe much to the Scandinavian Allthing.
      The captains of viking long-ships only…

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  9. Fred Pribac

    logged in via email @internode.on.net

    Thank you for raising this issue in this forum. One of the frustrations I have had is, not the clearly biased reporting and the loathsome vitriol that has been around, but the more subtle biases.

    Some supposedley impartial media commentators will speak about one side of the political fence in reasoned measured tones and then in the same paragraph make a unjustified rhetorical point or use emotive language about the other. This is insidious, because if you are not looking for it it these sorts…

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    1. James Hill

      Industrial Designer

      In reply to Fred Pribac

      It did work out better when the very self-indulgent Jones was absent for a time.

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    1. Brett Bailey

      Self Employed

      In reply to Lee Emmett

      Ethically its not okay to carry a placard - who was carrying it and what ethical constraints exist that prevents such a thing happening - do you accept the placards and vitriole vented in the UK and here on the death of Margaret Thatcher. The writer asserts Abbot gave licence for the poor behaviour towards Gillard - that seems such a long bow as to be ridiculous based on the tenor of the article as a whole and the clear bias of the writer.
      Abbott is not to blame for Gillards treatment - she called…

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    2. Rick Fleckner

      Student

      In reply to Brett Bailey

      Yes I agree with you, Paul Sheehan is grossly disrespectful. Not just of the PM, but the sensibilities of the wider general public. Really Brett Bailey, your citation lacks credibility. Mr Sheehan could have just as easily compiled an equally school room name calling list from the opposite point of view. The fact that he did not is significant, surely.

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    3. Greg North

      Retired Engineer

      In reply to Lee Emmett

      You have been told before Lee that Tony Abbott had used the phrasing " this government should die of shame " on at least two previous occasions in parliament prior to Julia's father passing and the despicable reference by Jones.

      Yes it is in Hanasard along with Tony Abbott's warm speech about Gillard's father.

      As for protestors raising signs behind Tony Abbott when he was talking, that's a lottle out of his control and then you would probably not want to remember all the protests against John Howard or Malcom Fraser in which you would have many rowdy rent a mob protestors or is it just Labor supporters that take to violence in their protests.

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    4. margaret m

      old lady

      In reply to Brett Bailey

      You did not live through the Thatcher year and live under the consequences of her policies. Reading your comments show that you have little history to compare with as well re media political debate etc. There is also the rusted on type of voter there are examples from all political parties maybe you are just one of those.

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    5. margaret m

      old lady

      In reply to Lee Emmett

      Just ensure that we all realise what has been lost the fight to maintian good governance and the good of all in our country. Good people have left politics the issue is not so munc the minion Abbott & Co or Rudd and factions it is the big business media & backers that have an agenda. Part of the idea is to shape public opinion via a presentation of information filtered to ensure a particular impression is made. Media regulation and the breaking of the monopoly of information via big business media. Let us ensure that it is the voter who decides who will govern our country not those who have the power and resources to manipulate via utilise the source of information. Unlike Britain we should act now regulate big business media

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  10. Comment removed by moderator.

    1. Stuart Mackenzie

      PhD candidate at the University of Ballarat

      In reply to Ian Milliss

      That's interesting, Ian. As I'm only an occasional reader, I missed that episode. Can you point me to any discussion of the readers' objections?

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    2. Ian Milliss

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Ian Milliss

      Apparently The Conversation is now censoring anyone who criticises it, even as mildly as I did.

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    3. Stuart Mackenzie

      PhD candidate at the University of Ballarat

      In reply to Ian Milliss

      Thanks, Ian. And you may be right about the censorship - your earlier post has been removed.

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  11. Judith Olney

    Ms

    Thank you for an excellent article, you have voiced the concerns of many of the people I know, including myself.

    The hypocrisy now being shown by those that failed to ethically report for the last 3 years is glaring.

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  12. Gregory John Olsen Esq

    logged in via Facebook

    Excellent article, Denis. I ask, why were there "ethical failures. These included crude abuse and incitement to hatred on commercial radio talkback, while among other mainstream media the failure of impartiality, failure of contextual accuracy, and the willingness to exploit rather than challenge debased public discourse." :-)

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  13. ernest malley

    farmer

    One of the worst offenders being Michelle Grattan, once a good reporter, who too long ago became duchessed by pollies. Perhaps, to be charitable, just in her dotage but for the drivel she has presented for the last 3 years there is no excuse. Retire or write a book but stop pretending to be a reporter, as in "stuff power does NOT want ventilated".

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  14. Pat Moore

    gardener

    Excellent article thankyou Denis, reflecting your hands-on practical career preceding your academic one....the precise teacher of praxis.

    Greg Young, you wrote you could not understand how the ABC board authorised that so called satirical political comedy denigrating, ridiculing and rudely belittling Julia Gillard personally and in so doing, the office of prime minister. The answer must surely be the Howard appointee Mark Scott? Great suggestion Karen Griffiths... indeed where is that missing…

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    1. Stuart Mackenzie

      PhD candidate at the University of Ballarat

      In reply to Pat Moore

      Thanks, Pat. I have now caught up on those comments, with which I am entirely in agreement. I couldn't see any response from Michelle - has there been any from her or the editor?

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    2. Brett Bailey

      Self Employed

      In reply to Pat Moore

      Pat again you seem over using the fertiliser.
      Clearly if the supplier of news is turing out a product you don;t want to hear doesn;t make the news source the problem - but is more a reflection of you personal biases towards the material presented.
      I can't see anything wrond with making the imagery more public friendly.
      The "conclusion " regarding Mark Scott the Howard appointee - is completely baseless and smacks of the same behaviour about which you accuse the media.
      Michelle Grattan was a fairfax writer of the left persuasion - but because she has had the temerity to actually report on the behaviours of the Labor politicians who have masqueraded as the Government for the past 3 years seems to irk you? Perhaps that again is a feature of your own biases.
      Accept that Gillard failed - that Rudd was a failure and will be again and you will feel a lot better in the morning.

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    3. Pat Moore

      gardener

      In reply to Brett Bailey

      Natural organic biodynamic compost is the only "fertilizer" which can't be "overused".

      "the supplier of news" as you put it that I'm referring to is the publically owned, that is taxpayer funder public broadcasting corporation (that should still be a commission) that used to be "our ABC". If you look at the bio of its Liberal Party John Howard-appointed Managing Director, Mark Scott you will see he has a long association with the LNP and that he is therefore biased towards that political persuasion…

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    4. Freya Elizabeth

      Graphic designer

      In reply to Pat Moore

      Pat, you raise a very important issue - the impartiality of political reporting by the ABC news and CA has been completely compromised.
      The new tabloid presentation - "creative" editing etc- contradicts the ABC Code of Conduct on the grounds of accuracy, quite aside from the issue of impartiality.
      Do they believe that people don't notice how tone and presentation can be manipulated? Or are they simply trusting that we can't easliy complain about it?

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    5. Freya Elizabeth

      Graphic designer

      In reply to Brett Bailey

      Brett, the problem with imagery, music, tone and other "entertainment" values is that they can easily be manipulated to slant a story and it is very hard to accuse anyone of bias on those grounds.
      Whether or not actual political bias has motivated the political reporting of the ABC, it is not possible to tell. However, the tone - through imagery, music, editing - was consistently unflattering and lately outright mocking of Gillard and the govt.
      The appt of Mark Scott by the Howard govt, is not a secret. Who do you think appoints the board? I haven't noticed any obvious bias in his decisions but the political editing is a serious problem.

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    6. James Hill

      Industrial Designer

      In reply to Pat Moore

      It is worth repeating, for those following this informed debate, that Moral Philosopher Adam Smith informed the world, more that two centuries ago, that those for whom Abbott is most certainly a "puppet" had "an interest to deceive and oppress the the public, using all means at their disposal to have governments intervene in the market in their favour".
      Look to "Motive" and Opportunity", as the criminologists would have it, to widen the necessary "inquisition" into these enemies of democracy and, incidentally, also the enemies of Smith's "progress of opulence".
      A sucessful businessman like Malcolm Turnbull has most certainly read the father of political economy's "Wealth of Nations" while it is almost equally certain that it was on Tony Abbott's list of banned publications, "religiously" adhered to by the"staunch" of his "kind".

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    7. James Hill

      Industrial Designer

      In reply to Freya Elizabeth

      All according to the principles of brainwashing as outlined in William Sargant's 1956 book "Battle For The Mind", "suppressed" during the "Cold War"?
      A "Cold War" during which the principles of democracy were somewhat "neglected'?
      There is a logical, historical explanation for the likes of Abbott and his acolytes, worthy of further inquiry and exposition.
      Such as might occur with a proper, "national" education curriculum and and NBN expansion of communications?
      Both notably opposed by the conservatives?
      "all that is evil fears the light" and "you shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free".
      Remember those words, Abbott and friends, you exemplars of piety?

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    8. Freya Elizabeth

      Graphic designer

      In reply to James Hill

      Interesting connections, James.
      After the last five years I'm open to any conspiracy theories. I expect the Koch brothers are lurking here somewhere.

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    9. James Hill

      Industrial Designer

      In reply to Freya Elizabeth

      Yes conspiracy has been recognised for some time now.
      Adam Smith remarked that every time labourers combined to raise ther wages the full force of the law was brought down upon them, (some even made it to Australia), but that whenever a group of manufacturers got together they conspired, (or moved so closely together, so as to avoid being overheard, that they actually shared the same air), to avoid competition and fix prices. In those days they also had the ear of governments.
      The early science of "body language".
      (In councils it is now practised as "Commercial in Confidence" meetings, out of reach of the public, but not their representatives, who are, you know, beyond reproach, through the supernatural process of election).
      An example of religion in politics?.
      Not much has changed?

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    10. Freya Elizabeth

      Graphic designer

      In reply to James Hill

      Not much at all. Bread and circuses. "Democracy" is looking like a spectator sport in this country, not a system of govt.

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  15. John C Smith

    Auditor

    Ethical and unethical journos, I have not seen much difference between the sex (both) industry and the news Industry. These days Labour polytics are the same. We have a parliament with Labour+Green+ indepen and the Oposition. The Labour has its own govt and oposition. Cahnging the mask by the faceless has not made a change.

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  16. alexander j watt

    logged in via Twitter

    The media are directly responsible for toppling Gillard. On her final day in office after weeks of screaming that she must go, that Rudd must challenge they finally reached a fever pitch over a 'petition' circulating to depose Gillard. Gonski passed, business carried on, Rudd's office publicly denied rumours but the media kept on. Even during question time ABC News 24 just kept the banner there at the bottom of the screen 'petition circling to depose Gillard'.

    Finally under this pressure, and…

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    1. Greg North

      Retired Engineer

      In reply to alexander j watt

      People often interpret things the way they wish them to be Alexander and you and Julia may not be alone in that, Julia calling for the ballot at 7pm was similar to what she has done in the past and she probably thought that she would again catch those opposing her leadership off guard and they would not be able to muster the numbers.

      A number of Gillard's key supporters abandoned Gillard and told her they were doing so because they felt Kevin Rudd would give Labor the best chance in an election…

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    2. Terry Reynolds

      Financial and political strategist

      In reply to Greg North

      Greg, when do you think Julia Gillard should have called the ballot?

      Clearly, from street reception, the public responded well to Kevin Rudd where Julia Gillard was well received but not to the same pop star level as Rudd. I recall PM Hawke copping abuse and also PM Howard. But for a sandwich prank by an adolescent, PM Gillard appeared to be respected.

      With the elections just two and a half months away and public support in the polls low, Labor had another option that would probably ensure…

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    3. Freya Elizabeth

      Graphic designer

      In reply to Greg North

      Greg, do you believe that Gillard should NOT have called the ballot at a time that suited her?
      Of course, in which case you would accuse her of political incompetence.
      If you are going to criticise on the grounds of honesty or fairness, you will have to include Rudd in those assessments.
      Your double standards are showing I'm afraid.

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    4. Raine S Ferdinands

      Education

      In reply to alexander j watt

      Could Julia Gillard have contributed to her downfall? Nah, she was such a decent,righteous person who was/is without malice, treachery, and free of corrupt behaviour (past/present). The blasted media invented stories about Gillard, Really her downfall is the fault of Abbott, Rudd, and the rest of us who simply felt outraged by her gender. 71% of the population is to be blamed for honest Gillard's downfall. Now it is time for us to hang our heads and weep in shame for what we have done to her. Sob..sob ..sob.

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    5. James Hill

      Industrial Designer

      In reply to Terry Reynolds

      Yes,Election: 2013, is the public's opportunity to to give Howard's Horrors, the political "undead" of 2007, a decent public burial.
      And get rid of Abbott, the "Zombie Master", with them.
      They are unfit for an Australian, 21st century future.

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    6. alexander j watt

      logged in via Twitter

      In reply to Greg North

      As time goes on and past events start to get that inevitable sheen, i just want to reiterate that the mood of the media that week, and particularly that day was outrageously shrill. Gillard i contest made her move in response to this - she said publicly that no-one in the party had actually contacted her in person about a petition (which might never have existed despite it dominating the media cycle that day).

      All I am saying is that the media really did seriously control events that day - in a way that has no precedent that i can think of - and so arguably changed the course of Australian politics. I do feel that Gillard didn't get fair treatment from the media all along but that's not really the main thrust of my argument here.

      I appreciate your response anyway.

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  17. John Doyle
    John Doyle is a Friend of The Conversation.

    architect

    There is no doubt the media is not a good way to assess the political situation. Anyone who has personal experience of an event will see it reported either incorrectly or biased. We should expect this behaviour.
    However we can still judge as long as some thought goes into it.
    For example there is plenty of evidence the LNP are telling lies about the state of our economy. And plenty of evidence of turmoil in Labor ranks. Yet they have governed effectively.
    For me the choice is between liars, the LNP and a party going through it's own horrors but which has done OK.
    For me liars are the losers.

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    1. Greg Wood

      Energy Consultant

      In reply to John Doyle

      That this probably the most fundamentally simple and accurate summation of the situation that faces voters.

      The salient question ahead of us though will be how many of them are now able to see even a glimmer of it through the cataracts imposed upon them by the MSM debacle.

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    2. Greg North

      Retired Engineer

      In reply to John Doyle

      I would not call mentioning the level of Australian debt regularly a lie whereas being prepared to avoid mentioning it is being evasive.

      If you think Labor are doing fine as more manufacturing folds whilst they plunge Australia in to more and more debt and maintain a loss of control on our borders as doing OK or effective, that may be fine with you but do not be too surprised if there are many voters for whom it is all less fine.

      " For me liars are the losers. "
      I suppose you also subscribe to a liar has lost.

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    3. John Doyle
      John Doyle is a Friend of The Conversation.

      architect

      In reply to Greg North

      You seem to be very worried about our level of debt, Greg?
      I'm not sure you are on the money there. $20B is a huge sum to you and me but internationally it is in the lowest category, and considered by "international experts" to be about right in today's environment.
      Don't forget if the Howard government hadn't splurged on tax give aways we would otherwise be in surplus. Labor made the mistake of honouring Howard's tax cuts thus costing us about $40B to date.

      Yes liars are losers, but it doesn't…

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    4. Peter Ormonde

      Farmer

      In reply to John Doyle

      Oh shit no! Not the experts! We're doomed.

      One of the themes I'm detecting in this Slough of Despond school of self-taught economic aphorisms is the direct link between fear and ignorance.

      The greater the concern - particularly on debt - the less they understand the system and how it works. That is not in fact of interest. They want the fear, the Day of Judgement.... restoration of "Living Within Our Means" - a good stiff birching from the owners of property.

      It is essentially an imported…

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    5. Peter Ormonde

      Farmer

      In reply to John Doyle

      Oh no John I think ascribing a reason to a market - we hear it every night - the markets reacted strongly to the RBA suggestion that interest rates were headed up (or down) ....That is misinformation. This market anthropomorphism is really dumbed down to the max.

      People who really understand markets play with them - like George Souros. He does not look back and "explain" what the markets were "saying".

      Markets do strange things - show odd mathematical patterns, curious correlations and statistical predictability. But ascribing a "reason" to this or that fluctuation across an entire market is simplistic and rather quaint really. Like me talking to the dogs. Only worse.

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    6. John Doyle
      John Doyle is a Friend of The Conversation.

      architect

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      Not quite sure what question you seek to answer here, Peter.
      Are you saying we cannot avoid being misinformed, because it is beyond the ken of journalists, and only certain people like George Soros know what they do?

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    7. Peter Ormonde

      Farmer

      In reply to John Doyle

      Both really John I suspect.

      The notion of giving markets rational single herd instincts is one of the more absurd aspects of financial commentary in Australia. Whereas, if you do understand what markets do - or are big enough to make it happen like Souros - then you tell folks afterwards if at all.

      Dumbed down facile descriptions of markets reacting to Glenn Stevens' every digestive gurgle defy commonsense - and grossly overestimate the rationality and chaos of markets and their behaviour…

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    8. James Hill

      Industrial Designer

      In reply to John Doyle

      Michelle's and her colleauges' historical treatment of the the now three decades old Greens party, confirms your first sentence, John.
      Imagine, that a couple of new shops, seeking custom, open up in the political mainstreet, such as Katters and Palmers.
      The media vandals would either smash their windows, fill the doorways with excrement or puposefully ignore them altogether.
      Laughing and giggling in amusement all the while.
      Reminiscent of seasoned practioners of a political protection racket aren't they?
      Just what a mature democracy needs.

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    9. James Hill

      Industrial Designer

      In reply to Greg North

      Refusing to acknowledge the $1.5 TRILLION private mortgage debt is an example of deception by omission.
      Look to your own deficiencies on that account Mr North?

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    10. James Hill

      Industrial Designer

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      All this is not recognised in the economic term "market sentiment", with its implications of decisions based on unthinking emotions?
      I recommend a good stiff dose of Moral Philosophy, as in "The Wealth of Nations".
      A worthy antidote to the ignorance underlying market "enthusiasms", as the word was used in Adam Smith's era, an "Age of Enlightenment", apparently.
      The light at the beginning of the endless tunnel of ignorance into which our political leadership has subsequently led us?
      Wait, I can see a fibre optic led light, what does it say, NBN?

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  18. Terry Mills

    lawyer retired

    Denis, a very thoughtful article and right on the money.

    As I was reading your article I was also listening to ABC RN News where the newsreader referred to" Mr Rudd's comments on armed conflict with Indonesia": having heard Rudd's news conference I know that he was talking about a diplomatic clash with Indonesia if the coalition kept up this rhetoric about towing back and turning back boats against the wishes of the Indonesians. He then added, when questioned, that diplomatic clashes can lead to an escalation.

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    1. Greg North

      Retired Engineer

      In reply to Terry Mills

      Terry, as a lawyer I would expect you would not have easily forgotten Rudd's ability to play with words, even mangle them and so it seems a leopard has not changed its spots so much, that also being obvious from parliament on Thursday.

      There are many diplomatic clashes that do not lead to escalation and whereas Rudd has a tendency to use very unfavourable descriptions and language in international dealings and domestic situations, that does not mean alternative governments will follow suit.

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    2. Terry Reynolds

      Financial and political strategist

      In reply to Greg North

      Greg, it is not a diplomatic exchange that Kevin Rudd is talking about. Australia got a lot of kudos for the manner in which ordinary Australians responded to the Boxing Day Tsunami in 2004 and the $2 billion in aid that flowed quickly to Indonesia. It especially assisted the trouble torn people of Aceh,

      What Australia has to be careful about is upsetting ordinary Indonesians. We just don't need up to 230 million Indonesians being bitter and hostile at Australia for dumping alien asylum seekers…

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    3. Peter West

      CEO at Property

      In reply to Terry Reynolds

      Studies have shown a alrge percentage of illegals are illiterate or lack English skills, and are on social welfare 7 years after arrival.
      Appeasement never works, that's why we're not respected. Personally I don't care what the Indonesians think, I'm not scared of them. Nobody respects a weak and cowardly country.

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    4. Peter Ormonde

      Farmer

      In reply to Peter West

      I think we should drive them out Peter. For years they have been spreading themselves into places like Timor and West Papua, Kalimantan and other places they don't belong. Some giant islamic ponzi scheme all based on chopping down jungle.

      So that's right Pete - let's throw our weight about a bit - tell these grinning batiked loons that we just won't put up with them flick-passing these illiterate dole bludgers on to us like a hot spud! Demand they set up camps like ours. Or send them back some more. Who cares?

      Certainly not us eh?

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    5. James Hill

      Industrial Designer

      In reply to Peter West

      Just saying that you are not scared of something tends to betray that the truth might be otherwise.
      Let's not be guided by gutlessness.

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  19. Fred Moore

    Builder

    The Author misses the whole point.

    The failure is not with journalism, it is a FAILURE of the entire Gloabal Economics paradigm.

    EVERYTHING on this planet has been opened up for privatisation and the mantra is: You'all never had it so good before so lets go further!"

    The Media in this land were privatised & monopolised some time ago. Co nroy's squirly efforts being the latest erosion of what is essentially meant to be free speech central.

    I mean even the Conversation censors legitimate…

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    1. Greg Wood

      Energy Consultant

      In reply to Fred Moore

      You are entirely right, however you most likely won't get much debate upon your propositions. Enlightened forums will readily discuss the symptoms of the nearly universal malaise bearing upon us, but the causal essences seem to be inadmissible.

      This condition reflects the broadly inculcated need to believe the system is basically OK but for a some reforms needed around the edges. Position, credibility and identity within the status quo are immensely valuable assets. Questioning the keystones…

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    2. Pat Moore

      gardener

      In reply to Greg Wood

      Such well written and salient observations based on Fred Moore's true descriptions of the naked emperor thanks Greg. Exactly right. Talk around the edges is acceptable...nice shoes, lovely, non-existant clothes...but indeed, based upon an unspoken consensus, an invisible decree, none will declare the emperor naked...so we are condemned to continue on this road to disaster conducted by the MSM confected farce of "reality" under the edict of this all-consuming empire. The "credibility gap" between reality and "information" is indeed becoming a yawning chasm. Perhaps the task of the MSM is to keep this imperial edict invisible. To make doom a happy experience. To mask the taste of the poisoning with synthetic raspberries for ease of swallowing?

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    3. margaret m

      old lady

      In reply to Greg Wood

      Take your point BUT HOW DO WE EXPLAIN THE ABC who is paid by the taxpayer to ensure that it delivers well researched information etc?

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    4. Greg Wood

      Energy Consultant

      In reply to margaret m

      I think the ABC should be made to explain itself. I'm too traumatised by its consistently deficient behaviour to even begin trying to.

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    5. Greg North

      Retired Engineer

      In reply to Fred Moore

      Kevin has never been too reticent about living in the big bucks world Fred, and you might even remember the participants he lined up for his 20/20 summit.

      Meanwhile, with our national debt soaring there are many who'll not be so sure about us never having it so good.

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    6. Terry Reynolds

      Financial and political strategist

      In reply to Greg North

      Greg, you are right. The strange thing was I gave Swan critical help when he first became Treasurer on 8.1.08, it was my strategy for the BER they adopted as a 2007 election platform and on 20.1.08 I submitted the NBN strategy that was adopted later I also gave the warning months ahead of the GFC in 2008 and what action they needed to take to protect our "banking and payments system" when banks collapsed worldwide which was imminent. I saw it coming!

      I never got an invitation! Nor have I ever been remunerated for any of my strategies! They treated though it came via a suggestion box. That was the response used. So there you go!

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    7. James Hill

      Industrial Designer

      In reply to Fred Moore

      In JK Galbtaith's "Economics and the Public Purpose" (part of the conyinuing adult education curriculum?) explains that women are the unpaid managers of consumption.
      Responsible for the final decisions on 70% of all spending?
      So perhaps some scrutiny might be applied to how responsible that spending may be is somehow out of order?
      How that spending might be manipulated by interests inimicable to those spenders and those for whom they ostensibly spend?
      That censorship, that you refer to ,Fred, would seem to be quite stupid and unreasonable given the above facts of the matter.

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    8. James Hill

      Industrial Designer

      In reply to Greg Wood

      The seven? principles of the international co-operative movement might provide a partial, and proven antidote to those problems, Greg.
      Though,credit unions, the most visible example of the movement here in Australia seems to have been subverted to the interests of the major banking system, especially as their relatively recent exposure to the housing bubble lending is concerned.
      But these credit unions are supposedly democratically controlled.
      So while there is life there is hope.

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    9. James Hill

      Industrial Designer

      In reply to Greg North

      Personal debt, Greg, lies at the heart of the problem being discussed.
      Don't you ever pay attention before writing?

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    10. James Hill

      Industrial Designer

      In reply to Terry Reynolds

      Perhaps you read my article "Housing And the Economy" Tertangala 1986, copy in the Mitchell Library?

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    11. Peter Ormonde

      Farmer

      In reply to James Hill

      One of the strange "developments" associated with industrialisation and urbanisation is the change in the focus of the household from a unit of production to a unit of consumption.

      People used to make stuff. At home. They'd bring the family in to crush tomatoes or do dreadfully delicious things to pigs. Much less so forever in cities though not unheard of where determined folks can buy a few good boxes of tomatoes or loads of odd piggery bits.

      But now we devote quite habitable wheelie bins to our cast offs and packaging of our products each week. I feel ashamed of my paltry contribution to the local landfill. Not pulling my weight obviously.

      Sad things to forget really.

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    12. James Hill

      Industrial Designer

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      Yes, Peter, points well made.
      I remember reading a recent acquisition to a conveniently located university library, complete with a confortable chair, near where I usd to live, in which it was argued that the household of Ancient Athens were gardens, textile factories, infirmaries, places of education, meal and clothing providers etc all managed, shock horror by capable "Women"!.
      The author went on to argue, that contrary to traditional beliefs on the matter, that as vigorous members of local commerce…

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  20. Terry Reynolds

    Financial and political strategist

    Dennis Muller, your comment is spot on. Was there any reason why you could not have shouted this from the roof tops two or three years ago?

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    1. Greg North

      Retired Engineer

      In reply to Terry Reynolds

      Terry, Denis has put together some fine thoughts on what has happened as many authors do with news that has ocurred whereas there is a slight difference with that to writing about something that is unfolding.

      It is obvious that politicians want to keep their intentions somewhat secret until the eleventh hour and so authors on such matters as a leadership change are left to deal with indicators or if lucky enough to have an unnamed insider source are usually bound to writing about intent as a form of speculation so as not to reveal their source.

      Even now with Rudd as PM again, he is somewhat playing a game about when an election can be expected and yet seemingly in something of a campaign mode.

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    2. James Hill

      Industrial Designer

      In reply to Greg North

      Howard stated that the election campaign began on the first day of a new government.
      Do pay attention, Gregory!
      Or you will never graduate fron the "School of Continuing Adult Education"!
      Report so far: "A constant, disruptive influence on group learning"?

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  21. ynes sanz

    writer

    While we're scrutinising the role that journalists play, can I raise the point that I noticed in the reporting of the latest turmoil, and that was the way the journalists interviewed each other.

    Journalist now becomes reporter, analyst and talking head.This suggests to me that they do believe they occupy centre stage.

    What do people think about this?

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    1. Terry Reynolds

      Financial and political strategist

      In reply to ynes sanz

      Ynes, you are right. You watch the Insiders on the ABC to get Barry Cassidy who is a great journalist, interviewing other journalists who have no hesitation, like Pierre's Ackerman displaying his contempt for Labor with every utterance. If you watch the 7.30 Report you get Leigh Sales with her cold bitter stare, firing off childlike questions like a snipper at Ministers and the Chris Uhlman with his poor imitation of Andrew Bolt who praises Uhlmann incessantly. As for Tony Jones, what a controlling…

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    2. Pat Moore

      gardener

      In reply to ynes sanz

      Yes indeed, a closed circuit of self affirmation ynes and by this means, concensually constructing an artificial "reality".

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    3. Greg North

      Retired Engineer

      In reply to ynes sanz

      That's OK ynes for whilst there could be some ego sense in that kind of thing, it does bring together various journalists who can usually have different and even opposing views which lead to a discussion of opposing views.

      That can only be good for the viewers in stimulating in their own minds different considerations for those who wish to have their mind open to alternate views.

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    4. James Hill

      Industrial Designer

      In reply to ynes sanz

      Reminds me of "Judge Dredd" in the 2000AD comic from the UK, originally a futuristic story where the "Judges" from the "Hall of Justice", in a time of future unrest in a Megalopolis, as might be postulated for the Tri-State area in the US, or New-Syd-Gong in NSW, become judge, jury and executioner, presumably because there is no other way, in a city given over to the free-market, and where there is no government beyond the enforcement of law via the judges.
      The conservatives' wet dream?
      Well on the way aren't we, as far as the media with their control of the "dirt" on the "Perps", or perpetrators of crime, are concerned.
      What did that Commission in Qld uncover again?
      Let the light shine through our NBN!

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    5. James Hill

      Industrial Designer

      In reply to James Hill

      Or the media, the police, and thegovernment in the UK under Murdoch?
      No wonder the Scots want to be shot of it.

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    6. Yuri Pannikin

      Director

      In reply to Terry Reynolds

      And did you find Emma's name in the Channel 9 directory under "Alverici".

      You expect us to believe your nonsense?

      Not unexpectedly, I suppose, I reckon most of the ABC people you disparage above do a good job -- except Cassidy, who continues to make me regurgitate if I happen to catch a glimpse of his self-serving diatribes, which, thankfully, is rare.

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  22. Peter West

    CEO at Property

    Perception of political actors is a complex phenomenon. May I suggest that the perception is influenced by other elements of the media, for instance direct telecasts of Parliament, where the personality can be glimpsed, and judgment (however superficial) made.
    However, Gillard was done in largely by bad policy decisions, and one example of the waste and mismanagement was the BER where the local primary school got a $300,000 double garage, and the BER was referred to locally as the "builders early…

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    1. Terry Reynolds

      Financial and political strategist

      In reply to Peter West

      Peter, as a "CEO property" you statement that all schools got was a $300,000 double garage and the BER was the "builders" early retirement shows total ignorance and bias. Can you name just one school from of the thousands of primary schools across Australia, that got a $300,000 double garage for $3 million and a builder that retired as a result of the windfall profit. Just name the school and I will ring and check the veracity.

      The rest of your comments were as equally bizarre!

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    2. Anthony Foy

      Copywriter

      In reply to Peter West

      Peter, the BER achieved virtually everything it was designed to, ie. stimulate the economy and provide desperately needed infrastructure for schools (which happen to be a State govt. responsibility). Three independent inquiries showed that there was either cost over-runs or mismanagement in just 3% of projects. I'd like you to show my any major infrastructure project, either government or private, that has a lower rate of problems. All of the projects were managed by the State governments. So how exactly does that demonstrate Ms Gillard's 'bad policy decisions... waste and mismanagement'? On an anecdotal level, both my local primary school and high school had a class room block and science block built, respectively. Both were desperately needed as both schools had grown and both were still relying on temporary portable classrooms that had been there for decades. If we can't as a nation invest in education, what really is the point?

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    3. Peter West

      CEO at Property

      In reply to Anthony Foy

      1. Quality education starts with quality teachers.

      2. I'll go with Peter van Onselen ("Sunday Telegraph" 30 June 2013, p.42): "she was a poor PM with a weak team, selling (many) dud policies", exactly what i said!

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    4. James Hill

      Industrial Designer

      In reply to Peter West

      Grave dancing there, Pete?
      Wear yourself out, and fail to notice the walking dead of the "Howard", debt driven, Golden era approaching, to the music of "Danse Macabre".
      It isn't coming back, Peter, your developers "Golden era", theunsustainable, $1.5 Trillion motrgage debt orgy will see to that.
      No matter how many debt junkies, feeling the pain vote for their "Fix".
      It'll be GFC style, "cold Turkey", under the Abbott Austerities, dear Tony, knows what's best!
      No personal reflections intended, Peter.

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    5. James Hill

      Industrial Designer

      In reply to Anthony Foy

      And it does seem to be an unworthy, negative reflection on the reputation of an entire industry.
      I'm sure they will appreciate a resurrection of the accusation that they are all crooks.
      That'll get them voting for Dear Tony.
      Remember the winning Coalition slogan from the Fraser/Howard era, "Labor is taking your money and feeding it to Pigs'.
      Is that really what happened with the BER?
      Do they want that message back again for the 2013 campaign?
      The Abbott austerities are going to send them broke…

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    6. Terry Reynolds

      Financial and political strategist

      In reply to Terry Reynolds

      Peter West, the readers are waiting for you to identify just one school where the Federal Government wasted its $3 per school spend and got just a $300,000 double garage and the builder got a retirement fund. I want to ring that school and check. If it had been true someone in our erstwhile media would have played it up there years ago.

      Are you now admitting your Tony Abbott style claim was a lie?

      Dennis Muller, the press had a 3 year opportunity to show that the sort of black propaganda was false but jumped on the malicious bandwagon.

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  23. Peter Ormonde

    Farmer

    It's identity theft I tells ya!!! Couldn't have put it any better the self!

    And more menacing - this fella could be my long lost twin brother by the photo. Or the product of brilliant plastic surgery or photoshop. Some son of PRISM pinching quite self-settled personas? Is that you again Clooney???

    This slow motion train wreck was down to the buckled rails I think ... inevitable given the determined direction.

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  24. James Jenkin

    EFL Teacher Trainer

    Is it really so easy to describe 'impartiality' and 'bias'? ('The Fairfax newspapers generally tried harder to be impartial.')

    And do we therefore want our newspapers to tell 'the truth'?

    It seems simplistic.

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  25. Greg North

    Retired Engineer

    Make no mistake and gender aside, if you have politicians failing, their failures will attract the attention of the media, there being plenty of past examples with previous PMs and other politicians as well as with prominent people in society, the Singleton/Waterhouse recent spat one such example that got plenty of media coverage.

    Julia Gillard often got great media coverage for many events and policies that had are perceived to have public support, even if both politicians or the public seem to have lost the concept of considering how some things are to be paid for.

    It is only natural that where poor decisions or gaffs are made that the media will also cover those and it seems that it is that coverage which a lot of people feel some angst about.

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  26. Anthony Foy

    Copywriter

    Thanks, Denis. I assume you don't mention The Telegraph and The Herald Sun because they don't really qualify as newspapers. Certainly the writers don't qualify as journalists. However, the relentless, aggressive and mendacious campaign those two papers in particular waged against the carbon tax was nothing short of disgraceful, let alone unethical. This, along with their propagation of the lie about 'the great big lie' on the carbon tax, rates among the biggest frauds ever conducted in Australia in my view. It certainly was a major factor in Ms Gillard's deep unpopularity.

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  27. margaret m

    old lady

    THANK YOU exactly what I think BUT LET'S NOW PUSH FOR MEDIA REGULATION. WE CANNOT CONTINUE DOWN THE ROAD OF BRITAIN AND THEIR POLITICAL DEBARCLE VIA BIG BUSINESS PRESS abuse of power and non ethics.

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  28. margaret m

    old lady

    I cannot believe some of the comments must be from those who have little interest and or little history reading and listening to political comments could come up with those conclusion. Just wait until there is an issue that you are passionate about and if it doesn't line up with big business media's agenda then you will see what the problem is. No one is saying Julia Gillard is perfect no one is saying she did not make mistakes but what is being said I think is the media black out on all the information…

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    1. Henriette Vanechop
      Henriette Vanechop is a Friend of The Conversation.

      retired

      In reply to margaret m

      Memories are swarming, i can't help joining in ...

      "Rudd's people management" Some of his ministers during his first go have been highly critical of his work pace and expectations of theirs. Wasn't he hospitalised for serious surgery shortly after being displaced ?
      Could his frenzied self-imposed work-load have been the result of his wish to achieve as much as possible before ill-health threatened him ?

      "home insulation program" Who was in charge of its implementation? Was he expected…

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  29. ben gershon

    part time worker

    follow the money .if the NBN fiber to the home get finished Foxtel is worthless.when one download a selection that is wanted when wanted at a competitive cost .rupert is making another loss.

    ben

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  30. George Michaelson

    Person

    Its unusual to see journalists conduct self criticism in public. My sense of things is that when you ask a journalist if they might have been wrong to write something, the usual defence is that the truth is out there, or that the impact of journalism is overstated or misunderstood.

    Another common defence is to deny there was any downside consequence from some position of 'neutrality' -The extent to which anyone can exclude their own personal view (I hesitate to say bias, but its out there) is…

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    1. George Michaelson

      Person

      In reply to Peter West

      I think sometimes there is a bit of a shift from opinion to purported fact, even on the bylines. I hate the US news 'speak of the self in the third person' but there is something useful in the occasional "in this reporters opinion..."

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  31. Greg Wood

    Energy Consultant

    An excellent, overdue and hopefully not isolated review of the media violation we have all just suffered, whether or not we have yet identified its forceful penetration of our collective worth and dignity.

    However one important mechanism of it seems to have been omitted, or at least understated.

    During and now following this stilted public trial and execution of a national leader and her duly elected and relatively well-performing Government, the media has made constant, explicit reference…

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    1. Pat Moore

      gardener

      In reply to Greg Wood

      Thanks again Greg for your light of truth words.

      "Penetration" and "violation" is right...mind rape.

      And just as in actual gang rape, you observe correctly that the victim is blamed by the MSM participants of this disgraceful orgy of abuse. Misogynist sexism is the element of this society that Julia Gillard correctly identified and named and it is that which hunted her down relentlessly to her political end. This media pack was able to successfully prosecute its agenda by means of the echoing agreement in the herd mentality-minds of the populace it played into and whose prejudices it fed. This is the stuff of Murdoch's professional dark arts as a master of playing to the lowest strata of human nature.

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    2. Greg Wood

      Energy Consultant

      In reply to Pat Moore

      The more one thinks about it, its elements and implications, the more frightening the reality of it becomes, as a recent past, a present and an imminent future.

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  32. Michael Shand
    Michael Shand is a Friend of The Conversation.

    Software Tester

    Brilliant Article, someone deliver this as a hard copy to Michelle Grattan

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  33. Geoffrey O'Shea

    retired

    The media have the power to say and do as it pleases and let no one stand up or they will be deleted as happens on this site when the message delivered is not what they want.
    So thank you Denis for for very apt article about how the media delivers information as it sees fit.

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  34. John Campbell

    farmer

    The politicians think they run the country. The media know they run the politicians.

    And they will continue to do so, so long as they can express lies and innuendo under the guise of 'free speech'. No wonder they fight so strongly for it!

    The politics of hate with it's implicit racism and sexism needs to be tackled from a top down perspective. Access to reliable information also needs to be available if our so called democracy is not simply going to become a farce like much in the US already appears to be.

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  35. john tons

    retired redundant

    The reason that freedom of the press is so important is that an unfettered press protects us from tyranny, it puts the blow torch to those who seek to undermine our freedom. But when the press becomes the willing handmaiden of tyranny then we have lost the cornerstone of our democracy. This article demonstrates not just an ethical failing in the part of the media but the broader problem that the media is partisan - not in the sense of being pro labor or pro the coalition but partisan in the sense of pursuing its own political agenda.

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  36. Carol Daly

    Director

    Thanks Dennis for an excellent analysis.
    Pity it is three years too late.
    The MSM is not held to account by anyone in Australia and they appear to have now taken over the democratic function of telling us who our PM is to be and achieving their 'agenda'.
    I despair for Australia's democracy.

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    1. Peter Ormonde

      Farmer

      In reply to Carol Daly

      Do not despair Ms D!

      As the Age itself cited when regretfully demanding Gillard resign for the sake of the kiddies, they've done this before. Rarely for so long and with such relentless purpose, never so personally, but one expects newspaper proprietors to try and influence the outcome of elections - why not caucus ballots?

      The real tragedy here is the fact that a majority of the government - that is the caucus - has bent the knee to opinion polls and has elected a proven plotter and dummy spitter - a wrecker - to save them.

      The media played a role - disgraceful - dumbed down gossip - dutifully running every venomous leak and rumour as gospel truth in itself... Kevin Rudd's broadcast system. And all Abbott had to do was watch and ride the tsunami of self-inflicted collapse.

      But the real failure for me is that caucus listened and has rewarded him.

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    2. John Doyle
      John Doyle is a Friend of The Conversation.

      architect

      In reply to Carol Daly

      I think, Carol, you can well despair of all democracies.
      They are assailed by forces hardly imagined prior to our time.The rise of vested interests buying influence in the political sphere.
      News owners are just one such wedge.
      The armaments industry, the food industry. the health/pharmaceitical industry are all busy white anting institutions meant to make democracy work. None of these are concerned for our welfare. It's just profit.
      Take that Bastion of Freedom, the USA. There the pressures are extreme, but no one is getting off lightly.
      Welcome to a new world. Adjust or find ways to cope.

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    3. Terry Reynolds

      Financial and political strategist

      In reply to John Doyle

      John, your comment is an insult to all Australians, especially the diggers and those that dies for our freedom.

      We all know our democratic processes are not perfect, but we are the freest and individually wealthiest people in the world, living in the biggest and best homes, moreover in the OECD's "happiest country", and if in Melbourne in the LEU's "most liveable city", with guaranteed free health care and free education to University entry level, clean water, good roads and the list goes on…

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    4. John Doyle
      John Doyle is a Friend of The Conversation.

      architect

      In reply to Terry Reynolds

      Now you are bullshitting me, Terry. I posted nothing of the sort.
      You are talking yesterday. I'm talking tomorrow.
      In a way you supported what I say when you quoted the US senator. We need to be vigilant. It's a prerequisite.
      As it turns out we will have a great deal to worry about.
      Asimov says democracy will not survive overpopulation, nor the consequences of the second big environmental problem, soil degradation.
      War sacrifice was only ever for short term gain. The world moves on.

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    5. Terry Reynolds

      Financial and political strategist

      In reply to John Doyle

      John Doyle, you said above:-

      "......you can well despair of all democracies"

      "They are assailed by forces hardly imagined before our time. The rise of vested interested buying influence in the political sphere."

      "The armaments industry....... are all white anting institutions designed to make democracy work......."

      "Welcome to a new world, adjust or cope".

      What did you mean then?

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    6. John Doyle
      John Doyle is a Friend of The Conversation.

      architect

      In reply to Terry Reynolds

      I did not mean anything like the way you responded.
      We are getting a bit off topic here.
      Surely you understand that vested interests have a vested interest in manipulating governments and NGO's to get what they want?http://youtu.be/a6OxbpLwEjQ. This is a Monsanto example.
      The other industries have their examples too.
      If you think that is not related to our concept of democracy then you should hardly be disagreeing with me.
      We are not having our best interests represented by our elected politicians. Can't you see that?
      I got the impression from all your other interesting posts you were into the "bigger picture". Was I wrong?

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    7. Terry Reynolds

      Financial and political strategist

      In reply to John Doyle

      John, I agree with you there are private interests trying desperately hard to manipulate Government decisions to their advantage. That it is especially rife in Washington. American democracy suffers even more from lack compulsory voting leaving self interest groups like the NRA, and the lobbies you mentioned to impact on decisions. They are delay, rarely lock the US into anything permanent. Eventually commonsense will prevail through their style of democratic process.

      I believe their is a vast…

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    8. John Doyle
      John Doyle is a Friend of The Conversation.

      architect

      In reply to Terry Reynolds

      I didn't take offense, Terry. I was just mystified. Anyway we are not in disagreement.
      Do look at the monsanto exposé.

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    9. Terry Reynolds

      Financial and political strategist

      In reply to John Doyle

      John, thank you! In my conversations with people there is an element of despair with Australian politics in a time of plenty. It has come about by one side in opposition just adopting a 1974/5 style tactic of bitterly opposing everything the elected Government seeks to do and exaggerating even exaggerations based on flawed information not facts.

      It worked in 1975 but then the new Government came in also with no policies an did nothing for over seven underperforming and lean years. Does successful…

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    10. John Doyle
      John Doyle is a Friend of The Conversation.

      architect

      In reply to Terry Reynolds

      I don't think we get worse than we deserve in our politicians. After all most do have a sense of service to the community.
      It's a very particular job. One I am glad to leave to others.
      As I have said before, and you touch on it too, is that the lies of the LNP are not necessary and the moral shortcomings over that disqualify them from government legitimacy.
      Have you seen Sloppy Joe's press club speech taken to task for all it's errors? [I've lost the link but it's by Alan Austin]
      Same again for TA's budget reply speech, filled with mendacity.
      Not good!

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  37. Julie Petticrew

    Research Admin

    Thank you Denis for calling it as it actually was. Certainly the most blatant disrespect for the Office of Prime Minister and an individual that I have witnessed. I had for sometime been totally appalled by the media's lack of integrity. Strange that the day Gillard was deposed they all of a sudden started talking about policy. And I think that it is fair to say that the Conversation's political editor ethics were also questionable at best through out this period.

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  38. Anthony Spawton

    Retired Academic

    Thank you Dennis - Perhaps recent events have made the 4th estate somewhat of a cesspit of loutish behaviour under the guise of Free Speech. The use of ambush and prank and beatup have degraded the profession in line with the "comic nasties". But not only has this loutish behaviour trashed the journalism profession and where in the UK even criminality was rife.
    It has trashed privacy, common decency and our democratic institutions. The "so called" unelected influencers who thrive on populism…

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  39. Venise Alstergren
    Venise Alstergren is a Friend of The Conversation.

    photographer, blogger.

    First class article. Julia Gillard's incumbency as PM saw our media descend to depths of Ockerism that no human being-or even Australian-should have tolerated. It's what happens when ultimate trash gets to monopolise the so-called news.

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  40. rory robertson
    rory robertson is a Friend of The Conversation.

    former fattie

    On the topic of "Ethical lapses by journalists...", Dr Muller explains: "...it is true to say the media played a part in the demise of Gillard as prime minister". Many readers will consider PM Rudd's opportunistic comeback largely as an action replay - in reverse - of PM Gillard replacing PM Rudd three years ago. For centuries, political careers have been living and dying on the back of public perceptions fanned by the media, whether deserved or not.

    Readers, I'm much more concerned about ethical lapses by a prestigious Group of Eight university - a publicly funded "research intensive" entity we as taxpayers should be able to trust to separate fact from fiction - in refusing to correct the blatantly false information it has been promoting in the debate on the origins of obesity and diabetes, the biggest public-health challenge of our times: www.australianparadox.com

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  41. James Hulse

    health professional

    Crocodile tears aplenty from media types post-mortem. Where were you all when it counted? I am disgusted.

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  42. John Logan

    logged in via Facebook

    Denis, Your article is so, so true, I met Julia "outside of politics" although still as PM and I found her to be charming, intelligent, caring, aware and very capable and able, not characteristics media and commentators would have us believe!

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  43. margaret m

    old lady

    Australian people have not been served well by the current media. Australian community has not realised that media is no longer about high minded ethical persons delivering facts factors etc of national interest it is about business capturing the share of the market. Australian community has not begun to consider that BIG BUSINESS MEDIA may have conflict of interest in thier coverage of issues. How do we challenge a big business media the main source of information for so many in the world…

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