Sunday, August 5, 2012

The cost of free speech, It ain't cheap mate!!


Tony Abbott is warning the creation of a "media watchdog" as being a "political correctness police". This is indeed interesting rhetoric from a man who calls himself a former journalist.  Abbott’s misinformation, character assassination, obstructionist political divide and concur strategy defines his leadership. The opposition is the beneficiary of a tide of lies and propaganda never seen before in Australian politics in what can only be described as unchecked commentary masquerading as journalism.  Everything from the economy to social reform, infrastructure to the NDIS is blatantly misrepresented in an orchestrated assault on anything that differs from neo-conservatism.  Its a non stop political opportunistic football match that forgets the rules and fair play. Its win at any cost playing the man not the game. This mis-information war, fuelling every conceivable prejudice furthers his political agenda by the consistent use of one word “NO”. All the hallmarks of Edward Bernays 1928 book “Propaganda” are at play here. Spruik the lie enough times so as to create doubt and even the smallest amount of traction sets the wheels spinning and mud flying. . Insecurity, doubt fear, hatred and mis-information all followed to the letter, but how much sticks? In a progressive multicultural society, social dialogue has plummeted to the lowest ebb in Australian political history.  Fuelled by Abbott’s election promise to repeal legal recourse under section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act, which prohibits statements that offend, insult, humiliate or intimidate another person or a group of people on grounds of race or ethnicity you have effectively eroded the last line of defence. Abbott is far from sorry and so obviously out of touch with the people such legislation is designed to protect. This is a dangerously regressive act that is more at home in a totalitarian power rather than in Australia’s multicultural egalitarian society.

As we have seen dating back to the 1800's the media has become a law unto itself, incapable of and uninterested in self-regulation. I am not in favour of more regulation of anything, however as with guns there needs to be rules, responsibility and accountability for ones actions. Today’s changing media landscape is at odds with traditional information powerbases. The requirement for news outlets to embrace technological change has seen democratisation of media with archaic legislation out of step with the new models of media consumption.  Currently media is cheap so agenda based political, social and commercial campaigns have blurred the line between opinion and fact, opinion and reporting and my favourite, journalism and entertainment. The standard modus operandi in media outlets is to weigh up commercial gain over litigation. That is, how much advertising revenue do they make over how much they may or may not have to pay if they are sued or fined. This gamble has proved lucrative and commercially successful for Australian media generally as the current systems of complaint recourse is virtually non-responsive to any concerns “average” people have. In short, self-regulation provides a firewall between the media organisation and the regulator as the complaint has to go through the organisation first. “We believe we are compliant with the act” responses are the norm and 90% of frustrated people take the matter no further. So if you get no joy, then you complain to the toothless tiger ACMA who “may” rarely impose an infringement that is a ridiculously disproportionate monetary fine compared to the advertising revenue earned. Subsequently, why wouldn't media outlets take this gamble? They have a better than 90% chance of getting away with it outright and if they do get fined, the talent is still making a fortune with little or no consequence other than a by-line or retraction.

So how does this work you may well ask? Good examples are carefully constructed inflammatory comments to create a “rise” amongst less informed audiences, cash for comment and stating erroneous facts to push an agenda. The term “Shock Jock” defines a very murky area of media debate around the world. Alan Jones, Andrew Bolt, Ray Hadley and Steve Price have all predicated a format based upon their outspoken views on a range of topics designed to fuel outrage in public opinion. This strategy is lucrative in selling advertising as former advertising executive and owner of Radio station 2GB John Singleton can attest. Jones has constantly come under criticism for his defamatory, inflammatory and inaccurate comments on a range of issues and has maintained when the subject of legal action, he is an “entertainer” not a reporter or commentator. "I'm not a journalist" people listen to me for entertainment he proclaims. This illusion of a "Man for the people" providing a "spleen vent" for the less educated and uninformed is a format formulated to maximise income not social discourse. Jones breaking “Stories” that were no more than press releases for advertising clients erased the line between advertising and reporting until it was indistinguishable, forcing ACMA to make disclosure mandatory law. Jones and Bolt are the Australian poster boys for the marketing arm of the neo-con movement “The Tea Party”. Jones has unsuccessfully tried to get up a Bill ORiley type program till he was unmercifully dumped for bad ratings. Bolt has succeeded with the help of Mining Magnate Gina Reinhardt thanks to her financial interest in network 10. Bolt does not need to rate, just parrot the message and collect the cash. Gina is on a media buying mission and has very deep pockets convinced that its her say on the information super highway. Interestingly after her foray to own Fairfax without agreeing to sign up for editorial independence,  she has since suggested that Fairfax sell its radio assets and the most likely bidder is Singleton. Well surprise, surprise what a coincidence.  What a sweet deal, she still gets the net result as Singleton will run the same Shock Jock formula for success and Singleton (that great Aussie bloke so in touch with the common man) makes more money. 

Abbott and traditional media vendors have much to lose from reform. The main stakes are money, power and influence. Disproportionate representation of the perception of fact in social debate is a dangerous situation. Lies; masquerading as qualified fact to further political traction and generate revenue is immoral and at odds with Australian ethos of “Fair Dinkum”. When discredited, scientifically unqualified, self-promoting charlatans like Christopher Monkton are paraded on equal footing in the media as Professors of Science; public debate is well and truly broken. At what point did people just give up in ambivalent acceptance that an auctioneer turned entertainer like Hadley (He is by far the worst sports commentator in Australia) had any credibility to inform political debate in Australia? When did the “opposing everything to get a rise” opinion of Bolt (a base level educated, company indoctrinated journalist) hold weight over a Professor of physics, climatology or the head of the CSIRO? These people are the good guys who have dedicated there life to furthering scientific advancement of the human race. So when did society stoop so low as to attack them because it’s inconvenient?  I’ll tell you when, when despite being presented with factual truth that the Australian economy is one of the best in the world, people believe lying talking heads we are broke.  I’ll tell you when, when money and the egocentric lust for power in a cult of personality within an attention deficit news cycle holds greater currency than the factual truth itself. What is offensive and ridiculous is the assertion that when people like Bolt and Jones are subject to account under the due process of law they assert that their “Free Speech” is being stifled. Stifled they proclaim; whilst being syndicated nationally in print, radio and television. Their speech is far from free; it’s big business generating millions of advertising dollars. Is that the same “Free speech” a disenfranchised public would enjoy if they ever rang up these authoritarian egomaniacs to debate or question todays “designed topic” and are don’t get past the switchboard? I think not.

I once met Stan Zemanic. He was a surprisingly gentle, attentive intelligent man. I asked him “do you believe half of that stuff you say because you sound like the world’s greatest stirrer to me”. Stan looked me in the eye with a cheeky grin and said, “it’s all show business”. Unfortunately, show business is affecting the real business of social debate, freedom and equality in Australia.



21 comments:

  1. What a load of Lefty conspiracy theory you present as considered opinion!

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  2. Iain I always enjoy comments that contain words like lefty and conspiracy . These are code for I don't like the truth. Yes my blog is considered as I work in and follow.the media very closely, especially the relationships between people when pushing an agenda. I notice no rebuttal....obviously you have nothing to add but empty rhetoric.....just like Abbott's lies and policy.

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  3. Mr Jelly if you like I will go through your argument forensically and explain why I don't buy your argument.
    I'll provide a link to may criticism when its finished.
    Cheers
    Iain

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    1. Please feel free and if you could explain to me why Kyle Sanderlands and Alan Jones were still on the air despite legal proceedings and infringements of the broadcasting act. Please enlighten me as to why Bolt remains on channel 10 despite bad ratings and why Reinhardt bankrolls is program. Maybe some insight into why Monkton, who has no scientific qualifications and has been exposed as a lying fraud on numerous occasions, is paraded as an expert? Maybe you could give me some shining examples of self-regulation working in Australia. I will wait in anticipation for your answer, however if it contains words like lefty, conspiracy theory I will assume that your comments are from someone in denial of media’s political cohesion and not working in the media.

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    2. Here you go Ricky

      http://iainhall.wordpress.com/2012/08/09/nice-title-shame-about-the-piece-itself-though/

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  4. Don't take the bait Ricky. Hall regularly steals other people's blog posts, republishes on his eyesore of a blog and comments on them there. It's just a desperate attempt to troll for hits and comments. Nothing will annoy him more than if nobody comments.

    Get a clue Iain.

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    1. Sorry Pete...I hear you but his reply is too funny...my fourteen year old nephew is way more literate....he is obviously a intellectual pygmy...

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    2. I think you mean 'far' more literate.

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  5. So let me get this “right”? You troll the blog, get a sentence and make a comment that disagrees with no fact. Then mark it like a school teacher and that's you forensic analysis? No examples, no counter argument? "Ricky Pannowitz seeks to blame the messengers who point out its nakedness” "Add this this his clear lack of proof reading or editing skills and what you get is a rather sloppy argument that fails utterly to make its case." Oh the Hypocrisy. Iain a true indication of your ability to construct critical thinking is to resort to calling me a “communist”. A true measure of how stupefied by incongruous rhetoric and out of touch with reality you are is the fact that Australia ( thanks to this government) remains one of the strongest economies in the world. A simple truth supported by every credible economist in the world. Yet Abbott, an economic incompetent and his commentator fanboy club still disseminates the lie that we are broke. A member of the "chattering classes" ? Is that another insult? Sounds more like a broad supposition. No Iain, a highly educated (my qualifications are in media) intellectual, who actually works in the media, unlike yourself. Oh Iain, I love the lowbrow denialist, truth is just a cut and paste keystroke away. So; seeing you have aspirations of acting like Alan Jones, a garden variety School teacher (Alan’s formal qualification) I will mark your work accordingly..... (4/10...you seem to not construct a factually based argument, rather comment on each phrase. Your analysis is no more than loose comment and sights no clear examples). If you don’t understand ironic metaphors and the tone of language you should research their use, its fundamental to the basic understanding of the intent behind the words………. “Never tell the truth to people who are not worthy of it.” Mark Twain.

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  6. Pete W
    you are clearly wrong about what constitutes "stealing"

    Ricky
    Sorry Pete...I hear you but his reply is too funny...my fourteen year old nephew is way more literate....he is obviously a intellectual pygmy...

    Perhaps you should get you nephew to proof read your rants then and then maybe you would present a better argument on your blog.

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  7. Did you ask Ricky if you could copy his post in its entirety and republish it on your blog? All so you could troll him to comment there? I very much doubt it.

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  8. Well of course the answer is no Pete. It’s exactly what I expected from a man who cuts and paste’s an Abbott speech to a right wing think tank as some type of response. It’s obvious that Iain can’t think for himself as he cannot grasp or understand the process of critical analysis. That would be where you offer examples of fact rather than reconstituted rhetoric to formulate a position. His retort is just a series of obstinate comments that offer no fact or rebuttal. Hollow words designed to antagonise without debate. The thing about people like Iain is they are as transparent as their ignorant rhetoric. I state fact, informed opinion from personal experience and Iain, like Abbott offers nothing but baseless opinion. He has yet to give me anything but comment, dismissing the direct correlation between advertising dollars, tabloid shock jock antics and patrons (Jones, Bolt ) of the Liberal party. So I will now treat Iain with the contempt he deserves…Ignore him. Yep I should have taken your advice mate.

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  9. Yeah he's a pernicious Australian blog parasite. You don't want him hanging around. Not only will he continually troll you to comment on his blog, any pictures you post here will also end up over there. P.S. Hall's degree is in drama, not media, despite what he claims.

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  10. Pete W
    My degree is in Drama AND Language in the Media Oh and Under the terms of the copyright act it is not stealing to use a piece of text for criticism or review.

    Ricky

    It was I who produced "informed opinion" you have just reiterated the usual unfounded assertions.Of those assertions my favourite us your Claims That Jones and Bolt are colluding together for which you have no proof whatsoever and the just wrong claim that Andrew Bolt is a member of the liberal party!!!

    Learn some humility mate and you will go further as a political commentator because there is little worse than the arrogant writing about politics.

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  11. Learn some humility mate and you will go further as a political commentator because there is little worse than the arrogant writing about politics.......only topped by an idiot that who speaks loud and say nothing.....you have a degree in drama alright....(language in the media?) Sound like a crock to me. But what would I know I make things and actually work in the media....what do you actually do Iian...?

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  12. Iain Hall is the personification of a ' Know All' Any subject under the sun and he has an instant opinion and is an expert. He has a hide as thick as an elephant and is impossible to shame. Even when he is proven wrong, he goes around in circles making excuses finally dis-appearing up his own arse hole. There is a comprehensive critique of his behavior that is the stuff of legend on (Encyclopedia Dramatica). Some, people find his antics a source for much merriment, I don't, the man is dead set dangerous.

    He has by any yard stick the mental make up of an ultra right wing propagandist, and must be fucking mad to hold the opinions he does. He is a homophobic racist and that's being kind.

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    1. Thanks for confirming what I found out. I have called him out when I questioned his qualifications...no responses. He stated he published articles...where? No responses. I actually think he is delusionally mentally ill.

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  13. Iain Hall is the worse case of delusional denial I have ever come across on the net. He spouts righteous right wing ideology and economics and you would think he had a château in the Swiss Alps.

    The irony is, he denies any income off of social welfare and yet, the poor fuck really does think the Tony Abbott's of this world would keep him on social welfare if they thought they could get away with starving him to death, the man is an imbecile.

    His knowledge of history like the other fucking tools he gets on his web site are just as fucking crazy as he is. They think with out the social conscience of the " Latte Left" His words not mine, they would all live in a state of Nirvana.

    The Liberal party loves these social mis-fits and play up to them for all it's worth. No where is this more transparent than in the refugee debate, where it sticks out they are fucking red necks of the highest order.

    Like you I really do think the man is barking mad.

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