About Action Front for Truth in News Media

Opinion and comment

By site operator Barry Tucker               29 October, 2012

There is a growing feeling in Australia that the bulk of the country’s News Media has been hijacked in a way that is threatening our democracy. Opinion is divided, however. The Right says the News Media has been taken over by the Left. The Left says reporting and commentary is dominated by the Right.

It is to be expected that the commercially-owned print, radio and tv outlets would tend to favour the Liberal National Party coalition (LNP). It is also expected that the publicly-funded Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) would rigorously maintain a fair, balanced and objective standard of reporting. In the view of mainly Labor supporters and some independent observers, the ABC has abandoned objectivity and has joined a LNP crusade against the federal Labor government.

The LNP, its supporters and News Corp counters this argument by saying the ABC is biased in favour of the Left. It should be noted that, in the UK, Rupert Murdoch has argued that publicly funded broadcasters (the BBC) are unfair competition to his commercial TV interests. The Institute of Public Affairs has recommended the ABC and SBS be broken up and sold. Rupert’s father, Sir Keith, was a founding member of the IPA and the Liberal party.

Overall, it seems the principles of objectivity and balance (which I had no trouble observing for some 46 years as a journalist, sub-editor and publisher/editor) have been gradually abandoned and comment, opinion, bias, distortion and imbalance have taken over — even among junior journalists. Critics of the News Media say there is little worthwhile or in-depth analysis of the policies of either major party, almost no questioning of the rhetorical, slogan dominated and negative campaigning of the federal LNP Opposition, and opinion-sharing, following and repeating in the mainstream media (MSM) and in the ABC.

The question of whether individual journalists are biased, and which way, can be difficult to determine. However, sometimes a journalist exhibits a bias which is clearly one-sided, consistent and persistent. For example, Ch10’s The Bolt Report presenter, Andrew Bolt, is persistently biased against Labor and is a climate change denier (he says “doubter”). Ch10 is part owned by Murdoch’s son Lachlan, mining magnate Gina Rinehart and others.

This resource centre is intended to be a focal point and a place where concerned citizens can find contact details for government ministers, News Media outlets, journalists, certain blogs, Twitter accounts and other relevant information.

Victor Hugo: “Nothing is more powerful than an idea whose time has come.”

Edmund Burke: “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.”

Concerned citizens are urged to use the information in this Resource Centre to take individual action to protest against distortion in any News Media.

The Action Front for Truth in the News Media is not designed to become an organisation that people can join, or a petition to sign, or a Facebook page where people can comment and feel they have done their bit. It will remain a body without form, a movement with a purpose. The purpose is to campaign for the restoration of objective and balanced reporting in the MSM and in the ABC in particular. Informed comment is an area where some latitude must be allowed.

This site is operated by Barry Tucker, a retired journalist who has worked in all forms of News Media, is an Australian Labor Party (ALP) supporter, but not a member of the ALP*.  His personal political opinions are expressed in the blogs of The Sniper http://bit.ly/12CJae4 and Twitter @btckr *I have withdrawn my support of Labor following the outcome of the 2013 federal election. In my opinion, Labor’s incompetence and self-indulgent behaviour handed the Liberal & National Party coalition an easy victory. You will find plenty of information in this blog and in The Sniper which makes my opinion of LNP Coalition leader Anthony (Tony) Abbott quite clear.

13 thoughts on “About Action Front for Truth in News Media

  1. Hi Barry, I like the above, except, the same as a lot of media, you have assumed that we the punter ‘know’ stuff that we don’t… ie “It is to be expected that the commercially-owned print, radio and tv outlets would tend to favour the Liberal National Party coalition (LNP).”… Why is that to be expected? I myself have often said that to friends (non political) in the past and they look at me like I am silly. I wrote an article on it for some of my friends. http://yathink.com.au/article-display/benefit-of-the-doubt-on-doing-important-things-for-australia,32

    Would be interested to hear your thoughts on what Journo’s actually think of the actual punters? ie the people who don’t belong to any party and have moved on from blindly following what their parents voted for, yet, do not have time to take any interest in politics?

    • You are right in what you say about my assumption. I learnt early in the game that when reporting you can’t assume the reader knows the background to a story. I can only say I believe it’s generally accepted that the owners of the means of production (the capital, or finance) side with the Liberal Party while the providers of the labour (the employees) side with the Australian Labor Party. These parties came about due to those distinctions. The dividing line became blurred some time during the 1980s. Similarly, the National Party (the old Country Party) looks after the country folk. But that’s another generalisation, which is also blurring with the expansion of our major regional centres and the encroachment of mining.

      By “generally accepted”, I am referring to those who take at least some interest in the issues surrounding the news media and politics. I don’t know why anyone would visit the site if they did not have this interest and at least some basic knowledge of the news media and our present political situation: the perception of bias and the news media’s almost total failure to question the campaign of negativity and smear being run by the Opposition for the past two years, combined with its lack of interest in a policy debate. If people are concerned about that they could come here looking for information on where and how to protest, so I can assume they have some knowledge of the politics.

      The second part of your comment raises another interesting and relevant point: What do journalists think of the swinging or even disinterested voters? Unfortunately, I don’t know what other journalists think. As you pointed out on my Twitter account earlier today, some people are no longer committed to voting along family or traditional lines. The news media is also changing and evolving. Advertising and marketing is evolving, the newspaper’s advertising base is shrinking and large numbers of print media journalists are losing their jobs. It’s been said that the bias and attack campaigns of radio shock jocks and some print journalists are attempts to attract and hold an audience through sensationalism. The present undisguised bias of News Ltd (owner of around 70% of Australian news media) may be an attempt to enable a Liberal National Party (LNP) government that would be more favourable towards News Ltd’s business interests.

      In order to change the government, News Ltd has to get these swinging voters to support the LNP. I am certain that supporting the Opposition’s lying and smearing campaign is the wrong way to go about this. All of the major issues the Opposition has raised (the lie about “no carbon tax”, the AWU slush fund affair, the Peter Slipper allegations and the Craig Thomson allegations) have proven to be without foundation (see http://bit.ly/UBgzNm). These campaigns have damaged people, they have hurt the government in the polls and they have also said something about the Opposition and its supporters. It will be a disaster for our democracy if the swinging voters are influenced by these things rather than by the policy debate we never had. That’s a political comment, but we are involved in a very nasty political situation.

      • Couldn’t agree more. Once it was news, then it became news and views and now it is entirely someones interpretation of the whole matter. You are simply paying to be indocrinated/ brainwashed, when you buy an MSM publication. It is quite clear why Murdoch doesn’t want to have a government in that runs out a fibre optic communication network. No-one VOTES for Rupert. Why do we listen to the spin his lackeys put on everything?

  2. I have been keeping a dossier of ABC statements involving spin, repetition of lies, lack of impartiality, quoting obvious untruths as tho’ they should be taken seriously, sins of omission in quoting Govt, MPs, etc.
    I have listed the presenter’s name, show, time, date, etc.
    It’s amazing how quickly the list is growing in just a week so far.
    When I have a bundle I will send them to the ABC Board (Complaints) and to [Senator] Stephen Conroy.
    If many others do the same they will surely be under some obligation to respond.

  3. “…in Australia that the bulk of the country’s News Media has been hijacked…”
    Not only in Australia, Sir. They are the tail which wags the dog in Europe too.
    Greetings to down under.

  4. Barry, you might enjoy the good news that I reported on my blog at

    http://miriam-e.dreamwidth.org/311346.html

    It looks like the mainstream media’s days of bad influence may be numbered. It is, of course, unfortunate that in the process we are losing potentially useful modes of information distribution, but once it loses its power perhaps it will be reborn in a more altruistic form.

    This is what happened with IBM, for many years the most powerful computer company in the world. They misused their power very badly. They honed the technique of FUD (fear, uncertainty and doubt) and misinformation in scaring potential customers away from competitors. After they crashed and burned a couple of decades ago they were reborn as a socially helpful company promoting open-source solutions and working with the community instead of against it.

    We can hope that the same will be true of the mainstream media after their coming fall from power.

  5. Bully tactics, fear monger, nationalistic fervor, propagandist, deception, miss-direction, racial discrimination, misogyny, censorship, slogan based “almost no questioning of the rhetorical, slogan dominated and negative campaigning, campaign of negativity and smear”

    Clearly the Federal LNP and Tony Abbott are familiar with the following writer, his thoughts and techniques

    “The first duty of the propagandist is to win over people
    who can subsequently be taken into the organization. And the
    first duty of the organization is to select and train men who will
    be capable of carrying on the propaganda. The second duty of
    the organization is to disrupt the existing order of things and
    thus make room for the penetration of the new teaching which
    it represents, while the duty of the organizer must be to fight
    for the purpose of securing power, so that the doctrine may
    finally triumph.”

    The reality in Australia today, is in my opinion, that many voters no longer distinguish one party from another. The concepts of Social democratic, Labor or Liberal and Nationalist of right wing or left are blurred. The notion of a “working class” is gone. Many now fail to recognize that they are the Labor component of the equation.
    To my mind the Australian Labor party is at best right of centre in the ideological spectrum.
    Australian,s in general seem to me to want the security they perceive as having existed in a white dominated, religion underwritten, European, right wing, capitalist doctrine. It is thus natural to follow the likes of Tony Abbott and the Australian liberal national coalition which is supported and supports those who hold the capital, control the media and whose interests may vary from even scientific facts.
    If a god exists may he have mercy on us all, we know not what we do.

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