Damned if you do, damned if you don’t

Comment by Barry Tucker                     13 February, 2013

Australia’s political journalists have been accused of being in lockstep with the federal Opposition, incensed since it narrowly missed winning the last federal election in mid-2010. For the past several months some have been struggling to free themselves from the labelling and to recover their objectivity.

These journalists often find themselves in an awkward position: to report or to ignore. Martin McKenzie-Murray, a columnist with The National Times and a former political speech writer, provides an insight into the problem in:

Politicians and journalists in lockstep on march of idiocy

These difficulties — the damned if you do, damned if you don’t contingencies of political reporting — create a peculiar situation that Rosen has described as journalism being less intelligent than its journalists. This logical quandary is queered further by our culture of political tribalism. Almost all political criticism, however reasonable or uninflected, is received, interpreted and responded to as partisanship. This, I suggest, disinclines news producers to assert themselves.

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