By Andrew L. Urban.
“The separation of powers means that the legal system is answerable to no one,” I said, speaking at the Sydney launch of my book, Murder by the Prosecution (Wilkinson Publishing), on September 22, 2018. It is unfortunate that I can rephrase that sentiment and replace ‘the legal system’ with ‘the media’.
Throughout the Anglosphere, left-leaning mass media entities have become advocates for left wing, socio-political positions. I should know it can happen; I am a journalist and I have become an advocate – pursuing wrongful convictions and advocating for innocents behind bars.
A free press is not the same as a fair press; all media commentators have an absolute right to express their political opinions. Citizens, if left uncensored by the tech giants of social media, likewise. The loss of public trust in much of the media is the result of self inflicted wounds, made up of a thousand cuts of lies by omission, lies by distortion, lies by mischaracterisation and misrepresentation. Integrity has been abandoned. Deception has been normalised.
with power comes responsibility
The mechanisms that regulate the media do not include provisions (nor should, other than the ABC’s charter) to regulate such editorial decisions that mislead readers, viewers and listeners. But with power comes responsibility.
“An old friend, confined by ill health to his home and hence a big consumer of the mainstream media, looked at me in amazement when I talked about some of Trump’s triumphs and said stubbornly, his jaw set: ‘I never hear anyone else saying that stuff,’ writes Kerry Wakefield (The Spectator Australia, Sept 22, 2018)
She points out that consumers of the Fairfax press and ABC know little or nothing about the unfolding intelligence agency abuse of power at the top levels of the FBI and Department of Justice in the US. I maintain a heavy schedule of watching Fox News to stay informed, not because I prefer their coverage but because of the absence of such coverage in Australia. I don’t suggest that American politics should be more extensively covered than Australian politics, but they should be covered and covered thoroughly. US political news is not immaterial to Australia (or the world).
If your world view and opinions are fashioned by what you consume in the no longer credible mainstream media, you will have formed your opinions on incomplete or even false information.
As Chris Kenny reports (The Australian, Sept 22, 2018), the ABC reported that Rupert Murdoch and Kerry Stokes dictated the prime ministership of this country, with the prodding of The Australian, for instance, without a shred of evidence. Indeed, contrary to the facts.
“Apart from the teenage silliness of pretending that Murdoch and Stokes could just phone a few underlings to create a false media dynamic and force serious journalists to conjure up stories and commentary that then swung the votes of more than 40 MPs to change the leadership of the Liberal Party, (ABC Political Editor Andrew) Probyn had obvious facts wrong. In these pages during the week I detailed how his claim that this newspaper had been ‘unabashed in its advocacy for an end to the Turnbull prime ministership’ was not only wrong but the opposite to what transpired.” Is that the same as lying?
“Across three years of the Turnbull prime ministership and about 936 editorial columns, Probyn will not find a single editorial calling for this outcome.”
Or take climate change: professionally curious journalists would have informed the public of the great scientific uncertainty around the causes of global warming … such as it was (was!). But the propaganda of the alarmists has stuck: ‘97% of scientists agree…’ That false and misleading statistic (referring to just 75 mostly Californian scientists) was debunked years ago, yet retains currency because no popular media has cared to (or wanted to) challenge it. That’s lying about emissions by omission. It’s not as if it were hard to find reputable and credible scientists who can explain the fraud. (Start with one of our own: Professor Ian Plimer.)
Had the public been better informed, there may well have been a stronger push back against the strangely self harming energy policies of the past decade.
So the left wing media flies around in circles, repeating and reinforcing left wing ideologies; it has lost the trust of those of us who prefer rational debate and evidence based decisions made by our politicians.
The absence of integrity in much of the mainstream media is a multi-continental malaise. Once the go-to news sources like Fairfax, the ABC, CNN and The New York Times have become Fake News Central; biased, untrustworthy, dishonest, hypocritical and divisive.
In his book, The Strange Death of Europe, Douglas Murray offers page after page of specific examples (with references) of how deaf and blind have been the mainstream media and politicians in the Western half of Europe (including the UK) on matters of Muslim immigration.
missing the point
Problems generated by illegal (and legal) migration are downplayed or underreported by the left wing media everywhere. That’s lying by omission.
Murray refers to “Research into the political sympathies of Swedish journalists (that) revealed that in 2011 almost half (41 per cent) were sympathetic to the Green Party … the Left Party (15 per cent), the Social Democratic Party (14 per cent) and the liberal conservative Moderate Party (14 per cent). Only around 1 per cent of journalists expressed sympathy for the Sweden Democrats . . . Yet in 2016 this party … was the highest-ranking party in the Swedish polls.”
As if to prove Murray’s point, by completely missing it, The Guardian published its sneering review of his book under the headline, ‘Gentrified Xenophobia’. “Naked racism may still be unacceptable in polite society. But post-Brexit vote there’s a clear market emerging for a slightly posher, better-read, more respectable way of saying that you’d rather not live next door to Romanians or think Muslims are coming to rape your womenfolk,” sniffed Gaby Hinsliff, with the double whammy of a misaligned racist smear and a snobby sneer.
To paraphrase Trump, ‘the fake news media is the enema of the people.’
Also published in Spectator Australia, Sept. 29, 2018