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Name: Antony Loewenstein
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Monday, August 08, 2005

More diversity, indeed

The front page story in today's Australian, New TV outlets in media reforms, outlines the Howard government's plans to introduce more pay TV channels and the "reasonable prospect" of changing the existing cross media laws. The result? Less diversity, fewer owners and the same message pumped out across a variety of mediums. For the Murdoch press - long-time supporters to change the laws, once suggesting that the "liberalising" of the laws would improve diversity - it seems pragmatism and the truth has got in the way. Reporter Steve Lewis writes:

"This could allow major proprietors such as Kerry Packer's PBL or News Limited, publisher of The Australian, to broaden their domestic interests. It would also permit new foreign players to take significant stakes in existing media assets, or establish start-up operations."

No kidding. This morning Radio National discussed some of these issues, including the release of a new Robert Manne edited collection, "Do Not Disturb: Is the Media Failing Australia?" (out through Black Inc Books this week.) I've started reading the book and although many of the contributors articulate the failings of the media here - including "entertainment" as news, too few owners and Howard government intervention - I'm astounded that two writers are still convinced that institutions such as the New York Times and Washington Post are the benchmark. They're not. Much of the US mainstream media is experiencing a crisis of confidence and credibility and rightly so.

Have these writers forgotten the Iraq war and the media's complicity with government claims of WMD? The NY Times' Judith Miller is perhaps the most well-known culprit, but the buck certainly stops much higher. A fascinating book, "The Record of the Paper: How the New York Times Misreports US Foreign Policy", outlines the continual failure of the paper and its deference to US power. The NY Times is as much of the problem as Fox News, and far too many so-called "progressives" fail to understand the similarity.

11 Comments:

Blogger evan jones said...

James Aronson, in The Press and the Cold War, put the boot into these absurdly venerated establishment newspapers in 1970.
There's many provincial papers in the US that do a decent job but are ignored in Australia.

Monday, August 08, 2005 4:12:00 pm  
Blogger Antony Loewenstein said...

Our mainstream press seems to worship at the feet of the 'quality' US and UK newspapers, using their copy almost religiously and on a daily basis. It's as if the opinion should be respected or the story believed because it's been in the NYTimes...

Monday, August 08, 2005 4:22:00 pm  
Blogger Andjam said...

That the mainstream media is really awful is one of the few things both hemispheres of the blogosphere agree on.

Thank goodness for the internet.

Monday, August 08, 2005 5:57:00 pm  
Blogger Rich Bowden said...

Going back to the early 80's when the US-supported Iraq was gassing Iranian soldiers on an almost daily basis, the Washington Post was editorializing that it would be too picky to "sanction one form of warfare and not another."

I'd be interested if you could provide me with a list of provincial newspapers in the US that you'd recommend Evan.

Monday, August 08, 2005 8:55:00 pm  
Blogger Andjam said...

Going back to the early 80's when the US-supported Iraq was gassing Iranian soldiers on an almost daily basis, the Washington Post was editorializing that it would be too picky to "sanction one form of warfare and not another."

Do you have a hyperlink to the WaPo's editorial?

Monday, August 08, 2005 9:53:00 pm  
Blogger evan jones said...

re Rich Bowden's interest in American provincial newspapers. See my 'Will it play in Peoria?'
http://alertandalarmed.blogspot.com/2005_06_01_alertandalarmed_archive.html
Not that you would want to be reading them from Australia, as they are saturated with local issues. The point is that the matter of factness of local American communities will have them more concerned with body bags than the imperial mission of 'freedom and democracy' loved by the establishment press.
In yesterday's Madison Capital Times, for example, the editor noted Toyota's preference for Canada because of its universal health system. The editor notes soberly that the ideological obsession against 'socialised' health insurance is now killing the American economy.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005 7:31:00 am  
Blogger Rich Bowden said...

Thanks Evan....

Andjam....the reference was taken from the Rampton/Stauber book "Weapons of Mass Deception" who refer readers to the following link
http://www.fair.org/extra/0209/iraq-gas.html

Wednesday, August 10, 2005 8:26:00 pm  
Blogger Antony Loewenstein said...

Thanks for the link, Rich. FAIR are consistently brilliant...

Thursday, August 11, 2005 4:12:00 pm  
Blogger Andjam said...

Ah well, no hyperlink to the editorial itself. Not that I doubt that the WaPo would write something like that.

Thursday, August 11, 2005 5:02:00 pm  
Blogger leftvegdrunk said...

andjam, try the library.

Saturday, August 13, 2005 3:48:00 pm  
Blogger Andjam said...

Sure, can you give me the URL for it? :P

Saturday, August 13, 2005 4:16:00 pm  

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