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Name: Antony Loewenstein
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Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Getting far in journalism

Medialens, October 25:

"To the extent that a media system accepts that its ‘professional’ role is to report a news agenda set by officialdom, it must largely renounce the task of challenging that agenda. If the government, for example, rejects as hopelessly flawed a report on civilian casualties in Iraq - if it decides to ‘move on’, say, from the November 2004 Lancet report - who are professional news journalists to disagree?

"For a news journalist to continue promoting the credibility of the officially rejected report - or the rejected role of oil in motivating foreign policy, or the rejected possibility of Tony Blair’s prosecution for war crimes - is to challenge the accepted right of officialdom to set the agenda for the professional press. It is in fact an attempt to set a competing agenda. This is to lay oneself open to attack as a ‘biased’, ‘committed’ and ‘crusading’ journalist - something professional news reporters are not supposed to be."

It is difficult to think of one leading Australian journalist - aside from Margo Kingston - who sees journalism as much more than simply "reporting the facts." Corporate journalism is designed to promote and support those reporters who know their place and role. Don't ask uncomfortable questions, don't openly challenge government spin and certainly don't offer an alternative way of seeing the world.

Medialens - whose first book, Guardians of Power, is released in December - regularly tackles the so-called "liberal" press and its presumptions of openness and fairness. Western journalistic exceptionalism has never had a greater foe.


Blogger 1 said...

Great blog. Just curious. How would you define your work within the scope of what you are discussing on this post? Would you consider yourself and independent journalist? Is that even a real category?

Wednesday, November 02, 2005 11:03:00 am  
Blogger Antony Loewenstein said...

I would consider myself independent. I work, now and then, for corporate news orgs, but am not permanently employed by any of them, and nor do i want to be. I'm writing a few books and do not, unlike journalists at Murdoch, have to avoid certain issues or questions.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005 11:06:00 am  
Blogger Rich Bowden said...

Very thought-provoking blog Ant, thanks.As Pilger says, its the so-called "quality" press such as the NYT and Post that have to accept the most blame in allowing the Bush administration's excesses precisely because they are trusted more by readers.

Congratulations too on your article on the same subject in this week's New Matilda.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005 8:42:00 pm  
Blogger Antony Loewenstein said...

Thanks, Rich.
Much more on this subject...hold that thought for my second book, on the Aussie media, due 2007.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005 8:58:00 pm  
Blogger Rich Bowden said...

"my second book, on the Aussie media, due 2007"

Mate....can't wait, though you do realise that by 2007, under Section 6 sub-paragraph 79 of the special Lowenstein sedition laws enacted by Parliament after receiving the full support of a compliant Opposition.... you'll probably be arrested for saying bad things about mates of the Liberal party.

Just joking...or am I?

Wednesday, November 02, 2005 9:28:00 pm  
Blogger Antony Loewenstein said...

It'll be out through Random House.
I'd put nothing past the current govt, as they seem so uncomfortable with dissent.

Thursday, November 03, 2005 10:09:00 am  
Blogger Wombat said...

Rich, you might think you're joking but it was only a few weeks ago that an Aussie was deported from the US for demonstrating against Halliburton was he not?

Thursday, November 03, 2005 3:12:00 pm  

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