Dignity and the media
Has the media industry lost their dignity completely? Is the media still the noble institution it once was?
I know I often whinge about the media, and I know how some readers may not take kindly to the way I bag them so often, and especially when it’s the Central Western Daily, but I honestly think today’s media, all of them, have a case to answer. I think the media generally now does more harm than good, and if people took the time to think about their methods, or if there was a Royal Commission into the impact they have on people’s thinking and actions, I think many people would be appalled. From where I sit, the media acts as if it’s a law unto themselves.
It’s a huge topic and I don’t have the time or space to elaborate too much in a column like this. Let me however use a few local examples of what I’m saying and then offer a few thoughts on how much better they could serve us.
A local TV news service has started a Pet of the Week segment. This news service provides about 15 – 20 minutes worth of news each weeknight and covers about a third of the State. Using this precious time for a Pet of the Week….really?
The Ten Network claims their program “The Project” is news done differently. That’s true, but should news be turned into a comedy show?
The ABC program Media Watch features stories week after week about news outlets that present news that is either completely false or wrong and when challenged, seem to be able to brush their incompetence away as if it doesn’t matter.
Shouldn’t we be able to fully trust the news we’re being presented with? When they do get it completely wrong and especially where someone’s reputation or a person has been damaged unfairly, surely someone needs to be held accountable. It appears not.
Here locally, and although a competitor of sorts, I’m horrified at the way the Central Western Daily treats some stories. Terms the media has often used and still claims to stand by are trusted, fair and balanced. I find it extremely difficult to keep those noble words in mind when I read a story like I did last week. That story reported on a meet the candidates meeting in Orange and focused only on the various candidates’ comments about teaching gun use in schools. One glaring absentee from the meeting was Phil Donato, the Shooters Fishers and Farmers candidate. Who could possibly believe a report like that could ever be judged as fair, balanced or trustworthy when who it was most likely aimed at wasn’t there? Another earlier story tried to make news out of some obscure connection between Kate Hazelton and the pre-polling location in the old Hazelton Airlines office. Is that news that matters? I think not.
I’ve always said the news media has the power to shape the way people feel and think. They can use that power for doing so much good, if they had the heart to do so, or they can use it to stir people up. I’ll let you be the judge as to which road they choose to travel down.
Speaking for myself, I am so frustrated and disappointed with the way the media uses its power today. I certainly can’t see much dignity in what many of them now do and I wish I had the power to put a rocket up them, or at least be able to force them back into the respected position they once held.