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EYE-BALL Opinion – EYE-BALL’s MediaZone Growl No: 4 – Australia’s Media Horde

– EYE-BALL’s MediaZone Growl No: 4 –
– Australia’s Media Horde –
| Author: EYE-BALL MediaZone | 30th July 2013 |
Hello all … frustration more than anything drives this post – frustration at our Media and the complete ineptness demonstrated in the way they report political stories and the News.How many times do you now see a story and immediately recognise the bias involved, the slant, the unasked question we all want asked, the pursuit of a desired answer to a question we all know was prompted, how many times do we see journalists behaving like dogs off their leash?The reality in how politics is being fed to the public via News broadcasters is nothing more than extended personal political battle-lines, all to a cause to serve media barons and their lust for political favours.

All political News these days holds a propaganda message designed to influence rather then inform.  A lead story on one broadcast is treated as low profile on a different broadcaster because of how it portrays the story comport.

Who’s interests were best served when the Gillard ‘police investigation’ story was rejected by the media as News, who’s interests are being served when the Abbott travel rorts for his book publishing tour were discovered and treated as a non event?

The Slipper, Thompson, Williamson, Obeid, MacDonald corruption stories – all major fraud stories and stories all given different prominence and focus by different broadcasters.

Over a long time the likes of Rupert Murdoch and his fellow media barons have demonstrated their willingness to sacrifice integrity and moral standards in the pursuit of political favour for withheld news stories.  Deals are done and trade off’s made to have stories pulled or ‘toned down’ when the media is looking for favour – be it lobby donations for a more agreeable media ownership spread, more coverage, more influence, and it sickens to imagine where it will all end.

The Media are responsible for the greatest fraud of all time – the media barons alone have destroyed the integrity of News reporting – remember Conrad Black, the Maxwell empire, and the countless other media barons over the years who have come and gone.  There is still one that has survived them all – the Murdoch press.

Globally Murdoch is the most influential media empire the world has ever seen – and still he does not have enough.

Who do we have in Australia, Kerry Stokes, Fairfax – ha … small time players and not in the same market as Murdoch.   Murdoch plays the ‘kingmaker’ … and the Australian politicians and public listen.

Neutrality of opinion has disappeared in the way journalists write their stories.  Editorials express opinions and journalists take their cue from the editors.

To highlight the most recent episodes of some non Murdoch owned or influenced TV shows – the following is presented.

The three high-profile political programs I watch are “Insiders”, “The Bolt Report”, and “Q&A” – in no particular order of preference all have highs and lows in what there serve up to the public.

A common thought about all three is that they do a great disservice to the political debate as media presentations. For example –

The Bolt Report:

Take last Sunday’s program built under promo’s in that the PM will make his first appearance on the program. Bolt invited us to see the PM squirm under his questions and revealed that the PM would answer honestly – look what happened: [Warning – watch for Bolt’s need to pursue the answer he wants – not the answer the interviewed wants to give …]

You see the point – the political Q&A is not important – only the shock value to boost Bolt’s ratings. Bolt could be called a ‘narcosis psychopath’ in the way he believes his opinion is the only one that matters. He stint on “Insiders’ was proof in his believe that his opinion was more relevant and more correct whenever he shared the panel time and question. Now his show is on commercial TV and is struggling for ratings so there is commercial value in trying to play the Bob Dwyer ‘Pick-a-Box’ theme of audience drawn into the suspense and drama of trying to trip up the PM or some other guest on the show.

Bolt’s ‘prima-donna’ performances have earned him a reputation that scares politicians. Albanese is the only other ALP Minister to have appeared on his show. Rudd’s aim was to shorten Bolt’s stature, Bolt’s aim was to get one over the PM on National TV.

How does that advance the political debate? How does that hold the Government accountable – there were so many areas Bolt could have gone to expose Rudd’s weakness – i.e. the AWU scandal and how Gillard became PM in the first place – the Peter Slipper affair as he sat on the backbenches watching it unfold – same with the Craig Thompson affair – surely Rudd’s responses to these questions would have served the Australian people so much more than questions about a new initiative in asylum seeker policy that is currently being tested by the people smugglers.

Rudd has to wear his share of responsibility as well – if he wanted to put Bolt in his place and that has to be the only reason Rudd would appear on the show – his response to Bolt’s ‘goading’ could have been so much more dismissive and to the point … it was pathetic television and a waste of time.

“The Bolt Report” gets a 2/10 rating, and Andrew Bolt gets a 1/10 rating for interview style and how he presents himself as a member of Australia’s media industry.

ABC’s “Q&A”:

Monday nights program – linked via “IView” here – was a massive disappointment – normal host Paul Jones was absent and Virginia Trioli stepped in.

The first question asked by a schoolgirl was:

Sarah Burgess asked: Can you please put Australia out of its misery and let us all know when the next election will take place? I have a school formal to plan and people have gay weddings to plan….

‘… put Australia out of its misery …’ indeed – how does a schoolgirl who is more than likely not old enough to vote get to pass a judgement about ‘political misery’?

How the researches who vet the questions allowed this to pass as in the interests of the viewers watching the program points again to program agenda as opposed to true political interest.

So much of the media today are about when the election will be called – why waste all that page and TV time on a question that will never be honestly answered …

Kate Ellis was allowed to state chapter and verse about the ALP policy successes whilst answering a question about something entirely different – why did the presenter allow this?

The most interesting guest on the program was Peter Shergold, who was Secretary of the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet from 2003-2008. He was also the nation’s most senior public servant when he resigned four months into Kevin Rudd’s first term as PM.

In two decades he served in the public service he served four Prime Ministers and eight Ministers in both Labor and Coalition governments. During this time he established the Office of Multicultural Affairs, headed the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission (ATSIC), and was Public Service Commissioner. He was secretary of several government departments, including the Department of Education, Science and Training, and the Department of Employment, Workforce Relations and Small Business.

Surely his contribution to the political debate during this program could have been better used – he hesitated on his first direct question that asked him for an opinion … the question was –

VIRGINIA TRIOLI: Just returning to the question, Peter Shergold, you’ve been down this path before, of course, being head of Prime Minister and Cabinet. Can you intuit what the Prime Minister’s strategy might be at the moment if you were to speculate?

PETER SHERGOLD: I think the major strategy is to keep us all guessing. I think that’s the key. Of course if you’re a public servant this is very exciting days, indeed, waiting for the caretaker convention to come when for four to six weeks–

VIRGINIA TRIOLI: You public servants are thrilled by such …(indistinct)…

PETER SHERGOLD: –for four to six weeks the country is in good hands, the public service, and you notice nobody notices the difference.

VIRGINIA TRIOLI: So what are you arguing for here, Peter Shergold: rule by public servants?

PETER SHERGOLD: I think it is important, actually, that public servants do recognise what their role is. It is the role of government to set the national interest. It is the role of public servants to give advice on that and then to implement the policies of the government of the day, whichever it is.

That was about the most exposing question put to Shergold – why not ask about the reason for his resignation i.e. the Rudd work ethic in those first months had the public service up in arms about the demands and hours they had to work – surely Shergold’s take on that would have audience interest in forming opinions as to why Rudd was booted by his ALP MP’s.

The rest of the program descended and Magda Szubanski’s levity was about the only reason one stayed to watch the whole program. This is a program that has the ability to get real answers to people’s concerns – the problem is that it to is in a ratings war and dictated by populists formats.

Liberal MP Josh Frydenberg had his moment of fame when he talked about the Rudd tweet about cutting himself shaving – really … is this what Frydenberg wants to introduce as his contribution to the debate …

VIRGINIA TRIOLI: Josh Frydenberg, can you explain why Kevin Rudd is so liked?

JOSH FRYDENBERG: Well, firstly, there’s no difference between Kevin Rudd Mark I and Kevin Rudd Mark II. I mean for the same reasons that Julia Gillard said a government has lost its way those reasons have not changed, namely the tax burden, namely the budget deficits, namely the border protection chaos. In terms of the celebrity of Kevin Rudd, I think it’s quite dangerous because what it is is it’s obscuring the real debate on important issues. So, for example, the day that he tweeted that photo of cutting himself shaving was the day that our unemployment numbers came out and unemployment rose to 5.7%, more than 6% in Queensland, more than 8% in Tasmania but we didn’t have a debate about that. I mean youth unemployment, an area in Kate’s area, has hit the highest level in 15 years. This is the problem. This is the problem. We need to have a debate about the policy issues and not about Kevin Rudd cutting himself shaving.

This question should have opened many doors – why did the media focus on the ‘shaving cut’ as opposed to the unemployment numbers … whatever Rudd’s purpose to tweet that he cut himself – and I’m sure it was not him that actually typed the tweet but some media staffer – the opposition chose to raise the tweet in context with the unemployment numbers. Does this not demonstrate the shallowness of Frydenberg and the rest of the panel, or the audience for allowing the comments to go unchallenged?

“Q%A” get a 2.5/10 rating, and it’s a rating that has been on the slide for some time.

ABC’s – “Insiders”: [or the Barry Cassidy ego and ALP propaganda show – watch heretranscripts here – ]

Cassidy gave Opposition Immigration spokesperson Scott Morrison a good go – unusual for Cassidy. Morrison has grown in his responsibilities and is an impressive communicator. His early days in the job prove he has come far.

The issue here is that the Rudd answer to the ‘asylum seeker’ will not prove to be a failure or success until it has had time to impact. The rush by people smugglers to get the people who have paid for transit rather then refund if people change their mind highlights the desperation these people are subjected to.

This is criminal and negligent homicide by the people smugglers and it all happens far away from our shores. It will only be in 9-12 months as to whether opinion can be gauged whether the policy has worked or not.

Rudd knows that if he finds a perceived solution to the asylum seeker invasion that he has a better chance at the election. Abbott knows also that and success to the Rudd plan means his job becomes tougher in trying to win the election.

It is understandable why the media have this focus – but they also know that short term speculation can only damage the policy as the people smugglers build a case for the Abbott response to hasten the asylum seeker exodus.

“Insiders” Rating – 4/10.


So where does one turn to get informed political opinion?

Is the Murdoch press the only source of real journalism?

None of the above programs has any real interest in exposing the AWU scandal, nor the Craig Thompson, or Peter Slipper corruption charges.  I ponder long and hard as to why that is?

The people have a right to know why Tony Abbott’s ‘book-tour’ travel expense claims differ to those of Peter Slipper.   Why is Abbott given a free ride and Slipper hung out to dry?

Also – why the Union movement was called upon to help with the payment of Thompson’s legal expenses – all to avoid his bankruptcy and the resultant calling of an election for his seat some two years ago.

These are stories that have public interest yet none of the three above programs go near any depth of question on these matters.

The subject of a post due to be published soon is the expense accounts for Tony Abbott – as a forerunner check out this excel file imaged below to see how Mr Abbott has used his parliamentary expenditure expense account since mid 2009. [Click image to enlarge in a new window.]

Ho hum .. off we go … the $370 million spent as expenses by our 230 MP’s and Senators has an annual spread of $1.6 million per member. That is some 8 times their recent remuneration payment – before the increase it is a factor 13 times.

This $1.6 million does not include parliamentary staff cost – which can be for up to a minimum of 4 additional staff ranging in remunerations from a high of $240k to minimum’s of $65k.

The $1.6 million also does not cover the cost of the non-contributary parliamentary superannuation schemes for pre 2005 members – nor the staff expenses over and above remuneration costs – i.e. redundancy, super, and health schemes.

We are truly living in the age where public servants enjoy a ‘sense of entitlement’ that borders on is decadence …

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Have your say where it counts: – contact your Local Federal Representative via the links below and let them know how you feel about this, or any other topic that you feel strongly about – or you can just post a comment below and let off some steam.

Links to Australian Parliamentary Website – MP’s

The EYE-BALL Opinion’s – MEDIAZONE …

  1. Barry
    July 30, 2013 at 6:52 pm

    All that can be said is “Australia has lost the plot ” .
    And it seems this has been planned for many years .And it has been a long , long time , since we had politicians , and I believe , the people, who had a passion for this country .It has now become a “Me, Myself, and I ” society.Which is evident by the lack of response from the people to the mess that is going on in Canberra.
    Sadly , it seems , things are going to get a lot worse , before , if ever, they get better.
    It’s taken a long time to build this country to the fine standard of living offered here. But , as history has shown , when man relaxes and indulges in the good fortune that has been created , it’s usually not long before others not so fortunate come scheming their way in , to get a share of the wealth.
    And that usually leads to the downfall of the nation……..
    Seems they will never change ……and it makes you wonder what it’s all about .And why we bother.
    The rabble eventually takes over by the sheer volume of numbers , and it’s those who breed those numbers , who inevitably are the ones used by the few cleverer ones to destroy what the dedicated ones take years to build…….

    And on , and on , and on , it goes …..

    Just take a look at Zimbabwe, a perfect example.

  2. Barry
    July 30, 2013 at 6:54 pm

    What’s the difference between a human and a seagull?

    Not much . You throw chips to the seagulls , you throw money to the humans …..you get the same result.

  3. david the pragmatist
    July 31, 2013 at 7:15 am

    does peanuts to monkeys get me back in?

  4. Lovely Kate
    July 31, 2013 at 9:06 am

    Good to see you have “the pragmatist” back. It was never the same without him.
    He always called a spade a spade, sometimes a shovel, but you were never left wondering “I wonder what he really thinks”
    The other thing he seemed to be your only correspondent with any sex appeal, my friend Julia actually had the hots for him! I know she’ll be glad to see he’s back xxx.
    Anyway I’m looking forward to the arguments, make sure you don’t get too sensitive Eye Ball, after all someone has to lighten our day from the dreary bloggists who continue to put out their biased drivel. I noticed that the pragmatist always took an alternate view, we need more of that, just like you alluded to in the heading of this article when referring to our f wit journalists opps cuse the language but I stopped being a lady when we got our first female prime minister. Thats not to say I’ll be excited if a Bishop ever got to be prime minister, god help us!

  5. July 31, 2013 at 9:27 am

    As always many things.

    Rupert Murdoch’s model is copied from the Chicago Tribune of Randolph Hearst. Murdoch has simply honed the precision. Randolph Hearst like Jack Warner prophesied about where the power of the press abused would lead us. Hearst did it through Citizen Kane.

    Henry Parkes ramped up his Sydney Empire publication as a political tool. When in government he had little time to publish. When in opposition or out of parliament he was at his most virulent.

    Since that time, Australia has become both more regional and more national. Main difference is Nationally regional stories simply don’t cut. The more national TV and print media have become, the less regional coverage goes to media daily. I for one like to catch the regional Friday night 7.30 report from the various states, replayed over the week end. I feel that is why I enjoy Landline so much, it gives coverage to micro-scopic situations. From Dalby to crop dusting to Port Lincoln sea sea fishing.

    I have no time whatsoever for national dailies or commercial TV news.

    7 nightly news mimics Channel 9, while Channel 9 mimics Channel 7. What is the point of differentiation?

    This morning’s SMH has a further expose on Gina Rinehart, and her narcissistic approach to her children’s share of the Lang Hancock inheritance. We know that story sufficiently so what is their point?

    In a few moments ABC Local is to air a debate between Julie Owens sitting MHR of Parramatta, and Bronwyn Bishop MHR for MacKellar. It is strange how the Liberal candidate for Parramatta is not mentioned by name. Parramatta is a federal division which ALP will struggle to retain. Mackellar is safe. I will finish my point when the radio story is concluded.

  6. July 31, 2013 at 11:35 am

    The radio program was hardly earth shattering but Linda Mottram still deserves accolades for work. On July 3rd she featured the seat of Bradbury, podcast available here http://www.abc.net.au/sydney/programs/702_mornings/

    On Monday’s Q & A why would Virginia Trioli have such a tabby question asked first up. The date for election is one thing, but framed around not interfering with social agenda is just ridiculous. Is it different to SMH re hashing the Gina Rinehart story on today’s front page? Why is planning a high school social or a gay marriage, headlines?

    Above you hit the nail on the head. Being connected, and attempting to put the “I” 2nd. The concept of ego. What is more sacrosanct? Me myself or I? Anyway enough of me talking about me, what do you think about me?

    Only driven people attempt to lead. Others will just come along for the ride.

    Me myself and I should be the individual, the group, or the community, which is more important? When a community leader wants to explain their perspective, do they really have the wisdom of Solomon? What happens when the community decision hurts the individual or the group?

    There is no answer.

    It is an eternal question! It is politics, and it is media. Not perfect media, but the media we have got. Why would Virginia Trioli allow such a banal 1st question on last Monday’s Q & A?
    There are some answers, but the 1st point of significance is we have 2 ears, 2 eyes and one mouth yet we rarely use them in that proportion. When we see something we find disagreeable, what then? Do you change your attention, or try to affect change?

  7. August 1, 2013 at 6:56 am

    PETER SHERGOLD: –for four to six weeks the country is in good hands, the public service, and you notice nobody notices the difference.

    What a wanker. Hey Mum, Look at me – I am on top of the world.

    Is it any wonder we are what we are, with a meglomaniac like this who was Secretary, DPMC 2003 – 2008. The public service is an oxy moron. Rename them the public waste of space.

  8. julia
    August 4, 2013 at 11:24 am

    i would love to have you back in

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