Truth is out there?

Julia’s ‘murderous rage’

An article in a paper today by Alecia Simmonds stopped me in my tracks.

In the piece she discusses the reporting of the conversation between Anne Summers and Julia Gillard in Sydney. Alecia questions why the reporting concentrated on the statement by Julia when she referred to ‘murderous rage’. Alecia point was that such reporting was about manufacturing controversy yet again. There remains so many celebratory aspects of this event to be highlighted and discussed but too many reporters have yet again chosen to concentrate on making a headline as some form of criticism.

For the record, the Julia’s ‘murderous rage’ was in fact said in jest as was made clear through the audience’s reaction as well as subsequent parts of the conversation.

When I was sitting in Singapore in October last year (2012), I happened to be online watching the news when I was absolutely blown away by our Prime Minister’s amazing misogyny speech. The next shock came when I went back online later to read the re-interpretation of this by the Canberra press and others in Australia. Had we been watching the same event?  However the truth was out there as the rest of world was falling over themselves in admiration of such a strong Prime Minister. Why were our own reporters lying about and distorting this soon to be historical occasion.

There are more examples that I could use to make my point (yes there is one!).  I offer one more for now.

It was 3rd February this year, (2103) and again I happened to be online. The then Attorney General, Nicola Roxon, stepped up to the platform with Julia Gillard to announce that she was resigning as Attorney-General and would not be contesting the next election. Senator Chris Evans, Leader of the Government in the Senate,  stepped down at the same time.

I watched the emotional response of the Prime Minister who obviously was seeing two close colleagues depart. Nicola also could not hold back her emotions. This was not an easy choice.

The scene was so openly transparent about what was happening. It was time to go, there is never a good time for such announcements, and all concerned were totally on-side about what had to happen.

The majority of the press reports that followed somehow made this into a total crisis. The government was apparently in disarray. The Prime Minister had lost control.

When does this stop?

When can we have journalists reporting facts. How do we stop them putting any spin on anything in order to match the story they wish to tell, despite it being absolutely clear that they are lying to their readers.

I am fully aware that the media’s ability to gather real news and to report facts has been so totally destroyed over the years. For more about this I suggest reading Flat Earth News by Nick Davies (review link).

But no matter what their working conditions, journalists should not be able to lie, to totally distort the reporting of events to the extent that they do so commonly today in most mainstream media (including the ABC).

I am aware that on this topic there is far more silence than there are people who talk honestly and openly about this travesty. The early part of the 21st Century will not be recognised as an era of open dialogue through the media.

I thank Alecia Simmonds for alerting me to her thoughts on media distortion. I thank Alecia for being the trigger for me to write about this crack that has been opening up within contemporary values and ethics.

PS: sorry – this was meant to be short piece! I Oh yes,  I have some anger about the topic of silence. Alecia talks about anger and I intend to write more about anger in a later post

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