Myopia in journalism

21 March, with the sky falling as Morrison fails to cordon-off hotspot suburbs, eliminate open mass venues such as Bondi Beach, stop crowding in pubs and clubs, stop interregional Grey Nomad and other like movements of vulnerable demographic cohorts (with Easter and the winter migration looming), and provide testing on request:

  1. Morrison's slow and wandering-in-circles "generational and socioeconomic genocide" (Richard Powell) has finally been pinged as a mixed health-and-economy matter by George Megalogenis, late, he hasn't been responding to such messages for weeks
  2. Van Onselen ditto in respects (rorts and virus crises reflect politico-economic decrepitude) but reinforcing Maley and Sean Kelly - "In his media conference on Wednesday the Prime Minister appeared more prime ministerial in tone than at any point during his 18-month tenure to date. But the uplift in his communication skills, both compared with his handling of the bushfires and his inconsistent messaging to date during this crisis, doesn’t necessarily mean that the right decisions are being made.  Why is it so important we continue to scrutinise if our political leaders are making the right decisions, rather than blindly accepting what they tell us?"
  3. Paul Kelly is ever so wrong, the judgement is that Morrison has no values, no guiding light except Manon and ego-protection:


  • No journalist will write for some time that Morrison has no agenda. The insight here, contrary to the bushfire narrative and much of the beloved media critique, is that Morrison is emerging as an effective crisis manager – so far. The big judgements, of course, still lie ahead. But those days are gone.  

journalists' ethics? or expediency

65% of the darkness

Democracy cannot thrive where journalism is weak and "managed".  We know that from Soviet and other dictatorships' reigns.

The Society of Professional Journalists has published this codification of the profession's required ethics - The Ethical Journalism Network has summarised them this way:

1. Truth and Accuracy

Journalists cannot always guarantee ‘truth’, but getting the facts right is the cardinal principle of journalism. We should always strive for accuracy, give all the relevant facts we have and ensure that they have been checked. When we cannot corroborate information we should say so.

2. Independence

Journalists must be independent voices; we should not act, formally or informally, on behalf of special interests whether political, corporate or cultural. We should declare to our editors – or the audience – any of our political affiliations, financial arrangements or other personal information that might constitute a conflict of interest.

3. Fairness and Impartiality

Most stories have at least two sides. While there is no obligation to present every side in every piece, stories should be balanced and add context. Objectivity is not always possible, and may not always be desirable (in the face for example of brutality or inhumanity), but impartial reporting builds trust and confidence. 

4. Humanity

Journalists should do no harm. What we publish or broadcast may be hurtful, but we should be aware of the impact of our words and images on the lives of others.

5. Accountability

A sure sign of professionalism and responsible journalism is the ability to hold ourselves accountable. When we commit errors we must correct them and our expressions of regret must be sincere not cynical. We listen to the concerns of our audience. We may not change what readers write or say but we will always provide remedies when we are unfair.

Does anyone think that journalism in Australia fails some, most or all of these criteria?  Yes but not many, and none of the silo-egotists.

The media corporates got together to run an expensive campaign on THEIR  right to know.  They refused to consider OUR right to be heard.

While politicians dissemble and corrupt, they do so with impunity where the media are docile through to embedded.

They destroy both directions of accountability - politicians to be honest and competent, and communities to be informed and engaged.  

The politicians don't reduce the media's performance, that is done within the media.

Three spectacular failures will feature initially:

  • Daily Telegraph misadventure over the "Baird Model" 2016
  • Fairfax weird deceit over the Port of Newcastle and Baird's "secret levy"
  • SMH series of failed analyses of the Rozelle WestConnex fatal engineering failures


A Daily Telegraph fiasco

A critical media failure

The 2016 “Summary Business Case” was the first true test of the “Baird Model’s” integrity, and it failed spectacularly. 

Unfortunately, the Daily Telegraph handed out a “Get out of Gaol Free” card to a project that

  1. had no valid logic - it was the product of "like Topsy" delirium caused by the panic attack after the June '12 aberration, this analyst demolished the housing-side economics ab initio and then GSC's clustermuck
  2. invalidates much of the special events, commuting and disaster recovery capabilities of the Bradfield system as developed over a century - without Parliamentary or electoral legitimacy .

A request for "balance" was ignored.  The journalist had been provided with more accurate information for some 4 years by that point.  Also known to him and others was that Berejiklian had stolen ideas from this analyst, later including "hundreds of millions of dollars saved" on that metro - no journalist has provided professional coverage which is an horrendous breach