This was previously on my tumblr and is being re-posted here because I am abandoning my tumblr account. Enjoy.
A friend of mine recently remarked to me that he didn’t want to be a journalist any longer because he believed journalism was dying. I think he meant that real investigative journalism was being butchered by the twenty-four hour news cycle.
I happen to completely agree. In my opinion, and granted, I haven’t been following politics or journalism for a very long time, Kerry O’Brien, former host of 7:30 on ABC, was the best interviewer in Australia. He actually asked interesting questions and the reactions of the people he interviewed told you things even if they didn’t answer themselves.
I can no longer find that. All I hear about these days is how Tony Abbot said that x policy was bad and reckless and would destroy Australian’s financial lives, or how Julia Gillard lied about the carbon tax, or how Craig Thompson is facing charges. Basically, all we hear these days are constantly reported, completely annoying sound bites that every news channel hooks on to and we can no longer see investigative journalism.
An example. Let’s use Tony Abbot, because, deep down, we all have a desire to make an example of him in some stupid way. Tony Abbot is shown on various news programs criticizing the government’s policies, mostly because he believes they will destroy the economy. Now, see, I don’t know about anybody else, but I don’t actually care about that sound bite. What I want is for a reporter to interview Tony Abbot, and ask him to explain, in reasonable detail, how exactly the carbon tax will destroy the economy.
Another example. Journalists have long been the people who “fact check” what the politicians say. Tony Abbot and the Coalition say that most other countries in the world don’t have a carbon tax. Right. Anybody want to know the facts? That’s bullshit. Sure, the undeveloped countries in Africa don’t have a carbon tax, but they’re poor. Almost all of Europe does. In fact, when I was in Germany not three months ago, I was sitting at a dinner table and mentioned that fact that Australia doesn’t have a green energy policy. That made them all laugh. They actually thought it was a joke, at first. Funny, isn’t it?
My point with all of this is simple. The twenty-four news cycle has bread the necessity for the news agencies to say something all the time, and because they can’t constantly be interviewing politicians, they’ve decided they should interview other journalists instead of actually analyzing, in an intelligent manner, what politicians are saying.
I don’t care if Julia Gillard lied about the carbon tax. What I want the media to tell people, is what exactly is the carbon tax? What will it mean for the everyday person? What will it increase the cost of? Why is it necessary? What will it do?
I am a high school student, doing debating. The first thing they teach you at any level of debating is that policy/argument needs three levels: the idea, the analysis, and the evidence that it will/won’t work. Politicians and the news have the idea sort of there, the evidence sort of there, and absolutely no analysis.
Anybody else want to know exactly what a policy will do?
A final note about the politics of Australia. I have a friend, 30 odd years old. Here’s a conversation between me and him, that perfectly exemplifies what the Australian people seem to be widely doing. He is an Abbot supporter. I am not.
Me: “Why do you hate Julia Gillard?”
Him: “Because she’s ruining the country.”
Me: “How? How is she ruining the country?”
And that right there, is the problem.