Thursday, 18 December 2014

Journalists vs my people...which one is leading the other?

Beyond my comfortable and fortunate bubble, the world can be a harsh, cruel place. I can rant and curse at those I despise, safe in the knowledge that I am unlikely to be harmed physically or by way of sanction. Australia has been referred to in the past as “the lucky country” and I certainly consider myself to be extremely lucky. While I have a healthy contempt for our politicians and law makers, life is many times more peaceful and free here than it is elsewhere.

So I guess that is part of the reason why our news content is the way it is – overwhelmingly focused on our own problems, when much larger and more devastating things are happening just beyond our shores.

The hostage situation in Sydney this week was a test of our journalists’ ethics, morals and talent. I am fairly certain, that as a whole, they failed on all counts. Clambering over each other to declare a terrorist attack in our largest city, it was almost as if some were disappointed that it was not the dreaded ISIL, but merely one deranged lunatic with severe mental problems.

Rupert Murdoch, aka Mr Burns, aka the scumbag oxygen thief, couldn't have said it any better:

Some of the news briefs during the ‘siege’ were so embarrassing; I was deeply ashamed and had to turn them off. The reporters seemed to be quite proud of the fact that the incident was receiving coverage overseas, particularly the US. It was like a little kid showing off his dead hamster to his big brother and being not-so-secretly chuffed at his sibling’s apparent concern. It was sickening.

Who gives a shit whether President Obama has been briefed on the incident? Why does that matter? Are we that desperate for attention and to be liked that we have sunk this low?

I don't really want to answer that last question because it is too depressing.

The situation in Sydney is certainly a tragic one for those that were involved, directly or indirectly - they should be afforded the time and platform to grieve and mourn as they see fit. My concern is for the wider community, who if you believe that the press reflects their interests in terms of priority, are not that bothered by the 141 people that were murdered in Pakistan. That most of them were children shouldn't matter.

Perhaps it is too cynical of me to think that, in our major newspapers' conference rooms, it’s a case of:

two white,fair haired Australians vs 141 brown Pakistanis

Mmm, which one is going to sell more papers? It may be an easy decision for Rupert to make, but I personally find our mainstream websites to be a sad indictment on journalism, and perhaps, us as a nation.
Worthy of interest
I certainly hope we are better than that. I very much hope that we are not so wrapped up in our fortunate world that we discard reports of atrocities as less newsworthy than whether a celebrity President was once mistaken for a waiter.  

Think what you will of Brad Pitt, but he summed it up quite well the other day, even though he was speaking of a completely different news story:

We shouldn't be participating and these sites that are disseminating them should stop. They won’t. And we should stop reading them. We won’t. It’s more of an indictment on us, I think.”