After listening to Mark Colvin deliver the most recent Andrew Olle memorial lecture, and reading this insightful post from Mr Denmore, I am not feeling remotely optimistic about the future of journalism in this country.
I can see the reputation of this previously noble profession morphing into something resembling that held by used car salesman and purveyors of imitation Persian carpets.
Mr Denmore describes the corporate media trying to convince us that a free press and unrestrained corporate power are one and the same.
They aren’t – never have been and never will, be, but the objectivists out there (and the media moguls who have sold out integrity at the altar of unbridled profit) are working feverishly to convince us that they are.
The biggest threat to a free press in this country is, quite simply, this same unrestrained corporate muscle.
The quickest and most effective way to curtail press freedom is to buy it. If you buy enough media, you can control it. If you own almost all of it, the politicians (and those who elect them) become your playthings.
Unrestrained control of publication becomes a problem when it is owned by a monopoly, especially when that monopoly crosses national boundaries, and is largely unanswerable to any form of national accountability.
That situation is a long way from anything than can be described as a "free" press. It is already upon us in this country.
Colvin’s view is pessimistic also, but for a different reason. He sees the demise of conventional news gathering as we have known it for decades in favour of news sources running the gamut of social media, blogging, and corporate pay-to-view sites such as Fox News.
With this, he sees the end of frank and fearless reporting, sacrificed at the altar of the 24 hour news cycle, and what will sell copy, or lift ratings. The journalistic skills of research, fact-checking, testing the accuracy of information from all sources and exercising care to avoid inadvertent error are no longer employed.
Besides, the cycle is so rapid, that there isn’t time for due diligence.
Colvin has some interesting ideas about crowd-sourcing and the use of social media, but his bottom line is negative.
It looks like it’s up to humble bloggers like you and me to keep the bastards honest.
Onwards and upwards….