I came across a most interesting essay by the Pointman, an English blogger whom I referred to when he wrote a lively piece about the ‘prat’, for which the Australian equivalent is probably ‘ratbag’.  This one is about what he calls ‘the establishment journalist’, and it seems to me completely relevant to what we encounter in Australia. It is a long essay, and I’ve extracted what seem to me to be the most interesting bits for Australia.

‘It should be possible to object to big government without being labelled as a redneck. It should be possible to ask … why basic literacy and numeracy rates are now lower than they used to be without being called an educational elitist. It should be possible to discuss concerns about immigration levels without being branded a racist. It should be possible to ask why people are being forced into fuel poverty, when the global temperature hasn’t risen in nearly two decades, without being compared to a holocaust denier.

In those and certain other free-fire areas, journalism simply acts as the establishment’s attack dog being unleashed on those people daring to pose the awkward questions.

You see, they’re no longer allowed in the mainstream media (MSM) to hurl gutter level abuse at foreigners, non-whites, non-Christians or most minorities, but if you do happen to disagree with an establishment doctrine that stricture simply ceases to apply to you. The gloves come off and the rules of civilised discourse are forgotten. You can quite safely be called a racist, redneck, elitist, denier, sexist, flat-earther (thank you for that one from the supposed democratic leader of the free world), a shill, insane, Aryan Nation, a flag fetishist, a paid protester, a conspiracy nut or whatever they need to label you, to simply avoid addressing your awkward questions.

Nearly all commentary on any substantial news item is first unconsciously checked to ensure it goes along with the approved view and then run through the politically correct sieve, to make sure it won’t offend any professionally offendable minorities, which of course includes other politically correct journalists. When that happens, the media handbagging the media becomes the story. It’s safer to just passively resort to a practice called churnalism; they receive a press handout and simply cut and paste it with a few added flourishes of their own into the news stream.

When a concrete news event self-evidently contradicts the official line, the only thing to do is not report it. The shining example of this is the Climategate leak of emails in 2009. It was such a devastating blow to the credibility of climate science, that it was barely mentioned for a year in the MSM, and any comments referencing it on their online editions were simply deleted…

‘Too many journalists are living in what I call medialand. It’s a virtual living space firmly removed from the basic day-to-day concerns of the working person. It’s well-heeled, inward-looking, paternalistic and ultimately condescending to the rest of us poor Morlocks, shuffling through our brutish lives outside of it. It lives off the juicy crumbs of gossip swept off the rich men’s dining tables of Washington, London, Berlin and Canberra and is very careful never to give serious offense to them.

On too many important issues, they fail to reflect honestly what a lot of ordinary people think and consequently they’ve not only lost the trust of the wider audience, but that audience is walking away from them. The circulation numbers spiral down and the number of viewers drift inexorably lower, because the content is quite frankly the sort of predictable pap most people are sick and tired of and can’t relate to.

They’re empty men, hollow men, talking to nobody but a declining audience and their like-minded chatterati in medialand. They’re going nowhere and just simply repackaging the same old tired content from the legacy MSM for the web isn’t working either. If it isn’t selling off the web, it most certainly won’t sell on the web either. There’s no content or genuine point to them. In the final analysis, there’s nothing much substantial there.

Contrary to what most people in the skeptic community may think, it is the house-trained establishment journalist who is the one doing the most damage, not the blatantly green propaganda journalist. It is the former who has a greater audience, because while the naked propagandist will always be read by the shrinking community of true believers, the ordinary person soon tires of their preachy tone and dire warnings about what’ll happen if we don’t repent our evil ways.

I confess that I wish I had thought of this topic myself, and had written on it. I encounter ‘churnalism’ all the time, and have wondered for years why the top reporters in our newspapers don’t do the ordinary investigative things that would be so easy in the ‘climate change’ domain.

Well here’s one answer, and I think it has something to it.

Join the discussion 3 Comments

  • dlb says:

    I somewhat agree but throwing gutter level abuse is hardly going to win anyone over. Pointman seems unaware that the establishment has changed and like it or lump it the MSM seems generally favourable to the new establishment. I wonder with journalists (and almost everyone else) now learning their trade at universities whether they are more sympathetic to the othodoxies pronounced by academia?

  • PeterE says:

    Quite right. In particular (apart from the usual suspects at the SMH/Age), the ABC is always mentioned these days as running an ‘establishment line’ (leftist of course) in such programs as ‘Insiders’ and ‘Q&A’ and very often in the 7.30 report. As well, I am fascinated by the reporting of one particular individual on the 7.00pm news; he manages to twist almost anything away from criticism of the Government (which is what the story obviously calls for) to a criticism of the Opposition. Also, an objective analysis of the ‘rear projection’ (the pictures that appear behind the talking head) would reveal a consistent subliminal message. And don’t forget the cartoonists, or the segment in ‘Insiders’ which deals with cartoons and photos. Finally, listen on radio to ‘Insiders’ without the whirl of photographs and ponder on the soundtrack and its ability to drown out sensible voices with a crazy musical cacophony. Coincidental?

  • Gordon Fraser says:

    I was once ambivalent but I’ve come to despise the establishment and everything connected to it. TV/Newspapers/AFL/Sports/Unions/Universities/UN/Charties – etc – all corrupted, abused and undeserving of respect today.

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