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Pseudo journalism is dangerous.
In recent times and by that I mean in recent weeks attacks by supposed journalists on those whose position questions that of our government’s has been passed off as journalism.
Paul Syvret started the ball rolling with his angry rant attacking middle aged white people, well any person indeed that dare be at odds with his beloved Labor party.
Tory Shepherd joined in the fan fare with out-right attacks on a sitting member, who dare question issues outside of what it appears her version of acceptable governance.
In Torys articles it is all about acceptable science, yet not one scientific fact was included in her article, fluoride is an ideal and totally save chemical to add to the populations water in Torys eyes, with total disregard to debate on how much, where it is from or even whether or not medication of any form should be considered personal choice.
If one is to debate a topic like fluoridation, you would expect to see at least some facts and figures, how much is considered safe, how much is in our water, and maybe even world comparisons, so as to offer a balanced overview, but this new ideal of Pseudo journalism appears to simply take the governments side of any debate, as if questioning our nation’s political direction is unacceptable behaviour.
The same applies to many recent articles by many supposed journalists all of which attack those who dare question any issue, where once we had access to balanced articles that at least appeared to addressed both sides of any issue so as to create genuine and open debate.
Torys latest articles which attacked a local MP, made no mention of the MP’s successes nor any educated details of their 7 year history, but were in fact based on trolling their Face Book page, and using information both posted by the MP and her friends, the same applied to recent articles by Paul Syvret, which also used information from activists personal social networking pages, in neither case did the journalists actually contact the victims of their attacks personally.
The issue of pseudo journalism carries with it severe implications to our system of democracy let alone the ideal of free speech, when free speech is attacked by the very people who are reliant on its existence, there is reason for concern, but when democracy itself is attacked by such self interest, then it becomes a major problem.
A perfect example of this was the recent bi-election in Ramsay 2012, where the Liberal party decided not to participate, creating an issue for the media, because in the last 15 years or so, they have habitually covered only the Labor and Liberal candidates, so we saw articles produced about the election that only made mention of the Labor party, as if no other candidates were running.
It would be easy to come to the conclusion that many media organisation’s are the sole domain of the two party system, and recent articles back this up, which conjures up memories of a fine speech by the famous New York journalist and editor John Swinton.
Considered the dean of journalism, John made a speech many years ago, at a banquet given to him by the leaders of his profession, that rings true today more than at any time in the past.
"There is no such thing, at this date of the world's history, in America, as an independent press. You know it and I know it. There is not one of you who dares to write your honest opinions, and if you did, you know beforehand that it would never appear in print. I am paid weekly for keeping my honest opinion out of the paper I am connected with. Others of you are paid similar salaries for similar things, and any of you who would be so foolish as to write honest opinions would be out on the streets looking for another job.
If I allowed my honest opinions to appear in one issue of my paper, before twenty-four hours my occupation would be gone. The business of the journalists is to destroy the truth, to lie outright, to pervert, to vilify, to fawn at the feet of mammon, and to sell his country and his race for his daily bread. You know it and I know it, and what folly is this toasting an independent press? We are the tools and vassals of rich men behind the scenes.
We are the jumping jacks, they pull the strings and we dance. Our talents, our possibilities and our lives are all the property of other men. We are intellectual prostitutes."
Journalism in the past century has endured very little change from the date of John’s speech, and recent articles do nothing more than show this to be true now more than ever, in fact some of today’s journalists write more like a child throwing a tantrum over a lost toy, than even a dismal attempt to use their talents to disguise their mediums political position.
Democracy is all about the election of representatives chosen by the Free will of an informed electorate, so it is time we questioned exactly what happened to our freedoms, and where the hell the Australian public can now become informed.
Mark Aldridge Independent Federal Candidate for Wakefield