The role of the media
Written by Professor David Flint AM   
Thursday, 03 March 2011

Remember how almost all the media backed a plan for a republic, only to have it rejected at the 1999 referendum?  

This is a key question Andrew Bolt asks  in his opinion piece on 3 March 2011 in The Daily Telegraph, “A mammoth difference in standards”

He says that the Prime Minister:

....repeatedly promised she would not introduce a tax on carbon dioxide emissions—in effect, a great green tax on electricity and petrol. There will be no carbon tax under a government I lead,” she said. But six months later Gillard says she will indeed give us that carbon tax, and from next year, without even going to another election for a mandate


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...ACM’s concern...





ACM has of course no position on whether there should be a carbon tax, or whether Ms. Gillard is justified in announcing that one will be introduced in this term.

 We are however concerned that the media play the key role intended in our Westminster system. That is to present the news honsetly and objectively.

 But as that distinguished former British editor Lord Deedes observed in the London Daily Telegraph on 8 November, 1999: 

“I have rarely attended elections in any country, certainly not a democratic one, in which the newspapers have displayed more shameless bias. One and all, they determined that Australians should have a republic and they used every device towards that end.”

In the nineties, with some honourbale exceptions, the media failed to perform their core duty.


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[ Lord Deedes just before the Normandy invasion, 1944 ]
 





...a different world...




 Andrew Bolt opens his piece with three questions:

Remember how so many journalists hated John Howard, who nevertheless won four elections in a row?

Remember how almost all the media backed a plan for a republic, only to have it rejected at the 1999 referendum?

How often have we seen this gulf in opinion between the mainstream media and the public they report to?

He adds:


[Continued below]

I suspect Prime Minister Julia Gillard’s lie may be the latest example. It’s rare to see such overwhelming fury from a public at having been so brazenly deceived by a politician. But he says:But in one part of Australia, that anger is not felt. No zephyr of protest wafts.

No objection is raised to Gillard stealing an election with a lie. That part of Australia is where some of our most influential political reporters and commentators work.

To them, it seems, Gillard did no worse than
make a compromise, and, indeed, she may have even risen to glory.  


To repeat, ACM has no position on the carbon tax.  But we are concerend that in the constitutional debate and especially in any future campaign, the media fulfil their duty.

We don't ask for the media to favour us - we just ask them  to do their duty.