The Plight of Journalism

In a world where the truth is becoming increasingly more difficult to determine, those whose job it is to retrieve truth and report it to the people are ever more important. The media act not only as messengers, but also investigators. Journalists are the ones who hold people of power, especially politicians, to account. They have a duty to the people to report accurately and factually, and to ensure that those who lead them are not stepping out of line. The press plays a critically important role in our world, particularly in democratic nations.

Yet in the modern world, the landscape has changed. Bias has left its mark, with many media outlets now foregoing facts for whatever narrative suits their political agenda. We see this reflected in media around the world. In the United States, among the worst offenders are CNN, MSNBC, The Washington Post, and the New York Times. In the United Kingdom, it is the BBC, Sky and The Guardian. In Australia, it is the ABC, SBS and The Guardian. There are plenty of others who also do the same, these are just some of the most prominent. And on a point of clarification, Sky News in the UK and Sky News in Australia tend to be fairly different. In the UK, it is more left-leaning and oftentimes presents falsities to push an agenda against the Conservative Party. In Australia, Sky is one of the only outlets that reports factually and honestly.

Unless you have been living under a rock the last few years, chances are you would have heard the term “fake news”. A term made prominent by US President Donald Trump, “fake news” is defined as “false news stories, often of a sensational nature, created to be widely shared or distributed for the purpose of generating revenue, or promoting or discrediting a public figure, political movement, company, etc.”. Essentially, fake news is a narrative constructed in order to push a political agenda. It is not at all based in fact, rather being the fantastical creation of the individual or group who establishes it. Fake news is the enemy of good journalism. And by extension the enemy of the people. When the media spread stories of this nature, they are doing the public a great disservice. The media are not supposed to be so self-serving, yet that is exactly what they have become.

To show you just the amount of contempt many in the media now have for the people and the duty they have to report factually and truthfully, here are a few examples. First, Russiagate. For years, ever since Trump was elected, many in the media, mostly those at Left Wing media outlets like CNN and MSNBC, in conjunction with the Democrats, have perpetuated the clearly contrived story that Russia influenced the 2016 Presidential Election. They have attacked Trump on this front for years, accusing him of colluding with Putin and the Russians. They even used it to try to impeach him, and while this got through the House of Representatives (predictably considering it is controlled by the Democrats), it was never going to get anywhere in the Senate. Robert Mueller, who investigated the ‘collusion’, produced a report, and testified that there was insufficient evidence of any such collusion. Trump was, essentially, cleared. This entire investigation was based on the premise of the Steele Dossier, research funded by none other than Hillary Clinton’s campaign and the Democrats. Yet even after Mueller made his findings clear, and Trump was effectively exonerated, the media continued to perpetuate the lie. Even Australia’s very own publicly funded national broadcaster, the ABC, produced a series on Four Corners about how Trump had colluded with Russia. It was clearly a blatant misuse of taxpayer money, but it is never below the ABC to waste taxpayer dollars for the sake of pushing a political agenda.

Russiagate was, however, only one of many. All too often the media either intentionally misrepresent what their political opponents say, or just take them out of context, again usually intentionally. Take Trump’s remarks about injecting disinfectant. This was a clearly sarcastic comment. Yet the media behaved as if he was being completely serious and started reporting that Trump was irresponsibly telling people to inject themselves with disinfectant and drink bleach to cure COVID19. These representations were again falsehoods. Even now, after Trump tested positive to COVID19, many are acting as if he said COVID19 was a hoax. This is just untrue. Several fact-checking sites, including Snopes, in addition to Associated Press and CNN, have all confirmed this to be as much. Trump never claimed COVID19 was a hoax, rather saying at the time that things the Democrats had been saying were.

Here are a few more examples: CNN reported that Kim Jong Un was gravely ill. Many other media outlets followed suit, resulting in one of the worst shows of fake news ever seen, showing exactly why people have lost trust in the media. Left-Wing media outlets in the US, including CNN and MSNBC, reported the Black Lives Matter protests as being mostly peaceful. This was again untrue and was proven so as CNN presented this headline banner while live crossing to a reporter in Kenosha, Wisconsin with fire lighting up the sky behind him. One more recent example of this was Chris Wallace, the moderator of the first campaign of the debate. Wallace was not at all subtle about his bias, interrupting Trump 76 times and presenting him with leading questions, while only interrupting Biden 15 times and even laughing with him at one point. He is the perfect example of why people have lost faith in the media. Meanwhile in the UK, Sky News presenter Kay Burley labelled former Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott a homophobe and a misogynist. Even Abbott’s own sister Christine Forster, who is in a same-sex relationship, said he was not a homophobe. The list goes on.

Then you have Australian media. The worst offender in the country in terms of bias is the ABC. What makes this worse is that the ABC is funded by taxpayers. That means everyone, whether they like it or not, is paying for the ABC to give themselves incredulous salaries and produce and spread Left-Wing ideology across Australia. The ABC’s panel-based programs like Q&A, The Drum, and Insiders are consistently stacked with Left-Wing individuals, usually with one token Conservative to give the impression of “balance”. Let me be clear, the ABC has a Charter that they are to adhere to considering they are taxpayer funded, and that Charter requires they are balanced so as to represent the views of all Australians, not just some Australians. After all, we all pay their salaries. In fact, The Drum even barred those affiliated with One Nation from appearing on their program. The hosts of many of the shows presented, even on ABC Radio, are typically Left biased (eg. Hamish McDonald, Virginia Trioli, Michael Rowland, Fran Kelly etc.). Those who do not show such bias are berated by typical ABC viewers. David Speers has been hammered for “going too easy” on Government MPs, but it is clear that they are just upset that he is actually bringing some balance to the national broadcaster. The same viewers get upset when Conservatives pop up on their programs, for example those from the Institute of Public Affairs (IPA), Alan Jones, Greg Sheridan, and the like. The ABC are also major proponents of the new age climate change narrative, spruiking unruly predictions and climate alarmism on a regular basis. They often use Labor or Greens talking points, slamming the Government or any Conservative parties. When it comes to Trump, the ABC typically go on the attack, taking his comments out of context to paint him as something he is not. Indeed, this is true of much of the media in Australia, bar outlets like Sky News and The Australian.

Network Ten’s The Project is guilty of purporting falsities on a regular basis to push a Left-Wing ideological agenda. Indeed, they also take Trump and other Conservative leaders out of context to contrive a false narrative. Waleed Aly has even gone so far as to be an Islamic terrorism apologist, calling it “a perpetual irritant”. According to Waleed, Right-Wing extremism poses a much larger threat. It is media types like these that have brought about a lack of trust in the media by many on the Right, and an obsession with fake news by those on the Left.

One more point on the ABC before we move on: If the ABC are not going to represent the views of all Australians in a fair and balanced manner, why should they receive public funding? This makes the case for privatization of the national broadcaster. If those who view it wish to fund it, they should do so themselves on a subscription basis, just like many do with Sky News.

Speaking of Sky News, let’s have a look at the other side of the coin. While much of the mainstream media are perpetrators of deliberately contrived stories with false pretenses and intentional deception of their viewers, there are some media outlets who still rise above the murky waters to report the truthfully and factually. Among these outlets are Sky News Australia, The Daily Telegraph, and The Australian. Each of these publications employ some of the most reliable and hard-hitting journalists in Australia and are each trustworthy sources when it comes to news. But they are often beat down upon by the Left using one ridiculous argument: They are owned by Rupert Murdoch.

The conspiracy goes as follows: Rupert Murdoch is controlling every single person in his media empire, telling them what to say, and by extension deciding who gets to run the country. Let me make something clear: Rupert Murdoch would not have time to contact every single journalist and political commentator in the media outlets he owns to tell them what they must say or write. It is quite nonsensical to think otherwise. Each person who works in these media outlets have their own views, their own opinions, and report or commentate in their own words. They have their own minds, unlike the collective hive mind that is many on the Left.

The problem for journalists and political commentators at these media outlets is that they are often attacked in various ways for telling the truth. Take Sky’s so-called “After Dark” commentators for example. Peta Credlin, Andrew Bolt, Alan Jones, Paul Murray, and the hosts of Outsiders Rowan Dean, James Morrow and Rita Panahi. This group of fine individuals have no problem telling it how it is. Yet they are often labelled the typical terms the Left so often love to use in an attempt to discredit their political opponents: racist, sexist, misogynist, homophobic, bigot, the list goes on. Some of the terms are far too disgusting to share. Peta Credlin in particular is hated by the Left for a clear reason: she is a smart and reasoned woman who has made her mark in the political scene. That is why the Left feel threatened by her and subsequently label her and her views as dangerous. They despise Rita Panahi for much the same reason. Rowan Dean is often labelled as “crazy” by the Left simply for pointing out the obvious flaws in the climate agenda. And practically every one of these individuals has been labelled as dangerous or the like for not wanting to see the economy destroyed by COVID19.

Chris Kenny is another on Sky who is attacked relentlessly, so much so that he decided to leave Twitter. Kenny has a show on Sky called Kenny on Media, where he looks at how others in the media have been guilty of purporting false narratives to push political points. This is somewhat similar to the ABC program MediaWatch, presented by Paul Barry. But see, MediaWatch often attack Right-Wing Media, and never call out errors made by their own. They have an obligation to do so. The Left would argue that they do not, and that Sky must be balanced as well. There is, however, a clear difference between the ABC and Sky News. The ABC are taxpayer funded and must therefore adhere to a Charter. Sky News have no such obligation, as they are a subscription-based service.

The most recent example of a journalist being attacked for doing her job well and trying to get to the truth is The Australian’s Rachel Baxendale. Baxendale has consistently posed hard-hitting questions to Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews throughout the COVID19 crisis. In seeking the truth of matters like hotel quarantine, who signed off on certain restrictions, and several others, Baxendale has become the Left’s new punching bag. She has been relentlessly attacked on social media, particularly on Twitter. A hashtag was even trended only last week after Daniel Andrews showed contempt for her at his press conference and coined the phrase “What’s the issue Rachel?” Ironically, those who have made fun of her appearance and the like are those who describe themselves as feminists. But what is worse is that, for simply doing her job well, Baxendale has been subject to threats of violence against her, including death threats and rape threats. This is completely unacceptable. It has no place in society.

While other journalists have been soft on Andrews, Baxendale and a few others, including the Herald Sun’s Alex White, and more recently, The Age’s Sumeyya Ilanbey and Seven’s Denham Hitchcock, have been tough on the Victorian Premier, holding him, his Ministers, the Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton, and a host of others to account for the errors and unjustified harsh restrictions and abuses of human rights that have been occurring in Victoria. Yet whenever they ask these sorts of questions, they receive one of Daniel Andrews’ typical lines: “I cannot recall that”, or “I’ll have to get back to you”, or “I don’t accept that”, or “That is a matter for (insert anyone else here)” or, “I don’t want to cut across the inquiry”. Andrews has nothing but contempt for these journalists and the work that they do. He hides behind an inquiry, even though the head of the inquiry, Judge Coate, has said he is free to comment on it. There have been far too many occasions where he has said he would get back to journalists and has never done so. And therein lies the problem. If journalists are shown such utter contempt by those who they are employed to hold accountable, then we have a serious problem on our hands.

It is the plight of journalism that good and honest journalists would be so heavily criticized and abused for carrying out their civil duty to the people, whilst those journalists who would maliciously contrive stories in attempts to bring down their political opponents are praised. Journalists who tell the truth are becoming a rare breed in a world of politicking and agenda-setting. The media has, for the most part, lost its way. It has been blinded by political bias. Hence many in the general public are being fed disinformation, unable to see reality as the media blindfolds them to the truth. It is an utter tragedy.

That is why the world needs more good and honest journalists; journalists that will report accurately to the people and do the best they can to get to the bottom of matters of public interest. We need more people like Rachel Baxendale and Peta Credlin, more like Denham Hitchcock and Alan Jones. We need journalists and political commentators that are not afraid to tell it how it really is. That is one of the major reasons I got into the field, and why I have continued to persist and push on, even when the going gets tough. I wanted to ensure that people get the truth and are not fooled into believing a false reality by certain media types. It is not an easy job, far from it, but it entirely rewarding to get to get the truth out there to people. Although the truth is despised by many, it is of great importance to the world.

As Plato once said: “No one is more hated than he who speaks the truth.”

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