Saturday, October 23, 2004

Journalism and Politics

I studied to be a journalist once upon a time. It was from 1987-90 and during this time we in Australia were lucky enough to have many highly trained journalists from Britain come out and work in our universities and newspapers as they were fleeing the radical changes being made to newspapers and their production by Maggie Thatcher's regime.
My chief lecturer was an amazing man named Charles Stuart who wowed us with stories of covering the Six Day War in Israel and the intrigues and characters of Fleet Street. He sadly passed a way several years ago. Another teacher was Anthony Delano, a director of the Mirror Group of newspapers until 1985, and a then associate of the outrageous Robert Maxwell.
Our teachers instilled in us the excitement and adventure of journalism. It was also much about ethics and how much power the mass media actually has in the everyday lives of ordinary people. After three years training and doing fairly well at it I decided I was going to work as a nurse instead as the mainstream media was just too plain evil to get involved with. At that time I shared a nationality with Rupert Murdoch (he has since become American in order to buy the Fox Network) and that is something that used to really irritate me. Murdoch has done more to dismantle the concept of mass media as the fourth estate than any one person has.
This idea of independent integrity has been rather well critiqued in 'the field' with the appearance of the writer and comedian Jon Stewart on the CNN network's Crossfire program. There are few real answers given to his satire and very direct confrontation of the mad theatre that most of us take for granted as 'News and Current Affairs' where explanations are short (if ever present), sound bites sharp, and visual props used to re-enforce stereotypical thinking.
I have a poster on my wall that I bought in Paris this summer from the 68 student rebellion there, which reads "Retour a la Normale". I suppose CNN will do so after Stewart leaves the building, but for a few second there the clouds parted and the sun shone in.

Anthony Delano on Robert Maxwell: "He saw how eminently corruptible the British were and how cheap they were to corrupt"

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