With a looming election and faltering economy, newspapers in Australia are rife with exasperate, dramatic headlines, instilling fear and negativity into the households of Australia.
On Monday August 5, the first day of election campaigning, Sydney newspaper The Daily Telegraph ran a front-page article with the headline “Finally you now have the chance to KICK THIS MOB OUT” accompanied by a picture of Kevin Rudd.
This now infamous moment in Australian political journalism has lead to an outcry of opinion pieces quick to blame Murdoch, the journalists involved, News Limited, and the list goes on.
While it is the media’s job to portray news and current affairs consistently and factually to the public, lately the line has become blurred between what is fact and what is opinion.
The Journalism Code of Ethics states that Australian journalists must:
1. Report and interpret honestly, striving for accuracy, fairness and disclosure of all essential facts. Do not suppress relevant available facts, or give distorting emphasis.
2. Disclose conflicts of interest that affect, or could be seen to affect, the accuracy, fairness or independence of your journalism. Do not improperly use a journalistic position for personal gain.
Log on to your online newspaper of choice and readers are confronted with the question – is Murdoch abusing his power by clearly influencing the content of his News Limited publications?
Some say yes, Murdoch’s control of over 65% of all newspaper circulation in Australia is a gross abuse of power, and should not be allowed – particularly with an election in the wings and an obvious political agenda on the cards.
However others fairly state that in a democratic country, readers are free and able to make up their own minds. Do we really believe everything the media presents us?
I’d be interested to hear your thoughts – do you think the above is an abuse of the media’s power, or do you take everything you read with a grain of salt?