Answers to Questions, or just an episode of Q&A?


From Crikey, who are selling an additional daily mail on the merits of the people who are writing the content, to the Channel 7 news advertising, which is all about a journalist, the current election campaign has started with a blast of ads more about the viewpoint we are getting it from than the news itself.

Yesterdays bated breath 3 hour gabfest in advance of  Julia Gillard’s Press conference yesterday, including her arrival at the lodge was a salient example of our 24/7 news cycle. Where it appears to be all about missing nothing even if there is nothing to see.

The journalists stood around out front of the Governor-General’s swanky accommodation for quite some time. And, as Stilgherrian points out in his ‘9pm Edict’ podcast, not one of them interviewed a group of protesters who were standing there for the entire time. Maybe what they were protesting about was not felt to be interesting by the Producers for the live coverage, or maybe in this day and age it is more important we are fed “he says, she says” type journalism than an actual piece of news.

I’m sure the news has somewhat always been about those who deliver it. When the TV news was only delivered at 6pm or 9pm in the evening, the News Reader became the celebrity in order to deliver ratings for their networks. The programs about the news continue to make celebrities of the opinionated journalists who participate.

In an age of entertainment dressed as news should we then really expect harder questions to be asked of a de-facto Prime Minister announcing an election than some of those addressed to her yesterday? Or is it enough to expect one to ask whether it matters that it is the first winter election in 25 years instead?

Is the story whether Rhys Muldoon is an unusual fellow to be having one on one meetings with a Prime Minister on his last night as PM? Or should stories be pursued on topics such as those contained in the list we posed yesterday?

I say that if this is the level of questioning of our politicians we can expect from some journalists, or the type of stories which the Editors of our news organisations are pursuing, then its no wonder the level of expectation of our politicians by the majority of the population is so shallow.

Do we want to really “move forward” by demanding actual answers to hard questions from the politicians we pay for or do we just want to read fluff news based upon fluff answers to fluff questions?

There are five weeks for you to find the answers you are looking for – it’s such a pity you really won’t get many of them in Australian mainstream media.

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2 thoughts on “Answers to Questions, or just an episode of Q&A?

  1. Actually Seven News did go and talk to the protesters at the gates of Yarralumla on Saturday morning — though I believe they were the only TV station to do so. My comments in The 9pm Edict related only to ABC1. That may not have been clear.

    As for the transition of newsreaders from “just the facts” to celebrities, that was a gradual process. In Charlie Brooker’s Screenwipe series 4 episode 3, there’s a brief film by Adam Curtis which puts forward a theory or two about how that transition happened — though the whole episode is essentially the history of television news. The episode starts here on YouTube, and if I recall correctly the Curtis bit is in the middle 10 minutes.

  2. Hi Stil, I don’t watch entertainment channels who pretend to do news 😉 But yes, point well made they’ve outstripped the one’s I seem to trust more. hmmm.
    Thanks for the Charlie Brooker reminder, I’ll check it out again.

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