Rising distrust of Main Stream Media: Political bias, misrepresenting facts and poor journalism.

Fool me once shame on you. Fool me twice shame on me.

The rise of the free press was a vitally important institution for democracy.

Its true intentions were to provide a check and balance to the governing powers in order to provide the masses with accurate and truthful reporting of events and news to counter propaganda and misinformation spread by state-funded outlets.

Investigation, transparency and fact-based reporting are key to delivering news and maintaining the integrity of a news outlet.

It is understandable that interpretation of facts can vary.  It is also understandable that in many cases not all facts are apparent and many journalists will try to complete a picture by giving opinions on matters with the best available information at hand.

It is important to give a balanced view on issues and lay the facts on the table in their entirety and allow the audience to make up their mind on issues armed with the best possible knowledge.

It is an entirely different thing to cherry pick facts while ignoring others to paint a skewed picture of events to herd your audience in a predetermined direction.

For this reason, the rise in mistrust of Mainstream media is not surprising.

The standard of journalism has been very low for a long time now.

Politically motivated bias in reporting (on both sides), poor investigative journalism, misrepresenting facts and outright lies in some cases.

They have damaged their business model over time to the point that it is no longer surprising that many are very skeptical on what is being reported.

The most negligent and damaging misreporting and spread of false information always revolves around military conflict.

War without a doubt is more often than not driven by greed and money, as resource-rich nations are plundered.

How mainstream media profits from spreading pro-war misinformation is unclear.

Iraq WMDs

Perhaps the greatest case in modern times of poor journalism and presentation of misleading information was in the lead up to the 2003 invasion of Iraq.

Major mainstream media outlets with political bias on both sides of the spectrum engaged in no investigation of their own and ran the narrative that was presented by our governments, that WMDs did exist and were an imminent threat to the freedoms of Western society.

The New York Times [1] and Fox News [2] were key players in this deception.

They took the governments’ statements at face value and presented them to the masses as undisputed facts. This is ironic as it goes against the very reason for the rise of the free press.

History now shows how tragically wrong our governments’ and media reporting to the lead up of the invasion was.

To be fair, not all major Australian publications were complicit in the deception but they also did not do enough to inform the public on the reality of the matter. Instead, they focused mostly on what was being said by politicians rather than what the real intelligence was saying.

Syria and ISIS.

The narrative in Syria has been sold to us as a fight against Islamic State (ISIS).

Australia is in support of the US-led coalition targeting ISIS both in Syria and Iraq.

Put aside the fact that the US-led invasion of Iraq was the catalyst for the creation of terror groups like ISIS, the mainstream media is complicit in running the government-driven narrative that we are there to fight terror groups and not dispose of the Assad government like we did with Saddam.

There is a mountain of evidence that points towards ISIS being used as the proxy force of the West and its Middle Eastern allies, yet most mainstream media is content to push the “official” story straight from our governments’ mouth.

The narrative was not just run by one publication but a broad spectrum of publications ranging from the ABC [3],  to THE AUSTRALIAN [4]. Two publications that are seen to be at the opposite end of the political spectrum.

Not once did the media question the Australian government or Coalition’s goal on removing ISIS when we knew that our Middle Eastern allies, Saudi Arabia and Qatar, were funding ISIL and other radical Sunni groups within the region back in 2014 [5].

Nor did our media question the real objective when we a knew that Turkey (another ally) was helping to ferry weapons from Libya to Syrian rebels opposing Assad. [6]

Perhaps this was not enough for our media outlets to question our government and its motives in Syria because these nations were not spearheading the intervention in Syria.

However that argument does not hold water due to the fact that John Kerry (the Secretary of State under President Obama) was caught on camera admitting to the US funding of Syrian opposition against Assad [7], something that was reported on back in 2013 by CNN [8] and 2014 by Breitbart [9] of all publications.

Yet despite all this mounting evidence of planned regime change, our media was mostly silent in the face of the official narrative of our involvement in Syria in 2015 when our government announced it would be conducting attacks against ISIS in Syrian territory [10].

The true motivation behind this conduct and lack of real journalistic quality is unclear. Perhaps in an effort to be the first to news, media outlets are happy just to report on “he said she said” rather than take the time to do some digging of their own and question what is being fed to us by the government.

Whatever the real reason the actions that mainstream media engage in are dangerous and irresponsible.

North Korea

North Korea is a potential danger to the SE Asian region, however, we are being maneuvered by fearmongering into a position that can see Australian troops support US forces in a war that can be avoided with diplomacy.

Most media is quick to over-exaggerate the threat North Korea poses to Australia praying on the fears of the population[11], while at the same time ignoring the fact that North Korea is willing to sit down at the negotiation table. [12]

Some outlets are going as far as to undermine the possibility of peace talks and diplomacy. [13]

Energy policies

It is not only negligence and misleading reporting on issues that shape foreign policy, it is also about issues that shape domestic debate.

Australia is currently gripped by a national debate revolving around energy pricing and energy policy.

On the 20th September 2017, “THE AUSTRALIAN”, was caught manipulating information in order to skew the perception of its readers in thinking that the coal business was booming.

They  published article headlined “New Hope Group gets boost from Asian coal demand” [14]

It is no secret that News Corp. Australia owned media outlets, are staunchly pro-coal and the below highlights the misinformation and agenda-driven reporting that mainstream media engage in.

The Australian fake news

[15]

Below, the 5 year historic price of New Hope Corp. Ltd paints an even more contrasting picture to what is being reported.

new hope 5 years

[16]

Further misleading journalism was again engaged by “THE AUSTRALIAN”, on 10th Oct 2016 [17].

Headlines read “Newspoll: Less than half back bill for clean energy”

It was an interesting heading seeing as the poll never asked its audience whether it approved of any particular clean energy target or any “bill” for that matter.

The poll instead asked if people were prepared to pay higher electricity prices for renewable energy. This is clearly not the same as asking a question of whether people back a clean energy target.

Newspaper editors know that a significant portion of their audience will not bother reading past the headline so these deliberately misleading headings are used to grab the attention and misinform the casual reader.

Further misleading headlines

Much like the above example, many publications try to use headlines to sensationalize a story and try and grab the attention of the reader.

On the 27th Oct 2017, “The Daily Mail AUSTRALIA” reported on the High Court ruling in regards to the disqualification of a number of politicians in Parliament and the Senate due to dual citizenship [18].

Headlines read “Bye bye Barnaby! High Court throws government into chaos as Deputy PM Joyce is DISQUALIFIED from Parliament and five other politicians are kicked out in citizenship scandal”, while their official Facebook page wrote “As High Court rules FIVE scandal-hit politicians will lose their jobs” [19]

Later in the article, the paper correctly reports that 2 of the senators had already resigned their position earlier in the year prior to the High Court ruling.

Many may see this as nit-picking but it really comes down to poor quality in journalism.

While the intentions of the article may not be malicious, the headlines are not consistent with the reality that the article then reports correctly.

You can’t “lose your job” or be “kicked out” if you have already resigned months earlier.

Many may not see this as important but it really comes down to the systemic problem of today’s journalism. The standard is quite poor and the world is catching on.

 

Source:

[1] http://www.smh.com.au/articles/2004/03/23/1079939624187.html

[2]  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VFNiad6US5U

[3] http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-09-10/molan-why-we-should-welcome-australian-air-strikes-in-syria/6765814

[4] http://www.theaustralian.com.au/opinion/the-war-against-islamic-state-is-one-of-selfdefence/news-story/8179e5a840f1216770d6e0a24c47eb52

[5] https://wikileaks.org/podesta-emails/emailid/55380#efmA_RBEL

[6] http://www.nytimes.com/2013/06/22/world/africa/in-a-turnabout-syria-rebels-get-libyan-weapons.html?mtrref=undefined&gwh=CE9D7CF95E6FB0508A9D0F7E9E578BF7&gwt=pay

[7] https://twitter.com/wikileaks/status/816451863403003904?lang=en

[8] http://edition.cnn.com/2013/09/12/politics/syria-arming-rebels/

[9] http://www.breitbart.com/national-security/2014/07/08/us-backed-moderate-free-syrian-army-factions-join-islamic-state-terror-group/

[10] https://www.businessinsider.com.au/australias-military-involvement-in-syria-is-a-war-of-self-defence-not-a-plan-to-topple-the-assad-regime-2015-9

[11] http://www.news.com.au/world/asia/north-korea-threatens-australia-with-nuclear-strike-over-us-allegiance/news-story/fa28ccb9eaaff6c02f5c12bdc19bc227

[12] https://theintercept.com/2017/08/25/north-korea-keeps-saying-it-might-give-up-its-nuclear-weapons-but-most-news-outlets-wont-tell-you-that/

[13] https://www.businessinsider.com.au/north-korea-doesnt-want-peace-bully-the-us-2017-9?r=US&IR=T

[14] http://www.theaustralian.com.au/business/mining-energy/asian-coal-demand-lifts-new-hope/news-story/00dc5d49bee00d21b10404fd28235ada

[15] https://www.facebook.com/TheAustraliaInstitute/posts/10155074687514397

[16] https://shareinvesting.anz.com/home.aspx

[17] http://www.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/newspoll/newspoll-less-than-half-back-bill-for-clean-energy/news-story/32e75c9e7ec17c7d8f02869b2fc0f7a3

[18] http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-5022773/Barnaby-Joyce-four-disqualified-Parliament.html?ito=social-facebook_Australiageo

[19] https://www.facebook.com/DailyMail/posts/3014182635308131

 

 

 

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