Yesterday evening I attended a lecture by Jonathan Holmes at Curtin University. I left feeling very depressed. The reason for my depression at Jonathan Holmes’ talk and the discussion that followed were general comments about how low the interest in politics and other issues were in Australia.
I did agree that it unrealistic that our media should be unbiased and the best we can have is that we have a diversity of bias. As I understood the conversation the opinion was that there is little hope that the Murdoch press can ever be broken up and true diversity re-established in Australian MSM because who in their right mind own a newspaper? Also if the current trend continues Murdoch and the ABC would be the last two MSM entities standing. Although it was not part of the conversation I did wonder how unbiased the ABC can be when it relies on government funding? This is not just under an Abbott government but also under any government.
Apart from the issue of the improbability of returning to any form of diversity in print media there was this issue of whether or not Australians cared about any real issues at all.
Figures where not quoted, only a general trend. It seems that now there is a reasonable on line presence of media across all spectrums of our society it is possible build up a picture of what our society is interest in.
Politics just doesn’t rate as an issue of interest on the internet. Nor do stories about Aboriginal issues rate in any form of media. The case was cited in MSN where the West Australian ran a photo of an Aboriginal elder on the front page and circulation dropped by twenty thousand. Staff members had warned the editor that it would happen but the photo was run anyway and the prediction proved to be true.
The general picture that I took away from the talk was that Australia was racist, sexist uncaring place where self-interest ruled supreme. It is place where anyone with a real interest in exploring issues of inequality or oppression would not be heard because nobody is interested. This was the reason for my depression after listening Jonathan Holmes and others. It is not that inequality and oppression exists, that was apparent to me before yesterday evening. The depressing thing was that my suspicions that nobody cared were confirmed.
So why do those who do care blog about political and social issues? The only reason I can think of for all of us who do want to make a difference is that we can do it for the good of our own soul in the vain hope that sometime someone might listen.