, 14 tweets, 3 min read Read on Twitter
We all know Liberals are getting away with lying their way through this election campaign in the media and in most of their paid advertising 🤥 . But how is this happening? Why the sudden astronomical dive in public standards of accountability? A thread👇🏻
We are all taught not to lie as children. It’s the wrong thing to do. If you lie and are caught, you are punished. It ends badly for you. The negative consequences deter you from lying. Being good is the opposite of lying and people are told that being good is valued in society.
Politicians and political parties don’t have parents to tell them off for lying. That’s the role of the media - watchdogs over the powerful. Once upon a time, if a politician lied and was caught out by media it was a huge problem for them. A big lie was a scandal. Not any more.
A large percentage of the media - Murdoch media - not only fail to hold politicians to a standard, but actually reinforce and provide many of the lies the Liberals/Nationals/UAP/One Nation/Anning etc use to trick the public. They’re front page lie machines.
The rest of the media have largely given up calling out lies and ‘punishing’ liars because of all the journalistic norms I write often about - false balance, shallow impartiality and a fear of appearing biased. They also mostly move in a pack so if one ignores lies, they all do.
Journalists fear the tag of ‘biased’. To avoid bias, they pretend not to value anything and just report he said, she said without judgement on what he said, she said. Since they’re hiding their values, or don’t have any, they no longer value honesty.
Problem is, while working hard to avoid judgements on politicians, which require values, they’ve forgotten that valuing honesty is not a political or ideological value - it’s something our whole community is supposably meant to value. It’s a foundational value for a civil society
Having given up policing honesty, eventually Liberal govt and their allies worked out that journos let their lies go unpunished. They’ve learned it’s not only Murdoch media who will assist their lies, the whole media are accomplices in deceiving the voting electorate.
Don’t believe me? How many times have you heard someone on the ABC refer to a ‘Retirement Tax’ which doesn’t exist. Remember the Carbon Tax? That didn’t exist either. Even Peta Credlin has admitted that.
This valueless reporting, dressed up as impartiality, has lost touch with other foundational values, such as a respect for science, evidence, facts and expert credibility. That’s how we got the climate ‘debate’ which has assisted deniers to avoid action for twenty years.
Journalists have been taught somewhere along the line that the only ones who can judge a politician is the opposing party. That’s why this week it was up to Shorten to point out Morrison’s bizarre failure to deny gay people go to hell. Not a journalist.
This perception of journalists by journalists themselves - that they’re valueless stenographers - is the reason we get served up lies as headlines. Sure, there are some good journalists still who do the hard work fact checking. But fact checking after the fact is useless.
Once a lie is out there, it’s alive and it can’t be killed. How many voters think Labor have a ‘death tax’ when Labor has nothing of the sort? When one side of politics is being defamed by the other, democracy suffers.
There is growing discussion of media ethics and bias and what can be done to improve political reporting for the sake of a well functioning democracy. Something urgent has to be done about the ‘watchdog’ role. While watchdogs sleep, Libs get away with misleading the public. End.
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