Newspaper article The Queensland Times (Ipswich, Australia)

Is Coverage of Politics Too Toxic Nowadays?

Newspaper article The Queensland Times (Ipswich, Australia)

Is Coverage of Politics Too Toxic Nowadays?

Article excerpt

Byline: Mark Furler

HAS the 24-hour news cycle become too toxic, too unforgiving, and just downright dangerous?

Have journalists become too opinionated, too biased, and unbalanced on their reporting, particularly in relation to politics?

Australians are cynical.

We don't trust our leaders as much as they do in the US or other countries.

And that's probably a good thing.

But as someone who has been in the news media industry for almost 30 years, I have become worried about what the explosion of online and social media has given us.

And as an online editor I must take some responsibility for it.

The news cycle has become a lot faster.

And in social media land, the time for explanation and understanding is almost zero.

People will read the 'teaser' of a story and begin sprouting off views, often without even reading a story.

In television land, reporters seem to be more interested in provoking leaders into an angry one liner than actually delivering useful explanations on issues.

Leaders themselves are now trained to talk in slogans and nauseous repetition.

It's something that most Australians couldn't stand about Julia Gillard and more recently Tony Abbott.

It's not often until their farewell speech that we see the real human behind the pithy one-liners.

This week, Queensland Premier Campbell Newman blamed the media for his own political misfortune, saying Australian politics has entered a "cold, dark place".

Mr Newman criticised the media in particular for sensationalism and character assassination.

"There's a range of things that have come together which I don't think are good for Queensland. I don't think it's good for Australia," Mr Newman told the ABC's Landline program in his first major interview.

"We see particularly the electronic media portray politics in the same way as a reality TV show," he said. …

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