In Australia, for example, coverage of asylum seekers in the conservative, particularly tabloid, media has over the last decade been based too often on the incorrect framing that they are “illegal” and “queue jumpers.” Too rarely is the coverage based on the facts. This media (intended) failure has enabled the government to continue to persecute innocent people who came to us seeking safety.
Culture war “games” have thus turned life and death issues into something too “political” to address (either rationally) or intelligently. The spirit of Schwartz Media, Michael West Media and our other organisations dedicated to holding the powerful to account needs to be embraced by our legacy masthead writers. We need to consider the laws that can be crafted to balance the damage done by Malcolm Turnbull’s 2017 slashing of our media ownership laws. In a moment when the climate and democracy decay form a deadly helix, we cannot afford to have entertainment or agenda masquerading as news.
We need to debate new ways to fund the reliable news utterly critical to the functioning of democracy.
Too much is at stake to allow our news to frame this moment as “business as usual.”