Before journalists can repair their broken institution, they first need to admit they have a problem.
But while journalists behave like they are untouchable and beyond critique, Australian news media standards will continue to degrade, and audience trust will decline.
When journalists are criticised, whether it be instances of bias, misrepresentation, factual errors or terrible ethics on display, we see a familiar pattern. First, they complain of “trolling” and “abuse” from whoever it is who points out their flaws. Then their colleagues jump in to defend them and join in the chorus of criticism against those who complain. Rinse, repeat.
This collective circling of the wagons and in-group defensiveness creates an impenetrable culture that refuses to self-reflect or confront problems from within. Like a snake eating itself, this downward spiral is unsustainable.