Somewhere along the way, in the debate of public policy issues, we seem to have forgotten that “independent” does not necessarily mean “objective”. Think tanks in particular are the guiltiest in using this sleight of hand. In stressing that they are independent scholarly organisations, think tanks attempt to lay claim to a higher moral ground […]

US academic Jay Rosen recently described a number of failings he’d identified in modern journalism in an address to the Melbourne Writers Festival. He calls them “impoverished ideas”. One of these motifs is the depiction of politics as an insiders’ game. Rosen says that when journalists define politics as a game played by insiders, it […]

I have sympathy for people wanting more substance from the Australian media this federal election. Truly, I do. As I’ve previously explained, some of the political media’s obsession with election frippery is due to them rebelling against being tightly managed during the campaign. However, I’ve noticed an assertion creeping into some commentary that the media […]

Astroturfing denotes political, advertising, or public relations campaigns that are formally planned by an organization, but are disguised as spontaneous, popular “grassroots” behavior. The term refers to AstroTurf, a brand of synthetic carpeting designed to look like natural grass. Wikipedia.com At any given point in time activists, political parties or business interests are at the […]

I have a little theory that needs to be refined.  So I encourage you, dear reader, to comment and correct me. My theory is that the advent of by-lines and the cult of celebrity have irrevocably changed the nature of democracy in Australia. When I moved to chilly Canberra to be a neophyte press secretary […]