15 March 2006

A media policy for the '90s

The Federal Government's media ownership policy is designed to bring Australia into the 1990s, which would be fine if the '90s were ahead of us. It means that small media operations cannot compete in an environment requiring high capital outlay, and that politicians quite like being confined to a situation where they are beholden to small numbers of media proprietors who mediate their message to the public. The death of Kerry Packer (and the apparent disinterest of James Packer in "old media") provided a great opportunity to screw over Fairfax and the ABC by letting a hundred media flowers bloom. Next time you hear someone from the government (and I include both both the Sydney and Melbourne toads) complains they're not getting a fair go from the media, just laugh).

Big media will lose credibility over time and fringe meeja like Crikey will practice a kind of asymmetrical warfare against it. The whole notion of the "scoop" is quaint in an era where your competitors will post a story ten minutes after you do with no dimunition of their standing. The idea that a media organisation and a government will mutually reinforce each other with favourable reporting of government initiatives makes for dull media. Nothing can save dull media, not even cosy relationships with government.

Come friendly bombs and fall on Willoughby. I would wish for some foreign competitor to come and kick the shit out of the Australian media (how about this dribbly old shite, or Australia's Rush Limbaugh?) but it wouldn't make for better informed/entertained Australia.