Friday, June 8, 2012

"We'll all be rooned"

Same news, different slant.

Murdoch owned local newspaper the Leader
Glory be, we'll all be broke by year's end with the horrendous rate "hike" all apparently due to the evil carbon tax. You can't miss it, surrounded in red, with a block-letter, red subheading clearly indicating the cause of the rate increase.

But wait! The reporter has actually presented the facts of the proposed budget quite well. When one gets beyond the drama - the word "modest" appears in the quote, but you have to be interested enough to read further, to get beyond the automatic, emotional knee-jerk reaction. You've already been told this is bad, and that the reason it's bad is the carbon tax. It's clear and unambiguous. Time to start bitching about the irresponsible government!

If you're interested enough to read further, there's more good news about how the local council is doing some pretty good things with the rates. Drainage will be improved to respond to increasing storm and flooding events - that's pretty encouraging. Sports pavilions will be upgraded which I expect will make the sporty types happy, and measures will be taken to address the effects of climate change. It's possible these include floods and fire, but I'm not entirely sure, because as you can see, the negative heading and subheading take up almost as much space as the actual article, which doesn't leave much space for exploring the issues.

Anyway, who'd bother reading - it's boring, right? Rates and taxes - ugh. Many people won't realise they've been taken for a ride by a sensationalist and skewed headline - they're already in bitch mode which makes it harder to read or think objectively.

It's clear what the slant of the paper is, given the negative focus on the carbon tax, no matter how much positive news is included in the skimpy article.

 The Mornington News - an independent newspaper
An alternative view of the forthcoming local council budget is in the independent newspaper. We now have a very encouraging gift of a low rate rise! Whoohoo. Celebrations in order!  Same increase in rates, but rather than being "rooned" by a frightful, crippling, evil carbon tax, (which isn't mentioned till half way down the second column) we learn that it's the lowest rates increase in over 10 years - double celebrations!! (Why, oh why they didn't have the sense to call it more accurately a tax on pollution and polluters I'll never understand.)

And so, the tussle between Murdoch and others who want to own media outlets to push their biased agenda goes on. Of course there will always be an element of bias in the news and reporting. However, when one person or group is able to monopolise the bulk of the news outlets and not only dumb it down, but manipulate the time poor or struggling reader and blatantly misrepresent facts we're setting ourselves up with a serious problem.


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2 comments:

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Sue .. different emphasis - and then people believe the headlines .. and never bother to read (or think, dare I say) further ..

People can't grasp an argument - it's sound bites .. not healthy ..

Cheers Hilary

sue said...

Hilary, I suspect a lot of people like to be told what to think - it's easier that way.

I hope you're enjoying some pleasant weather after the soggy Jubilee weekend.