Have you ever thought about how Australians have built their belief systems surrounding political, social or economic issues?
I often think about people who believe that climate change is a myth, or people who think that Muslim women should be banned from wearing their burkas in Australia and I wonder, ‘What have these people been reading/consuming to truly believe something like that?’.
When we start to think about media groups as key social actors, we can begin to see the significance of their influence over our individual belief systems. These groups have played crucial roles in human evolution and they are not only media and corporate actors, they actually control the communication delivery of how social, political and economic issues are articulated (Arsenault and Castells, 2008).
I personally try really hard to consume news that I believe comes from a non-bias perspective (if that’s even possible these days). I refuse to have the TV in my apartment hooked up to free to air because every time I see it played at my boyfriend’s house, it reminds me why we have people stockpiling toilet paper at the moment.
I chose to have ABC send me a message via Facebook each morning with News updates and I tend to only read news articles on the Triple J news sight and listen to their Hack podcast. I find that this is where I can reach the most realistic and important pieces of news.
The Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) is funded by the government but is expressly independent of government and partisan politics.
“The ABC gather and present news and information with impartiality and presents a diversity of perspectives so that, over time, no significant strand of thought or belief within the community is knowingly excluded or disproportionately represented. The broadcaster is expected to take no editorial stance other than a commitment to fundamental democratic principles.”—
ABC Editorial Policy
When we look at the media groups that are in charge of issue framing and information gate-keeping, the first person that usually comes to mind is Rupert Murdoch.
Murdoch is the majority shareholder and managing director of NewsCorp and stands out as the archetypal media mogul (Arsenault and Castells, 2008).
Commonly labeled as ‘media’s demon king’, Murdoch is known to be able to influence these networks by programming common goals and resources in order to facilitate his ultimate goal of financially expanding his companies.
The control that this man has over media across the globe has terrifying consequences. For example, the dangerous spread of miss information regarding climate change is going to have detrimental effects on us as humans for the rest of our existence.
A recent example of Murdoch’s dangerous spread of miss information is the Australian 2019/2020 Bushfires. The New York Times called out News Corp’s “relentless effort” to “protect conservative leaders and divert attention from climate change” (Cave, 2020). Then an employee rebelled against News Corp’s “misinformation campaign” filled with “irresponsible” and “dangerous” coverage of the bushfire crisis in Australia (Samios and Hornery, 2020).
Arsenault, A. and Castells, M., 2008. Switching power: Rupert Murdoch and the global business of media politics: A sociological analysis. International Sociology, 23(4), pp.488-513.
Cave, D., 2020. How Rupert Murdoch Is Influencing Australia’s Bushfire Debate, New York Times.
Samios, Z. and Hornery, A., 2020. Dangerous, misinformation’: News Corp employee’s fire coverage email, The Sydney Morning Herald.