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Title: The Erosion of Trust in Australian Public Life
Contributor(s): Archer, Jeffrey Robert (author)
Publication Date: 2007
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Abstract: In common with much of the western media, and indeed like many otherwestern institutions, such as universities and political parties, the Australian media is relatively less concerned with issues of public interest than was the case two or three decades ago. For example, it is generally true that newspapers and television networks now devote fewer resources to long-term investigative reporting and are more concerned with 'infotainment', or merely with entertainment. This is most evident in the arena of commercial television, but the phenomenon of dumbing-down is widespread, even with the national Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) and the broadsheet newspapers. This retreat of the fourth estate has been accompanied by a massive increase in the resources devoted to government media management and control. These twin trends pose major challenges to the public good. The democratic polity is under threat if the power of governments and commercial interests are not put under the spotlight of a strong independent media. Public scrutiny is essential for democratic and responsible government, but the symbiotic interests of government and media now tend to reduce scrutiny. They both wish to provide the public (especially the politically uninterested floating voter) with quick and relatively inexpensive information that is often pre-packaged and produced by government andcorporations - with all the spin that involves. And they both have an interest in promoting public perceptions of sensational dangers and threats that will excite public interest while simultaneously presenting a reassuring image of the government as the solution to the perceived danger.
Publication Type: Book Chapter
Source of Publication: Communication in the Age of Suspicion: Trust and the Media, p. 39-50
Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan
Place of Publication: Basingstoke, England
ISBN: 0230002544
Field of Research (FOR): 160699 Political Science not elsewhere classified
HERDC Category Description: B1 Chapter in a Scholarly Book
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