Massive failure: The media must call out Coalition lies

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Cartoon by Mark David/@mdavidcartoons

The media should up its game if it expects us to support its Right To Know campaign, writes Grant Turner.

IT APPEARS Australian politics has taken a hard right-hand turn to become the place where the politics of personal and vitriolic bashing of your opponent has become the norm.

The media that now seeks our support via their #RightToKnow campaign is the very same media that had no problem crucifying Julia Gillard for her stance on the carbon tax. And it's now under pressure to tow the government line or be subjected to raids, harassment and threats of jail.

Remember that period between 2010 and 2016? The media led the outcry about Labor's "debt and deficit" disaster, along with that "evil" carbon tax and the $100 lamb roasts that were going to end life as we know it. 

This was the only time in Australian history when our emissions have decreased.

Then Opposition Leader Tony Abbott told the following lies regarding the NBN in his election speech:

"The NBN will have a new business plan to ensure that every household gains five times current broadband speeds – within three years and without digging up almost every street in Australia – for $60 billion less than Labor."

We all now know how that worked out. But of course you won't hear the media mention their failure to report on the incompetence of the NBN rollout.

Even earlier, we saw the media's nonchalance towards the reporting of former Prime Minister John Howard's demonisation of refugees and lies that children were being thrown overboard. It set up the Abbott era when our media seemed to give up on serious journalism.

There are exceptions like Nick Ross who lost his job for speaking truth to power on the NBN and other independent media outlets that challenged Abbott's dogma.

However, the mainstream media fundamentally went with the Coalition spin with very little scrutiny or real investigation.

Once in power, the Coalition came up with their "on water matters" line (no reporting on boat arrivals) which the media just went along with. 

Look at what the media hasn't touched since that time, we have had #AshbyGate, #Watergate, #GrassGate, #AWURaids, #GBRF, #Paladin and so many more, all which have been allowed to conveniently fade into oblivion with very few repercussions for the Coalition. Now, we find ourselves in a place where media seem more obsessed with reporting what the Opposition's policies are, even though it's two and a half years away from the next election.

The recent raids of the ABC and News Corp's journalist Annika Smethurst's home has caused some in the media to take stock and make some flashy ads and put forward a case for press freedom. Yet the Australian media has been its worst enemy by being too cosy with the government of the day.

The reality of our current situation is we have a failing NBN; an economy that is heading full speed into a recession; stagnant wages; the cost of living is going up and up; and we have a religious Prime Minister that associates with an alleged paedophile protector.

To regain our trust, the media must focus unwaveringly focus on the facts and report honestly. This would show us that it has the country's best interest at heart and not that of big business.

With the advent of tech companies like Cambridge Analytica, the only thing that stands between an overbearing government and the people is an effective fourth estate. Independent media sets a good example, but it is largely suppressed by the quagmire that is the Australian media landscape.

Our nation is heading down a dark path. We punish folk fleeing wars and seeking betterment, we demonise unemployed or underemployed as folk not having a go, disabled people are described as a burden and the gap between the haves and the have nots has become a chasm.

We all should support, read and let our friends and family know that independent media is the only way to go forward. As hard as it is to find a spare buck these days, it is important to do what you can to support independent media as it stands up against a very large and ugly behemoth.

When the media fails to hold the Coalition to account for lies such as "we will reach our climate change targets in a canter" and "our economy is going well", it is very hard to get behind and support the #righttoknow movement.

Grant Turner has a strong interest in politics and fairness in society, and believes in honest independent media. 

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