Media and nuclear – Australia – theme for March 2017
The new media landscape – what does it mean for Australia and nuclear issues? For one thing, the decline in mainstream media means that it’s cheaper and easier for mainstream media, particularly the Murdochracy, to abandon paying for true journalism and just regurgitate propaganda from government and the nuclear industry.
Australia’s news media,
print, radio and TV continue to be under pressure, as people turn ever more to a variety of digital sources. Traditional news media lose advertising revenue, and good journalists lose their jobs. I have written about this before
. But now, it’s happening ever faster. Quality newspapers struggle, especially in the print versions. The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age are likely to move from a daily to a weekend only printing.
Still, print survives, and newer print news, like The Saturday Paper
and The Monthly
might just surprise us all.
The ABC soldiers on, with TV,radio and online news, in a climate of political pressure,and of repeated cutting of its funds, and threats of more cutting. In some areas, such as ABC Radio National, one detects dumbing down of content. Late Night Live
survives – Phillip Adams now calling it “Fake Night Live”
Online news – Independent Australia
, Online Opinion
, New Matilda
etc battle on for financial survival, as the media landscape becomes an ecosystem of competing digital sources. Here some very fine journalism appears, from the usually unpaid critics of the nuclear industry, including internationally known experts on the subject, notably Dr Jim Green
and Dr Helen Caldicott.
At the same time, the well-heeled nuclear lobby also contributes articles.
Social media is increasingly, where it’s at, especially for nuclear issues. Websites, Blogs, Facebook, Youtube, Twitter, Linked-In, Tumblr etc.
Environmental organisations have busy websites. But increasingly – it’s Youtube and Facebook that now lead the pack. Sadly, for Youtube, the pro nuclear lobby has many sophisticated propaganda videos. Australia’s under-funded Aboriginal and environmental groups lack the resources to make great use of Youtube.
Twitter is, at present, under-used by Australia’s nuclear-free activists, though Friends of The Earth tweets at @NuclearFreeAus
Meanwhile Australia’s pro nuclear lobbyistsare very active, and use sophisticated algorithms to churn out multiple tweets from just one source. Fortunately a lot of these seem quite stupid, spending much time on infantile trolling of Dr Caldicott. Examples: @totterdell91 @thjr19 and a lot of their fake clones, often adopting female names e.g Marcelina, EcoWife
How do we manage in the new media ecosystem?
First, Australians who care about their country and their planet need to make better use of social media in particular. And, we need to be aware of the traps in it. Our public social media sites are viewed by the nuclear lobby and Australia’s government, (often lackey to the nuclear lobby). Personal information can be used against you. Mistaken, inaccurate, unwise statements can be used against the environmental cause.
Above all, the new media landscape means that we have to exercise judgement in what we read and write. Look for accuracy. Look for credible sources, and quote these. As Donald Trump has taught us – there’s so much “fake news” out there. I don’t think that Trump actually meant his own lies, here, But Trump has certainly been a force in hastening the already happening process of muddying the media waters.