The Media Inquiry we need

by Bob Carr

We all grumble about the media. The question is Lenin’s question: what is to be done? An inquiry could collect every grievance that everyone has ever had with their local radio stations and the mistakes in the deaths’ notices. It can go from one end of the country to the other and hear submissions in Town Halls. It can persuade itself that a lot of reporting and editing is bad, that ownership is concentrated, that there is all sorts of bias. But you can hear that confirmed on Media Watch every week. The question is: what to do?

Especially given newspapers are in decline anyway. Carve The Australian out of News and who would buy it to run at a loss? Rupert Murdoch subsidises media diversity and journalists’ jobs.

I’ve got a different proposition: an inquiry into the junk that chokes Pay TV.

The quality is trash.

We were promised better.

Diversity is non-existent.

Just about everything on it is cheap and nasty and now it’s being filled with ads every eight minutes.

Focus on that. Perhaps pass a statute on privacy. Double funding for the ABC and SBS. As for an inquiry? Its chairman would be like the man in Jewish lore being required to sit on the city’s walls and wait the coming of the messiah. “At least the work is steady,” he mused.