Oct 13, 2014

On folk devils and the Oz‘s circle of confected outrage

The Australian is trying to whip up a moral panic against "activist journalists" and journalism academics. University of Canberra associate professor Glen Fuller explains why.

The Australian media editor Sharri Markson went deep undercover to sit in on journalism lectures at some of Sydney’s universities and has discovered not only do lecturers not worship Rupert Murdoch, but they also believe in the science of climate change and are encouraging students to subscribe to Crikey. It’s the latest salvo in an ongoing war of moral outrage.

Markson’s vitriol in this case was primarily directed at the University of Sydney, where lecturer Dr Penny O’Donnell encouraged students to think critically about media ownership, particularly when it came to Rupert Murdoch’s business interests. The story fits nicely into The Australian‘s long-running “moral panic” about the loss of efficacy of legacy media outlets, like, well, The Australian. Not only are “activist journalist academics” and “activist journalists” (both recent targets) a threat to the Oz, but moral panics are part of News Corp’s business model.

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12 thoughts on “On folk devils and the Oz‘s circle of confected outrage

  1. blindphoton

    In my book the greatest threat to this country takes the form of the Oz’s conservative activist “journalists”conspiring with the Liberal party and fossil fuel interests and attempting to trick the community into believing that the scientific fact of CO2 forced climate change is in fact science fiction.
    These bastards, and their lies and dirty tricks, are an obscenity; it’s no wonder they’re going down the dunny.

  2. Coaltopia

    hahaha, reworking the Gartner model, classic!

  3. Russell

    Ten years ago, media and journalism degrees were pretty hard to get into, not far below the entry thresholds for law and medicine… I have no idea how the courses the professional anti-Murdochs like Wendy Bacon and Penn O’Donnell run now rank, but I suspect the entry requirements are pretty low. So too will be the prestige and incomes of the academics involved.

    Well its sad, but it happens. And the job prospects of their graduate social media activists? Good luck, but there’s no escape from the grinding movements of money and power.

  4. Luke Hellboy

    Sheridan and Markson lecturing universities on political activism taking over journalism is first class irony, if only they had some concept of it. That they can make these comments with a straight face is a sign of their complete lack of introspection and tenuous grasp of reality. The Australian looks more and more like The Onion.

  5. CML

    Good article, Professor!

    I don’t know anyone personally who reads The Australian, let alone anyone who believes one word that is printed therein!!

    It surely must be one of the most biased newspapers ever to see the light of day in a democracy. The question is, do the journalists writing such cr+p even realise they are prostituting themselves and their profession?

    But perhaps the worst outcome, is the effect this has on ordinary uninformed citizens. Manipulation of the masses is perhaps too kind!!

  6. Scott

    University is supposed to be about the battle of ideas as well as training. But seriously…Is News Corp the biggest issue in Journalism? Seems a little low brow when you consider the other major issues affect journalism..i.e its professional status, whistle blower rules, the in-sourcing of media teams in sport (AFL) etc.

    Seems to me like re-arranging the deck chairs on the Titanic..

  7. Graeski

    Scott, nothing in the article suggests that the University courses actually consider Murdoch to be the biggest thing in journalism: no information is provided on what else is covered by these courses or where the emphasis lies. It is the Murdoch reporters who have made Murdoch the biggest issue of the courses.

    Further proof of their bloated sense of self-importance, I guess.

  8. Daryl...

    Unsurprising that a cheerleader of the #TinFoilLeft would come out in defence of indoctrination and against Shari’s excellent work.

    If you are a women challenging the status quo then you will be subjected to relentless and ungracious attacks from the #TinFoilLeft

    You’ve misrepresented her article. She didn’t express outrage that people “believed” in climate change, she expressed outrage about the indoctrination approach designed to silence any dissent in favor of the tutors views.

    She didn’t express outrage that Murdoch was not worshipped, (a very undergraduate type statement), she expressed outrage that he and his publications were continually vilified.

    No explanation that the source of any influence they have comes from the large percentage of the population that actively choose to read their publications.

    No consideration of the many examples of exemplary journalism and opinion pieces.

    And never any consideration that they are an island of sanity in a sea of warped, left wing ideologues.

    The sooner this disease is eradicated from our universities, the sooner that flat earth thinking like that expressed in this article will be laughed at as the truly childish attempt at commentary that it is.

  9. Chris Hartwell

    Attended uni recently Daryl?

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