Australian op-eds
(Image: Unsplash/Jason Rosewell)

Op-eds -- opinion pieces that took their name from being published on the opposite page to a newspaper’s editorial -- were designed for pluralism and diversity. Now, they’re another tool in the culture wars waged by the right.

This is fundamentally hurting the journalism such pieces were designed to enrich. An atomised media, where each story stands alone to be discovered through social media or search, fractures the once clearly understood distinction between news and opinion -- and trust in journalism is undermined as a result.

All movements need to manage doctrine to make sense of a changing world. In the People's Republic of China, it’s Wang Huning who integrates Maoism into the thought of Xi Jinping for the guidance of party members. In conservative Australia today, it’s the opinion writers within News Corp who have to try to make sense of the modern ideology of the right for their own true believers. This is an ideology that meshes neoliberal economics and populist ethno-nationalism with a smearing of Trumpist “thought”.