Hypocrisy thy name is modern journalism

March 14, 2014

high-moral-horse Photo Steve DavisMy wife calls it getting on your ‘high moral horse’ and I call it hypocrisy.

Whenever somebody poses in a holier-than-thou manner while at the same time remaining embroiled in dark, dirty practices, I think we are right to call them on it.

And today it is The Advertiser, or rather that morphed mix of content from various sources served up as adelaidenow.com.au.

A replica pistol in a school but no smoking gun

In a story entitled, Norwood Morialta High School reopens after toy gun scare, Sam Kelton relates a story about a student being seen with a toy gun, mistaken for a real one, which led to a school lockdown until safety was assured.

As stories go, Sam did a great job of covering the story, focusing on quickly relaying the facts and then just reaching a little for the emotional lever when writing about parents being concerned by not knowing what was going on.

But then we get the dip into the ‘fishing for a story’ angle, most likely from a media conference.

When asked if the subject matter was suitable for children as young as 14, principal Panayoula Parja said she was not aware of this part of curriculum. “It’s part of the media studies course — I don’t have the details,” she said.

Well done, Sam, that pushed my emotional lever.

Sorry, but you don’t have the right to play moral police officer

Here is the dilemma.

It might actually be worthwhile to explore the effect of guns on young children and the use of guns as props in a media studies class made up of 14 year old students.

But when 14 year old students in a media studies class come up with a story based around someone trying to buy a gun illegally, it is a bit rich for media outlets to suddenly tut tut and start playing the role of a concerned aunty.

I would go as far as to say The Advertiser has no right to play ‘guardian of the morals of our youth’ and nor do any television journalists.

The reason is that these media vehicles make money out of violence and sleaze every single day.

For example, Channel Nine makes a ton of money from stirring up every Australian crime story ever known through the Underbelly franchise, Channel Seven also milks gangland culture through Killing Time, Channel Ten and all of the other channels pump out imported, US and UK crime shows by the dozen. And of course you have the gutter trash programming of so-called ‘current affairs’ shows like Today Tonight and A Current Affair that seize upon, set up or otherwise exploit on-camera fisticuffs between neighbours and school children.

In fact, most drama involves firearms as dramatic devices, even our beloved soapies throw in the odd gun every now and then to spice things up.

At Sam’s paper, crime and gore coverage is further enhanced by bits of titillation and sleaze. My case in point is this screen shot from directly below the Norwood Morialta High School story in which their ‘recommended’ story was ‘Men Should Be Free To Upskirt’ (which means taking pictures up under the skirts of women). I’ve kept a full original, in case you don’t believe me.


My point is that whether or not Sam asked that question, it seems rotten to me that people who make their living from the profits of crime (real and fictional) dare raise or cover that angle.

I argue they should be asking THEMSELVES the question about the suitability of exposing young people to guns, not indirectly try to pass blame to the school because a media studies class accurately reflected the media back to itself!

I hope I’m not the only one who sees the irony in this.

If I am, I’ll have to ride into the sunset on my own high moral horse to some place where newspapers cannot be delivered, nor news sites be stumbled upon.