Politics

Gotcha questions expose media double standards

Sunday’s episode of Insiders confirmed viewers precisely what media bias is all about and the way, come election time, even among the most revered journalists can fall into the lure of taking part in double requirements.

Despite some criticism of the Liberal Government’s election marketing campaign, extra of the dialogue targeted on gotcha moments than precise coverage.

Political editor for News.com, Samantha Maiden, started the dialogue by declaring that Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese wanted to “sharpen up”, having days earlier been unable to supply the precise statistic of individuals at the moment unemployed throughout Australia.

In the identical breath, when referring to Prime Minister Scott Morrison, Maiden merely acknowledged that he had dedicated a “blunder” at not understanding the value of bread and milk.

Maiden’s false equivalency between the 2 failings reveals simply how the media’s bias towards the Labor Party has flourished over time.

Political journalists are framing the Election

Just final week in an article in The Advertiser, Maiden stated that:

‘Unlike the “gotcha” questions the Prime Minister, Scott Morrison, was asked at the National Press Club earlier this year – what’s the value of milk, bread and petrol? – these are usually not figures that bounce round and he ought to have identified the solutions.’

Everyone can forgive a mind freeze every now and then.

Just assume again to scholar exams, that second you’re requested a query to which you already know the reply however you simply can’t pinpoint it. A quantity not often introduced up in on a regular basis life.

The worth of bread and milk nevertheless, for many Australians, is way simpler to recollect.

For Australians struggling to seek out employment, or are going through the growing wave of underemployment, the precise statistic is of much less significance than the results of that predicament.

Let’s keep in mind that official employment figures fail to incorporate Australians who’re working informal hours, struggling to make a dwelling wage.

Perhaps that is the place gotcha questions have their advantage. Not to again politicians into corners the place statistics get regurgitated like they’re being learn off a spreadsheet — rehearsed and memorised, not felt or skilled. But as an alternative to focus on the broader social points at play.

Unemployment, insecure work and failings within the welfare system have left a path of weak and, at instances, offended Australians combating to have their voices heard.

Both sides of politics have didn’t adequately handle this problem.

Mainstream media fails democracy in Election coverage

Scott Morrison has repeatedly advised Australians that they may obtain “a fair go for those who have a fair go”, failing to just accept any duty for the circumstances that drive individuals into insecure work and welfare.

Likewise, Labor has didn’t decide to a revue or motion in the direction of a rise within the fee of JobSeeker charges, as an alternative selecting to stress a rise in social housing and hire asstance.

Maiden’s quizzing of each Albanese and Morrison’s consciousness of easy dwelling prices might have been “gotcha questions”, nevertheless, a journalist can solely “get you” if you’re unprepared.

Perhaps what Maiden meant was that in a federal election marketing campaign all politicians must be doing their homework earlier than fronting as much as the media.

Particularly when making an attempt to indicate the general public who can each handle the economic system and perceive the on a regular basis struggles of working and weak Australians.

As a college scholar, a teen, a lady and an individual with a bodily incapacity in search of alternatives to earn a dwelling, whether or not or not a statistic was remembered performs much less on my thoughts than the precise insurance policies which might be or aren’t on the Government’s agenda.

Not to say the financial, gender, age and skill biases that so typically play into how persons are or are usually not capable of safe work.

Maiden stated that the costs of bread and milk “bounce around” — is that alleged to be a reference as to whether you go for plain white, sourdough or brown, full cream, skim or lactose free?

GRACE TAME: Exploitative media

As somebody who has spent vital time counting each greenback earlier than coming into the grocery store, you quickly keep in mind the value of two litres of skim milk is within the $2-3 greenback mark relying on the model.

Semantic arguments concerning the fluctuation in costs of products detract from the core problem of inequality and drawback.

In regard to unemployment figures, maybe as an alternative of asking why Albanese didn’t know the reply, the media ought to ask why the results of unemployment and underemployment are larger points within the public sphere.

We shouldn’t neglect that journalists are, in any case, the gatekeepers of information in society.

Not solely does the media report on political missteps and failings, however journalists are additionally those who determine what is taken into account necessary sufficient to stress.

They are those who decide that the on a regular basis penalties of the elevated value of dwelling, poor welfare and housing are much less necessary within the day-to-day information cycle than whether or not or not a politician is or isn’t “on the ball” sufficient to drag a reality out of the air in entrance of a digital camera.

As a lot as I respect journalists like Sam Maiden, maybe it’s the media who must “sharpen up” and put inequality again on the general public agenda.

That is to not say some journalists haven’t finished simply that.

There remains to be a lot to be finished earlier than structural inequality is given as a lot weight as a gotcha second.

Melissa Marsden is a passionate advocate for social justice and a self-confessed political junkie. You can observe Melissa on Twitter @MelMarsden96.

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