A good week for Ozplogistan

I got interviewed about blogging again today, this time for Internet.au and it was a good time to talk about blogging. This has been one of the best weeks I’ve seen in Ozplogistan. Bloggers have provided blanket coverage of the debates and political chicanery over the proposed Free Trade Agreement with the US. In quality, breadth and depth, it’s been far superior to the coverage in the “quality press”, not to mention the soundbites provided by TV. Most of the debate has taken place on leftish blogs, and has been generated by posts ranging from mildly sceptical to overtly hostile to the FTA. But commenters have provided plenty of arguments in support of the FTA, and have done a much better job than the media opinion elite, most of which has backed the FTA for the weakest of reasons.

I’ll no doubt miss some people out, but I’ll still note some important contributions. Tim Dunlop provides a very balanced overview of the issues; a good starting point for those new to the debate. Chris Sheil has kept up a running commentary, focusing mainly on the political twists and turns. Brian Bahnisch had his say in the SMH Webdiary; an impressive critique. Kim Weatherall gave excellent coverage of the IP issues, including ‘evergreening’Gary Sauer-Thompson offered an illustrated version Geoff Honnor David Tiley and Rank and Vilewere also good.

Update In the comments thread, Stephen Kirchner points to pro-FTA comments from Peter Gallagher and analysis of public opinion from Andrew Norton at Catallaxy. Also at Catallaxy, Jason Soon weighs in on ‘evergreening’

As I say, I’m sure I’ve forgotten to mention some bloggers and missed others altogether. But if you compare this feast of comment and analysis with the thin and identikit offerings of the mainstream media you’ll see why I think blogging is going to be big news in the future.

13 thoughts on “A good week for Ozplogistan

  1. I think that the days of non-blogging op-ed journos are numbered.
    The news reporters, those with inside sources and a knack of getting scoops or leaks, are still the primary drivers of the media.
    But in a complex theoretical issue like the FTA, news reporters are reduced to re-writing official press releases.
    In these circumstances, most people look to the op-ed pages, or punditariat, for analysis and evaluation.
    The punditariat, unfortunately has simply not kept up with the internet age, they dont seem to do much archival research into data bases, reports or even googling identities and concepts.
    The Press-Gallery operates under a herd mentality or remains spell-bound by its own self-serving ideology and the quasi-mystical value of “privileged access” to power-holders.
    Bloggers can get the basic facts on an issue from on-line news, counter-spin on events from their commentary boxes and usually have a better theoretical grasp of events than do opinion jounrnalists.
    Congrats to Pr Q for being on the crest of this truly New Wave of journalism.

  2. The 7.30 report was the same story tonight – this is the ‘quality’ media. It showed John Howard arguing a point. The point of the clip was not to tell us about the argument, but to tell us about how the argument was going over. According to the commentator, it wasn’t going over well for JH. Because it was complicated and ML was defending lower prices for pharmaceuticals.

    So we never got any comment on the issues, only comment on how the various parties’ spin was going over. Of course they didn’t really know how it was going over, fresh as they were from arguing the previous night that it was going over badly for Mark Latham. It was all grindingly self reverential – the press reporting on the way the press was reporting (or might report) on the debate. Tonight’s little speculative bubble. The beauty contest in which the judges don’t try to pick the most beautiful contestant, but the contestant that others will find most beautiful.

    One difference between the speculative market bubble and the endless media bubbles is that the market does at least make complete fools of some people every now and again (and runs the odd fool out of town).

    In media its another day another dollar. You don’t get sacked for writing “this week the honeymoon really was over” on three consecutive occasions each time (apparently) demonstrating the idiocy of the last time you said it.

  3. I think the rot set in with Barry Cassidy, who really should have been made a sports reporter from the beginning. Jim Middleton and Michael Brissenden have just continued in the same style because they don’t know any better. But I could be completely wrong.

  4. Its getting a bit old now but the medium is the message bit is a useful way of thinking. No wonder its only old people who read newspapers when there is no substantial backgrounding or consistent and persistent follow through on issues.

    TV news is only movement and colour. TV current affairs on the commercials doesn’t seem to have any ability to go beyond “medical breakthroughs”, cross program in-channel promos and thinly disguised advertorials for plastic surgery. Other than the Lehrer Hour, or whatever its called, on SBS and sometimes Lateline, TV doesn’t deliver much other than spin.

    The real disapointment is radio. It has the potential to be the real medium. Its the one thing you can listen to while going about other activities, its portable and can even be discretely in one ear.

    Radio could be utilising the net. E-mail,google, plus archive articles pages plus blogs plus even irc (or web chat)in real time. In addition the radio person can have experts and the ordinary punter in the street, home or car speaking on air over the phones.

    When a breather for thinking or composing thoughts is needed there is always a 3 minute song to play. Hell the song or music could even be topical. It could be like film music and re-inforce or undercut the message.

    Radio can comment on TV, either taped or say live question time, on newspapers, books or magazines like The Economist or Eureka Street or Quadrant or Viz. On the run as we go on the hop – topical interesting alive vibrant.

    But instead what do we get. RN with few exeptions is pre digested, ABC local seems to only ahve traffic reports or recipes or Virginia Trioli getting all breathless while voicing a Brunswick St / Acland /Fitzroy St dressed in black sensibility about most things. Commercial talk in Melbourne is like ABC local except not dressed in black. None of the “community” radio stations appears to have grasped the nettle either.

    Radio could combine the best of all modes. Why doesn’t it.

  5. Why is media commentary on public policy so bad (little more than an upmarket equivalent of radio pre-match sports talk)? Is it that the traditional media is not a normal consumption good: economies of scale restrict the goods available and much of it is funded by advertising (a privatised GST)? Arts Faculties (where most journalists do their degrees) need to think harder about the generic skills that they are imparting.

  6. Peter Gallagher and Andrew Norton (for his analysis of opinion polls on the FTA) deserve mention.

    I don’t think we need much theory to explain the poor performance of the professional commentariat. Much of it comes down to sheer intellectual laziness on their part.

  7. thpooning around
    This has been doing the blogrounds – on Gary Sauer, posted by Guido, found via Quiggin, in a salutary post about the blogmob and FTA as compared to mainline sorry mainstream media….

  8. Good oil on AUSFTA
    Yesterday I mentioned Tim Dunlop’s post on the PBS aspects of the Free Trade Agreement as telling us everything we need to know on the subject. But Chris Sheil’s post is even better. What’s more, most of the meaty detail…

  9. Good oil on AUSFTA
    Yesterday I mentioned Tim Dunlop’s post on the PBS aspects of the Free Trade Agreement as telling us everything we need to know on the subject. But Chris Sheil’s post is even better. What’s more, most of the meaty detail…

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