I read a seriously insightful and informative piece by Martin McKenzie-Murray in The Saturday Paper today called “Political advisers wag the dog”, now I enjoy a good long read at the best of times, though particularly when it shows insight, informs me and best of all, by the end of the read I have learned more. Too often we don’t see any long form writing in the media anymore and this got me thinking… I am sure there are people out there who work in journalism that know exactly why we don’t, all the financial reasons, demographic research etc. though are we losing out because of this failure to actually engross us punters in a fully explained piece of work?
Nick (one of our thinkynessers here) will shake his head and laugh, but, I honestly blame the rise in Reality TV and it’s short, in your face, entertainment, of course repeating the highlights after every ad break as we are obviously too stupid to remember what we had for breakfast so obviously can’t remember what we saw a few minutes earlier. I feel the rise of this medium has almost groomed us for the slogans we currently have inflicted upon us in replacement of social discourse, particularly politically.
Remember back in the day when the likes of current affairs shows were not actually a joke? Remember when you used to see a piece of investigative work on a show like ‘A Current Affair’ that actually mattered, took you behind the facile news piece and showed you the ramifications of a Government decision? The deft hand of Jana Wendt eliciting information off a politician in an interview that they maybe didn’t want to give up publicly?
Or as I am a Queenslander and we are in a tenous state politically at the moment, the likes of Four Corners 1987 “The Moonlight State” has me bemoaning the fact that this form of investigative reporting is now rare. Queensland has had such massive population growth from outside the state that too many are not aware of the Joh era with it’s resulting “Fitzgerald Inquiry” and the mistakes that it seems we Queenslanders are fated to repeat, due to losing that vigilence that is imperative in a unicameral political system.
Now I may hang on Twitter, try to be politically engaged and am a voracious reader, though I am very aware that the majority of people I know aren’t. This means that most I deal with on a regular basis have no idea as to the ‘story behind the story’. I am unsure if this is due to people becoming busier so media caters to the short sharp burst of attention or if it is the media with it’s plethora of cheap reality rubbish that has trained people to think in that manner? That is for others a hell of a lot smarter than me to work out. What I do know is that when it comes to news, my circle of friends are seriously uninformed. They knew “Julia was a liar” - though didn’t really know why; They knew the previous ALP Government “was in chaos” - again, clueless as to why; They also know that the PM has to “stop the boats” - Why these boats need to be stopped, who is on these boats, what threat they are to us as a nation, our international obligations etc., etc. don’t even come into the equation in their reasoning or understanding of the issue.
I have no idea how often at a barbecue during a conversation, particularly about politics or local Government I have had to pop up with the inevitable “but yes do you realise ‘why’ he said that?” You know what is even more interesting? On most ocasions when this happens, the group are interested. They didn’t know ‘why’ - we will ignore the fact that they bothered to even wonder why - but once they get that extra information, the conversation expands and becomes fuller. In my view this shows that people do actually want to know more.
When I tweeted:
Political advisers wag the dog | The Saturday Paper http://t.co/mYp2DivQo0 Interesting insider insight here, well worth the long read.— Meta Cranky Noely (@YaThinkN) August 8, 2014
It was really interesting how many others retweeted it, read it, discussed it and these are only the people I know and chat with on Twitter. Besides the fact that McKenzie-Murray has a particular flair for the long form piece that keeps you engaged right to the end, point is in discussions with others, many did read and some great discussion ensued.
Maybe it is just me being daggy and old-fashioned but maybe more than ever, we need quality long form writing in our newspapers, more full indepth interviews in our TV current affairs shows, hell, some form of decent current affairs on commercial free to air TV would be nice? You never know, maybe the media organisation focus groups are not right? The rise of Social Media is all about reading, so maybe there is actually a market for full information? Old fashioned insightful pieces likes the one I mentioned at the beginning here and surely the ICAC drama’s in NSW are screaming out for a Moonlight State style investigative report on TV?
For mine, there is nothing more satisfying than a good read, a piece of work that takes the time and the language to either introduce me to a new idea or to thoroughly untangle a confusing issue leaving me with more information and clarity in regard to that particular issue than when I first sat down with my coffee and reading material. Surely I am not the only person who misses a body of written or viewing work that actually has ‘body’? OR as @infinite8horizo reminded me, is maybe the tl;dr attitude here to stay?
Thanks to @jot_au @MinhKular @Nanso44 @SatPaper and of course @feed_the_chooks for getting me 'thinking' after being AWOL for a while now ;-)
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Thinkyness came about from the charming @Perorationer who often tweets Jan & Noely in the morning with a random article he has found that would make you think, could be anything from Women in the 1800's to a potential world wide wine shortage which we would then discuss, obviously this led on to us tweeting each other #Thinkyness articles [...] more
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