Take it with a grain of salt

Fairfax Media has a vast audience reach of 16.3 million. That means that 16.3 million people will be informed of the same ideologies, beliefs and perspectives presented by Fairfax. Fairfax usually tends to lean left in the stories they deem newsworthy.

Their assets include:

in Australia;

  • Sydney Morning Herald
  • The Age
  • Australian Financial Review
  • The Land
  • Illawarra Mercury

in New Zealand;

  • The Dominion Post
  • The Press
  • The Sunday Star-Times
  • TV Guide
  • NZ House and Garden
  • New Zealand Fishing News
  • Cuisine

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Fairfax’s audience has been in decline recently, many cancelling subscriptions to the print versions of their local Fairfax tabloids, due to beliefs of growing political bias and predictability of its content. An opinion piece written by columnist Chris Mitchell alleges that a senior writer at Fairfax commented on the issue:

“… every editorial decision appears to be driven by cost management and opaque, short-term financial targets rather than any attempts to fabricate a better media business… Fairfax has lost the opportunity to be ­relevant to any of its audiences, mainstream or otherwise.”

One commenter on the article, under the name Coupe, alleges:

“Fairfax’s demise was and is largely of its own making. Having long ago forsaken any objectivity or balance among its staff roster or editorial board, it embraced a fashionable undergraduate and soft-left progressive liberal stance on almost all things, eventually narrowing its commentary to a high rotation monologue on a handful of topics that it flogs to death [like] same sex marriage, climate change, gender identity and equity [and] asylum seekers. So uniformly orthodox are the views presented that little advancement has ever been made toward having a robust ‘conversation’ or ‘debate’. No alternative viewpoint has ever been countenanced or published. Their dogma presented as journalism more closely reflects the ideological leanings of the newsroom rather than paying subscribers and is reflected in their poor sales and declining readership.”

Polarizing newspapers with stories that only lean to one bias alienates people of a different opinion in the community, making it much less likely for them to pick up a newspaper full of ideologies they do not agree with. Shouldn’t we be taking bias out of the news and putting it in opinion columns?

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This makes me feel like I can’t entirely trust what I am reading when I read any Fairfax tabloid. The solution to this is to pick up a right-wing tabloid, like The Australian, to ensure I have the other side of the story as well, but how many people would bother or have the time to do that? This is going to be a continuing problem in this age, with many failing to research the messages they are presented with, taking what they read at face value.

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2 responses to “Take it with a grain of salt

  1. I thought this was a great post! I had never considered all the different news outlets that Fairfax owned. I think the fact that you provided your own perspective at the end of this post gave it a real sense of perspective and made the story easy to identify with. Providing your own opinion also made this blog post a lot more powerful. This concept is truly perplexing and I believe will resinate with many. I think it was very beneficial for me as a reader when you questioned how to fix this issue of bias media as well as offering a possible solution.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. It is clear that in this day and age everyone has to be cautious and critical of what they are reading and viewing. I totally agree with your point of view regarding Fairfax’s bias and trustworthiness. I found this opinion piece (ironically – from The Australian) from a couple of years ago about news corporation bias. I think the title really says it all – ‘Readers aren’t dumb: they recognise bias when they see it’ and that the comments made on that article really support what you are arguing (including comments like ‘If i don’t like their bias, I don’t buy it again’ and ‘take the opinion out of news and put it in the opinion column’). It’s clear the people want the truth!
    http://www.theaustralian.com.au/business/media/opinion/mark-day/readers-arent-dumb-they-recognise-bias-when-they-see-it/news-story/b13d102697d0dda3317ba39ce707f25e

    Liked by 1 person

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