“Scrutiny”, redefined

The ABC has decided to endorse – by repeating without quotes – The Australian‘s description of what it’s been doing to the Greens ever since it declared it wanted them “destroyed”. The Australian, and now the ABC, calls that concerted one-sided campaign of misinformation “scrutiny”. A special kind of “scrutiny”, where you don’t actually analyse in any detail what the object being “scrutinised” actually says and does, but instead attempt to misrepresent and belittle it via associations, smears from opponents, and outright lies.

So – the word “scrutiny” now means something very different to what I had previously understood it to mean. I think I’ve got it – but wouldn’t mind some help to really help establish it in my mind. Have readers got any similar examples of “scrutiny” as per this definition they’d be willing to share in the comments? The most amusing wins a prize*.

*Prize may simply be other commenters’ admiration.

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16 responses to ““Scrutiny”, redefined

  1. To be fair, the rest of the ABC article pretty much quotes Bob Brown as-is from his news conference taking The Australian’s reporter apart for his slimy tactics.

    Contest entry: We need a lot more scrutiny on how it is Labor’s fault that literacy and numeracy skills went down during the Howard era.

  2. narcoticmusing

    We need more ‘scrutiny’ of non-conservative policy until we prove through public opinion our thesis that they non-conservatives are crazy.

  3. narcoticmusing

    Basically, scrutiny has become ‘find dirt to suit an agenda’.

    So, you could apply it to anything. Consider the previous thread on private schools:
    We need more ‘scrutiny’ of schools funding to ensure private schools get a fair* go.

    *Note this is the loaded version of ‘fair’ used in rhetoric to mean, give them more because our kids go there

  4. In fairness, the ABC places considerable worth on its reporting impartiality -though Uhlmann appears unconcerned about showing his conservative slip. So “scrutiny” seems to me to be a word that’s not value-laden in this context and therefore consistent with the ABCs broad aim.

    As a consequence I can’t see too much to be concerned about in the Thompson piece. The Murdoch media on the other hand…………………

  5. @autonomy1: The ABC places considerable worth on its reporting impartiality? Really? So how come they uncritically report on “studies” by think tanks with really transparent agendas as if they’re science?

    And if they placed considerable worth on this impartiality, don’t you think they’d make actual reasonable responses to formal complaints about it, rather than just dismiss them?

  6. Please elucidate, shermozle.

  7. narcoticmusing

    ABC seem to be obsessed with ‘equal time’ in a bid to appear impartial. This either shows they are completely left but are paranoid about appearing so; or that they really have no clue what impartial means; or some combination.

    Equal time is not equal to impartiality.

    Having something to say doesn’t mean it has merit, particularly if it is easily demonstrated to be false.

  8. narcoticmusic,

    If you have a gander at the ABCs Editorial Policy and their Code of Practice you’ll find there’s way more to their quest for impartiality than mere ‘equal time’

  9. Sorry, autonomy – you’re saying you think what The Australian‘s being doing to the Greens is “scrutiny” as we formerly understood that word? Like what the ABC does at its best?

  10. Balance, that’s what the BBC ‘strives’ for, not impartiality. I know, I’m repeating myself, this fellow from the BBC has been making the rounds on ABC shows and he was asked how the BBC strive for balance, he said pretty much what narcoticmusing says above.He said that trying to achieve balance was futile, he says it would require stopwatches to give opinions even time, that all opinions aren’t equal, some being worthless. He says the BBC strives for impartiality.

    Besides, in the ABC’s case how is the counterweight to Andrew Bolt or Piers Akerman?

    The ABC is shit and it’s getting worse, thank goodness for the internet.

  11. narcoticmusing

    Autonomy1, I am suggesting that the ABC’s recent behaviour is inconsistent with their ‘quest for impartiality’ editorial policy. I am all for impartiality, but that is very different to what the ABC is doing atm, particularly since having the 24 hour news channel. That channel and the web have gone done hill very fast.

  12. “particularly since having the 24 hour news channel”

    I think you may have nailed it. 24 hour news lives in the “eternal now” where reactions need to be constant and immediate. It isn’t possible to report anything deeper than “this is what he said and she said”. What experts that are consulted are the “media-ready” ones able to come into the studio on short notice; usually pro-big-business hacks.

    Maybe the ABC needs to return to the good old days of the 7 o’clock news being the only news source in the daily TV cycle? Who cares if Sky News beats you to the scoop? Look deeper and then take the misinformation apart.

  13. Jeremy wrote:
    Sorry, autonomy – you’re saying you think what The Australian’s being doing to the Greens is “scrutiny” as we formerly understood that word? Like what the ABC does at its best?

    What I am saying is that I didn’t see much wrong with the Thompson piece or the word ‘scrutiny’ in the context of that piece. That I didn’t think the piece was value-laden and gave impetus to the clear agenda of The Australian to neuter the Greens as you apparently do.

    I think the way The Australian operates generally is a disgrace and their attack on the Greens is far outside the commonly understood meaning of scrutiny. The Australian abuses its publishing rights by pushing an extreme right agenda and in so doing pays little attention the accurate presentation of news and fair presentation of views. That’s the way that overall outfit works and the attack on the Greens is just one example of its behaviour.

    One of the reasons a group of people have commenced theconversation.edu.au is because of the lack of independence in the commercial media and because so many people with expertise in given fields are reluctant to participate in the commercial media because they are so often misreported and personally maligned.

    With all its faults (and they have many) the ABC does attempt to pay attention to the accurate presentation of news and fair presentation of views and isn’t agenda driven. To associate them with the behaviour of The Australian and their mistreatment of the Greens is unfair.

  14. narcoticmusing

    ABC does attempt to pay attention to the accurate presentation of news and fair presentation of views and isn’t agenda driven

    A year or so ago I’d have agreed with you. However there is a distinct decline in the level of attention to accuracy that is disturbing; such lack of accuracy is justified with being ‘impartial’. That is the issue I think Jeremy is eluding to. This is particularly prevalent in the ‘lets get the scoop’ attitude of ABC online and the 24 hour news channel (rather than a ‘lets report it accurately’ philosophy that was present before).

    The examples given of this is ABC providing equal time under the guise of ‘fair presentation of views’ and/or quoting people/papers/opinions as if suddenly that they said it makes what was said a fact. This is particularly concerning when it is the Australian they are quoting without making it clear, this isn’t a bunch of facts people, it is the views of a very biased ass-hat paper.

  15. Splatterbottom

    Narcotic: “This is particularly prevalent in the ‘lets get the scoop’ attitude of ABC online and the 24 hour news channel”

    The ABC’s 24 news channel is disappointing in its ability to deliver timely news. It’s early coverage of the recent Japanese tsunami was abysmal. For the ABC the ‘scoop’ is the thing they use to trowel leftist bullshit on the viewing public.

  16. Two days SB?
    You let TWO DAYS go by without wining, dining, bending-over and cornholing the opportunity to malign a Non-Fox-News service????

    Don’t go dropping the ball on us now – not while this bastion of the unRupert remains in our midst!

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