Puppets and Our Masters

Wk 4 We Own You

GIPHY made by me, images: Stokes , Murdoch , Singleton , Gordon

Bruce Gordon, Rupert Murdoch (and Lachlan Murdoch), John Singleton, Kerry Stokes and CBS.

They’re the purple circle of puppeteers who manipulate our legacy media. They’re Australia’s media industry owners, and by extension, they own our thoughts, our actions and our attitudes, all in alignment with their own philosophies… Or do they?

It is true that having such a small group of media owners should cause anxieties about limiting the diversity of ideologies reaching Australian responders. This matters because people believe that we will be manipulated easily, like all passive responders, being un-critical in our judgments and accepting all information at face-value. Thus allowing the media owners to manipulate the socio-political climate of Australia.¹

Robert Manne for the ABC proved this in part when he wrote:

Rupert Murdoch, “has… use(d) the 70 per cent of the national and statewide press he owns to ensure that the values drawn from his right-wing political philosophy remain dominant within the political mainstream.” ²

What this perspective does not consider is the prevalence of ‘citizen-journalism’—that is:
“The collection, dissemination, and analysis of news and information by the general public, especially by means of the Internet.” ³

This other form of journalism, proliferated easily online to a large audience, may combat the closed-minded nature of legacy media by providing a refreshing assortment of ideologies. This is done by presenting various news and opinion stories, that may not have been told by mainstream media or may have been presented with particular bias by mainstream media. This type of journalism inherently facilitates its audience’s activity as the platforms used are often dialogic, which enables audience discussion and critical thinking to occur.

At the same time however, we can never fully trust citizen-journalism. It is difficult for responders to know where citizen-journalists acquired their sources—are they credible? Are they from the legacy media, and by extension the ‘puppeteers’, whose views we are trying to evade?

Regardless of which source we are seeking news from, trust must never be fully given. It is prudent to make sure that what we read:

  • has been written by someone with credibility on the issue,
  • is clear in its meaning,
  • is transparent about its biases,
  • and can be corroborated by other sources or explains reasonably why it cannot be corroborated by other sources.

Please use your powers of critical thinking and discuss in the comments what you think about this issue. Should we be concerned about media ownership? Do you think it matters?


¹ Middlemost, R 2018, Media Industries and Ownership’, lecture, University of Wollongong, delivered 20 March

² Manne, R 2011, ‘Power without responsibility: Rupert Murdoch’s Australian,’ ABC, 5 September, viewed 25 March <http://www.abc.net.au/religion/articles/2011/09/05/3309666.htm&gt;

³ ‘citizen journalism’ unknown, in Oxford Living Dictionary, Oxford University Press, viewed 25 March, <https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/citizen_journalism&gt;

3 thoughts on “Puppets and Our Masters”

  1. A very insightful blog-post Christina! It is very well written and informative. Your post demonstrates that you have a thorough understanding of the topic and have undertaken some extensive research. You covered a range of topics within Media Industries and Ownership but my favourite part is your focus on being aware of what we read and to be critical thinkers instead of passive responders that accept all given information without reasoning. Using dot points to state your suggestions is an effective way of doing this because it becomes a list of short statements, making your words memorable to readers. I’m keen to read your next blog post so keep up the excellent writing!

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  2. What I found interesting about your piece was the idea that we cannot trust both the ‘puppeteers’ of legacy media and citizen journalists. It then raises the questions ‘who can we trust?’, and ‘what role do journalists and the ‘news’ play in our societies if they are not comprised of valid sources?’ Whilst citizen journalists can provide perspectives neglected by mainstream platforms, is this a good thing? It is also true that citizen journalists can band together and support their ‘left field’ ideas (flat earth etc) which whilst allowing diversity in perspective, can spread ‘false news’. Loved the article!

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  3. This was an interesting an thought-provoking blog post Christina. Having been researching this same issue of media monopoly myself, I too became more aware of the power of the “puppeteers” who can manipulate our attitudes. I had a similar opinion, which I discussed in my own blog, that the lack of diversity could be overcome by the audience seeking further sources and perspectives through reading “citizen journalism”. You however have opened a new topic that I hadn’t considered, being that citizen journalists are most likely acquiring their information from the same media moguls perspectives that we are trying to avoid. Ultimately this really does show that media ownership does matter, however what can we, as society do about it? Possibility we should be fighting for legislation to be changed to be more protective than it was with the “two out of three rule”. – Brie x

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