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Putting the soul back in the media carnival sideshow

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15 November 2012 | Caroline Zielinski

Congress of Living Freaks, carnival sideshow banner from old photoSpeed was a huge factor in the BBC debacle: the story about a senior Tory 'rapist' began on Twitter and went viral. The Australian's associate editor Cameron Stewart recently argued that journalism courses focus too much on 'critical assessment of the media' rather than 'the nuts and bolts of reporting'. But the lack of deep cognitive understanding of the role of the media is precisely the problem.

Hating Alan Jones

09 October 2012 | Catherine Marshall

Alan Jones headshotThe voices shouting down Jones are almost certainly not those of his listeners; the people most offended by his actions, it seems, are those who have never tuned in to his show. This debacle is steeped unashamedly in politics, with the outcry reinforced by various Labor politicians and dripping with as much contempt for Abbott and his party as Jones' diatribes do for the left.

Only rationality will destroy Alan Jones' joint

08 October 2012 | Michael Mullins

Social media has outsmarted 2GB's Macquarie Radio Network management and forced them to cancel advertising on Alan Jones' program. But it is unlikely that the collective rage against Jones' behaviour will be sustained, respectable, and ultimately effective, unless the passion is accompanied by reasoned argument.

Free speech beyond the pale

07 October 2012 | Justin Glyn

Alan JonesFree speech is fundamental to democracy because it protects public discourse and freedom of religion. But while the right to free speech must to be respected even if it causes offence, we need to question what purpose is served by Alan Jones' attack on Julia Gillard, and the French cartoons.

Fashion mag's naked sexism

18 September 2012 | Melinda Tankard Reist

Lana Del Rey, GQ coverMen's magazine GQ's 'Men of the Year' are portrayed dressed respectably in suit and tie. By contrast, its 'Woman of the Year' appears naked and in sexualised poses. Unequal dress reflects unequal power. To be woman of the year apparently entails enduring sexism, submission, objectification and groping.

Puncturing Australia's cult of the mind

16 September 2012 | Zac Alstin

BrainHalf a million Australians have an intellectual disability and 600,000 are projected to have dementia by 2030. Yet our lives increasingly depend upon advanced cognitive activity, seen in the proliferation of online social networking, banking and shopping. Can the fullness of life really be encompassed by our immersion in the life of the mind?

On media and massacres

29 July 2012 | Lyn Bender

The Dark Knight RisesMedia and lone protagonists who commit Colorado-style mass murder have common traits. They seek to enthrall, send a message and rise above the pack. Many experts agree that dramatic, hysterical publicising of the perpetrator and his crime can feed the so called copycat compulsion.

Vagina dialogue

24 July 2012 | Moira Rayner

Carefree vagina adJohnson & Johnson's 'Carefree' ads talked unblushingly of women's vaginas, inter-period discharge and daily smells. According to some, we shouldn't talk about such things, not on television. Until recently commercial products for absorbing menstrual blood didn't exist, with dreadful effect on women's participation in community and public life.

When rape is a joking matter

19 July 2012 | Ruby Hamad

David ToshUS comedian Daniel Tosh sparked a furore with his now notorious rape joke. Many women have at least one story about being inappropriately and non-consensually touched — it first happened to me when I was 13. While jokes like Tosh's perpetuate such a culture, other comedians' 'rape jokes' seek to enlighten as well as entertain.

Orwell in 2012 Australia

16 July 2012 | Fatima Measham

George Orwell 'Big Brother', 1984As word of the national security inquiry filtered through Twitter last week, one wit remarked, '1984 is meant to be a cautionary tale, not a manual'. The proposed reforms constitute a disturbing concession that our intelligence sector is not equipped to deal with the increasing sophistication of covert online activity, without resorting to questionable laws.

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