Bloggers of even middle of the road status beware, Ray Finkelstein QC and his media inquiry believe that we as a collective society are a flock of sheep who will follow opinion we read in a sheep like manner. The inquiry also assumes that what bloggers do is provide a news service. It seems, if the recommendation gets implemented by the Gillard Government, that bloggers will be subjected to the same purview as print and other media.
First it must be said just how incredibly stupid it is to classify what is written in any blog as a news service of any sort, no matter how factual the content. A blog is always formed of opinion which is gleaned from facts which are broadcast in different forms. It can too be the case, that blogs do not base arguments on facts in purveying arguments, but they can be easily found out.
The media inquiry headed by Ray Finkelstein QC recommended that bloggers whose site has more than 15 000 hits per annum be subjected to the News Media Council which would police all forms of information media, including television, print and online media. Aside from the fact that blogs are not utilised as a news service, 15000 hits would undoubtedly take in a wide array of political blogs, both amateur and professional.
One obvious question arises immediately and that is, how on earth will a media regulator know when a particular website reaches the threshold for monitoring of balanced commentary? Will they have the power to contact site administrators to determine when a blogger meets the policing requirements? Or will it be up to the individual author or site manager to self nominate? Either way, how stupid.
The onus would be on these bloggers, likely too this very website, to break from their respective market niche or ideological bent and provide “fair and balanced” commentary, again deviating back to providing basically a news service when all a blogger does and does best is become a polemicist.
Not only this but it would likely turn some bloggers into more bland and harder to read communicators if they were forced by some sort of but not really independent body to report rather than rant. Every blogger knows that it is much easier to communicate your point when you feel strongly about it.
I have little problem with the actual news provided by television, print and online news media being of a “fair and balanced” nature, based on reporting fact rather than opinion, but then, who is it that determines just what is fact and what is complete nonsense? Some part government, part privately appointed body? I think not.
It would be a very dangerous move for an already on the nose Gillard Government to act not just on the recommendation for a News Media Council but to couple that with the body being given the power to strip people of their opinion because their blog has a mid-range level of popularity. It is frightfully clear that those on the left do not believe the individual has the power to think for themselves and that goes along with their ideology but to tell people who may have a a somewhat popular blog that they cannot have an online opinion, well that just stinks.