Simon East Media & Communications in Ministry Semester 2 2010 Errington, W. & Miragliotta, N. (2007) Media & Politics: An Introduction.

South Melbourne, Australia: Oxford University Press.

Chapter 5 Week 7 The Politics of Spin
283 words
(sorry, but didn t think I could fully answer them in less)

1. How have governments in recent decades changed the ways in which they deal with journalists?
A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away... Journalists were there to present the facts and inform the public. But in a dark twist of fate, the relationship between journalists and politicians somehow turned adversarial, approaching arch-enemies. There s almost a sense that politicians now merely endure media presence in the name of freedom of the press/speech. In search of the next big story or money-driven controversy, journalists seem to hunt down any morsel of bad news, a dark past, word-slips and out-of-context sound-bites that have earnt their industry a distrust. In response, politicians have had to become increasingly astute to the media s crafty methods to protect themselves from defamation and misrepresentation. With such high-profile positions, it seems a natural decision to be trained in media relations and journalistic interrogation. Some politicians definitely need a break from the media disparagement. And yet there are others who could use more public accountability. I know of no easy solutions.

2. Is there a need for governments to spend millions of dollars a year on advertising?
I suspect the answer is no . But I m one to prefer being reasonably informed about the direction our government is taking us, so I will generally research things myself (mainly using the web) to check party websites, newspapers, blogs and opinion posts. I also don t own a television. So all the money spent on propaganda especially on TV seems wasteful. Even more so when it s tax-payer funded.

But the majority of our population are not like me. Many live in ignorance (either deliberate or naively) about the government s agenda and sometimes there is a genuine need to raise issues and promote a cause. I just wish their campaigns would promote the values they truly stand for instead of the tired, insipid mudslinging match.

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