I would like to take the time to reflect on my past posts for my University course Introduction to Communication and Media Studies. Over these past few months I have been analysing the media’s influence and effects on the 2012 Australian Labor Party leadership challenge.
Through my research and analysing of this issue it became clear how much power the media holds over politics and society in general. The media were able to create a moral panic about the so-called “faceless” men of the Labor party. This threw audience in doubt of the governing party. The minute Kevin Rudd spoke the words “the faceless men” the media spun and twisted these words to ensure fear, havoc and loss of trust was generated in the media. However this is not the first time the media has employed a technique like this. Kevin Rudd’s video was leaked onto YouTube which soon found itself on prime time news with each news station editing the video to suit their own means. These two cases alone provide evidence of how the media can portray a public figure such as a politician and how they attempt to sway public opinion.
Before I began this course and studied this event I never fully realised the power social media can have. This event especially demonstrates the use of social media when addressing a vast number of individuals. The politicians have recently been turning to social media as a main media platform. Here I questioned whether this means that social media is a large factor in who will govern our country? For instance Kevin Rudd’s swearing video has been shared through social media sites and was even uploaded onto a platform which could be stated as a social media site due to its comment and profile functions. Social media, especially Twitter allows individuals to comment and receive information fast and freely from politicians. Twitter allowed tags such as #kevenge to become a top trending tweet which even found coverage within the main media. Also Members of Parliament are required to have Twitter now, as this is the easiest way to communicate to constituents beyond their electorate. I found this interesting that it only took one platform to change the way that politicians now are required to address the population. Social media I feel can be more powerful than the traditional main stream media. It can reach more individuals in a shorter time, each article can be commented on within a second of it being posted and readers can be persuaded by individual opinions of often uneducated blogger’s. Therefore persuading political opinions and aiding in who will be elected.
The main perpetrator of this event can be seen to be the media. The media leading up to the leadership challenge continued to report on rumours and allegations of Kevin Rudd seeking the leadership position, which resulted in this issue being a major part in the public sphere. The media’s coverage of a rumoured event created debate from citizens and within the Parliament. The media in this case like other cases such as youth crime in Wollongong’s CBD; manufactured moral panic. The media have created a panic regarding the leader ship challenge, halting parliamentary proceedings and forcing this issue to become forefront and debated. Their ability to manufacture moral panic and for it to be debated within the public sphere through main stream media, and social media prove the power the media truly hold.
In reflecting on this I have become weary over what the media could potentially do with this power. As I have stated earlier I can see the potential and even the current possibility that the media has the power to elect the countries Prime Minister. At every stage of research on this issue it was clear the media placed the Australian Labor Party on trial and manipulated stories to various versions such as the video of Kevin Rudd swearing. Each of these items has the potential to ruin or damage a political career and to sway public opinion. It has become clear over the last few months that many individuals have one main source which they receive their information from, this can create a very one minded society as each media platform will present the news coverage differently to suit their own means.
The media needs to convey the same news story in a similar way so that the medium is conveying the message, one that is the truth not slander on a political figure. It is clear the amount of power the media has over individuals especially politicians. The leadership challenge has been reported on through all Medias. The media pushed the issue creating moral panic and bringing the issue to the forefront of the public sphere. The media only employed one tactic: an attack on the current government.
That is all folks,