The Jury on The Street: The Media – Can You Trust It?
Today, in the age of communication, the media is everywhere, but can you trust what you see, read and hear? We took to the streets and asked three people to put the media on trial. No rebuttals and no appeals, just honest opinions from everyday people.
The Case: Is the media trustworthy?
Bronwyn – is a mother, a grandmother and a medical receptionist who is from country South Australia.
Robert – is a father and a truck driver, who is also from country South Australia.
Belinda – is a first-time mother and a public servant from Adelaide, South Australia.
The jury convened at Cibo Espresso Bar, on the corner of King William and Grenfell Street in the city.
Cross-examination Number One – Print Media.
Bronwyn didn’t think she could trust print media. She said owners of newspapers were “biased towards what sells the most papers”.
Robert agreed. “It’s all crap,” he said. “They’re there to sell papers, but they leave you hanging half the time.”
Belinda said that she trusts newspapers like the Advertiser, but she knows they often have an angle so she tends to rely on her “gut feeling”.
“I guess I also trust news stories,” said Bronwyn, “because there’s no motive to lie.”
Belinda added that she doesn’t trust magazines like Woman’s Day and New Idea. “They’re always getting sued for defamation and not checking their facts properly.”
Cross-examination Number Two – Internet Media.
“I heard that athletes in the Commonwealth games were not even allowed to use the internet,” Bronwyn said, “because they might say something bad about India on Facebook or something. There’s no freedom of speech anymore.”
Belinda said she would trust government websites, because (from working in the government) she knows the sorts of checks that are carried out. She doesn’t trust blogs as she considers them just opinions. “Anyone can put up anything on a website these days,” she said.
Robert described the Internet as “useless” and not good for anything except making phone calls via Skype.
Cross-examination Number Three – Radio Media.
Belinda said she trusts the ABC but not really talkback radio. “It’s just an old person version of blogging,” she said. Belinda thought “commercial” radio stations like SAFM were all “just gossip like Woman’s Weekly”.
Of all the media outlets Robert said that, being a truck driver, radio was his major source of news and information. However, he said a lot of it was “trash”. The only radio reporter Robert said he trusted was Alan Jones. “He does his homework. Politicians never answer the question and he pushes to get them to say yes or no.”
Bronwyn disagreed, saying she doesn’t listen to the radio because all of it is “censored”. “It’s like those New Zealanders in the Commonwealth games,” she said. “Who got in trouble for making fun of someone’s name, which comedians do all the time. But just because India is a ‘political hotbed’ it’s a problem.”
Robert agreed. “All media has got worse,” he said “You can’t even have a sense of humour anymore.”
Cross-examination Number Four – Television Media.
“News is informative but current affairs is bull crap,” Bronwyn said.
Belinda said she “mostly” trusts the news, but not current affairs, saying, “I trust current affairs even less because they try to dress themselves up as news. But if the news reports something incorrectly they are held accountable and I don’t think current affairs shows are.”
Bronwyn questioned the “slant” that was often applied to news.
Robert was similarly wary of current affairs television, calling it all “trash”. “Current Affairs builds someone up to be evil,” he said, “when they haven’t explored both sides.”
Bronwyn said that she used to trust the ABC because it wasn’t “commercial” but she thought it was now. “About the only thing you can trust is traffic and speed camera reports, things like that.”
When asked about other television media Bronwyn said she doesn’t trust “reality television” and Robert said he could only trust game shows and sports. Belinda said she was a big fan of reality television, but doubted how much of what she saw was real.
On the case of the media being untrustworthy, this Jury on the Street finds the media guilty on most counts. It seems that whilst the Jury on the Street trusted some media outlets, they didn’t trust the majority.
Those untrustworthy media sources are hereby sentenced to community service until they can win the trust of the people back.
This session of the Jury on the Street is now closed.
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