Media Circus 2001 in Melbourne - my notes

Interesting but disappointing
It failed to deal with the fundamentals : the media doesn't give us a true picture of the world. Can we do something about it ? What ?


  1. The State vs Raymond Hoser

  2. Spinning The Doctors good to see somebody prepared well bringing their slides etc

  3. The Lighter Side Of Comedy and Parody Duff told his story lucidly and well and pointed out the 4 different stories from his self inflicted custard pie stunt

  4. Disrupting the Spectacle a tagging culture jammer and a the Hey Hetero advert designer - thought provoking
  5. Strategic Activism Don't hate the police make them laugh humanise them etc

The State vs Raymond Hoser

The most impressive was Raymond Hoser author of anti-corruption books ( 2 about Wildlife smuggling, 2 about theTaxi industry and 2 about Victorian police corruption)

He lucidly told his incredible conspiracy story about how instead of congratulating him and fixing the systems the authorities waste all their resources in a heated campaign to "get" him.

After he has actually won every legal challenge this culminates in an attempt to use an ancient obscure law against him .

Of course I've only heard one side of the story, but he was totally plausible and convincing. If true It's very important as it undermines fundamental principles of justice.

It has major free speech implications : Even if what you say is 100 % true, but it undermines confidence in the law they can ban you. Here's the video of a judge taking a bribe ..oops BANNED !

See his website

What I learnt

In Australia there seems to be a problem between society and the establishment e.g. People believe politicians and police are against them not for them.


Misrepresentation of minorities in the media

Seemed to be a lot of chip on the shoulder stuff. Who does the media represent anyway ? it doesn't represent me .... A white heterosexual male.

So much of life is not truly expessed in the media e.g. Love and sex etc Come to think of it, does the establishment represent me ? I've never voted and can't imagine voting unless the systems change radically .

The mediascape is a mythical land with made up characters.

Of Course The Media Mispresents Minorities it Mispresents Everyone

Alternative media itself misrepresentates the truth. Queer TV might give a distorted picture of gayness etc cos it has it's own agenda. It's a problem with the nature of media. Any media compresses the truth and therefore distorts it.


Missed Issues

What about PGP ?

What about advertising to children ?

How should media be policed ? Should corrections be give equal position, prominence and space to original stories ? Should some authority be counting the number of asian lesbians portrayed in soap operas ?

We don't get a true picture of the world.

Why ?

And what can we do about it ?

Why - it's impossible to represent every individual so what is does it pick the easiest medians - people who are homemakers, drink beer, eat redmeat, are white are heterosexual . It's tailored by controls of the market i.e. Who do advertisers want to sell to.

Is this a problem ?

Yes, well probably , cos it's not the truth and you need the truth for good decision making.

what can we do about it ?

Clearly the controls of the marketplace are not enough. Anti-rascist, anti-ageist, anti-sexist laws do provide important controls, but, further principles are needed to control possible distortions of the truth. e.g to contol the relationship between advertising funding and choice of program content etc.

One thing is the way free access to publish allows people to put their counter views.

We are not individuals in the media; it cannot deal with individuals only ideas of groups, labels, brands. Tree huggers, fascists, criminals, paedaphiles or even angels (like Princess Diana).

The fundamental problem is that the media needs to simplify things so can't represent individuals .. Can't represent the truth about how the world really is.

We need to simplify things to understand them.. But part of the message is always lost in the compression / simplification.


People are not stopping far enough back in their analysis .. They say it's a problem with the media or the government or a mysterious "them". Surely if you step further back you can see that these "problems", are due fundamentally due to the structure of contemporary western culture.

Is the same as capitalism ? No surely it's bigger than just capitalism.

Does all your spare time get taken up reading a forest load of newspapers yet you walk away feeling you haven't learnt anything ? Could there be a conspiracy to overload the proletariat with information so that the truth cannot be seen ? Or is it human nature to lie.


Creative Resistance

Using street theatre, music etc. A pretty good discussion.

Protesters shouting at police is a form of violence which can provoke them to violence. Better to talk to them about the issues and humanise the confrontation. Use this to break them into individuals and to show the protesters also as individuals not as an evil group.

Spinning The Doctors

PR Secrets

Talk up your positives

Talk up their negatives

You can't afford time to defend your negatives.

Can't we tell people what should they think ? Doh !

That's the point in focus groups. Find out what people really think and your positives. Also this a form of promotion/advertising.

Be professional ..

Be strategic .....

Plan your campaign ,research, anticipate.

Breathing Space

The final lecture was particularly disappointing. Rather than talk about the media, they talked about their own projects, which was interesting.

Aboriginal gripes, squatting and what ? A mixed bag what did she say well one good point was the misuse of the word.


Pro Self determination.

Was she trying to say groups have run good campaigns. After winning their campaign not to sink the Brent Spar oil platform didn't Greenpeace change their mind and admit that actually dumping the thing was actually more ecological than cutting it up on land ?


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