Had a very interesting, albeit too brief, discussion with one of my colleagues yesterday about the concept of the press as agents of change. Her position was that the press follow the lead of the public and of government, business etc. This differed from my view of press holding a certain responsibility for guiding the debate – hers was that the press is a reflection of the existing debate.
I didn’t initially agree, but I respect her experience and expertise enough that I began to question that long-held belief. Still processing, but while I was thinking about it I asked her thoughts on the shift in public opinion surrounding refugees.
Her thoughts are that this shift is largely a result of the internal ruptures the Howard government is currently experiencing – first with Petro Georgiou and Judi Moylan – then others. Her belief is that it was grassroots activist groups, and in this case specifically the mainstream churches, that did the shifting of public opinion. This, in turn, prompted political and press action.
It is an interesting perspective. I’m still not convinced either way, but it certainly got me thinking – shaking up hard-set ideas is always a good thing – and I wanted to share it with y’all.