Brief thoughts on ABC’s 7.30 Report and Channel 7’s Today Tonight

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The ABC as an organisation under the public sector of media is, in comparison to the privatised state of Channel 7, a haven for truth and, for lack of a better explanation, real news journalism. Nonetheless, it is not devoid of sensationalism. The latest episode opens with a split screen shot of its host backed by the words RED ALERT to cover a story of government budget cuts in the guise of a crisis. This could be seen as an overstatement but in relation to Today Tonight’s reductionist structure and method, it is everything but.

Today Tonight is reductionism at its finest. Its focus is on the individual more so than any social factor, and its content sways reliance on stereotypes and right leaning discourse. The show is framed in such a way to represent, in broad terms, the Other as extremist and the white privileged public as their victim. This has never been more the case than in the latest Today Tonight coverage on Boston’s bombing fiasco. In itself, the cause has been reduced to be the fundamentalist view of an extremist group which has no bearing on the suspect in question. Today Tonight’s coverage disregards any contributing social factor and blames the individual. ABC’s 7:30 report seems to shy away from this approach.

Today Tonight, unlike the ABC’s 7:30 report, is riddled with “ahistoricism”. Again, it focuses on the here and now misinformed details of an individual and completely ignores any historical factors which may have led up to this point. In covering the ‘Boston Bombing’, ABC’s 7:30 report at least makes an attempt to gather some evidence as to why the current suspect is a suspect. Today Tonight, on the other hand, relies on sensationalist methods and face value stereotypes.

This brings us to the concept of Monocausal explanation. ABC’s 7:30 report takes into account a sociological perspective on a majority of its coverage, factoring in historical, cultural, and structural influences. Today Tonight however seems to take the opposite approach, in that one occurrence is because of one sole motive of an individual.

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