Future of news exclusively leaked
IT'S always a rare and special privilege to be present at the dawn of a new age. To be an innocent bystander as the train wreck of civilisation finally grinds to a halt and we see what crawls out.
For many a long year those of us who work in the media have been wondering what is to become of us all.
The rise of Facebook and Google along with the decline in sales of printed newspapers has wrought havoc on the traditional model of news gathering and dissemination and we have all been wondering what the new model of News would be, if indeed we would have news any more at all.
As world politics drifted to the right and strongmen and women backed by extreme wealth interests doubled down on their attacks on the free press with cries of Fake News and Alternative Facts, we thought news would be replaced by some sort of Fox News/Sky News After Dark parallel reality.
And then suddenly the answer was there with its hand on our shoulder asking us to step this way and hand over our devices.
The Australian Federal Police (AFP) in association with the Government of the Day (GOD) will be taking over the news and deciding what we see and hear.
First the AFP turned up at Annika Smethhurst's place and spent seven and a half hours going through her underwear drawer, then they stormed the ABC to go through its email laundry basket looking for any incriminating newsy skid marks or tell-tale leaks.
They were looking for leaks, specifically unauthorised pieces of information disseminated by whistle blowers that make the government look bad- like the questions that must be answered about the way Special Forces operate in Afghanistan or perhaps that Australian security agencies should not be used to spy on its own citizens.
The AFP weren't there looking for the kind of leaks that routinely come from within government to influence political debate in the government's favour- like ASIO reports regarding Asylum seeker policy.
Its not that there are many shades of news-ey versus leak-ey grey here, would that it were so simple.
We now just have infinite shades of beige middle aged white guys selling us the old zero sum game of "Put up with having your right to know what your government is up to trampled” versus "Are you going soft on national security?”
We were assured by the AFP and GOD that it was all above board- nothing to see here. Look over there- how good was that first State of Origin! God help us all.