In Australia we are truly lucky to have a strong, independent radio and TV service provided by the ABC.

There is a very good reason not to watch news or current affairs on commercial TV — it’s heavily filtered. Not censored exactly, but filtered. Chomsky has written at length about this.

Basically, any commercial news medium will only print news that passes the 5 filters: ownership (concentrated and own agenda), funding (advertising, profit driven), sourcing (wire services/government/PR), flak (shoot the messenger) and ideology (“war on terrorism”). The ABC is not perfect, but is far less subject to these filters. Four Corners would be impossible commercially.

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The ABC has a truly independent model, but is limited by its resources and its sources. For example, many politicians refuse to talk to them because they prefer to control the message. They would generally go on commercial radio talkback long before the ABC.

So the ABC is forced to use wire services and PR like everyone else. At least they’re (relatively) unafraid of big business and they actively strive for balance rather than just serving up what they’re given or cross-promoting.

Get your entertainment where you like, but never rely on commercial news services for news or current affairs. They lie.