Personally I can't bear to watch things like the ABC's Q and A program which purports to air serious issues of public interest in a combative spirit with a hand picked and committed audience.
Into this mix put George Pell and Richard Dawkins; on the one hand a powerful church leader and influential person on the other a distinguished scholar and public intellectual as well as author of numerous books explaining science and evolution to a non scientific audience. Dawkins was by the and of it exasperated and bemused as a pro-Pell section of the audience laughed at the most everyday things he said and sat there adoringly while Pell uttered obviously wrong statements about science. As a friend pointed out it was a Catholic priest who first proposed the idea of the Big Bang.
This was a mismatch of David and Goliath proportion and to what effect? If you are in Pell's camp you could see the horns on Dawkins' head. If you were listening to what was being said you might well have wondered why a man so distanced from reality was in the same space as an eminent scholar who has been patiently explaining some very complex ideas for a long time.
But this is really symptomatic of our media now.
While the Murdoch Empire staggers profitably around the globe our (and particularly his) media outlets are busy distorting reality to such a point that if you read it in a newspaper you can be confident it probably isn't true. The electronic media ditto. Some of the people I used to listen to or read seem to be much more interested in their numbers now than what they report.
What to do then? The net provides some relief from the constant unfiltered barrage of self-interested garbage. But the net is full of rumour, invective, slander and hot air too. Some sites are worth going to.
My regular read is The Conversation which is, in the main, intelligent, informed and not paid for by hidden third parties. (see the Links page above). every now and then opinion is expressed that makes me wonder but the community of academics quickly put matters right[ it is after all a Conversation and it has to be a broad tent with room for all "informed" views.
The Age has joined the Australian as great for the bottom layer of no dig gardens or other recycling purposes. Maybe it is a distorted memory of a youthful view but it seemed like a good paper once. Let Gina and Clive have it now, its rotten anyway.