WEEK one of the election campaign is almost done and dusted and the most debated story hasn't been centred around a policy announcement.
It's also been just another week of the endless Essendon Football Club drugs scandal and the distribution and manipulation of information has been at the forefront of discussion.
These are two unrelated topics again highlight how the media's role in important or popular issues in this country has become much broader than just reporting the news.
Many of the policy announcements this week were overshadowed by the suggestion News Corporation boss Rupert Murdoch was directing his suite of metropolitan newspapers to target incumbent Prime Minister Kevin Rudd. Sydney's Daily Telegraph left little to its reader's imagination, asking them to "Kick this mob out" on the day following the election announcement.
It's not unusual for media outlets to be accused of bias, or in some instances to outwardly show it. The ABC is often accused of having a left-wing bent and metropolitan publications under the Fairfax Media banner, also publisher of The Courier, are often criticised for story angles or choices.
Every website that sprouts claiming to provide news and information or a platform of analysis with a specific focus is at its core established with a imperative to influence others to a particular view.
That's the purpose of free-speaking democracy - where readers keep the media honest and have a choice about what they choose to consume.
This does not, however, fully explain the increasing trend of the media not just reporting a story but indeed becoming the story.
The Daily Telegraph would have sold extremely well on Monday such was the statement it made and it's marketers would have been ecstatic at the free publicity (continuing right here) the ensuring debate created.
So on day one of the campaign when our current and prospective national leaders were setting a platform for the future of national - as unexciting as some might deem it - the focus was instead on the media.
The Essendon Football Club drug scandal mirrors many of the same issues.
Much discussion in recent weeks has centred on not what information is available but how it is being distributed. Suggestions those aligned to Bombers coach James Hird are running their lines through reporters at the Herald Sun newspaper is countered by allegations the AFL has been 'backgrounding' those at The Age and The Australian.
The supposed leakers, and those allegedly receiving the secret details of the drug investigation, have all vehemently denied any wrongdoing.
On Wednesday night, former chief reporter for the Herald Sun and doyen of AFL media Mike Sheahan, at a sportsman's night, spoke about the suggestion - made earlier this week on an Adelaide radio station - by former AFL star Mark Ruccuito that Hird would stand down this week.
Sheahan's words were seen as an endorsement of the theory and soon after social media network Twitter was awash with the rumour.
It's sparked journalistic mayhem for the best part of one hour before Essendon's media manager was forced to himself tweet a denial despite there being not a shred of real evidence to prove Hird would indeed resign.
The profile and power of journalists is more evident in AFL is immense and all parties in the drug scandal are aware of how important it is to win the public war.
Yet the lines between serving the readers and serving the sources has skewed community perceptions not only of the issue itself but created questions of the motives of those in the media. Just as it has done in political circles this week.
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