tip off

News’ revenge: editorial pages rain down on Brown’s crusade

News Limited has struck back against claims by Bob Brown it is misrepresenting the climate change debate, accusing the Greens leader on its editorial pages of cracking under the pressure of increased media scrutiny.

Senator Brown yesterday criticised the Australian media — in particular News Limited and The Australian — for the way it reports on climate change, labelling News the “hate media” and accusing them of “doing a great disservice to the nation”.

Brown launched the swingeing attack at a press conference in Canberra, after journalists repeatedly pressed him for details about the proposed carbon tax and asylum seekers.

I think it’s very essential to take that on at the moment because I think the Murdoch media is doing a great disservice to this nation in perhaps the most important debate of the century so far, which is how we tackle climate change,” he told the assembled press pack.

Brown accused some sections of the media of not being balanced because they failed to get “both sides of the story”. Instead, he said, they relied on opinion instead of facts.

Its not what you would read in other countries around the world and I think that needs taking on,” he said.

In his news report today, James Massola from The Australian said Brown’s onslaught was a “well-worn routine — questioning the questioners” and noted the Senator had been taken on at the press conference by journalists from three other organisations — Fairfax, Channel 10 and The West Australian — not News Limited.

Massola quoted The Australian’s editor-in-chief Chris Mitchell as saying the paper was “unaware of any complaints from Senator Brown” and would be “happy to talk to him if he has any”:

I believe we have probably done more to give honest scrutiny to the carbon tax than any other newspaper and, of course, we have long supported a market-based mechanism for dealing with climate change.”

In an editorial published after last year’s federal election, The Australian called for The Greens to be “destroyed at the ballot box”:

Greens leader Bob Brown has accused The Australian of trying to wreck the alliance between the Greens and Labor. We wear Senator Brown’s criticism with pride. We believe he and his Green colleagues are hypocrites; that they are bad for the nation; and that they should be destroyed at the ballot box.”

Murdoch tabloid stablemates the Herald Sun and The Daily Telegraph both hit back at Brown in their editorials this morning — telling him to harden up and expect more of the same scrutiny…

The Hun said it would cop Brown’s “bizzare attack” if that meant the paper could “get at the truth” of Brown’s plans for a carbon tax: “We are against a carbon tax and we believe it is our job to question just how how much you want to tax Australians.”

Sydney sister paper The Daily Telegraph welcomed Brown to the “real world” and said, until recently, he’d received a “dream run from the media”. That was all about to change, the Tele warned: “Welcome to real politics, Bob. If it’s too hot for you, you can always just quit.”

Andrew Bolt on his blog said Brown’s comments amounted to a media “meltdown” and his “obsession” with attacking News Limited was “unnerving”. The Australian’s Media diarist Caroline Overington noted that Bob Brown had the nerve to slam the press “in French, no less” (emphasis hers).

On its op-ed pages, The Australian’s Dennis Shanahan said the broadside was evidence the Green’s leader is under pressure:

For the first time the Australian Greens’ leader is being treated just as he has always wanted to be, as the leader of a mainstream political party. Unfortunately, it’s not quite turning out as he had hoped.”

Hugh Riminton from Channel Ten asked the Greens grandfather figure at the presser yesterday whether his stinging words amounted to a change in tactics, to which the Senator responded in the affirmative:

I’m being very much on the front foot here because I think the media, with some very good exceptions, can at times lose track of the fact that it’s part of the process of moving Australia into a much more secure future with a more secure lifestyle, economy and job creation prospects.”

One journalist, Fairfax radio reporter Michael Pachi, repeatedly challenged Brown on his views, asking him why he was “obsessed” with attacking News and the “press you don’t like”.

Brown said his words were “all part of the democratic discourse” and the media should “measure up to your own rules”: “The Murdoch press comes out every day and bags out the Greens, why one rule for you and not one for the others?”

Fairfax Radio hosts rushed to Pachi’s defence yesterday and this morning. 3AW talkback tsar Neil Mitchell branded Brown a “twit” and a “dill” for his remarks and said the attack was “proof … we shouldn’t be in Bob Brown’s hands at all”.

Gary Hardgrave from 4BC called Brown “delusional”, while 2UE host Paul Murray said the Greens leader turns every press conference into an opportunity to slander the media.

In comments possibly unrelated to the press conference, Media Monitors recorded 5AA host Bob Francis calling Brown a “son of a bitch”.

  • 1
    Posted Thursday, 19 May 2011 at 5:49 pm | Permalink


  • 2
    Posted Thursday, 19 May 2011 at 5:56 pm | Permalink

    Very good

  • 3
    Posted Thursday, 19 May 2011 at 5:58 pm | Permalink

    I don’t always agree with Bob Brown, but this time…

  • 4
    Posted Thursday, 19 May 2011 at 6:03 pm | Permalink

    Pure gold Crikey and a thousand thanks to Bob Brown for a masterful performance. :D

  • 5
    Posted Thursday, 19 May 2011 at 6:13 pm | Permalink

    Love how cheerful he is the whole time. Makes it hard to put that on the news and claim he’s ‘whinging’.

  • 6
    Posted Thursday, 19 May 2011 at 6:16 pm | Permalink

    Excellent, after Newsltd have been trying to destroy them.

    Just 43 more days and they have the balance of power in the senate and no more Fielding.

  • 7
    macchiato marxist
    Posted Thursday, 19 May 2011 at 6:29 pm | Permalink

    On the drum, thom woodroofe called bob brown naive and that he was merely whinging. obviously he and glenn milne deny that news ltd, in particular, the australian, have engaged in a concerted effort to destroy (news ltd editors own words) the greens. to see a guy who can barely grow three whiskers calling a veteran politician and political leader naive is fun to watch.

  • 8
    Posted Thursday, 19 May 2011 at 7:05 pm | Permalink

    Well done Bob Brown for telling it like it is.

    Rupert’s machiavellian international project for decades now has simply to sell more news, and to counter or oppose viewpoints not in News Limited’s financial interests, usually done in the name of under the guise of ’ free speech’.
    Governments come and go, but the corporation marches on, from continent to continent, shaping opinion in the ways it chooses.

    The sad thing is that because of the symbiotic propaganda feedback loop that exists between the Murdoch press and the dominant opinions of the Australian populace, where New Limited outweighs in newspaper readership the numbers of all other media in Australia, their polling confirms that Australian public opinion across many issues, now largely reflects the slant which News Limited publications consistently convey. They see it as reflecting public opinion, but New Limited polls provide more of a measure of success as to how well their message is selling.

    No it is not a conspiracy !

    It just that News Limited is the major player in Australian politics now. Has been for decades.

  • 9
    Posted Thursday, 19 May 2011 at 7:06 pm | Permalink

    Don’t be so tetchy, just measure up to your own rules…Don’t get too upset, this is just part of the democratic discourse…Fragile, I’d say — very fragile.”

    Skewered them.

  • 10
    michael r james
    Posted Thursday, 19 May 2011 at 7:33 pm | Permalink

    Yes, Marilyn, but the weak link lies with Labor. They just seem helpless deer in the headlights of News Ltd. They continue to write Opinion pieces for The Australian! And interviews with Alan Jones. It doesn’t seem to matter how rude they are or how much they distort the facts in “reportage”, Labor remains supine.

    They could introduce legislation that would bring us more into line with other countries, say the USA.
    1. Owners of media must be citizens and the companies must be based in Australia.
    2. Max share of market: probably about 30%

    The Brits complain bitterly about Murdoch where he has “only” 35% of media, but we let him (a non-citizen) have 70%.

    If I was granted a single wish in Australian public affairs this would be it, because it poisons/crippled out entire body politic.

  • 11
    Posted Thursday, 19 May 2011 at 7:34 pm | Permalink

    You come out here and you bag the Murdoch press every day!” Precious.

  • 12
    Posted Thursday, 19 May 2011 at 7:38 pm | Permalink

    in tha rastaullas own paraphrased words

    Murdoch has ta take responsibility for debasing the nation via his media distortin tha truth”.

    Our media should be there to reprort tha facts man or ta offa analysis, an declairn war on a political party should remain the relm of political parties. Either the dark lord owns a news outlet or a political mouthpiece. An we all know what tit tis now a?

  • 13
    Mark Tomasz
    Posted Thursday, 19 May 2011 at 7:55 pm | Permalink

    The Australian” wtte: “We will destroy the Greens politically”

    BB: “You are full of opinion and no news”

    Hurt Reporters: “Daddy, he’s picking on us!!”

  • 14
    Posted Thursday, 19 May 2011 at 8:14 pm | Permalink

    Who was that whiny prick who kept asking all the questions? I may have to break a long standing habit and read the OO to see how they react.

  • 15
    Posted Thursday, 19 May 2011 at 8:17 pm | Permalink

    Perhaps the ACCC should look into it?

    Of course we should make it illegal for a foreigner to directly control such a majority of our media, but his indirect control - via content such as “…we see in today’s papers that…”(local slang for the ABC is now either ‘Radio Rupert’ or ‘His ABC’) , is almost total.

    But doesn’t the ACCC now come into play with this level of effective ‘market’ manipulation and control? The ‘market’ isn’t just ad sales, it is core to a functional democracy.

    The Greens would be able to introduce a law in the Senate. All they would need is public support.

    Time to stop Murdoch’s Monopoly on our freedom of speech.

  • 16
    Posted Thursday, 19 May 2011 at 8:44 pm | Permalink

    What drags this country down is the stupid, puerile, self-important media: it’s the media that gave us Tony Abbott and Julia Gillard. there’s always been stupidity and corruption: that’s human nature. But never has it been so prominent.

  • 17
    Posted Thursday, 19 May 2011 at 8:46 pm | Permalink

    The Unbearable Whininess of Being Michael Pachi.

  • 18
    Posted Thursday, 19 May 2011 at 9:46 pm | Permalink

    It’s not news” “It’s not what you’d read in other countries around the world”

    Touche Bob!

    You don’t like it when we take you on” (ie the media) so “live up to your own rules”

    Bless ‘im.

    Now, Greens, get your head out of your rectums and look at the data: ‘renewables’ will not replace base load power by a country mile and the ONLY way to replace coal without CO2 is nuclear.

    I won’t hold my breath.

  • 19
    Barry 09
    Posted Thursday, 19 May 2011 at 9:57 pm | Permalink

    Fragile ! Ha Ha 11/10 Bolty will be bouncing off the walls. the screws are loosening.

  • 20
    Posted Thursday, 19 May 2011 at 10:03 pm | Permalink

    Aaah Christopher, I will take you on…. It is, after all, still #trollday… We actually don’t NEED to replace all baseload energy with renewable: this is a fallacy created by the coal lobby (of which I was an employee). For the next 10 to 20 years we only need to reduce coal-fired generation from it’s current 80% generation level DOWN to an actual caseload level of, say, 40%… The point is that coal can and probably always will provide baseload generation in Australia: we actually need responsive mid-merit plant to reduce existing redundancies in the system to manage daily ramp in the system. From a system management perspective we are totally overdone on coal, and need to reduce it REGARDLESS of a carbon price.

    All this “we must have nuclear” is completely irrelevant in the current electricity market!

  • 21
    Go for it!
    Posted Thursday, 19 May 2011 at 10:21 pm | Permalink

    We all now that Murdoch is a control freak but the latest efforts by News Corp in Australia to denigrate the Gillard government at all times is a disgrace and the worst I have see for a very long time and runs the risk of changing the nature of politics in the nation forever!

    Great to see Bob Brown have the balls to take these whineing losers on .Its only a pity that the APL dont have the same courage to stand up to Murdochs baying mob as well.
    Having had a bit to do with the “press” over the years I know you can NEVER really trust them even if you think they are your friend - they are not and will backstab you to get a story.In saying that the supercilious two faced Glen Milne comes to mind!LOL

  • 22
    Posted Thursday, 19 May 2011 at 10:22 pm | Permalink

    Liz, we both agree that cutting emissions is the goal. Now, all we have to do is get past the ‘nukes are evil’ thing, and look at the facts, which are that without removing coal from the equation it’s impossible to make 450ppm.

    Your move.

  • 23
    Go for it!
    Posted Thursday, 19 May 2011 at 10:27 pm | Permalink

    By the way I think you will find Murdoch is not a foreigner but holds dual citizenship which he had the law changed here to suit himself.

    I think it was the Murdoch arselicker Hawke who had the law changed to suit his mate!The sooner the old bastard departs this planet the better it will be for all of us as I would expect News Corp to break up fairly quickly without “daddy” at the helm.

  • 24
    Posted Friday, 20 May 2011 at 4:41 am | Permalink

    Great stuff from Bob Brown but agree with you Christopher Dunne, if the Greens are serious about climate change they need to crunch the numbers and accept that nuclear is necessary.

    Nuclear opponents seem to forget that in a low carbon future we will be replacing many of the fossil fuels we burn today for transport etc. with more efficient electricity, so despite an overall reduction in energy use, a large increase in electricity production will be required.

  • 25
    Posted Friday, 20 May 2011 at 6:38 am | Permalink

    Just watch now as the pack of News Ltd dogs turn on Malcolm Turnbull after his candid remarks about how we should respond to climate change.

  • 26
    Posted Friday, 20 May 2011 at 7:10 am | Permalink

    It will be interesting if this comment left at Dennis Shanahan’s article is printed. The Australian is already in full discredit Senator Brown’s comments mode.

    News for you. The Greens have been facing scrutiny for years. Starting with all those years in Tasmania fighting for the preservation of Lake Peddar.
    What is new is the calling out of News Limited especially this paper in it’agenda as the Editor statement of “destroying the Greens”.
    No surprise that the Greens are highlighting the problems to the democratic process of that.
    Look forward to hearing the next MediaWatch.
    Keep up the good work. We may yet see legislation changed covering media ownership to destroy the Murdoch stranglehold on the nations media.

  • 27
    Posted Friday, 20 May 2011 at 8:50 am | Permalink

    We may yet see legislation changed covering media ownership to destroy the Murdoch stranglehold on the nations media.”

    This will be a test of what the Gillard government is all about. I do not trust politicians and they should not trust the murdocracy. It would not surprise me at all if the murdoch press starts to lay off on labor now or at least starts to lay into the coalition a little more fairly, because to keep upon the path that they are currently on is to keep reminding to the point of inviting the labor-greens controlled lower house and senate to rid themselves of the pestilence. For the good of Australia I hope they do enact legislation that nuts murdoch in Aus.

  • 28
    Think Big
    Posted Friday, 20 May 2011 at 9:17 am | Permalink

    Interestingly Fairfax is censoring my posts in the SMH this morning - probabaly because I dared to mention the elephant in the room - the hate media. It just vindicates my decision to subscribe to Crikey.

    Well done Bob Brown! I also agree with Twobob - I hope the government will enact some legislation regarding media ownership and accuracy. It seems too mucgh to hope for.

  • 29
    Climate Change
    Posted Friday, 20 May 2011 at 9:22 am | Permalink

    Bob Brown does not like anyone who disagrees with his extreme views and the extremer views of Sarah HY and Lee R.

  • 30
    Posted Friday, 20 May 2011 at 9:33 am | Permalink

    No Climate Change. He doesn’t like people whose stated aim is to ‘Destroy’ his party (Editorial in The Australian, 10/9/10) and who regularly distort facts to support their denialist position.

  • 31
    Climate Change
    Posted Friday, 20 May 2011 at 9:38 am | Permalink

    Hi Marty

    I think The Greens are destroying themselves and come July 1, that will acelerate, especially with the new extremer Senators, one of which has documented family links to the former Communist Party of Australia. Scary

  • 32
    Posted Friday, 20 May 2011 at 9:50 am | Permalink

    I’m with you.

    When I read his quote - ” it’s part of the process of moving Australia into a much more secure future with a more secure lifestyle, economy and job creation prospects.” - I realised he is beyond help or sympathy.

  • 33
    Modus Ponens
    Posted Friday, 20 May 2011 at 9:57 am | Permalink

    Lindsay Tanner writes a book about it in retirement - never did anything in the job.

    Bob is the real deal - and does it with gentle humour. I’m excited.

  • 34
    Posted Friday, 20 May 2011 at 10:14 am | Permalink

    For another example of Murdoch’s (international) escapades follow this link:


  • 35
    Posted Friday, 20 May 2011 at 10:43 am | Permalink

    @Climate change “the new extremer[sic] Senators, one of which has documented family links to the former Communist Party of Australia. Scary

    Ooh! Someone’s relative was a Commie! Expel them!
    Truly witless, pathetic trollism.

  • 36
    Posted Friday, 20 May 2011 at 11:22 am | Permalink

    Bob’s bloody well right about the B-grade fiction writers at News Ltd.

  • 37
    Posted Friday, 20 May 2011 at 11:22 am | Permalink

    Good call Bob. The media is too important to be run by plutocrats.

  • 38
    Bill Parker
    Posted Friday, 20 May 2011 at 12:19 pm | Permalink

    Bob Brown has my admiration. What you see is what you get.

    Rupert is keen on one thing only - money. If bagging the Greens, Brown or anyone else with “opinion” crap from his B-graders makes money, he’ll do it.

    Unfortunately this country of ours has a level of complacency that lets the B-graders ride over real debate.

  • 39
    Posted Friday, 20 May 2011 at 12:20 pm | Permalink

    Christopher, the issue I have with nuke is both based on cost, type and timing.

    The current needs in the electricity generation mix in Australia are predominantly for mid-merit plant: plant that starts every day helps with the morning ramp up and evening ramp down, meets the daily peak and is flexible enough (on a 5-15 minute basis) to cope with intermittent generation in the system. At the moment coal is meeting that “need” (as well as the baseload) and is doing it inefficiently.

    By reducing coal-fired generation and replacing it with other mid-merit style plant: which includes solar and MUST include gas (but that could be bio-gas) we will improve the overall efficiencies in the electricity system, and therefore the total cost passed on to consumers.

    Nuke is in many ways worse than coal in its generation characteristics as it cannot be ramped, or even turned off: once it is on it must stay on and can’t change its generation levels in any real way. Therefore it is only really suitable to replace coal.

    Most cost estimates show that to replace a coal-fired plant in Australia with Nuke would require a consistent carbon price north of $70/tonne, exacerbated by the lack of economies of scale to build & staff in this country.

  • 40
    Posted Friday, 20 May 2011 at 12:37 pm | Permalink

    It has been obvious for a long time that something is very wrong in the mainstream media, it doesn’t matter which side of the equation you’re on. Why are newspapers feeding us opinion based on their organisations political views ahead of the actual policies and hard data?

    I’m not interested in some opinion columnist telling me what to think, I would much rather make up my own mind after being presented with all the relevant details.

    What is the point in Freedom of the Press when the Press are willing to sell their freedom to the highest bidder? Crikey showed a year or two ago just how much of the average newspaper was nothing but PR.

    Media reforms are essential to the health of Australian democracy.

  • 41
    Posted Friday, 20 May 2011 at 1:22 pm | Permalink

    ROTFL In breaking news: Fresh from his “interruption” disguised as an interview of Bob Brown on abc730. Chris Uhlmann has burst into print today via The Drum, with a suitably snarky response to Bob’s lack of respect for the media.
    Jack Hughes indeed. :D

  • 42
    Posted Friday, 20 May 2011 at 1:23 pm | Permalink

    Not a day goes by when I’m not proud of putting my money and time where my mouth is and joining the Greens. Bob Brown is a giant compared to those pathetic labliberals who are just as bad as each other, in their own ‘special’ little ways. Seriously, Berlusconi’s Corrierra della Serra is more balanced than Limited News.
    I signed an Advaaz online petition recently which called for the Canadian government not to allow Murdoch to have more control over the press in that country. I suppose that’s his plan for world domination. It would be truely fascinating to peer inside Rupert’s brain to see how it works. Does he think he is not part of the human race? What future does he think will face his young daughters and grandchildren? I suppose when money is the only thing you worship you must have a genuinely distorted view of the world. He appears to have no soul whatsoever. With a bit of luck he’ll get sucked up to the heavens on 21st May and leave the world for the rest of us.

  • 43
    Posted Friday, 20 May 2011 at 1:25 pm | Permalink

    Sera, sorry, typo

  • 44
    Posted Friday, 20 May 2011 at 1:28 pm | Permalink

    Oh god - where’s the bucket……blah blah blah.

  • 45
    Jim Reiher
    Posted Friday, 20 May 2011 at 1:36 pm | Permalink

    Is anyone surprised that the media close ranks to protect themselves from scrutiny?

    And I for one wish the oft repreated nonesense statement was true: Bob Brown is running this country! Dam I wish it were true!

  • 46
    Posted Friday, 20 May 2011 at 1:48 pm | Permalink

    So someone still reads that old “pays to increase your word power” section in the Readers’ Digest, eh?
    I guess now we’ll have a whole raft of swingeings, or maybe even a tranche of them.
    It’s really concerning :-)

  • 47
    Stephen Moreland
    Posted Friday, 20 May 2011 at 1:49 pm | Permalink

    Dr Brown’s wonderful press conference yesterday inspired me to visit the local Greens office and become a member. These days, with the ALP and LNP snuggled up close to each other on the right of politics, the Greens are the only ~real~ opposition in this country. No wonder the big end of town hate them.

  • 48
    Posted Friday, 20 May 2011 at 2:02 pm | Permalink

    Brown: “And I know there’s an inherent penalty clause there but I’ve got broad shoulders.”

  • 49
    zut alors
    Posted Friday, 20 May 2011 at 2:06 pm | Permalink

    Bob Brown is a gentleman. Some of Australia’s journalists should look up the definition of this word, it’s not one we generally use in reference to a politician.

  • 50
    Posted Friday, 20 May 2011 at 2:09 pm | Permalink

    Oh dear the poor widdle diddums. Not a skerrick of fact from any of the “lets murder Iraqis’ mob.

    They ought to read Sideshow.