By Stephen Mayne

Spotting attempts by News Ltd hacks to
impress Rupert Murdoch when he visits Australia is a fun sport. But
with the Sun King’s trip winding up this weekend, we’ve already got a
clear winner. Step forward, Andrew Bolt, who produced this on Tuesday:

Fox News, owned by the company that owns this paper, has a
tone too raucous for the ABC. But it has a format for debate the ABC
should copy, not condemn. .. Channel Nine under Eddie McGuire is
examining the Fox News model because it makes for more interesting
television – and cheaper. The ABC should, too, because it is more fair
– and informative.

The closest the ABC will ever get to Fox News was broadcasting Robert Greenwald’s powerful Outfoxed documentary, which has sold more than 250,000 DVDs worldwide and was banned in Murdoch outlets across Australia, as Media Watch revealed at the time.

One of the Fox News media monitors from explains
how they assembled the evidence to produce the documentary which left
Rupert’s claim of “fair and balanced” only supported by his most loyal
courtiers, such as Andrew Bolt. Truth be known, Fox News is a disgrace
to journalism, but Rupert can’t afford to let it be labelled blatant
Republican Party propaganda and patriotic pap.

Witness the way
Fox News even sued comedian Al Franken in 2003, claiming that it had
trademarked the expression “fair and balanced”, although this proved to
be a PR disaster.

Bolt has also been displaying the high-pitched patriotism that is characteristic of The Sun and Fox News. Witness yesterday’s attacks on the minority of Italian-Australians who barracked for the Azzurri on Tuesday morning:

Did you see the pictures from Sydney’s Norton St – the
Italian heart of our most ethnically torn city – when the ball fizzed
past Mark Schwarzer’s despairing glove? As many as 8000 people, many in
Italy’s blue shirts, screamed, clapped, sang, danced, lit flares,
honked car horns and set off fireworks. Fantastic! Australia, their
home, was beaten! The country that had opened its arms to them and
their parents was devastated! How sweet.

Right, so next time Rupert Murdoch drops in on the US Open to cheer for Lleyton Hewitt, the New York Post will no doubt blast its US citizen proprietor for being un-American.

Peter Fray

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Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey