Crikey has been campaigning for years about the problems of excessive media power. Last night the concept was taken to extreme and bizarre lengths when the senior News Limited political reporter, Glenn Milne, jumped onto the stage at the black-tie Walkley Award dinner and physically attacked Crikey’s founder Stephen Mayne as he was presenting the award for Best Business News Report of the year. Milne pushed Mayne off the stage while calling him a “disgrace”.
At one level this incident was no more than a drunken frolic by a hyped-up hack. At another level it was a demonstration – nationally televised and now available on YouTube – of the reason why so many people find the behaviour of the media so arrogant and boorish.
One of Australia’s most “respected” political commentators, working for the most powerful media company in the world, has acted in public like a common thug. Glenn Milne not only demeaned himself, he has demeaned the notion of the respectable journalist. Meanwhile his editor tells Crikey this morning that while Milne will be “disciplined internally” his “employment is not under threat”.
“Certainly we have responsibilities and influence”, Rupert Murdoch once observed about his editors and journalists. Let’s see if the proprietor means what he says and boots out the journalist who spends his life pompously telling political leaders how to behave while assaulting journalists he disagrees with. Let’s see some positive Murdoch power.