What is the cost of “buying” the Australian media? The coverage given to Baz Luhrmann’s Australia starring Hugh Jackman and Nicole Kidman is as good a place to start as any.

The Australian media allowed themselves to be manipulated into handing out tens of millions of dollars of free publicity for a movie coming from Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp studios at 20th Century Fox.

The News Ltd papers, Foxtel and other outlets would have been commanded to promote the movie extensively anyhow but on Tuesday night we saw Nine’s A Current Affair devote the whole program to the Sydney premiere of the movie:

The Nine Network and 20th Century Fox did a promotional deal for on-air free plugs, access to stars and exclusive shots from the movie over the past month or so. So that’s why we saw an “exclusive” interview on 60 Minutes on Sunday night — exclusive my hat — it was paid for content:

That’s why ACA has run the odd segment full of authorised shots from the producers and not an original picture generated by ACA in the report. Cut from the deal, rival Today Tonight attempted a spoiler from the “Red Carpet”.

The ABC was just as bad: Kerry O’Brien had one of his tie-off interviews on The 7.30 Report last night with director Baz Luhrmann that was at least interesting when compared to the tosh served up earlier by Tracy Grimshaw on ACA.

The evening news broadcasts in Sydney on Tuesday night carried reports of the red carpet event. But this morning, the ABC’s highest rating radio current affairs program, AM, had as its lead story, a report on the premiere of Australia in Sydney last night.

Spoon fed and lazy would be a better description for the way the media has fawned over Australia.