Now this is another story you will have to look hard to find in a Mark Day column in The Australian, but the BBC has given a two-fingered salute to Rupert Murdoch’s and son James’ self-interested push to charge for internet news websites.

In an interview and story in London’s Guardian overnight, the BBC’s director general, Mark Thompson, ruled out any move to make people pay to view news on the corporation’s websites.

“He is categorical in defending the delivery of free online news, describing it as ‘utterly non-negotiable’. I would rather the BBC was abolished than we started encrypting news to stop people seeing it,” The Guardian reported.

“The absolute first building block keystone of the BBC is delivering impartial, unbiased news,” Thompson was reported as saying.

Oh, what could he be referring to there? Not Fox News in the US, the apple of 78-year-old Rupert’s ageing conservatism? Surely not.

The Guardian continued: “Indeed, Thompson directly accused James Murdoch of being ‘out of touch’ with the British public and underlines the point in the interview by suggesting self-interest lay at the heart of his speech. You have to ask what the agenda around trying to undermine the BBC is,” he says. “What is the underlying motivation?

“This defence goes to the heart of the battle with the Murdoch empire, which plans to charge for online services, but also with politicians. The licence fee is a tax, yet, despite endless invitations from critics for the public to turn their back on it, they haven’t,” says Thompson. “We have a relationship that frankly many companies and institutions would kill for.”

John Kampfner, chief executive of Index on Censorship, said: “Some media observers believe that Murdoch’s full-frontal attack and evident self-interest may actually have done the BBC a favour. It provided them with a readymade bogeyman.”

And what line did The Times take in reporting the interview in The Guardian?

Did it highlight these comments about free news online?

Silly me, of course not, After all, it is The Australian of London, a paper that proudly parades the unbiased nature of its Murdoch-first partiality.

“The BBC’s highly profitable commercial division, BBC Worldwide, could be part-privatised in a major review of the corporation’s operations,” reported The Times on what is a point totally irrelevant to the real issue between the BBC and the Murdochs.

“The director general, Mark Thompson, said that the business could be listed on the stock market or a stake offered to a rival broadcaster at home or abroad.

“A partial sale is among the options which will be examined in a major review of the BBC’s operation ordered last week by its governing body, the BBC Trust. The review will begin in 2012, when the switchover to digital services will be complete.

Three paragraphs from the end of the online report The Times mentioned Mr Thompson’s online news charging.

“Mr Thompson said the BBC’s free online news was ‘non-negotiable’,” adding: “I would rather the BBC was abolished than we started encrypting news to stop people seeing it.

“I think politicians and the leadership of all the parties understand the affection the public has (for the BBC).”

This story has local echoes with the ABC determined to be a free news website provider for much the same reasons as the BBC.

News (and its silly fellow wannabe chargers at Fairfax) know full well that if they charge and the ABC won’t, the ABC will win.

The appointment of Fairfax columnist Annabel Crabb is the first step in expanding comment and views on ABC websites.

Fairfax, unlike News (and especially The Australian) is hamstrung in attacking the ABC like News does because many readers of The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald, are strong supporters of the ABC.