Surprisingly enough, Murdoch’s* The Australian has come out swinging in defence of Murdoch’s* Sky News and its battle with the just-announced 24 hour ABC news network:

THE ABC’s plan to launch in the next few months a 24-hour national television news service amounts to a taxpayer-funded declaration of war on commercial media outlets in Australia.

In the same way that taxpayer-funded roads are a declaration of war on dirigible manufacturers, I suppose.

The specific criticisms are fairly weak –

  • increased quantity (BY THEM – not us) must mean reduced quality (BY THEM – not us);
  • commercial media shouldn’t have to cope with competition;
  • the ABC has “religiously avoided” crossing live to breaking events (really?);
  • the ABC isn’t “flexible” enough (in what way?).

If it’s going to convince Australians that an ABC News channel is a bad thing, I think News is going to have to do better than that.

*Obviously we all know they’re owned by the same mob, but in a piece like this, shouldn’t The Australian clearly state their own self-interest in what they’re advocating, for the benefit of those who don’t? Where’s the appropriate disclaimer?

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
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