Facebook Google Menu Linkedin lock Pinterest Search Twitter



Sep 10, 2010

Gillard thanked us for being fair and balanced: The Oz editor

The Australian editor-in-chief Chris Mitchell claims Julia Gillard praised the paper's "fair and balanced coverage", dismissing renewed criticism from Bob Brown and press gallery veterans over its editorial agenda.


The Australian editor-in-chief Chris Mitchell claims Julia Gillard has praised the paper’s “fair and balanced coverage”, dismissing renewed criticism from Bob Brown and press gallery veterans over its editorial agenda.

Crikey contacted Mitchell for a response to the Australian Financial Review‘s Laura Tingle who, in her column today, wrote of The Australian‘s “anti-government position” and “ferocious and apparently continuing campaign” against the government’s legitimacy.

Mitchell told Crikey Tingle was the biased one during the campaign, dismissing her as a “Ruddite”. But Tingle says even journalists from within the News Limited bunker have congratulated her for the stance.

The Australian — a “centre-right” paper as Mitchell once branded it — backed Tony Abbott‘s campaign pre-election and has run a fervent line in many sections against what editor-at-large Paul Kelly called Labor’s “rainbow alliance”.

On Tuesday it devoted its front page to a number of negative stories against the government: ‘Greens alliance threatens Aboriginal wellbeing: Pearson‘; ‘Coalition counts cost of Treasury’s ‘political game’‘; ‘Gillard mine tax ‘to deliver $8bn less than forecast’‘; ‘Smugglers feared Abbott victory‘.

10-09-2010 10-59-28 AM

As Tingle recites, Greens leader Bob Brown was angered by the coverage: “[The paper] sees itself as a determinant of democracy in Australia. It believes it has replaced the people and it’s time to bell the cat. It’s stepped out of the role of the fourth estate to think it’s the determinant of who has seats in the parliament, and it needs to be taken on.”

In response, The Australian delivered an extraordinary spray via its editorial yesterday:

“We believe tax reform equals lower taxes, but we are not sure Labor agrees now that it has to answer to high-taxing Greens and rent-seeking regional independents. Greens leader Bob Brown has accused The Australian of trying to wreck the alliance between the Greens and Labor. We wear Senator Brown’s criticism with pride. We believe he and his Green colleagues are hypocrites; that they are bad for the nation; and that they should be destroyed at the ballot box. The Greens voted against Mr Rudd’s emissions trading scheme because they wanted a tougher regime, then used the lack of action on climate change to damage Labor at the election. Their flakey economics should have no place in the national debate. We are particularly tired of Greens senator Christine Milne arguing that “green jobs need a real green economy to grow in”. What on earth can she mean?”

Crikey asked Mitchell to clarify the paper’s call to arms. He responded via email this morning: “I think the editorial refers to them being destroyed ‘at the ballot box’ at some future election. We did not run an editorial on the Greens. We ran a very long editorial on the Labor Party and the Coalition with a couple of pars about the Greens.”

Further, Mitchell claims Gillard had no issue with its coverage:

“The truth is Julia Gillard rang me twice in the last week of the campaign and both times thanked me for our fair and balanced coverage. Check with her office. She did the same in her final interview with Paul Kelly and Dennis Shanahan.”

Crikey went to Gillard’s office but was told they couldn’t comment on any private conversation.

In her ‘Canberra observed’ column today (locked to subscribers), Tingle highlights a breakdown in the relationship between Mitchell and Kevin Rudd. “As it became clear it [The Australian] would not be put on the drip, Rudd believed, the coverage became more strident,” she writes.

Mitchell told Crikey his relationship with Rudd is “cordial”. “I saw Kevin Rudd several times at Kirribilli House this year in the lead-up to his sacking and have spoken to him, at his call, since he lost the prime ministership,” he said.

“Laura is a Ruddite … I defy you to find one person in the Coalition to describe Laura’s election performance as fair and balanced.”

Tingle laughed when Crikey put the quote to her. She points to a piece she wrote in March exposing the dysfunctional Rudd ‘kitchen cabinet’ — shortlisted for this year’s John Button Prize — as an example of her “dishing it out to both sides”.

“I’d invite anyone to look at my coverage,” she said.

Tingle says many journalists — including some from inside The Australian — have praised her column today. As for whether Gillard’s office has been happy with the coverage from Mitchell’s team: “That’s not what anybody in the government has said to me.”


We recommend

From around the web

Powered by Taboola


Leave a comment

136 thoughts on “Gillard thanked us for being fair and balanced: The Oz editor

  1. David

    I cannot believe my eyes…I will have to read this again and return…am utterly dumbfounded, completely………………………….

  2. Jim Reiher

    The most bias reporting will always see itself as “balanced” and everyone else disfunctional.

    This astonishing admission by the Australian that they want to see the Greens destroyed is so blatant and arrogant that they really have lost all perspective. How can anyone not admit that this paper is nothing more than propaganda for the conservative side of politics. Honest reporting? Not with the Australian.

  3. Andrew Litvak

    There’s another organisation in the News Ltd stable that calls itself “fair and balanced”. And given their track record over in the US, let’s just be thankful The Australian has such a low readership (and no broadcast TV channel).

  4. Damien

    I really hope Julia didn’t call the Editor of The Australian as you described. You can’t appease these people – they’re rabid. That course leads only to destruction.

    The Government has to get fair dinkum about the Murdoch media. They ought to quietly stop running individual job ads in The Australian and instead run one quarter-page ad every Saturdaystating that all APS vacancies can be found online. Let’s see how the national broadsheet likes losing $10 million per year. Then they ought to start publicly calling those rags on their blatant bias and misrepresentation of events – every time and at every opportunity – including in answer to questions in Parliament and MPIs. The Government has got to take News on. Success is not guaranteed if they do but failure is guaranteed if they don’t stand up for themselves.

  5. David

    After reading Jason’s article a second time I am now fully convinced The Australian editor-in-chief Chris Mitchell requires therapy sessions, many of them. He is a sick individual. I will be emailing Ms Gillard to ascertain she did say to Mitchell all that he implies.
    If she did I cannot imagine what she is playing at. Good for Bob Brown, get up him Bob you owe the OZ nothing. The only politician in News Ltd debt is the Coalition.
    I wonder why this amazing revealation is not being trumpeted all over the media, including their ABC. Probably because it is so laughable it cannot be serious.

  6. denise allen

    If she did – she was just being nice….and hoping that by doing so they may in turn be nicer to her…but I doubt it very much.

  7. David

    @ Andrew Litvak…regretfully Andrew News Ltd do have a TV station in Australia. Sky Channel is partly owned by Foxtel another Murdoch enterprise. They are as biased as News Ltd media.

  8. Aphra

    My view is that The Australian, while promoting Abbott’s team to an uncomfortable degree (nothing fair and balanced, here) did not direct its prejudices towards Julia Gillard, personally, unlike some of those in the more ‘respectable’ media.

    I’ve been surprised, as have quite a few others, at the subtle anti-Gillard stance of some of those whom we might have expected to support her. No, not merely because she’s a woman, but because as a woman she’s proving more competent, measured and of sterner political stuff than nearly all others. Really, her sex shouldn’t count against her.

    If she did indeed ring The Australian I can understand why.

  9. shepherdmarilyn

    Chris Mitchell and the editorial team decided to take a side swipe at little old nobody me last year because I sent them the actual refugee law of the land when they were stridently and abusively calling for the genocidal practice of push backs of refugees by sea.

    When I sent him a copy of a letter from Chris Evans telling him the law again, after the Press council found the editorial to be out of line and inaccurate, he said I was partisan.

    As if I made the frigging law and was the entire high court who held it to be valid.

    The coverage has been appalling with only VanOnselen and Steketee offering up anything remotely non-partisan.

    Must go and find a fin review.

  10. michaelwholohan1

    He/She who reads the Oz, reads trash. One can only hope that the “News Of The World” fracas will see Rupert’s rump in a sling.

  11. shepherdmarilyn

    And when I read the OZ online I feel an urgent need for a hot shower.

  12. paddy

    Let’s not get too carried away with the idea of Julia appeasing News Ltd.
    She may, or may not have rung them and warmly thanked them for their “fair and balanced” coverage. But I suspect that the powerfox is playing the long game.

    While she’s in a much more delicate position than her predecessor, when it comes to the numbers in Parliament. I suspect she’s liable to be a much more ferocious wielder of the squirrelgrip when it comes to dealing with Murdoch in the longer term.
    Especially once she’s got her feet firmly planted under the desk.

    Interesting times indeed. 😉

  13. Peter White

    Attention people: look at what the PM actually said to Mitchell : “FAIR AND BALANCED’ – a brilliant put down of Mitchell and his mob using Rupert’s self chosen descriptor for Fox News…. she didnt even have to cross her fingers and toes when uttering these so called words of ‘thanks ‘ !

    The greatest problem with The Fox News Broadsheet ( the newspaper formerly known as the Australian) is not its jaw droppingly blatant and unapologetic bias but that its campaigns began to colour the vision and judgement of journos from other outlets including regrettably the ABC.

  14. D. John Hunwick

    This whole article by Jason Whittaker about Laura Tingle is EXACTLY why Crikey needs to exist, and serves as an example of what it MUST include in its daily offerrings. UNless the thinking public take issue with the media and its present/recent past approach to reporting of politics then after this government we will move back to adversarial party tweedle-dum and tweedle- dumber routine. I assume that in the near future Crikey will not only feature the likes of Christine Milne and Clive Hamilton along with the various spokespeople from public insitutiions but also indepth articles/comments from the range of independents along with a campaign for better reporting all round Mysubscription will be renewed at the appropriate time.

  15. Pamela

    So glad to hear others express concerns about the Australian. The trouble is that the Murdoch stable can nobble public opinion to the extent that the control the numbers.
    Look at the Herald Sun – nasty, brutish and powerful PLUS the highest readership (if that is what you do with ) in Australia.

    We may have to do more than whinge if we want represatative government to survive in this Country.

  16. fredex

    “Thank you for the fair and balanced coverage.”


    Mitchell didn’t recognize it.

  17. Damien

    Look, you can put on it any spin you like but in the end the only way to get anywhere with Murdoch is to be direct. As Nelson said “never mind the tactics – straight at them”. No comment from ministers about any issue, no media releases, no backgrounding of journalists. Freeze them out of the game.

  18. Chade

    As fair and balanced as Fox News itself. The Australian should be proud of its stance.


    (If they want to find out what Christine Milne means by that quoted sentence, um… they could always ask her?)

  19. zut alors

    “The truth is Julia Gillard rang me twice in the last week of the campaign and both times thanked me for our fair and balanced coverage. Check with her office. She did the same in her final interview with Paul Kelly and Dennis Shanahan.”

    Leapin’ lizards, not even a Murdoch editor can be this stupid! Those poor bozos at News Ltd can’t recognise pure sarcasm.

  20. Dallas Fraser

    Thank god my partner and I aren’t the only one’s who think the same way about The Offical Mouthpiece for Conservative Politics. After 10 years ( a slow learner) we gave up having it delivered as even my partner who is very tolerant had had enough of its bias.

  21. Worrierqueen

    Its true Murdoch is determined to destroy our democracy in Australia much as he has already done in the US turning it into a frothing foaming ferocious shouting match of hate and xenophobia instead of reasoned political discourse. Having turned the light on the hill of the US into an ungovernable rabble, Murdoch appears intent on repeating the dose here.

    The Australian journalists suffer from narcissism far worse than most journalists. They actually believe that far from reporting the story they are the story and all our political relations suffer from the ensuing race to the bottom based on their far-right rants of fear and divisiveness.

    Al Governments have been conned by them for years and Senator Brown is right, its time to bell the cat. First thing, the Government should pass a law that all press advertising only be placed in newspapers and quality magazines. This would instantly eliminate all government advertising from all Murdoch progaganda rags that merely masquerade as newspapers. Next all government members should only make themselves available to those organisations willing to report the truth. This too should see a dramatic reduction on ‘political’ reportage in the Australian. Finally people should stop reading their lies.

    The Australian is particularly ugly now because we naughty children didn’t do what they told us to and kick out Labor. They are acting like petulant children. Luckily the voters are much older, wiser and smarter (admittedly wouldn’t be hard). The fact much of the ‘modern’ media is so out of touch is one reason the current media empires are collapsing. In News case it can’t happen quickly enough.

  22. DodgyKnees

    Can’t decide between irony or Stockholm syndrome.

  23. davidk

    Obviously the ditor of the Oz doesn’t recognise sarcasm when he hears it.

  24. Doug from Parkdale

    Why the f*^!k does The Australian have an opinion about the need for lower taxes? Clearly they have an agenda — not just on tax reform, add boat people, mining, welfare, the NBN, pay TV –and feel they are a powerful political player.
    IMHO, that disqualifes them from the ranks of media, which should inform and analyse, not try to sway voters or bring down politicians (unless corrupt or criminal, of course).
    I don’t care whether they’re pro-Coalition, pro-Labor, pro the Callathumpian Needlepoint Party. What The Australian has been doing is not journalism.
    I used to read The Australian avidly because once its political coverage was decent — conservative but informed and interesting. Even though I’m a natural left-leaner I wanted to hear the other side. But the paper’s performance during the campaign was sickening. Rabid, unapologetically biased, insulting to the intelligence of its readership.

  25. zut alors


    Beautiful line, the comment of the day!

  26. Fran Barlow

    [They ought to quietly stop running individual job ads in The Australian and instead run one quarter-page ad every Saturday stating that all APS vacancies can be found online.]

    I wouldn’t even give them that. You can put this message on all government websites. Anyone qualified to get a job with the government will have the nous to check out the relevant websites.

    Rather than having a system where government advertising in broadcast media was assumed to be fair enough, it should be expressly prohibited unless there are exceptional circumstances. (Only adequately timely and cost effective way of reaching intended target audience, information is essential for government program to work).

    I heard today for example that only about 18% of people whom the government hoped would get the H1N1 shot took it up, in part because some had concluded that the emergency was now behind us. Without taking a view on whether mass immunisation was warranted, one might argue that mass broadcast media advertising, when it stood behind dedicated mass imunisation events held at various locations at specific times might be warranted (if such a program were). Time would be of the essence and there would be a pressing public health need.

    Save in such circumstances, I say the government makes use of the web, email lists, the government gazette, its dedicated offices and so forth if it needs to support programs in a general sense. Does anyone think that if they didn’t advertsise in The OZ too few quality people would apply? It seems unlikely. Many come through recruitment agencies anyway.

  27. Adam Gilbert

    The Australian has a collective thought bubble!
    The FART Of The Nation is the result.

  28. Ron Whitmore

    Mitchell’s hypocracy is beyond belief if he claims that the Oz is ‘fair and balanced’ in its’ political coverage; or maybe he does need therapy as David suggests. No body with any intelligence who compared the online headlines of the major papers around Australia during the campaign and its’ aftermath, could conclude anything other than that the Murdoch papers were blatantly biased towards the LNP. One had only to watch Mitchell’s face during the independants’ press conference when they announced their support for a Gillard government; he was livid! It was wonderful to see his reaction after Rob Oakeshot had a none-to-veiled shot at the media (the OZ) for its’ claim that the electors in his electorate overwhelmingly wanted him to back the LNP, after they did a miniscule survey in one conservative pocket of his electorate.
    I agree with Damien; “Freeze them out of the game.”

  29. John Bennetts

    Once upon a time, there was a line drawn between reporting and opinion.

    Reporting deals with facts.

    Opinion deals with… wait for it… opinion. For example, the Editorial is recognisable as opinion.

    If memory serves, I think that Granny SMH used to actually place the word “opinion” at the head of such pieces.

    What I want to know now, is whether this small courtesy is appropriate in the modern era and, if so, will Crikey lead the way by adopting it? This, as an example to The Oz, not necessarily because I cannot tell the difference in Crikey.

    How about an article from Michael Gwanda to clear up the relevance or otherwise of journalistic etiquette?

  30. Acidic Muse

    Chris Mitchell seriously needs to stop free basing Rupert Murdochs crack

    Ever since “fair and balanced” was adopted as the tag for Faux News in the USA, it’s become a euphemism for rabid right wing partisanship and now gets wide use in that context worldwide, as Mitchell well knows

    Murdoch’s Right Wing Noise Machines cynical use of this kind of Nazi euphemism will no doubt go down in infamy along side “ Arbeit macht frei” the German phrase translated as “work will make you free” that was emblazoned over concentration camp gates during WWII

    If Julia said it, she definitely had her tongue planted firmly in her cheek.

    Laura Tingle deserves the Gold Walkley for this article

  31. Jimmy

    WorrierQueen I completely agree with you on the role of Murdoch and our countries worrying lurch to the right. The Oz goes with the old saying of say something often enough and it becomes truth eg the BER was a complete disaster, the ALP are now beholden to the Greens, this government is illegitimate and we must go back to the polls. Now they are turning on the independents who had the gaul not to do what the Australian wanted they must be biased. My only hope is that the dummy spitting we have seen over the last few days will prove to be a bridge too far and the public will finally wake up!

  32. Robin

    When I first read this I thought that Chris Mitchel must be on drugs, possibly powerful hallucinogens. Then I realised that he doesn’t need them as he is already on that most powerful of drugs – deluded self importance.

    What a rag the Oz has turned out to be!

  33. guytaur

    I have made a suggestion to GetUP! about this. Lobby for the reform of the Media laws. Stop the News Limited dominance in the old media. That is no more one company newspaper towns. We still need to do this as it appears that there is not enough new media to counterbalance the old media yet.

  34. sean

    The viscousness of the oz is what gets to me. Its sense of entitlement and its complete abandonment of journalistic principle. Yes, if the labor party had any spine they’d start calling them out for what they are, but as we all know, it doesn’t have any spine so the best we can hope for is Gillard offering a token bit of sarcasm to an editor too dim and infected with self importance to even recognise it.

  35. Lano

    The Oz balanced? Where do I start. There are a number of editorials I have read which could have been written by Andrew Bolt. The interesting thing is that they seem to recognise when they’ve gone way over the top. After a few days of a slant to whatever point it is they are trying to make, they role out an article or two from one of their columnists which is a little softer. They used Peter van however to do this amongst others.

  36. David

    Sean I think Herr Mitchell is aware of Julias sarcasm, however such is his huge ego and complete belief in his own imaginary power over the average Australian, he prints such a sarcastic rebuke amidst a self serving thought bubble, that it will be believed by all. Such is the decline in the grey matter between his ears.

  37. asdusty

    Should we expect anything other than bias from a media outlet controlled by Dear Leader Rupert, the man who famously said “What’ll it be? A headline a day or a bucket of shit a day?”. With Limited News owning 70% of Australia’s media there is little hope for a respite from the Conservative Propaganda Machine, especially as the NBN has been identified as an existential threat which has driven much of the anti-Labor rhetoric (who’s gonna pay for Foxtel when you can stream whatever you want straight off the web?). Mitchell is nothing more than a propaganda spouting idealogue who cant even recognise sarcasm anymore. Australia deserves better.
    As for the ABC, the decision by Scott to invest so much into the 24 hour news channel, has meant a sharp pull to the right as Auntie seeks to compete with the big boys. I think Scott is gonna get a kick in the head for this. I applaud the expanded service (particularly the complete coverage of news conferences which have broadcast to the entire country the complete ass-hattery of so many journalists in the main stream media) but to have achieved this at the expense of unbiased coverage is deplorable.

  38. shepherdmarilyn

    “Adelaide busybody Marilyn Shepherd’s hysterical emails to editors also point the finger at The Australian. Her brand of reasoning claims that “people are dead, people are injured, more might die because the Australian Government and media would not stop whining”. Forget the tragic fire on the boat off Ashmore Reef. The deaths are “on our heads”, she shrills, for ignoring her “increasing alarm about illegals and so on”. She asks: “Are you journalists hard of reading and hearing?” No, we value mature, reasoned debate over reems of drivel.”

    This from an editorial last April.

    And what was the reams of drivel? Australian law that they still choose to ignore while whining endlessly about so-called people smuggling.

    I laughed for hours over the deranged notion that the nongs in the OZ thought I was important enough to demonise.

  39. Jimmy

    Lano – I saw something (I believe it was on this website or it could have been media watch) a few months back on the Australians method of claiming unbias and pointing to the few articles you speak of. It pointed out that the Oz attacked the Govt on the front page and defended it on page 17 or something. Basically they exploit the fact that a lot of people only read the headlines. Andrew Bolt and the Herald Sun are also a massive part of the problem, the Sun had a banner on the top of it’s front page on Wednesday (could of been Thursaday) exclaiming “election farce” simply because their team lost!!
    We have to remember that it was Rupert’s media in the USA responsible for the Tea Party, Obama being a terrorist/communist/not a US citizen and how a modest health care package was simply socialism.

  40. twobob

    fair and balanced

    that says it all.

    Fox news has “fair and balanced” as its theme. They are anything but.

    Does Mitchell understand SARCASM! What a flea.

  41. DodgyKnees


    A badge to be worn with pride.

  42. shepherdmarilyn

    I do dodgy. I do.

  43. Richard Davoren

    It’s a shame that the Oz didn’t realise that Julia was just taking the piss!

  44. Syd Walker

    @Andrew Litvak

    “There’s another organisation in the News Ltd stable that calls itself “fair and balanced”. And given their track record over in the US…”

    Yes indeed. Presumably Mitchell was having a joke. At our expense. As usual.

  45. CliffG

    “The Australian” fair and balanced? Pigs might fly, too!
    “The Australian” panders to its 75% Coalition favouring audience. Just have a look at their polls.
    It also runs a highy selective “Letters” page, (same old rightists trojans day after day) which is impossible to breach if you happen ocasionally (!!!) not to swallow their slant hook, line and sinker.
    And what choice does Julia Gillard have but to pander to them? Obama tried to make a stand against Fox News bias (i.e. News Corporation, i.e. The Australian) and took even more flak.
    Bob Brown is quite right. News Corporation (i.e. Murdoch) wants to be a player not a reporter.
    Any assurances from Chris Mitchell are a joke, sick as it may be. The man cannot simply be that self-deluded!
    And they’re still beating on about the B.E.R.!

  46. freecountry

    Julia Gillard should thank the Australian. Without intending to, it delivered government to Labor.

    News Ltd imposed a virtual blackout on the Liberal Party during Malcolm Turnbull’s leadership. Chief political editor Dennis Shanahan and others had plans for the party which did not include Turnbull. Dr Nelson was supposed to be the sacrificial lamb for all the post 2007 regrouping, followed by a new leadership under Peter Costello.

    Turnbull’s ascension did not fit this plan, so News Ltd buried him. Very little that he said ever made the news pages, except when there was potential to embarrass him, like the Godwin Grech affair. Essays that Turnbull submitted to the Oz were accepted for publication, but were either buried beyond visibility, or trashed by accompanying editorial content, or both.

    As a result, there was no effective criticism of the Rudd government during that time. It’s no coincidence that Rudd’s highest approval ratings occurred during Turnbull’s leadership – News Ltd were simply not printing any of the effective criticism coming from the Liberal leadership at that time.

    Then two things happened: the anointed Costello resigned, and Turnbull lost the leadership. With Costello out for good, there was no point undermining the incumbent leader any more, so News Ltd editors cut their losses and backed Abbott to the hilt.

    The only problem was, Abbott was unelectable. Always was, always will be. But you wouldn’t know that from the spectacular rise in polling that the Coalition experienced after Abbott took the leadership.

    What the Coalition did not realize was that the high polling had nothing to do with Abbott’s leadership. It was caused by a resumption of News Ltd’s support for the Coalition – even more strident than usual, as if to make up for lost time.

    The Rudd-Gillard government was a failure. It was bad enough to make history by losing after its first term. (The Whitlam government also lost government after three years, even though they won an early election during that period.)

    A Coalition led by Malcolm Turnbull would have blown it away at the polls. They never got that chance, because of leadership sabotage by News Ltd, and distortions in the opinion polls. Instead of electing the opposition, voters expressed profound disgust towards both parties, leaving the Greens and independents to gain the balance of power by default.

    So I hope Gillard sends a big bunch of flowers to the good people of The Australian. After all, they’re the ones who delivered the Prime Ministership to her.

  47. zut alors

    Approximately three decades ago there was a rag called ‘The Truth’ which, if memory serves me correctly, was published each Friday. It was rife with scandal, sex, exposes of affairs – the usual drivel currently published by Murdoch’s UK offering ‘News Of The World’. When anyone mentioned reading The Truth it always elicited laughter, the newspaper was an object of derision. It became a euphemism for dreck and eventually died out.

    It’s well overdue to apply the laughter technique to The Oz. If Oz readers think they’re being laughed at they may pause before buying it.

  48. David

    @freecountry…I think you are somewhat mixed up in your thinking…it was not the coalition members who gave as you put it, government to Julia. Nothing to do with the Coalition, the Australian, Costello, Nelson, Turnbull…News Ltd unashamedly supported Abbott and the Coalition, completely rubbishing Labor and Ms Gillard. Labor just held on. The only delivery to the Australian is a great big fat loud fart, right in Mitchells face, because his degraceful unprofessional paper tried to destroy a duely elected Government by biased, one sided, gutter reporting. The truth was never in the picture.
    May Mitchell be forever remembered as a failure. A failure to be a professional journalist/editor, a failure to live up to the once high ethics of the fourth estate.

  49. John james

    “A Coalition led by Malcolm Turnbull would have blown it away..”

    I just love watching the paranoid Left work itself into a lather, but this comment takes the cake.
    Malcolm was well on his way to blowing it away alright, so Rudd et al thought, when Abbott stepped in.
    So effective was Abbott that Labor knifed Rudd, and Julia moved Right, big time. But like Rudd, who portrayed himself as a younger version of John Howard, it just wont wash a second time, and I don’t think the Greens will let it wash.
    I’m going to enjoy waiting to hear from the East Timorese, watching the ‘People’s assembly’ debate climate change (’cause Labor sure won’t), watching Julia, with no kids, agreeing to place helpless children with same sex couples, denying them a mother and father, and watching Labor try to tax anything or anybody that’s making a buck.
    And Windsor and Oakeshott, well, country people have big hearts, but they can take only so much bullsh*t.
    The Independents are dead men walking.

  50. Ian

    Regardless of your political leanings, we, the citizens of this country, deserve a much better media than we have. The daily dross served up by the Murdoch Morons, parroted by the drongos in the ABC, isn’t serving us very well at all.

    It really is about time we started demanding the media laws change. All Australian ownership would be a good start….no more demented boofheads who renounce their citizenship in order to rule a world so vile and corrupt only they would want to live in it.

    Once, just once, I would love to see a Govt. release a major policy announcement on a site like Crikey, if only to see the incandescent rage, the incredulous gawping, the slow, yet unrelenting, realization that being a mediocre Murdoch hack, of some importance, apparently, is of no import in the real world.

  51. Kinkajou

    Is that you James K, have you rebadged?

  52. CML

    I sincerely hope you are all correct – that Julia was dishing out the sarcasm – because the mere thought that she might have been serious is too disturbing to contemplate!
    I gave up reading the Oz a long time ago. It has been a Coalition rag for a decade or more – ever since my favourite politician became PM (real sarcasm!) in 1996.
    I’m all the way with Bob Brown; all members of the current government should take them on in a big way – certainly not pander to the likes of Chris Mitchell or his boss.

  53. Syd Walker

    I agree, boradspeaking, with Freecountry.

    I agree that Turnbull was much more electable than Abbott – still is. Turnbull wasn’t given a fair go by the media. His relative independence is probably the reason why.

    Those on the right who have convinced themselves of Abbott’s brilliance might stop to consider what it takes to get voters they don’t usually get. That’ s what you need to win. Turnbull has much more appeal than Abbott to the centre ground – even parts of the left.

    However, IMO there’s something wrong with an analysis that treats News Corp as a unform block in this election. It’s my understanding that News Corp rags in Victora, Tasmania and SA favoured Labor with election-eve editorials (by contrast, NSW and Q’land papers favoured the Coaltion). News Corp was not monolithic on this election. It walked both sides of the street (unlike the run-up to the Afghan and Iraq invasions, when ALL the stops were pulled out to support war throughout the entire News Corp empire).

    Perhaps News Corps is now suffering from an arrogant idea it can be above the fray and support BOTH sides – like a big corporate donor. That image of independence enables News Corp to poach terrirtory from the ABC and other MSM. For example, Sky News hosted the ‘debate’ and town hall forums in the last election.

    What all of this brings to the fore is the need for media reform and the break-up of this quasi monopoly. This would be an excellent Parliament to take on that task. The Greens media policy is skeletal, but a good starting point.

  54. davirob

    Whatever you want to say about the Truth when I was a juvenile I loved it.Page three girls,heartbalm,I’m sitting here smiling just thinking about it.Oh/for the salaciousness of it all.Anyway back to normal programming.

  55. freecountry


    In that case, explain to me this mystery: If Tony Abbott was the cause of the Coalition’s sudden rise in the polls, how come he consistently got deplorable ratings as preferred prime minister? How come, even when the Coalition was ahead of Labor in the polls, Tony Abbott was consistently the least preferred prime minister?

    Abbott was completely ineffective. Kyle Sandilands could have done a better job of leading the Coalition and discrediting the government than Abbott did. Ben Cousins could have done it better. Abbott did nothing but mimic the three-word sloganeering of Rudd and Gillard and turn the same technique against them. He had nothing to offer – he talked small government but offered a $75,000 baby bonus. He talked conservative but he wanted to trash the states and rewrite the constitution. He’s neither conservative, nor liberal, nor popular.

    The soaring popularity of the Coalition had nothing to do with effective opposition. Three events got all mixed up:

    1. Costello resigned, forcing News Ltd (esp. Dennis Shanahan) to give up installing him as leader;
    2. News Ltd therefore ended its campaign of destabilization against Turnbull-led Liberals;
    3. that destabilization campaign resulted in Tony Abbott replacing Malcolm Turnbull as leader.

    Then the Coalition started polling really well – but not Abbott – the public continued to despise Abbott and to make it clear they did not want him as Prime Minister. Nevertheless, everyone assumed that the sudden rise in Coalition polling must be caused by (3) the Abbott leadership; when in fact, it was caused by (2) the end of the News Ltd campaign of destabilization against the Liberal leadership, and the resumption of normal criticism of the government.

  56. shepherdmarilyn

    I noted today’s whine about the BER showed that in the end the tiny school got the building size they needed although Madden had taken an entire column to say so.

  57. Acidic Muse

    @Free Country

    Your analysis of Toxic Tony’s total ineffectiveness as leader is accurate but you really should get over blaming the Australian for deposing Malcolm and lay the blame where it truly belongs.

    Which is at the jack booted feet of the 42 members of the Coalition party room who voted against him

    Yes, News CrapOration were undoubtedly complicit Turnballs downfall but you seem to conveniently forget Mal only won the leadership 45 votes to 41 in the first place – he simply NEVER had the support of the wing nuts to begin with and it was undoubtedly they who orchestrated the campaign to undermine him

    When Abbott defeated Turnball 42 – 41, there was one informal vote and two abstentions – I guess you think the Australian organised that too 🙂

    This was all about hard right obsessive control freaks WITHIN the Coalition hijacking the party with the assistance of News CrapOration, not the inverse

    When moderate conservatives and small l Liberals end finally end the denial, maybe a few of them might even try and do something about it

  58. paddy

    Fair shake of the sauce bottle. Zut Alors @5:19 pm
    “The Truth” was a damn fine piece of yellow journalism that always featured some particularly fine works of page 3 art. 🙂

    However it *DID* have a “secret” section that ensured a healthy circulation and plenty of money to pay the owners and “journalists”.

    Namely, the best racing form guide in the country.

    Bugger the articles, I always bought it for the the horse talk. 😀

  59. Aaron Jasper

    The biased election coverage from several media outlets during this campaign has been a real eye opener. I have been amazed and appalled at the lengths News Ltd and others have taken to clearly get Abbott elected. Sometimes subtle and sometimes not so subtle. The lack of scrutiny of Abbott’s policies and the constant denegration of the Rudd and Gillard government seemed clear.

    Atleast blatant attacks can be seen for what they are (hopefully) but quite often it is what is not reported that I have the biggest problem with and the subtle way journalists shape their words and their stories to appear non-biased. An example is the way The Courier Mail trivialised the NBN, reducing it to being all about how fast you can download an Mp3 or movie file. I didn’t see any reporting on the benefits for business, education, communication etc mentioned.

    Online, over at Yahoo!7, Google (news.com.au) and The Courier Mail it became almost funny to see the way they featured stories and manipulated headlines. Stories scrutinising Labor were placed front page and centre all day on these sites while Coalition stories that weren’t as favourable (very rare) were often relegated very quickly to the smaller news items sections. An amazing example was to see the Coalition’s $7-11 billion costings hole story on Yahoo!7 titled “Coalition will deliver surplus: Abbott” sitting in small print below the featured stories. The biggest story of the day (or even election) was determined to be less important than “The Stig finally unmasked” which ran all day in the Features. Over at the Courier Mail, the Coalition budget costings disappeared very quickly from the front page all together.

    I’m glad Brown has come out swinging, I hope Gillard does the same.

  60. davirob

    I’ve been calling the oz the right wing daily for years but I wonder if most are over estimating it’s importance.The biggest fail for me was Swan not selling the economy,just imagine what Keating would have done with those numbers.

  61. Tom McLoughlin

    You can’t analyse The Oz without synthesizing it’s 7 intellectual dwarfs on circulation steroids in the states and territory. The dwarfs like the Sydney Daily Telegraph provide the muscle and the Oz provides the brain, as twisted and prostrate as it is to incumbent privilege.

    To misunderstand this power dynamic of how the low circulation Oz provides a real danger to social equity, ecology and democracy by guiding and directing the attack dwarfs is a cause for some despair. What on earth are they teaching at journalism and political science courses these days, to not know this obvious power game.

    Even Glenn Milne was virtually laughing about the obvious bias on Insiders last week. As for Tingle she is far more progressive in her values than Labor or Coalition. She and the David Rowe cartoons are really the only thing worth reading, apart from the odd Latham spray – a guilty pleasure.

  62. freecountry

    [“… you really should get over blaming the Australian for deposing Malcolm and lay the blame where it truly belongs. Which is at the jack booted feet of the 42 members of the Coalition party room who voted against him.”]
    At the time of that leadership spill, the Coalition was polling what, around 30 per cent primary preference? Turnbull was also in favour of an ETS, which alarmed many conservatives. Those 45 members knew only that they had to change something. It was natural for them to assume that their leader was the cause.

    Turnbull himself had a very poor personal approval rating – because of that News Ltd destabilization campaign. For example they buried this article deep in an inside page of the APlus section of the Weekend Australia, without any of the usual front page banner advertising it. If anyone had read it, they would have learned that Turnbull had a hundred times more understanding of the global financial crisis than Rudd did.

    The only promo of the article was this comment by Dennis Shanahan on the front page of the Weekend Oz that day, 7 March 2009: Turnbull accuses PM of hypocrisy (the original article has now vanished from the Oz website):
    [MALCOLM Turnbull has launched a personal attack in response to Kevin Rudd’s claims that neo-liberals caused the global financial crisis, accusing the Prime Minister and his wife Therese Rein of profiting extensively from Howard government deregulation. …]
    This led to a media frenzy against Turnbull, supposedly for hitting below the belt and attacking Rudd’s wife. Read the Turnbull essay I linked above, and ask yourself whether that’s a fair summary of it. Dennis Shanahan’s article then goes on to speculate about a likely Costello challenge against the floundering Turnbull leadership. So much for promoting a major inside feature article by the leader of the opposition.

    A later article by Turnbull was slightly more visible in the Oz on 13 April 2009. However, some editor (I wonder who?) published it opposite a big rehash of a 1980s allegation (unsubstantiated) that Kerry Packer had been a crime king, and a big photo of Packer with his then lawyer Malcolm Turnbull. Thus implying that Turnbull had a history of cohorting with criminals and shady characters.

    So was Turnbull’s support for an ETS fatal to his leadership? An article by Lenore Taylor in the Oz, 30 November 2009, revealed that Liberal powerbroker Nick Minchin had favoured an ETS for the sake of “business certainty” when he played a key role in toppling Brendan Nelson. But Minchin then had a Damascene conversion, becoming a staunch opponent of an ETS in order to topple Malcolm Turnbull. The Lenore Taylor article appeared in the print edition only; someone made it completely vanish from the Oz’s website. (Interestingly, since then Lenore Taylor has appeared infrequently in the Oz and now writes mainly for Fairfax.)

    Some of the best stimulus actions the government did were actually proposed by Malcolm Turnbull. To my knowledge, none of the News Ltd papers ever mentioned this.

    Don’t take my word for it; check out the back-copies in the library or online; do a Google search: Turnbull 2009 site:.theaustralian.com.au. I don’t think you will find one article from that period which depicts Turnbull in a good light. Even though his understanding of economics, the financial crisis, and the atrocious incompetence of the Rudd government, was far superior to that of probably anyone else in Parliament.

    Now switch “Turnbull” to “Rudd” in the Google search … not very much criticism of him in the Oz during 2009. Rudd got a free ride in 2009 because the Oz had other things on its mind. That’s why Rudd got such great polling in 2009 – there was no effective criticism of him throughout 2009 from the conservative side of the media.

  63. Venise Alstergren

    What an astonishing editorial from the Oz???!!!!????

    How is one meant to take it? Is it a joke? Tragedy? Despair? Comedy? Farce? More importantly, who on earth reads it? Apart from semi-senile old white men, of course.

    If I were Janet Albrechtsen or Piers Ackerman, or, even worse, the editor Chris Mitchell I wouldn’t be able to look at myself in the mirror when putting on my make-up. Difficult, I know.

    Have none of the people employed in Rupert Murdoch’s shoddy (Australian) news publications, a sense of shame? Especially Andrew Bolt of the Hun.

    Incidentally what HAS happened to the concept of shame in this country? I suppose the lack of it was inevitable once the media discovered football stars and celebrities.

    We have become trash in Rupert Murdoch’s WPB. And I despair.

  64. freecountry

    TOM MCLOUGHLIN – Exactly. The Australian is the flagship, tt’s read mainly by other journalists and by the right-wing elite, while the News Ltd tabloids largely carry its messages out to the mass market.

    That makes political editor Dennis Shanahan of the Australian the first among equals, as it were, of the News Ltd stable of political writers. It was Shanahan who led the destabilization and dirty tricks campaign against Turnbull. This created the optical illusion of Abbott appearing to be more successful than he was (high Coalition approval, remember, but low preferred-PM approval) because the destabilization campaign was called off at the same time he became leader.

    So causing the Liberals to misunderstand the polling, to back the wrong horse, and to lose the election even against a deeply unpopular government.

  65. Nick Gye

    2 of the best commentators in Australia, George Megalogenis from the OZ and Laura Tingle, on Lateline tonight. I wonder if George is a bit embarrassed by the somewhat unhinged tone of the OZ these days? He’s not one of the OZ’s warriors.

  66. Wobbly

    Labor are even more fucken stupid than they look if they don’t cut the Oz off at the knees by moving governemnt employment ads online.

  67. Syd Walker


    A lot of very good analysis. Kudos.

    I found this page from election eve – Crikey’s summary of the ‘advice’ given by different newspaper editorials.


    I’d like to see a more extensive list.

    I may have been labouring under a misapprehension, but I thought that Murdoch’s rags, in general, mirrored voting shifts on a State by State basis. In other words, in NSW & Qland News Corp strongly favoured the coaltion; in Vic, Tas and SA it favoured Labor (not sure about WA).

    Now, I’m not sure that is factually correct – and I stand to be corrected. Where I live I don’t have facilities to check directly.

    The Oz, of course, was very pro-Coalition. Fairfax – at least its flagship papers, was pro-Labor.

    Focusing only on News Corp, it’s my impression it didn’t just push Abbott (the point I made before). On balance, it favoured the Coalition. But it divided the spoils of its favours sufficiently to make a pretence out of overall ‘balance’.

    Let’s hope it was too clever by half this time.

  68. alan austin

    Why the Labor Government continued to pay vast sums of money to The Australian even as it displayed such blatant bias in its distorted reporting, not just its opinion pieces, remains a mystery.
    But strategies are available to combat this. Firstly, constituents can contact their MPs and lobby for withdrawal of taxpayer funds going to Murdoch.
    And secondly, consumers can contact directly companies which advertise in The Australian – and others – indicating their products and services will be boycotted as long as advertising in those outlets continues.
    With today’s social networking, concerted campaigns in these two areas should not be difficult to mobilise.

  69. freecountry

    ALAN AUSTIN, So let me get this straight …

    You want the federal government to select where it puts taxpayer-funded advertising, not based on marketing reasons, but based on whether the editorial content of the target newspaper reflects the political views of the government.

    Is that right? And do you think that would be a blow for democracy – and a really good use of your tax dollars – to coerce newspapers into aligning themselves more with the views of the government?

  70. alan austin

    No, Freecountry, not just the Federal Government. The Opposition too, all corporations, all agencies and all individuals. Yes, this would be a great blow for democracy.
    But not related to editorial content in the sense of editorial opinion. Any organisation can express freely whatever opinion they want, without fear of recrimination.
    But The Australian deliberately distorts news. This is extremely destructive for an open and free community.
    As an example, in the run-up to the 2007 election Glenn Milne wrote a scathing news report about a theatrical production in Gippsland which used crude language and adult themes. As this show was promoted in the ALP candidate’s newsletter this was clear proof to Milne and The Australian that not only the local ALP candidate but Labor leader Kevin Rudd were totally unfit for office. It was a stinging condemnation of their moral bankruptcy etc etc. Milne neglected to mention, however, that the production was subsidised and promoted with funding from the then Howard Government.
    Sorry this is an old example, but I wrote to the editor then and told him I wouldn’t buy another copy as long as Milne remained on staff, quoting the first 4 points of the journalists code of ethics.

  71. Dick England

    The Federal Government can stop advertising in all printed media on the ground that almost nobody under retirement age reads them any more. It can save a few trees and a heap of taxpayers’ money by putting its job ads on its own web site. Rupert’s a dinosaur stuck fast in a slowly freezing swamp, oozing out his last few drips of bile.

  72. DodgyKnees

    @ Nick Gye
    Thanks for the Lateline reminder Nick.
    One of their better ones.
    Fancy Aunty plucking up the courage to attack Cancers-R-Us !
    Your embarrassment prediction re George Megalogenis was a bulls-eye.
    And I’m in love with Laura Tingle.

  73. markjs


    So it’s ok for for the Murdocracy to receive favourable treatment in return for manipulating public opinion and supporting Abbott’s propaganda campaign then?

    We need a National newspaper which can provide us with FACTUAL information rather than the rabid and hysterical misinformation and outright lies served up by this gang of thugs during the election and since.

    If Murdoch is not willing to provide Australians with this basic reportage then it must not be utilised by any govt. for any form of information dissemination …..there are plenty of other options afterall.

  74. davirob

    Re: George M.he didn’t look embarassed to me, infact he took a shot straight back at the good ol’ ABC re copying and pasting (laborites complaining to him) from the oz.

  75. Syd Walker

    Hi mods. Feel free to delete this but could you please check my comment posted at at 9:10 pm 10th Sept? It’s still in the queue.

  76. shepherdmarilyn

    If you read the book about Dr Haneef you will discover the shock that all the media in this country use the OZ as their groundwork and cut and paste what they publish on line.

    That is why our media are such vile crap.

  77. freecountry

    [But The Australian deliberately distorts news … Milne neglected to mention, however, that the production was subsidised and promoted with funding from the then Howard Government.]
    Journalists have to choose what details to include in a story. Honest journalism means telling it like they see it. Not trying to introduce artifacts of “balance” which distort their representation of the world. For example, should stories about the Holocaust always give both sides of the so-called “debate” on whether it even happened? No, bias is in the eye of the beholder. If a journalist is a low quality hack with a shallow view of the world, the appropriate response is to expose him as such.

    I would argue that some of the tricks I’ve cataloged above really do breach journalistic ethics, in spirit if not in letter. To accept an essay for publication in good faith, in the expectation that it will be made visible rather than quietly buried, is to act as a gatekeeper of information. Copyright law prevented Turnbull from publishing his essay anywhere else, so the effect of the trick was actually to hide important political information from the public, information which could otherwise have been published more visibly in another paper.

    But even I would not go so far as to advocate the government telling the Australian Public Service where they may or may not advertise, based on whether the newspaper behaves itself and toes some government standard of “balanced coverage”. This isn’t North Korea, we don’t need a Ministry of Truth here.

    That’s why we have a free press with independent points of view, Fairfax, Crikey, ABC Media Watch, and so on.

  78. shepherdmarilyn

    And Gillard made a great choice in SCREAN for regional affairs. No matter that he was a lousy leader he is a good and effective mininster with the will to listen and heed.

  79. freecountry

    SYD WALKER – Yes, I think you may be right. Most newspaper editors (and proprietors, including Murdoch himself) are far more interested in boosting circulation than meddling with the political process. So some of the Murdoch tabloids were a lot kinder to Labor. But …

    [If you read the book about Dr Haneef you will discover the shock that all the media in this country use the OZ as their groundwork and cut and paste what they publish on line.]
    The Australian is used as a major source of primary research by journalists on other papers. So it’s highly influential, regardless of whether any of the general public ever even glance at the Australian masthead.

    So the fact that the voice of Malcolm Turnbull – who actually understood the financial crisis far better than anyone else in Parliament did – was not being printed in the Australian, meant that it was not being printed anywhere.

    That’s how the Australian – even with very low circulation and falling even lower – managed to bury the Coalition’s best leader, and in the process buried its best chance of winning the 2010 election against a very unpopular Labor government.

  80. davirob

    No one is surprised about copying and pasting from the oz,I just repeated(part of) George M’s reply to a question about bias.

  81. Syd Walker


    >>>>”Most newspaper editors (and proprietors, including Murdoch himself) are far more interested in boosting circulation than meddling with the political process. So some of the Murdoch tabloids were a lot kinder to Labor.”

    I think you may have missed my point. I’m not saying News Corp isn’t extremely (and primarily) interested in “meddling with the political process”. On the contrary. My point is that News Corp doesn’t always back the Coalition – as some ALP-supporting commentators have a tendency to claim.

    New Corp’s game is to influence the policies of BOTH major parties so they’re both ‘News Corp-compliant’. It’s game is also to set the boundaries of mainstream political discourse – so anyone in any party that strays outside of those boundaries is branded a lunatic.

    In this election, the News Corp team were clearly not all rowing together in party political terms. They do, however, always row together on polices that are of core concern to News Corp, such as slavish adherence to the ‘American Alliance’, slavish support for Israel, slavish support for dramatic growth of the ‘intelligence services’, slavish compliance with neo-liberal orthodoxies of the day…

    Those are non-negotiables. If a News Corp journalist goes against the script on any of these core topics, they probably won’t last long (although that rarely arises, because they self-censor, having absorbed the unwritten rules by the time they’re on the News Corp payroll). If a politician strays outside the script, he/she is pilloried.

    One final point. You wrote: “For example, should stories about the Holocaust always give both sides of the so-called “debate” on whether it even happened?”

    It’s an odd point to include in your argument, in my opinion.

    FWIW, my belief is that ALL perspectives should most certainly be considered, debated and presented on ANY historial topic of issue of contemporary political relevance. Why on earth not? How can we get at the truth is we’re not open to all perspectives?

    News Corp, as it happens, gives ZERO coverage to anyone sceptical of the mainstream narrative of the Jewish experience during World War Two (known as ‘The Holocaust’ since c. 1970) – except, that is, to vilify such people and their arguments. The ABC and SBS are the same.

    That is neither balanced nor fair.

  82. Space Kidette

    The PM might have said the words, but surely they were said tongue-in-cheek.

  83. Space Kidette

    Has anyone noticed the increase in the actual documents being quoted being included in many of the non-limited news articles? It is very hard to argue with source documents. Maybe Julia won’t have to take direct aim at the Murdocracy. Maybe the other papers are just becoming smarter at pointing out their competitors are full of crap.

  84. freecountry

    SHEPHERDMARILYN: “Gillard made a great choice in SCREAN for regional affairs.”

    It’s off subject, but Simon Crean would have been an excellent treasurer or even prime minister. He’s been a great trade minister, working to untangle Australia from all those bilateral so-called “free trade agreements” and establish real free trade agreements in their place.

    Regional Affairs is a slap in the face for someone of Crean’s calibre. Still paying the price for having tried to break the union 60 per cent stranglehold on the Labor Conference in the eastern states (which has now broken both NSW and QLD). It’s not even a portfolio that belongs in the federal government at all; it’s the states’ business to develop the regions, and the only thing stopping them from doing so is the federal government.

    Crean will probably achieve a lot there – hopefully by paring back the Commonwealth’s interference and restoring some of the divisions between the tiers of government. If he does so it will be a thankless, unsung piece of heroism – once again he’ll do the best work in government and get none of the credit.

  85. alan austin

    Freecountry, you are missing the point. A few points, actually.
    “Journalists have to choose what details to include in a story. Honest journalism means telling it like they see it.”
    No, journos do not get to decide on the fundamentals of a news story. Minor details or colour, maybe. There is a clear AJA code of ethics specifying precisely how news reports are to be made. In the example I used, Glenn Milne wilfully violated four of the first five items.
    To use your example, Milne’s story on the Gippsland production was like reporting on the Holocaust without mentioning the Nazis. It really is this insidious. And it really does warrant such responses are available to those who believe “respect for truth and the public’s right to information are fundamental principles of journalism” (AJA code). And one legitimate response is a boycott of the publication itself and those who advertise in it.
    Second, we are not talking about “a low quality hack with a shallow view of the world.” We are talking systematic distortion of events by highly intelligent and highly skilled political operatives.
    Finally, I have no problem with “a free press with independent points of view”. But we are not talking editorial points of view or opinions. We are talking deliberate withholding of vital information in news coverage in order to prevent readers forming an accurate view of the world.

  86. _clang_

    6 years ago, I finally boycotted the Australian once and for all. Since then I have never paid a cent for it though I must admit to perusing its breaking news headlines online. I cannot look at its editorial pages though because I am frightened my head will explode.

    Since I used to regularly get letters published there, I wrote a Dear John letter to the Letters Editor. And got a reply which I found kind of amusing. Here is a blog entry I wrote at the time.


    PS: I can’t believe they mentioned a private citizen in an editorial??? That is downright bizarre!

  87. freecountry

    [My point is that News Corp doesn’t always back the Coalition – as some ALP-supporting commentators have a tendency to claim. New Corp’s game is to influence the policies of BOTH major parties so they’re both ‘News Corp-compliant’. Its game is also to set the boundaries of mainstream political discourse – so anyone in any party that strays outside of those boundaries is branded a lunatic.]
    Some years ago I asked a senior Fairfax political journalist, “What keeps you up at night?”

    The greatest anxiety in the job, she replied, was the fear of getting it wrong. Not getting the facts wrong; getting what they call the “news angle” wrong. Picking out the wrong point in a two-hour news conference for headline emphasis, failing to highlight the particular irony that all your peers highlight. It’s an anxiety that in those days lasted until the following morning when you would open up all the competitor newspapers and check how similar they were to yours. (These days you can check them before you go to bed.)

    My follow-up question was: What if yours is different and you think it’s better than that of your competitors? The senior journalist looked at me in puzzlement. That’s never the case, she said. If you’re the odd one out, then you’re the one who’s got it wrong. Wrong, wrong, wrong.

    So for example, when reporting on the Turnbull essay I linked earlier, possible “news angles” could be:
    (a) “Rudd ignorant about crisis, says Turnbull”
    (b) “Rudd denounces 30 years of economic reforms: Turnbull”
    (c) “Turnbull: Rudd and wife got rich from ‘neoliberal’ privatization of government services”
    Dennis Shanahan chose a simplified version of (c): Turnbull calls Rudd a hypocrite because his wife is rich. This nasty little distortion of what Turnbull had said became the reference “news angle” and all the papers followed it. Not just News Ltd, but also Fairfax, since News is the main source on Coalition matters and Fairfax uses its material.

    This might explain the phenomenon you describe where News Ltd papers may back different parties but still see the world in the same terms. Trying to tell journalists which side to back is like herding cats; they start to get all indignant about their imagined “independence”.

    But trying to make them see the world in a given paradigm (to use the word of the hour) is childishly easy. You just rub their noses in the difference between their own “news angle” and that of the reference newspaper. Which happens to be the Australian.

    Also within News Ltd, as within Fairfax, there are syndicate arrangements for sharing stories. This acts further to homogenize the the way one stable or another represents the world, regardless of whether they favour one party or another.

  88. freecountry

    One more point about newspapers setting the agenda. During the 2001 election campaign, the Australian along with the Fairfax papers attempted to make the election about humanitarian issues. Oppression of Aboriginals, children overboard, mandatory detention of asylum seekers, mandatory sentencing in NT and WA, and so on.

    Howard and Beazley both collaborated in trying to sideline such issues, to make the election about division of wealth within the community and personal greed. I know many people had different perceptions of that campaign. But to me, it was chiefly a war between the politicians and the media for the power to set the agenda in the minds of the Australian public.

    In the end Howard won the election of the day, largely because of security paranoia. (Neither side, of course, pointed out that Australia has the world’s biggest moat for a border so “border security” was always going to be something of a red herring.)

    But both Howard and Beazley won the bigger victory in the struggle for the political agenda. Publications such as the once-mightly Australian were beaten into submission. Since then, political parties have not only set the agenda; they have become the agenda. As far as I can see, media organisations have made no serious attempt since then to venture outside the paradigms of the political parties in presenting political ideas to the Australian public.

    That’s why we now have the bland leading the bland.

  89. davirob

    Freecountry your last post is rubbish,Howard pushed boat people like there was no tomorrow and as far as the media following,you have to be bl**dy kidding.

  90. shepherdmarilyn

    A few years ago the Australian in Adelaide had files, maps, details, statements and everything anyone ever wanted to know about the number of lies Ruddock told about the Bakhtiyari family.

    Jeremy Roberts wrote and researched the story with me, the OZ spiked it.

    Why? Because it showed that their own journalist Ian Gerard lied through his teeth and was making up stuff as he went along, as was Russell Skelton at the AGE.

    Paul McGeough proved their lies a few months later and still Skelton tried to defend them while Ian Gerard said he didn’t give a stuff.

    Jeremy Roberts left the OZ not long after as did Andrew McGarry who now works for Sarah Hanson-Young because she has some ethics.

  91. freecountry

    DAVIROB, See above, what I said above about “news angles”. Howard and Beazley both bludgeoned the papers into spinning the asylum-seeker issue into a “news angle” about security, rather than the humanitarian issues that the papers wanted to talk about.

    By the end of the campaign, both leaders had successfully bludgeoned the papers into talking about the security angle in their terms. But if you survey the back-copies of the papers throughout the whole of 2001 leading up to the election, you can see how this struggle for the national agenda played out, both before and after 11 September. Then you will find that I am not talking rubbish at all.

  92. freecountry

    Also, believe it or not, for a lot of voters the 2001 election was not about boat people and redefining it as a terrorism-security issue; it was about jobs, national debt, and the distribution of money. Which is exactly what Beazley and Howard wanted it to be about.

  93. shepherdmarilyn

    Did anyone notice that the ghastly Laurie Ferguson has been dumped and replaced with the excellent Kate Lundy? Laurie is racist to his bootstraps and told me that it didn’t matter if the fore mentioned family died in the snows of Afghanistan after their illegal deportation because they were not genuine.

  94. davirob

    Hi Freecountry,I’m never going to be the detail person you are and I am an unenthusiastic typist(read bad) as well so I’m not going to rebut all your points,2001 is now a while ago.However I have never remembered(’75 excepted maybe but I was young) so many people talking politics as that election specifically the Tampa.I was reminding people their parents got here by boat as well,talkback was deluged. I still remember Howard being interviewed on 4corners by Liz Jackson,he moved around so much he could have got a spot on Dancing with the Stars.It was the Howard cancer.Re the press,they might be worse now but not much different,you don’t think polls are a way of setting an agenda? Hello S.Marilyn,googled you (on the back of your last post) I’m now not suprised you got a mention in an oz editorial.Nothing wrong with that,just sayin’.

  95. shepherdmarilyn

    Howard won 2001 on the back of Tampa, he had not one other agenda.

  96. Venise Alstergren

    There have been some excellent comments posted here. However, not too many answers have been supplied.

    Personally, I would love to see a government cutting the Oz off at the knees. It is the sort of dream I hunger for. R E V E N G E wonderful stuff. But it couldn’t be a very practical solution could it?

    The Oz is in the red, that much is certain. Why does it suit Rupert to run his rag at a loss, yet project itself at the financially successful, OK, let’s say loaded oldies by preaching a lot of right-wing codswallop that no one with half a brain believes?

    Perhaps as the Oz is linked to Murdoch’s youth-that mild little fling with socialism he went though all those years ago-the answer lies here? Has this boring old news-sheet assumed the shape of a rosebud?

    Perhaps, if all the recipients who get it for nothing, could start to pay for their- up until now- freebies? This would include every state, local, federal member of parliament, the entire civil service, at all three levels, journalists even?

    So that’s a part of Rupert’s problem solved. Also his latest stunt at The News Of The World should cost him heaps. That the revenge thing again; I hope it will cost him heaps.

    What it doesn’t solve is the problem of all the people who buy it, knowing it to be a purveyor of lies, cant and crooked political comment, so that they may comment as to how much and how badly in error their journalists are. Ahem?

    No matter how much people say ‘It’s a journalist’s job to report the news (as they see it)’ Which will never happen unless these same reporters of events own their own news-sheets. Because, just like the rest of us, they are rather keen on eating?

    Poor old Rupert! He owns all the information in the world, all the money in the world, he practically owns the world, at the very moment when the market for news is become widely available, and at a time when the Orson Wells vision of Citizen Kane, is obsolete.

    The way of the future is with Julian Assanges’ of this world-if the CIA and assorted intelligence services will allow him to live in peace.

  97. Venise Alstergren

    I ran out of room. Never mind. Just stop buying the bloody thing, don’t even read it on-line. That way these pandered-to poodles of Oz right-wing writers, starved of light, will soon disappear.

  98. MH

    I really had to laugh when scrolling through the above posts. The vast majority of posters lament News Ltd bias without pausing to consider the irony of the heavy left-leaning bias proudly on display every day at Crikey. Bias is in the eye of the beholder and the reality is we have sufficient media in this country to produce roughly equal amounts of bias on both sides. People gravitate to that which affirms their own beliefs, hence Crikey readers will seek their daily digest from Fairfax and the ABC, conservatives theirs from the Punch and the Australian. It is facile to point the finger at one or the other and juvenile in the extreme to think bias only works one way. Ask yourself this: when was Crikey’s last glowing feature on Tony Abbott or John Howard?

  99. Astro

    Gee is Labor Troll feeding season

  100. freecountry


    Labor certainly lost the election on the refugees issue. But on what angle of it? I would argue Beazley lost by trying to sideline the whole border issue in the hope of winning on what he called “traditional Australian values,” i.e. the distribution of wealth and the provision of taxpayer-funded education and medical services. He seemed completely oblivious to the fact that quite a few people that year did not have self-interest at the front of their minds.

    Labor victory was there for the taking. Many traditional Labor voters — and also a lot of right wing people who value individual human freedom above all else — saw Howard as a fear monger, and a bit of a dictator who was crushing the states and turning the federal government into a high-taxing police state.

    The newspapers, the radio and TV, were full of both sides of the mandatory-detention issue. Remember (and this is crucial) the Tampa crisis and the children-overboard allegation occurred in late August, two weeks before the WTC attack. At that stage, Howard saw the volume of boat people as a failure of his own government in its dealings with Indonesia, and he wanted to crush the whole issue and move on. The terrorism angle was yet to come.

    During the 2001 election debate, Beazley tried to get the whole uncomfortable border thing out of the way fast. First he shat all over the human-rights lobby by agreeing with Howard about broad objectives. Then he tried to claim he could do a better job “to ensure that people who come illegally into this country are returned to where they came from.”

    Throughout 2001, both of them flatly refused to discuss one of the major angles that was all over the media that year: the moral problem of using quarantine detention as an improvised form of punitive imprisonment — including for children — with no trial, no accusation of any crime, no habeas corpus, basically no rights at all.

    An analysis of voter issues that year by Ian McAllister of the ANU is very revealing. It shows that border and terrorism issues were decisive in that election — at the margins, where voters make up their minds in the final days.

    But see the table on page 8 (marked as page 452 in the source journal) showing issues that Australian voters were most concerned about. Education, tax, and health care all rated more highly than refugees or terrorism.

    That’s why Beazley hoped to match Howard on security issues and beat him on these “traditional Australian issues” as he called them. But he failed to distinguish between entrenched voter issues and marginal ones. And most of all, he just didn’t have the guts to make a stand against the border-security hawks, so he utterly alienated the pro-refugee doves.

    All that year, the mass media refused to let politicians just sweep the moral side of the issue under the carpet. It seemed to me that the Australian was at the forefront of that campaign — they were scrupulously careful to present all sides, including the most hawkish, but the debate that played out in its pages showed that something was badly missing from the messages coming out of Canberra.

    But it all came to nothing. No plebiscite of conscience took place, so Howard won by default. The Australian gave up on trying to influence anything like that in the years afterwards. A certain cynicism set in, allowing party creatures like Dennis Shanahan to take over.

    And the result is what you see today: a morally broken thing; a newspaper which does not really represent right-wing ideology at all; it just represents a party which nominally lays claim to the right-wing ground. A newspaper with no more ideas of its own, substituting loyalty to a party in place of loyalty to a system of ideas.

  101. asdusty

    At the end of the day, the corporatised media will promote whichever political party that supports the interests of the corporation. Limited News promoted the libs because the NBN is bad for Ruperts business, and had to be stopped. The best interests of the people are not even a consideration. The simple reality is that we dont have a free media, much to the detriment of our democracy.
    John Pilger has a good post on corporatised propaganda

  102. Doug

    Let’s see. Exactly which web site owner and which ABC CEO were the folk telling us just a year or so ago that Rupert Murdoch was the future of news media and The Oz was the leading quality paper? Was it not Eric “The Creature” Beecher? And Mark “Foghorn Leghorn” Scott?

  103. freecountry

    ASDUSTY, Do you have any evidence that Murdoch doesn’t want NBN?

    Come to that, does anyone have any evidence that Murdoch himself – as opposed to some of the editors working on his papers – gives a toss who governs Australia? It’s always been my impression that Murdoch has no difficulty making deals with either Labor or Liberal government in Australia.

    I presented my own conspiracy theory above, aimed at installing Peter Costell0 as the next PM. A pretty clumsy conspiracy all things considered, which failed to take into account Costello’s ambivalence, and which backfired, causing the Coalition to lose the election.

    That doesn’t mean I’m going to swallow every conspiracy theory hook line and sinker. I’ve been hearing this for years: Rupert Murdoch is like some kind of Ernst Stavro Blofeld from the James Bond films, controlling everything from afar for his own evil purposes. In many ways it’s a sexier theory than the more complex dynamics of workplace culture and the Stockholm Syndrome that develops between politicians and journalists. That doesn’t make it the only theory which can explain media bias in the News Ltd stable.

  104. TonyA-the-Australian-Sarah-Palin

    Is this serious? A year ago I thought Gillard would be a good future PM, but what a marshmallow she’s turned out to be, scared of saying anything against the Evil Empire. Talk about lurching to the right – she and her red hair and now neck has catapulted!! I too have told my thoughts to GetUp and to the Press Council, if they even exist in this country.


  105. David

    [MH…: when was Crikey’s last glowing feature on Tony Abbott or John Howard?]

    For starters try reading Bernards articles of last week on Abbott. You are typically wide of the mark. There have been articles too numurous to mention, critical of the Labor Govt, of Ministers, Unions etc etc
    To even begin to compare Crikey with Murdochs paid stooges is a joke even coming from you. Try reading the letters to the Ed section. Daily there is a cross section of opinions.
    You are drawing a long bow and the arrows don’t fit.

  106. Doug from Parkdale

    And now that PM Gillard (in direct response yesterday on Insiders to questions about News Ltd) has had a go at The Oz for its approach during the campaign and its wash-up — “I don’t believe in editorialising on the front page. I do believe people have got an obligation to report the facts. I think that there are times when media personalities actually think that they are involved in the political process rather than commentating on the political process” — do we still believe editor Chris Mitchell when he say she rang him to thank him for the paper’s “fair and balanced” coverage?

    Is he a liar or is the PM a liar?

  107. asdusty

    How about the fact that Limited News outlets have been attacking the NBN for the last three years and are still attacking it today
    For what reason do you attack something if its not for its removal?

    Uncle Ruperts influence upon politics thru his media outlets is well documented, with John Pilger (A Secret Country, Distant Voices, Hidden Agenda’s being just a few of his works), one of the most strident critics. The seminal work on corporatised propaganda is Noam Chomsky’s “Manufacturing Consent”. You should also look at the work of John Kenneth Galbraith, particularly “The New Industrial Estate” which analyses how corporations utilise media to influence behaviour, but also “The Anatomy of Power”, “American Capitalism”, “The Affluent Society” and “Economics and the Public Purpose”.
    No ‘conspiracy theory’ here, just well researched and thoughtful argument.

  108. Syd Walker

    @ Astudy

    >>>>”At the end of the day, the corporatised media will promote whichever political party that supports the interests of the corporation. Limited News promoted the libs because the NBN is bad for Ruperts business, and had to be stopped.”

    May I suggest a refinement?

    An NBN is a POTENTIAL threat to News Corp and plutocrats in general, but need not be so under certain arrangements.

    The manipulators (including, but not limited to Murdoch) delivered Australians a choice of two evils at the last election:

    1/ no new broadband investment commensurate with the scale of Australia (Coalition), or

    2/ a censored NBN set up to favour media mates (Labor).

    With a lot of lobbying effort ONCE AGAIN from an increasingly irate community, the peculiar configuration of the new Parliament may mean we end up after all with the best of both worlds: an uncensored NBN with guarantees for net neutrality, best practice privacy and affordable universal access built in.

  109. freecountry

    ASDUSTY, Occam’s razor suggests NBN = Labor and Daily Telegraph simply doesn’t want Labor. This is a long way from proving (a) the long hand of Rupert Murdoch as opposed tolocal editors, or (b) that the target is NBN itself rather than a major Labor plank.

  110. MH

    David: Did you even bother to open both eyes when you were reading through the comments on this blog? It is patently obvious to anyone with a modicum of objectivity which way both this site and the posters on it tend. That does not mean there is no diversity of opinion nor that there aren’t solidly right-wing participants. It simply means that on the whole the tendency is to the left. And thank you for mentioning Bernard Keane. Apparently the thrust of his excellent recent article on people gravitating to ‘agreement ghettoes’ was lost on you. Or is it just that you are unable to apply your high-powered analytical blowtorch to yourself?

  111. ggm

    I think that both SMH and News Ltd journalists honestly believe their masthead is substantially less biased than others, the readership may think. I also believe that regarding their opposition *they think the same thing* ie, the journalists think that a combination of effects in terms of language, column-inches, editorial, masthead/screamer weighting do *not* display bias in either publishing house, and within the publishing house.

    As a reader, I differ. I believe both show tendencies which negate that view.

    But I think its interesting the journalists actually do think the playing field is pretty level, in both their own, and their major oppositions houses.

    I’m not talking about the king-punch-hitters. I think they wear their slants as badges of honour. I am talking about the grunts on the ground, the byline-earners who are more minor key, and what they think about their own paper.

    Why do I think this? Because I’ve asked some. And that was the tenor of what they told me, one on one.


  112. David

    MH I didnt make any mention of the posters on these threads as of course there is indeed a distinct leaning. I can read very well, thankyou. I did answer your comments re..”Ask yourself this: when was Crikey’s last glowing feature on Tony Abbott or John Howard?” …my comment re Keane
    I also mentioned the various letters to the editor and the cross section of opinion. Throw up smoke screens if you wish. IThe fact remains articles are written often that are not pro Labor and I repeat the most recent just last week.

  113. Syd Walker

    Anyone here read the Dirty Digger’s allegedly non-toxic fish & chips wrapping papers?

    If so, I’m curious to know what kind of coverage this story is getting in his ‘balanced and fair’ war propaganda…

    “Phone hacking could derail Rupert Murdoch and News Corp”


  114. asdusty

    Murdoch has always run his media empire with a heavy hand, thats well documented. Murdoch demands close links with the elected leadership, that too is well documented. Murdoch also owns 70% of the media in Australia. To suggest that this sort of power and influence will be accumulated and then not used is nonsensicle, and goes against the best part of a century of research into organisational and institutional behaviour.
    Murdoch did not want the NBN, and still does not want the NBN, and the only way to stop it is to bring down the government. To bring down a government you need more than one stick with which to beat them, and the BER, insulation and ‘waste’, amongst others, have been utilised effectively by the corporate propagandists, to the point where it took 17 days of horse trading to get a government formed. The goal now for Murdoch is to force an early election (Watch for much muck to be thrown and things to get nasty).
    The simple reality is that free market economcs and the neo-liberal ideology that supports it is antithetical to democracy. Corporations control governments, not the other way around, and is a situation described as a ‘client state’. This is absolutely the situation in the US, and it is rapidly becoming the situation in Australia.

  115. Doug from Parkdale

    Perhaps the commenters here are not so much left-leaning as smart enough observers to be a wake-up to what goes on at News (and maybe a little left-leaning).
    Check out the effort of the Oz today. They try to rewrite history in every piece about its performance during the election to the point they say Gillard was referring to Ch9 and Fairfax when she criticised the media for thinking it was a political player (she was responding to a question about News Ltd approach). Unbelievable.
    Fairfax and the ABC do not spend so much time attacking their opposition/competitors as News. For News it’s all about spinning their own reputation, denigrating others, obscuring the truth, playing politics to give their guys a leg up. (Don’t know how Caroline Overington and Sally Jackson sleep at night. They used to be quality journos.) It’s so clear you’d have to be stupid — or an employee — to not see it.
    Rumour (strongly supported) has it Chris Mitchell told staffers they had to do whatever they could to get Abbott across the line. Don’t know whether that’s true but the performance of the paper before and after the election doesn’t contradict it …

  116. godotcab

    I’ll say it again, because it’s bleeding obvious –

    News Ltd cannot be regarded as a news source.

    They exposed themselves as either cheats, or hopeless at their job, when they claimed to know nothing of the Melbourne Storm salary cap rorting.

    Remember, this was a huge story for their readers, happening in a club they own, in a competition half owned by News Ltd. It went on for years. Lots of people were pointing accusatory fingers.

    But News Ltd didn’t know a thing about it?

    Either they are crap at news, which is their job, or they are liars who only report what suits them.

  117. MH

    I didn’t ask whether you could read, David, I asked whether you performed that task with both eyes. Is the Keane article you claim demonstrates Crikey’s wonderful objectivity the one titled “If the Liberals want to blame anyone, look at the Nationals”? For some reason it appears archived or at least unavailable to me – mustn’t have paid my subscription – but the teaser snippet on display hardly shouts “glowing feature” on Abbott: “It does appear that Abbott just couldn’t adjust fast enough from a brilliant campaign based on relentless negativity and running on a platform that contained nothing positive of any substance…” That strikes me as on par with claiming Shanahan’s post-result back-handers “praising” Gillard’s negotiating skills show he’s not a rabid right-wing ideologue after all. What Dennis is really saying is “Julia’s a conniving untrustworthy backroom operator and only beat Tony because she’s better at that sort of underhanded dealmaking…”

    But all this is beside the point. Let’s just say there is plenty of objective material to be found daily on Crikey and leave it at that. The real point is this. Media bias is everywhere, it cuts both ways, it has always been there, it will always be there. Bleating about it is a waste of time and simply distracts from the substantive debate.

  118. freecountry

    MH, just on that last sentence, I’d say “bleating” about unsatisfactory reporting is the second best way of dealing with it. (The best is to set up competition, but that’s beyond the capacity or commitment most of us are prepared to invest.)

    The worst way to deal with it is the standard left-wing knee-jerk response to everything, which is gaining a big following in Crikey blogs: demanding that the government use its legislative or economic power to punish papers who transgress some standard of “truth”. Scary stuff.

  119. john2066

    The Australian is simply the most biased piece of Murdoch vomit in the country, and thats saying something.

    What is supremely ironic of course is that its kept afloat by vast government advertising in its jobs section, advertising which is totally unnecessary now we have the internet.

    The day this ‘news’ paper finally follows Frank Devine to the grave will be a great day for all Australians.

    Every taxpayer should, right now, be writing to the govt agencies who advertize in this rag demanding that this advertising stop. Right now.

  120. john2066

    The government advertizing in the Australian must stop, full stop. Defend your wallets taxpayers! Write to the adverisers now!!!

  121. john2066

    FreeCountry, you drone on and on and on about your little theory about how the Australian was biased against Turnbull, and this let Labor slip back in etc.

    Why dont we actually just look at the Oz’s editorial policies, which are kind of in front of your face and aren’t terribly hard to define:

    – Snivelling unqualified support for the US ‘Alliance’ (we buy their overpriced weapons and die for them for nothing in return)
    – Total anti greens bias
    – Total anti labor bias pretty much since 1975 (remember even their journalists went on strike over this)
    – A constant lying campaign over the BER scheme and insulation (no mention of the far larger flat out corruption under the liberals with the sea sprite disaster – 1.2 bn for literally nothing, liberal connected advertisers, rural rorts program, the IT outsource disaster)
    – grovelling to the Suharto dictatorship esp. its genocide in East Timor, to the extent of running front page denials of massacres (later proved to be true)
    – And of course it’s a photocopier for the IPA and CIS.

    Like any filthy infection, you should not muck around with the Australian. All govt advertising should be removed. Groups such as Getup should not advertise in this bacillus laden container. Another good way to hit it is to get it removed from display/sale in shops or cafe’s you frequent, as much of its impact is with its headlines and banners (real readership fairly small). Hopefully, like the late, unlamented Frank Devine and Paddy McGuinness, its death is not far off, and hopefully it will be a painful, slow process.

  122. asdusty

    Does anyone know if the AFP found the ‘leak’ in Treasury that precipitated the Coalitions decision not to submit their swiss-cheese costings during the campaign?
    Its been, what, a month and I have not heard anything, and I suspect that its because there is no leak, and the entire situation was a fraudulent set-up by the LNP to get out of scrutiny of their economic incompetence.
    Most disturbingly is that if this hypothesis is correct, then there was the culpable participation in this fraud by a News Ltd media outlet, The Daily Telegragh. But Im sure no media outlet would lie to the public just to benefit one side of politics…

  123. Fran Barlow

    Godot said:

    [I’ll say it again, because it’s bleeding obvious – News Ltd cannot be regarded as a news source.]

    Well why do you think they are called News Limited

    Fairly obviously, becazuse they have only a very limited amount of actual news and that such news as they have is limited to things that don’t upset the Murdochratic agenda.

  124. David

    @ ASDUSTY…good point you make. Not a sound coming from RAbbott or Hockey or that other economical wizard Robb, about lack of progress in the police investigation. It now doesn’t suit their plan to destabilise the Govt and the Indies, the cat is out of the bag on their black hole. Just more dirty tricks, more of the same, wonder why the unAustralian rag isnt asking questions on its front page?

  125. freecountry


    This would not be the first time someone wanted the government to use its considerable power to punish a newspaper for not being “fair and balanced.” In 1960, SA premier Thomas Playford tried to charge the Adelaide News with seditious libel for its efforts – driven by proprietor Murdoch’s personal orders to the newspaper – to save the life of Max Stuart, now an elder of the Arrernte people, framed for murder in 1958 and sentenced to death.

    The 1975 strike you referred to occurred at a different time. Australian broadsheets were dominated by Fairfax and led by the National Times, a fine newspaper but also a far-left loose cannon which needed some counterbalancing. (I mean, calling Packer a drug dealer and Kerr a CIA spy, come on.) I don’t think any newspaper proprietor in Australia lived up to the “strictly hands off” principle so beloved of journalists – with the notable exception of Kerry Stokes, whose journalists decided to test him on it by launching a rather bloody-minded investigation of his affairs. (It came to nothing.) So much for getting a bit of peace from your employees by signing a charter. As for Murdoch, these days if has something to say, he just says it, in his own name and his own voice, and people listen. He can call a meeting with a British or Australian prime minister any time he wants to – Labor or Liberal.

    Syd Walker’s analysis of News Ltd editorial lines is far more sophisticated than yours. See also Max Suich of the Age who notes the differences between the News Ltd papers. Suich also highlights the institutional importance of “the drip” in driving the Australian’s hostility or otherwise towards the government. He wrote that piece in 2004, halfway through what I’ve described elsewhere as the Australian’s decline from its finest hour in 2001. Compared to the criticisms laid by either of us, your analysis is vapid and one-dimensional.

    So you want the government to use its clout against a newspaper. Brilliant; like a child, like a Greens voter, you see no essential difference between means and ends. No sense of danger at the kind of precedent which would be set by allowing the government to make war on a newspaper by all means at its disposal, including economic sanctions.

    You’ll be the first to jump up and down about freedom of speech and democracy when it goes the other way and a right wing government later does the same thing to a left wing paper. In a free market the Australian public already has the power to shut down any newspaper, any time it wants to, by ceasing to read it. How inconvenient for you that they don’t all do so. How infuriating it is when some Australians don’t want to be dictated to by you, and you have to deal with the fact that democracy goes both ways.

  126. sean

    Free country

    God mate you’re a dribbler. ‘. You seem unable to appreciate the degree to which News is abusing its media position for flagrant politial purposes and the seriousnsess of that for a country with one of the most concentrated media’s in the world. The fact that you don’t think Murdoch exercises editorial leverage – in the face of the mountain of evidence to the contrary (do you remember the 100% editorial compliance of news papers re Iraq) is just laughable

    But anyway, yes, turnbull, blah blah blah..

  127. freecountry

    “unable to appreciate …” Huh? Did you learn to write before you even learned to read, or did someone help you with the typing?

    In a discussion where it’s been just “Mr Big” this and “Mr Big” that, on and on, nothing new to say in literally decades, just a lot of colourful invective, no mental subtlety for deeper institutional explanations (with the exception of Tom McLoughlin and Syd Walker) … I’ve laid far more accusations, here and elsewhere, against that newspaper, its abuse of media power, and the adverse consequences for Australia, than you and your vapid chorus of Mr-Big-haters could come up with in years.

    Bias? Oh please, show me a newspaper without bias. I’ve cataloged dirty tricks that go far beyond a bit of perfectly transparent editorial bias. But I’ve also pointed out what eludes your golfish-sized mind: there was a time not so many years ago, when the Australian was a great newspaper – right wing yes, but in the sense that it was loyal to a system of ideas, rather than to a party of men and women as it is now.

    And what’s your answer? To counter an excessive concentration of power by calling on another excessive concentration of power – the federal government – a mandate to use any means it can to cause the paper to shut down, including economic sanctions against advertising. If you think that will lead to more balanced media coverage in Australia, you’re off with the fairies.

  128. alan austin

    Take a deep breath, Freecountry. John, Sean, MH and your other sparring partners here are not your enemy. We are not that far from general agreement on the basic questions raised in this thread.

    There is a tendency here for exaggeration of the position of those who do not back us completely. For example, John, Clang, Venise, I and others have all called for an economic boycott of The Australian by readers (who we suggest don’t buy it) and advertisers (who we suggest don’t pay for advertising space).

    Your response to this includes: “And what’s your answer? To counter an excessive concentration of power by calling on another excessive concentration of power – the federal government – a mandate to use any means it can to cause the paper to shut down, including economic sanctions against advertising.”
    But we are not calling for this. We are not demanding government “use any means it can”. And for you to distort our suggestion is unhelpful.

    We are simply urging the community to do with The Australian what thoughtful people do in other areas of life. If we think gambling is a social evil, we choose not to go to restaurants at the casino. If we do not believe in God, we choose not to join a church. Vegetarians choose not to eat at McDonalds. Environmentalists will prefer walking, cycling or public transport over driving.

    But we are not advocating governments ban casinos, religion, double beef burgers or cars. Or newspapers which constantly peddle blatant lies. We are perfectly happy for others who value these experiences to pay for them. But it is reasonable that those who believe these activities are not socially constructive urge the government not to subsidise them with our money.

  129. freecountry

    Yes, that’s fine Alan. All those methods of protest against a product considered offensive are valid and effective. Most effective of all would be to set up an alternative newspaper which caters to the ideological Right, rather than one more among dozens on the Left which don’t compete with the Oz at all. A bit of healthy competition can lead to all sorts of things.

    For the government to stop “subsidizing” the newspaper – by which you mean allowing the public service to buy advertising in it – would mean either Parliament legislating a law naming certain papers suitable for government advertising and certain papers not suitable; or else ministers all issuing orders to that effect to their departments. Either way, it would be an economic sanction, and a restriction on an area of public service activity that elected government normally does not touch. In any normal year, that idea would be out of the question, but with Greens consolidating their foothold in parliament I guess anything is possible.

  130. freecountry

    An excellent issue of The Australian today. I suggest any readers still with us take a look.
    It seems to happen whenever political editor Dennis Shanahan takes a day off.

  131. Venise Alstergren

    FREECOUNTRY: Another conspiracy theory?

  132. freecountry

    Well the first time I posted on this I did start with the line, “Hang on folks, I’m going to hit you with a conspiracy theory. A failed conspiracy, with unintended consequences.”

    There are conspiracies in the world, every day, they’re just not always as simple or as successful as professional conspiracy theorists would like to believe; they sometimes go off the rails or backfire, and they don’t always lead back neatly to the big bad class-enemy tycoon as the Left would like them to.

  133. Venise Alstergren

    FREECOUNTRY: I dare say you would consider me a lefty, but I have a sense of humour. Having read your previous posts I was merely tweaking your sense of humour. Okay? 🙂

  134. freecountry

    OK. And I think you promised if I was nice to you that you’d teach me the secret of those smiley things.

  135. Venise Alstergren

    FREECOUNTRY: Here goes.

    🙂 = colon PLUS right hand bracket.

    🙁 = colon + left hand bracket.

    💡 ie press colon then write in the word idea, then use another colon.

    😉 = semi-colon then type in right hand bracket.

    😕 = colon then Question mark.

    🙄 = colon followed by the word roll, followed by another colon.

    ❗ = colon, exclamation mark, colon.

    ❓ = colon, question mark, colon.

    😎 = colon, the word cool, colon.

    😈 = colon, the word twisted, another colon.

    :monkey: = colon, write the word monkey, another colon.

    😳 = colon, the word oops, another colon.

    😯 = colon, the word shock, another colon.

    ➡ = colon, the word arrow, another colon.

    😥 = colon, then write the word cry, another colon.

    😐 = colon, the word cry, another colon.

    Any sign, especially this 🙂 when added to by a right hand bracket :)) indicates being thoughtful.

    This is all the stuff I know. Have fun with it.



  136. Venise Alstergren

    FREECOUNTRY: Erratum: fourth line up from the bottom should read

    😐 = colon, the word neutral, another colon.

    Sorry about that.


Leave a comment


https://www.crikey.com.au/2010/09/10/gillard-thanked-us-for-being-fair-and-balanced-the-oz-editor/ == https://www.crikey.com.au/free-trial/==https://www.crikey.com.au/subscribe/

Show popup

Telling you what the others don't. FREE for 21 days.

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.