Rupert Murdoch:

Matt Hardin writes: Re. “Kohler: at 80, Murdoch still scanning a brave new online world” (Friday, item 23). According to Alan Kohler (always a good read) you can have subscriptions or you can have influence but not both.

It seems to me that you can have free tabloid stuff going out recycling press releases and full of celebrity fluff with plenty of sock puppets in the comments sections of the articles who will not only shift opinion through astroturfing but also shill goods that the advertisers want sold.

At the same time have the serious stuff on subscriber only (a bit like Crikey but full of Murdoch opinion). Serious readers will pay for this writing and the journos can be cross subsidised by the crap.

A few shell companies and you could even make it hard for people to find out they are all owned and run by the same person. It seems to me that buying up some of the renowned brands (e.g. The Wall Street Journal) the strategy is halfway there all he needs is the crappy free stuff.


John Richardson writes: Re. “Democratic reform needs to spread to the Pacific region” (Friday, item 17). “Closer to home and plain for all to see, there is no democracy in today’s Fiji,” wrote President of the ACTU, Ged Kearney. The end of the world eh Ged? We’re rooned!

Do you really think the absence of “democracy” in Fiji really matters? What about the absence of democracy in Australia or America? If it doesn’t matter here or there, what the hell does it matter in Fiji? Haven’t you just witnessed the greatest con of the decade with the announcement that the Gunns Paper Mill will proceed; with the enabler of this crime being none other than the great Australian Labor Party? Where have you been Ged?

Nothing to say about the unconscionable behaviour of the Republicans in the land of the free and the home of the brave, who this week stripped Wisconsin public servants of their rights to collective bargaining? And not a peep Ged about our Prime Minister’s volte face on the carbon tax?

The hallmark of a true democracy is a government that acts in accordance with the will of the people, not a government whose preoccupation is to con its citizenry, whilst looking after its mates.

Don’t lecture the Fijians Ged: it’s their country, not ours.

Matt Hilton writes: Interesting how Ged Kearney and the ACTU were saying nothing about “democracy” when racially allocated quotas determined seats under the constitution that Kearney now cries crocodile tears for.

Where were the appeals for real democracy between the coups? The hypocrisy is breathtaking.

Yes Fiji needs real democracy, but let’s not pretend Frank Bainimarama is the start of the problem.

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Peter Fray
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