The federal government’s media inquiry:

Brian Mitchell writes: Re. “Media inquiry: ‘marketplace of ideas’ not working that well” (yesterday, item 3). Robert Manne et al miss the point, as usual, when it comes to diversity in the media.

The battle to increase media diversity rests not with editorial, but with advertising.

To get more real diversity in media, we need to encourage advertisers to spend their money with diverse outlets and the fact is, governments are big spenders and have a role in reshaping the media landscape.

However, most governments outsource media buying duties to PR and media buying companies that use graphs and pictures to justify spending most money on commercial TV and radio and the Murdoch press, and largely ignoring the many independent operators — press, radio and online — that already exist.

If governments were to deliberately redirect their spending from mainstream commercial outlets to community stations and independent operators, there would be more money on those outlets to spend on better and more comprehensive journalism, thereby increasing the level of editorial diversity.

While it would give me some guilty pleasure knowing many millions of dollars were being taken out of Mr Murdoch’s pockets and given instead to myriad media operators, that comes a distant second to the very real benefits of encouraging more diverse media coverage.

Disclaimer: Brian Mitchell was editor of the Herald newspaper group, an independent suburban outfit in WA which, despite 70 to 80 per cent readership saturation, received little government advertising while the Murdoch-owned freebie, with a lowly 50 per cent readership, was often drowning in government revenues because of statewide media buys that took no account of local figures.

Neil Hunt writes: Re. “Forget new media diversity, the internet has tightened News’ squirrel grip” (yesterday, item 4). Andrew Crook wrote: “These days, it is highly unlikely an Australian adult could go more than a few days without getting some kind of news from News.”

I’d like to dispute that. I get my news from about four different sources: the ABC (which I listen to on the radio, and browse for news), CNN and BBC for world news, and Crikey for commentary.

I never read any News website, and don’t see the reason that anyone would need to do so every “few days” with so many better, less biased sources out there.

Naturally, I’m one of those gen-Xers that doesn’t read a newspaper, as the local rag — The West Australian — has not been worth reading for many years.

Carbon tax:

Niall Clugston writes: Re. Yesterday’s Editorial. Missing from your timeline of leaders’ quotations on the carbon price law is any acknowledgement that the Greens combined with the Coalition to vote down Labor’s Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme in 2009.

On the contrary, in his commentary, Bernard Keane praises the Greens “who dragged Labor back to do what it had promised and then resiled from”.

Justify the Greens if you want, but please don’t rewrite recent history!

Andrew Steele writes: Re. “Budget surplus fetish means more harsh spending cuts” (yesterday, item 9). Regarding the piece by Adam Creighton of the CIS, it’s the usual think tank drivel.

Why no mention of the carbon fuel subsidies?  How much would removing the diesel fuel rebate save? No mention of the corporate welfare as means of balancing the budget?

What a surprise?