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Crikey Says

Mar 14, 2013

Crikey says: still not sorry, Commissar Conroy

A new day, a new pope, a new Northern Territory leader, the same distorted media regulation debate. When the white smoke clears, what will a public interest test really do? Which players could merge? And what of regional news? Plus Jane Caro on the media's salacious coverage of Jill Meagher.

Right, so not really sorry then, are we.

That was certainly the message from News Limited group editorial director Campbell Reid on 7.30 last night, who in an awkward interview with Leigh Sales, defended The Daily Telegraph‘s hysterical coverage (complete with Stalin references) as just “provocative tabloid presentation”.

But it’s the provocation that’s the problem. Amid the threats of High Court action and laughable rhetoric around these proposals being a “turning point in Australia’s political life” — further alienating the country’s most influential media organisation from the process — News Limited CEO Kim Williams is right about some of what he says. As he writes to Crikey today, responding to our coverage yesterday, “the government is trying to ram into law without due process, scrutiny or public accountability in under a week”.

That is true, and that’s the only really outrageous thing about Stephen Conroy’s agenda. As Bernard Keane writes today, speed-reading some five bills along with the rest of Parliament House, there’s only “profoundly vague”┬ádetail around the public interest test and just how much power it would have over industry regulators and commercial deals. Conroy insists it must be passed into law next week.

News Limited’s editorial stance has never been constructive. It’s screamed for 12 months about any vague proposal from anyone to tighten regulation. Now it has the actual plans it’s ear-splitting. If Williams is serious about getting a good result here he’d get off his high horse and argue for what really matters: more detail and the time to get this right.

And if we get neither that will be as much as much News Limited’s fault as Conroy’s.

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4 thoughts on “Crikey says: still not sorry, Commissar Conroy

  1. zut alors

    Never underestimate News Ltd.

    Just when we think they can’t get any grubbier they manage to.

  2. Iskandar

    “Stalin at least managed to hold a government together for more than three years”.

    Indeed. More than thirty years is more like it. Stalin inherited a country that had been riven by civil war, still riddled with opposition groups, both political and ethnic, who were happy to accept the coin of British, French and American agents who were infiltrated across the length and breadth of Russia, trying to stir these to armed rebellion against Stalin’s government. That social stability was achieved by vicious crackdown is therefore, perhaps, understandable. It’s too easy to use the Stalinist metaphor when its historical context is ignored. I expect this of the MSM but of Crikey I expect better.

  3. klewso

    What’s lies beneath “gutter press” …. besides Limited News? …… maybe that is the nadir?

  4. dazza

    More reason for media inquiry full stop.