Election Deciders

May 22, 2013

The Power Index: election deciders, the tabloid editors at #9

How much power do the nation's tabloid editors really wield when it comes to influencing our electoral process? Plenty, if you believe political operatives. Not only for what's in print but how they influence the agenda for the rest of the day. For Labor it's a lost cause.

Andrew Crook — Former <em>Crikey</em> Senior Journalist

Andrew Crook

Former Crikey Senior Journalist

A week out from the 2010 federal election, something was bugging Julia Gillard. The country’s first female prime minister was about to face the music, the polls were razor tight and the media clamour was deafening.

Gillard desperately wanted to take the temperature of one man in particular, so much so that she’d buzzed him 24 hours earlier for a premature heads-up. With her plane idling on the tarmac at the northern New South Wales town of Ballina, the PM hit the mobile again. Sunday Telegraph editor Neil Breen, then in charge of Australia’s highest-selling tabloid newspaper, was on the other end of the line.

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12 thoughts on “The Power Index: election deciders, the tabloid editors at #9

  1. tonyfunnywalker

    The Tabloids campaign against the Gillard government rivals that of the attacks on the Neil Kinnnock during the 1980’s Thatcher Government. The Sun in particular. The Telegraph and Sun Herald are of the same ilk. People are not stupid well most people that is – and I asdmire David Warner who has in the case of cricket is fed up of the continuous barrage and beatups. The Newspaper industry is bankrupt in its reflection of community standards and community values. The Scynophantic Admiration of Abbott is equally galling. The tabloids believe that they are the unelected determinants of policy – most of which is designed to benefit them and the vested interests they represent. They cry freedom of speech but I also feel that the schoools of journalism at the universities arfe equally culpable. The Jouranistic profession act and are regarded below that of a used car sales or real estate salespaersons. But they are regulated- There is a Trade Practices Law and consumers have recourse in the courts. to allow people damagede by illegal practices in the press is immediately pilloried as is occurring in the UK with the implementation of the Leveson enquiry.
    Murdoch feels that he is the King Maker – it is sad – that we as a society allow the self appointed “citizen kane” to have so much influence which is so damaging to the institutions of democracy. It is no longer a democracy when a single ideological viewpoint becomes the norm. This was the strategy used by the Nazi’s to presuade a well educated nation turn to barbarism.

  2. Pete from Sydney

    Once you bring Nazi Germany into the argument you start to lose a little perspective…I read the tabloids, I vote Labor, I don’t read Miranda or the Bolt or Piers, it’s everyone’s choice to read what they want. The papers give me the news I need and the sports coverage I want…the coverage of the tornado in the US was great, gave me plenty of background…they do a good job with the hard news, their politcal views I don’t subscribe to…pretty simple really

  3. dazza

    So you’re still prepared to pay a full price, and only read say … 5% ? Just doesn’t make sense to give these loudspeakers an excuse to spread their hate/fear and financial uncertanty into our community.

  4. klewso

    There’s a substantial mark-et out here of the impressionable and/or, the naive; the apathetic; the sceptical; the disenfranchised; the undereducated; the ignorant; the ill-informed; the misinformed; the prejudiced; the bigoted; the just plain scared (“the intellectually malnourished/emaciated”, from the pre-digested nutrient-deficient, unbalanced diet of pap they’re being fed by their politicised, partisan viewsmedia) with disposable incomes, that vote – ripe for the picking. Common garden variety charlatans/con-men/carpet-baggers/grifters/carny barkers would call them “marks”/”rubes”.
    That the likes of Murdoch, Singleton, Stokes and the other media moguls (controlling/editing influence and perspective, selling “image protection”. That treat politics as a lucrative hobby, while personally being above the ravages of unforseen fall-out – from those policy implementations their position was able to leverage – that their money affords them. “GFC? That was for the common people to drown!”) can unleash their “sheep-dog” trolls to muster, nurture, cultivate and encourage, to influence election to introduce policy outcomes that suit their own privileged, grasping, accumulative egocentricity. To milk.
    On their own, in their elitism, these moguls don’t have the numbers – they have to “stack” elections with this their own (later) “canon fodder”.
    They’re not always successful, but every now and then, like the combination of a GFC and all the negativity they can pile on that, to portray the “unfitness of this Socialist/Leftist/Non-Conservative government”, there’s a perfect storm they can harness and ride to their own ends. To suit their establishmentarianism.

  5. klewso

    Hadley tag-teams the Telefibbies.

  6. klewso

    By ’07 even “Murdoch” couldn’t save Howard’s reputation – after committing to just that for more than a decade – he had to cut him loose or lose his own credibility. Limited News could afford to play the waiting game, there’d be plenty of time to cut Rudd down, by concentrating on and promoting his negatives to such prominence, after that election. It almost worked by ’10 – now it’s a forgone conclusion Abbott will be beholden to “The Empire” for protection for as long as he lasts.

  7. klewso

    “News unleashed”?
    It’s like watching a pack of feral dogs bring down a sheep.

  8. klewso

    And it’s all very well having this “50/50 rule”, what matters is how they’re analysed and critiqued.
    Either negatively or positively – hardly ever are they viewed and sold impartially.

  9. Bo Gainsbourg

    What self serving bollocks tabloid editors come up with. They don’t follow the public, they lead them. Particularly with headlines. Fairly systematically in the direction their owners want. Its that simple really. Those tabloid editors are the epitome of city based elites, the real ones, not the faux types they manipulate and confect outrage towards, (inner city types, latte belt etc). Just have a look at who’s short term interests their climate change coverage serves. Its not that complicated.

  10. klewso

    Bo, then they’ll hide behind that “public interest” they’ve confected, as some “holy aegis” of self-protection and justification.

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