Murdoch and elections

Peter Matters writes: Re. “Murdoch’s might: how much do News papers influence elections?” (yesterday). No doubt, the various academics’ assessments must be taken seriously, yet, I suspect, it is not the full story. For one thing, Rupert Murdoch’s baying hounds may or may not have influenced their readership on occasions sufficiently to actually change the result, but influence they certainly do. It may not be the gist of the articles, but the crude abuse, lies and spin inherent in the front-page pictures and headlines.

However, the main value of Murdoch’s approach is not what he says, but the encouragement and confidence back-up his chosen candidate receives. Apart from arguing the success or otherwise of Murdoch’s approach to electioneering, the very existence of his practices prostitutes both freedom of the press and democratic procedure.

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Katherine Stuart writes: The whole point of Henry Belot’s article in Crikey yesterday is why the Murdoch papers’ endorsement of any side is just plain wrong: Belot attempts to provide a balanced view!

There is, to me, such cynicism in what appears to be Murdoch’s notion that the “great unwashed”, the great mass of people, need to be spoon-fed simple answers because they are incapable of thinking for themselves, and that he thinks he has the right to wield such power (and line his pockets in the process). It’s back to the dark ages of concentration of power and widespread inequality. There is bucket-loads of research that points out that the more equality there is in a society, the more successful economically and socially it is. If we’re grown up enough to pay rent or a mortgage, we’re grown up enough to make our own decisions about who to elect to govern the country.

Montaigne’s moral compass

David Stewart writes: Re. “Crikey losing its way but for Keane’s moral compass” (yesterday). Further to John Richardson’s comments on outmoded moral compasses, I am mindful of what Michel de Montaigne wrote on the subject 450 odd years ago:

“With regard to this new-fangled virtue of hypocrisy and dissimulation, which is now held in so great honour, I have a deadly hatred of it. Of all vices I know of none that gives more evidence of a mean and craven spirit. It shows a cowardly and servile disposition to disguise ourselves and hide behind a mask, and not dare to show ourselves as we are. By that means the men of our day train themselves to perfidy. Being accustomed to speak untruths, they make no scruple of breaking their word … Apollonius said it was for slaves to lie and for free men to speak truth.”

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Crikey is an independent Australian-owned and run outfit. It doesn’t enjoy the vast resources of the country’s main media organisations. We take seriously our responsibility to bear witness.

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
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