Lehmann, Rees move up. It comes as a surprise to utterly no one that deputy editor John Lehmann has been named editor of The Australian. He replaces Clive Mathieson, who announced he was off to work for NSW Premier Mike Baird earlier this year.
But the reshuffle is notable for bringing another woman into the senior editorial ranks of the Oz. Petra Rees, previously the national chief of staff, moves up to replace Lehmann in his old role as deputy editor. She joins Weekend Australian editor Michelle Gunn as women holding senior editing positions at the paper. Coming on top of Judith Whelan being named editor of The Sydney Morning Herald, it’s a good week for women in media. — Myriam Robin
Cultural Marxism watch. It was only a matter of time before Maurice Newman got his election on. Donald Trump represents the will of the people, he suggests, of the candidate who wins 35% of the vote of the 20% of adults registered as Republicans, and who, most polls suggest, would lose to Hillary Clinton by eight points, and to Bernie Sanders by 11 points.
Along the way, there’s a delicious “Maurice”, the sort of hamfisted, multi-part error for which the ex-banker is famed: “… after two generations of Italian Marxist Antonio Gramsci’s aim to capture America by a ‘long march through the institutions’ is complete.”
Haha, OK, first Italian Marxist Gramsci was more interested in, amazingly, Italy than the US. Secondly he never said a “long march through the institutions” for anywhere. The phrase is from the German activist Rudi Dutschke, in the 1960s, 30 years after Gramsci died. Apart from that, spot on.
Amazingly, the one feature of Trump’s policies the banker doesn’t mention is Trump’s protectionism, and his plan to slap global outsourcers with a 35% tax — by far Trump’s most popular policy in the rustbelt. What could possibly have caused the ex-head of the Australian stock exchange to forget that? We’ll keep a lookout for future Maurices, from the master himself, and others — Guy Rundle
Rinehart back in court over Nine’s House of Hancock. As Mumbrella reports:
“In the documents, Rinehart’s lawyers seek an injunction on the defendants’ advertising the DVDs, claiming numerous ‘falsehoods’ and breaches of both competition and consumer law as well as a non-existent Australian tort of privacy.
“Among the numerous falsehoods alleged by the Rinehart camp, in the amended statement, are that: ‘Lang Hancock was a person with a propensity to cheat at tennis’, her mother ‘Hope Hancock as a person of blonde hair’, and that her father ‘used profanities in the presence of his daughter.”
Ricketson and Quigley join Press Council. Two new members have joined the Press Council, replacing the retiring Alan Kennedy and Bob Osburn. Matthew Ricketson, a University of Canberra journalism academic and former journo familiar with the operations of the Press Council from his role at the Finkelstein Inquiry, and Anita Quigley, the executive editor of NewsLocal, News Corp’s community newspaper group, join the 24-member council, which is comprised of a mix of members of the public, representatives from media orgs and “independent journalists”. — Myriam Robin
We can’t say we saw this coming. Yesterday the upper house of the NSW Parliament passed a motion put up by the Greens in support of a journalist from the Daily Mail Australia.
About a month ago, the Mail’s Rachel Eddie wrote a cracking yarn about the leader of the United Patriot’s Front, Blair Cottrell, ordering something from a halal-certified fast food joint in Frankston. Cottrell says he was just buying a juice from an Australian (we wouldn’t dare guess the ethnicity of the woman serving Cottrell but far-right groups insist she was an “Aussie chick”). Anti-fascist groups say they have no proof but believe Cottrell ordered a “hummus, garlic yoghurt and barbecue sauce” kebab. There are photos. It’s hilarious.
But apparently Eddie hasn’t had a fun time of it since. According to the motion put in Parliament, she “was subject to extreme online threats of violence and abuse by people associated with the United Patriots Front group, including threats that people were ‘coming’ for her”.
The NSW upper house motion says it “unreservedly opposes violence and threats of violence against journalists, and reiterates its support for freedom of the press”, and “calls on the New South Wales and Australian governments to condemn far-right groups such as Reclaim Australia and the United Patriots Front for their racist and threatening behaviour”.
Last month the UPF’s political party, Fortitude, released policies that included “a federal indictment for conspiracy and treason to be issued to mainstream media organs suspected of undermining and deconstructing the Australian Nationality”. — Myriam Robin
What a week it’s been. We had the fifth anniversary of the earthquake and tsunami that devastated the northeast coast of Japan, triggering a huge nuclear disaster; plus the ninth anniversary of the start of the current bull market on sharemarkets around the world (March 6 in Australia, March 9 on Wall Street); we’ve had the surprise deaths of Beatles producer George Martin at the age of 90, and local singer Jon English at the early age of 66; and, to top it all off, today is the 85th birthday of Rupert Murdoch. Those loyal employees toiling away in his family newsletters in Australia, the UK and the US, will continue doing so without pause.
Murdoch picked up his fourth wife a week ago in Jerry Hall and, as Stephen Mayne explained recently in Crikey, Murdoch is back at the summit of his powers. But he is also poorer. He split the empire at the end of June 2013 and since then the shares of the duo have flopped: 21st Century Fox (the family’s first love) has fallen nearly 5%, and the shares of News Corp (print media, pay TV and online real estate) are down close to 25%. And how does that stack up against the performance of Wall Street? Well, the main market indicator, the S&P 500 is up nearly 24% since the start of July 2013.
In fact, the hard heads in the market ascribe more value to the online real estate business of News (REA Group in Australia and now in Asia), and Move in the US, than they see in the newspapers (still the core business, with over half the assets and revenues) and pay TV in Australia (100% of Fox Sports and 50% of Foxtel). — Glenn Dyer
Video of the day. Annabel Crabb and Leigh Sales have been given their own buddy show. It’s appropriately called “When I get a minute”, and will air only on iView for eight weeks. The ABC describes it as “an occasionally shambolic conversation about books, movies, TV shows, cooking and other cultural obsessions”. Which sounds just like their podcast.
Front page of the day. The US president speaks candidly about the immense pressure put upon him to intervene in Syria:
“There’s a playbook in Washington that presidents are supposed to follow. It’s a playbook that comes out of the foreign-policy establishment. And the playbook prescribes responses to different events, and these responses tend to be militarized responses. Where America is directly threatened, the playbook works. But the playbook can also be a trap that can lead to bad decisions. In the midst of an international challenge like Syria, you get judged harshly if you don’t follow the playbook, even if there are good reasons why it does not apply.”