New South Wales

Oct 10, 2016

The real reason for Murdoch’s war on greyhounds

As The Daily Telegraph raged against Mike Baird's greyhound racing ban, parent company News Corp was buying gambling website punters.com.au.

Bernard Keane — Politics editor

Bernard Keane

Politics editor

Greyhound racing
The purchase of a major punting website by News Corp could be behind The Daily Telegraph's campaign against the Baird government's greyhound racing ban, as the paper confidently predicts Mike Baird is about to cave in and allow the industry to continue, delivering the company more revenue and commercial opportunities. The company last week revealed it had acquired punters.com.au, without disclosing the price. Described as about "making racing more awesome", punters.com.au offers racing news, tips and a form guide on different kinds of animal racing, including greyhound racing. According to marketing blog Mumbrella, in July former Telegraph manager Simon Anderson was appointed to head a gambling division within News Corp as part of a major move into wagering. The company is currently struggling to deal with collapsing print revenues and the slow death of its Foxtel subscription television service. According to News Corp execs quoted by Mumbrella, the company is explicitly seeking to leverage its animal racing reportage both to gain more revenue from readers and sell access to its readership to "wagering clients". Ironically, punters.com.au has offered more balanced coverage of the revelations of mass slaughter, animal torture and systemic industry cover-ups that have emerged about the greyhound racing industry than The Daily Telegraph, which for several years had been rated as Australia's least-trusted newspaper. The paper has run an aggressive campaign against the ban announced by the Baird government in July, and this morning reported that Baird would overturn the ban tomorrow. Angles of attack from the Telegraph have included claims that vast numbers of dogs would have to be re-homed due to the ban (as opposed to the routine slaughter of dogs that occurs now; another greyhound graveyard was revealed just today), attempts to dispute the details of the McHugh report that prompted the ban, claims the ban was "destroying the lives of ordinary people", encouraging a revolt by Nationals MPs against the leadership of Deputy Premier Troy Grant, and claims the ban had led to a collapse in Baird's political fortunes. In fact, polling has shown strong and growing support for the ban; new polling on the weekend showed support for the ban at 64% in NSW. In none of the Telegraph's attack pieces has the company's looming purchase of punters.com.au been disclosed, despite the obvious financial benefit News Corp stands to make from a continuation of the industry. Indeed, the Telegraph website only ran Herald Sun article on the purchase last week, sourced from a junior reporter at The Australian. There was no disclosure of the purchase or the conflicted position it places the company in in today's "exclusive" that Baird was about to back down on the ban. Many writers as The Australian (which has also taken a pro-greyhound racing line) have personal connections to the greyhound industry, but these have been disclosed.

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6 comments

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6 thoughts on “The real reason for Murdoch’s war on greyhounds

  1. Honest Johnny

    Overturning the ban may make the non-disclosing boof-heads at the Daily Telegraph happy but 64% of people support the ban. Go figure.

  2. prlofe

    After the Fox driven Trump fiasco, Murdoch has gone to the dogs.

  3. Ellie Robertson

    PLEASE JOIN OUR RALLY ON MONDAY 17 OCTOBER TO LET RAY HADLEY, ALAN JONES, THE PRESS AND THE PUBLIC, KNOW THEY DOES NOT HAVE THE INFLUENCE THEY THINK THEY DO. Details in link below . PLEASE SHARE !
    https://www.facebook.com/events/731033133704630/

  4. ausGeoff

    Is this the day democracy has started its death throes in Australia? When a billionaire media owner can influence a State government, and effectively overturn its proposed legislation? Rupert Murdoch—and his family—have to be some of the most offensive and amoral of the rich and powerful elite to have ever polluted the political waters of our alleged democratic processes. Can I please suggest that concerned Crikey readers check out this site, and hopefully provide some support in finishing the greyhound “industry”. http://www.animalsaustralia.org/

    1. John Goundrey

      I hope all look at this site as it has never had anything to do with Greyhounds, sorry to spoil a good yarn.

  5. John Goundrey

    “In none of the Telegraph‘s attack pieces has the company’s looming purchase of punters.com.au been disclosed, despite the obvious financial benefit News Corp stands to make from a continuation of the industry. ”
    If any Company is in negotiations to purchase another, the last thing you want to do is broadcast the fact. I am very close to one of the parties and I knew it looked like happening but the only time I knew the Purchaser was when it was anounced. Punters.com.au has never had any involvement with Greyhounds, not to say the new owners won’t.

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