May 16, 2018

News Corp on ABC budget cuts: message received!

A raft of "exclusives" about ABC bonuses in the News Corp papers today come on the heels of budget cuts to the national broadcaster.

Christopher Warren

Journalist and media watcher

News Corp papers this morning backed up the government’s cuts to the ABC with an “exclusive” reheat of seven-month old figures on senior ABC salaries, consultancies and bonuses, first published in the ABC’s annual report way back in last October.

If the government’s 12-month early announcement of the impending ABC funding freeze was a pre-election message of support to the media oligopolies, today’s News Corp reports can be read as a clear response: “message received!”

The Daily Telegraph in Sydney and the Herald Sun in Melbourne puffed the “exclusive” story out of the group’s Canberra bureau on page 1, spilling to page 11 in the Tele and page 6 in the Herald Sun. Although the story itself was relatively straight, the headlines were clear. In the Tele for instance: “Amazing Bloody Cheek” across the top of the page, with the kicker: “Public broadcaster doles out $2.6m in bonuses while crying poor”.

In the Courier Mail, it couldn’t compete with the all-angles coverage of the representative retirement of Queensland Rugby League captain Cameron Smith which took up pages 1, 2, 4, 5, 6 and 7 of the Brisbane paper, before it even got to the sports pages at the back of the book. The ABC salaries exclusive was cut to four pars on the not-Cameron-Smith-news page 3.

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The Australian ran a similar story, sourced to the Herald Sun, down the side of page 3 under the relatively sober heading: “ABC paid $2.6m in bonuses to staff”.

Journalistically, it’s always fun to poke media bosses for their salaries and bonuses. But the ABC’s defence is that, according to an ABC spokesperson: “Remuneration rates for the ABC Leadership Team are benchmarked using an external, independent provider against market rates”. Bonuses, it says, are below market rates.

Although News Corp doesn’t generally reveal salaries and bonuses paid to its Australian editors and executives, it is the largest media employer in Australia. That means its executive salaries (which often include bonuses) largely set the market.

Along with all major media employers (including the ABC), News Corp has forced down market rates for journalists over the past decade. If they want to reshape ABC management salaries, they just need to force down those market rates as well. 


Leave a comment

6 thoughts on “News Corp on ABC budget cuts: message received!

  1. Itsarort

    Yep, but next time you walk into Coles, Woolies or any other business that advertises on telly or in the Murdoch press, ask yourself how much you’re paying for the right to be bombarded by advertisements. I’m guessing it’s more than $0.04 per day.

  2. Pedantic, Balwyn

    Of course the Murdoch Press wouldn’t mention in their articles the $30 million handed over to Fox Sports for Women’s sport for which there has been no noticeable change in programming. But having a crack at the ABC is an article of faith for these rogues and hypocrites.

  3. LisInFreo

    “The Australian” = Fascist Rag!

  4. AR

    I can no more stop my taxes going to the ABC than I can stop them going into the mudorc’s coffers through the Appointments section but I know which I welcome, approve of and support.

  5. Bill Hilliger

    I’m a Aussie patriot, I never spent money or support anything that Rupert Murdoch or his NewCrap organisation produces. Nowadays the ABC is infested with former NewCrap muppets and is almost unwatchable. Online streaming is now the best source of news and current affairs.

  6. leon knight

    The LNP have gone out of their way to damage the ABC in favour of Murdoch because there is obvious electoral advantage for them.
    Labor must return the favour when they have the opportunity…damage Murdoch and boost the ABC, the electoral advantage will flow the correct way with no need to bully ABC journalistic standards. Just the truth and genuinely balanced forensics a la O’Brien is all that is needed. Oh, and piss off all the IPA shills and replace them with Oquist type think tank reps.

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