Pauline Hanson
(Image: AAP/Dan Peled)

One of the central complaints from Pauline Hanson and her coterie of media mates is that the two part documentary on One Nation’s US adventure — in which they tried to get hold of $20 million in donations from the National Rifle Association, and in which Hanson “questioned” the Port Arthur massacre story — was somehow tainted because it was produced by Qatari-financed news service Al Jazeera.

At Hanson’s Thursday afternoon press conference (where she spoke but refused to take questions) she said the comments captured on camera by Al Jazeera had been taken “completely out of context”, called Al Jazeera an “Islamist” organisation and implied the Qatari government was involved. She is not alone in her complaints about Al Jazeera being foreign-owned — they have been echoed by others, such as Alan Jones on ABC News on Friday night.

But Jones, Hanson and Andrew Bolt (her other defender) forget that the various News Corp media outlets in Australia are foreign-controlled, by the US-based Murdoch family. That’s all the News Corp papers — from The Australian to The Courier-Mail and many daily and weekly newspapers across Australia — plus Sky News, which is 100% owned by News and broadcast on the 65% owned Foxtel.

In fact, more than 70% of Australia’s newspapers are foreign-owned through News Corp, controlled by the Murdoch Family Trust and Rupert Murdoch via a combined 39% holding of News Corp’s voting shares. In addition, the Nova radio network is foreign-controlled by Lachlan Murdoch.

And there’s a great deal of cross-exposure between Murdoch’s platforms. Bolt has a column in the Herald Sun, plus The Bolt Report, a weeknight program on Sky News. Jones also has a Sky News program; Chris Kenny, a columnist at The Australian, has one, as does Janet Albrechtsen, another News Corp writer.

So when Hanson moans about foreign-owned media pushing agendas in Australia, it’s good to remember she is supported by commentators employed by a US-based and controlled company.

She didn’t note this support when she lumped Murdoch into her shit-list during her Thursday media conference, a list that included new ABC chair Ita Buttrose, Scott Morrison, Bill Shorten and Sunrise host David Koch. Given the level of support and attention Hanson has received from them over the years, it seemed very churlish to be lumping Murdoch and Sunrise in with her accusers, when their companies have done everything to aid and abet her comeback.

Peter Fray

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Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey

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