alan jones
Alan Jones (Image: Sky News Australia)

The invisible hand that feeds The Ayn Rand Institute, committed to preserving the memory of libertarianism’s patron saint, has taken a US government loan of up to $1 million.

The institute, which promotes free markets, applied for a loan under the pay cheque protection program, which gives businesses money to keep workers on. The decision was justified, director Harry Binswanger argued, because “it would be morally wrong for pro-capitalists to humbly step aside and watch the new money go only to anti-capitalists”.

The Rand people aren’t the only opponents of big government crying out for the public purse during a time of crisis. Conservative group Americans for Tax Reform got up to $300,000. So did a group called Citizens Against Government Waste which, along with Americans for Tax Reform, opposed stimulus bills which underpinned the loans.

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Meanwhile, Tucker Carlson-founded website The Daily Caller got up to $350,000, and conservative paper The Washington Times got up to $1 million. Kanye West’s fashion company Yeezy got $2 million.

Lowy’s pro-Putin pivot? Writing in the Lowy Institute’s The Interpreter yesterday, foreign policy wonk Matthew Dal Santo argued it was time to “bring Russia in from the cold” to balance against a rising China, a line pretty sympathetic to the Kremlin.

Dal Santo has strong foreign policy credentials — Cambridge-educated, a stint at the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, words in publications ranging in intellectual diversity from The Nation to The Spectator. He’s also slightly notorious for weird takes.

He’s criticised French President Emmanuel Macron as an “Obama-esque liberal globalist” who came to power in a “soft coup”. He’s lamented the “modern, post-Christian multicultural west” and its descent into a “formless society”.

Brexit, he argued, was about “making politics democratic again”. And, like Putin, he has plenty of nostalgia for the Romanov dynasty.

Reaching for the Sky Sky News claims it “has achieved its best half-yearly results on record”. But are people who aren’t trapped in the Qantas lounge really tuning into Sky in record numbers?

Sky News’ most-watched programs are Paul Murray Live and The Bolt Report, followed by Credlin and Alan Jones’ double-header with Graham “Richo” Richardson. They almost always attract 50,000 to 80,000 viewers.

Foxtel has a 28% to 30% penetration of the Australian TV audience, so on that basis the programs would get the equivalent of upwards of a free-to-air audience of 120,000 to 300,000 or so a night. 

None of the programming on Sky’s reactionary after-dark fever swamp matches the ABC — 7.30 gets between 900,000 and just over a million viewers. Nor does it match A Current Affair on Nine or the nightly news broadcasts of Seven, Nine and the ABC, which are collectively watched by more than 4 million people Sunday to Thursday.

O’Brien struggles to cut through Victoria’s opposition is in an awkward position. It spent months yelling about how Victoria’s lockdown was too extreme because people couldn’t play golf. Now the state is returning to lockdown because the first lockdown wasn’t done competently enough.

On Monday, as new cases soared and a lockdown was imminent, opposition leader Michael O’Brien was calling for the economy to reopen. Talk about reading the room.

Yesterday O’Brien responded to Andrews’ lockdown with this “straight outta Microsoft Word” masterpiece.

The spellcheck lines under Labor really highlighting the competence of Victoria’s opposition.

Tudge plays the ‘woke’ wedge Urban Infrastracture Minister Alan Tudge has accused Labor of “blaming multicultural communities” for Victoria’s outbreaks. “It has nothing to do with ethnicity and it is wrong for Labor to suggest this,” Tudge writes. This is the same minister who had no problem whipping up hysteria about “African gangs”.

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
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