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Crikey Says

Dec 4, 2013

Crikey says: comment should not be cheap*

Revealed: millions for White Energy on coal projects to nowhere. Crikey's investigation continues. The war on whistleblowers has come to Australia: Bernard Keane on the tactics. Why you don't have to pay for Foxtel. Thailand on the brink -- again. The de Soto theory on Aboriginal land rights. And Jane Caro on the education devolution.

Regardless of what he is writing about — the nuances of government policy, Labor’s existential turmoil or the policy pratfalls of a new government — our politics editor, Bernard Keane, brings his penetrating insight and peerless authority.

Crikey is blessed with writers such as Guy Rundle and Jane Caro on the state of the world, Margot Saville and Cathy Alexander, Matthew Knott on media, Paddy Manning on business, Raymond Gill on arts and culture, and many others in the top rank, who have lived through the big moments in the nation’s history and are able to provide readers with a sense of perspective, knowledge and balance on the issues of the day. Along with experienced editors, they allow us to cut through the noise and tumult of a frenetic news cycle to explain events.

Yet that can’t be said of all media outlets, especially when seasoned journalists are being traded for ones unable to see beyond the dazzle of the instantaneous fix of Twitter or web-first publishing. These callow reporters and trainee talking heads are setting the pace at News Corporation, with their “thoughtful” views and inane analysis five minutes after something has happened.

We can see the crude results in the way the ABC is being portrayed as bad, mad and chaotic by the baby faces in the Murdoch stable. To date, the low-point of juvenilia was struck by Greg Sheridan and Janet Albrechtsen in The Australian. For the sin of publishing the scoop about Australian phone surveillance of the Indonesian president, Sheridan accuses the ABC of being “driven by a specific, narrow ideological worldview” and by “the obsessions which emanate from that ideology”. And Albrechtsen goes further, claiming ABC managing director Mark Scott “chose to fuel tensions and nationalist sentiments in a fledgling democracy” and “to undermine an immigration policy aimed at preventing deaths at sea”.

This twaddle would be harmless if these ill-informed innocents were on the fringes of new media, learning their craft in the minor leagues. Alarmingly, these infantile musings reflect the priorities of their organisation: it’s a reverse-publishing model, the manic frothing of a conservative cult setting the agenda for a once-venerable newspaper, which traditionally served older, educated, middle-income readers in Sydney and Melbourne.

No wonder News Corp editors have lost touch with loyal readers and the respect of the old hands still in the newsroom. At The Australian, Ayn Rand alumni have wrested cultural and editorial control in the face of insipid leadership from editor Chris Mitchell and his acolytes. You wonder if anyone’s really in charge at Holt Street and how long this idiocy can last.

*For another version of this editorial, visit The Australian

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17 thoughts on “Crikey says: comment should not be cheap*

  1. paddy

    LOL Thank goodness for that last line.
    I thought I’d walked through a *very* strange deja vu looking glass there for a moment.

  2. drovers cat

    They say the first sign of mental illness is when you start hearing voices. Those at the Australiar get Rupert’s and PM Gollum’s edicts every other minute.
    I’ve never seen a whole newspaper staff go mad all at once before.

  3. Vincent O'Donnell

    How friable are words.

    I’m looking forward to Snowden’s release of the metadata of the Abbott-Sheridan phone calls.

    Might do wonders for Greg’ reputation.

  4. Richard

    Solid gold. Thanks, Crikey.

  5. graybul

    Strength of News Ltd Media and Abbott Govt. political alliance should not be underestimated. Their corrosive impact upon the Nation’s fabric, identity, values and compassion towards others continues to gain credence and authority as their strategy of distortion, obfuscation and lies recast the National debate. Crikey’s comments today are hopefully a small re-balancing of what todate, has been a cakewalk for the foreign owned News Media / Abbott Govt. To shine a white light upon one’s own profession is fraught, and open to similar treatment as the ABC now endures. Evenso, this fight must be joined. A line has been crossed.

  6. klewso

    But they’re not “ill-informed innocents” – they’re “ill-informative professionals”, Right in the middle of that Limited News cess pool, paid to spin that way; though they do reflect those prioritised Murdoch musings.

  7. drmick

    Too right Klewso and they are getting away with murder. Wasnt it the ooze that faithfully reprinted wikileaks? Talk about fuelling tensions. Pot, kettle, murdock right wing nutbags.

  8. Gary Gaunt

    I thought Sheridan got it spot on and Albrechtsen likewise

    I enjoy the ABC for their cultural stiff and documentaries but turn right off when Sales, what his name from the Insiders start their self righteous indignation form of reporting.

    Abbott needs to put a dose of salts though the lot.

    Stand by for the usual stoning by the intellectually disabled luvvies.

  9. drmick

    Oh look; One of the nuts fell out of the tree. “Paging large chappies in white coats armed with antipsychotics to aisle 8”;someone bolt is lost again.

  10. Gary Gaunt


    so you have identified yourself as one of those stoners, bit like a Life of Brian set around here.