Offloading blame

Tom Switzer

20 November 2020 | Ideas@theCentre

Calling for a Royal Commission into media diversity, Kevin Rudd and Malcolm Turnbull claim  the Murdoch media (The Australian and metro tabloids) are a threat to democracy and stifle diversity of views.

Rudd and Turnbull say  Australia’s mainstream media (apart from News Corp) represent fair and balanced journalism. But there is no such thing as objective journalism. Every day and in every decision, editors and reporters make subjective judgments about the stories to investigate and sources to quote.

For those who spend time reading mainstream newspapers such as The Guardian and the New York Times, there is nothing the least bit strange in the proposition that a broad and intense left-liberal bias — or groupthink — all too often shapes the news coverage. It’s something readers have known for a long time and in these polarising times it’s becoming increasingly evident.

The critics say News Corp threatens media diversity. But Australia is not suffering from any lack of media sources: The GuardianThe Saturday PaperThe MonthlyQuarterly EssayCrikeyThe ProjectNew MatildaNew Daily (all well to the left of the ALP), not to mention the Nine newspapers, the Seven network, SBS and the ABC. The marketplace of ideas has never been so crowded.

We’re told News Corp has excessive influence in the political process. Really? Ask Annastacia Palaszczuk, who’s weathered the Courier-Mail’s constant criticism to win three Queensland elections. Or Dan Andrews, who despite the Herald-Sun’s criticism, remains popular as Victorian premier.

The news website with the largest digital circulation is the ABC, with Murdoch owning just two of the top ten websites. (Nine outlets have three.)

Desire for revenge against their media critics is what’s really driving Rudd and Turnbull, but they alone were the architects of their demise. The point of being PM is to exercise power. Both leaders never seemed to have been in control of events, but always their victim. In office, they lament, they were caught in up in a momentum dictated by Murdoch’s editors. This is their way of offloading blame.

This is an edited extract of an opinion piece published in the Sydney Morning Herald as We need to talk about Kevin and Malcolm and their Murdoch obsession
Print Friendly, PDF & Email