Murdoch’s media monopoly miasma

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Links to related articles:

The Aim Network 30 July 2014:

Media mogul Murdoch is buying a Conservative alternate universe

The Abbott Government is leading Australia down America’s path on a range of social and economic issues, and holding the reigns is Rupert Murdoch.

On Line Opinion 11 June 2014:

Democracy and diversity: media ownership in Australia

…… Rupert Murdoch, the founder and CEO of News Corp, used the media to sway” voters with headlines such as: “Australia needs Tony” and “Kick this Mob [Labor] Out”.

Bad news for babes in the wilderness … Rupert Murdoch

Robert Manne: “The Australian is astonishingly hostile to the Greens”

 

3 September 2013

Cuddlepie is orphaned by a freak gust of wind that sweeps him away from his mother’s arms, travelling across a great distance. He is rescued from a dreary fate by a kind Nut and taken in to live with his family. In this manner the two baby Nuts, Snugglepot and Cuddlepie become foster brothers. Growing up together in the bush the two become strong and fat. May Gibb’s illustrations depict them as little cherubs running along trees and through the grass, wearing a nut-shell for a hat. One day an old Kookaburra comes to the neighbourhood and tells a story about some mysterious creatures known as Humans. The two Nuts are entranced and Snugglepot decides to steal away in the dead night to find some, even though the Kookaburra has warned them how dangerous the large beings can be. Cuddlepie is more wary and insists on observing humans from a distance.

So went a story from May Gibbs‘ classic Australian children’s book series, Snugglepot and Cuddlepie, the gumnut babies. The Human in the case of this cartoon is Rupert Murdoch who has been widely reported as wanting to destroy The Greens.

“[Rupert Murdoch’s] The Australian is astonishingly hostile to the Greens. They think the Greens are going to destroy Australian well-being and the Australian economy and they think of the Greens as an evil party or a totalitarian party or as a mad party or whatever.” So says Robert Manne in the February 2013 edition of the Quarterly Essay, entitled ‘Bad News’, which examines the political influence of Murdoch in Australia.

A subsequent interview with LaTrobe University’s Professor Manne was posted on that university’s website. Here are some extracts:

Matt Smith:

This year has seen unprecedented scrutiny of Rupert Murdoch’s empire in Britain, but what about in Australia, where he owns 70% of the press. Today I’m joined by Professor Robert Manne of the Politics Program at La Trobe University and author of the new Quarterly Essay, Bad News, in which he investigates The Australian newspaper, Murdoch’s lead political voice here, and how it shapes debate. Professor Manne, thanks for your time today.

Robert Manne:

Thank you.

Matt Smith:

So, set the scene for us and tell us about The Australian.

Robert Manne:

Well, The Australian is probably the most influential newspaper in the country. It’s a combination of a broadsheet, not a tabloid, but it’s also part of the Murdoch empire and the paper that Rupert Murdoch has used since he established the paper in 1964 to influence the direction of Australian politics, Australian values, the Australian economy, and so it seems to me to be a highly influential paper, particularly because it’s the only general national newspaper and one that television and radio relies upon in a way on a daily basis for the way they interpret the world.

******

Matt Smith:

What role did The Australian play in the rise and fall of the Prime Ministership of Kevin Rudd?

Robert Manne

……. the caucus would have I think been influenced by this remorseless campaign that was in part personal and in part political, that was led by The Australian. So the essay gives a slightly revisionist version and says that The Australian should not be under-estimated as having played a role in undermining the Rudd Prime Ministership.

Matt Smith:

Has that trend continued to the Gillard Government at all?

Robert Manne:

Yes, very much so. Present politics is largely about this. The Australian never forgave Gillard for forming an alliance with the Greens. The Australian is astonishingly hostile to the Greens. They think the Greens are going to destroy Australian well-being and the Australian economy and they think of the Greens as an evil party or a totalitarian party or as a mad party or whatever. And once Gillard had signed an agreement with the Greens, in my view the paper became extremely hostile to the Gillard Government as well, or continued with the hostility that had built up under Rudd. And in the essay I analyse what I call a jihad against the Greens, and it’s interesting that finally a politician broke ranks and decided to take the risk of being overtly critical of The Australian, which was of course Senator Bob Brown, who finally had enough and has made his complaints about the bias of The Australian, both over climate change and over the Greens, has made it explicit and has taken on the paper. He’s probably the only politician apart from Stephen Conroy of Labor who’s done that. But the mood is now growing.

******

Transcript in full

April 2012 saw Bob Brown step down as Greens’ Leader, with the intention of quitting parliament in June. Senator Brown had said in May 2011 that he had no immediate plans to retire and cited News Corporation chairman Rupert Murdoch as a role model. At the time Mr Murdoch had turned 80. But Senator Brown has changed his mind. “Twelve or 18 months ago I did cite Rupert Murdoch as being a role model and say that I’d stay in it (parliament) to 2024 to catch up with his age. But I’ve watched his progress in the last 18 months and I’ve decided I changed my mind. So here I am.”

For Christine Milne, Brown’s successor, nothing has improved and Murdoch continues to influence public further towards the right with his papers’ anti-Green, anti-Labor, pro-Coalition propaganda. It is understood that Milne has no plans to resign … yet!

 

 

Rebekah Brooks: What, Me Worry?

Rebekah Brooks has pleaded “What, Me Worry” to charges relating to the UK phone hacking scandal.
Rebekah Brooks has pleaded “What, Me Worry” to charges relating to the UK phone hacking scandal.

6 June 2013

Former News International chief executive Rebekah Brooks has pleaded “What, Me Worry” to charges relating to the UK phone hacking scandal.

Looking up from reading a copy of Mad Magazine, the former editor of the now defunct News of the World, indignant at being interrupted, blithely entered pleas of “What, Me Worry” to five charges relating to her time running two national tabloids.

Ms. Brooks then left the court with her spiritual advisor, Alfred E. Neuman, who spoke to the awaiting media throng saying, “What, She Worry? She is planning to move to Australia to take up a prestigious position at the Poowong Post.

 

The Editor
Poowong Post
Victoria
Australia

Dear Sir/Madam,

I wish to apply for the position of Journalist, as advertised in your esteemed newspaper.

I received a cutting of the advertisement in the mail, sent to me by a former colleague who fled to Australia seeking a better climate. You might know her; she works as a barmaid at your pub and goes by the alias of Sheila.

I am not sure where Poowong is located, but it sounds like a lovely place. According to Sheila, it is in a dairy farming district in Victoria, but I have been unable to ascertain the exact whereabouts because I donated my laptop to the police as a contribution to the Scotland Yard Christmas Raffle. Those police do such a wonderful job protecting we Brits from the low-lives who attempt to undermine the very fabric of our society, so I was more than happy to have it confiscated.

I have had extensive journalistic experience and have even been editor/chief executive of two major British tabloids. In fact, I have become quite a celebrity, but have tired of the limelight. I want to migrate to Australia with my husband to live a simple rural life and slip into obscurity.

That is not to say that being appointed as a journalist with the Poowong Post is slipping into obscurity. I believe it to be a highly prestigious position. I would be delighted to be at the forefront of breaking news in your town.

In fact, Sheila has already given me a few leads. She says that the Easter Billy Cart Derby was fixed by the local s.p. bookie, that judges of the Country Women’s Association annual cake decorating competition were bribed with cases of whisky, and that the prying telephone exchange operator is having an affair with the Catholic priest, who is enjoying three other sexual liaisons.

This presents me with the opportunity to illustrate my extra-journalistic talents and pro-activity, which I am sure you will applaud. I could bribe the phone exchange lady for all the local gossip she eavesdrops on, in return for keeping mum. I could pay the local policeman for inside information; that would be easy because it was his wife who won the CWA cake decorating competition. And as for the local bookie; well, let’s just say I am very handy with secret tape devices and could get some inside running on your next picnic race meeting. And the Catholic priest might be surprised to read transcripts of his expressions of lust, by courtesy of a device hidden under his bed by yours truly. Yes, pressing the flesh is what it is all about.

I will be the biggest thing to happen to Poowong since electricity was connected. You do have electricity don’t you?

I can guarantee that I will quadruple your circulation within a month and even turn the national spotlight on your little backwater which I would turn into a tsunami. The media will swarm like flies to a Poowong cowpat.

However, that brings a minor point to mind. A shy, shrinking violet such as myself does not desire any adulation for stirring up media frenzies. I have had enough of that. I would prefer to go by the nom de plume of Verity Virago, and not be available for any interviews, especially television.

I must stress that you should not fear for your position of editor. I am known for my loyalty and integrity; just ask any of my former employees at the now defunct News of the World.

Do not bother to reply. I will simply assume I have been successful in this application, and will be there in three weeks time to commence duties. If there are any unforseen circumstances, such as bail complications or passport seizure, I will let you know with plenty of advance notice.

Yours sincerely,

Rebekah Brooks

PS: Does Poowong have mobile phone reception?

REFEREES

Rupert Murdoch

James Murdoch

David Cameron

 

Coverage by ABC Online: 

Rebekah Brooks pleads not guilty to phone hacking charges

Former News International chief executive Rebekah Brooks has pleaded not guilty to charges relating to the UK phone hacking scandal.

The former editor of the now defunct News of the World entered pleas of not guilty to five charges relating to her time running two national tabloids.

The 45-year-old is charged with offences including conspiracy to hack phones, conspiracy to commit misconduct in a public office and conspiracy to pervert the course of justice.

The scandal led to the closure of the tabloid, and eventually to the Leveson inquiry into press standards in the UK.

She is due to stand trial in September.

Her husband Charlie Brooks also pleaded not guilty to allegations of covering up evidence.

Other senior staff, including the tabloid’s former managing editor Stuart Kuttner and former assistant news editor James Weatherup, also pleaded not guilty to charges related to phone hacking, while her personal assistant pleaded not guilty to perverting the course of justice.

Brooks was arrested in July 2011 along with other members of staff over charges related to the unlawful interception of mobile phone messages to generate front page news stories.

The scandal, which prompted the closure of the mass-selling News of the World and a year-long public inquiry, sent shockwaves through the British establishment as it revealed the close ties between the country’s media, police and politicians.

 

 

Of Charles Camilla and Rupert 20 years on

The royal biographer Anthony Holden remarked that the bugged telephone conversation "persuaded most of the nation that the heir to the throne, the would-be Defender of the Faith, was a lavatory-minded adulterer". (Quite a toilet theme to all this!)
The royal biographer Anthony Holden remarked that the bugged telephone conversation “persuaded most of the nation that the heir to the throne, the would-be Defender of the Faith, was a lavatory-minded adulterer”. (Quite a toilet theme to all this!)

 

HOW CAN THIS BE? IT IS TRAGIC!

Rupert Murdoch is under fire for phone-hacking at the now-defunct News of the World but in 1993, one of his then Australian publications, New Idea, scooped the world by publishing an intimate phone conversation between Prince Charles and his lover, Camilla Parker Bowles.

One of the most sensational and damaging British royal stories of the 20th century was the transcript of an illegally taped phone conversation between the married heir to the throne, Prince Charles, and his mistress, Camilla Parker Bowles.

The story was ”broken” by New Idea, the women’s magazine then part of Rupert Murdoch‘s media empire, in January 1993. Mr Murdoch’s British papers, the rest of Fleet Street and the world media then republished with abandon.

The tape achieved notoriety owing to Prince Charles’s wistful remark that he’d like to be his lover’s “tampon”, to which she replied: “You are a complete idiot. [laughs] Oh, what a wonderful idea.”

The long transcript of the intimate phone conversation from 1989 wrecked the prince’s marriage to Diana, the Princess of Wales, and Camilla’s marriage to Lieutenant-Colonel Andrew Parker Bowles and caused additional personal grief to the Queen, who had lamented publicly that the previous year, 1992, had been her “annus horribilis”.

The royal biographer Anthony Holden remarked that the bugged telephone conversation “persuaded most of the nation that the heir to the throne, the would-be Defender of the Faith, was a lavatory-minded adulterer”. The damage to his personal reputation was so grave that, according to opinion polls, he has never fully recovered public affection in Britain.

Taken from The Sydney Morning Herald 31 July 2011 ~ Full story

The Guardian for insightful quotes including Charles’: “My luck to be chucked down the lavatory and go on and on, forever swirling round on the top, never going down.”

PARDON THE PUNS: Poor Charles – not feeling too flushed with success – things did not pan out as he expected – didn’t play his cards right and missed out on the royal flush.

On Friday 8 April 2005, the day before Charles and Camilla married, The Guardian reported:

The Prince of Wales and Camilla Parker Bowles will use their wedding tomorrow as an opportunity to “earnestly repent” the “manifold sins and wickedness” of their past deeds.

In words that cannot fail to resonate, the couple have chosen the sternest possible prayer of penitence from the 1662 Book of Common Prayer to be read by themselves and their guests at the blessing of their marriage led by the Archbishop of Canterbury.

The prayer reads: “We acknowledge and bewail our manifold sins and wickedness, Which we, from time to time, most grievously have committed, by thought, word and deed, Against thy Divine Majesty, Provoking most justly thy wrath and indignation against us. We do earnestly repent, And are heartily sorry for these misdoings.”

TRAGICALLY, THIS MAN CHARLES COULD BECOME AUSTRALIA’S HEAD OF STATE – SOVEREIGNTY OVER AUSTRALIA. HOW CAN THIS BE?

TRAGICALLY, THAT MAN RUPERT, AN AMERICAN CITIZEN,  ALREADY HOLDS SOVEREIGNTY OVER AUSTRALIA THROUGH HIS NEWSPAPERS’ POLITICAL AND SOCIAL INFLUENCE – HOW CAN THIS BE?

HOW CAN THIS BE? IT IS TRAGIC!