“It has left us facing a stark choice: Attempt to comply with a law that ignores the realities of this relationship, or stop allowing news content on our services in Australia. With a heavy heart, we are choosing the latter.”
In effect News Corp has it’s ability to churn opinion for the LNP boosted. It’s sacked it’s journalists for churnalists just as Google and Facebook have been accused of but with a difference Murdoch has a pact with the LNP. Maybe a exclusivity agreement should be drawn up between the ABC Facebook and Google while they forget News Corp and Ch9.Facebook announces news content sharing restrictions in Australia
Defending democracy is part of a journalist’s jobNever let Trump’s accomplices live down their attacks on democracy | Media Matters for America
Who Needs Evidence when you have News Corp on side and the Wealth of the Catholic Church (ODT)
Commentators like Andrew Bolt will put themselves on all sides of the fence in order to appear opinionated as well as safe to be able to say “I didn’t say that or I told you so in the same breathe”. After all Smollet is a Fox Star.(ODT)
But instant commentary is almost a necessity in 2019 if you are a celebrity or a politician — or anyone with a Twitter account.
The confusion over this story is a by-product of a culture that is quick to judge and to call-out, and one that so often rewards people for taking a side — instantly and via strong language — on an issue of public concern.
Candidates seeking office, like celebrities seeking status — like all us who are extremely online — have become incentivised to weigh in.
But as the Smollett case has shown, when a useful narrative emerges, certainty becomes secondary.
When the president’s personal or political tumult exceeds its already frighteningly high baseline, he tends to lash out and seek reaffirmation — as last week’s troubles accumulated, he wallowed in some praise from North Korea’s dictator and vented his frustrations at “the Deep State and the Left, and their vehicle, the Fake News Media.” And whenever Trump feels politically embattled or one of his scandals has mushroomed beyond the capabilities of his inept communications team, the president can be counted on to call on his conservative media lickspittles for an ass-kissing farce of an interview. This happened twice last week: He gave a ridiculous interview to Fox News’ Pete Hegseth ahead of a political rally in Montana, and an equally absurd one-on-one with The Daily Caller.
As President Donald Trump’s administration implemented a new “zero tolerance” prosecution policy at the border that led to unprecedented and systematic separation of immigrant families and locking kids in cages, right-wing media flailed around trying to blame the administration’s policy on anybody or anything except Trump.
The president’s media enablers blamed Presidents Barack Obama and George W. Bush, “the law on the book,” Democrats in Congress, the media, the families themselves, and even “the Illuminati of K Street” for the Trump administration’s policy
Murdoch and Hannity are Trump “confidantes” and see value in that relationship.
The contradiction then becomes in the terms “news” and “journalism” and the product that’s actually being delivered.
Getting it right: the best reporting on white supremacists and neo-Nazis
Media coverage of white supremacist groups has faced severe criticism but the past year has seen some exemplary reporting
“Victoria, the state of fear”, they pun. The Herald Sun dedicates 28 front pages in a year to a Sudanese migrant “gang” which police confirm were always Australian born-offenders, never had a clubhouse or flag and is now disbanded.
It’s all part of the service News Corp provides to Coalition politicians who sniff votes in a law and order scare campaign.
On Thursday the editorial board of the Wall Street Journal ― a crown jewel in the media empire of Rupert Murdoch, a close Trump ally — went after Mueller as well. It wrote that the dossier news raises the question of whether the document helped fuel the FBI’s probe into Trump’s campaign. Since the dossier attributes allegations to “Kremlin-connected sources,” the board argues that would mean the FBI could have been essentially acting on “disinformation” provided by Russia. And if there were a need to investigate the FBI’s actions, that would make Mueller’s FBI ties a major conflict of interest.
We have to be vigilant about the coming smear project against Antifa.
This is what Sean Hannity’s Fox News show is like on a daily basis. It’s pure propaganda, an effort to support the president at every turn, while castigating his enemies — particularly the press. His viewers are living in an alternate reality — one that he’s carefully crafted to benefit Trump.
Tom Switzer, former editor of Spectator Australia magazine, yesterday urged his readers on the Guardian’s website to look deeper at Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s performance over the G20 weekend. What might have seemed to many observers “defensive, embarrassing, insular, cringeworthy” was for Switzer evidence of Abbott’s “down-to-earth quality”, of his charming and unpolished bluntness.
The focus of the “cringe critique” to which Switzer takes exception was an eight-minute talk Abbott delivered, without notes, to open a discussion at a G20 “leaders’ retreat”. Bill Shorten described it afterwards as “weird and graceless”, though he didn’t elaborate. Does Switzer have a point? It was a significant speech, delivered when the world was watching, so it is worth examining in depth.
“We are meeting in the Legislative Council chamber of the Queensland state Parliament,” Abbott began, “and back in the 1920s, the Queensland government abolished the Legislative Council because it was too much of a restriction on the power of the then premier, who was in the Legislative Assembly. So, this room symbolises the limitations on our power.”
The logic doesn’t follow. More plausibly, the room symbolises what Abbott would like to do to the current Senate, which is creating enormous difficulties for his policy program. Abbott’s frustration spilled over into his address to the G20 leaders:
“If I could kick off very briefly by saying that when I was elected – my government was elected – 14 months ago, I made four promises to the Australian people. First, that I would repeal the carbon tax, and that’s gone. Second, that I would stop the illegal boats that were coming to our country, and they have, thank God, stopped. Third, that we would start building roads in particular which had been long neglected in this country. Fourth, I said I would get the budget under control.”
This paragraph is the main focus of the “cringe critique”. It was a strange thing to say to a group of international leaders – especially when many of them agree with carbon pricing and see Australia as shirking its responsibilities under the Refugees Convention. Surely few could be expected to care about specific electoral promises Abbott had made from opposition.
But Abbott, as always, even in the midst of the political leaders of 20 of the most economically powerful states, was talking solely to his domestic audience. The speech was filmed, distributed publicly, and transcribed on his website. All this suggests that the speech was meant for wide public consumption.
The alternative explanation – that Abbott genuinely expected that the other 19 leaders present would respond positively to his presentation of himself as a kind of conviction politician, determined to deliver what he’d promised – doesn’t really bear thinking about. If true, it suggests powerful delusion on Abbott’s part.
“Now, I have to say this has proven massively difficult – massively difficult,” Abbott continued, referring to his efforts to get the budget under control, “because it doesn’t matter what spending program you look at, it doesn’t matter how wasteful that spending program might appear, there are always some people in the community who vote, who love that program very much.”
Ostensibly, Abbott wanted a 100-minute discussion about the problems of getting “important economic reforms” through the Senate. If he wanted tips, it’s unlikely he would have got anything useful from Vladimir Putin, an autocrat, or from Xi Jinping, the president of a one-party state.
No. What Abbott wanted was for his domestic audience to see him discussing deeply unpopular domestic policies at the world’s premier economic forum. He spoke of two issues in particular – his government’s planned deregulation of the university sector, which would mean “less central government spending and effectively more fees that students will have to pay”, and the $7 GP co-payment. For Abbott, the policies are good and right. What’s wrong is the way they’re being perceived. As with any problem of perception, what’s needed is a good rhetorical play.
The rhetorical trick of the speech was all about framing. Since the May budget, Abbott has always justified these and other policies in economic and fiscal terms. What better opportunity to drive home that message than at the G20, when presumably only serious economic issues of world importance would be discussed? And by mentioning those policies without seeking to justify them on first principles, Abbott hoped to create the illusion that their economic credentials, at least for “the most powerful and influential people in the world” (as he described them), were self-evident and uncontroversial. “In most countries this is not unusual,” Abbott said about the need to inject a “price signal” into primary health care, making eye contact with others in the room as if gathering global support for a so-called “reform” that would obliterate the central tenets – bulk-billing and universality – of Medicare, in Abbott’s mind a thoroughly Labor policy.
“I don’t have any magic answers to the problems we face,” Abbott went on. “But the more gatherings like this can affirm the importance of good policy.” Having all but exhausted his domestic options short of a double dissolution, which on current poll numbers he would lose, the global play is a last-ditch effort to win domestic support for policies that the public rejects not because they’re “harsh but necessary”, but because they’re harsh and unnecessary.
For a man whose worldview is not all that dissimilar to the DLP’s half a century ago, Abbott made a very grave error when he allowed his economic policies to be outsourced to the right-wing think tanks (like the Institute of Public Affairs, with which Switzer is associated). It’s meant that on both social and economic issues, Abbott is for middle Australia a kind of extremist, albeit one who seems pleasant and blokey enough in person.
Tom Switzer is just one of an army of right-wing commentators whose function is to protect Abbott and his government from too much negative interpretation, to insulate him from it by building around him a fortress of bullshit. Most of them are at News Corp, an entity whose writers go to extraordinary lengths to present Abbott as “statesmanlike” in his international dealings.
There’s an irony to their efforts. A statesman – according to dictionaries a “disinterested promoter of the public good”, a political leader who “exhibits great wisdom and ability” – is precisely the opposite of what Abbott is: yet another insular, domestically focused political leader who sees foreign policy and international engagement as a way to earn cheap domestic points. He’s the type of leader Peter Hartcher laments in his book The Adolescent Country. If we weren’t so deeply in the thrall of the free market, one might be forgiven for seeing something of the old Soviet spin in Team Abbott’s methods.
But in the end, Abbott’s attempt to co-opt the G20 for domestic ends didn’t work. His delivery, all Midnight Oil hands and missed beats, was truly cringeworthy. And it came among too many gaffes. His incorrigible Anglophilia (his words) had displaced his domestic radar during David Cameron’s visit on the Friday, and he fell again into the trap of lauding the achievements of the British in Australia without acknowledging the destruction and devastation it wrought on those who were already here in 1788 – and generations of their descendants. His bizarre threat to shirt-front Putin – a mixture of playing for domestic points and genuine brain-snap – overshadowed the whole G20 preparation period in the tabloid media, and made him look full of piss and wind when he couldn’t follow it through. His stubborn insistence that his Direct Action policy – conceived as a purely political counterpoint to the Gillard government’s carbon price – is more effective than the market-based schemes elsewhere, and that environmental issues should be kept separate from economic ones, looks stupider and stupider as the world grinds forwards, if far too slowly, on climate change. By the end of the weekend he’d managed to confuse China with Tasmania.
No, Tom Switzer and the “Kelly gang” at News Corp: statesmen don’t behave like this.