Tag: News Corp

The Saddest, Wrongest ‘Fact’ In Tony Abbott’s Climate Speech

Almost as bad is the claim that ’99 per cent of scientists believe’ as if scientific truth is determined by votes rather than facts.”Votes? What votes?Abbott seemed to be suggesting that the 97 percent consensus (the 99 was a mistake by Abbott, it’s actually 97) was based on some bogus poll.Wrong.There was never any poll of scared scientists who pretended to be in furious agreement about climate change lest they be branded as heretics. In fact, the paper which first identified the 97 percent consensus was a 2013 survey of the scientific literature that was already out there.And what 97 percent of that scientific literature effectively said was: it’s happening and we’re causing it.

Source: The Saddest, Wrongest ‘Fact’ In Tony Abbott’s Climate Speech

Why are we letting the fossil fuel industry make the rules on climate change action? – » The Australian Independent Media Network

In an article in today’s Australian, Janet Albrechtsen waxes lyrical about departing boss of the Minerals Council, Brendan Pearson, who she claims was “shoved out of his job as boss of the Minerals Council of Australia by those who prefer feel-good corporate bromides and green myths over energy facts and figures.”These purveyors of “green myths” were, among others, BHP and Rio Tinto who said they had lost confidence in Mr Pearson due to his unstinting advocacy for coal, something Ms Albrechtsen, on the other hand, considers a virtue, Source: Why are we letting the fossil fuel industry make the rules on climate change action? – » The Australian Independent Media Network

Richard Spencer tells Israelis ‘White Nationalism’ is akin to Zionism | +972 Magazine

The prominent white supremacist is given a platform on Israel’s top-rated news show, and the host doesn’t once challenge his anti-Semitism or hateful views. By +972 Magazine Staff Israel’s most popular prime-time television news show gave white supremacist Richard Spencer a platform to try and convince Jewish Israelis that White Nationalism is analogous to Zionism, adding that Israelis should relate to him and his ilk. [If the video below doesn’t play, watch here or here] “As an Israeli citizen, as someone who understands your identity, who has a sense of nationhood and peoplehood, and history and the experience of the…

Source: Richard Spencer tells Israelis ‘White Nationalism’ is akin to Zionism | +972 Magazine

Cries of ‘witch-hunt’ ring hollow for Catholic clergy survivors

Finally, to those who jump, without hesitation, to the defence of Cardinal Pell and assume that his accusers are “deluded” or “confused” or hold some maniacal vendetta: As stated above, George Pell is entitled to the presumption of innocence, but that does not mean that his accusers deserve to be summarily dismissed in the way that children almost always had been until the royal commission turned decades of silence and obfuscation and failure-to-believe on its head.

Source: Cries of ‘witch-hunt’ ring hollow for Catholic clergy survivors

Rupert Murdoch’s axing of Bill O’Reilly shows his defiance turn to pragmatism

Rupert Murdoch prizes loyalty and profits, both of which Bill O’Reilly brought him in droves, but Murdoch has also proved he is a pragmatist at his core.

Source: Rupert Murdoch’s axing of Bill O’Reilly shows his defiance turn to pragmatism

Fox News Caught Lying: Sweden Reinstated Draft Because Of Russia, Not Refugees

Fox News’ Fox & Friends falsely claimed that Sweden’s reintroduction of the draft was due to violence in the country precipitated by refugees, when in fact the draft is being reintroduced to counter Russian aggression in the region.Despite Fox’s assertion, Sweden’s government is reintroducing the draft for men and women in the count

Source: Fox News Caught Lying: Sweden Reinstated Draft Because Of Russia, Not Refugees

Donald Trump Stays Silent On Mosque Shooting While Raging Over Louvre Knife Attack

“A new radical Islamic terrorist has just attacked in Louvre Museum in Paris. Tourists were locked down. France on edge again. GET SMART U.S.”

Six people died at the Quebec City mosque, and one person was slightly injured in the Paris attack.

Source: Donald Trump Stays Silent On Mosque Shooting While Raging Over Louvre Knife Attack

How Years Of The Right-Wing Media’s Obama Hatred Paved The Way For Trump

At noon today, Donald Trump will swear the oath of office and become president of the United States. His ascent would not have been possible without the years of vitriol that the right-wing media directed at his predecessor.That hatred of President Obama, and the related scorched-earth efforts to smother his agenda, prepared the way for Tru

Source: How Years Of The Right-Wing Media’s Obama Hatred Paved The Way For Trump

Reply to News Corpse: ‘Michael Danby staffer exposed as pro-Shorten blogger’|  It’s  what Andrew Bolt does and is still at News Corp

Dave Donovan explains in detail just exactly how far The Australian went to smear IA contributor Peter Wicks.

Norington smears Wixxy: The Australian gets caught lying, but refuses to apologise Part 1

Source: Reply to News Corpse: ‘Michael Danby staffer exposed as pro-Shorten blogger’  Part 2

Trumpists beat Muslim-American Child of frmr Fulbrighter, harass Family out of US | Informed Comment| What Andrew Bolt encourages here

By TeleSur | – – After a series of violent attacks and recrimination, an esteemed Muslim academic flees the U.S. …

Source: Trumpists beat Muslim-American Child of frmr Fulbrighter, harass Family out of US | Informed Comment

Fox’s Kurtz Pushes Fake Clinton Quote That A Different Fox Host Already Apologized For Airing

Fox News’ media critic Howard Kurtz attributed a fake quote to Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, predicting that she would have to answer in tonight’s presidential debate for calling primary opponent Bernie Sanders’ supporters a “bucket of losers.” But Snopes.com and BuzzFeed have already reported that this quote — origina

Source: Fox’s Kurtz Pushes Fake Clinton Quote That A Different Fox Host Already Apologized For Airing

The reality of Manus Island – » The Australian Independent Media Network

By Behrouz Boochani This is my answer to Peter Michael whose article (now behind a paywall) in The Herald Sun quoted Immigration Minister Peter Dutton: “MANUS Island asylum seekers are trading taxpayer-funded cigarettes on the black market to pay for ­alcohol, electronics and ­marijuana.” In the Manus prison, a skinny man with a pale and…

Source: The reality of Manus Island – » The Australian Independent Media Network

Woman With No Recollection Of Last 10 Years Asked To Run Major Media Company

rebekah brooks

A British woman who can’t recall any of the conversations she has had over the past decade will head up the UK arm of one of the world’s largest media organisations.

A spokesperson for the company said Ms Brookes, 47, was the obvious choice for the position. “Apart from the fact that she has absolutely no recollection of what happened at the previous companies she ran, she is the perfect choice for this role,” the spokesperson said.

“She has a knack for a good story, she’s great with people. Sure she couldn’t remember whether the Prime Minister of Great Britain attended her 40th birthday party. But then, who does remember these sorts of finer details?”

The spokesperson said Ms Brookes would run a tight ship as CEO of UK operations. “Although naturally we don’t expect her to have any idea about what’s actually going on at the company”.

Gayby Baby: Out Of The Mouth of Piers Akerman who never bothered to see it.

Whatever the Daily Telegraph pays Piers Akerman to spread his unique brand of ‘commentary’, it’s not enough. So if you’re reading this Rupert Murdoch, double the man’s salary.Akerman’s column this week attacking the independent Australian documentary, Gayby Baby – and the Tele’s complementary campaign of smearing shit all over itself and then grinning like a five-year-old – has done more than any hard working publicist could ever do to promote a film that every Australian should see.

Source: Gayby Baby: Out Of The Mouths Of Babes, And Piers Akerman | newmatilda.com

Corporate Media


John Pilger – Episode 12

the role of the corporate media in manufacturing narratives, its relationship to capitalism and commodification, and the importance of independent media to pierce through the propaganda. Pilger provides his blistering critique of the especially insidious liberal media whose misinformation and disinformation is so critical to the ruling class. Eric and John touch on an array of other topics including Greece, Ukraine, and debt as a neocolonial weapon. All this and much more on a slightly abbreviated Episode 12 of CounterPunch Radio, featuring as always intro and outtro music from the Dr. of the Blues, the man with a PhD in Boogie Woogie,

Rupert Murdoch’s Sun Endorses 2 Rival Parties in UK Vote

LONDON — Rupert Murdoch’s tabloid Sun has spoken, urging voters to back David Cameron’s Conservative Party in Britain’s election — unless they’re in Scotland. There, it says, they should vote for the Scottish National Party.

The differing endorsements raised a few eyebrows Thursday, since the London-based Sun dubbed the pro-Scottish independence nationalists “saboteurs” determined to wreck Britain.

But the Scottish edition — which has a separate editor — said the SNP would “fight harder for Scotland’s interests” and praised leader Nicola Sturgeon as “a phenomenon.” Its front page depicted her as Princess Leia from “Star Wars.”

The SNP is predicted to win most of Scotland’s seats on May 7.

Murdoch’s newspapers were long a powerful force in British politics, but their influence may be waning in the Internet age.

O’Reilly Cameraman Disputes Fox News Host’s Falklands “War Zone” Story:O’Reilly claimed he rescued his bleeding cameraman during a riot in Argentina. But the journo who shot O’Reilly’s video says this didn’t happen.

Fox News host Bill O’Reilly continues to insist that he never misrepresented or embellished his wartime reporting experiences and other previous episodes—even after CNN, the Washington Post, the Guardian, Media Matters, and Mother Jones reported significant discrepancies between O’Reilly’s accounts and what actually occurred. Last Tuesday, O’Reilly appeared on David Letterman’s show, where he maintained he had always been “accurate” when discussing his journalistic exploits and had never “fibbed” on air. (“Not that I know of,” he said.) Yet O’Reilly’s characterizations of his reporting during the Falklands war, El Salvador’s civil war, the troubles in Northern Ireland, the Los Angeles riots of 1992, and the 1977 re-investigation of the John F. Kennedy assassination have been repeatedly challenged, in several cases by former colleagues. Now a principal character in one of O’Reilly’s more dramatic tales—in which the Fox commentator plays a heroic role—says this particular story is not accurate.

In recounting his experiences as a CBS News correspondent reporting from a “war zone” during the 1982 Falklands war, O’Reilly has said that he rescued a CBS colleague during a violent protest that erupted near the presidential palace in Buenos Aires after Argentina surrendered to the British. During a 2013 episode of the O’Reilly Factor, he recalled:

I was in a situation one time, in a war zone in Argentina, in the Falklands, where my photographer got run down and then hit his head and was bleeding from the ear on the concrete. And the army was chasing us. I had to make a decision. And I dragged him off, you know, but at the same time, I’m looking around and trying to do my job, but I figure I had to get this guy out of there because that was more important.

O’Reilly told a similar version in a 2009 interview: “The camera went flying. I saved the tape because it was unbelievable tape. But I dragged him off the street because he was bleeding from the ear and had hit his head on the concrete.” In this account, O’Reilly claimed that soldiers had fired into the crowd with live ammunition, “gunning down” civilians, and that a soldier pointed an M-16 at him as he tried to assist his injured cameraman. In a 2001 book, O’Reilly reported that “many” people had died during this melee.

“I was not beaten at any time during my Buenos Aires assignment. I do not even recall Mr. O’Reilly being near me.”

The record is clear, and O’Reilly’s own report for CBS News confirms this: Argentine soldiers did not massacre civilians during this protest. And now the cameraman who shot the video that O’Reilly filed from this demonstration says another part of the Fox host’s account is untrue: O’Reilly never came to his aid, nor was he in need of rescue.

Ignacio Medrano-Carbo says he was the cameraman on O’Reilly’s crew that night. Jim Forrest, the crew’s sound man, confirms Medrano-Carbo was paired up with O’Reilly. “I worked with Ignacio during the surrender riots in Argentina during the Falklands war,” Forrest says in an email. “We were O’Reilly’s crew the night of the riots.” (O’Reilly has identified another CBS journalist named Roberto Moreno as his cameraman, but Forrest, Medrano-Carbo, and another former CBS journalist who worked in Argentina say that Moreno was a sound man at that time; Moreno has turned down requests from reporters to talk about the episode.) Medrano-Carbo certainly was shooting video in the middle of the tumult. A BBC documentary (at the 56:28 mark) captured him filming scenes that appeared in O’Reilly’s report.

Medrano-Carbo has sent the following statement to Mother Jones:

After a call from a cameraman friend, I watched Bill O’Reilly’s report filed in 1982 from Buenos Aires for CBS during the Falkland War posted a few weeks ago on the Mother Jones web page. The part that caught my attention was Mr. O’Reilly’s claim that he helped his cameraman to safety who was bleeding out of his ear after he fell when chased by the army.

Ninety-nine percent of the footage in that report was shot by me. Does that make me his cameraman? I never fell nor was I bleeding out my ear at any time during my Buenos Aires assignment. I do not even recall Mr. O’Reilly being near me when I shot all that footage nor after I left the unrest at Plaza de Mayo that evening. But it is not uncommon to be separated from your reporter during a disturbance such as that one.

I also read that some colleagues were accusing Mr. O’Reilly of negligently asking his cameraman to turn on the camera light for his stand up. In his defense, I will attest that he never asked me to turn on the light for any reason. I turned on the camera light at my discretion and possible folly. I also never shot a stand up for Mr. O’Reilly.

In another report…Mr. O’Reilly states that his cameraman that night was Roberto Moreno. Mr. Moreno was indeed there but at that time he was a sound man and working with seasoned CBS cameraman Carl Sorensen. Mr. Moreno, who became my friend, did not pick up a camera until years later. My last name is Medrano perhaps Mr. O’Reilly got confused since Mr. Moreno went on to shoot for CBS News? Medrano? Moreno?

Lastly, I can confirm that no one I know of who worked with me in Buenos Aires during the Falkland War ever heard of any CBS crew member getting beat or hurt. Nor did any demonstrators get killed that night at Plaza de Mayo—to quote a colleague, “or we would’ve been following up at the morgue and interviewing family members.”

Fox News and O’Reilly did not respond to a request for comment.

UPDATE: After this story was posted, O’Reilly told TheWrap, “I never worked with Ignacio Medrano-Carbo. This is nothing more than yet another coordinated attack which predictably comes on the heels of my appearance on The Late Show with David Letterman.” In response, Medrano-Carbo tells Mother Jones, “I don’t know what to say… Ninety-nine percent of that footage in his report was mine. How’d he get that footage, if I’m not his cameraman?…I have the footage to show.” Medrano-Carbo shared with Mother Jones the raw footage he shot that night, and it does match the video in the report O’Reilly filed. He adds, “You can see me in the BBC report. Why would I lie? You used 99 percent of my stuff, and I’m not your cameraman? I certainly did not get beat up. You did not help me.”

Scientific American Takes An In Depth Look At The Tea Party. This is applicable to the LNP, Tony Abbott, and all Murdoch elves such as Albrechtson,Bolt,Blair,Devine etc. See the connection here. Unfortunately Fox News is rated as the most believable news provider in the US by 25% yet it gets a rating of 8% in delivering truth. Murdoch’s influence of madness is widespread on issues of anti- climate change, anti- Islam,anti- multiculturalism, anti- corporate tax, anti- penalty rates, etc etc


THE CABIN ANTHRAX, MURPHY, N.C. (CT&P) – This month’s edition of Scientific American is somewhat of a departure for a magazine that normally steers well clear of politics. It boasts several well-researched articles examining the right wing in general and the Tea Party in particular.

“We wanted to highlight how a group could overcome the serious handicaps of its individual members to become a viable political force in our society,” said SA editor Michael Moyer. “The rise of the Tea Party, the Christian Right, and their propaganda arm, Fox News, illustrates how a species crippled by superstition, racial hatred, and lower than average IQ’s can rise to a position of prominence in the modern nation state.”


The issue, which is on news stands now, traces the growth of the Tea Party from a ragtag army of inarticulate individuals all the way to this year’s midterm elections, when an alarming number of the insecure cretins won national political office.

“We tried to get inside the minds of these people, as frightening as that prospect was,” said Moyer. “We really wanted to find out what made these people tick. We placed particular emphasis on finding the common threads that unified this group of backwoods bumpkins.”

“What we found was fear. Fear of change, fear of the unknown, fear of minorities, fear of science, fear of gay people, fear of just about any fucking thing you could imagine. The overwhelming consensus was that this group of people yearns to return to the days before the Enlightenment, where their outdated ideas and archaic societal standards ruled with an iron fist.”

The SA team spent a great deal of time analyzing the movement’s leaders Sarah Palin, Michele Bachmann, and a host of other kooks such as Steve King and Louie Gomhert.


“One only has to look at the leadership of this movement to see how incoherent and insane their beliefs really are,” said Moyer. “If you go back and examine some of the speeches and statements made by Bachmann and Palin over the last decade, it reads like something out of H.P. Lovecraft. Nothing makes sense. For example, last weekend in Iowa, Palin was apparently possessed by one of her demons and began writhing around the podium and speaking in tongues. It was truly scary.”

Although the writers and editors at SA came to no definitive conclusions about the future of the right wing and the Tea Party, Moyer said that they will most likely be swept away by the tide of history.

“To paraphrase Huxley, extinguished theologians, and in this case reactionary political factions, lie about the cradle of progress as the strangled snakes beside that of Hercules,” said Moyer.

Although many midterm Congressional races were won by Tea Party supported buffoons, the facts seem to support Moyer’s argument.

Gay marriage, Obamacare, and decriminalization of marijuana, three policies that the far right is rabidly against, are more popular than ever and gaining national acceptance.

“It gives us hope for a bright future in which the voices of these kooks are drowned out by the voices of reason and science,” concluded Moyers. “I am a fervent supporter of free speech and support these people’s right to be as ignorant as they want to be, but I fully believe that they will be remembered by history as the wingnuts they truly are.”

Murdoch prepares Bishop for Libspill


Abbott must be having a horrible Christmas break. He can’t have missed that his old buddy, his mentor Rupert has completely dropped him and in doing so, has given permission for his newspapers to admit that PM Abbott is a dud. They’re still not yet ready to admit he’s always been a dud and that they were stupid to support him in the first place (as if they’ll ever be ready for this sort of atonement), but they’re willing to go as far as actually reporting his poll numbers, which speak for themselves, and saying that if only he could get his ‘message’ right, their neoliberal Tea-Party agenda would be gratefully accepted by the electorate instead of wholeheartedly rejected. It’s fascinating to watch an entire news organisation finally coming round to the fact that the public knows better than they do whether someone is a good PM or not. I thought the whole definition of ‘news’ was telling us all something we didn’t know, and being first to the story? Abbott’s incompetence is old news, and News Ltd coming to this realisation last is really the only thing you need to know about the incompetence of News Ltd. ‘Oh Abbott’s polls are bad!’ they all cry in unison! ‘We totally didn’t see that coming!’.

So what are News Ltd going to do now that their favourite son has spectacularly failed? If you’ve been paying attention to the number of puff pieces being written at News Ltd about their chosen successor, Julie Bishop, you will see that a Libspill is clearly being planned.

As soon as I realised that Julie Bishop was being put forward as the most likely replacement for Abbott, I realised just how screwed the Abbott government is. Because if Bishop is deemed as the ‘best performer’, it shows just how badly the rest of them have performed. Think about it for a second. What exactly has Bishop done which is so high performing? Perhaps if the definition of high performing is ‘not stuffing up as badly as the rest of the Abbott ministry and being protected by News Ltd so even if you did stuff up the public never heard about it’, then Bishop has been high performing. But all I’ve seen is very basic no-more-competent-than-you’d-expect-of-an-average-politician-statements from her in response to international tragedies, such as disease, terrorism and plane crashes, and of course I’ve seen her slashing the Foreign Aid budget, making Australia the stingiest rich country in the world, bar none. I can see that News Ltd are clearly happy about this, but as I’ve said previously, News Ltd’s opinion and the general public’s opinion do not match and are increasingly at complete odds so News Ltd being happy about something more than likely works against Bishop in the long term.

But even more interesting than the claim that Bishop is ‘high performing’, is News Ltd’s strategy of backing a female Prime Minister, after systematically mauling our first female Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, with a sexist, low-life, scum-filled campaign of hateful lies and misinformation. Just to remind you all, Julia Gillard was the most successful Prime Minister this country has ever had. You won’t ever see any such analysis done in News Ltd papers, but this Guardian article has run the figures showing Gillard as the winner. So keeping this in mind, and keeping News Ltd’s vile anti-Gilllard campaign in mind, how are News Ltd going to position Bishop, a female, unmarried, childless ex-South Australian lawyer as PM material, when they so blatantly positioned Gillard as unfit, whilst appealing to the scum who read their newspapers, who were only too happy to agree? They built the anti-female-leader narrative, so how are they going to tear it down in support for Bishop?

So far, I have seen three strategies at work.

The first is to dress Julie Bishop up in her favourite ridiculously expensive clothes, to do a bit of airbrushing and to photograph her looking relaxed and feminine as if she doesn’t have a care in the world (or an office, or a desk, or, for that matter, a job. Notice how male politicians are never photographed posing as if they’re in a fashion magazine?). It’s also worth noting at this point that when Gillard posed for a Women’s Weekly photo shoot in 2007, Bishop was reported as saying:

“I don’t think it’s necessary to get dressed up in designer clothing and borrow clothing and make-up to grace the cover of magazines… You’re not a celebrity, you’re an elected representative, you’re a member of parliament. You’re not Hollywood and I think that when people overstep that line they miss the whole point of that public role.”

Clearly Bishop thinks she is Hollywood and is a celebrity and that’s the end of that.

The second strategy to ready Bishop for the position as Australia’s second female Prime Minister is for her to paint herself as not a feminist, and not as having benefited from feminism to get where she is. It was all her, apparently. And women who think they need feminism to get ahead need to stop complaining and get on with it, apparently. I feel that Bishop claiming she’s got where she is without the help of the feminist movement is akin to the captain of a football team being presented with the Grand Final cup and saying ‘thanks so much for all the applause. Clearly I played really well and that’s why the team won. I don’t know what all those other guys on my team were doing, but without my individual effort, the Grand Final cup would not be mine today’. Feminists have every right to be offended by Bishop’s suggestion that their hard fought battles are just a campaign of whinging. And of course they have every reason to laugh at Bishop, who is one of two women in Abbott’s cabinet, after being the only one for the first year, presumably because all the other Liberal women of merit were too busy complaining instead of being merit selected in a cabinet that is full of un-merit-worthy men. You’ve got to laugh so you don’t cry!

Finally, the last strategy to prepare Bishop for a leadership challenge is for News Ltd to claim that she is nothing like Gillard, and so should never be compared. Please look away now if you don’t feel like being angry for at least the next month over the following statement that was made in this Courier Mail Julie Bishop-fan-mail-puff-piece. Or do what I do and try to turn your anger into productive rage:

‘Dignified yet determined, Ms Bishop has succeeded where Julia Gillard failed, by showing that women can perform at the highest levels of political office without either hiding behind their gender or sacrificing their femininity. A passionate advocate of women, Ms Bishop believes in merit-based promotion, and her own hard work is now reaping rewards, both on the international stage and in domestic polls. And the damage done by Ms Gillard to the public perception of women in leadership roles is slowly being healed as voters regain confidence that a female politician can deliver’.

So this is the campaign and it’s well underway. There’s no sign yet as to how News Ltd will deal with Bishop’s embarrassing past of plagiarism, or her seedy career as a lawyer fighting against asbestos victims, and apparently once asking ‘why workers should be entitled to jump court queues just because they were dying’. But we will watch and see as News Ltd comes up with new techniques of dishonesty to repel any criticism of their new-found-favourite candidate. And of course, it will be fascinating to see how such a leadership spill could possibly be orchestrated without use of the words ‘blood’ and ‘stab’ littered throughout the reportage. No doubt that’s the last piece of the puzzle that needs to be worked out before we wake up to find Abbott gone, and PM anti-feminist-pro-Armani-asbestos-Julie in his place.

News Corp’s siege coverage built on a ‘take-no-prisoners’ culture AUST gets wake-call with Sydney terror. Only Daily Telegraph caught the bloody outcome at 2.00 am. Congrats.— Rupert Murdoch (@rupertmurdoch) December 15, 2014 In one brutally insensitive tweet, Rupert…

There are ways for the media to cover stories such as the Sydney siege without committing gross ethical violations.

In one brutally insensitive tweet, Rupert Murdoch told the world everything it ever needed to know about the central tenet of the News Corp culture: nothing matters except the story.

It is a culture in which the ends justify the means.

It is a culture that celebrates cruel vulgarity, infamously exemplified by the headline “Gotcha” in the London Sun when, during the Falklands War, the British forces sank the Argentine warship the General Belgrano, with the loss of 368 lives. In Stick It Up Your Punter!, their account of life on The Sun, Peter Chippindale and Chris Horrie wrote that although even the editor, the egregious Kelvin MacKenzie, had second thoughts about the heading, Murdoch said:

I rather like it.

This is a culture that ultimately leads to the kind of criminality exposed in the phone-hacking scandal that engulfed the British branch of Murdoch’s empire in 2011. It is a culture that says if that’s what it takes to get the story or sell a newspaper, let’s do it.

In the case of the Lindt Café siege, it is a culture that permitted the publishing of the faces of hostages as they were forced at gunpoint to hold up the gunman’s black flag in the café window. There was a strong news case for showing them holding up the flag but no case for showing their faces.

These are images that are likely to haunt those hostages all their lives. The risk of doing harm should have been obvious. The disregarding of that risk is unjustifiable and unforgivable.

It is a culture that permits the publication of a door-stop photo of the father and husband of Katrina Dawson, who died at the gunman’s hands. They are leaving the hospital where Dawson died. The photo is clearly taken against the husband’s wishes: he is covering his face with his hand. The father’s face is a mask of shock. The intrusion on their grief is another unforgivable act.

There are ways to cover these stories without committing these gross ethical violations, and much of the other media showed how to do it. Channel Nine’s graphic live footage of the final police assault, and other television footage of hostages dashing from the scene, were vivid and immensely strong pieces of news reporting. ABC TV’s careful pixelating of faces of hostages in footage taken during the siege was another example of good ethical decision-making.

However, the newspapers – and not just News Corp’s but Fairfax’s too – seemed to think that material posted by the hostages on Facebook was simply public property to be exploited for media purposes.

This is a clear violation of a foundational privacy principle that says material supplied for one purpose shall not be used for another purpose without the provider’s consent. Many people – young people in particular – post material on Facebook for the purpose of sharing it with their friends. They do not anticipate that it will be used by the media in whatever context or for whatever purpose the media thinks fit.

The focus of this article has been on News Corp because the connection between its performance and Murdoch’s tweet is the principal point of argument. However, that is not to say News Corp coverage was all bad, nor that others were blameless.

The coverage of the Lindt Café siege is as a strong a candidate as we have seen in recent years for the Australian Press Council to conduct an investigation into the performance of the newspapers generally, and for the Australian Communications and Media Authority to use its own-motion powers to do the same in respect of radio and television.

The mixed quality of the media performance was illustrated by the responses to it by the NSW Police Commissioner, Andrew Scipione, and the chair of the Australian Press Council, Professor Julian Disney. Scipione publicly thanked the media for acting responsibly in the way they covered the siege:

For you to act the way you did, to be responsible, all I can say is “thank you”.

Disney issued a statement, saying:

Much of the coverage has been excellent and has not hesitated to tell painful truths when necessary. But there have been some deeply regrettable errors and exaggerations, spreading dangerous misinformation without any reasonable basis. This type of material can be a serious risk to public safety, as well as causing an unjustified level of fear and distrust across the community.

It was a general statement of assessment, and did not make specific allegations against any particular media outlet.

However, it provoked a response from News Corp broadsheet The Australian, which has been running a campaign to undermine Disney in his last year as chair of the Press Council.

In a front-page story, it accused Disney of “triggering concerns” – by whom, one wonders – about “whether his organisation has abandoned the rules of procedural fairness”.

The basis for this accusation was that Disney had spoken without hearing the media’s side of the story. The weakness in this argument is that Disney was not making a finding against a specific newspaper, but making a general statement about the performance of the newspapers as a whole.

However, the motive for the story became clear in its last paragraph. There, The Australian quoted its own editor-in-chief, Chris Mitchell, as saying Disney:

… has just dealt the Press Council out of any future complaints about the role of the media during this week’s events.

This was clearly meant as a shot across the bow of the Press Council. In the event that the Press Council does decide to hear complaints about the coverage of the siege, it is reasonable to suppose that News Corp will challenge its fitness to do so. This may not thwart any such inquiry, but it might make it more difficult to accomplish, especially if News Corp decided not to co-operate on the grounds of apprehended bias.

This brings us finally to another aspect of the News Corp culture: every critic is an enemy, and we take no prisoners.

Here are a few examles of how Murdoch shows support for his “home team”.

The ABC will soon be GONSKI! They are a Biased Lefty, Commie, Greeny Pinko mob… If you listened to Prime Minister Tony Abbott and his inner sanctum, Australia is facing yet another war. Not with the people smugglers (again, still), or Indonesia (from fallout of the PM’s handling of spying allegations, people smuggling, general relations…) but with the national broadcaster, the ABC.

This week, Mr Abbott accused the ABC of taking ”everyone’s side but Australia’s“, wishing it would have some “basic affection for the home team”, after the ABC last week reported allegations of navy personnel torturing asylum seekers who were recently towed back to Indonesia. Rupert Murdoch’s The Daily Telegraph—not one for hiding its political allegiances*—backed up the PM’s rant, calling the actions from the national broadcaster as ”un-Australian“, labelling the organisation “The ABC of Treachery” on its front page.daily-telegraph-headline

You could suggest the noise is another government sleight of hand to direct our attention from other matters, such as the secrecy behind the stop the boats campaign and other wobbles, or the prelude to cuts to the broadcaster’s funding.

Funny thing is, though, it wasn’t just the ABC that reported on events. In fact, Seven News and Fairfax Media also carried the news of the torture claims from asylum seekers, gathered by their own reporters. Yet Mr Abbott has failed to publicly attack either outlet.

While some likely members in his camp stand firmly behind his ranting, others (namely Malcolm Turnbull and member for Reid’s Craig Laundy) stand by the ABC.

Perhaps, as writer John Birmingham suggests, Mr Abbott should just call the “waaaaambulance” and be done with it, and leave the journalism to the journalists—remember, Mr Abbott, you used to be one.


“It is racism killing our people – suicides born of racism” | The Stringer

“It is racism killing our people – suicides born of racism” | The Stringer.



When  a white  Culture overlay has  little  or no empathy for indigenous cultural psychology. When a white cultural ego dominates a landscape of human emotions. Little recognition is given to minorities completely flattened by the impact of constant dominance and being at crossroads leaves nothing any longer taken for granted. Crossroads give birth to individual uncertainties in youth that can create existential despair and death welcoming.

Strange how  politically useful politicians and the media find it to create that sense of emergency  about terrorism , economic emergency, to create false realities for political ends. But how those same governments in doing so can totally ignore the real feelings of our indigenous and other minorities it’s citizens particularly their non voting youth and then simply write them off as if it’s their own cultural and psychological inadequacies.

It’s a case of who do you believe? I suggest the people who advocate there was nothing here but bush before the British arrived are profound liars. They appropriated or discarded everything that went before them and have created the myths that have dominated our psyches  since but find  hard to  eradicate. The ghosts that remain and haunt not all of us but those at the crossroads particularly the youth of  minority cultures  the indigenous kids, the migrant kids that are told they should move on forget and assimilate to be worthwhile.The kids born of poverty sold a promise of equal opportunity who blame themselves when they realize the unachievable outcomes.

Have a look at this face we don’t need Scott Morrison to to feel  globally ashamed. We’ve been towing  back the boats of indigenous Australia since our arrival and blaming their their drownings on people smugglers we call their Culture.

Lookin Philinka’s eyes she’s better than you Bolt, Morrison, Abbott purveyors of the myth of hate for little more than cultural elite ego, and profit. I can’t speak from the personal experience suffered but I can empathize with the general condition you maintain. I can ask you Christian bastards to listen to all our Australian citizens black white or brindle on behalf  our common humanity .



The right’s vile Ferguson ploy: Why they really want to focus on “riots”

The right's vile Ferguson ploy: Why they really want to focus on "riots"

Supporters of Darren Wilson and apologists for Ferguson officials are desperate to change the subject. Here’s why

From the very beginning, before St. Louis County prosecuting attorney Robert McCulloch had uttered the first word of his defensive and dissembling speech, the fix was in. The conspiracy this time was not to protect Officer Darren Wilson from standing trial for the killing of Michael Brown, though that was certainly related. This time, the conspiracy was to organize the announcement of Wilson’s exoneration in as provocative a way as possible. The ultimate goal was to manipulate the public and the press into forgetting the real story of Ferguson — of police brutality and racial injustice — and bickering about the morality of rioting instead.

At the very least, that’s the impression I’ve had throughout the Ferguson controversy, especially as the wait for news from the grand jury dragged on, and as the county’s offices began leaking pro-Wilson factoids like a sieve. And after witnessing last night’s spectacle, which was preceded by multiple delays and conspicuous readying of the state’s police forces, I’m no less convinced that the powers that be in Missouri approached the Wilson verdict with little concern for accountability or justice. All they wanted was to improve the Ferguson power structure’s battered images — not by doing good, but by making the protesters look even worse. It’s a tried and tested strategy; as Rick Perlstein has documented, it helped make Richard Nixon president.

A quick look at the nation’s front pages on Tuesday indicates that the plan worked on some, but fewer perhaps than these would-be Pat Buchanans wanted. By maneuvering to incite disorder and polarize public opinion along race lines, these would-be Nixons probably thought they could “cut the … country in half,” as Buchanan recommended, and walk away with “far the larger half.” But while some of the biggest names out there fell for the trick, focusing on the small number of rioters instead of Wilson’s verdict, most editors understood that the controversy in Ferguson remains what it’s always been: A jarring and dispiriting reminder that the Declaration of Independence’s assertion of universal human equality (the “promissory note,” as Martin Luther King Jr. once called it) remains, for millions of Americans, a debt unpaid.

There’s a lesson here, one that those outraged by what’s happened this year in Ferguson — and happens countless times throughout America, each and every day — should keep in mind as they contribute to our amorphous yet powerful national conversation. Put simply, we must not allow supporters of the Wilson verdict to distract us by making this a conversation about rioting or poverty or race. That’s not to say we should condone the riots; and it’s certainly not to say we should avoid subjects that involve issues of race and poverty. What it means instead is keeping in mind that riots are nothing new, that the unique struggles of the African-American community can’t be simply attributed to poverty, and that discussions of “race” that aren’t linked with specific policy changes often result in little more than frivolous declarations of privilege.

If we can combat the dual influences of a Ferguson elite that wants national attention to drift elsewhere; and a national media that dislikes policy and favors more watchable, clickable, shareable and fundamentally empty manifestations of the culture war — if we can do that, there’s hope that even though the killing of Michael Brown by Darren Wilson will always be an obscenity, it won’t have been entirely in vain. So let’s ignore those in American society who would rather debate the merits of trashing a bodega than the killing of a child, and let’s not listen to those who would use this opportunity to relitigate the civil rights movement, the Rodney King riots or the Trayvon Martin case. Let’s honor the wishes of Michael Brown’s parents and decline to “just make noise” in favor of making “a difference.”

How to define that difference — whether through body cameras on police, constraining the power of prosecutors, mandating that police departments reflect the communities they serve, etc. — is the debate we need to have right now. The culture war can wait.

Elias Isquith Elias Isquith is a staff writer at Salon, focusing on politics. Follow him on Twitter at @eliasisquith, and email him at eisquith@salon.com.

There is no Left: However there is in the mind of the conservative right.

In July, incoming senator James McGrath became the latest Liberal Party politician to accuse the ABC of bias. “While it continues to represent only inner-city leftist views, and funded by our taxes, it is in danger of losing its social licence to operate.” His most senior colleague, Tony Abbott, told the Australian Financial Review while he was opposition leader that “there is still this left-of-centre ethos in the ABC”. Last year, Cory Bernardi launched an impassioned attack on the national broadcaster in a party-room meeting, reportedly calling it “a taxpayer-funded behemoth that is cannibalising commercial media while spreading a message that ignores the majority views of Australians”.

A belief that the ABC is biased toward the “left” is an article of faith among the right that emerged during and after the Vietnam War and the cultural revolution. Bias is now assumed by a small army of media commentators, including Andrew Bolt, Miranda Devine, Janet Albrechtsen, Peter Reith, Gerard Henderson, Alan Jones, Piers Akerman, Greg Sheridan, Sharri Markson, Judith Sloan, Tom Switzer, Paul Kelly, Niki Savva, Nick Cater, etc, etc.

The main problem with the theory that the ABC has a left-wing bias is that it’s not true. None of the neverending stream of independent reviews commissioned by both the ABC and governments from time to time has ever found bias.

And yet, the Right continues to allege bias – and not just in the ABC. News Corp’s flagship tabloid columnist Andrew Bolt, for instance, also finds left-wing bias in the Fairfax press, the universities, the courts, not to mention the Labor Party and the Greens. During the period of the last government he also dismissed as left-wing Tony Windsor and Rob Oakeshott. His list of “leftist columnists in Murdoch’s Australian newspapers” includes Graham Richardson, Laurie Oakes and Malcolm Farr.

To qualify as a “leftist” for Bolt, one must believe at least one of the following heresies: that climate change is happening and man-made; that the Stolen Generations exist; that minorities should be protected from bigotry; that companies should be restricted from selling harmful food products to consumers on the free market; that governments should go into debt during downturns or times of slow growth; that experiences of Indigenous people should be incorporated into the narratives of Australian history; that education should promote critical thought; that governments should support education, health care and public broadcasting out of general revenue; that social security is a vitally important safety net; that taxes should be progressive and redistributive; that prison should be used only rarely; that employees should be entitled to minimum wages and conditions, and penalty rates for long or irregular hours; that drug use should be decriminalised; that fossil fuel-based energy should be replaced by renewable energy sources; that the powers and activities of police, security and intelligence organisations should be kept in check and subject to scrutiny; that most government information should be freely available; that same-sex couples should be allowed to marry; that the power of governments and corporations should be limited and subject to scrutiny; that the rights of people seeking asylum should be protected; that Australia should be a multicultural community. Together, this is broadly the policy platform of the Australian Greens – a political party the right describes as “extreme”.

“Extreme” – or just evidence-based and respectful? Most of the positions in the above paragraph are standard positions based on the best available evidence in respective fields – climate science, history, nutrition science, economics, pedagogy, criminology. Even the idea that governments should invest in preventive health and public education is an uncontroversial conclusion based on economic evidence that governments get a substantial return from investment in these areas – unlike defence, which is often a sunk cost. The above positions on same-sex marriage and asylum seekers and multiculturalism are based on a philosophy of respecting and empathising with people who have come from backgrounds and had experiences different to one’s own.

Labelling these positions “left-wing” is akin to labelling scientific and sociological research as a leftist activity, and compassion and empathy as leftist impulses. This side of the Enlightenment, that’s patently ridiculous.

Not that the ABC or the universities, for instance, can be said to preach these views, or even hold them to the exclusion of all others. What the ABC does, uncommonly among broadcasters in Australia, is allow the space for the discussion of secular and humanist ideas in rational ways. It also allows space for the discussion of non-secular, conservative and dogmatic views, including occasionally socialism and capitalism, though nearly always in a pluralistic framework. The universities do largely the same thing. The Right curiously marginalises itself by calling this kind of pluralism left-wing. Are we to assume the Right wants dogma instead?

The Right in the inappropriately named Liberal Party and its media cheer-squad, however, often take strong positions against the evidence base, and in favour of so-called “conservative” ideas that in practice stigmatise and marginalise people who aren’t causing anybody any harm. Global warming isn’t happening and, if it is, it’s a natural event. The carbon “tax” wasn’t working and it was costing jobs. No Indigenous child was ever stolen for “purely racist” reasons. The responsibility for healthy eating choices rests with individuals, and for children’s choices, with parents. Government budgets should always be in surplus, so downturns should be met with austerity – and Australia’s current budget deficit represents a crisis. We’re spending too much on health and education. Schools should teach children about the achievements of western civilisation, “Judeo-Christian culture”, British settlers and the Australian nation. Welfare recipients are probably bludgers, or “leaners”. Taxes should be regressive and should “reward hard work”. More criminals should go to jail to keep the community safer. Coal should continue to power Australia’s energy needs and its exports. Nobody who has nothing to hide should be worried about more powers for ASIO. Marriage is between a man and a woman.

Many of these positions, when they inform policy, actively cause harm, socially or to the environment. Many ignore lessons of history and research. They’re based on a set of values that are clearly out of step with our best knowledge about human behaviour and the world around us.

* * *

Our values inform our theories of human behaviour and social relations, and our theories in turn become the “frames of reference” we use to understand and analyse other people’s statements or behaviour. If we’re not careful, we can misinterpret another person’s motivations entirely, by applying to them our own frame of reference. Psychologists call this “projection”.

The “Left” that the right complains about – a small, self-interested, influential but out-of-touch and loopy elite that’s engaged in a fierce battle of ideas in the pursuit of weird policy outcomes – doesn’t actually exist. If there’s a group of people that could be described in that way, it’s not “leftists”. It’s the Right.

Those of the Right assume that people who disagree with them are engaged in a similar, explicitly ideological project. Very often, they’re not. Very often, “leftists” are climate scientists, nutritionists, historians, researchers, social workers, teachers, lawyers, humanists. When they intervene in a public debate on the side of the evidence, they often disagree with the Right’s project – and are attacked and/or dismissed as “leftists”.

When Joe Hockey, Gerard Henderson and Judith Sloan establish themselves as unswervingly “pro-business”, they often align themselves with the private interests of corporations – and often against the private interests of employees (in industrial relations disputes), or the public interest in environmental protection, nutritious food and relative social equality. When they establish the maximisation of shareholder returns as the highest value, they see people with different, pro-social values – people for whom the maximisation of shareholder returns has nasty consequences in terms of health and job security – and dismiss them as “left-wing”.

When Andrew Bolt and George Brandis establish themselves as unambiguously in favour of the free expression of bigotry, they align themselves with the private interests of racists, against the private interests of their victims and the public interest in multicultural harmony. When they establish the freedom of bigoted speech as the highest value, they see people with different values and dismiss them as “left-wing”.

The frame of reference the Right uses is self-interest, based on rational choice theory, the theory of human nature that informs economic rationalism. So when the Right sees unions pushing for better pay and conditions for their workers, it sees their activities through the frame of self-interest – and assumes rent-seeking. (The right remains oblivious to, or approving of, the far more prevalent rent-seeking behaviour among corporations.) When the Right is confronted by scientists and governments urging reductions in carbon dioxide emissions, it assumes rent-seeking and goes looking for possible motives. Do the scientists benefit through career advancement? In grant applications?

I’m not suggesting there’s no rent-seeking in unions, that there’s no self-interest in ABC journalists protesting against budget cuts. But the modern Right sees only self-interest through its myopic frame of reference, and dismisses any evidence of alternative values as either deceptive or “extreme”.

* * *

There are senses in which the “Left” can be said to exist, of course. The theory of communist socialism after 1848 and especially 1917 dominated an explicitly left-wing agenda for much of the 20th century, with terrible consequences wherever its proponents took the power of the state. When the modern right complains about “leftists”, it’s as if it’s still fighting the Cold War. But for practical purposes this communist Left doesn’t exist anymore in Australia, and hasn’t for at least 40 years.

There’s an even older Left. The democratic ideas the French commoners propagated in 1789 were “left-wing”, if only because they sat on the left of the Estates General and demanded a National Assembly. “Left” politics came to be associated with the challenge to illegitimate power and privilege.

If this challenge is what the Right objects to when it dismisses scientists, researchers and humanists as “leftists”, then surely that exposes its own project as illegitimate. Surely we’re all democrats now? Even if a pro-democracy, pro-equality attitude could have been described in 1789 (or 1989) as “left-wing”, it’s now being demonstrated – through the work of social epidemiologist Richard Wilkinson, among others – that policies that encourage greater levels of equality within societies actually do generate both material and intangible benefits for everyone.

If a Left exists in Australia at all, now, it’s simply as a shorthand description of those who don’t agree with the prescriptions of the modern Right, which seems primarily interested in reversing many of the intellectual and democratic gains of recent decades and centuries and restoring and confining power and privilege to the few rather than the many. To be labelled “left-wing” by the modern Right is probably an endorsement that one’s ideas are sound.

In the end, the Left exists largely in the Right’s own mind – as a straw man onto which to project its delusional and self-interested chatter.

A Wee Case Study in How Fox News Makes Shit Up…..It’s a source of Boltisms

My sprained ankle is recovering nicely, but I’m still taking more frequent breaks than usual to elevate it and keep the swelling down. Naturally that means more TV watching, which is how I ended up viewing a segment on Fox a few minutes ago about President Obama’s declining approval rating on the economy in the latest Gallup poll. Both the fill-in anchor and Fox’s poll analyst claimed to be puzzled: the economy is showing signs of life lately, after all. So how is it possible that Obama’s approval ratings were falling?

The poll analyst had an answer ready: Obamacare. You see, as it becomes ever clearer that Obamacare is a raging disaster, people are assuming that means disaster for the economy as well. They think it means higher taxes, bigger deficits, more inflation, higher copays, etc. etc. etc. And what with all the news about pieces of the law being postponed, clearly the public really is expecting a disaster of biblical proportions.

Perhaps this just sounds like standard Fox News nitwittery? Not at all! Because the two on-air personalities weren’t just shooting the breeze about stuff they had no evidence for. They did have evidence. They had the evidence of the very same Gallup poll they were commenting on in the first place. You see, Gallup actually asked people if they approved of Obama’s healthcare policy. And guess what? It’s pretty much unchanged. If the American public is expecting an epic healthcare meltdown over the next few months, they sure aren’t showing it. And they sure aren’t blaming Obama for it.

This is what sets Fox News apart from the common herd. Aside from Shep Smith, whose bipartisan contempt for idiocy appeals to me, I barely ever watch Fox. I only do it in the mornings if I have to spend some time doing a boring exercise, or elevating my ankle, or something similar that plunks me in front of the TV. But despite the rarity of that happening, practically every segment I ever see produces some kind of obvious boneheaded misdirection that’s worthy of a blog post. Every one. It’s amazing. It’s one thing to blather on in the absence of facts, but it’s quite another to deliberately ignore evidence right in front of your face because it would interfere with whatever agitprop you happen to feel like phoning in. At some point, you’d think it would get embarrassing, especially on what’s supposed to be a straight-news show. But it never does.

The never Bolted down Tim Winton proud observant and ready to use the C-word without being red.Brilliant perception and empathy of movement through our moment of mobility.

Some thoughts about class in Australia

The C word

Rupert Murdoch’s Australian dream. A Media Fiefdom

Does Australia really need a national newspaper? Or is its existence just about one man’s pride? The man who helped established The Australian with Rupert Murdoch, Rodney E. Lever, comments.

IN 1911, THE LABOR GOVERNMENT under Andrew Fisher consolidated existing local and State banks into one Commonwealth-owned bank to secure and support the wealth pouring from the gold miners, as well as sheep, cattle and general agriculural farming led by the squattocracy.

In the British mind, Australia was still a colony and the mother country was entitled to a share of Australia’s wealth. When Victoria suffered a major financial crash after feverish home and roads building for a growing population between 1890 to 1901, the British banks felt no obligation.

Ben Chifley became prime minister of Australia at the end of World War II and went to an Imperial postwar conference in London with his Director-General of the Department for Postwar Reconstruction, H. C. (“Nugget”) Coombs, where together they ensured that the Commonwealth Bank of Australia would be able to meet the needs of their own country without future reliance from the exhausted British Empire.

During the period of the Victorian crash, a bankruptcy lawyer named Theodore Fink made a personal fortune from the crash. He found an obscure legal avenue in British law that had been copied word for word into Australian Law and remained there even after Federation. That discovery saved many businessman and some newspaper owners from debtor’s prison. In lieu of payment, Fink took property and land, as well as taking possession of a number of early Victorian newspapers.

In 1900, Fink amalgamated the newspapers and registered a company as the Herald and Weekly Times and subsequently employed Keith Murdoch as editor of The Herald.

Keith Murdoch, Rupert Murdoch’s father, rose through the company to become a director and, when Fink died in 1942, became chairman.

After his father’s death, Rupert genuinely expected that he would replace Keith as the head of the company, or at least obtain a senior role. He told me about it himself.  He said he had been robbed of his inheritance.

He was refused a place on the board. He would have to earn that position first and he was not popular in the company’s executive management. His mother, against Rupert’s wishes, was persuaded to sell Keith’s own Herald and Courier-Mail shares back to the company.

Rupert chose to use what was left of the family’s assets after death duties to establish himself in the publishing business.

One of the Murdoch family assets was the magazine publisher, Southdown Press, in Melbourne, as well as the Adelaide afternoon paper, The News. He continued to use the National Bank to finance his future acquisitions. The chairman of the National Bank, John Getty, had replaced Keith Murdoch as chairman of the Herald and Weekly Times.

Ron Corbett was in charge of the finance at Southdown Press. We often played weekend golf with two senior executives of the CBA and discussed switching our accounts from the National Bank.

The Fairfax family then purchased the Norton papers, including the afternoon Daily Mirror and the three editions of the weekly Truth in Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne, before virtually handing them over to Rupert so that he would then be satisfied.

When Rupert completed his purchase of the Truth group, he made me the manager for the incipient, yet still unnamed, national newspaper.

The first serious plans for the new national paper began in Melbourne, in a rented building conveniently across the road from Truth. There was no lift. Visitors had to climb a staircase up three levels to the very top offices occupied by a small staff of salesmen, hoping to raise support by securing early advertising contracts.

Keith Barrow, the Adelaide News’ advertising manager, had a heart problem and died tragically soon after coming to Melbourne. Rupert was bounding up those stairs one day and saw Keith struggling.

Rupert told Keith’s deputy:

“Keith’s too fucking old. Tell him to go home.”

Keith came to see me and cried. I gave him a cup of tea and my best advice.

His deputy came to me also in tears, asking:

“What should I do?”

Keith died one week later.

He had worked for The News all his life.

I was required to fly to Canberra every Monday morning for what was loosely described as a “conference”. More accurately it was a “free for all.” The growing number of would-be journalists and executives were all pushing their own often impractical ideas.

Rupert asked me what “column rules” were. Someone had urged column rules and someone else was demanding no column rules. It was that silly!

I wrote an article for Crikey some years ago describing how journalists and would-be editors had flocked to Rupert’s door wanting to be part Australia’s new national newspaper.

Some practical issues bothered me. Not least of them was how papers printed in Canberra could be distributed all over Australia seven days a week. The more I thought about it, the more impossible it seemed.

Anybody who has lived in Canberra for some time would know of its notorious and unpredictable winter weather. Interstate and international planes were often locked in by heavy cloud, particularly early in the day.

Rupert said he would use private charter planes. But charter planes and passenger planes were frequently locked on the ground sometimes until lunchtime. Canberra’s winter weather is notorious for heavy fogs that last for hours. Private charter planes faced the same control tower restrictions as commercial passenger planes.

Thousands of freshly printed copies of the new paper sat nearly all day until it was too late to send them. They went to the tip instead. Reliability and regularity are essential for regular newspaper readers.

When I was a night-shift copy boy at the Daily Telegraph, earning twenty five shillings a week, I would nearly always be too late to catch the Manly ferry home.

Sometimes I slept on a couch in the Women’s Weekly offices on the top floor. Other times, I would hitch a ride on one of the trucks that delivered the papers to newsagents on the beaches from Manly to Palm Beach.

I made friends with the Manly driver and we had a deal that I could ride on the back of his truck and throw off the marked bundles at each of the newsagents. It saved the Manly driver time and got me home before dawn.

I would jump off at the Corso and he would go further north. I had a one-and-a half-mile walk up a steep hill to reach Bower Street.

I told Rupert that he had serious problems getting The Australian distributed if they arrived late. The agents already did two runs for home deliveries every day. They’d never do a third run.

“Crap.” he said. “They’ll have to do another.”

There was nothing in the agent’s contract that required three daily deliveries.

Agents have rights, too. They would deliver The Australian with the afternoon paper, effectively a day late with the yesterday’s news. Customers were soon cancelling The Australian in droves, refusing to pay the agents.

Rodney E. Lever generously gifted Independent Australia with the first (incredibly rare) dummy edition and number one edition (above) newpaper pulled off their respective print runs.

After a dummy edition was produced on July 14, 1964, the first public edition of The Australian paper was distributed the next day.

“A clean and handsome thing,” wrote Keith Inglis in Nation magazine after, 1964. It was the only really good thing one could find to say about a paper that led its front page with an hysterical beatup threatening the collapse of the Federal coalition. It didn’t happen then and it hasn’t happened since.

In Canberra, I met Solly Chandler, who had retired from Fleet Street after a long stint as deputy to the legendary Arthur Christiansen, editor of Max Aitken’s Daily Express for 24 years, and the man who revolutionised newspaper layout and set new standards that the rest of Fleet Street eagerly copied.

Hank Bateson of the Sydney Mirror was The Australian‘s editorial manager in 1964. A level-headed veteran of the Norton group, Hank was enthusiastic for Solly to be editor. Others argued that the editor of the new national daily had to be someone born in Australia.

In the end, Rupert chose an economics graduate with disputed journalistic abilities. It was the first and worst mistake he made, the forerunner of many more. None of Rupert’s papers have had so much pressure put on the staff than The Australian. The level of internal disputation, the on-the-spot sacking of a range of great editors and journalists were all signs it would never last.

It beggars the use of the word “if.”

In the aftermath, just about everybody wished for Solly Chandler, an all-round newspaperman; an editor and writer as well as a creative technician. He had a puckish sense of humour and a gift for attracting bucket-loads of readership, whether he was running a racy tabloid or a sober politicised broadsheet.

Rupert had hired Solly to be the editor of The Australian. On one of my early visits to Canberra, he told me the sad story of how the whole concept had turned into disarray and calamity. In the frenzy of personal ambition that surrounded Rupert at that time, he was run over by the pack.

Solly was a quiet, modest man of few words, but a mercilessly ruthless editor ‒ he never sacked people, he “strangled” them ‒ and he demanded the best.

When Solly came to Melbourne to edit Truth, he and I became close friends, attending race meetings,  dog tracks and hobnobbing with some of the more powerful personalities and politicians. He had a way of making friends and influencing people, and picking up odd conversations that he turned into a story.

He would hang out with state premiers, federal politicians, senior public servants and some of Victoria’s worst criminals. At first, he was working close to 24 hours a day, sleeping in the office, and writing most of the paper himself, leaving only the racing editor, Ron Taylor and Molly O’Connell — Truth‘s jealous guardian of the paper’s archives and an incredible source of information.

Everybody else, he strangled.

Truth began to attract a team of brilliant young journalists, most of who are still alive and working elsewhere.  At the end of his first year, Solly had doubled the circulation, then trebled it.

Solly’s wife Wynn was a joyful personality. When my wife, Pam, gave birth to a daughter, Wynn came to our house and stayed for several weeks. She looked after all our young children, bathing them, putting them to bed, reading them stories, giving Pam the break she badly needed, since I had long hours at work.

Solly Chandler (right) and Hank Bateson looking at a page one proof with Murdoch on 15 July 1964. (Image via Inside Story)

I wrote a story myself for Truth and it splashed the front page. The Hollywood movie star Judy Garland came to sing to a huge Melbourne audience in the old John Wren wrestling stadium, as did other stars from time to time, including Frank Sinatra and Bob Hope.

Judy Garland was an hour and a half late that night and so inebriated when she finally arrived that she could barely squark the words of her traditional musical triumphs. It was a Thursday night and a tragic experience that brought tears to the eyes of the thousand or so people who had waited for her. I was sorry for her but I had to go back to the Truth office and write a story, without being too cruel.

In Truth, Solly had captured the spirit of John Norton. It was too much for Dame Elisabeth Murdoch. When Rupert closed Melbourne Truth, it was because his mother was embarrassed. Unwittingly, Solly had stepped into an area that shook the good and not-so-good citizens of Toorak, her friends and her charity contributors. It was as simple as that. Ultimately, Rupert closed Truth in Sydney and Brisbane. The era of the wild men was over.

Solly went to Sydney seeking another job. I was in Darwin then. He wrote me a long private and personal letter. I didn’t even have time to reply. Solly died just a day or two later while among friends at the Hotel Australia. He suddenly collapsed on the floor and was dead. He loved to sip a good brandy, but I never ever saw him drunk. It was too late for me to write back.

Solly had attributes that could have made The Australian a great newspaper. He was not just a tabloid man, or a Truth man. He was a newspaper giant who understood that elegant design, good concise writing, a sense of humour and intelligent and substantial content all need to work together to make a newspaper successful.

The Australian today shows no sign of ever being able to reach a peak of excellence comparable with Brian Penton’s wartime Telegraph or The Age in E G Perkins’ short seven years as editor or Ted Bray’s Courier-Mail.

It falls well short of Melbourne’s Herald and The Sun in the days when Rupert’s father worked for Theodor Fink (the true founder of the Herald and Weekly Times and its chairman for 40 years, but now the invisible man in the company history).

Keith Murdoch learned his craft as a reporter in the streets and suburbs of Melbourne, not at Oxford University where Rupert learned nothing. He has been criticised for his leanings in politics, but Keith is still a significant memory, as well as having formed the crucial partnership between the famous Reuters news service and AAP, he was a genuine, if often controversial, newspaperman.

His personal papers in the archives of the National Gallery in Canberra have revealed more of his character than any of the books he inspired. Childhood speech difficulties made it easier for him to write than talk. Many of the notes he wrote to members of his staff exist in his personal papers.

To his editorial staff:

‘No cheap or sloppy thought should find expression in our papers. We should always leave the reader feeling he has been reading a wholesome, fragrant newspaper, fearless in tone but appreciative of all that is good.’

To a reporter:

‘The general public is censorious, suspicious, and self-opinionated. We should always remember this. The reader does not always believe everything we say.’

To one editor:

‘Flaring headlines over flimsy matter simply nauseates readers.’

How true. How true indeed.