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Archive for the ‘News Limited’ Category

Using Thatcher’s death to rewrite history, past and present

In Ideology, Misogyny, News Limited, Sarah Capper on April 18, 2013 at 5:17 PM

Thatcher-loc

By Sarah Capper, Sheilas Editor

Source: Sheilas
18 April 2013

When Germaine Greer penned a piece on the late “crocodile hunter” Steve Irwin for the Guardian shortly after his death from a stingray puncture, it was followed by howls of protest from all parts of the globe. Greer ended her ‘barbed’ take on the much-loved ‘Aussie legend’ with:

“The animal world has finally taken its revenge on Irwin, but probably not before a whole generation of kids in shorts seven sizes too small has learned to shout in the ears of animals with hearing 10 times more acute than theirs, determined to become millionaire animal-loving zoo-owners in their turn.”

As a result, Greer was lambasted as insensitive, cruel and GASP, “unaustralian” for daring to write such a critique. Some called for her to be banned from entering the country again. The National Portrait Gallery replaced a picture of Greer with – you guessed it – Steve Irwin.

In such situations, the assumption is that we should never speak ill of the dead, even if those who have died have been major public figures and divisive ones at that.

Former British Prime Minister Baroness Margaret Thatcher was indeed one such public figure, who at the helm of the United Kingdom during the 1980s presided over policies which had huge impacts on the people she governed. Her passing last week led to a barrage of global tributes from political leaders of various persuasions.

In response, Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard said that “as a woman, I am admiring of her achievements on becoming the first woman to lead the United Kingdom”.

Locally, conservative columnists took the opportunity to elevate the memory of Britain’s first and only female PM as a chance to sink the boot into Australia’s first and current female Prime Minister.

Under the headline ‘JULIA’S NO MAGGIE’, News Limited columnist Andrew Bolt lambasted Gillard’s response to the news as “pathetic and graceless”, as “Thatcher never sold herself as a victim or just a representative of her gender”.

Bolt used his column to have another spray at Emily’s List, a terrible organisation in the eyes of the Bolt’s of this world, which, god forbid, aims to support progressive women in political positions within the Australian Labor Party.

Referring to an Emily’s List function two years ago, Bolt quoted Gillard at the event as saying she “didn’t get here [to be Australia’s first female Prime Minister] alone … I think of all the women who made my journey possible … a century of activism by women of matchless courage and resolve.” Read the rest of this entry »

So who is threatening our democracy?

In Journalism, Media Reform, MSM, News Limited on March 20, 2013 at 10:39 AM

Is that the truth or did you read it in The Daily Telegraph?

Daily Telegraph Front Page 19 March 2013

Daily Telegraph Front Page 19 March 2013

Daily Telegraph Front Page March 13, 2013

Daily Telegraph Front Page March 13, 2013

Daily Telegraph Front Page 18 March 2013

Daily Telegraph Front Page 18 March 2013

Is that the truth or did you read it in The Daily Telegraph? Read the rest of this entry »

@Barnaby_Joyce states the case for Labor’s media merger ‘public interest test’: How will the Nats vote?

In Democracy, Fairfax, Freedom of Speech, Margo Kingston, Media Reform, MSM, News Limited on March 17, 2013 at 5:05 PM
Barnaby Joyce Picture: Kym Smith

Barnaby Joyce: We need YOU to talk to your local MP. Picture: Kym Smith

By Margo Kingston
March 17, 2013

The National Party has long opposed further media domination by Rupert Murdoch, as detailed in the two media policy chapters in my book. It fought against John Howard’s weakening of media concentration laws to facilitate Murdoch expansion, and Barnaby Joyce actually crossed the floor in 2006 to vote for his amendment to limit the damage of Howard’s legislation. Guess what he wanted – a public interest test for big media mergers! And that is what the ALP has proposed.

So, now that Labor wants to pass a modest roll-back of Howard’s laws to allow the Media Advocate to stop very, very big media – ie Murdoch – gobbling up even more players if it is not in the public interest, where do the Nats stand?

Apparently the MSM hasn’t bothered to look into the Coalition’s opposition to the two contentious Labor bills – media diversity and tougher self-regulation. Does no-one in the press gallery have a memory? (By the way, there used to be Liberals who cared about media diversity too, but they are long dis-endorsed or silenced; you can read about them in my book too).

So, to encourage the Gallery to do some work, here is a media release and a speech in 2006 by Barnaby explaining the reasons for his stand. Perhaps someone in the Press Gallery – anyone – might care to seek his opinion now?

Cross media ownership may threaten democratic process

Nationals Senator for Queensland, Senator Barnaby Joyce has stated “Though not the highest profile issue, the proposed changes to media ownership laws are probably one of the most important. Decisions made now will have ramifications for the future concentration of media and the roll out of new technology.

“The Queensland Nationals have long recognised the issue and their concerns were reflected in the unanimous resolution, at State Conference, to protect local journalism and stop the overcentralisation of views which can only be to the detriment of democratic process. The Nationals have pursued this purpose since State Conference and, with work conducted by Nationals’ Senators, have pursued these concerns through the recent Senate Inquiry.

“A major concern with cross media remains the over centralisation of the media market and the lack of capacity of the ACCC to have effective oversight of media mergers and their effect on the democratic process of our nation. The ACCC has no powers to be, nor was it set up to be the arbiter and protector of a diversity of public opinion.

“I share the view of the Productivity Commission, noted in its report on broadcasting, that the introduction of a public interest test, with particular emphasis on diversity of political and public opinion, in relation to media mergers or acquisitions, must be a central feature of any media reforms.

“Working through the processes of the Senate and with the Minister, the Nationals will do their very best to come up with the best mechanism to protect diversity in light of the intention of the Minister to achieve passage of this Bill.” Senator Joyce said.

 

An explanation of 2 issues, cross media ownership and the merger and acquisitions process

Here is a brief explanation of a complex agenda which is currently in train in Canberra. This is an explanation of two issues, cross media ownership and the mergers and acquisitions process, as laid out in the Trade Practices Amendment Bill (no.1). This is a discussion on how they are linked. Read the rest of this entry »

My conversation with a Murdoch press release

In Freedom of Speech, Journalism, Media Reform, MSM, News Limited on March 16, 2013 at 7:35 PM
Created by George Bludger @GeorgeBludger via http://www.flickr.com/photos/georgebludger

Created by George Bludger @GeorgeBludger via http://www.flickr.com/photos/georgebludger

By Margo Kingston
March 16, 2013

https://twitter.com/margokingston1/status/312463108075573248 Read the rest of this entry »

Media reform laws address abuses of long-fought for freedoms

In Democracy, Journalism, Media Reform, MSM, News Limited on March 15, 2013 at 5:59 PM

Aivev1L

By Matt da Silva (@mattdasilva)
March 15th, 2013
Source:Happy Antipodean

In a useful run-down on his blog, journalism law academic Mark Pearson outlines some objections to the government’s proposed media reform legislation. It is a little brief and although it starts out promisingly, political concerns quickly rush to the fore. Here’s his first objection, near the top:

Here we have a piece of legislation proposing a statutory mechanism for the supervision of industry-based self-regulation of print and online news media.

That, dear readers, is ‘regulation’.

Fair enough, and we’ll get to my reaction to this point later.

But for people interested in understanding the implications of the proposed laws in terms of the Privacy Act, Pearson’s blog post is very useful. There has been no explanation like his from the ABC, Fairfax or News Ltd. Kim Williams, the News Ltd CEO, appeared on Sky News, but he simply echoed the uninformative tropes that were spun on the media reform issue by the Daily Terror and the Australian. These kinds of rants merely use the public’s ignorance as a bludgeon with which to punish the government.

Pearson, on the other hand, goes through the detail of what could happen if the laws got through Parliament, and how they could materially affect publishers of news. He informs us, which is one of the things that journalists who go to school to study the profession are told is a key component of their craft. Please read his blog post if you have time – you will not regret it.

Pearson then looks back to what he says is the ‘politics that has cruelled this whole media regulation review over the past 18 months’.

What he’s referring to are reactions from politicians to the hacking scandal that engulfed the media in the UK, the repercussions of which continue to play out. As part of the debacle, News Corp’sNews of the World newspaper was shut down in July 2011.There was also Bob Brown’s famous “hate media” spray in May 2011 that took place in front of a group of reporters at Parliament House.

In essence, Pearson is saying that dissatisfaction among politicians on the Left combined with universal horror at what had happened in the UK motivated them to launch the Finkelstein Inquiry, which began in mid-September 2011 and reported to the government in February 2012. Between February 2012 and March 2013 the communications minister, Stephen Conroy, was also looking at the Convergence Review, which was about media ownership rules.

Or he wasn’t, I don’t know. It seems like a long time to make us wait. Waiting ensures that the original emotions associated with the issues drift away from popular consciousness and it dulls the debate, opening it up to exploitation by interested parties.

What a lot of people have completely forgotten about is Robert Manne’s Quarterly Essay on News Ltd’s Australian, which came out in September 2011. Titled Bad News, it made points that are extremely germane to how the current debate is panning out. But it’s old history, you might say. No, it’s not. Just listen to what Manne says, keeping in mind Bob Brown’s expressions of unhappiness.

It is an unusually ideological paper, committed to advancing the causes of neoliberalism in economics and neoconservatism in the sphere of foreign policy. Its style and tone are unlike that of any other newspaper in the nation’s history. The Australian is ruthless in pursuit of those who oppose its worldview – market fundamentalism, minimal action on climate change, the federal Intervention in indigenous affairs, uncritical support for the American alliance and for Israel, opposition to what it calls political correctness and moral relativism.

Note that Manne was still working on the essay when Brown made his position plain in May 2011, but it’s no coincidence that they both sing from the same score. I wrote about Manne’s essay when it came out.  And I also wrote about the reaction from News Ltd a week later. That reaction mirrors in its tone and general character the reaction we’ve seen in the past few days of News Ltd newspapers to Conroy’s proposed media reform laws. Read the rest of this entry »

Sane analysis and comment on media reform

In Fairfax, Journalism, Margo Kingston, Media Reform, MSM, News Limited on March 15, 2013 at 1:54 PM

au_financial_review.750

By Margo Kingston
March 15, 2013

In this post we’ve linked to sane analysis and commentary on media reform. We’ve also asked you to nominate a fair, accurate and balanced MSM news story  – the criteria print media groups tell their self-regulation body the Press Council they strive for. If you can bear it, here is Crikey’s wrap of the print media reaction.

I have been told by an informed source that Murdoch’s media have gone troppo on strengthening self-regulation as a bait and switch tactic. On this view, freedom of the press is a smokescreen for their real objection, that the proposed new laws would seek to limit even more concentration of media ownership by rolling Foxtel into News Ltd. Murdoch also wants all cross media laws abolished. ‘They are playing different game to the one everyone is watching’.

So questions for Abbott, if anyone in the MSM can be bothered – do you support the governments proposals on cross media ownership and strengthening provisions to protect Australians from more concentration of media ownership?

Abbott is a puppet of Murdoch. Be afraid.

Anyone seen anything on what the media reforms would mean for the size and reach of Murdoch’s Australian empire? Is there anything out there?

Here are the sane pieces we’ve found so far. More nominations welcome.

ABC The Drum

Tim Dunlop: Consumers won’t pay for news they don’t trust

The Conversation

Terry Flew: Low-key Conroy proposals are media reform lite

Martin Hirst: From ‘hate media’ to another fine mess: How media reform got derailed

Susan Forde: Media reform: hysterical attacks on weak Conroy suggestions tell the real story

Crikey

Bernard Keane: The Stalinist nightmare of the media regulating itself

Bernard Keane: If you want to see government control of journalism, try this:

Matthew Knott: Freedom of speech at risk? How Conroy’s advocate could hurt

Magaret Simons: Minimalist media reform that only starts the job (Paywall)

NewMatilda

Wendy Bacon: Conroy’s All Or Nothing Media Reforms

Ben Eltham: The Media And The Arts Both Need Diversity

The Global Mail

Mike Seccombe: The New Growth Industry: Fact Creation 

The Failed Estate

Jim Parker: The Real Despots

Macro Business

Of comrade Cconroy and the loon pond

Fairfax

Elizabeth Knight  Shrill response to media reforms

The Australian Independent Media Network

Alan Austin: News Limited’s tawdry campaign proves Conroy’s point

ABC

Barry Cassidy: ‘Breathtaking’ reaction from News Limited

Richard Aedy: Reporting on yourself – Media coverage of its own reform and regulations

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The MSM won’t report this, so here’s Gillard and Conroy on media reform

In Freedom of Speech, Journalism, Media Reform, MSM, News Limited, Press Gallery on March 13, 2013 at 10:09 PM
Photo Alex Ellinghausen @ellinghausen  #thepulselive

Photo Alex Ellinghausen @ellinghausen #thepulselive

Question Time House of Representatives March 13, 2013

Mr TURNBULL (Wentworth) (14:29): My question is to the Prime Minister. Can she provide the House examples of published content in breach of the standards her government wishes to enforce through the Public Interest Media Advocate? Is the front page of today’s Telegraph such an example? If she cannot provide any examples, what exactly is the mischief, the problem, that her new media controls are intended to address?

Ms GILLARD (Lalor—Prime Minister) (14:30): I thank the member for Wentworth for his question and I understand its motivations. I understand that the opposition have decided to seek some political advantage by bandwagoning with media interests and media organisations, transparent—and bordering on the laughable—as that is. Yes, it is.

Opposition members interjecting—

Ms GILLARD: I am glad the opposition have the good grace to laugh when their motivations on this matter are transparently exposed. To the member for Wentworth I would say this: before we get into any sanctimonious nonsense about freedom of speech, it was under the Howard government that two journalists—

Opposition members interjecting—

The SPEAKER: Order! There seems to be sanctimonious disrespect for the standing orders. I am not going to preside over, yet again, another day when not a word can be heard in this chamber. The Prime Minister has the call.

Ms GILLARD: Yes—this is the kind of hypocrisy that we see from the opposition. It was under the Howard government that two News Limited journalists faced jail for contempt of court. The reaction of the Howard government: do nothing. The reaction of this government: provide journalist shield laws. It was under the Howard government that churches would have their grants taken away—their services smashed—if they spoke out against government policy.

Mr Turnbull: Madam Speaker, I rise on a point of order. This is not relevant. I am more than happy to debate freedom of the press. I have asked the Prime Minister—

The SPEAKER: The member for Wentworth will resume his seat. The Prime Minister has the call. Read the rest of this entry »

Murdoch’s war: 175 generals on song

In Iraq War, Journalism, Margo Kingston, MSM, News Limited on March 13, 2013 at 4:10 PM
davies_writing_on_the_wall

Artist Martin Davies. Writing on the wall

By Margo Kingston
February 19, 2003

Rupert Murdoch is pro-war, and thinks a lower price for oil after Iraq is conquered will be better than a tax cut. After those comments (see Murdoch: Cheap oil the prize), a reader sent me Their master’s voice by Roy Greenslade in The Guardian, which reports that all 175 Murdoch editors around the world just happen to agree with their boss. It begins:

‘What a guy! You have got to admit that Rupert Murdoch is one canny press tycoon because he has an unerring ability to choose editors across the world who think just like him. How else can we explain the extraordinary unity of thought in his newspaper empire about the need to make war on Iraq? After an exhaustive survey of the highest-selling and most influential papers across the world owned by Murdoch’s News Corporation, it is clear that all are singing from the same hymn sheet. Some are bellicose baritone soloists who relish the fight. Some prefer a less strident, if more subtle, role in the chorus. But none, whether fortissimo or pianissimo, has dared to croon the anti-war tune. Their master’s voice has never been questioned.’

The reader wrote: ‘It is unrealistic to think that media owners do not influence media content and this article attests to an agenda beyond – and unfortunately more sinister than – objective news reporting (if there is still such a thing these days). You only have to pick up a copy of the Daily Telegraph to know that Murdoch’s papers are pushing for a war. On one hand, it astounds me that Murdoch is so unabashedly blatant about his pro-war stance as it relates to cheaper oil if the coalition of the willing is successful, and yet I find his honesty a breath of fresh air amid the pretences and lies of Bush, Blair, Howard.’

Jack Robertson was so incensed by yesterday’s Daily Telegraph that he penned a Meeja Watch on Murdoch’s war. Sue Stock in Nimbin, NSW recommends medialens for ‘critical reporting on the media’s role on the Iraq situation, particularly in the UK’. Veteran journalist Phillip Knightley’s speech to an Evatt foundation seminar I attended on Sunday on the death of investigative journalism and what to expect of the impending war coverage is at evatt.

After Jack, expat Kerryn Higgs reports on the rallies in New York and Barcelona. To end, Phil Clarke’s choice of Wilfred Owen’s WWI poems, which “might bring home the reality of war which seems to be missing from the debates”.

“Owen was killed in action 1918,and it is frightening to think that his poems are now nearly 100 years old and still so applicable”.

I’ve just published Harry Heidelberg’s column on Chirac’s untimely outbreak of French arrogance, Chirac blows it. Me, I remember a comment by the Herald’s then foreign affairs correspondent in Canberra, David Lague, when I asked if he was boycotting French goods in protest at its nuclear testing in the Pacific. “Think big picture, Margo. France is the only western nation prepared to take on the United States.”

The war is so dominant in people’s minds that the NSW election can’t get off the ground, but we’ll launch the election webpage next week regardless. I’ve just published the fourth article by our planning and development commentator Kevin RozzoliCommunity consultation: A plan of action, and commentator Noel Hadjimichael’s column on questions voters might like to ask before they vote, Labor’s lost years. He begins:

‘Given the informal acknowledgement by both sides of NSW politics that we facing a short three week campaign – during which time the caretaker Carr administration will do its utmost to play by the rules – voters should look back over the past four years and ask themselves three questions:

1. What has Bob Carr done to improve our lifestyle, job prospects or environment since 1999?

2. Who has performed best in their roles as Ministers over this period?

3. What does the next four years offer?’ Read the rest of this entry »

Media despots, tsars and henchmen bury media reform

In Democracy, Fairfax, Freedom of Speech, Journalism, MSM, News Limited, Noely Neate on March 13, 2013 at 11:52 AM
Daily Telegraph Front Page March 13 2013

Daily Telegraph Front Page March 13 2013

By Noely Nate
March 13, 2013
OMG! Australian Media Reform means the sky falling in, freedom of the press under attack, the Government trying to gag the media.  Growing anger at ‘Soviet’ media reforms, Gillard’s Henchman Attacks Our Freedom (great Mao photoshop on that one). My personal favourite is Press tsar to check standards from The Australian, our supposedly pre-eminent National paper.  Hell, even Blind Freddy can see the theme here.

I thought the hyperventilation on Sky News and ABC24 yesterday afternoon was bad enough, but no, the News Limited papers seriously out-did themselves this morning.  I have spent the last few hours toiling away reading all the opinions on the ‘Threat to our Democracy’ that media reform is and so far, to my great shame as an Australian citizen, I have only found one article that actually acknowledged that these changes are aimed at giving Australians the diversity of news & media that they deserve.

Commando Conroy’s roll of the dice – of course the main thrust of Ms Murphy’s opinion is the ‘desperation of the Labor Government’, though I did find this gem below which tosses the ignorant punter a crumb of respect:

‘Making sure Australia’s currently woeful level of media diversity doesn’t get worse, and journalists conform with their own avowed professional standards are, after all, worthy public policy objectives in this country – uncontentious to anyone outside the industry.’

I know if you read the papers you might have missed this very salient point, but these reforms are actually supposed to help us – the customer, voter, citizen, the distracted masses outside of the seats of power who actually rely on the media to inform us.

The vast majority of the public still get their information from the mainstream media, not social media as Malcolm Turnbull maintains.  He also maintains that the public can ‘discern where truth lies’. I suggest that they cannot. Given full information from the media yes they could, though when it is the media themselves deciding what they will or will not tell the Australian public, we poor punters have no idea what the truth is at all.

The sad state of the likes of Meet The Press is a perfect example. The re-vamped version is produced by News Limited using News Limited resources and staff. The title is perilously close to false advertising because you are not meeting the press, you are meeting the News Limited press. Anyone else see an issue with this?

The great unwashed are, in general, blissfully unaware of the fact we really do not have any diversity of media in this country.  Looking at Queensland alone, punters are amazed when they find out that ONE company owns or has an interest in The Australian (our major national paper), The Courier Mail (our only state-wide paper) and Foxtel (popular in regional Qld due to poor TV reception)./ Even the NRL does not escape the News Ltd clutches. How can any one person with even the smallest dose of common-sense think that ONE person owning that much power to influence the public is a good thing?
“There is a reason that the charming Mr John Birmingham refers to this company as “News Ltd Death Star”, the pop culture reference is extremely apt.”

Murdoch apology front page on #NOTW

Murdoch apology front page on News of the World

Would we think that having one company supplying 75% of food to the nation as a good thing? Basically News Ltd rules our media. There is also Fairfax. The average person on the street is already cranky about the Coles Woolworths duopoly, so why the hell do the media think that only having two main players in the print media sector is ok and not being abused? Read the rest of this entry »

The round-up: For whom the poll ticks

In Fairfax, News Limited, Press Gallery, Sarah Capper on February 28, 2013 at 10:46 PM
Sarah Capper

Sarah Capper

By Sarah Capper, Sheilas Editor


VOTER support for Labor has jumped to its strongest levels since the last election to put the federal government within striking distance of the Coalition …

This story appeared not two years ago, not six months ago, but less than six weeks ago, on 15 January, 2013 (in The Australian newspaper, ‘Labor starts poll year with bounce: Newspoll’ by David Crowe).

Fast forward six weeks and it’s an entirely different story, with the mainstream media’s coverage on the federal Government’s opinion poll fortunes as being incredibly dire, with doom and gloom scenarios abounding – the resurrecting of has-been Kevin Rudd leadership challenge possibilities, with commentators once again (gleefully) issuing death toll bells for Prime Minister Julia Gillard.

The Murdoch press has never been a great fan of the Gillard Government, with a history of editorials and columnists aplenty going on the attack throughout the course of this minority government’s duration. Following last week’s Nielsen poll, which has the gap widening between the Government and Opposition, calls for Gillard’s head were not just limited to reports by News Limited journalists.

ABC Drum columnist Barrie Cassidy noted the switch in collective commentary, writing that:

Troubling for the Government, Fairfax at varying levels has joined News Ltd in baying for Julia Gillard’s blood.

Cue Mark Baker, Alan Stokes and Waleed Aly (and a raft of others) who wrote scathing opinion pieces last week which could cause even the most ardent of social democrats to choke on their Weeties and feel that all hope was lost.

Baker: It’s time, Labor. Time to end the delusion that Julia Gillard and her battle-scarred camp followers have any chance of political resurrection. Kevin Rudd might well be a very naughty boy, but Labor has no choice but to test whether he still has the makings of a messiah. It is the only card this discredited, demoralized and dysfunctional government has left to play.

Stokes: Julia Gillard, it is time for you to make your graceful, dignified, humble, selfless exit from the prime-ministership.

Aly: Labor’s problems are not nearly so managerial and technocratic. They are much, much bigger than that. Labor’s problem is ideological. It doesn’t really mean anything any more, and probably hasn’t since Paul Keating lost power in 1996. Read the rest of this entry »