The Real Despots

The front pages of Rupert Murdoch’s tabloids in Australia on Wednesday tell you everything you needed to know about the case for media reform in this country.

A modest, some would say timid, response by Communications Minister Stephen Conroy to the Convergence Review and the independent media review of Ray Finkelstein was met with an hysterical, deceitful and typically self-serving response by the press.

Western suburbs commuters could be forgiven for expecting a morning raid from the secret police after being confronted by the Daily Telegraph’s front page comparing Conroy to Stalin, Mao, Mugabe, Castro and every other go-to despot bar Hitler. Continue reading

Who Protects Us From Stupid?

It was a bit of fun that flouted the rules, says Jonathon Holmes. The outrage is another example of nanny statism by meddling lefties, says Tim Blair. Yes, yes.  But has anyone considered that the now infamous hoax call to Kate Middleton merely confirmed (yet again)  the utter stupidity of our media and the people who mindlessly consume it?

Clearly, there has always been a substantial commercial market for juvenile stunts at the expense of others. And when those stunts are directed at the high-flown and privileged, it’s hard to argue they are any more than harmless fun. What green-blooded republican Australian doesn’t get a kick from poking fun at an anachronistic class structure built on the notion that some flesh and blood individuals walk on a different planet to the rest of us? Continue reading

Oh, THOSE ethics!

With the report of the Leveson inquiry into UK press ethics due within days and decisions from the Australian government on its own twin media inquiries now well overdue, get set for a coordinated rendering of garments and gnashing of teeth against the coming assault on our sacred freedoms.

In fact, the hysteria-meter has already been activated by brave defenders of freedom – the lone voices speaking up for ordinary folk against the intrusions of unelected busybodies and out-of-touch elites in judiciary, academia and the so-called ‘public’ service. Continue reading

Talking Back to the Wireless

A long, long time ago in a galaxy far, far away, people would sit in their lounge-rooms listening to the news on the wireless. The rounded and reassuring tones of a voice-of-god announcer would interpret for eager audiences the messy events of the world in neat packages.

The yearning for that distant-yet-familiar authority figure/’expert’ lives on today in the aging audience for shockjocks like Alan Jones. This is a market that appears to want strong opinions – preferably ones that reinforce their own fears and prejudices. Continue reading

For Whom the Bell Trolls

The professional bullies of talkback radio and the tabloid terrorsphere are bellyaching about trolls on Twitter. This is like Bernie Madoff condemning shoplifting or BP ticking off householders for pouring toxic cleaners down the sink.
Continue reading

Blinkered

Journalists, even the good ones, are perhaps one of the last groups one should seek the counsel of in the debate over media regulation. It’s like asking a policeman about who should investigate wrongdoing in the law enforcement community.

Indeed, ever since the release in February this year of the independent media inquiry, commissioned by the federal government and headed by former Federal Court Justice Ray Finkelstein, journalists have been running around like headless chooks, doing everything but addressing the real issues. Continue reading

Springtime of the Peoples

For a group where lip-curling cynicism is the mask of choice, journalists sure seem to have gone all hand-on-heart, high-falutin’. It’s impossible to read an editorial these days without being slapped around the face with warnings of the coming police state.

“Freedom” is on the chopping block, we are told, all because a government-commissioned inquiry recommended the establishment of an independent regulator to improve the accountability of media organisations to the public and to ensure they follow the very standards they claim to uphold.

Continue reading

The Murdochratic State

Anyone beguiled by appeals by the Murdoch press in Australia for the defence of “freedom” against the Leviathan of the state needs to read Tom Watson’s ‘Dial M for Murdoch’ – a forensic examination of the gradual corruption of the British state by News Corporation.

Reading the book should cure any delusion you have that these events are in any way controversial. Using court and police records, it shows in great detail that elements within News Corporation have bought police, put politicians on the payroll, intimidated regulators, invaded privacy and routinely smeared critics to get its way.

Continue reading

Chest Beaters

Noticed how everyone is a passionate champion for “freedom” nowadays? In fact, among Australia’s pinstriped and share optioned media executives, there is more chest beating on this subject than in a Tarzan movie – but without the pecs.

Continue reading

Class Consciousness

The debate over media regulation has reached an impasse: In the one corner, the unrepresentative left-liberal academic elitist swill seeking to silence free media with their jackbooted authoritarianism; in the other, the free spirited and unshackled mavericks of the Murdoch media bravely speaking the people’s truth to power.

It’s a debate made for the professional underdogs of News Ltd – the nominally working class warriors who find their capitalist cultural identity at News Ltd. These tribal folk love nothing more than to scratch their class itch by throwing bombs at bourgeois academics who have “no idea how real people live” out in the fabled suburbs. Continue reading