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"...public opinion deserves to be respected as well as despised" G.W.F. Hegel, 'Philosophy of Right'

The Australian's delusions « Previous | |Next »
September 18, 2010

In an editorial entitled Embracing high-level analysis the Australian reflects on itself in the light of recent criticisms of its anti-ALP agenda and its stated goal to destroy The Australian Greens. The editorial states that:

While we have endorsed both sides of politics in pre-election editorials, this paper made it clear from the outset that it "is tied to no party, to no state and has no chains of any kind. Its guide is faith in Australia and the country's future." A perceptive reading of the news and commentary pages shows that the paper is less concerned about which party wins office than whether governments pursue policies and reforms geared to generate prosperity and enterprise.

The claim is at odds with The Australian's shift from a conservative broadsheet with a diversity of views to a campaigning partisan paper that is antagonistic to the ALP and the Independents and deeply hostile to The Greens.

The claim that its guiding principle is geared to policies that generate prosperity and enterprise is at odds with its deep seated social conservatism that has lead it to embrace climate change denialism in opposition to the research findings of natural science. So The Australian is opposed to both science and the ecological enlightenment.

The Australian's embrace of free market economics leads it to deny how the Keynesian use of government spending by the Rudd Government to counter the consequences of the global financial crisis generated prosperity and enterprise. This indicated an inability to understand high-level public policy.

The central delusion is that The Australian continues to understand itself in terms of what it was in 1964 when it has become Australia's equivalent to the "fair and balanced" Fox News in the US.

In Unfair and unbalanced: how News failed to fell government in the National Times Rodney Tiffen says that in Australia, News Ltd titles account for about two-thirds of daily newspaper circulation, far higher than any proprietor enjoys in any other established democracy. He adds:

The Australian has a much greater pluralism in its opinion columns, even if still skewed towards the right. But the paper's key feature is the way its news judgments are filtered through its political prism. There is little clear air for alternative views or developments to emerge. Look, for example, at its coverage of climate change over the past few years. Only Labor government stuff-ups - never government achievements - are deemed newsworthy.

He says that News Ltd were sore losers at the Liberals losing the election due to the Independents siding with the ALP, and that their anger accounts for their bizarre post-election behaviour.

That sour grapes behaviour increasingly looks like becoming payback. It takes the form of describing a power sharing Parliament as the farce of the Independent's manipulation of the hung parliament in pursuit of billions in spending for electorates and posts of power. The Independents are just out for themselves and they use the threat of going back to the polls or parliament facing a "Mexican standoff" if they don't get their way.

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 9:52 AM | | Comments (7)


I'm not sure that "delusion" is the right word here. Perhaps some media outlets know EXACTLY what they are doing and why. Although I suspect not all individuals in those organisations share the same motivation.

As for the editorial in question... we can probably view it as Plato's 'Noble Lie,' ....the myths used by the elite (benevolent, of course) in order to maintain control of the masses.

The Australian has an agenda, that's all we need to know.

Australia's equivalent of Fox News?

Well, not quite. Murdoch's Oz still uses long words. Part of the ploy I guess, otherwise the readers will wake up. It's amazing talking to people who read it just how few were even aware of the problem with the LNP policy costings, or that this raised questions among the rural independents.

I wonder how long it will be for most readers of the Australian to wonder if they'd be better off buying the Fin, Age, or SMH.

you are right about The Australian not quite being Australia's equivalent of Fox News.We are dealing with different forms--newspaper and form--words and images. The Australian's form is that of a broadsheet, its content is as partisan as Fox News.

Stop reading it.

Dave's point about long words is a good one. Back in 2007 when the poll wars broke out Ken Lovell published a beautiful spray on the old Road to Surfdom blog about the point the Oz seems to miss in all of this - that its main critics are its own readers. People are still trying to point that out now.

The long words seem to be the last gesture at reader intelligence.

Anywhere you see media bias discussed the Oz and its ABC echo chamber are the subjects of complaint from their own audiences. That both are now trying so hard to defend themselves suggests that the complaints are finally being heard.

I have massive contempt for 2 corporations above all others, partly for political reasons but also because I have seen first hand how they treat people.
BHP and Ltd News.

The Australian has always had an agenda. I'm sure other older folk will recall how partisan the wretched rag was during the Whitlam years.