June 12, 2014
The Murdoch press aims to harden the conservative views of the people who read it. That's it's political task and the Coalition sees this as helping them in the adversarial game of Australian politics . The conservative rhetoric is that the Murdoch newspaper group is the most trusted news source --fair and balanced---not the ABC, which is dominated by a liberal-left ethos. They desire a hobbled ABC to ensure a Murdoch news organization monopoly that sets the political agenda and shapes the national conversation.
Despite the up-beat presentation about its future News Corp there is a consistent concern about this period of declining circulation, falling newspaper revenues, the transition from print to screen given the gamble on putting its content behind a paywall. Is Murdoch’s strategy ensure a tie-up between News Corp and Ten and to be the last one standing in Australian news media?
News Corporation newspapers have become far more assertive in exercising media power, attacking its critics as pursuing “anti-Murdoch” agenda, and pushing for media laws to be relaxed to allow for a wave of media consolidation.
Media reform means that Communications minister Malcolm Turnbull will do away with the key rules around media ownership, covering the percentage of the population any individual TV network can reach, and the rule that in any given city, media owners can hold no more than two out of three of newspapers, TV stations and radio stations. There will be a simpler test from the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission on whether a deal reduces competition.
The ideological role of News Corp is to hide the ugly realities of capitalism beneath a fantasy of harmonious order (efficient markets operate under conditions of ‘perfectly competitive equilibrium’ ) with neoliberalism functioning as a form of crisis-management. In this neo-liberal order market society is the natural order of the social world and the policy aim is to liberate a pre-existing reality of ‘spontaneous market forces’, and ‘entrepreneurial zeal’ from beneath the dead hand of the interventionist state. The role of the state is restricted to providing the economic infrastructure, human capital, and ‘investment climate’ required for markets to operate efficiently. Stripping back the state reveals the spontaneous order of a market society.
There needs to be constantly attempts to cover over the gaps and ruptures in neo-liberalism's ideological fabric caused by the contradictions in capitalism that it is structured to conceal. An example is the attempts by the Abbott Government to cover the deepening of inequality its budget is causing by saying that equality is not possible and the critics of inequality are engaging in seventies style class warfare.