It Was Col Allan Wot Won It! Is Tony Abbott ready for his new BFF?

Col Allan has six Australian papers to play with but only one style of muscular journalism. It doesn’t really matter which government is in power. He has no other model and he’s not going anywhere. So he’ll be coming for you too, Tony. It’s what he does.

At some point the operational centre running the Liberal Party’s federal election campaign has to consider the mess that Tony Abbott has got himself into with Rupert Murdoch. Continue reading

News Corp UK dons Norwegian plumage

The Telegraph in London has gone back into the story that News Corp UK could face corporate charges and repeats the inane line that in response Rupert Murdoch “could close UK newspapers”. It’s repeated over the place, for example here.

It’s the Monty Python Dead Parrot Sketch approach to newspaper futures. The Sun and The Times remain in their current position only cos they’re nailed to the perch. News loyalists would say they’re only resting. Or stunned. Or shagged out following a prolonged squawk. Pining for the fjords.Beautiful plumage, the Norwegian Blue. Continue reading

News Corp’s strategy to protect Foxtel from the NBN? Chockful of Sneak

So how hard would News Corp Australia really fight to stop the Labor Government’s National Broadband Network threatening Foxtel (the pay-tv operation they own together with Foxtel)?

Well, they’d be sneaky. We know that because of the lengths they went to to kill off another threat to Foxtel, Channel Seven’s C7 sports channel. Remember C7? And they were chockful of sneak there. They could sneak for their country. I think they invented sneak.

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Excellent moral fervor: Chris Mitchell crushes me like a bug

“Then today we find in Pravda on the Yarra, the most one-dimensionally left-wing paper in our nation’s history, a pious rant about the influence of Rupert Murdoch.

The editor in chief of the Australian, Chris Mitchell, is a man who feels moral injustice keenly. And he’s not afraid to say so. Oh yes. “Absolute hypocrites,” he calls the staff of the Melbourne Age, though really that sounds a little . . . inadequate. You feel that with a little more time he could work himself up to something rather more grand. It’s never wise to skip elevenses.

Like this February 19 2014 editorial, which starts quite brightly:

Fairfax Media chief executive Greg Hywood needs to act now to salvage the reputation of The Australian Financial Review before it is completely shredded by the deranged output of senior reporter Neil Chenoweth

Moral indignation is a delicate flower and I’m fortunate enough to know something of this hidden side of Mitchell. Continue reading

Secret Australia

A speech I gave about power and secrecy and the way the media shapes reality. For me the challenge in journalism is, when every other media voice in the known universe is screaming the same thing, to have the insight and the courage to say, no matter how ineffectually: this isn’t right. Yes, how trite.

Colin Simpson Lecture,  Australian Society of Authors February 2007

 I want to talk about secret things. Of a hidden country that shares our borders: about the unmarked roads of power and influence that shape our society and our culture; the secret Australia that doesn’t submit to scrutiny or accountability. There’s something incorrigibly covert about the exercise of money and power. It functions almost always as a community of privilege and exclusion that marks those who are in and those who are out, those in the know from those outside not looking on. Continue reading