Editor’s Note

Editor’s Note May 2019

“In the lead-up to the election, the ridiculousness of News Corp front pages, especially on the tabloids, is so pervasive and routine it has almost become part of the pageantry. The bias, like New Years Eve fireworks, gets bigger every occasion, and this time is ascending into the awesome and spectacular.”

As Richard Cooke describes, the media organisation that controls the powerful majority of newspapers in this country is campaigning for another Coalition government and has shed all semblance of objectivity. This isn’t a case of regrettable ideological excess of an otherwise normal news organisation: there’s nothing normal about it, and this is no longer a normal news organisation. “At News Corp, in an inversion of journalism’s ideal, the old-fashioned, straight-down-the-line reporting is expendable and surplus to requirements. It is the unhinged propaganda outfit that is central to the identity of company.”

This has led to an almost complete lack of scrutiny of the Coalition in News Corp’s coverage. The government has a poor track record and now offers no substantial policy on climate change, energy, health, education, communications, arts, Indigenous affairs … in fact, it’s hard to pinpoint any major policies apart from proposed tax cuts, most set in the distant future. The Liberal Party is riven by discord, captured by its hard right, and is now on to its third prime minister since taking power. Its preferences will flow to Pauline Hanson’s One Nation and Clive Palmer’s hilariously inept United Australia Party. Coalition bedfellows the Nationals are in the midst of a corruption scandal that in other circumstance would bring down governments. Yet few of these issues are raised in News Corp outlets, other than to excuse or dismiss them.

“Sometimes it can be difficult to tell where Liberal Party talking points begin and News coverage ends,” Cooke writes, “or where each originates.”

The News Corp stable has an agenda to prosecute and its first priority is to wield political power.

It remains to be seen whether the Australian public can be swayed by such arrant bias, but while News staff are either silent or complicit, it’s the responsibility of non-News outlets, for the sake of journalism’s reputation, to call it out.

Nick Feik

Nick Feik is the editor of The Monthly.

@nickfeik

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