Australian politics, society & culture

News Limited

Lachlan Murdoch prepares to see his father, London, July 2011. © Paul Hackett/Reuters
Lachlan Murdoch and News Corp
By Paola Totaro
By Sally Warhaft
‘Is that the truth, or is your News Limited?' Last month, while this magazine celebrated its second birthday, Australia's pre-eminent media group, Fairfax, spiked a story profiling Wendi Deng Murdoch that one of its editors had commissioned. We don't yet know all the facts behind the Fairfax decision, but we do know that Rupert Murdoch owned a 7.5% share at the time the story was disowned.Australia has bigger problems with its media than most Western democracies. As Eric Beecher argues, we are not only grappling with new and complex changes which affect media everywhere, we are also forced to endure the ludicrously disproportionate influence of one media owner. This concentration of power helps explain why the Howard government has been left relatively unscathed by its membership of the Coalition of the Willing in Iraq and, until recently, the Coalition of the Unwilling on climate change.Holding governments to account is the duty of serious print media. It is not surprising that the media's own problems are rarely seriously examined in our newspapers, but we should be alarmed when information that is intelligently debated and reported in other countries is suppressed or ridiculed here.We're publishing the Wendi Deng profile because of its intrinsic interest, but also because of Murdoch's domination. We believe that Australians have a right to know about the life and character of someone who will exert an influence on the Australian media, both in its diversity and its independence, for decades into the future.