“The Murdoch Press Are a Threat to Democracy,” Warns Australian Politician

A senior ALP [Australian Labor Party] faction leader branded Rupert Murdoch’s News Limited “a threat to democracy” today as the feud between the newspaper group and the Government intensified.

Two months ago I reposted a warning  by Australian scientist: “The Murdoch Media Empire Has Cost Humanity Perhaps One or Two Decades in Battle Against Climate Change.”

Clearly one reason the 1%  have been able to assert such a disproportionate influence on national and global policy — beyond their control of nearly half of the wealth — is that the most powerful media empire in the world supports their disinformation campaign unquestioningly.

Murdoch’s News Corp is the leading purveyor of anti-science, anti-clean-energy disinformation around the world and especially in this country — see “Foxgate: Leaked email reveals Fox News boss Bill Sammon ordered staff to cast doubt on climate science” and “93% of WSJ‘s Climate Op-Eds Misrepresent Science” and links below.

Murdoch’s stranglehold in Australia is even tighter, since he has a near monopolistic control of the media in many major cities:

The Australian is the country’s biggest-selling national newspaper.  It is owned by Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp, which “also owns the sole dailies in Brisbane, Adelaide, Hobart and Darwin and the most popular metropolitan dailies in Sydney and Melbourne.”

Here’s more from the Australian Broadcasting Corporation story:

“The Murdoch press are an absolute disgrace, they are a threat to democracy in this country and we should absolutely be having a look at them.

“They run unsubstantiated stories. I’m saying it’s a fabrication. They run unsubstantiated stories in relation to the leadership of the party”….

“We should not be diverted by the Murdoch press and their attempt to destabilise this government. This is a good government. It doesn’t suit Rupert Murdoch and his minions and we are prepared to take that on.

“Day in and day out the Murdoch press are putting false headlines out there. They are misrepresenting the position of the government. Day in and day out it’s absolute lies and nonsense that is getting printed in the Murdoch press, and that’s the issue.”

… Senator Cameron linked the Australian arm of the Murdoch empire to News International, the UK newspaper arm of News Corporation, which saw its popular News of the World tabloid closed after a phone tapping scandal.

“You can’t tell me that the culture that permeates the Murdoch press internationally has not permeated Australia. I don’t buy that for one minute.”

… Greens leader Bob Brown has also been bitterly critical of News Ltd papers, particularly the Australian, which he brands “the hate media”, and Senator Conroy has accused the Daily Telegraph of running a campaign for “regime change”.

As Former NY Times Executive Editor Howell Raines put it last year: “Why has our profession … helped Fox legitimize a style of journalism that is dishonest in its intellectual process, untrustworthy in its conclusions and biased in its gestalt?” That was a WashPost op-ed, “Why don’t honest journalists take on Roger Ailes and Fox News?“

Joe Nocera, who originally supported the takeover of the WSJ by News Corp, now says “The Journal Becomes Fox-ified“:

Along with the transformation of a great paper into a mediocre one came a change that was both more subtle and more insidious. The political articles grew more and more slanted toward the Republican party line….  [E]ditors inserted the phrase “assault on business” in an article about corporate taxes under President Obama. The Journal was turned into a propaganda vehicle for its owner’s conservative views.

As in so many other areas, the 1% have a vastly disproportionate influence over the media in many countries.

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19 Responses to “The Murdoch Press Are a Threat to Democracy,” Warns Australian Politician

  1. Bill Walker says:

    Tim Lambert at Deltoid is up to article number 71 documenting the Australian’s War on Science.

  2. mike Roddy says:

    Murdoch offices should be picketed, and passersby given handouts describing the horrors of their whole operation. Well illustrated fact sheets can go a long way.

    Competing newspapers and TV stations tend to be muted except for occational opinion pieces, since they have been intimidated. Keith Olbermann is about the only one who fully took Murdoch on, and he ended up getting fired from MSNBC.

    This is how we overthrew the British, through broadsheets handed out on the streets of Boston and New York. The Murdoch Empire is far more dangerous to the world than King George ever was.

  3. CW says:

    Would love to hear people’s thoughts on appropriate government approaches to lying, obfuscating and slanderous “media”.

    There are many countries with laws and regulations that take some kind of approach, but I’m open to non-legal based too. Anyone have a favorite example or two?

  4. Quentin says:

    Your links all point back to this article…..

  5. Joe Romm says:

    Sorry, two of them did.

  6. Tramey says:

    This is tangentially related to blog topic –one of the ways of countering Murdoch news is with truth-tellers like Joe Romm… have you seen this blog, by occasional blogger and also truth-teller, filmmaker/biologist Randy Olson?

  7. Hank says:

    But how was the Aussie government able to pass that HUGELY unpopular Carbon tax if the Murdoch press has so much sway down there?
    I mean really, it’s not the press that’s the problem here.

  8. Joe Romm says:

    Uhh, Australia is being devastated by global warming and it passed by what, 2 votes?

  9. Joe Romm says:

    Sure. Randy is a friend and well worth reading, not that we always agree….

  10. Rob Jones says:

    Your logic fails me.
    The price on carbon is not a tax. It is a fixed price lead in to a carbon trading scheme.
    The government was able to pass this legislation solely because it is a coalition government that depends upon the support of independents in the lower house and Greens in the upper house. Something that murdocs minions continually MISREPRESENT as an illegitimate government (I’m sure your shocked at that).
    The reason that the tax is HUGELY unpopular is because of the incessant misrepresentation of the costs that the tax will impose upon Australia. Can you guess what line of media is pushing those fallacies?
    That’s right it the murdochracy misrepresenting the cost of dealing with climate change.

  11. jakerman says:

    Hank, unfortunately the Government has been relentlessly hammered over the Carbon tax (sorry Rob, its effectively a straight tax until 2014-15) by the alliance our Conservative party and right wing press (a rw-press that is monopolistic for all but two states) and is the press that is the dominant agenda setter for the other media.

    The hammering has been so severe and effective that the government’s approval rating has fallen dramatically they look unlikely to re re-elected.

    One sticking point of the Government’s own creation was that the Prime Minster promised no carbon tax on the eve of the 2010 election, (while running on the platform of an Emissions Trading Scheme). The election result was so tight (due in no small part to the Murdoch influence) that the new government required support of 3 independents and the Green party, which meant the Govt accepted the hybrid scheme of an effective carbon tax in 2012 transitioning to a trading scheme a few years later.

    So the polls are schizophrenic, the public support action of climate change but when any scheme is mediated by the Murdoch interpretation it inevitably becomes scary and confusing.

    We got so far in Australia because, as Joe points out, the severe tropical storms in the North East, severe drought, and bush fires that coincided with record temperatures in the heavily populated South East. And due to the even broader water restrictions across all major populations zones.

    This allowed enlighten conservatives to take leadership of the opposition, that enlighten conservative leadership has since been defeated internally by a new Tea Party style of conservatives, inspired by the “success” in the USA.

  12. Merrelyn Emery says:

    CW, you ask specifically about govt approaches but our most succesful example recently was of 7 Aborigines who took Andrew Bolt to court and won on the grounds that he breached the racial discrimination act, a well publicized national drama. Bolt is one of our climate science deniers in Chief and nobody has got him on that one yet. But I’m sure somebody is working on it.

    The Aussie govt has recently announced another enquiry into the media but what it will or can achieve is a good question. We already have a national Press Council or something like that but apparently nobody uses it much.

    The media in general seems conflicted about limits on ‘the freedom of the press’ and forcing serious change may be dependent on individual citizens and groups getting in on the action, ME

  13. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    Murdoch’s Evil Empire opposes anything to the Left of his own ideology. You know it from Faux News, and we have his ‘newspapers’, although propaganda rags is a better description. Anthropogenic climate destabilisation is consistently misrepresented and lied about by Murdoch’s propaganda droogs, and climate scientists and rational politicians are vilified and abused, because this is a quintessential ‘Left ‘ vs ‘Right’ cause. This is Life versus Money, our children’s future before Profit and the ecological sustainability of the planet against Capitalism. Murdoch and his apparatchiki are devoted to greed as the supreme human virtue, and to bullying and intimidation as a way of life. Climate scientists and environmentalists are traduced by this engine of hatred and greed, but so too are trade unions, Moslems, Aboriginal Australians, ‘do-gooders’, the ‘morally vain’, refugees, Palestinians, the Chinese, etc, on and on, a seemingly endless litany of hate figures despised by Murdochism.

  14. Doug Evans says:

    “Murdoch’s News Corp is the leading purveyor of anti-science, anti-clean-energy disinformation around the world and especially in this country — see “Foxgate: Leaked email reveals Fox News boss Bill Sammon ordered staff to cast doubt on climate science” and “93% of WSJ‘s Climate Op-Eds Misrepresent Science” and links below.”

    Murdoch’s stranglehold in Australia is even tighter, since he has a near monopolistic control of the media in many major cities:”

    And they’re still at it as this report on the Australian shows.

    Blow to Greens’ gas ‘denial’ as report backs mining

    by: Imre Salusinszky
    From: The Australian
    November 04, 2011 12:00AM

    GREENS’ claims that there is no scientific proof coal-seam gas is better for the environment than coal have been undermined by a new expert report, which finds the carbon footprint of generating power from gas is up to 87 per cent smaller than that from coal.

    The findings have provoked charges of hypocrisy against the Greens for opposing CSG exploration and production, while urging immediate action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to climate change.


    What the report really said was more like:

    “A new report commissioned by the peak body of the oil and gas industry suggests that claims coal seam gas exports are up to 70 per cent cleaner than coal exports over their life cycle may not actually be valid. The report by Worley Parsons finds that this is true when compared to coal technologies that are no longer deployed, but it also finds that the life-cycle emissions of CSG may be higher than those of black coal used in the most modern coal plants currently being built in China.”

    The lies from the Murdoch Press continue unabated.

  15. jakerman says:

    Deltoid’s list was only tracking only one of Murdoch’s papers (be it his most prestigious).

    And it was never not an exhaustive list of the climate denial in that paper, after all, how much trash can one man sort through.

  16. CW says:

    Thanks for this.