By Barry Tucker 6 March, 2013
News Limited and federal Coalition leader Tony Abbott are conspiring to bring down the Australian government, according to an unnamed informant.
The allegation was made in the privately owned “proudly left wing” on-line magazine Café Whispers.
It was also made as a footnote to Among The True Believers… in the independent leftist blog The Pub.
The main allegation is that Rupert Murdoch’s News Ltd is trading its support of the Liberal party for the abolition of the National Broadband Network. It was reinforced in an article by Kieran Cummings (@sortius) the following day in the on-line magazine Australians for Honest Politics.
The Café Whispers article attributed the details to “Peter”, described as “a senior media executive”. Peter is quoted as saying:
“The Murdoch media has been leaning to the right since the Whitlam days but the anti-Labor meme was really ramped up just before the 2010 election. The catalyst was Murdoch’s luncheon with Tony Abbott, where the NBN (National Broadband Network) must have been the main talking point as the very next day Abbott publicly announced that he’d rip up the NBN.
“He pissed a few of us off by jumping too soon, thinking that people might tie the announcement to the meeting with Murdoch, which luckily they didn’t. The NBN will affect Murdoch’s profits, and let’s be very clear on that, so the reason to back Abbott was clearly motivated by money for the media empire.”
Mr Murdoch’s opposition to the NBN was outlined in Mr Cummings’ article:
“It seems a day doesn’t go by where articles are being posted to News Limited (Murdoch) websites with nothing but negative spin for the NBN. Most, if not all, are founded on poorly constructed arguments that ignore technology and the reality. They all seem to point to one solution: anything the Coalition are saying they’ll deploy.
“While this does reek of patent bias amongst Murdoch’s Australian arm, I feel this goes a little deeper than just wanting a Coalition government, but a fear of becoming obsolete* in the age of IPTV (Internet Protocol Television).”
*Mr Murdoch’s News Corporation has considerable world-wide investment in pay TV via cable and satellite.
The Pub article Among The True Believers… ended with this footnote:
“Post Script: Yes, there is some breaking news… Tony Abbott has lunch at News Ltd HQ every week. Incredulous, I asked the person to repeat it.
“EVERY week, in private,” to discuss the latest “Get Gillard*” strategies. No wonder there’s such a seamless segue between what News [Limited] writes and what Abbott parrots. He’s dealing with the enemy. They’re writing the script for him.”
*Julia Gillard, the Australian Labor Prime Minister.
Comment: I would not be surprised if News Limited executives were having lunch with politicians and business leaders from Monday to Friday or meeting and socialising with them at any time. It’s what they should be doing, and I could include a broad range of other sectional leaders they should be meeting with. It’s an accepted way to build working relationships.
However (and shoot me if I’m naive), I believe the news media has no business trying to dictate national policy and abandoning principles of objectivity and impartiality in news reporting for commercial gain. If the claims are proven, then clearly News Limited has become too big for its boots and, for the sake of our democracy, it must be broken up.
For more than two years, the mainstream news media (MNM, which in my view includes the ABC) has been accused of anti-Labor bias — mainly by a largely Left-wing Social Media commentariat. The Right-wing accuses the ABC of being Left-wing, a claim supported by News Limited’s flagship The Australian newspaper.