Subtlety Lost: Craig Emerson On The Australian Media

The Minister for Trade, Craig Emerson, has written an opinion piece criticising coverage by the Australian media of recent political controversies.

EmersonEmerson focuses on the Gillard-AWU issue and the issues surrounding the sexual harassment case brought by James Ashby against Peter Slipper.

He is especially critical of coverage by the News Limited papers, The Australian and The Daily Telegraph.

Emerson also directs his fire at Tony Abbott, Julie Bishop and Christopher Pyne.

Of the media overall, Emerson says: “I am not asserting there is a general bias in the media. Some editors and a few journalists are blatantly biased. That has always been the case. But the real problem is the abandonment of professional standards to give effect to that bias. All subtlety is lost.”

Text of an opinion piece by the Minister for Trade, Craig Emerson.

Subtlety lost

At Sydney University in the early 1970s a course simply called “Government” was offered to economics, arts and law students. It was a time of social upheaval and the election of the Whitlam Government had ended 23 years of conservative rule. The Murdoch press had backed a change of government.

My tutor in Government, Lex Watson, a gay rights activist, had set us a task: to identify bias in the media. But as left-wing as Lex was, the six-week project wasn’t about left versus right, it was about the techniques used by the print media to slant a story to suit an editorial position. [Read more…]


Dame Elisabeth Murdoch Dies, Aged 103; Wife To Keith, Mother To Rupert, Philanthropist

Dame Elisabeth Murdoch, mother of media magnate Rupert, has died at her home, Cruden Farm, in Melbourne.

Dame Elisabeth Murdoch

Dame Elisabeth reportedly died on Tuesday. She was 103 years, 300 days old. She was born in Melbourne on February 8, 1909.

Dame Elisabeth’s husband, Sir Keith Murdoch, died 60 years ago, in October 1952. She was made a Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire in 1963.

In 1928, aged 19, Elisabeth Joy Greene married Keith Murdoch, then 23 years her senior. Murdoch, already well known as a journalist, and famous for his World War I campaign against General John Monash, was soon to begin a campaign to take over Australian newspapers. By the time Murdoch died, he had amassed a small media empire known as News Limited, centred on the Adelaide News. Elisabeth’s son Rupert subsequently built News Limited into a global media empire that he still presides over at the age of 81.

Dame Elisabeth devoted much of her life to philanthropy. Active in the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals before her marriage, she was on the management committee of the Royal Children’s Hospital in the 1930s. She was involved with the Australian Ballet, the National Gallery of Victoria, the Deafness Foundation, the Epilepsy Foundation and numerous other organisations and charities.


Rorts Allegations & Sexual Harassment Claim Against Slipper

Allegations of sexual harassment and misuse of Cabcharge vouchers have been levelled at House of Representatives Speaker Peter Slipper by a former employee, James Ashby.

The allegations have appeared in today’s editions of New Limited newspapers around the country.

Daily Telegraph front page - April 21, 2012Herald Sun front page - April 21, 2012
Courier-Mail front page - April 21, 2012Advertiser front page - April 21, 2012

This is how the Daily Telegraph reported an extract of the sexual harassment claim lodged in the Federal Court against Peter Slipper.

Wednesday January 4 2012: James Ashby and Peter Slipper were in Slipper’s flat after work. Slipper asks applicant: "Can you massage my neck". Ashby says words to the effect of "yeah righto" as "he did not know what other response to give as he was brand new to him job and he was being asked by his employer’.

Thursday, January 5: Ashby was getting ready for work, when Slipper says: "You’re a strange one". The following conversation then took place in words to the effect of: Slipper: "You’re a weird because you shower with the door shut".

Ashby: "What’s weird about that?"

[Read more…]


Newspaper Front Pages on the Flood Levy

This is a selection of newspaper front pages around Australia today, following the Gillard government’s announcement yesterday that it plans to introduce a levy to fund flood recovery.


Murdoch’s New York Post Supports Howard Against Obama

The New York Post newspaper has editorialised in support of John Howard in his spat with 2008 presidential aspirant, Senator Barack Obama.

Accusing the Illinois senator of “breathtaking naiveté”, the populist tabloid said that Howard “gets it”, whereas Obama “may be on the steepest foreign-policy learning curve of any major presidential candidate in recent history”.

The New York Post is owned by News Corporation, headed by the Australian-born American citizen, Rupert Murdoch.

  • Listen to Howard’s comments on Obama (3m)

This is the text of the New York Post’s editorial.

New York Post - click to visit

BARACK’S BLUNDER

Senator Barack Obama, all of 25 months removed from the Illinois state legislature, announced his candidacy for the presidency of the United States on Saturday – and immediately began trading harsh words with the leader of one of America’s oldest and most reliable allies.

In the process, the freshman senator revealed truly breathtaking naiveté. [Read more…]


Murdoch Group To Lobby Backbench MPs Over Digital TV

News Limited, the Murdoch company that publishes The Australian, is planning to direct mail hundreds of thousands of leaflets in coalition held marginal seats in an effort to lobby the government over digital television policy.

Federal Cabinet is due to debate the issue on Monday, the same day as the campaign is scheduled to start. Previously, the government allocated high definition television (HDTV) rights to the existing free-to-air broadcasters, including the ABC.

Companies such as News Limited argue that HDTV will be too expensive for consumers – television sets currently cost in excess of $3000 – and that the government should opt for a cheaper form of digital television and allow more datacasting, online shopping and the like.

Due to the tight party discipline that exists within the Australian parliamentary system, it is rare for such an intensive lobbying campaign to be directed at backbench members of parliament. In the United States such lobbying is commonplace, indeed rampant, given the separation of the Executive branch from Congress.

Ordinarily, a company like News Limited would use professional lobbyists or someone like its political strategist, Grahame Morris, who used to be John Howard’s Chief of Staff until he was sacked during the 1997 Travel Rorts scandal.