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The Australian on News of the World: comedy gold

By James Jenkin - posted Friday, 22 July 2011

The Australian's defensiveness after the News of the World scandal is understandable. But the response has been so self-serving, so relentless, and so ham-fisted, it's hilarious.

What have we seen over the last week?


The 'other media organisations are worse' smokescreen

On the 14th of July there was the Oz's page-one 'exclusive' 'Inappropriate' lobbying by ABC bosses, reporting month-old news about the ABC's lobbying of ministers for the overseas television contract. But, apparently, the ABC angle didn't gain traction. Over the following two days in The Age accused of backing hypocrisy and Age poll story relied on 'hacked' emails the Oz returned to a story from April about the alleged hacking by The Age during the Victorian state election.

'The Age is worse than us, so therefore we're good'? For heaven's sake! The Age might be in the service of the devil, but that doesn't mean what they're saying about News is wrong. You have to prove they're wrong. (Didn't we learn that in Year 9 English?)

The 'elites hate News' line

Several pieces including Outraged cultural elites name and shame the evil tabloid hackers and Elite few spearhead the anti-Murdoch campaign suggest worries about the scandal come down to the liberal media being obsessed with itself. The elites aren't aware of what matters to 'people in the pub'.

I don't know if 'people in the pub' are that interested in how much tax BHP Billiton pays, or the NBN deal with Telstra. Shall we drop those stories as well then?

The 'News is actually left-wing' argument

David Flint, in Anti-Murdoch politicians can't stand the heat, does briefly suggest that Gillard and Brown can't take criticism from News, as you'd expect.

But there's more. Flint also smells a rat: ‘…why were the latest revelations withheld until News International's bid to take over BSkyB was almost put to bed?’


That's an interesting accusation, but it's a pity there's no evidence. I think it might be called 'wishful thinking'.

More bizarrely, Flint goes to some lengths to say 'The Australian is innocent, and you have to believe me, because I think it's too left-wing':

I mention this only to point out I don't owe the Murdoch empire anything. Like many readers I have often disagreed with its papers' editorial line…The Australian's support of Kevin Rudd in the 2007 election was particularly inexplicable…More recently, I think The Australian's support of the carbon dioxide tax on the basis of the so-called precautionary principle and on the primacy of market solutions misses the point.

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About the Author

James Jenkin has been an English teacher and trainer for two decades and is now the Academic Director for a UK-based TESOL business.

Creative Commons LicenseThis work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.

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