If you think the media have the knives out for the Government, then you're dead right, says Michael Taylor, who has spoken to a deep throat in the industry.
IF YOU THINK there's been a media campaign to discredit the Gillard Government, then you're on the mark. It has not been your imagination. A source, a senior media executive I cannot name, but for the sake of this article I will refer to as 'Peter', has revealed the strategies used and the motivation behind them.
He says that the main reason is the NBN:
"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.”
Apparently Abbott almost gave the game away by his over-eagerness:
"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 effect 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.”
The source said Tony Abbott is not easy for the media to sell, but they are doing their best:
"Tony Abbott is hard to sell as a politician, so we sell him as a person. He looks the goods as a loving family man or a fire fighter, but hopeless as a politician. He can't control his mouth. For example, yesterday he announced that he wouldn't rule out an alliance with the Greens. It's going to be hard for us in the media to sell this after a couple of years of trying as hard as possible to discredit the Greens.”
The media focus, according to the source, is to unsettle the Government and often this is done by creating fictitious leadership rumblings:
"Our main focus though is to try and unsettle the Government. Leadership spills are always a winner. You'd have noticed that the Rudd factor has been our agenda (again) since the Prime Minister announced the election date. Anybody with half a brain would know that a PM wouldn't announce an election date while there are leadership rumbles in their party. There weren't, so we had to create them, and it is working.
“We are under instructions to hammer the leadership woes at every opportunity. When the results of a poll hit the press we take any opportunity to throw in a paragraph of how the results will add to speculation of a spill.
"It's all because the emperor wants more money".
I asked Peter what he knows about the ABC's sudden right turn:
"Not a lot, but I've noticed that Tony Abbott is the first person they run to whenever they want to hear something about the Government, but that's about all. Oh yes, they seem to treat him as off-limits when it comes to any scrutiny, just as we do. Has Mark Scott whispered in his ear about funding should Abbott win? I don't know. Murdoch certainly has. Don't underestimate the power of money.”
"And Fairfax?" I asked.
"Probably the same motivation; money. We're not privy to what Tony Abbott has negotiated with the power brokers.
"It's just our job to bring about a change of Government. It helps the boss, so it helps us.”
Peter and I chatted a bit longer, about such things as the Ashbygate outcome failing to incite the media, but from what he'd already told me, the answer to that is quite simple.
Shocking, isn't it, that the election outcome is for the benefit of a few wealthy individuals?
When the above was reported on Café Whispers, it raised a few eyebrows as well as attracting a number of sniggers, as one would expect. However, the appearance of this brilliant piece by Kieran Cummings the very next day, Why Murdoch’s media is gunning for your NBN got to the heart of the matter. The article kicks off with:
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 & 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).
And on March 2, anybody listening to Radio National's AM program would have heard the Shadow Minister for Communications and Broadband, Malcolm Turnbull say that
“…there's an election in September; there's a reasonable chance there'll be a change of Government … so … in order to ensure that we have the flexibility to accommodate any changes in Government policy that might arise from a change of Government, [NBN Co] should not enter into contracts…”
It was all coming together and people were coming out of the woodwork. ‘Peter’ had some friends also prepared to come out about his employer:
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 writes and what Abbott parrots. He’s dealing with the enemy. They’re writing the script for him.
It’s not a fuck-up. It’s a fucking conspiracy.
But, sources must remain confidential. I’m not going to tell you just WHO told us that bit of news.
I have it on the very highest authority, however, given without hesitation… in fact, volunteered by someone with no ostensible axe to grind, but should know it to be true. It’s this person’s job to know Abbott’s movements, in detail”.
How prophetic was Margo Kingston (in The AIMN interview):
“Fairfax, the ABC and even Crikey are too fucking timid to do anything to upset the powerful. It’s up to social media. And there are journalists in the traditional media who secretly admit that the new, independent media is the way of the future and we must join with them. We need to build a bridge between the new media and journalists who see the corruption within the mainstream media. We need to collaborate and work together. We can do this by luring traditional journalists into the new media and free them of their shackles. If we do this, one day we in the new media will look back and be grateful for the decisions we make today.”
It looks like it’s happening.
PS: I’ve contacted a source who might have more info on the Abbott/Murdoch meeting in 2010 and am awaiting a response.
(You can read more by Michael Taylor at Café Whispers or follow him on Twitter @MigloMT.)
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Australia License