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Government’s media agenda driven by needs of old players, not arrival of new ones

The two out of three rule may be outdated, but maybe not in the black and white way Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull claims. AAP/Daniel Munoz

Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull is sending out strong signals that the government is sympathetic to liberalising the cross-media rules, which now say an owner can have only two of TV, radio and print in the one market.

Turnbull recently met with media executives and he indicated again on Sunday, in an interview with Sky, that he believes there is a persuasive case for change.

“The view is put to me by many people in the industry and I think it’s a view that is very cogent … why in an age where the internet has become the super platform, the hyper platform to which everyone has access … and it is increasingly providing more and more and more and more avenues for competition in the media, why do we need to have platform-specific ownership rules dealing with newspapers and radio and television?

“Because this is an increasingly smaller part of the media landscape. And so, the argument goes [on] to say, look, diversity is no longer an issue, competition is greater than it has ever been - and that’s undoubtedly true. Why not just leave … media mergers and ownership issues to the ACCC, to the standard monopoly rules that apply?”

Tony Abbott flagged his thinking when asked about Turnbull’s comments. “We have a deregulationist instinct,” he said.

It can be argued that in the internet age the two out of three rule has become outdated, but not necessarily because the competitive situation has improved in the comprehensive, black and white way Turnbull claims.

Yes, there have been many new players (including The Conversation website). But the old players retain the core power when it comes to setting the daily news agenda.

One reason is that they are the ones with the boots on the ground. They have the manpower to dig out the news, while many of the new sites have limited or no such capacity (or interest) - they are mostly bigger on opinion and analysis than gathering primary data.

Of course this is an evolving situation. Guardian Australia, for example, has had some strong news-breaking stories on the Manus incidents and related matters and it had, in conjunction with the ABC, the Snowden-inspired revelations about Australian spying on Indonesia. Mail Online has big ambitions.

But regardless of exceptions, the general point remains true – and is likely to do so for some time. As Sean Kelly, who worked as press secretary to both Kevin Rudd and Julia Gillard, writes in the latest issue of The Monthly, “Make no mistake, whatever the hype about ‘new media’, the nightly news reports still reign supreme in politics.”

ABC managing director Mark Scott noted the paradox in an interview with the The Saturday Paper at the weekend: “There are more voices, more websites, more commentary, and you’d argue that that leads to a dilution of the impact of traditional mainstream media.

“But so much of that new media is feeding off a narrow news agenda that is still set by a handful of media outlets.

“Perversely, even though they are challenged in terms of their profitability, in terms of their power and impact, they remain very strong. News Corporation has never been more powerful in Australia in a policy sense and an agenda-setting sense.”

Whether new players eventually alter that situation will depend on whether they can make enough money to become fully fledged news gatherers (assuming they want to) and that remains a question mark. Meanwhile we’ve seen rationalisation and increasing concentration of news coverage and opinion in the mainstream media.

Pressure for changing the rules is not so much because of things dramatically altering with the advent of new players, as about what’s happened to the old players.

The traditional commercial media face more difficult financial circumstances, including fragmented advertising markets because of the internet and the decline of newspaper circulations. This is making them desperate for the rules to be freed up.

Matthew Ricketson, professor of journalism at the University of Canberra, applying the “who benefits?” test, observes that it is established players, not the newbies, who are pushing for change.

One factor undermining the rules is that what is “print media” is now fluid. The ABC doesn’t have a print paper, but its online news and commentary could be said to amount to a virtual newspaper. In that sense, it has a three out of three presence in the markets, while the commercial media are limited to two out of three.

If one thinks there should be a level playing field, this does chalk up a point for liberalising the rules governing the commercials (but not for constraining the ABC).

If the two out of three rule is to be changed, let’s just be upfront and acknowledge a couple of key points. Removing it would be primarily driven by the financial needs of the traditional commercial media, not by what’s happened so far with new players, and would lead to more concentration in that “old” media.

Listen to the new Politics with Michelle Grattan podcast with Race Discrimination Commissioner Tim Soutphommasane here.

Join the conversation

114 Comments sorted by

  1. Israel McIntosh

    Retired

    A very reasoned article Michelle, but I can already hear the anti-Murdoch mob howling in abject rage. They will quote the media enquiry and convergence report to support that "666" should not be allowed more access to television.

    His newspapers have too much support from readers - which is unacceptable to certain people in society. He employees conservatives (except in the Corier Mail and the Advertiser). He supports the LNP, ignoring he supported the ALP in 2007.

    Any economist will tell you that media companies are bleeding. Only the ABC is flourishing. Why ar people whinging about supporting something that will keep journalists employed ???

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    1. Henry Verberne

      Once in the fossil fuel industry but now free to speak up

      In reply to Israel McIntosh

      This article by Michell Grattan is balanced. The Australian is NOT balanced.

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    2. Henry Verberne

      Once in the fossil fuel industry but now free to speak up

      In reply to Israel McIntosh

      The surveys that have been done have found no evidence of systematic bias. Unlike the Australian.

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    3. Israel McIntosh

      Retired

      In reply to Henry Verberne

      So when Fran Kelly said "I'm an activist", she meant she was a great fan of Tony Abbott - pull the other one.

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    4. Henry Verberne

      Once in the fossil fuel industry but now free to speak up

      In reply to Israel McIntosh

      Don't know what Fran Kelly said but watching her on "Insiders" she is hardly a rusted on Labor supporter. It is a program that epitomises the ABC: always has diversity of voices, both right and left. That is indicative of balance.

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    5. Brad Farrant

      logged in via email @hotmail.com

      In reply to Henry Verberne

      In fact it is possible to argue quite credibly that the ABC is biased to the right because they seek to strike a balance between two "right" leaning parties (Liberal and Labor). What our journalists should be doing is getting beyond the spin of the parties to the facts as provided by science and stats etc. It shouldn't just be up to "fact checking" units to cut through the spin, every journalist should be doing this rather 'balancing" Liberal and Labor.

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    6. Henry Verberne

      Once in the fossil fuel industry but now free to speak up

      In reply to Brad Farrant

      In my comments to "Israel McIntosh" (who is probably employed to defend the LNP) I was trying to be as fair as possible.

      Yes, I think the ABC is more biased to the right of politics these days. The IPA and other right-leaning voices have regular appearances, whether it is The Drum, QA, Insiders etc.

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    7. Russ Hunter

      Healthcare Professional

      In reply to Israel McIntosh

      Israel. A quick off the mark attempt to deflect those who resent being manipulated by NewsCorp. With a few arguments thrown in to boot. And not completely lacking in cogency. You've obviously come prepared.

      A reasonably good start to you're TC "contributions", I would say.

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    8. Israel McIntosh

      Retired

      In reply to Henry Verberne

      Nominate who was the conservative on yesterday (or 2 weeks ago), remembering that there are defamation laws for accusing someone of the heinous crime of being conservative.

      Insiders appears to have a 4-0 left leaning commentator team these days. Niki Sava and Gerard Henderson are exceptions to the usual mob.

      They think Malcolm Turnbull is watching their back. Malcolm certainly wont hold sway when it comes to budget deliberations on the quantum their ABC will receive in 2013-14.

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    9. Gary Murphy

      Independent Thinker

      In reply to Israel McIntosh

      Nominate anyone who isn't conservative that regularly gets published in the Australian.

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    10. harry oblong

      tree surgeon

      In reply to Israel McIntosh

      i have too agree the ABC is stacked with former libs and right wing think tanks pushing their employers agendas on the news current affair programmes on our ABC...

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    11. harry oblong

      tree surgeon

      In reply to Henry Verberne

      the drum on the other hand is very opaque in who appears and what their agendas are...

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    12. Dave McRae

      logged in via Twitter

      In reply to Israel McIntosh

      I'd kill for an example of left bias on the ABC - just one.

      There's a few of us trying to get an example of the ABC left bias and to date, no luck.

      Examples have been suggested such as the ABC Science unit reflecting the views of CSIRO/BoM/AMS/NASA re climate change but is left? And the News and Current Affairs of the ABC strictly avoids their science unit in order to presents a manufactured balance of crank vs opinion. The only other is ABC Games and Tech unit - again it's the 'left' physics in this case the physical properties of fibre and wireless regarding bandwidth. But again, the ABC News never goes near their tech guys when reporting this stuff.

      If you or anyone has an example, any example, even if you think it's weak or not, of ABC left bias, I'd be very grateful.

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  2. David Robinson

    floorist

    "But the old players retain the core power when it comes to setting the daily news agenda."
    This.

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    1. Garry Baker

      researcher

      In reply to Peter Redshaw

      Rupert desperately needs to own more of the media in Australia to make his pay-walls work. So it's a business move to either buy his hard copy print - or alternatively fess up some money to access his web pages. Naturally a critical sized media mass is needed for this to happen

      Whereas international news in the big wide world can never be contained, and Mr Murdoch knows that. Indeed, global news has never been his forte, with much of his daily blurb being recycled from cutting edge reports obtained from the NYT, for instance

      Australia centric news should never fall into the hands of a few - Period.

      However, it looks as if Mr Turnbull is doing yet another behind the scenes deal once more - As he did with the Chinese - and his cheaper/better NBN rollout.

      Rupert wants a captive audience - and Mr Turnbull is going to bat for him - That about sums it up

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    2. Israel McIntosh

      Retired

      In reply to Garry Baker

      I fail to see how Rupert owning a television station will help his paywalls work. I am extremely happy to pay Rupie $16.00 every 28 days to read The Australian. It is the finest newspaper in Australia. Hedley Thomas' article today is a case in point.

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    3. James Hill

      Industrial Designer

      In reply to Israel McIntosh

      The finest newspaper on top of a very, very low standard that only an already benighted public would tolerate?
      "Mediocrity is excellence to the mediocre" Joules Joubert.

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    4. Henry Verberne

      Once in the fossil fuel industry but now free to speak up

      In reply to Israel McIntosh

      "It is the finest newspaper in Australia. Hedley Thomas' article today is a case in point"

      Don't know about Thomas's article but the "finest newspaper in Australia"????

      It is certainly one of the most biased. Oh wait, the Telegraph is THE most biased.

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    5. Israel McIntosh

      Retired

      In reply to Henry Verberne

      And the Sydney Morning Herald/The Age constantly have articles praising the Abbott government. Why dont you attack them for supporting the LNP and displaying their obvious bias ????

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    6. Henry Verberne

      Once in the fossil fuel industry but now free to speak up

      In reply to Israel McIntosh

      HUH?? Not sure if you are trying to be sarcastic or what.

      The SMH/Age regularly have columns by conservative commentators.

      They also have columnists which criticise the Abbott government and praise it when deserved,

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    7. Henry Verberne

      Once in the fossil fuel industry but now free to speak up

      In reply to Israel McIntosh

      The main thrust of the article is to comment on the drive by RM for a strangle hold on the media. We need MORE media diversity not less.

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    8. Russ Hunter

      Healthcare Professional

      In reply to Israel McIntosh

      "The Australian... is the finest newspaper in Australia."

      Israel, The Australian is a propaganda vehicle for "Rupie". The "news" is loaded with bias and spin, designed to push vested interests and wield power. The journalists are almost all hacks willing to overlook ethics and give up their irony glands to serve "Rupie".

      Somehow, I think you know all this already.

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    9. Israel McIntosh

      Retired

      In reply to Henry Verberne

      Could you direct me to one article where they have praised the LNP government. I'm sure it wont take you too long to find.

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    10. Andrew Nichols

      Digital Drudge

      In reply to Israel McIntosh

      Hello The "Israel McIntosh", welcome to the conversation.

      Did you remember to clock in this morning?

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    11. Israel McIntosh

      Retired

      In reply to Andrew Nichols

      I'm retired, having lost my job because of union policies. Therefore I have no need to bundy on.

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    12. Henry Verberne

      Once in the fossil fuel industry but now free to speak up

      In reply to Israel McIntosh

      I will only repeat an earlier comment:The surveys that have been done have found no evidence of systematic bias. Unlike the Australian.

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    13. Gary Murphy

      Independent Thinker

      In reply to john davies

      It's called a diversity of voices. Very important for a healthy democracy and something you definitely will not find in the Australian.

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    14. Israel McIntosh

      Retired

      In reply to Henry Verberne

      The surveys have been worded so as to ensure that no-one whould vote against that view.

      Here are some of those polls:

      1. Do you disagree with the LNP exiling B1 & B2
      2. Do you think Miss XYZ on playschool should suffer a 20% pay cut.
      3. Is Mark Scott a nice man.
      4. Should conservatives be portrayed as liking dogs
      5. Should Leigh Sales be paid $220k+ on maternity leave, or Tony Abbott's paltry $75k

      It how you word the polls Henry.

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    15. Julie Thomas

      craftworker

      In reply to Israel McIntosh

      And Israel can I ask why you have not found another job? You were probably liberated from your previous union protected job and now it is up to you to take responsibility for yourself and find a new job.

      I hope you are not a job snob and refusing to take a job that doesn't suit you?

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    16. Israel McIntosh

      Retired

      In reply to Julie Thomas

      I have only been a member of a union once - when I was at full time uni in the 70s. I almost got part-time delagate - missed out by 3 votes even though everyone knew I was a paid up member of the Liberal Party. Yes it was a closed shop - you'd be surprised how many union members are conservative. That's why we object to compulsory levies to fund the national socialist ALP.

      As to a jib - I'm on the DSP. But I still paid $88 out of it to join the IPA. Sufggest you do too at www.ipa.org.au

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    17. Bob Raftopoulos

      retired conspiracy theorist and digital artist

      In reply to Israel McIntosh

      Oh dear, those nasty unions diddled you out of a job, did they? I'm sure there's 2 sides of the story somewhere and the truth to be found in the middle.

      So I take it that whatever happened to you with the union has coloured your glasses to the right.

      However how do you reconcile on being on the regressive side of politics?

      Like
      Turn back the boats
      Turn back Gonski
      Turn back NDIS
      Turn back NBN via Malcolm Turnback.
      Turn back enviromental laws
      Turn back wage rises for aged care workers…

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    18. Julie Thomas

      craftworker

      In reply to Israel McIntosh

      So happy you managed to get on the DSP back when Labor was handing it out like lollies. You just wait until the LNP get around to sorting you lazy disability pensioners out.

      Kevin Andrews is going to " look at whether or not people have got a capacity to work because we know work is the best form of welfare."

      "We know it's good for people in terms of their psychological outlook as well."

      http://www.abc.net.au/news/2013-12-23/government-defends-plans-to-alter-disability-support-pension/5171914

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    19. Henry Verberne

      Once in the fossil fuel industry but now free to speak up

      In reply to Israel McIntosh

      "The surveys have been worded so as to ensure that no-one whould vote against that view."

      Ah a conspiracy! So that's it! Get back to us when you have something just a little more convincing.

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    20. Israel McIntosh

      Retired

      In reply to Julie Thomas

      Why do you keep quoting their ABC. They are not an organisation known for its integrity or accuracy. How many millions will be squandered by them over the Chris Kenny action. As to accuracy - I'm still waiting for them to front up with proof that 7 people have burnt hands. We have a picture of one, maybe two people. No apology from them. Worse than that red undies guy.

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    21. Julie Thomas

      craftworker

      In reply to Israel McIntosh

      Are you saying that the ABC made up what Kevin Andrew's has said. Surely not?! Does your scepticism extend so far that you imagine the ABC makes up words for politician. Do you think the LNP is going to increase your DSP?

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    22. Julie Thomas

      craftworker

      In reply to Israel McIntosh

      Actually Israel, the ABC is noted for it's integrity and it's accuracy "and 89% of Australians believe the ABC provides a valuable service to the community". Amanda Vanstone on Counterpoint which is an ABC program said that. Check it out yourself and if you check you will find that the ABC is rated as the most reliable source of accurate news by many more people than think the Australian is accurate.

      http://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/counterpoint/should-the-abc-be-privatised3f/4740464

      If you keep worrying about the colour of people's undies you will go crazy you know? Oh that's right you already are. :)

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    23. Peter Redshaw

      Retired

      In reply to Israel McIntosh

      Good on you Israel, Rupert rely's on readers like you. But I have to differentiate from you on the Australian. I at one time did read the Australia. But over time I found it harder and harder to do so as it continued to treat me and my intelligence as an absolute fool. It was full of so much biased spin misinformation and outright lies that it became an absurdity to read it.

      Now even if that spin suited my political views of the world I would have still felt like it treated me as a total…

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    24. Peter Redshaw

      Retired

      In reply to Henry Verberne

      Yes I agree Henry, surly no one thinks what the Telegraph prints is news, do they. I know I am not a Sydney person, but surly no one down there is taken in by what it writes, do they. My estimate of those who come from Sydney would have to go down if you said people there did think what they were reading in the Telegraph was news and actually believed it.

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    25. Peter Redshaw

      Retired

      In reply to Israel McIntosh

      Israel, you may be right, but than they do print ones that the Abbott government does not like also. Now that is vastly different to the Australian and telegraph, who I can only see as the propaganda machine of the Abbott government.

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    26. Israel McIntosh

      Retired

      In reply to Peter Redshaw

      And yet more than 150,000 extra readers prefer to read the Daily Terror tabloid than the Sydney Moaning (sic) Herald tabloid. Obviously a government should legislate to stop consumers exercising their democratic right to read what they want. Maybe Nicola Roxon could come up with some legislation to stop a popular newspaper being read.

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    27. Julie Thomas

      craftworker

      In reply to Israel McIntosh

      Israel, I think you are drowning not waving.

      Time to give it up and have a bit of a lie down and think about how wonderful life will be when you and IPA fix all the problems in the world.

      I can't believe that they take $88 from a Disability Pensioner! Shame on them.

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    28. Russ Hunter

      Healthcare Professional

      In reply to Israel McIntosh

      Oh dear, Israel. I hope you didn't watch media watch tonight.

      You're beloved Oz newspaper was exposed for explicitly doctoring a letter to the editor. It was about people who have trouble saying sorry; John Howard was (naturally) one of the trio listed by the letter writer. Howard managed to disappear somehow from the publication!

      It was pretty ugly.

      Care to defend this, Israel?

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    29. Israel McIntosh

      Retired

      In reply to Russ Hunter

      Oh well mate - at least no News Corp journo has been convicted of hacking, unlike 2 Fairfax Media journos who were convicted. And Fairfax Media continues to employ these criminals. That shows the ethics of that organisation.

      And we wont mention the paedophiles the ABC has employed in the past.

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    30. Russ Hunter

      Healthcare Professional

      In reply to Israel McIntosh

      Just pretend it didn't happen eh.

      I am a bit shocked to have to say one good thing about the Oz. The new media editor, Sharri Markson, actually came across as a decent person on Q&A tonight. Couldn't believe what I was seeing.

      I'd warrant she will be out of a job in the not-too-distant future.

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  3. David Stein

    Businessman

    Excellent post Michelle, thank you.
    I agree with Peter Redshaw that the deregulation and red and green tape cutting exercises the government keeps talking about are more about creating and protecting monopoly interests. If the government was serious about its microeconomic reform and productivity goals, then they would ensure there was much more competition in the economy rather than enable less.
    Media mergers are popular since they allow economies of content across different platforms. Most…

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    1. Russ Hunter

      Healthcare Professional

      In reply to Garry Baker

      ''You [Morry Schwartz] are not some demented plutocrat pouring more and more money into a loss-making venture that is just going to peddle your opinions.''

      I presume Turnbull did mean to refer to William Randolph Hearst (I don't think he's stupid enough to say what he really thinks of Murdoch).

      The fact that this was assumed to be a reference to Murdoch is telling.

      Very strange that Malcolm would not have seen that coming.

      Make no mistake, this move to relax ownership laws is just part of repaying the favours.

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  4. James Hill

    Industrial Designer

    To para[phrase Adam Smith the Coaltion has "an interest to deceive and oppress the public".
    Powerful media monopolies ought to do the trick for them.
    Thanks for a balanced article.

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  5. Andrew Nichols

    Digital Drudge

    Monopolies controlling the media?

    What could go wrong??

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  6. Geoff Anderson

    Brain Surgeon

    So Rupert can own what he likes, and Bolt can say who he likes?

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    1. Israel McIntosh

      Retired

      In reply to Geoff Anderson

      I know it's a strange concept for you to understand, but that is what normally happens in a democracy. It is only oppressive regimes that try to limit what journalists say, and strangely enough, they are normally of the left.

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    2. Gary Murphy

      Independent Thinker

      In reply to Israel McIntosh

      It is well known by Ltd News journalists that if they start writing things Rupert doesn't like they get fired.

      Is that the oppressive regime you are talking about?

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    3. Julie Thomas

      craftworker

      In reply to Israel McIntosh

      Israel what political philosophy are you using to back up your claim that "this is what normally happens in a democracy". Can you explain how you know what is 'normal' in a democracy and can you point to any normal democracies that do provide full freedom for people to do and say what they like?

      How ridiculous to say that only left regimes oppress freedom. You must be so biased and bitter and twisted you cannot see your own irrationality and how this level of partisanship makes you opinions very dodgy.

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    4. Israel McIntosh

      Retired

      In reply to Julie Thomas

      I did say "they are normally of the left.". Obviously your prejudice blinded your interpretation of what I said. That is not my fault, but yours.

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    5. Julie Thomas

      craftworker

      In reply to Israel McIntosh

      I am sorry Israel but can we clear up this mistake on your part? You did say that "that is what normally happens in a democracy".

      Could you scroll up a few comments and check that?

      So now you see that you made a mistake and you must be referring to some other wild and woolly comment you have made elsewhere, can we talk about these 'normal' democracies that you believe in?

      Yes I am sure Israel that in your mind, it is all my fault and of course there are many others you blame for the dreadful life you live with no freedom and the irresponsible poor cluttering up your street.

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    6. Israel McIntosh

      Retired

      In reply to Gary Murphy

      Could you name these journalists for us ????

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    7. Henry Verberne

      Once in the fossil fuel industry but now free to speak up

      In reply to Julie Thomas

      No reasonable discussion possible with the likes of that one Julie!

      Will raise all manner of emotive points, all ideology based.

      Convinced of the rightness of the cause.

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    8. Israel McIntosh

      Retired

      In reply to Gary Murphy

      He could have been misusing paper clips - what would the ABC know.

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    9. Julie Thomas

      craftworker

      In reply to Henry Verberne

      I'm bored today Henry, It's a slow day but I should leave him alone with himself do something useful instead.

      The First Dog piece on Abbotts Green Army is funny though. :)

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  7. Ben Marshall
    Ben Marshall is a Friend of The Conversation.

    Writer

    So that's another box ticked on the IPA agenda.

    As for the Coalition handing Murdoch even more power, it continues to show their contempt for democracy, that even they don't believe what they stand for is fair or honourable, and their fear that if their true agenda was revealed in a non-compliant media, they'd be shown as the extreme Right non-conservative nut-jobs they are.

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    1. Israel McIntosh

      Retired

      In reply to Ben Marshall

      We always have the ABC to give a leftist viewpoint to counteract News Corp. They are extremely successful in advocating those views on The Drum, Q & A, Media Watch, The Chaser etc. And all funded by LNP taxpayers. As Mitt Romney pointed out in last years presidential election, not too many welfare beneficiaries vote conservative (unlike me), they know where their bread is buttered.

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    2. Julie Thomas

      craftworker

      In reply to Israel McIntosh

      Oh poor Mitt, pointing out that furphy didn't work too well for him in his election campaign, did it Israel?

      Yes you are right, it is exactly the case that you conservative neo-liberals know which side your bread is butteredon and you do need to support the selfish and greedy like Mrudoch so you can keep on top of the ladder - well further up than those dreadful stupid and lazy poors, and you do need to make sure these poors do not get any closer to you.

      And again, I agree with your unhappiness with your taxes going to things you don't like, I'm not happy with some of the places my taxes go either but we do live in a some what *normal* democracy do we not, Israel, and we need to be tolerant and inclusive and not make war on people because that makes a good democracy.

      In particular Israel you 'should' not make war on the poor because we are not able to fight back.

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    3. Damian Hayden

      IT Professional

      In reply to Ben Marshall

      C'mon Ben, we knew this day was coming.

      https://theconversation.com/news-corp-australia-vs-the-nbn-is-it-really-all-about-foxtel-16768
      https://theconversation.com/pay-tv-triple-play-pits-foxtel-in-three-legged-race-with-telstra-21031
      https://theconversation.com/political-favours-and-the-rights-of-tv-sport-audiences-20701

      There was already a strong indication/suspicion on TC that the new government would relax the anti-siphoning laws, overseas ownership, and cross-media rules. Everything is slowly fitting into place.

      Nothing so far from this government has surprised me. All I can do is hope it continues to get worse as they proceed with their agenda, and all those fools that voted Liberal never do so again.

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    4. Ben Marshall
      Ben Marshall is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Writer

      In reply to Israel McIntosh

      Hi Israel, I think if you watch the shows you mention, you'll see, if anything a slight Right-leaning emphasis on panel guests. Studies have also shown a consistent slight Right bias during the electoral cycle.

      The so-called 'Left-wing bias' touted by yourself, the Murdoch press and the Coalition has been debunked so thoroughly and so many times, I'll merely add that you do not have any actual facts on your side of that particular non-debate.

      I also think, as has been noted more than once in TC columns, how independently collected, collated and peer-reviewed facts, data and evidence are viewed very poorly by Right-leaning pollies, their 'scientific' advisors, the IPA and your favourite newspaper, The Australian. The Right seem to have a strong preference for faith over facts, for which reason I lol'd when I read your Mitt quote - I admire your chutzpah, sir, but not your views.

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    5. Israel McIntosh

      Retired

      In reply to Ben Marshall

      What planet are you living on when you state "Studies have also shown a consistent slight Right bias ...". If you mean studies taken by academics or the ABC or Fairfax Media, I would agree. But studies undertaken by News Corp, the IPA or CIS would say otherwise.

      Let's take yestedays Insiders, and look at the politics of the panel:

      Barrie Cassidy - press secretary to Bob Hawke for six years.

      Fran Kelly - advised the SMH on 13/3/12 "What I am, really am, is an activist". I dont think she…

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    6. Russ Hunter

      Healthcare Professional

      In reply to Damian Hayden

      I agree this day has has been coming ever since NewsCorp became a virtual arm of the Coalition, well before the election (or is it the other way around?). There are some serious favours to repay.

      For starters we've had the government heartily join in the furious campaign against the ABC waged by NewsCorp: government ministers publicly and privately attacking the ABC, led by Abbott himself (what a joke). Naturally, the 'review' of the ABC is underway...

      Relaxing media ownership for Rupie is…

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    7. Ben Marshall
      Ben Marshall is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Writer

      In reply to Israel McIntosh

      With respect Mister McIntosh, you really need to get out more. You might also recognise that any view, evidence, data or reportage that does not fit with your views is, by definition, going to appear Left wing.

      http://www.theage.com.au/business/study-finds-abc-bias-leans-towards-coalition-20090902-f8gm.html

      There's a light rain here and though, goodness knows we could use a real tank-filler, the air smells sweet with aromatic oils from the bush. Nice.

      http://www.theguardian.com/media/datablog/2014/feb/06/australian-broadcasting-corporation-australia

      Read more
    8. Ben Marshall
      Ben Marshall is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Writer

      In reply to Israel McIntosh

      Oh, I forgot this one.

      http://www.crikey.com.au/2012/06/25/speaking-of-media-independence-how-does-aunty-fare/

      aaannnnd this one.

      http://www.abc.net.au/news/2009-09-02/media-favours-coalition-study-finds/1414594

      I think you'll find the Coalition hate the ABC because they ask questions of our elected politicians.

      Murdoch hates the ABC because they're his competition. Once the ABC is killed off or castrated, he'll fill the vacuum and make out like a bandit.

      Jo Nova and those awful creepy anti-climate science blogs you like so much hate the ABC because the ABC haven't uncovered any science that refutes AGW, or any secret global Jewish / Rosthchild / Bankster / socialist / [insert other vile Left wing groups of your choice here] conspiracy to enslave and tax the planet and make everyone plant trees, read by candlelight and wear green hemp.

      So much anger...

      Anyway, cheers.

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    9. Israel McIntosh

      Retired

      In reply to Ben Marshall

      Crikey and their ABC are renowned for their love of all things conservative.

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    10. Troy Howard

      Mechanic at -

      In reply to Israel McIntosh

      So your too thick a piece off bread to know where your bread is buttered. How beautifully ironic. Thankyou mindless IPA/LNP drone you have made my day. =)

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    11. Ben Marshall
      Ben Marshall is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Writer

      In reply to Israel McIntosh

      Good morning Israel.

      We've had a lovely rain here overnight. Thanks for asking.

      Still banging the ol' Left Wing Bias drum, eh? I note you're not too proud, however, to quote from Crikey to support a point, so well done you for reading vile Marxist, bilby-huggers like them as well as your usual fare of faith-based types like Bolt and Nova.

      Enjoy your day, but do spend some time away from the hate sites and go into the garden, eh? It's lovely out there. Birds, insects, plants - it's full of happy.

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  8. Russ Hunter

    Healthcare Professional

    Murdoch put the Coalition into power, now it's time to repay the favour:

    News Corp would be the only substantial beneficiary of removing the 2/3 law. It's loss making newspaper propaganda arm is propped up by Foxtel and FoxSports. With the 2/3 law gone, News Corp can take control of Lachlan Murdoch's Ten Network and turn it into a full-scale "Fox News Australia". If you thought Andrew Bolt's show and Meet The Press were bad, wait till you get a load of this.

    It will make some money for Rupert. More importantly, it will give him MORE influence.

    God help us.

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    1. Russ Hunter

      Healthcare Professional

      In reply to Russ Hunter

      that's "Fox Australia" type channel, not just a news channel, I mean.

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    2. Henry Verberne

      Once in the fossil fuel industry but now free to speak up

      In reply to Russ Hunter

      Yes, poor fellow my country!

      Murdoch seems to get what he wants in this country which now has a regime friendly to the domination of his evil empire.

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    3. Israel McIntosh

      Retired

      In reply to Russ Hunter

      Funny that The Bolt Report beats Insiders. And it isn't seen all over Australia, unlike Insiders.

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    4. Israel McIntosh

      Retired

      In reply to Ron Bowden

      You're welcome buddie - hope you're having a nice day - God bless.

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    5. Israel McIntosh

      Retired

      In reply to Russ Hunter

      Lachlan Murdoch's Ten Network ??? All 10% control ???

      Next you'll say Gina Reinhart controls Fairfax Media with her 15%.

      I'm surprised you didn't bring up their ABC's Australia Network and Sky Australia. Everyone says Rupie controls it. Kerry Stokes would beg to differ. News controlled 13% of the consortium going for that contract which it won successfully on two occasions. I'd love to see those cabinet papers - hehehe

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    6. Julie Thomas

      craftworker

      In reply to Israel McIntosh

      How does the Bolt report 'beat' insiders? I heard that Dorothy the Dinosaur or whatever is on ABC2 rates higher than Bolt

      The Bolt Report came in 29th, with 168,000 viewers (just behind Dorothy the Dinosaur) while Inside Business was 35th with 132,000 viewers.

      http://www.smh.com.au/business/ratings-nothing-to-giggle-about-20130711-2pt2t.html

      And Israel you do know Bolt is a liar? John Quiggan says

      "Anyone who believes anything Bolt says is a fool. But I suspect that, like Bolt himself, most of his fans know he is talking nonsense and don’t care. He’s a tribal ally, and he’s good with snark and slander, and that’s good enough for them."

      http://johnquiggin.com/2014/03/05/bolt-every-word-he-says-is-a-lie-including-and-and-the/

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    7. Russ Hunter

      Healthcare Professional

      In reply to Israel McIntosh

      Israel, is that all you've got? Lachlan Murdoch does not own a majority of Ten Holdings Limited. Well done.

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    8. Gary Murphy

      Independent Thinker

      In reply to Julie Thomas

      Last thing I heard of Andrew Bolt was that he was huffing and puffing on his blog threatening to sue Michael Mann for calling him a liar. Guess he chickened out...

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    9. Julie Thomas

      craftworker

      In reply to Israel McIntosh

      Yep Israel ratings go up and down. Does that surprise you? Have you checked how low Alan Jones' ratings are these days and how much loss the station took last year?

      See if you can find the info.

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    10. Julie Thomas

      craftworker

      In reply to Gary Murphy

      I suspect that was what Prof Quiggan was doing also with his blog post that I linked to. He has called Bolt out before and Bolt hasn't made any move to protect his reputation.

      Seems he now believes in free speech.

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    11. Russ Hunter

      Healthcare Professional

      In reply to Israel McIntosh

      So Israel, old chum. Do you now expect us to believe that you are a subscriber to Crikey and still maintain that The Oz is "the finest newspaper in Australia". They rip the Oz hacks to shreds on a daily basis.

      This get's funnier by the moment!

      Back to the drawing board, I would suggest.

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    12. Israel McIntosh

      Retired

      In reply to Russ Hunter

      I wouldn't subscribe to that online rag. I used google. I felt compromised reading the article, but I read a verse from the Old Testament to absolve my sins. Shalom !!!!!!

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    13. Troy Howard

      Mechanic at -

      In reply to Israel McIntosh

      Please tell Greg to come back at least he had some semblance of argument.
      This has all the hall marks of arguing with a toddler, you know your right but the toddler will never see it your way.

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    14. James Hill

      Industrial Designer

      In reply to Israel McIntosh

      You'll have to forgive the feeding frenzy, there is clear shortage of things here for posters to get their teeth into.
      Keep up the stimulus.

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    15. Israel McIntosh

      Retired

      In reply to Julie Thomas

      Alan Jones ratings are low because he wasn't on air. He was recovering from surgery.

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    16. In reply to Troy Howard

      Comment removed by moderator.

    17. In reply to Ron Bowden

      Comment removed by moderator.

    18. Julie Thomas

      craftworker

      In reply to Israel McIntosh

      Yep Israel, Government funding of education, health and welfare is a bloody good thing; it makes our country the best and freest place to be.

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    19. Israel McIntosh

      Retired

      In reply to Ron Bowden

      "Sincere thanks go to our Founding Partners who gave initial funding support: CSIRO, Monash University, University of Melbourne, University of Technology Sydney and University of Western Australia. Strategic Partner RMIT University and a growing list of member institutions also provide financial support."

      Last time I checked, universities and the CSIRO are funded by the taxpayer.

      Just sayin'

      I realise some individuals make private donations though.

      Maybe The Conversation, as an institution which believes in academic freedom and openess, would care to make its audited accounts public.

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    20. Ron Bowden

      Entropy tragic

      In reply to Israel McIntosh

      Once again, you could be right about that.
      However, you speak of government funding as if it's something abhorrent, but as a DSPensioner you're government funded. Just sayin'
      Regarding your last sentence, why not ask?

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  9. Matt Bennett

    logged in via email @gmail.com

    Sweet and fitting that Malcolm himself let slip last weekend EXACTLY why we need regulation - the propensity of media moguls for PSYCHOTICISM.

    His remarks don't sound like him at all. They are HIGHLY discordant. Begs the question who's hand (other than Rupert's) is up the back of his shirt and putting words so incongruous with his known views in his mouth.

    Q: Is he a victim of 'cabinet solidarity', or just being leant upon by the usual suspects in his party and the media?

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    1. In reply to john davies

      Comment removed by moderator.