Election 2013 media panel

Resisting the evil empire

Given it has been discussed so much, I am a little loath to add further to talk about The Daily Telegraph’s “Kick this mob out” cover. But it is such an instructive example.

As some of my colleagues have suggested such a display of swagger always has the potential to backfire.

There are now numerous signs of resistance, apart from discussion by politicians and media commentators, they include boycott attempts and a string of creative parodies.

Who needs the kick? Facebook Brendan Fitzpatrick

A newsagent in northern New South Wales instituted a boycott at their shop but seem to have been cajoled into changing their minds and appearing on page five of yesterday’s Telegraph. We are told they changed their mind after a “charm offensive” from Telegraph columnist Tim Blair.

Lets hope that the Brisbane Café owner, Patrick Boucher, who launched a boycott of The Courier Mail, with a handwritten note, sticks to his guns now that he has been propelled onto the international stage. UK parliamentarian Tom Watson, who grilled Murdoch over the hacking scandal, Facebooked Boucher’s note denouncing Murdoch’s “attempt to subvert the political and electoral outcomes in Australia,” adding the comment: “Overcooked it Rupe”.

Kick out or Keep out. Facebook Bony Rabbit

As fellow media panelist Libby Lester, points out the politics of boycotts are complex and unlikely to cause a seasoned warrior like Murdoch much grief.

But there’s also been another stream of creative responses that have been filtering across my Facebook feed.

Questioning Murdoch style journalism. Daily Trash

These graphic parodies are active attempts to reframe The Telegraph’s attack. Sure they circulate to a small niche audience but they are indicative of the change in media practices that see a wealth of “tactical media” circulate around mainstream content.

They don’t have the reach of “NSW’s most popular newspaper” but they do represent the multiple pockets of resistance that constantly challenge its popularity. They show that in the new digital media landscape, however confident its swagger, the old media tabloid struggles to control its own image.

Perhaps that is why The Tele was so anxious to demonstrate to their readers that they could bring those deviant newsagents back into their fold.

And of course, after yesterday’s events, one is left asking: Is Kim William’s resignation as News chief the biggest sign of resistance or does it represent the ultimate capitulation to Murdoch’s power?