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Conduct unbecoming?

By now everybody would have seen the widely condemned front page (above) of The Daily Telegraph, but did anybody read the accompanying editorial rubbish?

I was directed to it via the Tele’s Facebook page where they boasted that:

It’s day one of the election campaign. and the Daily Teelgraph (sic) promises the very best, most up to the minute coverage and the hardest hitting opinions. Check out today’s editorial for a taste of what’s to come. http://bit.ly/15vS8er

Here is the editorial – titled Consign Rudd to the bin of history – that their illiterate social media editors encouraged us all to read. I too encourage you to read it, even though it’s a couple of days old now as it gives us an insight from Day 1 of how the Telegraph intends to ‘run’ this campaign:

DAILY TELEGRAPH “OPINION EDITORIAL”: ‘AT last, the power is in the hands of the Australian people to deliver a change of government and to rebuild Australia’s strength and stability.

At last, the opportunity looms to put an end to two terms of political chaos and economic decline.

At last, the time is up for Kevin Rudd and his Labor government.

Announcing the September 7 election date yesterday, Prime Minister Rudd tried to distance himself from Labor’s years of disunity and destruction. He now promises “a new way” and “new politics”. But Australians know that Rudd is absolutely tied to old Labor and its socially divisive and financially ruinous policies.

Kevin Rudd is the leader of a government that confessed just three days ago that its most recent federal budget wasn’t worth the paper it was printed on.

Kevin Rudd is the leader of a government that has somehow turned Australia’s boom times into a massive and ongoing debt.

Kevin Rudd is the leader of a government that punched holes in Australia’s secure borders and cost thousands of lives and billions of dollars by reinvigorating the vile people smuggling trade – one of the few economic sectors that will be unhappy to see an end to Labor’s rule.

Kevin Rudd is the leader of a government that attempted to muzzle the media and to intimidate a free people into docile, compliant silence.

Kevin Rudd is the leader of a government that didn’t keep its word on the carbon tax. A government that didn’t keep its word on delivering a surplus. A government that, in the end, didn’t even keep its word on the 2013 election date. The Prime Minister’s cabinet has already had its say. Fully one-third of the cabinet walked out on Rudd rather than work with him. Several Labor MPs prefer quitting politics entirely to the prospect of serving under Rudd’s leadership.

Now it’s your turn. We agree with the Prime Minister when he says that “the old politics of the past won’t work for Australia’s future”. The problem is, those old politics belong to Kevin Rudd and to history’s rubbish bin.

On September 7, Australia will indeed find a new way – by throwing out a government that has completely lost its way.

In 2007, The Daily Telegraph supported the election of a Labor government led by Kevin Rudd. Our argument then was that the previous Howard government had become weary and unimaginative, and that Rudd represented an opportunity for advancement.

Labor has squandered that opportunity, and is trying now to present itself as the answer to problems of its own creation.

The amount of spin implicit in the Prime Minister’s “new way” rhetoric is beyond anything ever achieved by Shane Warne. It’s a high-rotation insult to an electorate that sees through Labor’s brazen electioneering.

At The Daily Telegraph, we’re not going to cop it. Kevin Rudd and his Labor machine can save their tricks and distractions for the focus groups. We’re not going to play Labor’s game.

At the same time, we will place Coalition policies under exactly the same level of scrutiny. Labor is a known quantity, which is why they’ve lost support. It is up to the Coalition to win those voters.’

Now look at same paper’s published Code of Conduct. We need only be concerned with the sections shown below:

The policy of our publications across all platforms

This policy applies to News Limited and its editorial employees in both print and digital media platforms. It is an update of the News Limited Professional Conduct Policy which applies to editorial employees of News NSW; News Victoria, News Queensland, Davies Bros Limited, Advertiser Newspapers Limited and the regional and suburban newspaper and operations around Australia.

News Limited group publications aim for the highest editorial and ethical standards.

Editorial employees and contributors should be open-minded, be fair and respect the truth.

To this end, all staff need to be familiar with the policy detailed in the following pages, to follow the rules they contain, and to apply their underlying principles.

1. Accuracy

1.1 Facts must be reported impartially, accurately and with integrity.

1.2 Publications should take reasonable steps to ensure reports are accurate, fair and balanced.

1.3 Clear distinction must be made between fact, conjecture, comment and opinion.

1.4 Try always to tell all sides of the story in any kind of dispute. Every effort must be made to contact all relevant parties.

1.5 Do not knowingly withhold or suppress essential facts.

What a joke. Now, if you so desire, read the editorial again. There is not a lot in it that reflects the code of conduct so espoused. To the contrary, it is riddled with impartiality, inaccuracies, and conjecture. All designed, in my opinion, to encourage a vote against the Government. They are of course free to do this, but it would be preferable if the piece was filled with truth and accuracy, unlike the selected sentences from the above editorial, namely:

At last, the opportunity looms to put an end to two terms of political chaos and economic decline.

But Australians know that Rudd is absolutely tied to old Labor and its socially divisive and financially ruinous policies.

Kevin Rudd is the leader of a government that confessed just three days ago that its most recent federal budget wasn’t worth the paper it was printed on.

Kevin Rudd is the leader of a government that didn’t keep its word on the carbon tax. A government that didn’t keep its word on delivering a surplus. A government that, in the end, didn’t even keep its word on the 2013 election date.

At the same time, we will place Coalition policies under exactly the same level of scrutiny. Labor is a known quantity, which is why they’ve lost support. It is up to the Coalition to win those voters.

Let’s look at each of these, starting with At last, the opportunity looms to put an end to two terms of political chaos and economic decline.

What decline? Here are the facts:

Australia is currently experiencing a very fast growth rate of 1.7%. This is the highest growth rate in the OECD and we recently achieved the milestone of 23 million people. That’s 15% growth – or three million people – since early 2004, when we reached 20 million.

Our GDP growth in Australia displayed the full brutality of the carnage being wrought on the world. Many experts and people on the street were convinced that, like the rest of the world, Australia would enter recession.

However, despite all the forecasts, Australia avoided entering recession in 2009. This isn’t to say we didn’t see the impacts. Growth went from above trend, at 3.75% in 2008, to well below, at 1.37% in 2009. Over the last 20 years, trend growth has been an impressive 3.25%.

The next impact was inevitable; with a 10.6% turnaround in revenue growth in the immediate aftermath, government revenue not only completely stalled, it went backwards to the tune of five billion dollars, or 1.5% in 2008. This was followed by a decrease of six billion dollars or 2.1% the following year. These were big falls, especially considering in the last year of John Howard’s pre-GFC government revenue grew by 9.1%.

This period, 2008 and 2009, is where all the damage was done and today’s budget still suffers from it. It was nothing government did. It happened the world over. We were fortunate we avoided recession, our unemployment peaked nowhere near expected and we kept growing.

This didn’t happen by accident. It required government to act to secure bank deposits and implement a world beating stimulus package that filled the hole in demand and kept us insulated from world events. It was a significant package of $52B, but we faced a significant problem and the response by the Australia Government was hailed by the IMF, OECD, World Bank and many economists as being a model response to the crisis.

We continue . . .

But Australians know that Rudd is absolutely tied to old Labor and its socially divisive and financially ruinous policies. And the evidence is where? Where are they socially divisive? How are they financially ruinous? See above: see how well our economy is doing.

Kevin Rudd is the leader of a government that confessed just three days ago that its most recent federal budget wasn’t worth the paper it was printed on. Did they really say that, or are those just your words?

Kevin Rudd is the leader of a government that didn’t keep its word on the carbon tax. A government that didn’t keep its word on delivering a surplus. A government that, in the end, didn’t even keep its word on the 2013 election date. But hasn’t your newspaper condemned the ‘çarbon tax’ from the day it was planned? Hasn’t your newspaper fanatically promoted Tony Abbott who has continuously threatened to repeal it? Hasn’t your newspaper been screaming for an early election since Abbott was defeated in 2010?

At the same time, we will place Coalition policies under exactly the same level of scrutiny. Labor is a known quantity, which is why they’ve lost support. It is up to the Coalition to win those voters. Oh, please, are we to believe that? Show us where you have ever applied any scrutiny to the policy-free Coalition. For three years you have been promoting Team Abbott but not once have I ever known of your newspaper to apply the blowtorch.

Why bother with having a Code of Conduct. Just be honest and openly declare your support for the Coalition, and perhaps try telling us why they’ll provide us with a better government. Or don’t you know?

We certainly don’t. Strangely, we rely on newspapers such as yours to provide us with facts that are reported impartially, accurately and with integrity. Otherwise you are wasting our time.

And this was only Day 1 of the campaign!

I’m guessing that your paper is going to lose thousands of readers, but is that important to you? Another guess: No. What appears to be more important is your desire to influence the political landscape of this country. Do you assume that that’s want your readers want?

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18 comments

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  1. g2-5bba245eb6db01d36e28de6648a6336a

    they escape the code by putting the word “Editorial” under the headline

    Sadly so many “Fair Dinkum Aussies” accept that it is OK for an American billionaire to tell us what government we should have in our country.

  2. Kaye Lee

    It gets worse

  3. Pamela Rawlings

    Sadly the only way to deal with this crap from Murdoch is to no longer watch or read anything to do with his Media in Australia, I am gradually getting rid of anything Murdoch in my home. I find my home is a much nicer place without it. I have not bought their gutter rags for a couple of years now. As soon as my foxtel plan is up I will be getting rid of that too. Nine news is banned in my house the today show also. The only way to deal with Murdoch is to stop giving him money for any of his services. he is an idiot anyway. if the people are on a 50 50 split with the libs and labor then they are alienating 50% of the population. Keep up the good work Murdoch you will soon wake up to the fact that you are losing sales. I would like to know is there an independent Newspaper that actually has printed newspapers. I would buy them for sure as at least they are giving balanced views.

  4. Kaye Lee

    “News Corp is the company that is comfortable with pursuing and then bankrolling the hacking of the mobile phone of a murdered 13 year old girl and deleting messages (and possible evidence), making her parents believe in vain that she is still alive, as they did in the case of Milly Dowler. I can think of fewer things more callous and cruel.

    If that is what floats your boat (pardon the pun) then vote for Abbott and the Coalition as News Ltd seem to suggest.

    However if like I do, you believe that a “mob” who massively promotes education initiatives, provides the country’s first parental leave scheme, introduces a National Disability Insurance Scheme, makes the changes necessary to protect our environment, raises the tax-free threshold to aid to young and low income earners, increases employer superannuation contributions, and invests billions in vital infrastructure for our nation is a “mob” worth hanging onto, you won’t be so easily led.

    Funnily enough, as I write this it has been announced that News Corp had been forced to apologise to Barbara Ramjan for accusing her of being a liar.

    Barabara’s crime was telling Fairfax’s David Marr about the time when her face was in the close vicinity of Tony Abbotts flying fists.

    A company that brands a female victim of intimidation and assault a liar.

    All class.”

  5. J

    You should email the code of conduct to the Daily Telegraph’s Simon Black. He took to facebook recently to personally defend the conduct of the paper, and accused people of abuse when they protested it. He is obviously not familiar with their own code, I believe he’d benefit from reading through it.

  6. Min

    The DT’s ignorance is appalling. It was Kevin Rudd whilst Foreign Minister who negotiated with the Indonesians to take the crime of people smuggling seriously. It was Rudd who negotiated for our Federal Police to work in unison with Indonesian authorities to catch the real people smugglers (instead of just incarcerating the impoverished Indonesian fishermen). It was Rudd who negotiated to allow two of our Patrol Boats to enter Indonesian territorial waters.

    And Tony Abbott’s effort is to give a backhander to Indonesia…

  7. g2-5bba245eb6db01d36e28de6648a6336a

    I lodged a complaint with the AEC this issue.

    I have had several replies that are basically trying to fob me off I am questioning if the laws cover paid advertising or if they cover advertorial advertising where editorial comment is published to promote a brand in exchange for a benefit.

    I have also questioned the “Editorial” aspect of this issue.

    Under their rules if I hand out how to vote pamphlets advertising party X then they need to be clearly marked as advertising with name and authorization etc.

    My question is, if I PUBLISH a pamphlet and mark it EDITORIAL do I get the same exemption from their regulations as the Murdoch press has or would I be considered to be breaking the laws ?

    I await their reply

  8. dave the brickie

    Can an organised peein be arranged on a certain day at the offices of the telegraph.I for one, would fly from Perth to be involved.

  9. passum2013

    Letts preform a Boston tea party on him and do a good old fashioned hanging on the editor.

  10. Bill Morris

    Michael I thought the whole “Unbecoming Conduct” article, especially the analysis of published material ideal to send to a rusted on Liberal friend with a challenge to read the entire article.
    I can’t think how anyone with a normally functioning brain could not be influenced, I await his response.

  11. Kim Martin

    Surely after the disgrace of this paper and what THEY decide to print, people will be hard pressed to believe whats in there. Im finding more and more that any sort of media let you know what they decide you should know. Print what they decide, say what they decide and most of them are one sided. What upsets me more than anything is that they think the Australian public are idiots and will believe anything

  12. girlseule

    I live in the NT, and when I saw this front page floating around the internet I seriously thought it was some mock-up joke for the internet. I can’t believe this was the actual front page of the Telegraph!

  13. doctorrob54

    I honestly think many that would normally vote liberal,will vote Labour due to Murdochs
    sickening bias propaganda.

  14. Kaye Lee

    “In 2007, journalist Ken Auletta spent a great deal of time with Rupert Murdoch while writing a magazine profile of him. Auletta observed that Murdoch was frequently on the phone to his editors and this prompted him to ask: “of all the things in your business empire, what gives you the most pleasure?” Murdoch instantly replied: “being involved with the editor of a paper in a day-to-day campaign … trying to influence people”.

    Over the course of the 2013 federal election, Australia will experience a real time experiment which will demonstrate the degree of influence exerted by Murdoch and his newspapers on Australian political life….”

    http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2013/aug/07/rupert-murdoch-australian-election-2013

  15. Kaye Lee

    If Tony Abbott is elected we will look like Murdoch’s puppets to the rest of the world. They see how well our country is doing and cannot understand why on earth we would vote out such a successful government. They already know how insidious Rupert Murdoch is, and have laws regulating media ownership and political advertising to protect against such undue influence.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-23598223

  16. Pingback: Conduct unbecoming? | lmrh5

  17. Cass Silva

    Kaye Lee :That is precisely what I reiterated when I said a vote for Abbott is a vote for Murdoch!

  18. doctorrob54

    It is hard to believe majority of population would be so ignorant.

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