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Is Murdoch Australia’s Biggest Sleaze Mogul?

I am but 50 pages into the Paul Barry biography Breaking News and the overriding impression one gets from these first few pages is that Rupert Murdoch recognised very early in his pursuit of fame and fortune that sleaze sells.

His publications in other countries are currently under investigation so I will confine my remarks to his Australian publications.

The profitability and popularity of every publication he owns depends on sleaze, be it the intellectual variety of The Australian or the gutter filth of The Daily Telegraph.

He realised early that the opinion he generated via his publications gave him influence in political circles and with it the power to manipulate it for his own benefit. The recall of favours rendered is always implied and never spelt out. It’s safer that way. Age has not wearied him but the times have. The advent of the Internet is but the beginning of the end. The Internet does not convey sleaze (I’m talking newspapers) as well as big boobs on page three of a tabloid. And those of the left should not assume that he supports any ideology other than the one that will give him what he wants in the circumstances. He supported Whitlam’s election and dumped him with an anti Labor campaign three years later. Whitlam was not for kowtowing to any media barren. And he supported Rudd in 2007.

Reuters in the past week reported that the Murdoch Australian newspapers have experienced a 25% advertising revenue decline on top of a 22% dip in sales. Is it any wonder based on the gutter trash it serves up? Have the advertisers decided they no longer want to be associated with sleaze? Is it reflecting on their product as it did during the Alan Jones sexist exposure? Has the reader’s tolerance for smut reached its limit?

So how does a proprietor arrest the decline? One way is to become sleazier, more titillating, more outrageous, and shocking. They can also increase the lying and spying and the omission of truth. In the case of The Australian they could choose to be even more biased. If that’s possible. Take for example Nick Cater’s (journalist for The Australian) reply to Tanya Plibersek on Q&A Monday night: “If you want to make this a war, we can”. Or Murdoch’s trashing of Australian sporting legend, Ian Thorpe’s reputation while at the same time accusing the ABC of being unpatriotic.

Another choice is to over a period of time transpose your paper into an on-line newssheet. The problem there is that you have to charge a fee and as this blog has proved there is an abundance of excellent writers ready to opine about issues for free. News and information is readily available so why should anyone pay?

Yet another choice is to discredit your opposition and seek a monopoly. Murdoch in partnership with the Abbott Government are doing their best to achieve this with their ferocious attacks on the ABC. Given the community support for the public broadcaster this is also doomed to failure.

COMMUNICATIONS Minister Malcolm Turnbull has issued a thinly veiled warning to the ABC to correct and apologise for errors, as senior cabinet figures voiced outrage and backbenchers seethed over the broadcaster’s handling of claims that asylum-seekers were deliberately burnt by defence personnel. Immigration Minister Scott Morrison yesterday demanded the broadcaster apologise for “outrageous slurs” against the navy while Joe Hockey revealed he has been so angry on occasions at ABC coverage he had called managing director Mark Scott to say “this is outrageous”.

One is apt to ask if the same outrage could be extended to the Murdoch Media who threaten our democracy with so much power that they can see people dismissed and governments elected.

And consider this from Crikey.com:

Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s revelation that the government is mulling dumping the “two out of three” rule in our media ownership laws is more welcome news for News Corporation — albeit a bit like sending a leaky boat to rescue a drowning man.
Since the election, the government’s initial media policy forays have closely followed the script some of us suggested prior to September 7. In particular, the ABC has been the subject of extraordinary attack editorially — with both Turnbull and Treasurer Joe Hockey inappropriately calling ABC managing director Mark Scott to complain about ABC news content — and reputationally, with the Prime Minister himself engaging in a carefully-structured attack designed to delegitimise the broadcaster.

Turnbull flagged this week that changes to the anti-siphoning laws — which are still betwixt and between following the failure of former Labor communications minister Stephen Conroy’s comprehensive reform package — are under consideration, which opens up potential benefits for News Corp’s half-owned Foxtel — although old hands will know that any changes to anti-siphoning usually harm, not help, pay TV. Turnbull could do worse than run with the guts of Conroy’s package, which introduced an element of common sense into what is in essence a profoundly anti-competitive piece of regulation favouring the free-to-air TV cartel.

Day after day the Murdoch media empire exposes its monopolised gutter filth, acting like a dog on heat seeking to justify its gutter crawling journalism. It isn’t working. Truth could, but mud raking has made Murdoch’s fortune. He knows not decency so he cannot try it.

And the political journalists at these excuses for newspapers would know that they only retain their jobs on the basis that Murdoch is paying them to write merely what he demands them too. They have no choice. In other words they prostitute their professional ethics for money. They also know that the life of their jobs is dependent only on the lifespan of the owner.

But what about self-promotion that might work.

Comment should not be cheap
The Australian
December 04, 2013 12:00AM
REGARDLESS of what he is writing about – the Gallipoli centenary, Labor’s existential turmoil or the policy pratfalls of a new government, as he is today – our editor-at-large, Paul Kelly, brings his penetrating insight and peerless authority.

The Australian is blessed with writers such as Dennis Shanahan on politics, Greg Sheridan on foreign affairs, John Durie on business and Judith Sloan and David Uren on economics, and many others in the top rank, who have lived through the big moments in the nation’s history and are able to provide readers with a sense of perspective, knowledge and balance on the issues of the day. Along with experienced editors, they allow us to cut through the noise and tumult of a frenetic news cycle to explain events.

Yet that can’t be said of all media outlets, especially when seasoned journalists are being traded for ones unable to see beyond the dazzle of the instantaneous fix of Twitter or web-first publishing. These callow reporters and trainee talking heads are setting the pace at Fairfax Media and the ABC, with their “breaking” views and zippy analysis five minutes after something has happened.

We can see the crude results in the way the Abbott government is being portrayed as bad, mad and chaotic by the baby faces in the press gallery and beyond. To date, the low-point of juvenilia was struck by John van Tiggelen, editor of The Monthly, old enough to know better but clueless about Canberra, who wrote about the Abbott government’s “onanistic reverence for John Howard” and described it as “this frat party of Young Liberals who refuse to grow up”.

This twaddle would be harmless if these ill-informed innocents were on the fringes of new media, learning their craft in the minor leagues. Alarmingly, these infantile musings reflect the priorities of their organisations: it’s a reverse-publishing model, which sees the trivialities of Generation Y setting the agenda for once-venerable newspapers, which traditionally served older, educated, middle-income readers in Sydney and Melbourne.

No wonder Fairfax Media editors have lost touch with loyal readers and the respect of the old-hands still in the newsroom. At the ABC, Triple-J alumni have wrested cultural and editorial control in the face of insipid leadership from managing director Mark Scott and his news director, Kate Torney. You wonder if anyone’s really in charge at Pyrmont, Docklands and Ultimo and how long this idiocy can last.

Well it looks like that hasn’t worked. What’s left? That’s the big question.

I have a suggestion. Just close shop and save a lot of money. But I’m sure the board will do that anyway when the stench leaves the boardroom.


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  1. scotchmistery

    I am thankful that there is still something resembling a media, thanks to online citizen and pro journalists, able to bring to our attention the failings of this “government”.

    I could spend days writing about the bullshit emanting from Canberra, especially in relation to the ABC, but at the end of the day, where is the outcry against the More-Dick press acting as the advertising arm of the LNP at the last erection? Where the outrage against such rampant pro-liberal proselytizing of the Dolt, Jones, and those other haggard has-beens acting as typists and bending over the desk waiting for dear old rupert to be brought up behind them by his nurse, lubed up by his secretary and thrust his viagra-raised nodule into their receptive back passages, with a little help from his “masseur”.

    We as a country don’t question the “ethics” of the typists like Shanahan et al, we just consume uncomplainingly and there is no excuse for that. This government is there because we as a nation are complacent and a lot of people were fed up with the bullshit passing for government, by the ALP, not because it was “time” for those born to rule us as is their right, if you ask them, by divine intervention.

  2. Andrea Charlton

    Likening the Murdoch press to a harlot on heat is a. unfair to the harlot who is not publishing lies and slander, and b. an inappropriate juxtaposition that pushes a very old fashioned notion of sleaze as driven by women, while it is clearly a male preference. It is not female sexual energy that drives Murdoch’s quest for monopoly and influence. I suggest it may be testosterone poisoning.

  3. Kaye Lee

    “The Australian is blessed with writers such as Judith Sloan”

  4. Jeffbrad07

    Well said, Andrea Charlton.

  5. John Fraser


    "It's morally wrong to allow a sucker to keep his money."
    W. C. Fields

    And Rupert as a practising catholic adheres to this principle.

    As well as :

    "Never give a sucker an even break."
    W. C. Field

    This one is used regularly by the catholic hierarchy as well as its myriad of lawyers.

    Although others say :

    "My opinion is that he's a swindler and you're a sucker."
    John McCarthy


    "If you're playing a poker game and you look around the table and and can't tell who the sucker is, it's you."
    Paul Newman

    The "age of entitlement" is not over as far as the Abbott government and advertising with Rupert is concerned.

  6. Kaye Makovec

    There are many more of us who don’t read anything from Fairfax either. As I have stated many times over, none of the ‘older’ newspapers have printed the facts for over 3 decades and why would I want a paid opinion when I can get one for free, here, there and everywhere.
    Perhaps there are still some who can’t think for themselves though and need print and radio to help 🙂

  7. FSM is coming.

    Good work Mr Lord.
    the more we read, them more the word gets around. EVERY Journalists reputation is on the line because of the distrust caused by Murdochs global news.
    Keep the Murdoch bashing going. We all know Murdoch stoops to the lowest of lows and is relentless.
    What goes around comes around.

  8. Kaye Lee


    Murdoch is self-flagellating. The truth can bypass him now…we just have to get it to enough people.

  9. Dan Rowden

    I don’t think any fair-minded person could say that, post-election, Fairfax have been other than pretty decent in their political coverage.

  10. Graeme Rust

    Judith sloan, seems to be the dim witted one, the child care centers I’ve seen by taking my granddaughter to have been excellent, the staff are what make or break a business, the staff I have had a chat with are very very on the ball. So sloan go back under your rock and stay there.

  11. Kaye Lee

    “post-election” being the operative words there Dan. To me, that’s rather late.

  12. jasonblog

    Murdoch makes Hearst look like an absolute beginner in the creepy-nutbag stakes. Anyway, Citizen Murdoch rolls on in the face of the fact he should have retired 10-years ago when he was on top of his game.

    It’s funny that the confected outrage over the ABC has received such widespread coverage – most extensively by the ABC itself – and yet the “phone hacking trial” remains pretty much unspoken. Is Rupert Murdoch a fit and proper person to hold a position of power in a media organisation? If Rebekah Brooks is imprisoned you’d have to say Murdoch’s time is limited.

    Murdoch & Cater, etc, are all on borrowed time. They had a limited opportunity to implement the IPA agenda before the broader Australian community woke up to what was going on & said “What the F?” As Lincoln said You can fool some of the people some of the time. Murdoch & Cater represent an established order of power, wealth, privilege and influence that is now in freefall. Rest assured they won’t go quietly into “that long good-night” and will “rage, rage against the dying of the light”.

    What I find amusing about Murdoch / News Corp is their opinion that the ABC is competition to them. I suspect that their assault on Aunty* is probably only fuelling a backlash against News Corp. I imagine any moves to privatise or defund the ABC would be greeted with protests / demonstrations that would be politically uncomfortable for the Liberals. It is beyond belief that the prime-minister of Australia is using the office in a campaign of smearing to aid and abet the monopolistic business ambitions of a multi-national media corporation.

    Murdoch has one foot in the grave and the other inching towards a prison cell. He is not far from being an unpleasant and nasty memory. His Australian newspapers are subsidised by sports fans who take out subscriptions to Fox Footy – he’s always been clever as to how he manipulates his influence.

    *Aunty is not above suspicion and should always be held to account by insisting on impeccable standards. Australian democracy demands it. Joe Hockey should publicly declare and detail what has appeared on the ABC & how it has been presented that has caused him such anguish. Otherwise he is just another blowhard making noise.

    ** Andrea Charlton is spot on with her comment.

  13. Dissenter

    The best press for MURDOCH is that he DOES not figure.
    Lets all stop even supporting him with COMMENTARY. EVEN NEGATIVE COMMENTARY DUMPS are FUEL to his FIRE.
    IT is TIME TO FREE ourselves FROM their YOKE OF propaganda and hate. So forget any of the RAGS exist.
    Now on fairfax: yes they have been fair AFTER The election to a degree. BUT CAN THEY BE TRUSTED AGAIN.????????
    Let us all put our faith in independent news and the Guardian and let is see if we are happier, healthier. more empowered and free of filth mongering and propaganda.
    There is still room for more alternative news sources too.
    Someone could create another one.
    The more news that is not polluted and is rational and factual the better.

  14. Dan Rowden

    Kaye Lee,

    “post-election” being the operative words there Dan. To me, that’s rather late.

    I’ll take what I can get.

  15. John Fraser


    Aren't "Is" and the question mark redundant in the header ?

    Shouldn't it be :

    " Murdoch Australia’s Biggest Sleaze Mogul"

    With a comma after "Murdoch" ?

  16. Peter Hamrol

    There’s only a one-word response by me in regards to the “Is Murdoch Australia’s Biggest Sleaze Mogul?” question … DEFINITELY ….

  17. Stephen Tardrew

    In an evolutionary sense someone who supports destruction of the environment, and subjugation and exploitation of the poor when evolution relies upon cooperation and mutual support, is primitive and redundant. It is completely insane to willingly destroy the environment. Even if they change their mindset it is too late. Many are going to suffer intolerably for their arrogance, ignorance and ineptitude.

    To vilify and hate people, for that what it is to cause untold suffering an harm, in the name of free markets is obscene. Murdoch and co are future primitives that will be vilified as mentally unstable and completely irrational. It beggars belief that people in such positions of power are scientifically illiterate. These genetic throwbacks imbued with fear and ignorance are doomed to ignominy. GDP growth to hell is no growth at all. Growth of human values of kindness and compassion are tools necessary for our survival. Religion and zealotry born of judgment, blame and retribution, in a world that is primarily physically determined, is completely irrational. We must call a spade a spade. The lying and manipulation of the cultural narrative is completely pathological. Forget the nice guy tolerance. Such cruelty is unconscionable and they must be held to count.

  18. Stephen Tardrew

    Excuse typos have been dyslexic.

  19. Buff McMenis

    To be brief … YES!!! And I despise the clap-trap cant in the excerpt from The Australian! I’ve never read such twaddle in my longish life!!! 🙁

  20. Dissenter

    I like to visualise Murdoch as an octopus and call him MURKY because he SLINKS and Slithers in the depths eating slime and ooze and when under attack he SHOOTS ink.
    He does not seem to threatening that way. JUST A NASTY BOTTOM FEEDER.

    Now I know he OWNS ABBOTT and the LNP BUT HE HAS NO RIGHT TO OWN US or access to our independent thoughts and Ideas.
    WE can remain free and if we are free Australia can still be a DEMOCRACY.
    We just need to SPREAD the word that MURDOCH and bias in MSM is STEALING DEMOCRACY and then we win.

  21. xiaoecho

    In MOST of regional Australia Murdoch is the only print media and now it looks like Turnbull is going to give him a free to air station so he can start a Fox type station in Australia. Fox is the most watched TV channel in America and if he starts a sister station it will indubitably be the most popular network here. The man is a cancer on Australia’s social fabric. A cancer that needs cutting out

  22. pvcann

    What it away?

  23. bjkelly1958

    Read on, John. If you have doubts that the Murdoch empire, and most certainly News Limited, will collapse once Captain Sleazy is dead, reading Mr Barry’s character analysis of his progeny, any one of which might take over the show, will remove said doubts.
    The trail of newspapers bought and changed leaves no doubt that scandal and sleaze are his stock in trade. As one time editor of the News of the World said; “Our business is wrecking people’s lives.”

  24. pvcann

    No wonder the govt like him, its a natural fit.

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