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Murdochtopus

Murdochtopus has many arms that work in unison with News Corp, one of those arms is a think tank called the Institute of Public Affairs (IPA). When Tony Abbott became Prime Minister the IPA wrote a list of 75 ideas for Abbott to think about which included:

50. Break up the ABC and put out to tender each individual function.

51. Privatise SBS.

The Abbott government and coalition government’s since, have cut funding to the tune of $783 million. By 2023 the cuts to the ABC will amount to $1 billion. Surveys continually show that the ABC and SBS are the most trusted news brands in Australia.

Australia’s concentrated media ownership is one of the highest of the world

News Corp owns nearly 60% of the metropolitan and national print media markets by readership. The Nine Entertainment Co. and Fairfax merger in 2018, means that Nine is now the second largest media owner with a combined readership share of 23%.

80% of Australian free-to-air and subscription TV revenues are collected by three corporations: News Corp, Nine, and Seven Media Holdings.

Nearly 90% of the nation’s radio licences are controlled by News Corp, Nine, and Southern Cross Media (including their associated entities).

Why we need an independent media and newswire

News Corp, Nine and Seven controlling our information isn’t healthy let alone democratic. Our public broadcasters, independent media and the Australian Associated Press Newswire (AAP), fill the public interest journalism voids that commercial media can’t fill. Independent media focuses on audiences that get left behind, the issues that go unreported, holding power to account, and local issues that keep rural audiences informed and connected.

News Corp’s regional newspaper takeover in 2016 didn’t just add to his news monopoly, it gave him the power to close them down completely or to force people to buy digital subscriptions. This is exactly what happened last May. Some rural areas now have no source of news at all, some have bought News Corp subscriptions only to find that they‘re filled wih city-centric news not relevant to them, or their communities.

The AAP had a near death experience during the Covid lockdown in March last year when their two major shareholders, News Corp and Nine, decided to close it down. The reasoning for their decision was that the AAP couldn’t compete with free information from the Internet. The AAP was saved at the last minute by a group of philanphropists. Three-months later it became clear as to why they kept the profitable arms of the AAP for themselves, they were setting up their own newswire, NCA NewsWire, in direct competition with the AAP.

To nearly lose the AAP like that is alarming, we need our national newswire to tell all of our stories, not just those deemed of importance by the media giants. The AAP released the details of their Charter of Independence a month after relaunching as a not-for-profit news service last year. News Corp doesn’t have one, and it’s been 3-years since the Fairfax merged with Nine and they still haven’t signed one. These charters are vital for public interest journalism.

Media ownership report

I recommend reading the “Who controls our media” report. The report explains in laymen terms why it’s important for everyone to know about how media ownership such as ours, is not only unprecedented but dangerous for our democracy.

“I have two young daughters and I work as a registered nurse and a nurse educator. Murdoch [controlled News Corp] recently purchased the one local newspaper on the Sunshine Coast, The Sunshine Coast Daily. Now Murdoch can provide one side of a story without any competition or opposition.” Sarah – Sunshine Coast, QLD.

Sky News Australia has more YouTube reach than the ABC

The distribution of content across all media platforms to reach as many people as possible is where the real power exists. Sky News Australia subscriptions have been climbing since their 2019 distribution deals with YouTube, Microsoft, Facebook and Taboola. Sky News YouTube subscriptions are currently at 1.6 million and climbing whereas the ABC has 1.35 million, and let’s not forget that Sky News is broadcast 24/7 in places such as airports, hotels, and Parliament House.

News Corp is also the most distributed news brand on Facebook. Even if you don’t read Murdoch content, or watch Sky News, or listen to 2GB on the radio, the power of Murdochtopus means that you most likely will, in some shape or form. When only a few players exist, they set the agenda and their reach and amplification means that they set the agenda of all of the other media, including social media.

Patience is a virtue, but lobbying and power gets the job done

In 2006 Murdoch got a taste of Google revenue via an advertising deal with his newly acquired MySpace that was worth $900 million. MySpace was taken over by Facebook in 2009 due to his focusing on monetisation of the platform rather than innovation. From then on Murdoch complained that Google was stealing from him by displaying snippets and links to his content.

In 2019, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission’s (ACCC) found that Google’s use of snippets and links was not theft. By 2021 the much-hyped mandatory Media Bargaining Code of Conduct for Facebook and Google, bore fruit with paid partnership deals for all three of the media giants. This monetary advantage penalises smaller media players that have genuine concerns that the new deals will push News Corp content to the top rather than that of experts, especially in areas such as climate change.

NewsFlash app by Foxtel set to launch in the last quarter of 2021

NewsFlash will livestream content from news services that include Sky News, and Fox News, and will be cheaper than a Foxtel subscription. The app is also a handy way to keep rural audiences of commentators such as Andrew Bolt, after regional broadcaster, Win TV, ended their historic broadcast deal with News Corp and Sky News, by signing a 7-year deal with Nine.

Where to from here?

The petition created by former Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd, was the largest e-petition in Australia’s parliamentary history. Over 500,000 people signed it for a Murdoch Royal Commission. The petition led to a Senate inquiry into media diversity that is ongoing and creating momentum.

There is the voluntary Australian Code of Practice on Disinformation and Misinformation but the code isn’t mandatory and unfortunately has no teeth. So far Twitter, Google, Facebook, Microsoft, Tik Tok and Redbubble have signed up.

Lastly, we can get behind and support the Public Interest Journalism Initiative (PIJI). The PIJI have done research that found that a not-for-profit (NFP) news sector might be a viable solution. An NFP approach could help to increase media diversity, as well as to build sustainable new financial models.

“News is an essential service – as highlighted by successive national emergencies. Its diversity and coverage are essential to inform our citizens, strengthen our community and safeguard our democracy.” PIJI.

 

This article was originally MelMac Politics – Shining a light on politics.

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9 comments

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  1. Michael Taylor

    I look forward to the day when a federal govt has the guts to introduce ‘truth in media laws’. Canada has such laws, and surprise surprise, the Murdoch media isn’t in Canada.

  2. Phil Pryor

    The institute of Poxed mentality is a bent right wing rubbishy group, led by a devotee of rancid old pre-1945 Euro-fascism, domineering filth driven by romanist ratbag ridiculous dogmatic fixations. There’s more Mussolini than Socrates in it, righteous filth. And, most of Murdoch’s maggoty misfit scribblers seem to be similar, turbulent tendentious turds, huns and savages.

  3. Terence Mills

    If you look at the national ratings for Sky After Dark you would have to wonder why they bother : last night for instance –

    The Bolt Report — 65,000 Credlin — 60,000 Alan Jones — 52,000

    But as the article notes, they are on-selling the material to Youtube , Facebook etc where it gets a far greater audience from far Right enthusiasts particularly in the USA. That’s one of the reasons that they spend so much time still calling out the stolen Trump election and voicing their strong opposition to any enquiry into the storming of the US Congress on 6 January : they are also vehemently anti Biden.
    Now that the free to air regional deal that Sky had through WIN is being dumped it will be interesting to see if Lachlan Murdoch will be able to nobble another free to air TV station to accommodate his spruikers.

  4. guest

    The IPA is a Murdoch nesting place for disciples of the Right resting after service or preparing for promotion to high places.
    A pair of skeptics of Climate Change – among a throng of others who voice their skepticism around the world – is Jo Nova and Jennifer Marohasy talking together about the latest IPA publication Climate Change: The Facts 2020 (there have been 4 such IPA publications since 2010) showing on YouTube. Those people who publish or sell these publications advertise them extensively. There are people who praise them as excellent scientific publications.
    The basic thrust of these two skeptics is that the science driving carbon dioxide as a human cause of Climate Change is a failed hypothesis, and by gathering data skeptics will be able eliminate any discrepancies and contradictions in the wrings in these publications.
    What will be discovered is that Climate Change is nothing but a series of naturally occurring “cycles” which have nothing to do with the burning of fossil fuels. This will allow them to say that Climate Change is natural, and is not as bad as the “alarmist”, “catastrophist” and “apocalyptic” IPCC scientists say it is.
    It is a wonderful piece of propaganda which slows down action on Climate Change and gives payment from wealthy pro-fossil fuel people to the propagandists.
    Fortunately, industrial and financial people are a wake-up (woke?) to this disinformation and are going ahead with carbon emission reduction procedures despite the government ambitions for gas-fired power-stations and the expensive failure of Snowy Hydro 2.0.

  5. Andrew J. Smith

    Interesting, think there are three aspects which have been replicated over decades if not generations (especially post white Ausyralia and Howard), as we observe the socio-political chaos in the Anglosphere of US, UK and Australia with the ‘Murdochtopus’ central in communications, messaging and influencing for political purposes; while scaring the hell out conservative MPs and PMs who do not follow orders.

    However, it’s only part of the package as much of the underlying ideology of ‘radical right libertarian’ informed by Nobel Prize winner James Buchanan channeling Hayek, von Mises, the risible Rand, Austrian and Chicago Schools (roots in deep seated Calvinist/WASP Christianity), is transmitted via the ‘Kochtopus’ network of US and global think tanks e.g. Koch’s Atlas Network includes IPA, Wolverine MPs, CIS and TaxPayers’ Alliance, in the UK IEA, ERG MPs and TaxPayers’ Alliance, while in the US it’s AEI, Heritage and Cato (publicly with plethora of related astroturfing etc. e.g. nobbling climate science).

    Then what about the white nativism of a proxy ‘white Australia policy’ through antipathy encouraged towards (post ’70s) immigrants, refugees and population growth under the guise of environmental protection?

    This is John Tanton’s Networks which in the US crossed over with Koch ‘bill mill’ ALEC, provided input into the Trump Admin’s immigration policy via CIS, FAIR and NumbersUSA, similar in UK/Brexit with Population Matters (with former ZPG colleague Ehrlich, Attenborough, SPA’s O’Sullivan et al.) and Migration Watch that promotes ‘hostile environment’ (aka Glasgow) via tabloids and direct lobbying of committees, and of course in Oz the sad Sustainable Population Australia which struggles to compete with Hanson, NewsCorp’s Bolt et al.

    How to dominate society and politics to enact radical right libertarian policies inspired by the 18th century? You need the base ideology Kochs’ Networks, lots of deflection through ‘environmental’ dog whistling of race or identity via ‘population growth’ Tanton’s Networks, then much aggressive communication in media using PR, dog whistling, public intimidation of MPs etc., that’s where Murdoch and NewsCorp etc. come in.

    Makes old Anglo/Irish Australia look and sound more like Turkey or Hungary….. sad reflection when many are afraid of the future and prefer the nostalgia of the past glory days….. with dollops of authoritarianism.

  6. Kathryn

    The subjugation, interference and control over MEDIA is the FIRST step to FASCISM! Make no mistake about it, the unspeakably depraved, undemocratic, self-entitled and totally corrupt sociopaths that line the LNP/Murdoch/IPA Alliance tick EVERY box as ruthless, conniving fascists!

    Furthermore, now that the LNP have literally SLAMMED THE DOOR on any hopes of joining the ALP and The Greens in forming an ICAC to oversee and inhibit and prevent the increasing level of level of diabolical political corruption, non-stop rorting and waste of hard-earned taxpayer funds – committed by the malignant LNP – they are becoming MORE emboldened, MORE corrupt and infinitely MORE dangerous to everything Australians cherish – INCLUDING our free speech, democracy

  7. Kathryn

    The subjugation, interference and control over MEDIA is the FIRST step to FASCISM! Make no mistake about it, the unspeakably depraved, undemocratic, self-entitled and totally corrupt sociopaths that line the LNP/Murdoch/IPA Alliance tick EVERY box as ruthless, conniving fascists!

    Furthermore, now that the LNP have literally SLAMMED THE DOOR on any hopes of joining the ALP and The Greens in forming an ICAC to oversee, inhibit and prevent the increasing level of diabolical political corruption, non-stop rorting and scandalous waste of hard-earned taxpayer funds – committed by the malignant, morally bankrupt LNP – the LNP are becoming MORE emboldened, MORE corrupt and infinitely MORE dangerous to everything Australians cherish – INCLUDING our free speech, democracy and our justifiable RIGHT to seek an unbiased media that presents the TRUTH and NOT the non-stop lies pushed out by their Propaganda Minister, Rupert Murdoch, who – along with the talentless, Z-rated hacks under his employ – brazenly and openly favour the lying, conniving miscreants in the LNP. The Murdoch press are as guilty for what they do NOT say, for what they REFUSE to publish in order to prevent exposing the LNP’s accelerating depravity, lies and broken promises. The LNP/Murdoch/IPA Alliance just go on and on character-assassinating everyone (including the ALP and The Greens) or ANYONE who has the courage to speak out, criticise and condemn the appalling, criminally corrupt and rising ineptitude of a government that has zero moral compass, no foresight, not one iota of compassion and zero insight!

  8. guest

    Kathryn,
    You make some very powerful points here, which would be supported by many, many people. To unpick these points would make even more disturbing the paralysing truth of what you have said.
    I would like to add to this post the words of Anthony Albanese in his reply speech to the government budget speech this year. It has been bewildering to see or hear comments claiming that Albo’s speech was bland and uninspiring, offering nothing.
    The text of his speech is easily obtainable. To read it and to unpick what he actually says is to see a thorough indictment of so much of the present government’s performance and of the Coalition over the past 8 years. It explains the stony faces of the politicians on the other side of the House when Albo spoke so tellingly.
    Albo and comments like yours, Kathryn, and others, have established a battery of talking points between now and the next election, points which foreign activists such as Murdoch cannot refute.

  9. Kathryn

    POLITICAL RESPECT NEEDS TO BE EARNED!
    It is NOT a God-given right for a politician to EXPECT respect especially when one realises that the bible-thumping hypocrite, Sloth MorriSCUM, has the appalling, and un-Christian, ability to treacherously backstab his way to the top of the worst government in living memory, through his malicious betrayal of his political colleagues, to become the worst, most inhumane, corrupt and self-promoting PM in living memory – just ask Michael Towke, Malcolm Turnbull and Brittany Higgins, all of whom were victims of Morrison’s unspeakable sense of entitlement, despotic political ambition and perfidy!

    Never before in our history have we seen a government that is so unspeakably depraved; a cabinet of arrogant, smirking, misguided, self-serving, totally obscene miscreants who hide, protect and even promote the worst kind of shallow, criminally corrupt grubs, stone cold capitalistic sociopaths and misogynistic predators (even rapists) in their midst! The internationally condemned manner in which the LNP continue to treat hapless asylum seekers – particularly the desperate Sri Lankan family who were (once) beloved residents of the small Qld town of Biloela – is PROOF of their callous disregard for humanity! If that poor little 3 year old girl – who has spent her WHOLE life behind razor wire on Christmas Island – ends up dying a painful death from septicaemia, then – once again – Morrison has BLOOD on his hands on TOP of the notoriously barbaric ROBODEBT scandal that has caused the needless, preventable suicide of so many desperate people!

    The LNP are nothing more than a rabid pack of undemocratic fascists who will lie, lie and lie, say and do ANYTHING to warp and control the gormless, Murdoch-manipulated masses in order to win an election and to maintain their bloodstained grip on autocratic power! This is a regime that don’t give a rat’s behind about ANYONE but themselves and their billionaire donors. This is a shameless, dictatorial regime who’s every policy is based on self-serving greed and deliberately designed to enrich, empower and provide benefit to themselves and their cronies in the Top 1% and to HELL with everyone else! The entitled, ruthlessly draconian LNP firmly believe that things will be done THEIR way or the highway!

    As for the rest of us? The LNP continue to target, vilify, cruelly attack and denigrate anyone and everyone who is struggling, on a pension, or receiving welfare of any kind; The LNP are a pack of smug, entitled fascists who seek to muzzle democratic debate or silence any other political view or opinion that goes AGAINST their own sick, twisted, ultra-conservative, self-serving and insular ideology! The fact is that history has PROVEN – over and over again – that the LNP are overflowing with callously inhumane, rapacious snivelling and totally useless political parasites who STILL maintain their hateful attacks against the most vulnerable people in our society! This is IN SPITE OF THE FACT that the LNP are, in fact, the WORST burdens on our taxpayer system with Sloth MorriSCAMMER, a totally insignificant failed marketeer, an internationally condemned sociopath widely known as the Pariah from the Shire; a publicity-seeking, lazy, bible-thumping hypocrite as a psuedo “leader” who just happens to be the fifth HIGHEST paid politician in the world! Whilst MorriSCAMMER earns more than $1,520 per day for EVERY SEVEN DAYS he parks his smug, pretentious rear end on a seat in our parliament house (not including all the rorts, perks and MASSIVE superannuation he gets on TOP of his obscene salary), as far as the LNP are concerned, pensioners, working- and middle-class Australians can GO TO HELL with so many Australians doing it tough or even losing their jobs during a virulent pandemic!

    In the meantime, whilst depraved politicians like Peter Dutton are amassing a personal fortune of over $300 MILLION, with Sloth Morrison said to be worth more than $36 MILLION, we have the LNP currently introducing vile legislation that will defund our valued MEDICARE system into oblivion, tearing down Superannuation benefits, obliterating federal funding from our children’s State education and have torn away more than ONE BILLION DOLLARS from OUR taxpayer-funded ABC. Why? Because the fascists in the LNP/Murdoch/IPA Alliance are desperate to obliterate the ABC (and any other form of media) that provides the facts, justifiable criticism or condemnation about the increasing level of corruption and depravity committed by the right-wing-extremists that hold force in the skewed version of the Abbott/Murdoch Liberal National Party. The bottom line is that the ruthless LNP/Murdoch/IPA Alliance only want us to hear and see what THEY want us to hear and see. If it wasn’t for AIMN, Get-Up, Crikey, The Guardian, SBS and the ABC, Australians (with any discernment) would NEVER hear anything that puts the LNP in a bad light or reveals their rising level of malfeasance. Over the last eight years of environmental vandalism, corruption and smug arrogance, anyone with an IQ >10 realises that the word “Liberal” is a complete misnomer, when referring to the Liberal National Party, because there is absolutely NOTHING at all Liberal, democratic, fair or egalitarian about the LNP!

    Sloth Morrison is a Machiavellian hypocrite, a signed-up member of a diabolical, profit-obsessed CULT whose incompetence, heartlessness and complete inability to LEAD has been proven time and time again! The way he cowardly ran off to Hawaii during one of the worst fires on record; the way he traitorously backstabbed his way to the top, the way Morrison has been pushed out of just about EVERY job he ever tried – and failed – to hold before he became the WORST Crime Minister in our history! WOW! If anyone can name ONE SINGLE THING Sloth Morrison has achieved to benefit the lives of ANYONE but himself, please enlighten me!

    ….. And yet there are STILL idiots out there who keep voting for these sociopaths? Stupid is what stupid does! Anyone with even the most basic level of discernment now KNOWS that the words: “Intelligent LNP supporter” or “Compassionate LNP supporter” are probably the most laughable oxymorons on record!

    The LNP cabinet are overloaded with psychopaths, ANNIHILATORS, destroyers, pathological liars and callously inhumane sociopaths. Vandalising our environment; defunding everything Australians value and privatising/selling-off everything taxpayers own (often to foreign owned predators).

    WAKE UP AUSTRALIA BEFORE IT IS TOO LATE!!!!

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