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Say what you want, Murdoch. Exaggerate according to your own conscience.

Think television, newspapers, public speeches, movies, sport, news, advertising, entertainment, radio and above all, politics. Think about what you see, read and hear. Now think about the word “exaggeration.”

We have the best firefighters in the world, the best law enforcement agencies, the best health experts. We have “the best” of so many and so much it’s a wonder we aren’t the best in the world. Whoops, I’m sorry, we are the best in the world.

“We have the best people in the world looking at these issues,” said Scott Morrison on ABC Insiders last Sunday. He was referring to the problem of obtaining vaccines.

For me, l must say that l find all the exaggeration rather appalling and unnecessary. It is lying dressed in the clothes of fools.

It means an overstatement of the truth, stating something out of proportion to the facts. To embellish or guild the lily.

The temptation in death is to make someone out to be someone they were not, for example, “The duke was an exceptional human being.”

It is said of pornography (and I am not an expert in this field) that in order to maintain the viewers or readers interest, it needs to progressively become more outlandish – more tantalising – more seductive-more flirtatious-more provocative – more stunning -more enticing- more exaggerated.

And in their desire to maintain some dominance, that’s precisely what Murdoch media does. It has chosen to prostitute itself in the forlorn hope of remaining relevant.

And the weapon of choice is exaggeration.

The pedlars of verbal violence and dishonesty are the most vigorous defenders of free speech because it gives their vitriolic nonsense legitimacy. With free speech, the bigots and hate-mongers seek to influence those in the susceptible or like-minded community.

The original intent of free speech was to give the oppressed a voice and keep governments honest. However, in Australia, exaggeration is used to incite racism, validate hatred, and promote religious and political bigotry.

Nowhere do you find a greater use of exaggeration than in Murdoch’s media.

We can start with Andrew Bolt:

“Sky News host Andrew Bolt said Australian politicians simply ‘don’t have the courage’ to admit the ‘coronavirus crisis was exaggerated’ in the country. “

Andrew Markus in The Conversation rightly pointed out that:

“A feature of far-right movements was characterised in the 1960s by the American political scientist Richard Hofstadter as the “paranoid style“: a style of mind that … evokes a sense of heated exaggeration, suspiciousness, and conspiratorial fantasy.”

And an example of the media masters from Lenore Taylor in The Guardian:

“Abbott government’s zeal for political hyperbole (exaggeration) makes facts dispensable.”

Therefore, if a newspaper article is written in a manner to suggest objectivity, but subjective words are scattered throughout it together with carefully phrased unsupported statements, then dismiss the article as having no cogency.

Lying in the media is wrong at any time; however, it is even more so when they deliberately exaggerate. Murdoch’s papers seem to do it with impunity.

I believed that Americans were the only people in the world who thought their bullshit didn’t stink, but we are now their equal.

Sometimes it is good to stop, think, evaluate and formulate one’s own opinion instead of being influenced by the Murdoch press.

Exaggerated lying has seen the birth and rise of the far right-wing; it has given license to politicians whose goal is to:

“… incite discontent and xenophobia… it has shown contempt for concepts such as truth, morality and ethics – they have been replaced by religiosity and ideology; hypocrisy in personal lives, masked by the propaganda of ‘family values’ and ‘traditional marriage.’ Just how has Australia benefited from so many lies, lies and more lies.”

My thought for the day

It is a pity that fact in journalism cannot be made compulsory and decency legislated.

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  1. Keith

    “Opening statement by Bruce Guthrie to the Media Diversity Inquiry
    Thank you for the opportunity to appear here today.
    I have been a professional journalist for almost fifty years. In that time I have worked as a reporter and foreign correspondent for the major metropolitan dailies and been fortunate enough to edit some of the biggest mastheads in Australia.
    I am also the author of Man Bites Murdoch, a 2010 book that warned of a toxic culture within News Corp, then News Limited, and of the dangers of giving them too much journalistic power. It ended with my sacking as editor of the Herald Sun after I reported too vigorously on a friend of a Murdoch.”


  2. Terence Mills

    After half a million Australians signed a petition calling for an enquiry into Murdoch’s domination of the Australian media the fight back from Newscorp and in particular Sky has been ferocious.

    Last night Credlin laid into Malcolm Turnbull as did Alan Jones after the former prime minister had made a submission to the senate enquiry into media ownership and the Murdoch domination.

    Turnbull had noted how last week after he had been appointed to Chair a NSW climate oversight committee, a vicious pile on from the Newscorp/Sky stable forced the NSW government to back track and rescind the appointment within forty eight hours. If Turnbull was such a poor appointment how come it went through the NSW government ratification process ?

    I don’t know what will come of this senate enquiry but clearly we need to tackle Newscorp head on, they are transforming themselves from a news organisation into a political party of the far right and they want public handouts to achieve this.

  3. Canguro

    The Greek-Armenian teacher and all-round awakened pain in the arse guru George Gurdjieff had a thing or two to say on most matters of human interest, including journalism.

    During his years of activity he made a number of trips, in the 1920s, to the USA, to ‘shear the sheep’ of their American dollars, and he noted in his opus Beelzebub’s Tales to his Grandson that the craft of being a public scribe was of a very low standard, and likely to continue to deteriorate.

    He wrote “… since the sacred being-function of ‘conscience’ is completely atrophied among contemporary terrestrial what are called ‘journalists’ and ‘reporters,’ the result is that in all your favorites breeding on all the continents there is crystallized just that definite, monstrously exaggerated notion of the slaughterhouses of the city of Chicago.”

    It’s probably true that there are very few in the trade these days who have the standards and ethics of, say, an H. L. Mencken or a Mark Twain.

    Murdoch’s great stain against himself and his business is of course the legacy of his power at all costs pursuit, which is the defilement of the social fabric and the introduction of poisonous lies and untruths into the lives of millions. His hacks have, truly, sold their souls to the devil.

  4. New England Cocky

    ”Lying in the media is wrong at any time; however, it is even more so when they deliberately exaggerate. Murdoch’s papers seem to do it with impunity.”‘

    Newscorp – where the truth goes to die.

    Support Rudd’s Royal Commission into Newscorp.

  5. Ken

    Back in the early 1990s I was a General Manager at the head office of PMP (Pacific Magazines and
    Printing – which was owned by Murdoch) for a few years and hated every minute I was there because
    of the very bad culture. Here’s an example: I reported to Ken Catlow who reported to Ken Cowley at
    News Ltd and was told by Catlow that he did what Cowley told him to do and Cowley did what Murdoch
    told him to do and I was told by Catlow in the strongest terms I better do what he tells me to do !
    Not long after this I resigned and it was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.
    The bad Murdoch culture runs through all the businesses he’s involved with.

  6. Neville mc fonald

    Is it really so hard to just print or speak the truth ,no spin ,no ones opinion of right or wrong .just the facts as given and let the public form their own opinions .it is so little to ask and you never know their circulation may increase for we are over tired of the way reporting is been done at present .

  7. Henry Rodrigues

    Is it any wonder that the only person, organization that Scummo has ever apologized and publicly too, is News Corps ? He didn’t apologize to the thousands of victims of his Robo debt scheme, to Brittany Higgins, to the victim of the alleged rape by Christian Porter, to the more than 30,000 Australian citizens still waiting to come back to their homes in Australia, to the refugee family languishing on Christmas Island, ? But Murdoch is a different kettle of fish, one who can kick his arse and replace him whenever. As Turnball has been reminded a few days ago, just how far the Liberal party will go serve their lord and master, the crinkled old bastard.

    And still 52% of stupid Australian voters approve of Scummo and his party of subservient, brainless, corrupt dickheads.

  8. Kaye Lee

    News Corp controls 59% of metro and national print media markets by ownership – up from 25% in 1984.

    News Corp also earns 40% of total Australian television revenues.

    And three companies together (News Corp, Nine and Southern Cross Media) control 90% of metro radio licenses.

    Excuse me if I scoff at Malcolm Turnbull’s newfound concern about media concentration because it was HIM as communications minister who got rid of the “two out of three” rule and the “reach” rule.


  9. Michael Taylor

    There are many high and mighty horses Turnbull has ridden over the years. This is his latest one.

    Keep riding, Malcom. Be sure not to fall off.

  10. Harry Lime

    John, your last quoted paragraph was taken to heart by Little Winston,the Lying Rodent,accelerated under the Mad Monk,fumbled under the Fizza, and has now achieved full bloom under the Liar from the Shire.It seems we’ve reached that point of time where the confluence of events can only lead to an almighty reckoning.

  11. DrakeN

    “Excuse me if I scoff at Malcolm Turnbull’s newfound concern about media concentration because it was HIM as communications minister who got rid of the “two out of three” rule and the “reach” rule.”

    Indeed, Kaye, and it was also Kevin 07 who failed to take appropriate action when in government and is now bitching about press monopolies.

    Twedle Dumb and Tweedle Dee.

  12. Kaye Lee

    “There are many high and mighty horses Turnbull has ridden over the years”….indeed Michael. This is one of my favourites….

    In his 2005 tax policy paper, Malcolm Turnbull described negative gearing and the CGT discount as a “sheltering tax haven” that is “skewing national investment away from wealth-creating pursuits, towards housing”, and has caused a “property bubble”. Turnbull also acknowledged that “Australia’s rules on negative gearing are very generous compared to many other countries” and that “the normal deductibility principles do not apply to negatively geared real estate such that the taxpayer is not obliged to demonstrate that the negatively geared property will generate positive cash flow at some point in the distant future”.

    In 2014 he said “Looking at Australia’s tax regime you would say that it is too tough on people earning income… but is incredibly concessional to older people who have made their money…”

    Uh huh….and when he got the job, what did he do about it? SFA

  13. Michael Taylor

    Malcolm did a very poor job at playing the Messiah.

    But a magnificent job at playing the fool.

  14. Matters Not

    Speeches at important functions are usually a three-peat. The first is made on the way to the function and it’s okay but not remarkable. The second is made at the event itself and often it’s pretty poor – barely average. The third and final speech is made on the way home and it’s bloody brilliant for it is fluent, forcible, elegant, persuasive and brings the house down. Thunderous (imagined) applause and all that.

    So it is with PMs and other Ministers. In the aspirational phase, while they are in Opposition, they have some really good ideas. While serving, they invariably disappoint. However, when out-of-office, that’s when they really shine. Their wisdom really blossoms. But of course it’s then too late. All they have are regrets.

    So remember – you get one chance. Don’t blow it.

  15. Kaye Lee


    Gough Whitlam and Julia Gillard grabbed their chance and ran with it making sweeping significant changes. And we all know what happened to them. Rupert will not have a bar of that.

  16. David Stakes

    And how many times have you heard people who say they only buy the Tele for the sport, Trouble is they have to read the crap in front of it first. Which they do……

  17. Matters Not

    KL – always difficult to predict how History will depict political characters. Safe to say, Gillard will be remembered for a speech. Rudd for an apology. But if it’s to be a good history, then there should be footnotes pointing out their many failings as well.

    As for Whitlam, one believes he will be Assumed into Heaven as soon as the bloke upstairs wakes up. (Or should that be a blokette? Or perhaps a suffragette? Or even an usherette?)

  18. Michael Taylor

    History is like that, MN. It picks and chooses.

    A psychiatrist friend of mine once said that James Dean is only famous because he died young. On that note, history can be as cruel as the modern day.

  19. Michael Taylor

    When it comes to Murdoch’s place in history I truly hope it is tarnished.

  20. Kaye Lee

    Julia Gillard had the highest rate of passing legislation despite a minority government. She began carbon pricing, She taxed the superprofits of miners and passed it on to the people. She began the NBN and the NDIS. She started the government paid parental leave scheme. She embraced the notion of needs-based funding for schools though the delivery was hijacked. She was well-respected on the international stage.

    She wasn’t perfect but she was a damn sight better than anything we have seen since.

  21. Matters Not

    Calls for a Royal Commission into Murdoch seem misplaced. What is there to know that remains unknown? So many books, articles and exposés. And the result is?

    Yes it may cause some embarrassment and awaken a few Sleepers but where to from there? Might be interesting if Rudd, Turnbull, Menadue et al get to write the Terms of Reference but little chance of that.

    Perhaps if he was declared a terrorist? And there are grounds for that.

  22. Michael Taylor

    Kaye, Julia was my boss, and a damn good one.

    It tore at us that the Murdoch media was writing such bullshit about her. It tore at us even more that people were buying the lies.

    She wasn’t perfect, but she was a standout compared to the buffoons we’ve had on the LNP side of the ledger. She was the first PM in almost 50 years to have the unemployment rate, the interest rate and the inflation rate all under 5%.

    And yet the other day my young neighbour said he hated Labor because they can’t manage the economy. 🤦‍♂️🤷🏻‍♂️

    Gosh. I wonder where he got that from.

  23. Andrew J. Smith

    Good luck Turnbull, but like most of the LNP they have been happy to have Murdoch behind (in front of?) them for years attacking mutual enemies etc.. On an Al Jazeera doco last year, including Rudd, Turnbull last sentence of his interview blamed Labor for changing laws…..

    Just rewatched Greenwald’s ‘Outfoxed: Rupert Murdoch’s War on Journalism’ from 2004, one theme was that Fox is not a news organisation and impact it has on journalists (working for Fox), aka Leveson Inquiry in the UK when Murdoch described NewsCorp as an ‘entertainment’ business.

    Next, brothers in arms with same modus operandi as Murdoch, another Greenwald film ‘Koch Bros. Exposed’

    ‘their inherited wealth was built by their father Fred C. Koch, a founder of the John Birch Society, by working for Joseph Stalin, and has been used to “wage a systematic attack on American values” and “defining the lives of ordinary American under the radar for over 50 years.”

    Interesting to see how both organisations’ architecture of influence links them on common issues and interact on presentation for narrow political gain…… so transparent in Oz with NewsCorp, IPA, CIS, etc.

  24. Matters Not

    KL – As a general rule I don’t do political hagiographies and the exception that proves that rule is the unstinting praise I afford to Gough. But then I didn’t really know him. Just a starry-eyed idealist way back then. Not so now.

    Gillard, for me at least, had any number of failings. Certainly, many can be traced back to Rudd’s pernicious influence, but when she had the chance (she did become the PM after all) she didn’t move to right the past wrongs. Thus we have needs-based funding that sees some schools, including one with fees of $40 000 pa, still suck from the public teat. Thus we have political need and not educational need but that may not be remembered.

    Could go on but won’t except to point out the influence of Joel Klein and the disaster of NAPLAN. For her to be considered the champion of education (as she is in some circles) is a sad joke.

    But she did make a memorable (and influential) speech that will survive the historical tide.

  25. Matters Not

    Perhaps I should point out (given the theme of this thread) that when Joel Klein left the public sector he went to work for Murdoch. So much for Rudd’s (and Gillard’s) judgement.

    Amazing what is not known about the future. And what is forgotten about the past.

  26. Michael Taylor

    MN, when I left the public service I started The AIMN. Far less lucrative, of course, but a far more honourable. 😁

  27. John Lord

    A lot of excellent comments folks. Thanks for your participation.

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