Gina Rinehart has them jumping

Wayne Swan yesterday sharpened his attack on the mining billionaire by suggesting her designs on Fairfax Media endangered democracy. The biggest threat to democracy is the fact that Swan made that statement. Fairfax are in trouble because the people stopped buying their newspaper and I would suggest the reason is that they were catering to a small inner city market that enjoyed reading about the evils of conservatives as they sipped their latte. To continually support a government as bad as we have now is economic and ideological nonsense. To not call the government to order over even one of their many incompetent, class driven stuff-ups is head-in-the-sand reporting and by definition looses readership. Gina Rinehart's involvement is driving the ALP/Green Earthians crazy.
Victorian MP Steve Gibbons called for laws to empower a new authority to oversee media behaviour and impose harsh penalties on those who breached standards.
I presume "breaching standards" only refers to media that refuse to sign up to the ALP supporters group.
The motion, which Mr Gibbons wanted to be debated in parliament on Monday, argues that the media industry has lost its "social licence to operate" and must face greater government control. "Concentration of news media ownership in the hands of a few represents, prima facie, a competitive market failure requiring compensatory regulation to ensure socially acceptable outcomes," his motion states.
This is dangerous. We don't want the government interfering in media control. We already have a media control mechanism in place - if the readers don't like what they read, they stop buying the newspaper. Gina Rinehart wants board representation for her money and she is entitled to it. It also appears she isn't interested in abiding with Fairfax charter of editorial independence. So what. The charter isn't the driving force of what appears in the press. It is the mindset of the Editor and journalists that drive copy. If the majority ownership on the board don't like the editorial stand then they can be easily replaced. And I suspect there will be some replacements in coming days. The Green Earthians Ludlam shows just how out of touch with the world he is;
Greens senator Scott Ludlam wrote yesterday to Senator Conroy and opposition communications spokesman Malcolm Turnbull, asking them to back legislation that would impose fines or other penalties on Mrs Rinehart if she breached the Fairfax charter.
The Fairfax charter isn't a law, you dropkick. It's a feel good statement to try and head off any conservative writings in Fairfax media. You can't legislate against something that isn't already legislated. What next, a law to ban Andrew bolt from ever having a position with Fairfax? Here's something else for the ALP/Green Earthians to panic about. News Corporation has made a bid for Fox News. For News, a successful bid would double its stake in pay TV business Foxtel to 50 per cent Great stuff all round.


  • “To continually support a government as bad as we have now is economic and ideological nonsense.”
    I guess that depends on your ideology. Remember the late sixties and early seventies? Similar sentiments were extant in reference to Billy McMahon, and Coalition policy in Vietnam. Remember how the media lined up back then?
    Few would disagree that the corporate media had a major influence on the outcome of the war in Vietnam. This essay by the daughter of a Vietnam veteran puts it pretty clearly –
    Was that clear media bias ideological nonsense? Was it OK for the US (and the Australian media back then, especially the Australian) to be so one-eyed on the topic?
    Did this put the lives of Australians in jeopardy, and devalue the sacrifice of those at the sharp end?
    If it was ideologically driven, then maybe if media ownership hadn’t been conglomerated into a few large organisations (CBS, New York Times for example), there would have been a more even spread of opinion on the war and its justification. Maybe public opinion, both here and in the US, would have supported our involvement longer. Maybe returning veterans in both countries wouldn’t have been humiliated in the way many were.
    The problem is not bias, but concentration. I don’t have problem with bias, or because I disagree with what is printed.
    What concerns me is the concentration of media ownership in fewer and fewer hands.
    This is toxic for any democracy. We are pretty close now to the oligarchic model of media power seen in Russia and the UK. News Limited is particularly dangerous because it is multinational. It has obviously held the law in contempt in the UK, and this trend will continue – all power corrupts – absolute power corrupts absolutely.
    The remedy is to break down each corporate media conglomerate (including the ABC) to a size which doesn’t threaten elected governments. We elect our government – we don’t elect our media. It’s OK for governments to fear the voters. It’s not OK for them to fear the corporate media. Put simply, that is a dangerous abuse of corporate power.
    No one media organisation should own more than one Australian daily, and more than one style of media. Ownership newspapers should be separated from television and radio. Remember “Pravda”? What we have now in this country is in effect two versions of Pravda. We’re probably fortunate in that as it stands, they tend to follow opposite ideological paths. This is not guaranteed.
    Corporate ownership of electronic outlets should be limited to one outlet (print or electronic) per state. National and transnational media ownership is dangerous to democracy and free expression.
    Bloggers are the future. With a few exceptions current journalistic standards are a joke.

    • So what you are saying is that it doesn’t matter whether Gina signs up or not…..the two opposing ideologies are being driven by the independant editors, is that right?

      • No. I’m saying that too few people own too many outlets.
        With the development of transnational corporate media, we are at risk of an insidious form of world government, just as dangerous as the alleged threat of world government through the UN that the loony Right bleats about.
        I wonder what the reaction would be if it was a Chinese government owned mining company trying to buy into Fairfax, rather than Rinehart.

        • who cares who buys it, Fairfax is dead, anyway Commies running fairfax and writing for commies would be just the status quo.

          As a matter of interest though, if you owned a Taxi company and one driver refused to allow passengers to pay for the trips, wouldn’t you feel as owner that you had a right to interfere in his policies and possibly terminate his employment? the editors and journalists of Fairfax have run the company into the ground by writing only for the dwindling inner city latte left, whoever buys fairfax has every right to interfere with it, if the inner city left doesn’t like it, pony up the cash and run the company.

  • “They” can legislate or introduce new laws unfortunately, with the backing of Parliament. You are right though, what they want to change is the right of companies to have there own brand of R.O.s, or operational procedures and ethics as decided by the business itself. If it comes about in this situation then heaven help freedom of the press.

  • Take that global warming nonsense all media was on the same page (in the wrong book on theology and not science) so this talk of media concentration and so on is a straw man argument.

    As they say in show business bums on seat. If the product the consumer wants is not being offered then don’t blame media concentration or right wing conspiracies blame the product, shit people want accurate reporting and clinical opinion and not paid political advertising, paid by their own dollar.

    They got caught napping for all their talk of new media and on line offerings.

    No when a politician talks of freedom you can be bloody sure whose freedom he or she is talking about and it’s their own.

    Morally blackmailing people and politically censoring people has a price, the actual money a subscriber is willing to pay up. When the circulation goes the ad dollar follows and now the internet offers dispersed consumer base without the bottleneck of one offering one view and ads everywhere.

    They say when you are young yo aer a rebel and you become conservative with age. Me I know this from years in banking my target audience was ever people could deposit a heap or borrow and pay back a heap and that is not the inner city latte sippers. It’s mums and dads with mortgages and the two point 4 jobs for 2.4 kids and Nannas and Poppas.

    Me I never owned a newspaper or a radio / TV station but I got my fair share of stuff happened by simply telling the story as I saw it.

    In my opinion all of it has been slanted a bit left and out of touch at times bar a few individuals.

    But heres the important bit, all the waste and frauds of this incompetent mob of no hopers we call a fed government surfaced and were exposed. Fraud and Waste are not left or right wing things.

    The Australian people are realists, conservative when they have to be and socialist with a fair go attitude at most times.

    Fairfax was not managed.

  • In summary,

    Rinehard acquisition of stake holding is a legitimate business move but it is not the cause but the effect of the Fairfax business management model.

    Telstra got in a lot of trouble in the late 90’s early naughties because it was moving away from core business trying to be media in it’s foray in the brave new world that was to become the dot boom era, it went spectactularly badly.

    Media business is a specialised business balancing quality content needs to consumer buy and advertiser spend.

    Paper v online is a serious business argument and paywalls of some sort need to exist.

    I don’t hate to say this very obvious fact, media ownership has always been a commercial venture on large scales, this is the historical fact and the craft appears ever benign or supporting just causes and crusaders of justice, but the bottom line was and always solvency.

    No concentration is an issue but the internet is sorting that out, herding journalists must be like herding cats.

    The problem for Fairfax is the organisation was out of touch with its consumer base, hence its journos and op ed were generally out of touch with the consumer base, now dictating terms of content to the boss (the board) is a symptom of horses in charge of the wagon. You can’t blame the customer. Blaming Rinehardt is cringeworthy because as I see it, she appears to be only one willing to bail it out with her own money.

    At the end of the day, media at its best is run by social democrats with a canny business acumen at turning a dollar who know their audience backwards. Considered argument always destroys emotional blackmail,

    Anyway the editorial in the Daily telegraph about sums it up.

    Their opposition at Fairfax would do well to listen. The customers went somewhere.

  • Strategically this is not dissimilar to the online banking v bricks and mortar or retailing arguments similarly.

    The on line space is not going away, people are still buying news sheet and until media in general decides and advertising also to provide the medium (ebook emagazine readers subsidised in part of consumer spend contracts with mass buying power) then the strategies different will remain different one type growing market share and the other dieing.

    I hope my recommendation on broad band is understood and that in the midst of a mining boom we as a nation should have had something tangible to show for it, it has been mismanaged.

    Bottom entry medium level kindles and such as well as mobiles all need access points and remain a deciding factor. Us old school paper boys and newspaper kiosks are a dieing breed but even we can see the delivery and access issues.

    But as a very wise man once remarked content is King, I wonder who he was, a ghost in a machine perhaps.

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