Every now and again, I come across an article in one of the disgraceful Murdoch rags (The Australian, The Herald Sun [the Hun], The Daily Telegraph [Daily Bellylaugh] or the Courier Mail) or on Sky News which are either so appallingly biased, or are simply based on a lie, that I feel have to give them a kicking. I have written 25 articles based on stories in these reprehensible rags, from authors who have the gall to pretend they are journalists. They are in fact not so much reporters as ‘ruperters’ in that they print whatever Rupert Murdoch wishes. They truly are a cancer on our democracy. I should also note that these articles mostly refer to news items, and not to the egregious drivel denying Climate Change or the seriousness of Covid-19 spouted by the opinionated morons on Sky News or in Murdoch’s rags. Those are in a class all of their own and are dealt with separately. The first 14 of these ‘ruperter’ articles were summarised in the first of these ‘Liars for NewsCorp’ compilations1. The remainder are summarised here:
The headline on Sky News read ‘People smugglers monitor upcoming Australian federal election” and takes the cake for invention. The first paragraph then states that “Indonesian people smugglers say they’re watching the outcome of the upcoming Australian federal election, in hopes a change in government could lead to an ease in border protection laws”. The story maintains that a number of fishermen who have previously smuggled asylum seekers spoke to the Australian newspaper2.
Murdoch hack, Greg Brown, has acted as stenographer for Prime Minister Scott Morrison in a repetitive dog-whistle piece for Murdoch’s The Australian. I suppose such repetition is what you do when you don’t have much content and you need to pad out the column inches. In Brown’s piece, Morrison says that the Labor Party wants to “abolish offshore processing as we know it” by planning to vote in favour of a bill that would allow doctors to approve the transfer of ill asylum seekers from Nauru and Manus Island. This bill has already passed the Senate, in November, and Morrison is wetting himself that he could lose should it come to a vote in the House of Representatives (he did lose; see below). Morrison stated that this bill would enable “hundreds and hundreds” of asylum-seekers to be transferred to Australia by talking to a doctor “who is an advocate”. This has shades of Pauline Hanson’s ‘we are in danger of being overrun’ by Asians, or Muslims, or climate scientists or whichever is her latest bogeyman3.
Recidivist ‘ruperter’ Simon Benson, has acted as stenographer for Scott Morrison, repeating the drivel the latter came out with yesterday, after the Medevac Bill passed the House of Representatives. Morrison, in an uncharacteristic non-smirking performance, will go down in history as one of the few Australian Prime Ministers to lose a vote on the floor of the House of Representatives, along with Fadden in 1941 and Bruce in 1929, both of which resulted in the demise of their respective governments. Morrison has declared (as if that means anything) that every new people-smuggling boat that arrives will be “on Bill Shorten’s head”. If that is so, then the corollary is that all the arrivals over the past five years or so should be on Morrison’s or Peter Dutton’s head, but Benson would never draw that conclusion. Despite what Morrison’s pathetic trophy cabinet indicates, the boats have not stopped, it is just the flow of information about them which has stopped4.
A piece by Brad Norington in Murdoch’s pretend newspaper The Australian demonstrates how this malevolent media enterprise and its employees operate. This piece was headed “GetUp had been found to be linked to Labor and the Greens”. Norington’s piece starts off with “GetUp was found ‘prima facie’ to be an associated entity of Labor or the Greens by the Australian Electoral Commission [AEC], in a detailed investigation of the activist group’s campaigning activity during the 2016 federal election”. The second paragraph noted that the preliminary finding was reversed after the AEC sought further submissions from GetUp and obtained legal advice. If the person who wrote the headline for this article had been honest, they would have worded it differently; maybe: ‘GetUp not found to be linked to any political party’. However, honesty and The Australian are not commonly associated5.
Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton has blamed the Labor Party’s border protection policy for emboldening people smugglers after the Australian Border Force confirmed a boat carrying 20 Sri Lankan asylum-seekers was intercepted en route to Australia. It almost goes without saying that recidivist ‘ruperter’ Simon Benson repeated this drivel. This is a very long bow to draw considering these facts. 1. The Coalition had been in government for over six years; 2. Sometimes boats that arrive in Australia are deemed by Dutton’s department not to have arrived; 3. Bridging visas are at an all-time high, especially those on which nationality is not specified; 4., Having stopped some boats does not seem to have decreased the number of asylum-seekers, which are at an all-time high, because most arrive by plane; 5. aerial and sea patrols were cut by border force to save money6.
Recidivist in the Murdoch stable of liars and obfuscators, ‘ruperter’ Geoff Chambers has now come out with more drivel topped by a ludicrously misleading headline. He states in Murdoch’s The Australian that, in the eastern states, electric vehicles are responsible for more carbon dioxide emissions than ‘regular’ petrol vehicles. One presumes this ham-fisted statement means on a ‘per vehicle’ basis, as plug-in electric cars make up less than 1% of the cars on the road in Australia. Chambers quotes a report by engineering consulting company, ABMARC, which states that the Labor Party’s plan to have 50% of new car sales to be electric by 2030 would require between $5 billion to $7 billion in charging infrastructure. This sounds like a great deal of cash, but it pales into insignificance alongside the money spent on creating the mobile phone network, which, in 2018, generated $44 billion in revenue alone for its operators. Indeed, telecommunications carriers have spent $5 billion on spectrum licences alone7.
Murdoch ‘ruperter’ Greg Brown and the unlucky Olivia Caisley acted as stenographers for Barnaby Joyce in one of the latter’s foaming-at-the-mouth rants against the Greens. Joyce has maintained that the bushfires are all the fault of the Greens in stating that: “The problems we have got have been created by the Greens. We haven’t had the capacity to easily access [hazard] reduction burns because of all the paperwork that is part of green policy. We don’t have access to dams because they have been decommissioned on national parks because of green policy. We have trees that have fallen over vehicles [?] and block roads, so people cannot either get access to fight a fire or to get away from fires. And we can’t knock over trees because of Greens policy.” In this rambling drivel, Joyce seems to forget that the Coalition have been in government federally since 2013 and since 2011 in New South Wales, and if he means in Local Government, then 58 Greens councillors out of over 1280 apparently wield an inordinate amount of power8.
The 2008 Garnaut Climate Change Review, which examined the scientific evidence around the impacts of climate change on Australia and its economy, predicted that without adequate action, the nation would face a more frequent and intense fire season by 2020. This is what we are seeing now. In addition, the government have also ignored warnings from former fire chiefs about the likelihood that this 2019-2020 fire season would be a catastrophic one. Consequently, the government is looking around for someone to blame. Initially, Barnaby Joyce who fingered the Greens (see above). The idiot National Party leader Michael McCormack then blamed child arsonists. In desperation, Murdoch’s The Australian, David Ross and Imogen Reid stated stating that many alleged arsonists have been arrested since the start of 2019, with 183 people have been arrested for lighting fires across Queensland, NSW, Victoria, South Australia and Tasmania. This is the lie9.
Sky News is the Murdoch-owned zoo of right wing nut jobs. The person who most assisted in the demise of the Abbott Prime Ministership, Peta Credlin, is now a talking head in this Murdoch Sky News menagerie. According to her “There is nobody more responsible for the COVID-19 spike in Victoria than Premier Daniel Andrews due to his belated and weak response to the Black Lives Matter protests in Melbourne”. She even accused Andrews of “trying to use the increase in virus cases to try and divert attention away from the crisis that’s engulfed Victorian Labor all last week”. Accusing the Black Lives Matter protests in Melbourne and elsewhere (they were in all capital cities) for causing the recent Victorian outbreak goes against the evidence, but then evidence, or facts, have never been important to Murdoch and his minions10.
Sophie Elsworth is the ‘national personal finance writer and columnist’ for News Corp and has published in the most egregious of the Murdoch rags: The Daily Bellylaugh, The Hun and The Australian. On a morning when it was announced by the Victorian Government that over the last 24 hours, it had detected 322 new Covid-19 cases, and 19 people had died, what did ‘ruperter’ Elsworth do? At 9.36 am, August 10th, she tweeted: “Sad day for Victoria again, 19 Covid-19 deaths. More than double the deaths in New York in the past week. Victorian population: 6.4 million. Last 7 days: 93 deaths. New York’s population: 8.4 million. Last 7 days: 40 deaths.” She neglects to mention that by the end of June, 20,000 New Yorkers had died. This is lying by misleading and is a false equivalence. Here, Elsworth presents facts in a way that is literally true, but is designed to mislead. This is one of the most common ways by which politicians lie, which is apposite for the biased silliness from a Murdoch ‘ruperter’11.
Paul Kelly who writes for Murdoch’s The Australian has made himself look ridiculous in saying “Most of the premiers – not every one – are betraying the compact of free movement within Australia, along with humiliating Prime Minister Scott Morrison”. While it is true that Morrison has been humiliated, that has largely been his own work, not through actions by the states. Kelly follows this up with “Deny free movement and you deny the essence of nationhood. This is the sad plight to which COVID-19 has reduced Australia”. This is simply laughable. While the constitution prevents any impediment to travel or trade between the states, there is a precedent for the shutting of state borders during a health crisis. Once the pandemic of a century ago had arrived in Australia, state borders were shut. Despite that denial of ‘the essence of nationhood’, Australia miraculously survived12.
This appalling and constant lying must stop if Australia’s democracy is to survive. To this end, former Australian Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd has started a petition to institute a Royal Commission to ensure a strong, diverse Australian news media13. He is supported in this by another former Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull, and by former Liberal opposition leader John Hewson. At the time of writing, it had 226,871 signatories. If you care about the future of Australia and its democracy, please sign it.