A recent article in the Daily Bellylaugh (i.e. Daily Telegraph) exemplifies the way the Murdoch press operates. This story is headlined “Call of Duty Free” with the banner above it as “Shorten’s Anzac day ‘mix up’” with the subtitle “Diggers ditched for Dubai shopping spree”’1. Online, on Google, if you search for ‘Telegraph Shorten Dubai’ you come up with the item “Bill Shorten snubs Diggers Anzac Day dinner to go shopping in Dubai”. The Australian (another Murdoch outlet) also came up with “Bill Shorten AWOL on Diggers on Anzac Day”. All of these are lying by omission.
Firstly, Bill Shorten was accompanied on the trip by Liberal Senator Scott Ryan, and was accompanied by Ryan on his shopping trip. Secondly, Shorten confirmed with the Vice Chief of the Defence Force designate, Admiral David Johnston, that neither he nor Ryan “were provided with advice that a small number of staff officers were expecting to have dinner with us in the United Arab Emirates as we transited from Afghanistan back from Australia”. Shorten added that “despite being informed of the facts, News Corp has published an article that suggested Senator Ryan and I stood up some Australian Defence Force personnel in the UAE. That suggestion is offensive”2.
This is all part of a plan to, as they say, ‘kill Bill’ for the purposes of helping the federal Coalition at least gain some ground in the opinion polls against the Labor party3. The fact that the Anzac Day story is untrue as it was presented is immaterial to Murdoch’s ‘ruperters’4; it is all about trying to destroy Shorten’s reputation, and appeals to the knuckledraggers who read the Murdoch press and think it is based on journalism. The government cannot win a debate against the Labor Party on policies because the government is adhering to the outdated neoliberal paradigm of vacuum-up economics5, whereupon the poor are fed by scraps from the tables of the rich. In addition, the Liberals’ burgeoning religious insurgency6adheres to a social conservatism which is also on the wane. As a consequence, attacking Shorten is the only option they have.
The Daily Bellylaugh may be forced to make a correction or apologise, but you can bet your bottom dollar that the correction or the apology will be buried on an inside page in a much smaller column and using a much smaller font. The knuckledraggers will still be outraged as the ruperters intended. That is what Murdoch wants; to keep the knuckledraggers outraged by misinformation so he can effectively circumvent our democracy for his financial gain. The malevolent effect of Murdoch on our democracy7is worth a Royal Commission all by itself.