tip off

The Australian announces that it wants to “destroy” the Greens

Until today, I’d never seen a national broadsheet with pretensions to fair and balanced reporting actually admit that it wasn’t just biased against a party supported by 14% of the country, it wanted to “destroy” it. But that’s just what The Australian did in its editorial today:

Greens leader Bob Brown has accused The Australian of trying to wreck the alliance between the Greens and Labor. We wear Senator Brown’s criticism with pride. We believe he and his Green colleagues are hypocrites; that they are bad for the nation; and that they should be destroyed at the ballot box. The Greens voted against Mr Rudd’s emissions trading scheme because they wanted a tougher regime, then used the lack of action on climate change to damage Labor at the election. Their flakey economics should have no place in the national debate.

Well, there you are. You can take pretty much everything The Australian says about the Greens in that context: they are not interested in giving them a fair hearing, or listening to what they have to say, or presenting their arguments for public assessment: they want them “destroyed”.

Everything you read about The Greens in that paper can now be almost completely discounted by that fact. You can only conclude that if there’s a smear, they’ll run it. If there’s a positive story, they won’t. If there’s a way of presenting the Greens’ policies in the most damaging, least accurate light, that’s how they’ll be presented. The Greens will not be given fair opportunity to respond to critics’ claims about them (including the asinine ones made in that editorial). It will be relentless, one-sided, hostile propaganda.

Anyone who seeks to rely on The Australian for information should be aware that whatever they’re told about the Greens will be subject to the most extraordinary, deliberate bias, with the express purpose of having them “destroyed at the ballot box”.

I know it’s hardly news that Hardly News has an axe to grind against the left in general and the Greens in particular: but this admission, this defiant declaration today is extraordinary. They genuinely think the right so victorious that they can without commercial consequence announce their utter contempt for anyone who believes otherwise. Screw you, progressives who believe in public services, civil liberties, a social democratic Australia. You’re the fringe, and the country’s biggest media empire is working to make sure you are no longer represented in parliament.

This is The Australian openly eschewing reporting for advocacy; nearing the completion of its transition into the Fox News of Australian media.

UPDATE: Maybe the Australian‘s editors are right: maybe their readers won’t in any way be concerned about being openly led around by the nose. After all, many of them voted Liberal even after Tony told them that you couldn’t believe what he said – something they bizarrely cheered as being “refreshing honesty”. Maybe they will, without irony, applaud the Australian promising to dedicate its reporting about the Greens to telling them what they already – because they believe what the Australian tells them about the Greens – believe about the Greens.

(Via reader Wayne.)

  • 1
    Posted September 9, 2010 at 6:14 pm | Permalink

    Three times more voted for the Greens than the Nationals. Bring on the NBN and truth in Media. This will make the Greens dig in and carefully aim back.

  • 2
    Posted September 9, 2010 at 6:15 pm | Permalink

    I suppose next they will start suing for their right to lie

  • 3
    Posted September 9, 2010 at 6:30 pm | Permalink

    Well the tried to destroy the BER, the NBN, the mining tax and everything else so why not the Greens.

    They even attacked me personally last year for daring to point out refugee law to them.

    It’s desparate if that is the best they can do.

    And Pissy Pyne better beware – he tried to destroy the lib/nat indies who supported Rann and he is still going strong.

  • 4
    Posted September 9, 2010 at 6:43 pm | Permalink

    We are particularly tired of Greens senator Christine Milne arguing that “green jobs need a real green economy to grow in”. What on earth can she mean?

    Perhaps if they gave less op-ed space to denialists in their paper, and more space to those who can answer this question, they wouldn’t need to ask their readers, who are likely to be similarly clueless.

    I note too that Bob Brown has complained to the ABC about the lack of their focus on the Greens during the campaign, picking up on what I’ve noticed not just in the campaign, and commented on ages ago. Sky is really the only network that gives time to Greens MPs, and puts the public broadcaster to shame.

  • 5
    Posted September 9, 2010 at 6:51 pm | Permalink

    There is something spectacularly hypocritical about the Greens being attacked for “not getting enough scrutiny” by media that refuse to give them a hearing. Or attacked for “not having costed policies” in the days when government refused to let anyone but them have access to treasury costings. Or attacked for being irresponsible spendthrifts seconds after attacking them for proposing certain taxes that would pay for those policies.

  • 6
    Matthew of Canberra
    Posted September 9, 2010 at 7:01 pm | Permalink

    I think AB might get his wish. The Australian just ran an experiment, and the lesson it will have undoubtedly learned is that telling a pack of divisive, inaccurate, calculated B.S. delivers outcomes. It’s descending rapidly into Fox News territory. I wonder if the “leftist” Sky will follow …

    I think it was a crikey article which once explained why Murdoch is happy to run losses on the Oz. It’s for the influence, and I think we just saw that influence used to try (but fail) to throw an election to the party with policies more favorable to NEWS. After pimping the national broadsheet, Rupert must be pretty furious with those two guys who didn’t play by his rules. For some reason, this whole episode reminds me of a west wing episode:


    Normally I think this sort of conspiracy twaddle is a bit of a laugh. But I think it’s hard to deny what has happened over the last 12-18 months or so – i.e. since ABC24 and the NBN came up on the radar.

    Time to review media ownership laws, methinks. Once the greens get the senate, it’ll be a walk-over.

  • 7
    Posted September 9, 2010 at 7:01 pm | Permalink

    There is something spectacularly hypocritical about the Greens being attacked for “not getting enough scrutiny” by media that refuse to give them a hearing.

    Or when the only ‘hearing’ they get is hysterical coverage where they are labelled communists or economically irresponsible, which has long been my bug bear about how the Greens are portrayed in the MSM.

    Hopefully now the Greens have increased their representation in parliament, the media will grow up and start treating the party with some maturity, rather than OTT unjustified statements like ‘bad for the nation’ FFS.

  • 8
    Posted September 9, 2010 at 7:02 pm | Permalink

    Oops portrayed = scrutinised.

  • 9
    Posted September 9, 2010 at 7:15 pm | Permalink

    I will be cancelling my “Weekend Aus” any Greens still getting it? or was I the only one up here in Northern Australia

  • 10
    Posted September 9, 2010 at 8:22 pm | Permalink

    The Australian crossed the line long ago. Have a look at the polls they take now – it should be embarrassing for them to see how skewed they are by the fact that they now are attracting a completely partisan, biased audience.

    It’s not just the Coalition Chronicler that has gone down this path. The benefits of attracting and sustaining a loyal following based on a political affinity has been too much of a temptation for many media entities and identities.

    As I’ve said before, I’ll read the Oz online because I’m always interested in reading an alternative opinion – even a distorted one – but I’ll never pay them a cent directly for their lack of integrity and their willingness to misrepresent and skew information to run a political agenda.

    If these people want to be in politics they should run for office. And that goes for you too Bolt.

  • 11
    Posted September 9, 2010 at 8:40 pm | Permalink

    Does anybody have any economics that isn’t ‘flakey’?

  • 12
    Posted September 9, 2010 at 8:41 pm | Permalink

    I think when the Oz said “destroy” it really meant “wipe off the map”.

  • 13
    Posted September 9, 2010 at 8:49 pm | Permalink

    Time to review media ownership laws, methinks. Once the greens get the senate, it’ll be a walk-over.

    I am afraid that some little known Labor or Green senator is going to become smeared with a rape case or similar (drugs, pedophilia ect.) as was Julian Assange. Or worse.
    I fully understand that this might seem an outrageous fear to many of you and I hope that this fear is unfounded. This declaration by the un-Australian is from the mouth of Rupert Murdoch and he only has until the Greens control the senate until he looses the control of the Australian media that he has obviously worked so hard to attain.
    The ABC board will be cleaned out and the media ownership laws of the past government will be overturned. This should put the fear of god into every sitting senator until that goal is achieved. This message should be shouted from every rooftop.

  • 14
    Posted September 9, 2010 at 9:39 pm | Permalink

    It all just shows how out of touch those in charge of News are. The trouble is that Bob Brown isn’t going to present himself for lunch and instruction in the News way of doing things.

    Stand by for three years of this, I cannot remember a thing like this and I am frankly appalled this goes beyond mere bias.

  • 15
    Posted September 9, 2010 at 9:47 pm | Permalink

    nearing the completion of its transition into the Fox News of Australian media.

    Don’t be silly. Fox News is actually profitable.

  • 16
    Posted September 9, 2010 at 10:06 pm | Permalink

    On the flip side to the Australian, the last Weekend Financial Review had a back page story – Chanticleer, “Be Alert not Alarmed” – that spoke about the Greens’ policy on a carbon price and the disconnect between the Coalition and business. It quoted many major Aust. companies and spoke about how they wanted a carbon pricing mechanism both to plan and to fulfil their social responsibility commitments. Basically, behind the scenes, business want the Greens policy on this issue according to the AFR.

  • 17
    Posted September 9, 2010 at 10:24 pm | Permalink

    Congratulations Jeremy, an extremely important post.

  • 18
    CJ Morgan
    Posted September 9, 2010 at 11:11 pm | Permalink

    At least the name “Opposition Organ’ can still be applied. I’m just wondering which organ it is now – is the arse an organ?

  • 19
    Posted September 9, 2010 at 11:33 pm | Permalink

    Time for The Australian to rename itself as “The Australian Herald” and start advertising casinos and stripclubs next to its editorials.

  • 20
    Fran Barlow
    Posted September 9, 2010 at 11:33 pm | Permalink

    The best response is to keep a record of their display ads and then write to the offerers of goods and services, quoting the paper’s apparfent intention to depart from news into advocacy and to declare that one cannot in good conscience support a business that is debauching public discourse.

    The Oz doesn’t make money by selling papers. It makes it by selling audiences. We have to destroy the value of their audience to those who pay for access.

  • 21
    Posted September 9, 2010 at 11:55 pm | Permalink

    The annoying thing is that likely it has a very clear meaning in context, and anyone with an ounce of sense should be able to get the gist of what it means (perhaps “Green Jobs (these being jobs which aid the environment from forestry management to renewable energy technicians) require economic reforms (such as a carbon emissions price) to be more economically viable”). Rather than trying to enlighten its readers, or even present some kind of argument on the issue, the Oz just acts like an idiot so it can mock the Greens for having a slogan more complicated than “moving foreward” and “standing up for real action”

    This sort of shameful display is why I stopped my subscription to the Australian, and to me it’s only $20 a year. Yes, I would literally rather have 10c than a copy of the Australian, and when Mr Murdoch puts up his paywall I’ll be glad to never have to read a word of it again. The only value it has to me is the potential to rort their offer of dirt cheap subscription to students by selling the papers on to others, and I’m too damn honest for that.
    (Seriously, I could make something like $60-$80 just on a weekend subscription, and if the customer was willing to save $100 by pretending to be a mature age student and picking up their copy at the Uni bookstore I could get $200 profit off it. Cut out maybe $30-$40 off each to pay the students and it’s still pretty good. $30-$150 for finding a uni student who doesn’t like the Australian and a non-student who does is pretty good money.)

  • 22
    Posted September 10, 2010 at 7:29 am | Permalink

    Astonishing stuff Jeremy.

    But, I’ve got some Greens mates who are of the opinion that ‘they’d rather their conservatives were out in the open, like Barnyard or Pell, rather than secretly’.

    At least the Oz is prepared to wear their Heart (cold, dead) on their sleeve.

  • 23
    Posted September 10, 2010 at 7:50 am | Permalink

    I think Fran’s point (21) is worth a try.
    Those who follow Tim Lambert’s Deltoid blog will know The Awfulstralian has been conducting a “war” on science for quite some time. What has concentrated its attentions is the good showing the Greens have had in this election. It is rather heartening in its way: it means the Greens are now a serious contender.
    War they want? War they shall have!

  • 24
    Posted September 10, 2010 at 8:35 am | Permalink

    Given the cost of your subscription it might be a more productive idea to keep it up and then bin it. It is likely a subsidised thing that would actually cost Murdoch money. My daughter is at uni now and I think I will get a $20 subscription in her name myself. If it costs murdoch $1 I will be happy and I might even do frans idea whenever I get bored. Even if I just think it is costing murdoch money I will be happy. Roll on the government website advertising jobs.
    It appears that it is now open warfare between the oz and Labor and the greens. Fighting wars on multiple fronts is a good idea? The old fart is loosing his marbles.

  • 25
    Lee Harvey Oddworld
    Posted September 10, 2010 at 8:44 am | Permalink

    I doubt the independents would object to the removal of all governmental employment classifieds from The Oz. Which might wound the belligerent beast fatally.

  • 26
    Posted September 10, 2010 at 9:13 am | Permalink

    Broggly @22
    and when Mr Murdoch puts up his paywall I’ll be glad to never have to read a word of it again.”

    Don’t hold your breath…, more’s the pity.

  • 27
    Posted September 10, 2010 at 9:23 am | Permalink

    I just love to see the sight of fuming Greens!
    It just proves that they can’t stand the cold hard light of day shining upon their loopy policies. Now that they have got their hands upon the balance of power it is only right that they should no longer be given the benefit of the doubt that they have previously enjoyed.

  • 28
    Posted September 10, 2010 at 9:40 am | Permalink

    What a crappy rag it is. I wish I had a subscription just so I could drop it.
    Time for the parliament to look at foreign media ownership laws again, along with government jobs ads and truth in advertising legislation.
    In some countries, this sort of “declaration of war” on a section of the government would be seen at as an act of treason.

  • 29
    Posted September 10, 2010 at 10:02 am | Permalink

    Iain makes me lol. “The benefit of the doubt that they have previously enjoyed.” He’s a satirical genius.

  • 30
    Posted September 10, 2010 at 10:07 am | Permalink


    Iain makes me lol. “The benefit of the doubt that they have previously enjoyed.” He’s a satirical genius.

    Beat me to it.

  • 31
    Posted September 10, 2010 at 10:15 am | Permalink

    Laura Tingle’s article in today’s AFR is worth reading. She highlights the war on Labor by News ltd, and notes Bob Brown’s recent criticism of the Oz. Says the Greens want a Senate inquiry into the Melbourne Storm fiasco, for which there is sympathy within the govt. The Oz’s hysteria could be its own undoing.

  • 32
    Posted September 10, 2010 at 10:18 am | Permalink

    Iain is not worth reading and I don’t. He has proven that when he is comprehensibly defeated in an argument he just declares himself the winner and moves on.
    Why argue with such stupidity? He is simply trolling and deserves to be ignored because of the inanity of his arguments.
    Does anyone else just skip his input?

  • 33
    Posted September 10, 2010 at 10:27 am | Permalink

    Come on guys, this is what private media agencies do. Why don’t the greens take it as a badge of honour that Rupert is going after them? To use a West wing quote “If their shooting at you, you must be doing something right”.
    While I am pro-business, I am not anti green. Sustainability is the way the world is going and business sometimes needs to be dragged into reform by legislation (even Adam Smith agrees with this). But a lot of the time, the Greens neglect the economic and just focus on the social and environment portions of sustainability. If the Greens can get away from the hardline deep ecology movement that freaks everyone out and provide a more moderate voice, I’m sure they will be able to play an important role in parliament, regardless of anything Rupert can throw at them. It might even gain them more votes.

  • 34
    Posted September 10, 2010 at 10:28 am | Permalink

    Well Jeremy
    Previously when the Greens were in a politically insignificant position you whined
    continually that no one was paying them enough attention and now that they are being put under the microscope and their silly policies are actually in play (because they can wag the Labor Dog) you whine even louder!

  • 35
    Posted September 10, 2010 at 10:31 am | Permalink

    Does anyone else just skip his input?

    Me. Iain rarely makes sense, and isn’t worth reading.

  • 36
    Posted September 10, 2010 at 10:31 am | Permalink

    Sorry, Iain, I know you’re trolling but – how can you actually type that? You know as well as I do that I’m more than happy for Greens policies to be debated – the problem with that the Australian revealed in that editorial is that they’re not going to be part of that. Their sole purpose will be to DESTROY the Greens. Perhaps those of you who believe News Ltd and despise the Greens might consider how much the former has contributed to the latter.

  • 37
    Posted September 10, 2010 at 10:49 am | Permalink

    The sooner The Oz disapears behind the paywall so no one has to have it’s ever stranger notions inflicted upon them the better.

  • 38
    Posted September 10, 2010 at 10:50 am | Permalink

    There are lots of things proposed by the Greens that are fully imbued with the stupidity that never having to make their policies actually work in the real world allows. ( their policy on asylum seekers is a good example) and their loopy belief that “renewable energy” can replace coal for base load electricity is another example.
    Its obvious to anyone that when the OZ editorial talks about destroying the Greens it is saying that their veneer of credibility should be removed to show their true face and their totalitarian heart.

  • 39
    Posted September 10, 2010 at 10:52 am | Permalink

    You have to remember, Jeremy, that Iain lives in a fantasy world where the SMH and Age have already ran editorials stating their wish to destroy the Liberal Party, and the majority of the media is run by a Maoist cabal.

  • 40
    Posted September 10, 2010 at 11:00 am | Permalink

    Well Jeremy to be perfectly honest it was a step of faith for me to go over and to support the Greens. And I am certain that a large part of my reluctance was an illogical fear of their policies put there by the limited media access that I had as a kid.
    Upon subjecting what it is that the Greens are actually attempting to achieve to a simple critical analysis I soon realised how ill founded my fears were. And what a hatchet job news had done on a group of people who’s primary aim is to retain the natural beauty of Australia for the benefits of generations to come as opposed to the rabid exploitation being practised by businesses. When you consider it it is amazing that most people have been made afraid of that. And the old man has lost that control. The Greens will live or die by their actions now, they cannot be ignored, and provided they wield their power responsible they will probably hold the balance of power in the senate until they rule it in their own right. And if they don’t wield it responsibly they will be cannon fodder for good reason.

  • 41
    Posted September 10, 2010 at 11:19 am | Permalink


    You seem to know a lot about electricity generation. Please explain to me why renewables can not supply base load. Then explain to me why baseload is worth pursuing.

  • 42
    Posted September 10, 2010 at 11:39 am | Permalink

    twobob @ 34


  • 43
    Posted September 10, 2010 at 11:40 am | Permalink

    Iain Hall knows a lot about every thing, the personification of know all.Iain Hall just can’t bring himself to understand the Greens are in the ascendancy,what’s more, as global warming becomes a given even to people like Hall, their support will grow.They will become the other half of the duopoly we have suffered since federation.

    What a strange thing our democracy is?I guess even 18 carat morons have a vote.

  • 44
    Posted September 10, 2010 at 12:04 pm | Permalink

    Hall, once again proving his point by unconscious irony. Have mercy upon us if he actually acquires some self-knowledge in his progress through life.

  • 45
    Posted September 10, 2010 at 12:13 pm | Permalink

    Gary M

    I am humble enough to appreciate that I don’t know everything but you fail to appreciate is that with your “Green ascendency” comes an inevitably tougher standard of scrutiny and there is a very real possibility that the Greens will suffer the same fate as the Democrats.

    But just you wait until we get a 30 to 50% rise in our power bills due to the pointless carbon tax that the Loopy Greens will force on the country and then watch as the country does a very big double take and returns to the mainstream choices.

  • 46
    Posted September 10, 2010 at 12:47 pm | Permalink

    Well, Iain, I can’t speak for other former Democrat voters but I stopped voting for them when they sold out their progressive base and voted for the GST they promised they wouldn’t support. I doubt very much that the Greens will make that mistake.

    The Democrats wanted to broker between the big parties. They would never have declared before an election, as the Greens did, that they would support Labor over the Liberals.

    The only potential Democrat-style split in the Greens would be between conservationist conservatives and the progressives in the rest of the party. But the conservatives have been on notice for years that the Greens’ economic position is progressive, not conservative – it’d be silly for anyone to claim otherwise.

    There will be some minor disagreements about some fringe stuff still in the platform that the majority of the ex-Democrat progressives like me won’t support, but I suspect that’ll go at the next policy review. The fundamental principles, of better public services funded by progressive taxation, and civil liberties on social issues, are strong enough to build a party on. So long as it doesn’t take the Labor route and sell out to the right.

    I don’t think it will.

    PS “30 to 50% rise in our power bills”. Lol.

  • 47
    Posted September 10, 2010 at 12:47 pm | Permalink

    Well I’ve looked at the Greens policy platform on their website and I can’t find any of this “silly”, “loopy” “stupidity” you’re shrieking about.

    That’s just my opinion, though.

    But seriously, please enlighten me on where you pulled this Green “totalitarian” stuff from. Go on.

  • 48
    Posted September 10, 2010 at 12:54 pm | Permalink

    twobob @ 34

    I have to admit, I have a policy of skippy Iain too. I find it pointless, Frank Cambell is another troll that is worth skipping and good ol Captain Col – the less read the better.

    Don’t get me wrong, I don’t learning things from others, but the only thing I have learnt from those three, is that there are some some people who get pleasure in being stupid and letting people know it.

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