Pure Poison IconA quick case study of our hack tabloid media, with the Melbourne Herald Sun‘s version of today’s “big” story (something something Gillard something Thomson Slipper something WORST GOVERNMENT EVER).

Tonight the paper is boasting that its readers don’t like the PM and are on board with the demands for a new election it’s been making pretty much since Tony lost the last one:

What an amazing correlation between Herald Sun readers and right-wing demands! Ninety-five percent of Herald Sun readers fit into a category NewsPoll says matches 52 percent of the population. Here’s an interesting figure I’d like to see them share: what percentage of News Ltd readers want a new election, compared with ordinary Australians who don’t read News Ltd papers?

It’s almost like there’s something about reading the Herald Sun that causes a person to demand exactly what the Liberal Party demands, isn’t it.

A few interesting asides from today’s edition show just how that might have come to be.

1. We’ve been telling our readers to damn Gillard for not doing what PMs have no power to do

First, the Herald Sun attacks Gillard for doing precisely what they’d been demanding she do, on the basis that she hasn’t done something she hasn’t the power to do – force an MP to resign from parliament:

Surely there’s an argument that if his position was considered untenable within the ALP – in light of an expected damning Fair Work Australia report into his alleged misconduct when Health Services Union boss – that he should also have resigned from Parliament.

Also, surely there’s an argument that if Gillard was serious about Peter Slipper she’d have conjured a magical shadow creature to assassinate him as he sleeps. The fact that she hasn’t utilised nonexistent wizard powers just proves that she’s THE WORST PRIME MINISTER WE’VE EVER HAD.

2. We relentlessly drown out any actual news about government or policy with multiple covers per drip-fed claimed “scandal”

Next, a handy graphic of Herald Sun front pages from the last few weeks demonstrating how its readers may have come to the view that LNP candidate at the last election Peter Slipper’s behaviour is just about the most important thing affecting all their lives:

Anyone think there’ll be a Herald Sun cover on the aged care policy? Or the National Disability Insurance Scheme? Things that actually affect their readers’ lives?

3. We almost completely ignore or bury policies our readers would actually like

Yes… the National Disability Insurance Scheme. It is on the Herald Sun front page tonight – they could hardly ignore it completely. But it’s placed waaay down the page, well below the political personality rubbish, and given no prominence whatsoever. Even though unlike Slipper’s shenanigans, it actually will affect the lives of many of their readers and their families.


The lesson is – we make and break governments, don’t you dare stand up to us

So, any good news is rushed through with as little commentary as possible. Everything else the PM does is smeared, misrepresented and outright lied about. Every scandal connected to anyone voting with the ALP in parliament is run again, and again, and again, and again, as if it were the most important thing facing the nation.

If you relied on the Herald Sun for “news”, you’d probably think Julia Gillard was the worst Prime Minister the country has ever had, too, and be champing at the bit for another election.

So no wonder the Herald Sun is proud of these results – they make its editorial board feel powerful. We’ve succeeded in deceiving all these people! We’re influential and important! Don’t you dare cross us! Give us what we demand! Cower before our mighty keyboards!

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