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Andrew Bolt

Jun 21, 2012

Andrew bravely stands up for Gina

Andrew Bolt today disclaimed the sum total of his connections with Gina Rinehart that are any of our business: DISCLAIMER: Rinehart is a shareholder of Network Ten, which r

Andrew Bolt today disclaimed the sum total of his connections with Gina Rinehart that are any of our business:

DISCLAIMER: Rinehart is a shareholder of Network Ten, which runs my Bolt Report, and this paper is part of the Murdoch empire, a Fairfax competitor.

Clearly that’s all there is, so we can now enjoy his completely independent and non-self-interested article today on the subject of how good it would be if all Australian newspapers were owned and micromanaged by right-wing billionaires. Check out his powerful arguments:

1. If lefties want there to be any non-conservative newspapers, why don’t they become billionaires and buy them?

There is, of course, a very easy way for Labor’s allies to stop Rinehart from taking control of the Fairfax newspapers, which include The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald…

…it is for GetUp’s alleged 605,000 members to GetUp off their couches, GetUp a job and GetUp just $800 each to buy Fairfax themselves.

EXACTLY. Why not? That’s why nobody should ever give a shit about conditions for the poor. If they can’t be bothered becoming rich enough to buy their own newspapers, it’s their own lookout.

Surely the battleground of ideas should always be reduced to whoever can pay the most for a megaphone to drown out everyone else. It’s only common sense. (Trademark Cory Bernardi.)

The point is, the media have to be owned by someone, and that someone should be the richest person available, and they should have complete freedom to force journalists to say whatever is in their owner’s best interests. And any media organisation not run to campaign relentlessly for the interests of the hard right is by definition “leftist”. (Anyone trying to be objective must be a “leftist”.)

2. There are some terrifying imaginary things we can pretend are happening.

Have you ever seen so many people reach for new laws to stifle a free media and to impose a Left-preaching government behemoth instead?

Well, actually, yes, I have. I see no Australians whatsoever reaching for new laws to impose a Left-preaching government behemoth all the time. Throughout my whole life, and every bit of Australian history I’ve ever read about, in fact.

Which is pretty woeful. I mean zero people doing something is a pretty easy target to beat, and yet the campaign for new laws imposing a Left-preaching government behemoth still hasn’t managed it.

FFS leftists.

3. Gina’s in it for an investment so why would she promote her vastly more profitable other business interests at the expense of Fairfax?

Dream on. No sane proprietor would give up their right to save their investment from editors making bad calls. Just as no sane proprietor would turn the Fairfax papers into propaganda sheets for their business interests.

Of course no sane proprietor would do such a thing. I mean, Rupert only keeps the notoriously unprofitable The Australian running for reasons completely unrelated to his other business interests. Who could suggest otherwise?

Persuasive stuff.

ELSEWHERE: Stephen Mayne, writing in Wednesday’s Crikey daily email, points out that other Fairfax shareholders might want to be wary of how Gina would treat them if she found herself in control:

Having seen how Gina Rinehart treats her kids, does any self-interested Fairfax Media investor seriously fancy being a minority shareholder in a complex beast controlled by Australia’s most litigious Rich Lister?

How would shareholders feel if she suddenly declared there would be no dividend payments or capital returns until 2068? That’s what she did to her own oppressed children at Hancock Prospecting.

And remember her infamous hostility to journalists and journalism:
If Rinehart wants to meddle with editorial, she’s only reconfirming her unsuitability, which was already pretty obvious with that litigation against Seven West Media attempting to have journalist Steve Pennells reveal his sources.

Then you have her demonstrable failure to support the concept of free and open courts with all those endless attempts to suppress the brazen oppression of her own children.

Should shareholders really feel confident that what she’ll do to Fairfax will be in the interests of the other shareholders of Fairfax, rather than herself in other capacities?

Maybe Corbett should offer a board seat to eldest son John Hancock, as he’s a shareholder too in the companies that are stalking Fairfax. Given that Hancock Prospecting is already carrying some debt and is about to embark on a multibillion dollar coal and iron ore investment program, it really is quite reckless of Gina to spray almost $500 million on two debt-laden media companies.

She hasn’t consulted with three of her adult children, the oppressed Hancock Prospecting minority shareholders, about this disastrous diminution of their respective entitlements. Similarly, if granted control of Fairfax, Gina probably wouldn’t consult with Fairfax minority shareholders, existing directors, editors or anyone else about her calamitous plans to shift the company’s traditional progressive voice to the political Right.

Such a move would probably send Fairfax to the wall.

And remember her buy-in to Channel Ten, the shareprice of which is now a third of what it was when she bought her ten percent stake?

For all of these reasons, if the mining heiress isn’t prepared to make a full bid to all Fairfax shareholders, there is no way the board should invite her inside the tent. After all, as a director of Ten Network Holdings she actively competes with Fairfax for scarce advertising dollars.

Meanwhile, I received an email this morning from Cory Bernardi’s “conservative action network” demanding right-wingers write to the Fairfax board in defence of Gina.

Pretty neatly confirming that this is all about boosting far-right politics, and not about saving media diversity or “free speech”.

Most hilariously, it was written by David Flint, the former campaigner for the monarchy in Australia, railing against “inner-city elites”. (It’s worth watching just for the incredibly working-class accent he manages when saying the phrase.)

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18 comments

18 thoughts on “Andrew bravely stands up for Gina

  1. AR

    MarekB – good point, I’ll stock up on popcorn. How much rightard garbage can a koala bear?

  2. joni

    “…no sane proprietor…”

    If they say that Rupert does not get involved in editorial decisions then that must mean he is the opposite of the quote above. Doesn’t it?

  3. jules

    Marek I’ve seen footage of Juarez at times. Its actually very disturbing. far more disturbing than watching a brawl between News Ltd and Fairfax.

    Mr eyesore, 18.7% of fairfax should actually entitle her to one single seat and a third of another one, strictly, based on percentages…

    But its typical of these billionaire types that they always want more than they’re entitled to. Either that or their ability to do maths is compromised, in which case they don’t deserve seats anywhere, cept maybe train platforms.

  4. fred p

    Imagine some Australian equivalent of George Soros buying up big chunks of News Ltd and landing enough board seats to exert some editorial influence over what is written in the Herald Sun, then telling Andrew Bolt what to write and how to write it. Then imagine Andrew Bolt writing a column defending this. The other day he wrote about how he would probably resign if he experienced editorial interference in his own work, but he’s happy to defend it occurring at The Age – apparently on the basis of the need to lift flagging sales, as though nobody knows the Herald Sun isn’t doing so well either. Nice hair-splitting, Andy.

    What’s staggering is the cognitive dissonance, although we should come to expect this from Bolt. He goes on in his article about how The Age is literally worthless, how it’s losing money and how he doesn’t believe that Rinehart will be able to save it. But then he claims she hasn’t bought in to promote her own business interests. Riiiight. It clearly wasn’t a commercial decision; Bolt concedes The Age is a losing proposition financially. So what other motives might she have? She’s already made it clear she wants EDIT. It’s completely obvious to everyone why she is doing this. I can’t believe Bolt would stoop so low as to defend this. I wonder whether it has anything to do with the level of his desperation to save that poorly-rating TV show of his, which coincidentally he owes entirely to EDIT.

  5. Mr. Eyesore

    There’s a slight problem with Bolt’s suggestion in (1) above. He suggests that GetUp’s “alleged” membership buy about 35% of Fairfax. The rules of the game state that ownership above 20% of the shares in a public company requires an offer of a full takeover.

    This would require GetUp to CoughUp $1.4 billion, or about $2300 per “alleged” member – and is precisely why Rinehart only bought 18.7% of Fairfax. She’s rich, but she’s not *that* rich.

    Surely Bolt knows this. If he didn’t, his co-worker Terry McCrann could have clued him in.

    Also: Rinehart has demanded three of Fairfax’s eight board seats. That is, 37.5% of the board seats on the basis of owning 18.7% of the company. Assuming that GetUp could do as he suggested, does it not follow that they would then be entitled to claim five or six?

  6. Marek Bage

    There’s a deep, dark corner of my soul that would rejoice in seeing Rinehart competing directly against Murdoch.

    Let’s face it, Gina is not going to convert readers to her point of view, she’ll steal them from Murdoch.
    I imagine a race to the bottom that would make the TT/ACA rivalry seem like a lovers tiff.
    It would be like watching two Mexican drug lords fighting over the same territory; Lot’s of collateral damage, but what a show!!

    Cheers.

  7. Mercurial

    TT @10 true, but I do wonder how people like Denis Shanahan must feel when they front up at work each morning.

    A bit like a prostitute I imagine.

  8. Holden Back

    Trippi Taka, A trained dog will jump when whipped, a well-trained dog will jump with no needof the whip.

    But dogs are much nicer than most News Ltd editors.

  9. Trippi Taka

    The line New Ltd employees constantly push, and to a degree which has come out from the Leveson enquiry about Rupert not having direct influence on editorial content is absolute tosh.

    I am not a Journalist. I have never worked for News Ltd and have never met or spoken with any of the Murdochs. However I am pretty confident I know the ideological slant he would want me to use when writing for one of his papers. I would be pretty certain that my days as a News Ltd journalist would be pretty limited if I regularly came out with Left leaning or anti business stories.

    To suggest he doesn’t have influence on what is written is naive and absurd.

    Andrew even concedes this point with this sentence:

    No sane proprietor would give up their right to save their investment from editors making bad calls.

    Which means Rupert does indeed make calls on editorial lines.

  10. lindsayb

    I wonder which billionaire ABlot believes the poor Left should model themselves on.
    “Businessmen” like Sermion Mogilevich, Joaquin Guzman Loera or Pablo Escobar?
    “Entrepreneurs” like Bernie Madoff, Alan Bond, Christopher Skase or Robert Allen Stanford?
    Or perhaps politicians like Hosni Mubarak, Muammar al-Gaddafi, or Robert Mugabe?
    Because the Rich are inherently Better People than the poor, because they are rich. And if this is not self-evident to you, you are a communist and hate freedom.

  11. Cuppa

    You’d expect reasonable people would see that he’s a sycophant to the immensely wealthy, and by definition, cannot be on the side of “average” people.

    His constant pro-Coalition, anti-Labor/Greens propaganda should be enough for reasonable readers to extrapolate as to which side of politics represents the billionaire elites, and which side “average people”.

    But do Bolt’s followers see this? No, they hate Labor and the Greens (cos they’re told to?) and would vote for the billionaires’ party without a second (or first) thought.

    They must just be smarter than the rest of us….

  12. Jack Sparraaggghhh

    …it is for GetUp’s alleged 605,000 members to GetUp off their couches, GetUp a job…

    Etc.

    (“Alleged”? Oh sure, I’ll bet there’ll be a snarky if almost entirely fictitious sub-narrative there…)

    Interestingly, 600K is more or less the number of unemployed persons in Australia.

    Could it be that Andy believes GetUp! is populated entirely by ‘the unemployed’?

    Oh, and any kind of nexus between GetUp! and the Greens must surely be a tantalising sub-sub-narrative.

    And all these must surely be the ones “reaching out for new laws to stifle a free media and to impose a Left-preaching government behemoth instead.” (Which is to say, those not-Andy.)

    Jeez, I wish I was being paid so handsomely for spinning all this drivel.

  13. SHV

    Fascinating:

    [no sane proprietor would turn the … papers into propaganda sheets for their business interests]

    At News Ltd you only get to imply that the Boss is insane if

    a) The Boss instructs/approves of the tactics involved; and

    b) The greater purpose is to usher through some event or change which the Boss would like to see.

    We really need effective reform of the media concentration laws in this country. Things like ‘effective control’ and ‘public interest’ need some serious beefing-up.

  14. Michael Wilbur-Ham (MWH)

    There seems to be a trend of minority shareholders wanting the company to do what is in their business interest even if it is to the determent of the majority of the other shareholders.

    Anyone in Victoria wanting a right-wing ‘educated’ paper would buy The Australian, and for a right-wing tabloid the Herald-Sun. So moving The Age to the right is likely to result in a significant drop in readership, which is obviously bad for the majority of shareholders.

    Murdoch’s ownership of part of Network Ten may be leading to something similar.

    Formula 1 has had pretty good FTA coverage on ONE HD in previous years. This year they have moved the race to their main channel. This has upset fans because the picture quality is significantly worse, it is only 2 channel instead of 5.1 audio, the pre-race show is has been gutted, and it seems that there are now many more ad breaks.

    I’ve seen comments on social media saying if Ten cannot do F1 properly now why can’t it be moved to Pay TV.

    And this week we get the news that Murdoch is soon likely to own all of Fox Sports on Pay-TV.

  15. Matthew of Canberra

    Let’s talk about IT. In that industry, it’s not unheard of for a company (NCR) to make “knock-offs” of somebody else’s equipment and sell it, all dressed up in the competitor’s uniform and all. They’ll (MS) circle a competitor’s carpark, hoping to pick up their gun developers, and offer them stupid amounts of money – not necessarily to work for them, but even just to stay home, not working for the other guy. They’ll buy companies for their dubious patent holdings (too many to count) – not because they want to USE them, because they’re actually pretty crap, but because they give them a legal foothold for suing competitors and their customers. They’ll even buy companies (SCO) in order to mount vast, widespread legal challenges against people who haven’t actually violated any patents at all – it just looks like they did, which scares away their customers. None of this is good for the public, or competition. But it looks a lot like what’s going on at fairfax this week.

  16. Matthew of Canberra

    He sort of has a point …. almost. The problem is that our lady of the longwall doesn’t actually need to turn a profit on that particular venture. If she can use her influence on the fairfax board to help ensure that the voters know what’s good for them (or at least not what’s BAD for them) at the next election, she can clean up in a bunch of policy areas that have nothing to do with media.

    So, the way I see it, this isn’t about who has the better recipe for media success, or who knows how to run fairfax better, it’s about who has enough money to buy up contesting voices and close them down. With fairfax “gone”, the biggest outlet that’ll feel any compulsion to tell the public when, let’s say, the coalition starts talking about turning boat people into animal feed, is the ABC. Incidentally – how’s andy been traveling on that subject lately? Is he calling for firing squads yet?

    On the other hand, just in terms of market share this is potentially quite good for crikey. Andrew’s done very well out of being the only sugar-coated right-wing {insert some words I can’t safely post myself} in a market filled with relatively sane liberal voices that aren’t pandering to people who’re still pissed about sharing their street with asians but don’t know how to express it in that sophisticated style that doesn’t make it obvious (don’t get me wrong – the ones that WORK are really good, it’s just the majority that sells drugs and steals phones and that – they’re all triad, you know)

    So when the entire print landscape is dominated by people who find aborigines a bit of a planning headache and think the only good refo’s one who can weld and who doesn’t know his workplace rights, then there’ll be a big place for an outlet that can explain where (hypothetically) where all of a reader’s neighbors and relatives keep disappearing to, and where that ash-cloud is coming from.

  17. Aliar Jones

    Love notes from one rich elite to another even more powerful rich elite (and employer)..

    GET A ROOM!

  18. AR

    The term ‘bloviating’ has been coined for verbose B/S artists so it is only meet that blotiation be minted for such a constant tendency to state that black is white, night is day and fire is wet.