I NEVER dreamed – never feared – Australia would have a government plotting to control journalists it didn’t like.
Do not trust a word Communications Minister Stephen Conroy says about needing a new government supercop to check what’s published and by whom.
Do not trust the reasons he gave yesterday for a Public Interest Media Advocate to ensure the Press Council keeps journalists in line and only “proper” people buy media outlets.
“What’s a sad day for democracy is the continued erosion of diversity of opinion,” Conroy said.
“And nobody wants to see a further concentration of opinion – and ownership is a vital factor in the diversity of opinion.”
There are indeed people wanting a “further concentration of opinion”. These people are called the Gillard Government.
But people who come here to work are the problem:
- A GROUP of 77 asylum seekers were last night rescued by Australian authorities after being thrown out of their boat off Ashmore Island.
Where is this “erosion of diversity of opinion” Conroy claims? For opinions of the Left, we have the ABC, Fairfax’sÂ AgeÂ andÂ Sydney Morning Herald,Â SBS, various News Ltd columnists (Phillip Adams, Malcolm Farr, Susie O’Brien, Paul Syvret), Crikey, Arena, theÂ Green Left Weekly,Â Sky News, theÂ Global Mail,Â The ProjectÂ and many online outlets, from Mamamia and GetUp to The Conversation.
For conservatives and Right-wingers there are other News Ltd columnists, The Australian, 2GB, Quadrant, The Bolt Report on Channel 10, my blog and outlets on radio and online.
Never have we had so many sources pumping out opinion of every hue.
Only last week the Prime Minister dined with “mummy bloggers” – women running blogs that didn’t exist a decade ago but now speak to women voters Gillard is desperate to reach.
The only real threat to diversity of opinion is one Conroy won’t discuss: the vast expansion of the Left-leaning and government-funded ABC.
The ABC now has a multi-platform influence no private media company can reach, spanning TV, radio and online news and opinion sites – the new newspapers. It also has social media, film and book publishing arms.
It competes directly with private media for online audiences, but with this advantage: the subsidised ABC can give away the news and views for which its competitors, especially Fairfax, must charge.
And the ABC does all that from a firmly Leftist agenda, with not a single conservative host of one of its main news and current affairs shows. The state media, not the private media, is the true danger to Conroy’s “diversity”.
But what does Conroy do about it? He gives the ABC another $10 million for its news service just before the election, reminding the ABC who’s Daddy. Now, after expanding the state media, the Government wants a state regulator for the private media.
Make no mistake. If this Government has a problem with diversity of opinion, it’s only with the bit that’s conservative.
I KNOW, on the evidence of my own ears, Conroy and others in the Government believe News Ltd, which publishes this newspaper, is agitating for its overthrow.
The Government, too long pampered in its self-delusion by the ABC and Fairfax papers, seems unable to believe there are sound reasons for other journalists to be appalled by its lies, broken promises, dictatorial instincts and massive squandering of public money.
Journalists saying such things must be “biased”, concludes outraged Labor. They must be stopped.
It’s that conviction that seemingly led Conroy into calling an inquiry demanded by the Greens into the “hate media”.
That inquiry, run by handpicked Leftists, duly criticised sceptical reporting by News Ltd on global warming catastrophism, recommending tougher controls against these “failings in journalistic standards”.
Now the Government believes the media is indeed so suddenly riddled with failings that a state supercop is needed to keep it in line, in part by forcing journalists to submit to Press Council oversight or lose protection from privacy law provisions.
That is paranoia. Where’s the evidence the media is so bad it needs this de facto state licensing of journalists?
Asked on the ABC yesterday, Conroy gave away the game.
His two examples of alleged error both involved – surprise! – media reports critical of Labor.
“(Transport Minister) Anthony Albanese recently had an experience where a news report went to air on the nightly 6 o’clock news … All of the points made in the program were wrong . . .
“I myself had an experience where someone complained about the Daily Telegraph’s reporting of the National Broadband Network …”
Poor Labor. See now why we need state supervision of what journalists say?
See why we need more state-employed journalists instead, spruiking this fantastic Government?