Crikey’s editorial tries to debunk the idea that there is a systematic campaign run by The Australian and News Limited against Labor.
A more likely scenario is that the blunt and sometimes nasty coverage in News Limited newspapers of the government in general, and Julia Gillard in particular, is the collateral result of dumbed-down editorial values rather than any vitriolic campaign motivated by political or proprietorial preference; of visceral editorial decisions made mainly by middle-aged male editors whose job is to stir up controversy, attack stereotypes, beat-up small incidents, enrage disaffected voters, impinge on priavte lives and incite readers in an age of uncertainty for newspapers and their future.
(No online link.)
My view is that this is wishful thinking.
News Limited has form, and you only need to look at the exceptionally hostile anti-Labour stories that were run in the UK in the lead up to the British election.
Ahead of the General Election, reports revealed that Murdoch’s Sun newspaper had done a deal with the Conservative Party. Why? It was good business sense, because the Tories were willing to allow Murdoch to further monopolise broadcasting and media in the UK by permitting the tycoon to fully take over BSkyB.
There’s no evidence that a similar deal or arrangement exists between the Murdoch press and the Liberal Party, but history suggests that Tony Abbott and the other scions of John Howard would not act to stop the further control of Australia’s media by the Murdoch and Packer empires if a chance arose.
(This all of course ignores the rampant mis-reporting and outright lies that has gone on in The Australian‘s coverage of the Building the Education Revolution – all of it blatantly anti-Labor.)