Thursday, December 17, 2009

PR Watch on Murdoch's 'Quality' Climate Journalism

"PR Watch" has a fairly basic, but essentially OK, take on Murdoch's bi-polar climate change position. Here are some classic quotes:

"A month ago, Sean Whittington from the Australian PR firm, Field Public Relations, issued a press release promoting a speech by Ian Plimer, a mining company director and noted global warming skeptic. Plimer was one of the skeptics who spoke last week at the oppositional Copenhagen Climate Challenge, which was co-sponsored by the U.S.-based Committee for a Constructive Tomorrow and the Danish group, Climate Sense. Whittington's media release, issued on behalf of the Australian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy, a professional group for those working in the mining industry, rather unremarkably featured a dozen paragraphs extracted from Plimer's speech.

Before Plimer had even made his speech, an Australian Associated Press (AAP) journalist filed a story. As blogger Tim Lambert wryly commented on his Deltoid blog, "I think it is awesome that the AAP can report from the future."

Not surprisingly, the wire service story was picked up on, a website of Rupert Murdoch's News Limited, which has become a champion of climate change skepticism. AAP is a wire service owned by four major newspaper companies, one of which is News Limited, which holds a 45% stake in the company. On its website, AAP boasts that the pillars of its reporting are " balanced and fair reporting", "get it right, then get it first", and "produce quality news that's ready to use."

But the AAP story on Plimer's speech is an exemplar of the success of PR. Of the dozen paragraphs in Whittington's media release, nine were used in their entirety in the AAP story and another one in a paraphrased form. Only two paragraphs weren't used. None were attributed as being from a media release."

The bold bit is ours. Jeeez! Does Murdoch want to be the king of the 'each way bet' or what? Obviously he has torn a great big hole in his own empire by making himself reliant on the flying rabid monkeys of Fox and his tabloid monsters in Oz, US and the UK for income and his political biffing-stick.

While craving the artificial facade of 'genuine' legitimacy always (rightly) denied to him by usurping the WSJ and such, the fading old fox has wedgied himself on the barbed fence of the chookhouse - he is now so conflicted by riding both sides that he is doomed to self destruct in a "fraud of debtly leverage" as the baird may have put it.

Ta ta, you old wrinkled horror.

Action: Take a break, sit back and make a bet on whether Andrew Bolt or Tim Blair will be the first rat to leap from the stinking ship-pile of floating (and sinking) Murdoch.

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