Friday, October 8, 2010

What will it take for Australians to stand up and say "enough is enough"?

'The Age' report [9/10/10]:

Television producer and on-air personality Andrew Denton is on a secret News Limited blacklist of public figures who are not welcome in Rupert Murdoch's national newspaper, The Australian, according to a book being launched this week.

Former Herald Sun editor-in-chief Bruce Guthrie, in his book Man Bites Murdoch, says he first got wind of the Murdoch blacklist when he was editor of the Weekend Australian Magazine in 2005 and Denton was profiled in a regular segment ''Ten things you didn't know about … ''

Guthrie says the deputy editor, Graham Erbacher, approached him and half-whispered: ''You know that Denton is persona non grata around here.'' Guthrie asked why. ''It all goes back to Super League,'' Erbacher replied. ...

In 1999 Denton aired his feelings on the ABC show Australian Story: ''I wish I could take Lachlan Murdoch (and) Ken Cowley by their smug little jowls and sit them down for a while and explain something to them … Tradition in sport is a very, very powerful thing.''

Three weeks after the ''Ten Things'' segment on Denton appeared, the paper's editor-in-chief, Chris Mitchell, phoned Guthrie to ask why he had published it. Guthrie says he replied: ''It was pretty innocuous stuff, Chris. (It) even said nice things about Rupert.''

Mitchell: I've just had Lachlan on the phone from New York and he's not happy. In fact he's very pissed off.

The Age Media Browser column reported in August the existence of a blacklist of Murdoch enemies. In his book, Guthrie says he asked Mitchell who else was on the blacklist. He says Mitchell replied: ''You'll know when it happens.''

A newspaper search of the past two years found 78 stories in The Australian that mentioned Denton, 90 in The Age and 108 in the Herald Sun.
It will be interesting to read the book and see whether it follows the typical style of memoir of ex-Murdoch staff. Hugh Lunn did it with Working For Rupert, and Andrew Neil, who was a senior lieutenant of Murdoch, including as editor of The Sunday Times in London, for 11 years up until 1994, later wrote Full Disclosure. John D’Arcy, who was a senior loyal lieutenant to Murdoch for years before Murdoch cruelly flew him to London at short notice to give him the shaft, wrote Media Mayhem.

There are plenty of others. They all follow the general pattern: "Rupert Murdoch is a cruel, vindictive, shifty, duplicitous despot who rules through fear and anxiety. I knew this and here are some examples. Then, one day he shafted ME! It was so unfair."

If you know any young people who are considering working for Murdoch, force them to read some of these books first. Then challenge them to find a single book about what a terriic and honest bloke Murdoch is. Even his authorised biography by Michael Wolff, The Man Who Owns The News, doesn't manage it.

We already know what type of person he is and what type of organisation he runs. What will it take to stop this?

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