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John Passant

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If you want to keep a blog that makes the arguments every day against the ravages of capitalism going and keeps alive the flame of democracy and community, make a donation to help cover my costs. And of course keep reading the blog. To donate click here. Keep socialist blog En Passant going. More... (4)

Sprouting sh*t for almost nothing
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My interview Razor Sharp 18 February
Me interviewed by Sharon Firebrace on Razor Sharp on Tuesday 18 February. (0)

My interview Razor Sharp 11 February 2014
Me interviewed by Sharon Firebrace on Razor Sharp this morning. The Royal Commission, car industry and age of entitlement get a lot of the coverage. (0)

Razor Sharp 4 February 2014
Me on 4 February 2014 on Razor Sharp with Sharon Firebrace. (0)

Time for a House Un-Australian Activities Committee?
Tony Abbott thinks the Australian Broadcasting Corporation is Un-Australian. I am looking forward to his government setting up the House Un-Australian Activities Committee. (1)

Make Gina Rinehart work for her dole

Sick kids and paying upfront


Save Medicare

Demonstrate in defence of Medicare at Sydney Town Hall 1 pm Saturday 4 January (0)

Me on Razor Sharp this morning
Me interviewed by Sharon Firebrace this morning for Razor Sharp. It happens every Tuesday. (0)



I read the Murdoch newspaper, The Australian, every day

I not only read Rupert Murdoch’s The Australian. I subscribe to 6-day delivery (there is no Sunday edition) and digital access. Many of my friends think I am mad. I am not.  

Of course, Murdoch’s down market Daily Telegraph in Sydney went low rent in attacking Bill Shorten over his deceased mother’s legacy. One of the other low rent Murdoch publications, The Herald Sun in Melbourne, refused to run with it.  Murdoch man par excellence Andrew Bolt condemned the article.

Now it appears staff at Murdoch’s Australian newspapers are pretty pissed off, not just with this latest outrage but with the overall decline of the papers into right wing paranoia.  As Rick Morton, a senior social affairs journalist with The Australian, says, ‘the craziness has been dialled up’ in recent times.

As for the idea the journalists are free to write what they want, Morton told University journalism students that the senior journalists there knew what the editorial line was and wrote accordingly.

This story broke on Friday morning, in The Guardian. Does Morton still have a job with News? At the time of writing, yes.

Free speech and all that stuff, the sort of thing the fulminators at News Corp go on and on and on (incorrectly) about, while denying alternative views being expressed by their own staff and for many of their readers.

Fulminators is one description. It is obvious, to me at least, that the quality of opinion in the paper has fallen.  All a former News Corp employee (for 30 years) Tony Koch sees is ‘shameful bias’. I agree. 

Reading commentary by Paul Kelly, Chris Kenny, Greg Sheridan or Dennis Shanahan for example is like reading a press release from an extreme right- wing Liberal Party MP, with bigger words and better English. The reporting of Australian politics appears to echo what I imagine to be the banter in a rich old white mens’ club, old chap. ‘We must attack, attack, attack.’

Even the reports in the newspaper about Australian politics often have little substance, other than being anti-Labor. Or anti-Green.

When it comes to climate change, the existential threat facing humanity and future profits, The Australian veers between denial and doing nothing. It is mostly do nothing denial. Maurice Newman is their denier par excellence. Par excellence is a fancy French phrase meaning without peer.  That certainly is true of Newman. When it comes to climate change and climate science, he is without peer. Nobody would join his club of illogicality and denial willingly.

Given all of this, why do I subscribe to The Australian? Members of my family love working out the solution to the word quiz.

There are other reasons why I subscribe. The Australia’s reporting of non-Australian matters is more informative than Nine Media and their papers, which I also subscribe to. I find out, despite the conservative spin, what is happening in other countries. Its coverage of Australia matters that are not political is also often informative.

I also subscribe because not all the commentators are right wing nut jobs (RWNJs). One or two are sensible liberals. Even those who are RWNJs or their allies sometimes give me insights, mostly into the thinking of the reactionary right, but sometimes into the issue itself.

Not only that, I want to see what if any debates there are among the ruling class. The Australian Financial Review often gives a sophisticated view on one or two of its inside back pages, but by and large it is now a gossip sheet on business affairs and the machinations of competitive capital among themselves. The Australian gives the right wing side to many arguments and policies.

Another reason for subscribing to The Australian is to know the enemy. It is to know not only what sections of capital are arguing about, but also why. This helps me in formulating ideas, if needed, in response.

I am also interested in the following The Australian has. I avidly read the letters page. It is instructive to see the every-day RWNJs pouring forth their nonsense in print. It reminds me daily their is world view beyond mine.

The Australian is in decline, perhaps a terminal decline. It is often a loss maker for Murdoch. What is to be done?

The disquiet among News Corp staff is something I hope my union, the Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance, can build on.  In my more utopian moments I imagine News Corp workers taking over the papers and running them collectively to tell the truth to their readers, and bring in new readers.  Then I stop daydreaming.

So my guess is, given the money behind the Australian News Corp newspapers, they will continue being an expression of reactionary dreams, and so continue to rot on the vine.  They might struggle on life support for some time yet, but their brain is clinically dead.



Comment from Bernie Harrington
Time May 13, 2019 at 3:32 pm

Agree, I also read to know your enemy but some of the small liberals have good contributions to a debate but the Tories – no.
Most of the contributors are known for their biases but a lot of the long form journalism is worth a read.