Murdoch’s conga-line spewing over lost ABC contract

IF you needed   confirmation that the Gillard Government did the right thing in awarding the   Australian Network contract to the ABC, pick up a copy of today’s Australian, the local flagship of the   Murdoch empire. (December 7, 2011). The decision to leave the $223 million   contract with the ABC and to resist the temptation to offer it to Murdoch’s   Sky News, received the following coverage:

Page 1: “The   fix that gave contract to ABC” by Paul Kelly;

Page 5: “Call   to monitor how ABC uses network funds” by Dennis Shanahan and Leo Shanahan,   “Scott unveils BBC-style merger of overseas television and radio” by Amanda   Meade, “AFP to investigate media leaks” by Lauren Wilson;

Page 11:   “Dubious vision of our land” by Christian Kerr;

Page 12:   “Overseas TV contract bungled from start to finish” by Mark Day; Page 13:   Editorial: “TV deal shows proper process not as easy as ABC “; Three letters   to the editor; Cut & Paste column; Cartoon by Nicholson showing   Communications Minister Stephen Conroy ripping up the contract with Gillard   saying: “Instead, let’s call for tenders for a contract on   Kevin.”

In other   words, the Oz deployed a conga-line of loyalists to hammer the federal   government and the ABC. Nor will it stop. The fury will continue so long as   Chris Mitchell remains editor-in-chief surrounded by propagandists posing as   independent commentators.

Murdoch   doesn’t own Sky outright, but he does have the management contract which takes   the crucial editorial, personnel and budgeting decisions.

Any doubts   about the intimate connection between the two corporate entities were   demolished last month when Murdoch assumed the chairmanship of Adelaide-based   News Ltd and simultaneously named former Sky boss, Kim Williams, as his new   CEO replacing John Hartigan.

Murdoch   forfeited any claim to the contract when the horrible magnitude of   phone-tapping activities by his London tabloids broke into the headlines   earlier this year. But there was also the ongoing disgraceful performance of   his TV networks in Britain and the US: would anyone trust Murdoch’s minions to   run a news network representing Australian interests and Australian   values?

However,   awarding the contract on a permanent basis to the ABC  isn’t without problems. For decades,   Britain’s BBC has managed to run the World Service financed by the Foreign   Office. It has steered a fine line between Brit propaganda and independent   news, sometimes successfully but not during the Falklands war, the army   occupation of the north of Ireland or the war against   Iraq.

To succeed,   ABC managing director Mark Scott will need to keep Canberra at bay and his   board of directors on message.

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