According to Lenore Taylor at The Guardian a spokesperson for News Corporation said the paper was exercising its right to editorialise as it chose:
“Every newspaper in the free world exercises its right to editorialise its position before an election, often on the front page. The Daily Telegraph supported Kevin Rudd in the 2007 election. This time it does not,” the spokesman said in written comments provided to Guardian Australia.
As David McNight told the ABC, it’s advertising that money can’t buy:
No you can’t buy that sort of advertising time. And it’s also important to note that newspaper placards sit outside newsagents, and when you have a placard that says Kick This Mob Out, with a photo of Kevin Rudd, it’s more than just the people who pick up that newspaper and read it, it’s a publicity campaign.
Mr Denmore at The Failed Estate spells out the meaning:
What does this mean in the coming election? It means that Rudd’s ALP, the Greens and the cause of progressive politics in this country are up against two foes – Abbott’s populist, hidden agenda conservatism on one hand and, on the other, a Murdoch press willing to lie, misinform, twist and smear to get its way.
If Abbott wins, the Murdochracy will be complete.
Paul Sheehan at SMH tells us that Rupert Murdoch has sent one Col Allan as his special fixer:
Allan is a man widely known inside News Corporation as Col Pot, a play on the name of a Cambodian genocidal dictator.
He is News Corp’s most feared flamethrower in a company of flamethrowers and he has been sent to Australia by Rupert Murdoch himself. The purpose of his mission has become clear in recent days. One person who should rightly be disconcerted by Allan’s sudden secondment to Australia is the head of News Corporation Australia, Kim Williams. Several other executives should also be leery, but they are not Allan’s primary target.
His primary target is Kevin Rudd.
Chief executive of News Corp, Robert Thomson, announced in New York that Allan would be returning to Australia to provide “extra editorial leadership for our papers …”.
Roy Greenslade tells us Murdoch has at least two commercial reasons to seek Rudd’s removal from office.
Murdoch believes the government’s national broadband network (NBN) poses a threat to the operation of the Foxtel cable TV monopoly that News Corp jointly owns with Telstra. And he is exercised by the potential introduction of a stricter press regulatory regime that could inhibit his papers’ editorial freedom, which means his own freedom to say and do as he likes.
Greenslade also rightly points out that while his editors conduct the daily battles Murdoch conducts the wars. In large part I think he selects editors that don’t need much telling, if at all.
In Brisbane the Courier Mail we have had two days of the front page similarly using the front page shouting its political message at the readers. I presume it’s happening all over the country. TYoday the CM was back to normal – the sexual adventures of the head of the parliamentary ethics committee.
What about our ABC? Mr Denmore says it “has given up any pretence of being anything other than a News Corp echo chamber.”
Finally, here’s some quotes from George Megalogenis’s Griffith Review lecture. I haven’t listened to that particular program but have taken the quotes from the print copy:
Editors still reserve the right to tell a reporter what to write.
I’ve been writing for some time that the worlds of politics, media and business are disconnected from the society they serve because they carry excess white male baggage.
Partisan commentary is a symptom of wider systems’ failure. The old growth models for politics and media are broken, yet our institutions are stll hard-wired to the false certainty of the male brain: that stabitity can be restored by yelling.
His broader point is that women now occupy 52% of the ‘brain’ jobs in the country, though males occupy 65% of the management positions. If I read him rightly he thinks the women are coming through, but warns that nothing will change if they simply adopt the existing model. His is a call for a kinder, more co-operative and responsive way of doing business.