One of the most hilarious things to observe about the Australian media zeitgeist is the projection that the Murdoch press is a grand right-wing conspiracy led by an old white male millionaire to skew the Overton window to the right.
It’s a view echoed throughout the media landscape because of how absurdly skewed leftward the media and academia are, and how selective their memories are (Murdoch for example endorsed Labor’s Kevin Rudd in 2007, Australia’s most openly Marxist Prime Minister since before the Cold War).
In all the election commentary last night, not a single word on the elephant in the room: Murdoch, with 70% control of Australia’s print media,ran the single most biased campaign in Australian political history. Reason for the silence? People are in fear of Murdoch’s power.— Kevin Rudd (@MrKRudd) May 19, 2019
Murdoch is a convenient boogeyman for the Australian left (and especially their media outlets) because under Newscorp he owns the only consistently right-leaning media; cable TV channel Sky News and newspaper The Australian.
But the truth is the theory that the Australian political economy is personally puppeteered by the right wing global badman Murdoch is an absurdity as Newscorp’s largest single outlet (and number one news site in Australia) News.com.au staffs largely feminist journalists who are more willing to punch right than Fairfax properties are to punch left.
Something else hilarious to observe about media landscapes across the world is how effortlessly someone can be portrayed as an “expert” by journalists to trick the average member of their audience.
Occasionally, both of these amusing things intersect in the one article.
Here is one such example where a Newscorp journalist wants desperately to craft a narrative that prominent populist-right politician Pauline Hanson has suffered a “downfall”.
Pauline Hanson’s One Nation party is likely to come out of the 2019 Federal election with its second highest percentage of the overall Senate vote share when all votes are counted and the party has experienced a resurgence in popularity since Hanson herself was reinstated as leader in late 2014. The first preference vote share for One Nation in Hanson’s home state of Queensland increased from 5.52 percent in 2016 to 8.7 percent this election. It also saw its’ most favourable result in NSW earlier this year, securing two senate seats and getting between 5 to 10 percent of the Legislative Council vote in many electorates where it didn’t even run lower house candidates.
All of this is despite several scandals spanning days worth of prominent coverage in these election cycles, including one conducted by entrapment by the Qatari government-owned outlet Al Jazeera in collaboration with Australia’s public broadcaster the ABC.
So none of that wreaks particularly of an impending downfall or even waning popularity. In fact the evidence suggests the opposite, and it’s my personal experience that the average person is more willing to openly indicate sympathy and support for One Nation and Pauline Hanson personally than at any other time in my (relatively young) life.
The “expert” cited as the only source in the article is Catriona Pollard. She wrote a book called: “From Unknown to Expert: How to Use Clever PR and Social Media to Become a Recognised Expert“. Today she is quoted repeatedly by Newscorp journalist Alexis Carey as an “Aussie public relations expert”.
“Public relations and social media can be the difference between being a well recognised expert and thought leader in your niche and just wishing you were.” It appears that by “public relations”, she means “becoming friends with a journalist who will repeatedly quote you as an expert in a field because you wrote a how-to guide that could really have been a ten minute YouTube tutorial on startup marketing.”
According to Catriona’s own website, making yourself appear as a thought leader in your field is all about “the right mix of media engagement”.
It certainly helps if you happen to know a journalist who gets to quote whatever narrative they want to run with as “revealing” expert analysis every other month.
As Alexis Carey puts Pollard’s expert ‘revelation’;
“Ms Pollard said Ms Hanson’s tactic of resorting to stunts to gain attention echoed that of US President Donald Trump — and that ultimately, it hurt her personal brand.”
Yes, all of us living in 2019 know how wildly unsuccessful Donald Trump’s political campaign was.
The left are right about this much; Murdoch Journalism certainly is hackery, and his outlets do publish propaganda. That much is evident from the author of this article’s Twitter where she herself appears to write press releases for PR firms:
It’s just not, as the Australian left would have you believe, right-wing partisan hackery enabling the prophetic far-right uprising.