Media should not create the news, a Journalist’s job is to report the news, in doing so, they might join some dots, make educated guesses and attempt to put a story into the media that they believe is accurate but can’t be proven. That’s why there are editors and publishers who, in theory, pull the story out, correct any errors and remove speculation or opinions. Nowadays that job seems to have disappeared and we are faced every single day with inaccurate reports, unproven allegations, opinions we don’t want and speculation to guide us in how we should think.
When journalists get it right, they pat themselves on the back and wait for invitations to speak and awards to flood in. When they get it wrong, they quietly walk it back in the knowledge that we, the consumers, will forget their errors while we read their next speculative piece. That’s one way misinformation works. But there’s another.
Scott Morrison, informally known as ScoMo was the prime minister of Australia; he was hugely unpopular so his party lost the last election, therefore he stood down from the leadership and, for now, languishes on the back benches of Australia’s parliament.
The article that started me looking into the changes in how we view ScoMo, and his potential comeback, was in Thenewdaily.com.au. It could just as easily be an article in any modern media outlet anywhere in the English-speaking world. These days, we are often faced with opinions dressed up as news and one way to spot this is to look at the headline, if the headline contains a question mark it should be viewed with some degree of suspicion, that question mark tells us we are about to be exposed to something the writer wants us to believe is true but is too afraid to legally commit to because they don’t have the information to prove it.
The author, in the first line, sticks his neck out and tells the reader that Morrison is on the comeback trail. His evidence is…, well he has none, except that after 18 months on the sidelines, ScoMo has started to appear in the media again, he took a private jet to Israel, where ABC, posted a photo of him in, what he must have thought was a tough, manly pose wearing a flak jacket.
The fact that he’s making hay from a global conflict the writer opines, can only mean one thing, a comeback to the opposition front benches. But Morrison is a proven liar. He was and remains, so unpopular that a revival would be a Lazarus act. That, in itself, creates some doubt about motivation behind the story and this is where some research takes the story in a different direction.
Evidence is presented that Peter Dutton, the opposition leader, has two vacancies. That’s it. That’s the evidence to support the fact that ScoMo is making a comeback, there are two vacancies and ScoMo has appeared in the media. And this is from the same reporter who wrote in April that Dutton’s big test was the by-election when ScoMo resigned in May; 5 months previously! He still hasn’t resigned.
He is still a member of parliament, albeit an unpopular one. He was able to hold his own seat but with a much-reduced margin. Even his more supportive media declared, in the lead-up to the last election that he was not liked. But someone must want him there, or we wouldn’t be getting speculative media articles about the possibility of his advancement back to the front bench.
Morrison himself has declined to answer if he will stay on to fight the next election this is interpreted by the article as “he has not ruled out…”. He has though, publicly said he has not made himself available for the two front bench vacancies and has nothing planned beyond this term of parliament.
In the unlikely event that he is selected for the front bench, then it might look like James Robertson of thenewdaily.com.au, through this speculative article will have scooped the story but he didn’t, because James Robertson’s article is based on a Sky News report where the host, Andrew Bolt claims ScoMo needs to be brought back to the front bench. And now the plot thickens.
Suddenly, this is a very different situation. The New Daily reporter cites a Sky News journalist’s opinion as the source of the article and now it appears that media are no longer reporting the news but are creating it.
Sky News’ influential political host, Andrew Bolt, thinks a losing, disliked and abrasive person with a record of failure would make a good front-bencher. We know Bolt thinks these things of Morrison because it was him who said them on National TV. Only one year ago it was Bolt who described Morrison as “bizarre, an embarrassment and finished”. This was when he reported that Morrison had been caught lying about his time in office, Bolt went on to say, Morrison lied to his colleagues, he lied to his country and he even lied to his friends.
Furthermore, a Ministerial Enquiry found that Morrison was “corrosive to trust in government”. And yet now, Bolt not only supports this corrosive, proven liar, he endorses him for political promotion and describes him as the only man who can get the Liberal Party into a winning position.
Apart from the integrity issues, there’s still the fact that people simply don’t like Morrison, Bolt even explains that he’s still treated as a leper by his own party but then changes tack to report how Scott Morrison ran the Immigration Department well, before he was PM, but this is where it then gets really strange: Bolt, starts, in glowing terms, to describe Morrison being in Israel, just a week before, on a tour apparently in a private jet paid for by Boris Johnson; a month earlier he was in Taiwan “talking up the cause of freedom” and Bolt recalls seeing him “correctly link the defence of Ukraine to our (Australia’s) defence”.
Two international trips inside two months for a backbencher might seem strange, but when it’s such an unpopular backbencher with little or no chance of making a comeback there’s something amiss. It’s even more amiss when we consider where the trips were. In the space of weeks Morrison has found himself in two of the world’s hottest, most widely discussed political venues; Israel and Taiwan.
What’s even stranger is that he is then given a positively worded link to the other most widely discussed political topic, Ukraine. This kind of praise on a political pariah, has probably never happened before. So, something else is going on. Australia is being manipulated by its media; but why?
Bolt works for Sky News, Sky News is owned by Rupert Murdoch who, Among many other things, is a member of the Advisory Board of the US think tank, the Hudson Institute. He received the Institute’s Global Leadership Award in 2015. Strangely enough, despite Scott Morrison languishing on the back benches of Australia’s parliament he was recently employed onto the advisory board of the same Hudson Institute.
Suddenly the pieces start falling into place: Morrison would most assuredly be more influential if, as the newest Advisor to the Hudson Board, he was a front bencher with the capability of one day bringing his party back to leadership rather than a sulking backbencher.
If this story was just about Murdoch bringing his considerable media influence to bear on making that happen, that would be bad enough. But what we’re witnessing here, might be even worse.
Morrison is known to have been close to the Murdoch empire, even visiting and dining with CEO Robert Thomson on his first day of an official visit to the USA. Other media groups reported widely Murdoch’s influence in Morrison’s miracle win in 2019 which was campaigned hard in Murdoch’s media so, his connection to Murdoch through the Hudson Institute is neither a surprise, nor is this a serious concern But, News Corp, Murdoch’s is a media group that has, by any measurable standards, an unhealthy share of the Australian market and is, according to a Senate Committee, a troubling media monopoly.
It is Murdoch’s News Corporation which has the heaviest anti-China coverage; anti-China coverage is what caused Australia to consider the need for protection from their largest trading partner, China and the vehicle to provide that protection, AUKUS, was decided, by Morrison, without any consultation with the rest of the government, without any debate in Parliament and without informing even his own Cabinet.
Let that sink in a moment; One man, in political power in Australia made the most momentous decision in Australia’s history in relation to the defence of the nation – one man, without consultation with his cabinet, without a discussion in parliament and without informing the public, decided to hand over military sovereignty and foreign policy to another country and pay dearly for the privilege.
Murdoch’s media group is supportive of AUKUS, The Hudson Institute is also a supporter of AUKUS and Morrison was the PM who made the decision to proceed with AUKUS and tie Australia to America’s defence and national security polices, as well as saddling the Australian people with a bill of at least $368 billion for questionable submarines, that may or may not be ready, may or may not be provided, depending on Congressional whims, and may cost $368 billion dollars or may cost a lot more.
And now Murdoch’s media group that has moved from vilifying Morrison for his dishonesty, forecasting his imminent demise, reporting his bizarre behaviour, and highlighting his unpopularity to suggest he’s the only person who can bring the Liberal Party back into power at the next election. It could be a coincidence but it’s certainly a big one.
Or it could be worrying evidence of undue influence by Australia’s media.
This situation is not beneficial to Australia or Australians and appears to be, as Kevin Rudd, another former Prime Minister once said, a “cancer on democracy”. Undermining democracy is not new to Morrison, during his tenure as PM he secretly took on the roles of several of his Cabinet Ministers creating the conditions to make himself a dictator in his own party, the current PM, Anthony Albanese, spoke in Parliament of him of both “trashing democracy” and “undermining Democracy.
Morrison’s “Lazarus revival” continues with almost daily Sky News reports showing him in a favourable light. The public are now seeing the tender side of this callous man, we are being informed of his deep regret and the lessons he learnt and we’re having his “greatest achievements” thrust upon us at regular intervals. At this rate, it won’t be long before we all feel sorry for him and start to love him again.
Search Skynews.com.au for Morrison and it’s all about his finer side
We must ask ourselves why Sky News, the Hudson Institute and Rupert Murdoch, arguably the most influential man in Australia, if not the English-speaking world, all hold the opinion that this proven liar, who demonstrated total lack of respect for democracy and concern for the people he represents is now good enough for them to promote as the only person in Australia capable of being recalled to the front benches so that he might one day lead his party to the polls again.
The answer is that he’s not; but he’s their man. And, while he was their man and was in charge of the country, he gave them AUKUS. Worryingly, the evidence all points to one thing; they want their man back in charge.