Saturday, July 28, 2012

Murphy's Oil

QUALITY JOURNALIST Katharine Murphy covers politics, which is footy reporting’s loss. There she is today in the Fairfax press explaining how the Yabby’s push to regulate free speech and the media is going. Some say this, others argue that, this might happen but that probably won’t – her summation of the state of play is all very interesting, reasonably well written and, on the whole, a quite comprehensive overview of the demand for news organisations to be complicit in their own gagging. If Murphy was covering a footy match her tone would be pitch perfect, for there is not a single indication anywhere in her piece that she favours one side above the other.

And that, without mincing words, is what makes her column so bloody disgusting. Murphy may believe she is no more than an observer in the press box, but the fact remains, as surely she must know within her heart, that she is one of the targets for any expansion of the already onerous restrictions on unfettered reporting, investigation and commentary. Perhaps she thinks it is not that much of a threat. As an exemplar of the ideologically sound reporter, the sort Fairfax hires to the exclusion of all others, it may be that Murphy imagines she and her colleagues have nothing to fear from the current Labor government. Heck, they are sympatico with the Gillard/Greens mob and frame their reporting accordingly, so where is the downside in going limp while speech codes are drawn up to hobble the jackbooted beasts at News Ltd?

Someone should take Murphy aside and explain that she is very much a player in this game, no mere commentator, despite her pretensions to indifference. If free speech is further hobbled by legislative decree, sooner or later it will be her side of politics’ turn to front the Star Chamber.

Or perhaps she plans to take one of the upcoming Fairfax buyouts and just does not care anymore.


  1. The Libs should promise to put Gina in charge of the press council - see how relaxed and comfortable she is with that!!!

  2. Elizabeth (Lizzie) B.July 28, 2012 at 4:10 PM

    They used to be known as Fellow Travellers, Prof. People who could not see bad things because they did not look hard enough and could not see these these things ever happening to them. Although in the end they were wrong about that if they stayed within the tent.

  3. One would think that even Fairfax journalists would be awake to the long-term effects of this push for control by politicians; that the almost-unheard-of-for-a-century talk about government control of press expression merely echoes what some politicians have felt but dared not express. Until Greens and Conroys and the Joel Fitzgibbons of the world got hands onto the levers maybe that wasn’t a problem. That the Conroy early attempt for internet control merely foreshadowed the uneasiness of the political class about their control of the narrative slipping away passed by a lot of us it seems, including Fairfax hacks.

    They have picked their mark perfectly at times, certainly with certain journalists. This love for control is, unfortunately, also on the march elsewhere, even in a country which has (in theory at least) the protection of a great First Amendment guaranteeing free speech and freedom of the press. It is the ignorance, laziness and muddled, short-term thinking of people like Murphy which allows it to happen.

    M Ryutin Sydney

  4. All tis talk of "government control of free speech " is wrong .we are looking at "little Fascist politician" control ! Or perhaps more correctly "little Fascist batchelors of arts " control'

  5. Regarding Katherine Murphy's ignorance; isn't that just the way of most Western journalist's?
    If Murphy knows within her heart the idiocy of her ways, then that's just something she needs to suppress- while it suits her- to get by.

    They take their chance with whatever pays, knowing that the whole framework is dodgy and with a limited lifespan (ie. Fairfax). But they stick with it- superficially- because when push comes to shove (and Fairfax fails) they see themselves as the cream of this anglo nation. They have no doubt they will be able to adapt, survive and thrive as media elite in a new Fairfax-less world. They will spit out whatever nonsense is required, so long they have a prominent media role.

    They are the types of people who, historically, slotted in effortlessly when any fascist regime took over. They adjust accordingly, without conscience, to any change in the wind.

    Pleading for them to have a conscience is pointless; as media "elites" it's not necessary for them to have a conscience. And, unless you are paying their wages, it is beneath them to even consider your suggestion.


  6. The Old and Unimproved DaveJuly 29, 2012 at 7:09 AM

    Julia's New Media Regulations in place, due to start 01/01/2013. To be dictated by the government of the day.

    Incoming Abbott government sworn in on 01/02/2013. Regulation bulletin posted, includes the following.

    All ABC broadcasting days to open and close with prayer. Also, all staff meetings, programme development meetings, coffee-breaks, and strike votes.

    Fairfax's poll of reporters to supply Tony Abbott with a weekly sparring partner for his boxing training.....Tony's choice.....AFTER he's read the Saturday SMH and Phage.

    Fairfax to be chosen as the organisers of Earth Year and cut off from the electricity grid. Free compensatory brown coal to be offered.

    Green Left Weekly's sole purpose to be to detail which Green was forced to leave the country the previous week.

  7. Murphy isn't a journalist, don't be fooled for a moment, she is a Labor publicist who couldn't make it as a union official or politico.
    All she does is issue press releases for Labor, Greens, Get Up and Avaaz.

  8. Dave your suggestion is grouse, only one problem ,Australias Major Export woul be disgruntled spoiled petulant Batchelors of Them Yarts! This would get us a terribly bad name overseas ,(enen in North Korea ) , but who gives a toss! What a bonus if they all left!!