Exposing media factionalism
By Legal Beagle
Everyone these days is aware that the media has biases. These are discernible to objective viewers and readers. It pays to take a closer look at several of the major print media outlets.
The Age has been called a socialist rag and won’t publish a story except that it somehow denigrates the Liberal Party. The Age is not just concerned about supporting the Greens and the ALP versus the Liberals either. When The Age is writing puff pieces about Michael O’Brien, it does that because they have a bias against more competent or conservative leaders of the Liberal Party. Brad Battin, Matthew Guy and other popular Liberal MPs will find themselves tarred and feathered by The Age’s journalism. In other words, newspapers take a sides in leadership challenges and internal party politics factional battles.
Knowledgeable members of the Liberal Party have realised that rabidly anti-conservative The Age is revealing its dirty politics when it, from time to time, praises its token favourite controlled opposition “conservative” MP Bernie Finn. Sure, the shadow assistant parliamentary secretary for autism spectrum disorder sometimes drops a faux pas or politically incorrect bomb but he gets a free pass from The Age because none of his eccentric positions actually matter. It also allows The Age the convenient excuse that it gives print space to both sides of the spectrum. Readers in the inner city at least can know he is their buffoon, as Mr Finn (like a trained monkey) is so obsessed and incensed against normal conservatives within the Liberal Party.
There has been a lot of talk about Robert Clark’s presidency of the Party. The Herald-Sun has taken a position on this. It’s leading political editor, James Campbell, is embedded with a major faction in the Victorian Liberal Party which supports Mr Clark. This is why news stories often take a factional position, as the sources to those stories are the MPs and senior Liberals close to Mr Clark. Notice that they are never named but are given a megaphone. That sort of journalism may as well be labelled as being Authorised by S. McQuestin of no fixed addressed, Melbourne.
Currently the Ian Quick-led faction of Michael O’Brien–Robert Clark supporters are engaging in a conflict with the Federal MPs. Analysis on the Victorian Liberals’ campaign readiness shows that they are jeopardising the Federal election. Michael O’Brien is at odds with the Prime Minister, Ian Quick has a personal vendetta against Josh Frydenburg while Party president, Robert Clark, has no real interaction with the Federal Members at all. A high degree of distrust now exists between the two camps.
This has led to the strange situation where The Australian is presenting stories from the perspective of the faction aligned with the Federal Ministers while the Herald-Sun has been doing its hardest to present Robert Clark’s ailing presidency in a positive light. Ian Quick recently tried to argue that the Australian Financial Review was wrong to report about something to do with the Liberal Party, but hypocritically Ian Quick himself knows that his friend James Campbell at the Herald-Sun has received information which presents Mr Quick’s view of the world.
Instead of cowardly hiding behind James Campbell, Mr Quick should take the honorable step of actually admitting he wants nothing short of being known as the author of a completely revised Liberal Party Constitution.
Different journalists do present different perspectives and come from a variety of backgrounds. Brilliant minds like Peta Credlin have been well received in recent months. Last month Peta Credlin made some comments which touched on happenings in Canberra that allegedly included a staff member of a Victorian Senator. Alarmingly, it wasn’t just The Age which attacked Ms Credlin for telling the truth, but there was no support from the Herald-Sun’s political desk at all. Why the negative stories on Kennett or Battin? Is it because James Campbell is a creature of Ian Quick’s faction? Questions should be asked about why Mr Campbell no longer holds a position at The Australian. The media should not be immune from its own spotlight.