Just considering some of the News Corp whinging this morning about the parliament – the representatives of the people – DARING to hold them to any sort of account. NO LAW SHOULD APPLY TO US! DEFAMATION RESTRICTIONS ARE ALREADY TOO MUCH! WE ARE ABOVE YOU ALL! Think of the freedom! The freedom of the press!
The thing that strikes me as most absurd about it is that we don’t have a free press now. Does anyone really believe that journalists working for News Ltd are free agents, able to hold anyone to account, regardless of their commercial links with their employer, or their employer’s political view on a subject? Or those at Fairfax? Newspapers are owned by billionaires – and corporate shareholders whose stake is built on, for example, the superannuation of ordinary Australians, but where the interests of the board who make the decisions are quite distinct from those of those whose money they control. Can anyone seriously deny that the newspapers with the biggest reach push the interests of the establishment?
It’d be lovely if we did have a genuinely free press to defend, but we don’t. They don’t call truth to power – they call power to truth.
I don’t like the idea of a press beholden to government – but I don’t like the idea of a government beholden to press barons, either. Of a country where the public relies on the accuracy and fairness of media organs that are neither. If the public discourse is so dependent on being honestly informed of the facts, then why shouldn’t there be some standards to which these powerful organs of news be held?