JOE ASTON. Rupert Murdoch to Kerry Stokes: “Malcolm has to go.” (AFR 18.9.2018)

Murdoch met with Seven West proprietor Kerry Stokes …… “Malcolm has got to go,” he told the Perth billionaire.  

(This abuse of power by media barons is appalling.There is strong case for Bill Shorten  to propose a Royal Commission into this unacceptable abuse of power and the general failure of our main stream media on issues such as climate change. The health of  our democracy is at stake   John Menadue)

We’re not obsessed, honest! But we return here to the matter of News Corp v the government of Malcolm Turnbull, an issue taken distantly mainstream by Nine’s political editor Chris Uhlmann during the “form of madness” that overran Canberra three weeks ago.

Uhlmann (who barely two years ago was considered the Genghis Khan of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation; and one of several reporters Chris Mitchell offered Dennis Shanahan’s job to) lashed Holt Street for “waging a war against the prime minister of Australia” and Sky News for “turning Liberal-National Party voters into One Nation voters after dark” (presumably much like The Age is turning Labor voters into Greens voters over breakfast). Cue spirited avowals of impartiality, independently arrived at, from a conga line of marquee News Corp talent. “At not one point has The Daily Telegraph or The Australian newspaper advocated for any change whatsoever,” Sharri Markson intoned.

In this context, bear the following in mind: Rupert Murdoch was in Australia the week Turnbull was toppled. The Sun King and the Crown Prince of Point Piper spoke by telephone before the Liberal leadership was spilled on August 24. The media proprietor denied his empire was campaigning for the PM’s ouster, besides The Australian. “Boris [nickname of the paper’s editor-in-chief Paul Whittaker] is the only one”.

But only days earlier, Murdoch met with Seven West proprietor Kerry Stokes and implied the very opposite. “Malcolm has got to go,” he told the Perth billionaire.

Stokes, whose interests extend well beyond media into mining services and energy, pointed out that a change of Liberal leadership meant a certain change of government next year. “That means we get Bill Shorten and the CFMEU.

KRM was unswayed. “They’ll only be in for three years – it won’t be so bad. I did alright under Labor and the Painters and Dockers; I can make money under Shorten and the CFMEU.” Problem is, it won’t be for three years, and it’s liable to be very f—ing bad.

So no campaign then? Has Murdoch the Elder forgotten Labor’s last stint on the Treasury benches? Ray Finkelstein ring a bell? Stephen Conroy’s Public Interest Media Advocate? He’ll certainly want to forget Turnbull’s removal of cross-media ownership restrictions, handing the Murdochs full control of Network Ten fully wrapped with a bow on top … until Lachlan Murdoch and Siobhan McKenna snatched defeat from the jaws of victory. But how could that be their fault?!

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