JOHN MENADUE. It is no surprise that News Corp is even less and less trusted.

American owned News Corp Australia is the least trusted media company in the country and is a cellar-dweller in the Reputation Index of Australian companies.  Its behaviour in this election will ensure that it is even less trusted.

Murdoch rewards generously employees who are tame and loyal. But how can self-respecting journalists, and particularly senior journalists, continue to take his coin? 

The Reputation Institute of Australia conducts an annual ranking of Australian corporations. The Institute tracks community attitudes towards large and well-known companies. The tracking is based on surveys of 10,000 Australians.

In its 2019 rankings, the top six companies were Air New Zealand, Qantas, JB Hi-Fi, Toyota, Mazda and Aldi. The bottom ranked six companies were Westpac, Telstra, CBA, News Corp (Australia) and AMP.

It is no surprise to see News Corp ranked alongside our extremely poorly-performing financial institutions.

In comparisons with other media, the poor performance of News Corp is just as bad. After the 2016 election, Essential Media asked respondents ‘How much trust did you have in the way the following media reported and commented on the federal election campaign’. They responded – ABC TV (65%), SBS TV (61%), ABC Radio (54%), Sydney Morning Herald (45%), The Age (42%), The Australian (37%), The Courier Mail (37%), The Daily Telegraph (35%) and The Herald Sun (35%). News Corp is invariably a cellar dweller in public trust.

And we’re unlikely to see trust in the Murdoch media improve as a result of the 2019 election. Its various publications are running true to form. How can professional journalists keep working for this company? It comes as no surprise to learn that the Liberal Party in Warringah is distributing unwanted copies of The Daily Telegraph to voters.

The Murdoch media in Australia is effectively the media arm of the Liberal Party. And FoxNews in the US is the effective media  arm of the Trump White House.

In the 2018 Edelman Trust Barometer, a long-standing survey of media, Australian media among 28 countries was ranked as the second last at 31%, just above Turkey at 30%.  What a dismal record.

Alan Kohler, in his InvestSmart lat weekend described the debased News Corp this way “Labor is well ahead in this election, not that you’d know that from the biased media engaged in pumping up the Coalition, while the rest of the media is trying to be fair.  And by biased, I mean Murdoch. If you just read the News Corp papers you would think that the ALP has no hope and the Liberal Party is a shoe-in (apart from the polls they publish of course). … I am just saying that you shouldn’t think for a moment that Scott Morrison and the Coalition are actually going to win.”

Media Watch this week has correctly pointed to the beat-up by The Australian of the discredited Fisher modelling on climate change. This modelling has been rejected by almost every serious economist in the climate change field.

Giles Parkinson in ReviewEconomy has asked why the Murdoch media, and particularly the Daily Telegraph, give continual credence to Angus Taylor’s scare campaigns, one after the other, beginning with wind turbines.

It is no surprise that with 70% of Australian metropolitan media controlled by an American citizen that we have not only a corruption of domestic public life but  also  foreign interference in our public life on an enormous scale. We are deluged by ‘news’, entertainment and propaganda from the US. It puts Chinese interventions in Australia in the shade.

Australian attitudes are shaped by the incessant avalanche of media stories and propaganda from the US. The American presidential election is over 18 months away, but we have unending stories about prospects for candidates in the Democratic primary.

We can have no adult or robust relations in our own region when our views are crimped by an endless deluge of media out of the US.

The Murdoch media is not a truth-telling organisation.  It has become the propaganda vehicle for the extreme right in the US, the UK and Australia. And it wants to destroy the ABC

The few remaining mainstream media with any claim to integrity, like the ABC, have become victims of a preoccupation with ‘balance’.  For example, with the planet in peril, they give equal attention to the climate sceptics, at the expense of  overwhelming scientific evidence .  With the lurch to  extremism on the right by the Murdoch media, our other mainstream media need to reconsider whether ‘balance’ is appropriate given the relentless attack on truth by the Murdoch media.

The lack of trust in our media and particularly the Murdoch media, is also eroding our trust in democracy and our public processes. The only possible counter to the abuse of power by the Murdoch media is political intervention. Not surprisingly the Murdoch media see this threat and spend a great deal of its time and energy rubbishing politicians and political life.  Our politicians have a lot to answer for, but the Murdoch media has made a substantial contribution to the lack of trust in politicians in the community.

Roy Morgan polling attributes an unusually contention political environment to a ‘very polarising media environment’.  In this situation it is not surprising that the ANU’s Australian Election Study found that satisfaction with our democracy is at its lowest ebb since the Whitlam dismissal of 1975.  That lack of trust back in 1975 is not surprising as Murdoch was a major player in the dismissal. I was there and saw it at first hand. That lack of trust from 1975 was not just due to Murdoch.  We found that we could not trust a governor general and high court judges.

Rupert Murdoch had such a promising beginning. But he has done more to undermine our democracy than any other person in my life time.  He is at it again in the current election,


John Laurence Menadue is the publisher of Pearls & Irritations. He has had a distinguished career both in the private sector and in the Public Service.

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10 Responses to JOHN MENADUE. It is no surprise that News Corp is even less and less trusted.

  1. Philip Bond says:

    Citizen Murdoch!

  2. Michael Rogers says:

    I believe that “Truth in media laws” in Canada only apply to television and radio broadcasts. If anyone can find evidence of them applying to the print media, let us know.

  3. Peter Farley says:

    Just to show how biased they are, I a posted a correction to a Chris Mitchell article the other day and I gave a list of facts which contradicted his opinion and mentioned that the newspaper made Pravda look truthful. It was rejected.
    I took out the reference to Pravda and Newscorp and reposted it. It didn’t even appear it the rejected list.
    Similarly and article by Terry McCrann which extrapolated from the slightly dubious practice of burning wood pellets at Drax power station in England to imply that wood pellets and fresh timber supplied more electricity than wind and solar, when in actual fact fresh wood and wood pellets supply about 2.5% of Europe’s power and wind and solar supply 16% – disappeared

  4. mark elliott says:

    well said, however this must be shouted from the rooftops.the murdoch family must become personae non grata in oz

  5. Richard Ure says:

    “The Murdoch media in Australia is effectively the media arm of the Liberal Party…” and the coal industry with their interlocking exchanges of personnel

    “Rupert Murdoch had such a promising beginning.” but his father had shameless bad form as documented in Sally Young’s recently published Paper Emperors: The rise of Australia’s newspaper empires

  6. Former chair of News board, mais non?

    Fairfax is worse, ABC are hiding the truth, dim lights there

  7. John Collins says:

    And by how many percentage points is Fairfax more trustworthy in these electoral matters than Murdoch?

  8. Iris Little says:

    It is well past time the ridiculous stranglehold Murdoch has attained over Australian media, especially print media, was broken. In large parts of populated Australia only
    Murdoch’s muck can be found on newsagent shelves. Murdoch even controls distribution.
    Murdoch is a foreigner, unless Dutton has secretly granted him an Australian passport. His political interference is destabilizing to Australia & democracy. The Sun King seeks dictatorship.
    I dips me lid to John Pilger who all those years ago, refused to bend to Murdoch’s demands. He was the first I know who put journalistic ethics above Murdoch’s eight pieces of silver.

  9. Barry Reynolds says:

    There’s a simple fix to this problem. Truth in media laws. It has nothing to do with suppressing freedom of speech but it has to be truthful speech not the outright lies we are fed every day. Canada has managed to do it so why can’t Australia?

    • Richard Ure says:

      It is as much about what is not reported as it is about false reporting. The dirty power documentary examines the issue.

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