Confected outrage all in a day’s work for News

Jan 29, 2021

A lesson in skewing the conversation; Morrison’s gloss wearing thin?; promoting US election conspiracy theories; and kid-glove treatment for Gladys.

Tamed Estate

The mainstream media had a field day with Australia Day/Invasion Day.

The ABC ran an article outlining events for January 26 across the country.

The article unambiguously referred to Australia Day in the first two words – and simply went on to mention that for many First Nations people, they regarded the day as Invasion Day.

However, the politicians and the media threw a massive collective dummy spit.

First, The Australian misrepresented the story on social media, claiming the ABC had used Invasion Day and Australia Day interchangeably (false). While the headline used both titles, the article itself was very clear.

Communications Minister Paul Fletcher thus had his talking points, regurgitating The Australian’s line. Fletcher similarly claimed the ABC “suggest[ed] the two were interchangeable”:

The Australian Financial Review’s Phil Coorey ran the exact same story.

Business strategy working

As reported by Business Insider, News Corp has “a track record [of] using highly editorialised news coverage to drum up interest in their coverage of a topic … It’s business strategy as well as ideology”.

In the end the ABC article removed all but one reference to Invasion Day.

Scorecard: Government 1, ABC 0.

Morrison’s gloss wearing thin?

Meanwhile, it seems the mainstream media may be beginning to tire of Scott Morrison. The Fin Review ran a searing criticism of him from former Labor prime minister Paul Keating:

It also published an article attacking the Morrison government’s draft media laws that would force tech giants Google and Facebook to pay news organisations for sharing their content.

News Corp also finally came out against Morrison for failing to shut down Craig Kelly over his controversial (read: scientifically incorrect) beliefs:

The Australian gave room for Barnaby Joyce to air his marital issues:

The Herald Sun gave Bill Shorten a pen to campaign for changing the date of Australia Day:

Could they be setting the scene for a leadership challenge in the Coalition?

While Josh Frydenberg is the heir apparent to the leadership of the Liberals, his authority as the senior Victorian is set to be tested in the preselection battle for the seat of Menzies.

Interestingly, Frydenberg, in the 2019 election, registered the lowest Liberal vote in his electorate for 97 years, suffering an 8% swing against him. The Treasurer was almost unseated by Greens candidate Julian Burnside.

Business as usual

Elsewhere, however, it was business as usual.

Nine Entertainment (Sydney Morning Herald) was busy pumping out Berejiklian puff pieces …

… and otherwise allowing Rowan Dean (Financial Review) to continue to subtly promote US election conspiracy theories.

The Australian, meanwhile, reminded us that the paper, the Coalition government and the Institute of Public Affairs were all on the same page, making a splash of Tony Abbott’s new job.

The irony seems lost on all three that the Coalition has been in power for the majority of that time.

Own Goal: IPA report a ringing endorsement that Coalition policies have failed

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