Thursday, April 07, 2005

Australian Media: So Left It's Actually Right

This latest rant by Flinty - the poor unfortunate sister who tries so desperately hard with Christopher Pearson to play with the hard-right boys in the gentlemen's club, infuriated by the fact that he can't wash off the homosexuality of which he reeks - about our "elitest" media's supposed left-wing bias got me to thinking how I can go about to show he's wrong.

I don't doubt that Australian media outlets have their biases and agendas. I mean, duh, of course they do. What annoys me is the Right's oft-spewed conspiracy theory about our country's left media bias. This, in a country where 60% of the print media is owned by an unapologetic Howard/Bush backer and our three commercial stations don't exactly infuse subliminal Marxist rhetoric in their evening sessions of Today Tonight, Sixty Minutes and A Current Affair.

The ABC is usually the prime target for said conspiracy theorists, and while I don't believe a media outlet seeking to expose the lies of our current government is by that quality alone left-wing, Aunty has had a slap on the wrist in the past. Her crime, however, was nothing compared to the outright lies and scare-mongering of the Hun in its fiendish plot to discredit the Greens.

Determining the implicit or indirect bias of the media in its reporting is all but impossible. What is possible, however, is to compare the columnists and see how the scales are balanced for left/right/"unaligned" commentators of mainstream newspapers. So what follows is my list of columnists of The Australian, The Age, The SMH, The Advertiser, The Daily Telegraph and The Hun that I read (or have read and felt nauseous) and where I would put them along the spectrum. Again it's hard to call this with total objectivity. I've compiled the list by imagining a meeting between myself and the commentators in question, saying "so, Miranda, you're right-wing, yeah?" or "so, David, you're left-wing, yeah?" and wondering if they would violently disagree with me. Where that hasn't happened, I've slotted them in.

* - denotes commentators who in their careers are primarily something other than print journalists but who contribute regularly or semi-regularly to whichever paper.

PS - Any Melbourne, Brisbane, Tassie or Perth folk who might like to suggest columnists I have overlooked - and who I imagine would help fill out the right column - please let me know.

David Marr
Adele Horin
Margo Kingston
Mike Carlton*
Phillip Adams*
Robert Manne*
Emma Tom*
Muriel Porter*
Anne Summers
Kenneth Davidson
Michelle Grattan
Peter Hartcher
Louise Dodson
Mike Steketee
Rex Jory
Matt Price
Malcolm Farr
Hugh Mackay*
Shaun Carney
Hugh White
Andrew Bolt
Miranda Devine
Gerard Henderson*
Piers Akerman
Angela Shanahan
Geoff Roach
Greg Sheridan
Frank Devine
Janet Albrechtsen
Paul Kelly
Terry McCrann
Paul Starrick
Mark Day
Pamela Bone
Paul Sheehan
David Penberthy
Dennis Shanahan
Michael Duffy
George Pell*
Tony Parkinson
Christopher Pearson

There. Now notice which column is longest and then tell me where the real bias lies.


At 7/4/05 6:44 pm, Anonymous Phil said...

Abdrew Bolt wrote much the same this week, also using Marr as the basis of his assertion that there is a left wing media bias.

Of course it's all twaddle. The number one read newspapers are the Sun Herald in Melbourne, and The Tele here in Sydney, both Ruperts rags and both with a cellblock of inhouse right wing stirrers, many of whom are on your list.

At 7/4/05 7:49 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Here in Melbourne we have Andrew Bolt... The guy is so right wing he makes Pauline Hanson seem quite moderate although i must say he has never used his opinion pieces to spew bile againts queers.

At 8/4/05 9:50 am, Blogger Sam said...

I know what you mean, he is relatively soft on the homos.
I do remember though a Bolt article about how we gays weren't in an uproar when DNA published some naughtyish pics of school boys at a private school, ie implying we don't mind a bit of paedophilia now and then. He did however go to great lengths to point out that he had gay friends, his son (poor bastard)'s godfather is gay, yadda yadda. I guess he has to appease all the RWDB gay boys who probably think he's fabulous.

At 8/4/05 10:38 am, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Don't forget Kenneth Davidson for the left list - but I think his pieces are only run in the Age.

At 8/4/05 10:59 am, Blogger Sam said...

Thanks anonymous - Davidson and Mike Steketee added to the list as commo and fence-sitter respectively :-)

At 8/4/05 9:39 pm, Anonymous Stephen said...

I notice that you left out the dear Christopher there another list of those who are so far up themselves and the PM that they are too extreme even for the rightist list

At 8/4/05 10:08 pm, Blogger Sam said...

Oh my so I have...I even mention the silly old puffball in my opening comments and then don't have the decency to add him to the list! cheers stephen :-)

At 9/4/05 7:30 am, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Never mind he's probably at home enjoying roast goose (if you read Chris Schacht's article in the last Weekend Oz) and not reading your execellent blog

At 12/4/05 12:37 am, Blogger Jellyfish said...

Pamela Bone really seems to believe she's right, too, which bugs me no end. Fie, a pox on neo-cons.

At 14/4/05 12:21 am, Blogger weezil said...

Sam, I will understand conservative, elitist queens as soon as I understand Black Americans who vote Republican.

You gotta hand it to David Marr- for having been on the air 15 minutes per week on MW, he sure rattled some cages.

Now THAT'S a good journalist!


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