As suggested by Joni, Fran’s post is clearly very worthy of a separate topic and is below.
I regard the time as long overdue for a political campaign against the OO (aka The Australian). This arrogant swaggering component of the Murdochracy is a
living, breathing insult to good public policy. Far from articulating critiques of public policy, it is now openly subversive both of evidence-based analysis and established usages of cultural life in this country such as the right to privacy.
Their publications have also infected the ABC, whose lazy and witless journalists take the latest talking points from the OO as if it were the News and
frame discussion accordingly. News Ltd is not merely a media organisation.
It’s a virus that is causing a chronic illness in public culture. A little while back, it declared that The Greens were hypocrites who were bad for this country and should be destroyed at the ballot box. Those of us who support good public policy should respond that the OO are hypocrites who should be destroyed in the marketplace.
Not paying for their tatty sub-intellectual rag (and its equally ugly sister The Telegraph) is not going to do the job. No self-respecting person I know buys this
stuff and in any event, the cover price barely pays for delivery, let alone production. We must keep in mind that however it may appear, readers are not their customers. Readers are their audience, i.e. their product, which they market to the customers that keep them afloat — advertisers. If we wish to hurt News Ltd, we must convince advertisers that that sections of the audience that they pay good money to access online and in print are being prejudiced by their support of News Ltd publications — that such support damages their standing.
We have, after all, laws in this country restraining people from giving financial support to or profiting from criminal activity. It is illegal to coerce members of parliament, judges, juries and public officials to secure favourable treatment. It’s very clear that this is what the OO and its related set of replicating viruses do. Advertisers in these publications are in practice behaving just like someone funding the contamination of a watercourse, or facilitating the spread of a serious disease or the blackmail of public officials.
We should make this plain to companies like Vodaphone and the ANZ Bank, whose ads sit alongside screeching editorials defending the outing of
GrogsGamut author Greg Jericho, and beside Terry McCrann insisting that Marius Kloppers is bent on destroying the company he runs by advocating a carbon price.
It is fair to say that we are few in number, and so we must direct our energies so as to maximise the impact. We don’t yet have the resources to work effectively against all supporters of News Ltd. Therefore, I would urge those who are repelled by the activities of News Ltd to target these two companies, ANZ and
Vodaphone with letters explaining why you mean to implicate them as responsible for the decline in the quality of public debate in this country and as thus commercially unsupportable.
I’d be very interested if those who make progress on this let me know via my Twitter ID (fran_b__ ) where I will retweet useful actions and progress. I am starting a new hashtag there to coordinate searches for this campaign, the string for which is #pwnNewsLtd so please include this in any Twitter feed.