Pathetic Fairfax have cruelled their own nest so badly that even the Bogan Boofhead himself, John Singleton, can buy in.
Singleton buys into Fairfax
MEDIA and advertising entrepreneur John Singleton has established a toehold on the share register of Fairfax Media and opened up discussions with Fairfax’s largest shareholder, Gina Rinehart.
The pair said little about their plans in a statement issued late on Friday, but Mr Singleton criticised Fairfax for a ”lack of direction” and called for a review of the group’s charter of editorial independence.
Mr Singleton did not disclose the size of his stake, but is believed to have acquired close to 1 per cent of the media group’s shares through Gutenberg Investments Unit Trust.
He and Mrs Rinehart believed that the lifeblood of Fairfax was the integrity and accuracy of its journalism, but there was no reason why a group of ”eminent and experienced Australians” should not review the charter to assess ”its relevance for today”.
So Singo’s going to re-define the word “accuracy”? We’ve seen how that works at 2GB.
Fairfax brought this on themselves, by:
- Alienating and mocking half their readership,
- Consistently talking down governance and the economy, killing their own advertising revenue,
- Sacking productive workers, keeping the old boilers on instead,
- Running bullshit yarns about hookers and 20 year old intra-office spats,
- Sticking to the old, cramped writing styles that are based on physical space on a printed page, when digital publication has no such restriction,
- Having supermarket bizoids and Big End Of Town types run the board instead of newspaper people.
And so now we have it… Australia’s Queen Of Digging Up Dirt and the 2GB “Power Station” ethos are about to attempt a takeover. May as well make it official. Singleton says that buying the Fairfax radio stations is too hard, so he’s out to buy the entire company instead. It’s cheaper that way.
How did Fairfax get to the stage of being junk stock?
When you read a story that refers to a judgement of the Federal Court, yet there is no link to that judgement so you can read it for yourselves, you know the fix is in. It’s Fairfax trying to keep the opinion of its op-ed writers on top of reality.
When you see calls for Prime Ministerial resignations over some ancient hooker allegations and Peter Slipper’s lewd texts from twerps like Michelle Grattan, or phrases like “the government’s greatest crisis” (used to refer to the AWU Festival in the last two weeks of parliament… remember that?) employed by Hartcher go not only unchallenged in the paper, but rendered unchallengeable by comments being denied to readers, you know there’s no hope left.
When you hear that complete idiots like the leering Michael Stutchbury are not only employed by the AFR, but appointed to its editorship, you know the lunatics have taken over the asylum.
When you read Katharine Murphy telling her “fans” that she knows best what they want to read – “excellence in journalism” (which Kath will supply) – before running yet another beat-up on Craig Thomson, or when you spot Jacqueline Maley telling us that, when put into proper “context” the Misogyny Speech was a load of “Meh…”, a clammy sweat breaks out.
Fairfax hit the iceberg a long time ago. They were holed beneath the waterline but the first-class passengers and hangers-on kept sipping the champagne of long lunches, tenured indulgence and the churning of press releases into stenographed write-ups of whatever Tony Abbott said was a fair thing.
Gonski was released and written off as pie-in-the-sky within a 24 hour period. No explanation of its policy content was proffered. Far easier to just ask – with arched eyebrows – “Where’s the money coming from?” than properly analyze its import, or not only how it might be done, but why the Prime Minister believes it must be done. Far easier to just cut Gonski off at the knees by saying there’s probably no money, so why waste time over it?
We heard in April that Slipper’s woes were an “existential” threat to the government. Whether the allegations against him were true or not, Gillard should (supposedly) have resigned over them. We were treated to accusations of Gillard’s hypocrisy via a deliberate misinterpretation of what she said – she was arguing for the office, not the man, yet the Gallery forgot the “office” bit – when the real story was that finally someone had king hit Abbott right where he deserved. Finally, when the case against Slipper was officially adjudged to be a fabrication and an abuse of process, the reaction was: “Who cares? The damage has been done.” A few pars run on Abbott’s declaration that Brough was a decent citizen, that Labor’s reaction was “hyperventilation” put the matter to bed.
The unlamented Shaun Carney opined that Abbott would repeal all of Labor’s legislation – going back six years to Howard days – so what was the point of taking an interest in a doomed government and its reforms? This was a sure-fire way to get the punters back in the shopping malls, exuding confidence in the future. At least Carney had the decency to “take the package” when it was offered. He’s now an “associate” something-or-other-else, at one of the Melbourne universities, twiddling his thumbs, drinking his rose water.
Where was Kate McClymont when some real digging needed to be done about not only Ashby and his LNP connections, but about Kathy Jackson and her troop of thugs and rorters? How does a Union madam get to live in a $2,000,000 house? How does she get to earn $270,000-plus for running a union comprised of the poorest workers in Australia? How does a penniless chancer like Ashby get to run a case costing millions of dollars, including appeals, threats of Constitutional challenges, forum shopping, $550 per hour “public relations representatives”, top QCs, laundering evidence through the Federal Court, theft of confidential documents, phoney “sworn” evidence that never turned up, feigned illnesses and preposterous claims that could have been – and should have been – dispensed with over coffee in Meeting Room Number #3 for mediation and nominal damages (if any)?
How is it that Fairfax opinionistettes and prostateistas can, day after day, refer only to polls as the final determining factor in political analysis?
Why is it that property, sports and science writers can talk their areas of responsibility up, while the Fairfax political and economics writers can only talk their own subjects down?
How can they get it so wrong, so often, yet learn nothing from their mistakes, ruining a once great media organization in the process, trashing the investments of it shareholders to the point where a Fairfax share is now worth less than the price of a postage stamp?
The only consolation I get from any of this is that if Singleton and his “friend” Reinhart believe that taking Fairfax further to the looney right will turn the company around, then pass the popcorn. The Barbarians are at the gates: Andrew Bolt heading up the political section, Ray Hadley doing “Culture And The Arts”, Alan Jones dictating tactics to the Wallabies as “Sports Editor”, Brian Wilshire holding down the “Science” desk (“Tell us if you were ever abducted by aliens”) and Gina writing poetry that makes the efforts of Vogons sound like Wordsworth, will be just the ticket they need to see their investment dwindle into nothing. Ten Network anyone? MTR Melbourne?
Out fantasies here of chancing upon Hartcher driving a cab for a living, or Grattan selling The Big Issue outside railway stations, and perhaps Paul Sheehan reverting to flogging “Unique Water” off the back of a rent-a-truck, may come to pass sooner than we had dared to hope.
XXXXXXXXXXX Fingers crossed. XXXXXXXXXXX