The waters are lapping at the feet of Fairfax…

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”.

Read more:

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.


657 thoughts on “The waters are lapping at the feet of Fairfax…

  1. This little black duck,

    { }

    Did you start on the wrong bottle of wine here? 😉

  2. scorps,

    No wine tonight. Tomorrow …

    I can copy with the twitter details. Why not without?

  3. scopio:

    I went to the wake of a friend of a friend of a friend who died about a year ago. At his wishes, the only music to be played at his wake were JC tunes.

    When Hurt came on, every person in the room started bawling their eyes out.

  4. OK- and very well. The pack straggler retires but not without a “SHE CROUCHES! SHE SURGES! SHE F’ING SCORES BIG! …

    … and an otherworldly crack and STRIKE of weird GYRENE lightning and a puff of feathers and the stench of loads and loads and loads of Duck crap …

    Be warned, ‘MY FRIENDS’, so sayeth the LORD.

  5. Fess, this is the band I am seeing Wednesday, and their tribute to Johnny, June, Gram and Emmylou. Incredibly talented group from Sweden. What dya think?

  6. confessions,

    { When Hurt came on, every person in the room started bawling their eyes out. }

    I’m a pretty tough character, but I got trouble every time I sing a Johnny Cash song not breaking into tears every time.

    Here’s another of my favorites.

  7. re’ [and the stench of loads and loads and loads of Duck crap …]

    Advi’s’e required, very humbelly.

    Should I have included ‘UNHOLLEY’ or ‘DEMONIC’ before duck crap?

  8. GhostWhoVotes ‏@GhostWhoVotes
    #Newspoll Standard of Living in next 6 months: Improve 13 (+1) Stay the same 58 (+8) Worsen 27 (-9) #auspol
    11:41 PM – 30 Dec 12

    A late Newspoll qualitative question sneaks out, presumably in The Oz tomorrow. Kind of a rough consumer confidence one.

  9. Polling by Foast who Goats – how about some serious poll stuff instead?

    William will be disgusted with us – a very complete Australian rabble.

    We shall have to pick up our ‘game’, and then some.

  10. Leroy ‏@Leroy_Lynch
    @GhostWhoVotes when was the last question like this done (the +/-)? Also, can you tell when this question was asked?

    2m GhostWhoVotes GhostWhoVotes ‏@GhostWhoVotes
    @Leroy_Lynch The #Newspoll ‘Standard of Living in next 6 months’ question is asked in the final poll in June and Dec.

  11. msadventure2<

    { scorpioa6to2.

    Do you need some kind of container? }}

    Blimey! What have you got in mind? 😉

  12. This little black duck,
    { Scorps,

    Does this help;? }

    The Air Guitar bit does. I cut most of the tendons, blood vessels etc in my left index finger cutting up a leg of lamb on Boxing day.

    I am hoping I will be able to play guitar again some day. At the moment, I am as miserable as all hell and hoping against hope that I may be able to play again.

  13. Scorps – you did say you were pissing yourself. I just didn’t want to picture you sitting at the computer on a warm damp chair.

  14. Scorps, my significant other had a the same injury , though from a broken tile, and with time and physio he regained full use and mobility.

  15. This little black duck,
    { Scorps,

    Hoping for you. }

    Funny enough, when I was down your way, my voice was probably at its best for years and my guitar playing was as good as ever.

    On the way back home, I entertained at Dubbo as good as ever I had done and it’s been all down hill since then.

    I just hope I can get it all back again good enough to do a CD for any interested PB’ers before I join the has beens!

    I love most of Johhny Cash’s and Kris Kristopherson’s stuff.

    Elvis loved this one. Me too.

  16. Scorps,

    Well, if a visit here gets you to the top of your form …

    See you all later today / tomorrow.

  17. GhostWhoVotes ‏@GhostWhoVotes
    #Newspoll Standard of Living in next 6 months: Improve 13 (+1) Stay the same 58 (+8) Worsen 27 (-9) #auspol
    11:41 PM – 30 Dec 12

    This is gold for the government, lead in the saddles for the Opposition.

    It’s a reasonable indicator that the public are sick of being sick at heart.

    The lifting of the Surplus pledge was the right thing to do. Too many saw Euro and US-style austerity staring them in the face. Swan let that image linger there, in front of their eyes, until they begged him to wake them up from the nightmare.

    American Fiscal Cliffs, Irish dole queues, Italian billionaire play boys running rampant with the treasury, Spanish bank failures, Greek riots and stodgy British fiscal pudding are not for Australia. We have been shown the instruments of torture and have been forced to seriously consider them being applied to us in the quest for the pot of gold that is so trivial compared to the reality of despair that Abbott and Hockey are offering… and that Swan was offering until the week before last.

    Instead of delivering stimulus to the economy suddenly, as it was during the first stage of the GFC, Swan has played footsie with everyone: bankers, economists and the public. Some didn’t want a Surplus simply because Swan did. Some resented the loss of entitlements, or pending cutbacks which would soon have stripped not just fat, but muscle from the bone. Some realized we needed Stimulus, but were too proud to ask a Labor treasurer for charity.

    So they heckled him for breaking a promise, and patted themselves on the back for forcing him to listen to them. The public wants debt again. The Surplus bogie has been broken. Stimulus Mark-II has been no easy ride, of course, thrust on us before we even knew we were in trouble. Stimulus Mark-II has been earned by the public, or at least that’s what they believe. People power!

    I don’t entertain there’s anyone right now who relishes the idea of Hockey-style public service decimation, the cancellation of tax cuts, dropping increased pensions or other perks they’ve gotten used to. They’ve seen what happened to Queensland.

    Swan’s mistaken promise will be forgiven and forgotten. It was a brilliant move on his part, to wait until the whole country was clamoring for relief, and then to bestow it. The punters asked for it. They’re sick of misery. They want a future.

    Today’s poll tells us that.

  18. so just add the 13 / and the stay the same together58
    and thats nearly every one happy
    71 percent happy.
    there you are thats done now
    there would be some who are never happy even if they won the lottery

  19. talking of elvis
    what is the song
    with the words
    always on my mind

    loved it

  20. msadventure2… Nothing in the SPAM bin or moderation queue that I can see. May have just gotten lost.

    – BB

  21. chris kristopheson
    yes , sometimes we forget about the greats we enjoyed

    i know its the same old thing through the generations
    but truly can any one understand the words they sing now
    i think music is about the words as much as the music

  22. BB, Sometimes it just happens, not so bad with a short post but not so good if one has written something the length of your contributions.

    • msadventure2 – I checked. There were a couple of short posts about half an hour ago from you, but they were let through (no reason to mod them). Nothing marked as SPAM or PENDING in the queue at all. They’re just lost, I’m sorry to report.

      – BB

  23. “Why is Newspoll polling at this time?

    I don’t get it.

    It’s what happens when you live and die by the polls. Without them The Australian has nothing. That goes for a fair share of Fairfax journalists too. They’re addicted.

  24. The Australian writes about the Folk Festival. They seem to almost lament the absence of antagonism. It’s as if being antagonistic is the only way they know how to deal with politics:

    “The fact she was in the seat of Longman that Labor lost at the 2010 election was barely evident. This was friendly territory, with only the odd heckler and none of the tough questions of parliament or Canberra press conferences.

    Ms Gillard laughed with her hosts and displayed her own self-deprecating humour…”

    Which was kinda the point YOU DUMMIES. There IS a better way. Gillard’s interview today elicited more information than a dozen “Hard-hitting” Leigh Sales torture sessions, or a hundred blistering Shanahan calls for resignations.

    The punters want to be confident. IT’s breaking out despite the best efforts of a media determined to set a gloomy agenda that suits their own purposes.

  25. looking at the photos of the tw of them i reall think they loved each other very much
    you can always tell it in the eyes

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