An Open Letter to Journalists at News Ltd

KickthisMobOutDear News Ltd Journalists,

I’m writing you this letter on behalf of all Australians. That includes everyone who can vote in the upcoming election, as well as those too young to have a say in their own future. I wanted to let you know that your behaviour throughout the election campaign has been appalling. I know you know as well as I do that it’s not the role of a journalist to campaign for a political party. Journalists often justify their bias by saying that opinion pieces can be whatever they want them to be – whether or not they’re biased, unbalanced, untrue, or part of a conspiracy on behalf of your boss to get rid of the NBN, which threatens his business interests. But you’re not just contributing opinion pieces and amateur PhotoShopped front page images, denigrating the target of your smear campaign. You’re also contributing news articles, designed to bring about a certain result, a result you’ve allegedly been instructed to manufacture to help your boss make money. Doesn’t this make you feel dirty? Doesn’t the 17 year old aspiring journalist in you feel even a little bit sad about finding their middle-aged-self behaving in this unethical way? Don’t you care about the impact your work has on the country you live in?

I’m sure many of you justify your blind obedience in the ‘get Rudd’ campaign to the fact that you need a job. You have to do what you’re told so you can keep working as a journalist. I know there’s not many jobs out there for journalists, but this doesn’t justify you doing the wrong thing. There are hundreds of examples throughout history of ‘employees’ doing the wrong thing on behalf of their bosses, and justifying this wrongness by saying they were instructed to do it. That doesn’t make it ok. If Murdoch told you to hit your wife, would you do that too? Where exactly is the line that you wouldn’t cross, no matter what your boss wanted? Is there a line? When you write puff pieces about Tony Abbott, when you do glamorous photo shoots of Tony Abbott’s daughters but don’t actually ask them a question, when you choose not to scrutinise Abbott, and omit news that is damaging to him, when you support Mal Brough’s campaign to destroy Slipper and then ignore the news that you were part of the Ashbygate conspiracy which a Federal Court Judge has revealed, when you cover your front page with blatant propaganda to help Abbott win government, but don’t tell your readers what his real plans are, when you give a candidate a free run and create the misleading impression that the Labor government is unsuccessful, you are failing Australia. Your job is not more important than your responsibility as a journalist. How are you ever going to get another job with this sort of behaviour in your background?

I actually think it’s an absolute outrage that not one of you has resigned in protest during this election campaign. Not one of you has stood up for journalistic integrity and said ‘enough’. Not one of you has said your pay cheque isn’t more important to you than your ethics. And what about all the jobs your readers will lose because of your campaign? You know Tony Abbott has proudly announced that he’ll sack 12,000 public servants. These are people doing important work in our communities. They help people. They support the disadvantaged in society. How is your job more important than their jobs?

No doubt many of you are Liberals yourself, having been hand-picked by your boss to make sure you’re on his side. But even if you think Tony Abbott deserves to win the election, and even if you like his policies and are completely in favour of his plans for this country (assuming you know what these are), don’t you think the Australian people have a right to hear both sides of the story before making up their own minds? Don’t you think it sounds a little bit like Fascism for your boss to decide that he wants an Abbott win, and then for you, his minions, to do his dirty work in the most blatantly dishonourable and immoral media campaign this country has ever seen?

Perhaps you read letters like this, and you are so hardened to the world that you let it roll over you, like water off a duck’s back. But I just hope that somewhere, deep down inside you, there’s a little voice reminding you that you’re doing the wrong thing. If you even have the ability to feel guilty, to feel ashamed, even if it’s just at 3:00am in the morning when you can’t sleep, I hope you feel awful.

It’s also important for you to know that we won’t forget what you’ve done. If your boss gets his way, and you do manage to deliver Australia the most conservative, austerity obsessed, downright mean and selfish government we’ve ever had, it’s very likely most of your readers, especially those in areas like western Sydney who’ve you’ve conned most successfully, will not be very impressed with you. They might ask why on earth Abbott is cutting spending on services they need, like health and education, when they didn’t hear about it before the election. They might be disappointed to hear their work rights are being undermined by the same front bench who came up with Work Choices. And they might be really pissed off when the surplus they’ve been promised is actually a gigantic $30 billion dollar black hole. No doubt you’ll do your best to blame all these woes on Labor, as this is your unthinking knee-jerk reaction to everything. But how long can this work? I know you like your readers dumb, but don’t underestimate how quickly people work out that they’ve been screwed over. I hope your precious job is worth it then. I would have thought your entire industry was in enough trouble without you putting another dozen nails in its coffin through your own arrogance and incompetence.

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30 Comments on “An Open Letter to Journalists at News Ltd”

  1. John Davies says:

    Another good contribution Victoria. The standard of journalism in this country is abysmal. Apart from the directed bias to which you refer, the more I see and read the more I wonder about the intelligence of the average journalist, the institutions in which they lean their “profession” and the people who teach in those institutions!

  2. treesshrubs says:

    I have shared this on fb …..its appalling and I totally agree!!!!! Hang in there ……I really cant contemplate the future of oz in the hands of, someone like him!!! Ugh!!

  3. John Davies says:

    Richard Ackland recently used the term “performing seals” to describe these journalists. I would like to think some would be embarrassed, but suspect they don’ t give a stuff, living in their own world.

    • SamB says:

      I have a few News Ltd workers as friends but I have lost all respect fro them. I doubt I can speak to them again. When i started work at age 16 it was for one of this countries richest men and he drummed into me that rot starts from the top and seeps down until everyone and every thing is infected. He advised me to never work for a corrupted business and I never have. I have been happy working only for ethical businesses and it’s always worked out well. It won’t work out well for News Ltd journalists and they will be dispensed with when all used up.

  4. Catalyst says:

    I think that you have encapsulated the opinion of many of us.- the way journalists behave , the way they do not scrutinize- they way they report ‘selectively’ .’ Journalistic integrity’ is an oxymoron and ‘ journalistic standards’ an anachronistic joke.. Balance? Objectivity? gone. I had hopes that The Guardian may be different- but when I heard they had employed from the current crop of journalists my heart sank. No different.

  5. Saaq Madiq says:

    These so called journalists from News Ltd. are low life scum. Just like Murdoch and Abbott they are liars, bullies and cowards. Is it any wonder these so called journalists are ranked lower then used car salesmen. I think this is a slight in used car salesmen. I think they are lower then the shit on your shoe and we won’t forget their gutless cowardice ever.

  6. joy cooper says:

    A wonderful post straight from the heart, Victoria. Thank you so much. Unfortunately, it is not just News Corps’ supposed “journalists” who are being so biased & mendacious but also the alternatives such as Fairfax, the ABC & the commercial TV news rooms plus their various chat shows. It has become a race to the bottom. The others just seem to source their “news” from Murdoch media especially the taxpayers’ ABC.

    The sheer pettiness & nastiness of it all is contemptible. The over-the-top-treated-as-fact totally unprofessional & uncorroborated assertions from a make up person about Kevin Rudd were the pits. Same with Annabel Crabb’s (of all people) story on how Kevin Rudd allegedly put aside important security briefings,in Canberra & “VIP jetted” to Brisbane to appear in a cooking show. How puerile was that. Thought she was above such things.

    Today I made a decision & will no longer look at or read any news source which is at all political. It is far too depressing & gut-wrenching. They are all so biased & do not give us the truth any more. This means even trying to assess from the headlines whether or not a Guardian or The Conversation article leans towards the tabloid way of expressing news as opinion. Thank goodness for The Global Mail though. Shall still tweet, hehe. 🙂

  7. Linda Ethell says:

    Thank you for writing this. The way the media, Fairfax and News, treated Julia Gillard, has left me totally contemptuous of them. I have refused to resubscribe to The Age, for the first time in thirty years; it’s not because of the internet but because of their prolonged and vicious campaign against our first female PM, and I didn’t vote Labour.

    Since Fairfax insist they are independently bigoted as compared to News Corp’s sycophantic motives I put it down to a kind of blokey media groupthink from which female journalists are obviously not exempt. I suppose adopting it is a condition of joining the Canberra Press Gallery but at present I have absolutely no qualms about my tiny symbolic contribution towards sending them all down the gurgler.

  8. austriaal says:

    My thoughts exactly. I was just about to post a similar blog article myself. Currently very disgusted with the transparent salacious one-sided political attacks in the media. It’s almost as ridiculously propagandistic as what you’d expect from a regime leader against a coup faction leader.

  9. austriaal says:

    Reblogged this on austriaal and commented:
    Excellent post and my thoughts exactly. The current state of Australian media really has been dumbed down to simplistic herd brainwashing. I feel sorry for anyone that truly takes what Murdoch and his wrecking ball crew are taking to heart, because we will all regret the repercussions further on.

  10. Wonderful letter,spot on the mark I agree with its contents completely and I appreciate you going to the trouble of writing and sending it but these people have one mission in life and that is job preservation and nothing you or I say or write will make a difference to these perverted scribes. I don’t know what the answer is except to hope that one day the majority will come to their senses and work out they are being conned into voting against their best interest. The Americans woke up to what Fox News and Murdoch were up to and voted accordingly, lots of people say the American voters are dumb,but I think they are a lot smarter than we are and these past three years have proven it.

  11. Monica Cadden says:

    I love writing so when I left school I chose to study journalism. While the course was brilliant, after two years my desire to work in such a disgusting industry devoid of ethics withered.
    I am disgusted by journalists who seem to forget all the ethics and morals they were taught all for a job under at one of the handful of media companies in Aus.
    News Ltd, or Limited News, is the serial offender here and I attribute my lack of desire for journalism to their drivel. I switched to a Law degree this year and havent bought a newspaper all year. Thank heavens!

  12. Chris Grealy says:

    Noise Limited also vowed to Destroy the Greens. Such lovely people. Not journalists or even journalists’ arseholes, but I’m sure they’re still lovely people.

  13. marionr7 says:

    Couldn’t agree more

  14. There are journalists at News Ltd?

  15. Lorraine Clark says:

    Totally agree with you Victoria, have you noticed that in the local newsagent & supermarkets, that the newspapers are not selling!! Hopefully people are starting to reject their biased views. Saw Katter & Palmer on ABC, Journalist club luncheon. They had some very good ideas for rural Australia & small business, would love for them to win some seats, we may end up with a minority parliament again!!, not such a bad thing, this minority government has achieved quite a lot.

  16. Sandra Searle (@SandraSearle) says:

    Just come home from hospital today. Talked to a lot of people both hospital staff, patients &I visitors. They don’t like TA, are sick & tired of media propaganda especially Murdoch press. Interestingly its the young ones that start to get fired up because they really know what has happened.
    Many, many people both young & old haven’t got a clue as to the power of the owner of this media empire & just how much & what Murdoch owns & how he has tried to get rid of a duly elected government, along with TA & his mob & some of the ALP Rudd supporters.
    Kerry Anne Walsh was right about how Julia got totally whiteanted. I just hope that Tom Watson on Q & A tonight, will expose these dreadful people for what they really are.
    Once again Victoria great article.

  17. JamesH says:

    Thanks again Victoria for your dedication into the basic truths regarding Australia’s main stream media publications that has and still is effecting all our radio and television news broadcasting with Abbott’s propaganda backed by Murdock diseased media power. All the way with Abbott they go without the balanced accountability, who can never stop the refugee boats from coming here to Australia and never will. Now the latest Abbott is going to buy up all those 78,000 Indonesian fishing boats. Ah what a laugh that is, just like those costings gurgling their way down the drainpipe, like the rats they are.

  18. Anne says:

    No wonder newspapers don’t sell anymore, the standards just aren’t there anymore.

  19. gorgeousdunny1 says:

    Well said again, Victoria. I liked to think Australia had a healthy scepticism of all political figures. And that we prided ourselves in basic notions of fairness.

    Yet Abbott, following a long history of political thuggery, continued right up to the present, is daily presented as some sort of great guy, they way he wears a fire uniform, drives a truck or fillets a fish. It’s hard to conceive something more false, daily paraded before us. The approval ratings for him have barely risen despite all this. Possibly all the stunts/charades are not so much to win approval as to stifle the grave reservations most people have of him. As Mr Tony Windsor said, he has neither the temperament nor the trustworthiness to lead the nation.

    And almost the mirror opposite, Julia Gillard, who consistently showed herself to be a person of integrity and a superb leader/negotiator, has constantly been vilified as the opposite of that.

    That Mr Rudd should have contributed to that false image by undermining via the media, does not make it just that he should now be victim of the same misleading.

    We are entitled to much more integrity from our media than we have been given. Monopoly of opinion-setting is as dangerous to freedom of expression and ideas as government control.

    That is the position of News Ltd through controlling nearly 70% of our print media. Talk radio depends entirely on it for its talking points. Daytime television likewise. Only the evening TV news services have reporting staff independent of this cycle, but often the day’s events have taken hold before their time on television.

  20. Reblogged this on My Other Blog and commented:
    Victoria says what I feel too but much better.

  21. truthrevealed says:

    Thankyou Victoria, for saying what I feel, how I feel, the outrage & disgust in which I hold the media, all the media including “”our ABC””! There has never been anything fair about it, nothing. Its all been about power, power by the right, for one of the richest men on the planet.

    We know that what you have written will resonate with many, it is just sad & frustrating that it will have little or no impact on the broader electorate, who have allowed themselves to be treated like dickheads, brainless twerps, who care little for the truth, the underdog, the country, just for their own little patch of turf, called “‘bugger you Jack, I’m OK”. The dumb & dumber, who have allowed themselves to soak up the Abbott stew, served up to them every night for dinner!

    They will only find out the hard way, & the ,media, well they should be very ashamed of themselves & their lack of decency & backbone, lack of moral calibre.

    In days gone by, News Ltd journalists went on strike, when the Whitlam Govt was under seige, they refused to be a part of the lies. But not this time, these journalists are headhunters of a different kind, they beat to a different drum, the drum of corruption, under the guise of free press! Heaven help us all, but more so, heaven help those journos, because their day too will come!

  22. brickbob says:

    Heard a promo on ABC radio this morning for tonights 4 Corners, they will be talking to the candidates in the seat of Brisbane and a seat in Western Sydney, both marginal and are also talking to some voters, and guess what? they just happened to find all these ex Labor voters who have lost faith and are going to vote for the LNP you know the type””’ I always voted Labor ””But” ” They also interviewed a nice young well mannered Liberal voter which im sure she is, then a male Labor voter who sounded a bit rough but a good bloke by the sound of him,and the inference was plain, young Libs are nice and refined and sensible but young Labor voters are just dumb bogans. I really don’t think I can take much more of this ABC bullshit, especially when my taxes are paying for it. Does anybody know of another planet I can go and live on? There is just 6 days till the election so be warned”’ The Barbarians are at the gate.

    • Anonymous says:

      Bickbob Read your comment & now the LNP are in Govt, we are a bad situation. The media haven’t improved at all in my opinion, but I find I need to go to alternative websites like this one to get my news & truth! In particular the Independent Australia, for good rounded articles, & comments, giving me info I could never get anywhere else. Try it if you haven’t before.

      http://www.independentaustralia.net/category/politics/

  23. vivienne29 says:

    It is times like these that I am reminded of an old Leunig cartoon with the words ‘Hooray ……. f u c k’.
    I think it had his sad little characters marching to the cliff edge and dropping off.

  24. Observer says:

    Liberals vs labour supporters, chalk and cheese. The feeble human mind is twisted in one of two political directions by our media, so i’d like to propose an alternative. The democrats tried, the greens have made some inroads but Australia deserves a generation X idealist with the technical knowledge & enthusiasm to cut through the awful polluted politcal enironment left behind by the self serving baby boomers.( sorry mum & dad..but seriously)

    Most importantly Australia would have an opportunity to vote for a politician who’d make lobby groups declare all their interests and negotiations publicly at their own expense, ban political donations & make quality of life a priority.

    Naive Regards,
    Gen X

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