Robert Manne has edited a new book titled ‘Do Not Disturb: Is the Media Failing Australia’ that includes a chapter titled ‘Murdoch and the Culture War’ by David McKnight.
Manne’s book is due out later this week but I did get to see a copy of the McKnight chapter today.
It focuses on The Australian newspaper and its purportedly special and amicable relationship with ‘right wing’ think tanks the CIS and IPA.
The analysis suggests McKnight has spent some time doing a content and author analysis of the Opinion pages of The Australian and also what is published in the IPA Review and Quadrant magazine.
While I work for the IPA I have not had such a good run in The Australian. Aspects of my ‘relationship’ with The Australian are explained in the piece I wrote for Quadrant magazine published in December 2004
McKnight must have seen this piece. I wonder if he read it? It does not support the general thesis of his chapter.
Perhaps he saw it as an exception to the rule? But even ‘exceptions’ can provide real insights.
While I haven’t been able to find anything about the new book on the internet (yet), McKnight did publish something by a similar title a few years ago,
This piece, while significantly different to the new chapter, has a similar theme and begins,
Rupert Murdoch founded The Australian in 1964 as a bold statement of his belief that this country needed a quality national daily newspaper. His action was based on a nation-building vision that he shared with the leader of the Country Party, John McEwen, who deeply influenced him at that time.
For twenty years, The Australian lost money, a strange anomaly in the life of its ruthlessly commercial owner. In a 1994 address to the free-market think tank, the Centre for Independent Studies, Murdoch mentioned these losses but argued that some things were more important than short-term profits – ideas in society. He went on to quote John Maynard Keynes’s famous lines about the significance of political and philosophical ideas to men who regarded themselves as supremely practical. In the media business, ‘we are all ruled by ideas’, Murdoch added.