An email from the editor of a major daily Melbourne newspaper has come into my possession. I won’t say how, since it might incriminate me as being part of a household that pays for a subscription. Let’s just say that it’s possible that the subscription was taken out using an email address that I have access to. Or something. The very first words of the email are:
As a subscription benefit, from today [masthead name redacted] editor [name redacted] will send you an exclusive analysis of the week’s most important stories each Friday.
That’s what I call a ‘marmalade dropper,’ a statement so utterly preposterous that to read it over breakfast would cause such a fit of apoplexy that one would choke on one’s marmalade toast and drop it on the floor, for it to be consumed by the dog.
Luckily, I’d had breakfast already. Intrigued by this alleged ‘benefit,’ which might better be regarded as a ‘threat,’ I read on. The newish editor started off by quoting a former editor:
[Masthead redacted] “does certain things differently from other newspapers simply because … we’re not there as a means of simply passing a word from a mouth to an eye, we’ve a responsibility to our readers and to society in general.”
That is an unabashed endorsement of the practice of selecting and then framing the stories they deem fit to print, rather than simply reporting the bare facts. Then this:
Readers of [masthead redacted] want more than the kind of imitable journalism they can find on countless free-to-read news sites and unoriginal, uninspiring and sometimes unhinged publications.
The editor couldn’t resist, either through spite or an inferiority complex, a swipe at other news sites. Too gutless to name those he thinks ‘unhinged.’
It goes on:
…our readers want depth and quality, excellence and rigour. They want a publication with scruples that is willing to fight for its readers, its city, and hold power to account, without fear or favour. One that will doggedly pursue public interest investigations to shine light on the darkest parts of our society, but also celebrate Melbourne’s successes and be constructive and mature in its approach to difficult subjects.
“Fight for its readers?” Did it fight for those who were shot in the back with rubber bullets when Victoria Police corralled them at the Shrine of Remembrance? “Doggedly pursue public interest investigations?” Did they doggedly pursue the hotel quarantine fiasco? As I recall it was only Peta Credlin who had the guts to ask the then Premier any hard questions about this and other Covid crimes. Did they ever get to the bottom of who ordered the curfew? Was it the Premier, the Chief Health Officer, or the Police Commissioner?
“…be constructive and mature in its approach to difficult subjects?” What a string of weasel words that is! The translation is “ignore totally any concerns about vaccine safety and smear anyone who raises the issue.”
But there’s more. The email goes on to list the things they did talk about in the last 12 months. See if you can spot what’s missing.
…war crimes of Australia’s most decorated soldier, Ben Roberts-Smith. We promoted mature discussion about the future of Melbourne and its suburbs. We broke the news that the nation’s biggest plastic bag recycling scheme was continuing to operate even though its recycling function had collapsed, resulting in millions of bags being stuffed into warehouses across the country.
We exposed huge failings in the Department of Home Affairs across a range of stories that exposed a failure to prevent human trafficking and questionable payments of Australian taxpayer money to foreign officials. When we reported that the influential head of that department, Mike Pezzullo, had attempted to influence and cosy up to politicians, he was stood down pending an investigation.
We pored over every detail of the state government’s cancellation of the Commonwealth Games and exposed the shambolic management of that decision. We sent reporters to cover a war in the Middle East with huge emotional impacts on many in Australia, and indeed on domestic politics.
We led the coverage of one of the most extraordinary murder investigations in recent history. We’ve looked at the schools we send our children to and turned our attention to the burgeoning suburbs where Melburnians are increasingly choosing to live.
We fought for our readers’ right to know what is happening within the justice system, by opposing suppression orders and battling for access to court documents in the Magistrates’, County and Supreme Courts, all the way up to the High Court of Australia.
We’ve celebrated the city’s major events. We didn’t miss a beat during one of the great AFL seasons. We took readers inside the Lord’s Long Room at one of the most controversial moments in its history and we replayed the Bairstow dismissal as frequently as we possibly could.
What great stuff. Plastic bag recycling. Australian Rules football. Cricket dismissals. Phonics in schools. A reporter sent to a war zone. A spectator at the bankruptcy of third-world Victoria, epitomised by the cancellation of the Commonwealth Games and the Airport Rail.
There’s an enormous gaping hole in the coverage, just like there’s an enormous gaping space in the foyers of office towers all over the city, as the utter destruction of our once beautiful Melbourne echoes the utter destruction of lives and livelihoods caused by mask mandates, ‘social distancing’ and vaccine mandates.
Nothing about the morality of excluding people from daily society. No mention of excess mortality. No mention of the Forest of the Fallen. Nothing about the imminent WHO changes. Nothing about the dangers of Digital ID or the Misinformation Bill. Nothing about the risks of Central Bank Digital Currencies. Evidently the editor sees no “responsibility to our readers and to society in general” in respect of these issues. I’ll be waiting for an age, I think, to get that kind of coverage.
A final quote from the email is even more chilling:
You, our subscribers, made all this and more possible by supporting our journalism. And I can assure you, this is only the start of what we believe we can accomplish as a newsroom.
So what is it that they are only at the start of accomplishing as a newsroom? What is it, other than suppressing some stories and promoting others, that they want to do?
At least I don’t pay for this stuff. Oh, wait.
Republished from the author’s Substack
Published under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
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