How the media trades free speech for influence

Australian cartoonist, political commentator and quintessential pot-stirrer Larry Pickering writes what no media outlet in this country will … that our pollies are all corrupt of questionable character and the media is fine with that:

Thomson is involved in rorting $500,000 from the HSU. Gillard is involved in rorting $1 million from the AWU. To date, no attempt has been made by either union to recover one cent.

As a backbencher, Thomson had no clout with media. As Prime Minister, Gillard used her clout to kill the story… and this is how she did it:

Bruce Wilson was an AWU heavy and Gillard’s boyfriend at the time. He had been threatening developers in a thinly disguised, mob-style protection racket: Industrial peace for payment … up to $50,000 at a time. The payments went straight to accounts Gillard had arranged while she was still working for the Left wing law firm, Slater & Gordon. Gillard was into the scam up to her elbows and, as she was [having a sexual relationship with] Wilson at the time, pillow talk wasn’t confined to her other sexual exploits including married father and current Trade Minister Craig Emerson, and now Gold Coast spiv Tim Mathieson who departed the Coast leaving multiple unpaid debts. Her part in the scam was rewarded with $50,000 of renovations to her house and a $25,000 account at a top fashion house (although one could be forgiven for thinking she never used it).

The story broke and Gillard went into frenzied damage control. When the dust settled, Gillard was still PM but ground-breaking journalists were sacked, News Ltd CEO, John Hartigan, resigned. Both Fairfax and News Ltd immediately spiked the story and pulled broadcasts, Andrew Bolt threatened to resign, Laurie Oakes was told, “Don’t even think about it!” Blogs disappeared in a cloud of dust. Radio jocks were instructed to drop it.

ABC and ‘The Australian’ journalist, Glenn Milne, had spent months carefully documenting Gillard’s devastating involvement. His story had been legalled and it ran in ‘The Australian’ on Monday, August 1st 2011. It was immediately pulled after one phone call from Gillard. Slavish supporter of Gillard, the ABC, promptly sacked Milne.

Gillard continued a barrage of phone calls to the then CEO of News Ltd, John Hartigan and there was a meeting arranged at the offices of News Ltd. What exactly was said at that meeting may never be known but it certainly didn’t resemble what Gillard said it was about.

The Leveson Hacking Inquiry was threatening to engulf Australia’s media and Gillard saw her opportunity. She used Bob Brown as a verbal battering ram to threaten Fairfax and Murdoch with an “inquiry”. Gillard herself publicly entered the fray with her now famous utterance: “There are questions that need to be answered.” That statement was carefully crafted to put the fear of God into the media. After much questioning she has refused to say what those questions might be.

A Leveson-style inquiry here would mutilate the very core of Australia’s media and their executives as it has, and is still doing, in the UK. Fairfax and Murdoch executives, to put it bluntly, were [soiling their pants]. Their indecent grappling for a piece of an ever-decreasing circulation market-share would have opened an ugly can of worms. A can I will let sit for another time.

So, this squalid deal was done but the sordid tale still bubbles below the surface. It reaches to the very heart of the Labor movement. We are witnessing only the tip of unions’ mob-like protection rackets and their corrupt manipulation of our Parliaments. This shameful story will eventually be told in full colour. It will be a long and agonising read. But, in the interim, today’s fetid political power holds sway.

“Democratic Socialists” such as the trade union movement and the Australian Labor Party have never been interested in the working man’s lot; just like every other socialist group they’re merely using the means at hand to amass personal power and wealth. Don’t believe me? Then check out this interesting article from the Socialist Alliance … yes, that’s the very same organisation for which our Prime Minister wrote policy papers like this one.

HT: (For the backstory to some of these goings-on check out Andy Semple’s courageous attempt to keep the story alive.)