A PROFESSIONAL journalist whispers via email that Gina Rinehart may not find herself quite so unloved as the rallies of aggrieved journalists outside the Silly and Phage suggest. While asking not to be quoted directly, the Billabong’s correspondent makes the following points:
1/ Cronyism is rife. He cites as one example the fact that, while the Age has recruited very few faces over the past five years, one of those was an individual whose misadventures on assignment saw him fall out of favour. After a period of well-paid exile at Fairfax, during which time his contributions to the paper were negligible, the blow-in returned to his former home.
2/ Editors don’t edit. To use the correspondent’s term, editors “are arbitrators not leaders”. When Bob Carter was permitted to appear in The Age, the resident warmists demanded that the skeptic’s contribution to the carbon-tax debate be mitigated by an immediate blitz of alarmist reports. Through impotence or indifference, the counter-assault was given “run of paper” by editors who preferred an easy life to the effort of striving for balance.
3/ Opposition to Rinehart is most fervent amongst those with the most to lose. By the correspondent’s reckoning, the dominant cliques at The Age and Sunday Age are well paid and have come to regard financial security as no less than their august due. When Gina arrives, their days will be numbered, so why not lash out?
As the ABC continues to serve as a megaphone for Fairfax’s anti-Gina faction, the correspondent suggests taking assertions of a unified opposition with a large bag of salt. The thing to notice, the writer advises, is not the number of people waving placards and sizzling their sausages outside Media House but the number of Age employees who stay away from those demonstrations. The recent protest during Fairfax’s 36-hour strike brought out no more than a third of the editorial staff, he says. The others voted with unmoving feet for both change and Mrs Rinehart by staying home.
If true, it is encouraging news for Melbournians who would like to see a newspaper with the potential to once again serve the truth and its community. Oh, and one other thing worth noting: the correspondent insists that plans to re-make the Age and Silly as tabloids be brought forward, giving the Herald Sun and Telegraph no opportunity to mount their defences.