QUALITY JOURNALIST Katharine Murphy covers politics, which is footy reporting’s loss. There she is today in the Fairfax press explaining how the Yabby’s push to regulate free speech and the media is going. Some say this, others argue that, this might happen but that probably won’t – her summation of the state of play is all very interesting, reasonably well written and, on the whole, a quite comprehensive overview of the demand for news organisations to be complicit in their own gagging. If Murphy was covering a footy match her tone would be pitch perfect, for there is not a single indication anywhere in her piece that she favours one side above the other.
And that, without mincing words, is what makes her column so bloody disgusting. Murphy may believe she is no more than an observer in the press box, but the fact remains, as surely she must know within her heart, that she is one of the targets for any expansion of the already onerous restrictions on unfettered reporting, investigation and commentary. Perhaps she thinks it is not that much of a threat. As an exemplar of the ideologically sound reporter, the sort Fairfax hires to the exclusion of all others, it may be that Murphy imagines she and her colleagues have nothing to fear from the current Labor government. Heck, they are sympatico with the Gillard/Greens mob and frame their reporting accordingly, so where is the downside in going limp while speech codes are drawn up to hobble the jackbooted beasts at News Ltd?
Someone should take Murphy aside and explain that she is very much a player in this game, no mere commentator, despite her pretensions to indifference. If free speech is further hobbled by legislative decree, sooner or later it will be her side of politics’ turn to front the Star Chamber.
Or perhaps she plans to take one of the upcoming Fairfax buyouts and just does not care anymore.